Sunday, November 29, 2009

V.A. Chiswick Charbusters Volume Two (1977)

Chiswick Records was the original pub-to-punk label, releasing the Count Bishops first single the year before Stiff Records (more here) began. Chiswick's reputation has often marked it as Stiff Jr., due to it's being longer on enthusiasm than on marketing savvy. And while Chiswick did release the best Damned album (Machine Gun Etiquette tops Damned, Damned, Damned on almost any metric you can design) it never signed huge artist like Stiff's Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, or Madness. Many Chiswick artist got bigger after they left the label. Chiswick released the 101'ers single just before Joe Strummer joined the Clash, they released the Riff Raff single many years before Billy Bragg talked the world's ear off, they released Motorhead's first single before Bronze Records brought their grizzled mugs to the world, they released singles by the Nips (Shane McGowan) and the Radiators (Philip Chevron) long before Stiff signed the Pogues and they even released the early Skrewdriver work before Ian Stuart, in their words, "joined an obscure religious cult".

Long Shots, Dead Certs and Odds on Favourites covers the great Chiswick-ians (Motorhead, the Radiators from Space) the good ones (the Rings, Radio Stars) the okay ones (the Rings, the Count Bishops) and Johnny Moped (Johnny's okay but he seems like a real "you-had-to-be-there" kinda figure).

Long Shots, Dead Certs and Odds-On Favourites L.P.

Support someone, buy Chiswick Chartbusters Volume One here!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

V.A. Hope & Anchor Front Row Festival (1978)

Hats off to whoever did the bookings for the Hope & Anchor, a pub in Islington that championed first pub rock in the mid-seventies, then later punk rock as the decade wore on. Judging from the line-up for the pub's Front Line Festival that took place in late 1977, that booker had a deep sense of music's past and its future. Early sixties survivors like The Pirates and Steve Gibbons (and facsimiles of the same like the Pleasers) sit beside their pub rock disciples like Wilko Johnson, Tyla Gang and the Dire Straits, alongside older vets gone punk like the Stranglers, The Only Ones and 999 all of whom jostle with young punk upstarts like XTC, the Saints, X-Ray Spex (and don't forget reggae greats Steel Pulse!)

01 Wilko Johnson Band - Dr Feelgood
02 The Stranglers - Straighten Out
03 Tyla Gang - Styrofoam
04 The Pirates - Don't Munchen It
05 Steve Gibbons Band - Speed Kills
06 XTC - I'm Bugged
07 Suburban Studs - I Hate School
08 The Pleasers - Billy
09 XTC - Science Friction
10 Dire Straits - Eastbound Train
11 X Ray Spex - Let's Submerge
12 999 - Crazy
13 The Saints - Demolition Girl
14 999 - Quite Disappointing
15 The Only Ones - Creatures Of Doom
16 The Pirates - Gibson Martin Fender
17 Steel Pulse - Sound Check
18 Roogalator - Zero Hero
19 Philip Rambow - Underground Romance
20 The Pleasers - Rock & Roll Radio
21 Tyla Gang - On The Street
22 Steve Gibbons Band - Johnny Cool
23 Wilko Johnson Band - Twenty Yards Behind
24 The Stranglers - Hanging Around

Hope & Anchor Front Row Festival
double L.P.

Friday, November 27, 2009

V.A. Sudden Surge of Sound (1980)

Since out last series of posts got derailed by a take-down of sorts, let's start a series on a favourite MRML muse, the compilation album. A Sudden Surge of Sound was put out by VU Records in 1980 and feature a lot of the trends of that divergent year. Rye and the Quarter Boys play in a Dexys'ish mod style, the Hawks offer a frothy power-pop, the Two-Tone Pinks a dish out a more punkifed power pop, the Silent Ones hold down the art-punk slot, Kenny Read The Old Wave of British Heavy Metal one, while Essential Logic do the sax-driven new wave thing and grizzled faves the UK Subs contribute their pounding "Left For Dead".

So another fascinating, if imperfect relic of the original punk explosion. More to come...

(Image courtesy of Detour Records who have put out a fine Two Tone Pinks re-issue.)

A Sudden Surge of Sound L.P.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Beatnik Termites vs. The Parasites

These two ripping American power-pop-punk bands, the Parasites (more here) and the Beatnik Termites (more here) need no further introduction here - so just enjoy this split single release on Just Add Water from 1995 (smack in the middle of the nineties Great Vinyl Glut).

Beatnik Termites/Parasites
split 7"

Support the bands!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

G.P.S. - Panique Sur la Plage

France's Garage Psychiatrique Suburbain (more here) never topped this slightly twinkie but still utterly rollicking barrage of melodic hooks and underwatery keyboards.

G.P.S. - Panique Sur La Plage

Respect must be paid to the heroic ModPunkArchives for championing the by now unfortunately-initialed G.P.S. on their pages.
By the way, singer Thiery Hazard later gained pop celebrity in France for an intermitenly pleasant eighties take on late-sixties psych-pop, as heard (and seen) in songs like the toe-tapping Poupee Psychedelic and the Robert Palmer-esque Le Jerk. Hey, it could be Mitsou!

Panique Sur la Plage 7"

Here's a MySpace page but I believe their sole CD is out-of-print.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

G.P.S. - Quand Revient L'ete

Garage Psychiatrique Suburbain killed some, if not all, prejudices about French rock n' roll. For an early-eighties pop-savvy band, recall this was the era of Simple Minds, they rocked just fine. You can hear the guitars, the keyboards sound like a pub-rock holdover and the song is irresistibly catchy no matter what your mother tongue. It was ancienne and moderne all at once sorta like if the Go-Go's had been French (and guys). Of course, as befits the the French, there was touch of ironic distance, as if this was the musical equivalent of Euro Disneyland.

(What French lesbians and caged tigers have to do with this I can't say.)

This single from 1982, was a bit behind the times, with its surf-punk/new wave sound that fit somehwere between Plastic Bertrand's "Ca Plane Pour Moi" and The Barracudas "Summer Fun". So while the video is hilarious (sometime intentionally so) the band here, and on the more straight-up punk "Samedi Soir", acquit themselves of all charges of being cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

Quand Revient L'ete 7"

Here's a MySpace page but I believe their sole CD is out-of-print.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Things To Hate: Yes

Nick Lowe once said, "Yes and Genesis are about as exciting as used Kleenex" and you can be sure that back when he said it, slamming so-called progressive rock bands was de rigeur. But isn't it now kinda childish to cling to that old, old story about how punk chased disco and prog from the rock n' roll temple? Shouldn't these die-hard naysayers just lighten up? Isn't it time for a Yes revival?

No, no and fuck no

To whit:

When I tried re-listening to "Roundabout" now (my endurance caved at about 3:43 of the eight-and-half minutes they somehow felt this composition warranted), I did find elements to appreciate; the poppy hooks, the mild-rocking and the medieval folk but that bass line, deeply beloved by many, is still stomach-churning. More importantly, the endless busyness of the piece encapsulates all which is most loathsome about prog-rock and its cherished fallacy that more is more.

And just to keep things muddy, here's this year animal-based indie-folk sensation Grizzly Bear, making Yes' eighties hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart" sound like a Gregorian chant.

Before I drop this subject I gotta tell you a story, it's true but the names of everyone involved have been changed to lull the guilty into a false sense of security.

I once worked at a record store with a Hard Rock guy, one of those hard rock guys who was also a Yes fan. Tight pants. Flowing hair. Aspiring musician. Part-time Drug-dealer. If you moved in musical circles long enough, you've met one of his ilk. Let's call him Bon Jovi.

From the moment the store received a play copy of the eight-headed abomination that was Yes on their Union album, all Bon Jovi could think of was playing that fucker. Now we had a strict, "No stock - no play" rule so as long as we had no copies of the album to sell we could refuse to play the album in the store.

However, as we knew it must, the day came when six copies of
Union arrived to taint our shelves. Me and my co-worker, a man of distinguished musical taste, let's call him Ryan Adams, looked at each other in horror. Then Ryan Adams opened up the CD case and let Union drop on the floor with a tiny clang.

"Oops," said Ryan Adams.

I took my Docs to it, grinding it across the length of the stone floor. "Oops," said I.

Ryan Adam picked up the disfigured CD and dusted it off.
"Yoo-hoo, Bon Jovi, we have stock of that Yes album."

Well Bon Jovi burned a path over to us, all lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. "Oh wow, you guys'll see how great this album is really, it's like a rainbow of sound...

"0^$0fyt^1%A10^hg1F^%0$vY1$y!!!!!" said the CD player.

"Oh" said Bon Jovi, looking as if our well-lit Christmas kid had just found jagged lumps of coal beneath the shiny wrapping paper.
"I guess it's broken." He took it our of the CD player and returned it to the jewel case, without even noticing the damage.

Then, all slumped of shoulder and slow of step, he wandered back to the nothing he'd been so heavily engaged in before the promise of Yes.

"I guess we're assholes,Ryan Adams," I said.

"Yes we are Rob Gordon, yes we are."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Frank Turner: Song to Bob Dylan (Maida Vale)

Frank Turner is a fierce performer. He combines the self-deprecating word-play and vocal style of eighties Billy Bragg, with the myth-building grandeur of seventies Bruce Springsteen and that lone finger-pointer with an acoustic guitar attack of early sixties Bob Dylan. But for all that history, he remains every bit a part of the binge-drinking, text-sending Britain of the 21st century. Dismiss him as another damn singer-songwriter or saddle him with the Voice of a Generation Curse (as CNN foolishly tried to do) or you can just accept Turner's self-designation of his work as, "campfire-punk". After all, when he played in Winnipeg in September, bottom-billed to Murder by Death, the Loved Ones and the Gaslight Anthem, he drew a tightly-packed crowd who were singing along within moments, as if there was a roaring fire right there in the room.

On this BBC session, Turner, backed by a full band, twists one of Dylan's earliest originals, "Song To Woody". Here, Turner revises the lyrics to turn the tribute back on Bob as well as "Springsteen, Cohen and Neil Young too" (as Dylan name-checked, "Cisco and Sonny and Leadbelly too"). Maybe Turner chose those names, song-writers who successfully shook off Dylan comparisons, to state that he has no intention of living in the shadow of any other performer.

(Frank Turner - Song to Bob Dylan)

Also in this session you get raw version of the anthemic single, "The Road" from his new album Poetry of the Deed and a faster, electric take on the poignant death-bed mediation "The Queen" from his break-through album, Love Ire and Song.

{MRML readers leave us a comment with your opinion on the whole Frank Turner phenomenon.}

D/L Frank Turner Live at Maida Vale

Please support the man:
Epitaph Records

Durango 95: Lose Control

While I've always had mixed feeling about the precise value of the garage-rock revival, there's no doubt that Durango 95 played their own fierce brand punk-garage. The band - Greg Weir (vocals), Rob Sweeney (guitar), Paul MacNeil (guitar), Roger Branton (bass), Darren Smith (drums) - hailed from Oshawa, Ontario and released Lose Control in 1983 on Star Records. I first bought this album when I was in the thrall of the Og Records' grimier, anything-goes take on garage rock, so this album sounded too staid to me. Now it sounds more impressive, with its touches of folk-rock ("Goodbye Girl") punk ("I Don't Need It"), rockabilly ("Lose Control") and those sing-along backing vocals ("Don't Look At Me", ). For a deliberately retro album, it's aged damn well.

Lose Control L.P.

Recorded in 1984 (on Mother's Day) but not released by Star Records till 1991, this was Durango 95's last recording before getting turned into the Purple Toads. This album finds the band moving towards a more pure garage-rock revival sound.

Mothers Day CD

Let us offer up a thunderous chant of approval for Alcolm X over at the fearfully well-designed A Reasonable Guide To Horrible Noise for providing not just the fine vinyl rips but also these hi-res cover scans that make a post worthwhile.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

U.K. Subs: Party in Paris

Many of the powerhouses of British punk in the early eighties were lesser lights of 1977, like Cock Sparrer, Crass, the UK Subs, who just peaked late. There's a story that goes around that Crass wrote "Punk is Dead" (a phrase that will live forever) in 1977 after one of many shows at the with the UK Subs at the White Lion pub in Putney, where, according to Crass members; "The audience consisted mostly of us when the Subs played and the Subs when we played."

While the The UK Subversives, as they began, have long had a unstable rhythm section, singer Charlie Harper, the oldest man in punk, still leads the band to this day and guitarist (and New Red Archives honcho) Nicky Garret, the crucial component of the band's best work, remains a steadfast supporter and occasional member.

The Subs invested most of their big hooks into their singles, hence The Singles 1978-1982 being must-own album. One of their best A-sides is 1980's "Party in Paris" with its hard-rockin' Garrett riff, its subtle keyboards by Captain Sensible, its melancholy lyric by Harper and, best of all, its boat-load of ooh-la-la-lay's.

Party in Paris 7"

Support the band!

Friday, November 13, 2009

V.A. Punks on Drugs

"I can't understand why anybody should devote their lives to a cause like dope. It's the most boring pastime I can think of. It ranks a close second to TV."
Frank Zappa

"Frank Zappa is probably the single most untalented person I've heard in my life. He's two-bit, pretentious, academic and he can't play his way out of anything. He can't play rock n' roll because he's a loser. And that's why he dresses so funny. He's not happy with himself and I think he's right"
Lou Reed

After Lou Reed (more here) and all that smack-talk it's time to post this dodgy compilation, which even by Lou's standard has a pretty seedy track list:

1 New York Dolls - Pills 2:55
A fine 1973 demo.
2 Urban Dogs - Cocaine 2:23
UK Subs' Charlie Harper plus the Vibrators' Knox do a bracing version of Dillinger's reggae classic (itself an adaptation of an old blues song).

3 Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers - Chinese Rocks 2:55
Y'all know this one from L.A.M.F. - The Lost '77 Mixes.
4 Fallen Angels - Amphetamine Blue 2:32
The Vibrators' Knox plus half of Hanoi Rocks makes for a near perfect pop song.

5 Simpletones - I Like Drugs 2:09
The first band of Jay Lansford of the the Stepmothers (more here) and Channel 3(more here) offers up a classic early SoCal pop-punk song.
6 Chron Gen - L.S.D. 1:55
A UK '82 chant-along rocker.
7 Family Fodder - My Baby Takes Valium 3:26
Tinkly-synth post-punk from their Playing Golf (With My Flesh Crawling) single
8 Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers - One Track Mind 2:35
Thunders once said "I'm addicted to sex, my guitar and White Russians" but with songs like this who would believe him?
9 Urban Dogs - Speed Kills 1:20
Glad someone here said it.
10 UK Subs - Killing Time 2:19
A blazing track from the Harper-Garrat reunion of 1988.
11 Creaming Jesus - Smoke (Skin Up For Jesus) 2:05
(How did this crappily-named tuneless goth-metal band merit inclusion?)
12 Eater - Waiting For The Man 2:26
Eater were close to the bottom of '77's barrel but this Velvet Underground cover is charming.
13 Heroes, The - Too Much Junkie Business 2:24
Former Heartbreaker's Walter Lure and Billy Rath do their former boss's classic.
14 Adicts, The - Get Adicted 2:03
The Adicts drug of choice is stuttering, hooky punk rock as this song from 1982' Songs of Praise attests.
15 UK Subs - DF 118 2:04
Charlie Harper gets four tracks here(!), including this track from Occupied
16 Broken Bones - Secret Agent 2:52
Some more metallic UK hardcore here from the album Dem Bones.
17 Action Pact - Suicide Bag 1:54
Female vocals like fellow Uk 82'ers Vice Squad but lacking the strong personality of Bekki Bondage. From Complete Singles Collection.
18 Newtown Neurotics - The Mess 4:14
"Good pop on a bad budget" is how these eighties UK punks accurately described themselves. From Beggars Can Be Choosers
19 Slits, The - New Town (Live) 3:57
All-female reggae-punk, the Slits were (and are) a genre unto themselves. From In The Beginning
20 Only Ones, The - The Beast (Live) 6:09
The Only Ones (more here) never recorded a bad song. From The Big Sleep.

Punks on Drugs

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lou Reed: Live at the Bottom Line 1977

"It's the music that kept us all intact.You should have two radios, in case one gets broken"
Lou Reed

"Hi MRML, thanks for the second LP of the out-of-print VU LP. As a thank you. I'm adding...a great Lou Reed boot, Live at the Bott0m Line (with) great sound quality. Note Lou's vocals on "Satellite of Love", he reminds me of Johnny Rotten? Cool stuff !!! Anyways here ya go..."

Thanks to Revolutionary Bum for the guest post!

Live at the Bottom Line

Plus here's a live Moe Tucker show from 2002. Thanks again Rev.

It is my hope that every reader here interested enough to take this bootleg has supported (and will continue to support) the Velvet Underground and those strange twist and turns of the solo careers of Lou Reed, John Cale and Moe Tucker.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lou Reed: Rock N' Roll Diary 1967-1980

"You know I'd really love to hear Frank Sinatra do "Heroin". Really. It would be just incredible to hear Frank Sinatra coming out with that song on some middle of the road radio station. Because that song does not mince words."
Lou Reed
Me and my brother bought Rock N' Roll Diary back when I was 13. He kept the double vinyl in his room and I put in on tape - old school file-sharing. It damaged me in a many ways.

1. It convinced me that the the Velvet Underground were only Lou's backing band.
The Velvets' half of this album downplays Cale's experimentalism, excises Nico altogether and never lets Moe tucker sing a word. It's blatant revisionism but it's beautiful.

2. It made me believe Lou Reed's solo career was dull, dull, dull.
Based on the weakness of the (supposedly ill-chosen) solo half of this set, especially when compared to the cold-blooded brilliance of the Velvets' half (which actually has "Walk on the Wild Side"!), I've never given Lou's solo career a proper chance. I know, I know, I know....

(if 1 and 2 seem contradictory remember how hard is is to unlearn teenage learning

3. It tainted my view of the Stooges, the MC5 and the New York Dolls.
Those band's debut albums, all played in my Punk 101 class taught by my music critic brother-in-law, did impress me and I've never begrudged those albums' their deserved stature. But hearing "I'm Waiting For My Man", "White Light/White Heat", "I Heard her Call My Name", "Pale Blue Eyes","Beginning to See the Light" , "Sweet Jane" "Rock and Roll", "Heroin"and "Femme Fatale*, in a motherfucking row made those other underground legends sound like mere noise-mongers and fashion-plates (NTTAWTT).

* Live Lou version.

4. It separated me from my peers forever.
There was always a few kids who liked the Clash or whatever else but the Velvets were the first band I liked that none of my peers had ever heard of. From here on in I was doomed to share in the obscurity of the things that I loved.

I've posted this album because this collection is out-of-print (it may have never been on CD) but it is my hope that every reader here interested enough to take it does, and will continue to, support the Velvet Underground and even some of those strange twist and turns of the surviving members' solo careers.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Rock & Rule OST

So if Cheap Trick can be a suitable exemplar for seventies excess in the field of music then Rock & Rule can be seen as similar exemplar for film (even if it wasn't finished until 1983). Sure it wasn't Heaven's Gate but this cartoon (a retread of Nelvana's earlier rock n' roll fairy tale The Devil and Daniel Mouse which I saw on CBC TV on Halloween 1978) almost bankrupted its studio and ended an era in film, in this case the era of adult-orientated animation. The whole weirdly fascinating movie (which seems to be out-of-print) can be viewed on YouTube.

The film's soundtrack (it's greatest road block to re-release) featured Cheap Trick, Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Lou Reed and, in their sole appearance on MRML, Earth Wind and Fire. Like the film, it's promising and frustrating. The main players here, all key early punk influences with that one blatant exception, all had wildly erratic outputs in this era and this soundtrack is perfectly erratic. Cheap Trick are perhaps the most erratic band is music history, frequently switching from perfect power-pop ("Come On, Come On") to passable covers ("Ain't That a Shame") to joyless filler ("I'm the Man" one of their three songs herein). The Debbie Harry tracks are nice but forgettable, the Iggy track is pointless and while the first Lou Reed song "I'm Mok" is one of those expository songs common to old soundtracks, the second, "Triumph" is just that and it's one of his best solo rockers.

(Image of the Marvel Comics adaption borrowed from the Vinnierattole's excellent blog, make sure to read his history of the movie.)

Rock & Rule OST

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cheap Trick: Dream Police

Talking about Pink Lady and their grisly variety show (see here) got me thinking about seventies excess and Cheap Trick's contribution to it. Between "Surrender", (a near-perfect single as the innumerable weak cover versions prove) "I Want You To Want Me" and "Ain't That a Shame" Cheap Trick were as ubiquitous in the late seventies as Star Wars merchandise. Everyone owned Live at Budakon and many bought their relatively less successful sequel Dream Police, the bulk of which, as we speak, lie resting in the bins of Value Villages across North America.

What of the place of the lush, in many senses of that word, single "Dream Police" in the firmament? It's disco-rock sound is so vast, produced in layer upon layer like a cross between Queen and Giorgio Moroder, that it practically turns into science-fiction spectable. Sit back and enjoy the show as the forces of good (played here by a chainsaw-wielding Rick Nielsen) battle against evil incarnate (played here by the 101 Strings) for The Future of the Galaxy. All of the weaponry of seventies excesses; the cocaine subtext, the white outfits and the feathered hair are deployed here but ultimately it's a victory for good. That's because, despite it's grandiosity, there's a palpable joy in this song as each verse, bridge and chorus ascends to dizzying heights, without losing the pounding rhythms and staccato riffs that ruled the band. But from here on Cheap Trick would steadily, as if caught in a tractor beam, be drawn to to the Dark Side (insert echoey mu ha ha here).

(The B-side is "Heaven Tonight" the even druggier title track of their last album and as a bonus I've added the strings-less version of the A-side so you can decide if it's better for the subtraction.)

Support the band!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Spazzys: Aloha! Go Bananas

And so the Spazzys (see here) story ends with a cliffhanger. Not long after the release of Aloha Go Bananas a seismic schism split band and their record label, Fur Records. Though their second album was finished, it's lain in limbo while the lawyers grow fat and the twins teach little kids how to trash their instruments via a program called Kiddie Rock.

For the album the Spazzy women refused to stand pat. While the the rockers, like album-opener "Zombie Girl" are thicker and heavier, the pop songs, like "Shake and Twist" and "You Left My Heart in the Garage" are all dolled up with layered vocals.

There are a few singles that overlap with the album (and even a more recent one called "I Want a Divorce" which even though they only pressed five hundred copies in Japan still got the lawyers all riled up). This interview from September 2009 claims the release of their old new album Dumb is Forever is imminent. To be continued...

Aloha Go Bananas (plus bonus tracks)

Supporting the band is currently next to impossible. If that changes (or if someone credible informs me that these posts would in any way harm the band) then I will update this.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Spazzys and Marky Ramone: Live

The Spazzys sure make for odd back-up. The oddness of that video (see here) of them with Chris Bailey is that it looks (and sounds) a bit like a set-piece from a seventies variety show, it's like the Spazzys get to play Pink Lady to Chris Bailey's Jeff.

(That line-up is fucking gob-smacking - BJ with Bear in tow, Hef plus six centerfolds, Cheap Trick not doing "I Want You To Want Me' and a hot tub - is it any wonder viewers like me were ruined for life?)

Then there's this 2004 concert from Sydney with Marky Ramone. Marky's role in all of this, aside from playing the drums, was to introduce all of the songs with this sub-Vegas stage banter which sounds somewhere between Paul Stanley and Wayne Newton - "We're gonna get some sun in California now" - and to thereby prove the validity of the iron rule, "Never Let the Drummer Talk". All the rest of the music is provided by the Spazzys, with usual drummer Allly taking some lead vocals. Almost the entire set list consists of Ramones classic done with good spunk but the two exceptions, a take on Joey Ramone's version of "It's a Wonderful World" and the Spazzys own, very fiting "I Wanna Cut My Hair Like Marky Ramone", make it odd in the best sense.

(both photos courtesy of

The Spazzys and Marky Ramone Live (.flac*)

I Just Want Something To Do
California Sun
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
I Don’t Care
I Wanna Be Sedated
Rockaway Beach
Rock’n’Roll High School
The KKK Took My Baby Away
It’s A Wonderful World
Chinese Rocks
Blitzkrieg Bop
I Wanna Cut My Hair like Marky Ramone

* all tracks claim to be by Einstürzende Neubauten, which was too funny to fix.

Supporting the band is currently next to impossible. If that changes (or if someone credible informs me that these posts would in any way harm the band) then I will update this.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Spazzys: My Boyfriend's Back

Covering the Angels and the Riverdales on one little record shows just how good the Spazzys' (see more here) taste is. Their version of "My Boyfriend's Back" while fuzzed-up and rocked-out is ultimately pretty faithful, right down the hand-claps and the hey-la's.

The Riverdales cover, "I Don't Wanna Go to the Party" is fittingly Ramones-ish but adds a bit of the spunk occasionally lacking in that section of Ben Weasel's catalog.

My Boyfriends' Back

(A fascinating video of the Spazzys backing up Saints' leader Chris Bailey on the same song. Odd.)

Supporting the band is currently next to impossible. If that changes (or if someone credible informs me that these posts would in any way harm the band) then I will update this.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Spazzys: Hey Hey Baby

Ramonesaphillia is not as disabling as most overwhelming influences. Bands from the Undertones to the Mr. T Experience to the Queers to the Spazzys (see here) can steal Ramones-isms at will, chuck in their own lyrical and musical peculiarities and instead of sounding derivative it's fucking exhilarating. And there's lots of stolen exhilaration on this little record. The Spazzys' song-writing, good from the get-go, is now in full force. Just listen to the glorious blast of pop that is "Hey Hey Baby"and try not to sing along, either to the dopey lyrics or those joyous Beach Boys backing whoo-hoos. (And enjoy or be creeped out by Marky Ramone's guest appearance in the video.)

Ramonesaphilliacs live or die by their fidelity to Bob Dylan's dictum that to achieve greatness artists need to go back and dig deeply into what works originally influenced their influences. By establishing that any late fifties to mid sixties three minute rock n' roll single was a primal source the Ramones made such historical research fun and easy. The Spazzys establish their star pupil credentials by being both reverential and gonzo in their cover of the Everly Brothers "By Bye Love" and then laying down another first-class original Blitzkrieg Bopper, "Let's Keep Going to the Show" .

Hey Hey Baby 7"

Supporting the band is currently next to impossible. If that changes (or if someone credible informs me that these posts would in any way harm the band) then I will update this.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Spazzys: I Met Her at the 7-11

In interviews Hellcat Records punk-metal band Civet {hey check out my review here} imply that there's been a dearth of tough all-girl rock n' roll bands since the Runaways. The Spazzys lay waste to such a self-serving claim. It's not that the Spazzys (who are from Melbourne, Australia) feign a macho-girl stance, as some of their competitors might, they just know how to dig all the best trash from the ruins of rock n' roll. At first appearance, it looks like the went through the Ramones garbage as obsessively as A.J. Weberman dug through Dylan's. To whit, check out out their T-shirts (two out of three), identical surnames (twins Kat and Lucy plus Ally all go by the name Spazzy) and song titles ("I Wanna Cut My Hair Like Marky Ramone").

The current fate of the Spazzys, meshed in some godforsaken legal limo, is so dire that their Wikipedia sounds as it was translated from Swahili, their MySpace remains static and their website in on Angelfire (no, really). So, here at MRML we're left to take a scattered look at their discography, starting with the I Met Her at the 7-11 e.p. It's five Ramones meets Go-Go's songs in ten minutes and there's not a clunker among them. From the first strains of "Surf'n Bird" (an original) the Ramones chug is ever-present but the melodies, the vocal arrangement and the lyrics prove them to be a band unto themselves. Just listen to the Beatles-quoting tale of unrequited love in the international pop underground, "Paco Doesn't Love Me", and you'll know that great rock n' roll doesn't give a shit about gender.

I Met Her at the 7-11 e.p.

Supporting the band is currently next to impossible. If that changes (or if someone credible informs me that these posts would in any way harm the band) then I will update this.