Friday, December 30, 2011

Greg MacPherson: Disintegration Blues (2011)

Greg MacPherson, who I've talked about here BEFORE, has a new album that I've reviewed for the Big Takeover. Please come read it HERE and feel free to leave a comment behind!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

MRML TOP 22.1 SONGS of 2011

Sure I love doing year-end lists (best non-albums releases HERE, best under-appreciated albums HERE and my want list is HERE)  but making one for songs-of-the-year list is sheer folly in light of thousands of songs released over any given twelve moth period. So let us suspend our disbelief in the comprehensiveness of this blogger's listening and enjoy some ripping tunes. And ripping it must be, since we here at MMRL crave music that, regardless of genre,  >  moves  >

Unlike my unappreciated albums list, neither acclaim nor sales (or the lack thereof) are a factor here - and crossover betwixt the two lists is discouraged - this time it's strictly about the songs!

Here, in no particular order, order are the songs, each of which contains a hyperlink to allow you to hear and/or see the song.

1.  Greg MacPherson:   "Party at Greg's House"   (from Disintegration Blues)
Winnipeg singer/song-writer/community activist/label head MacPherspon (more HERE), has his own way to rock but goes anthemic here to intoxicating effect.

2.  The Spazzys:   "Divorce"   (from Dumb is Forever)
Comeback of the year for these Australian queens of pop-punk (more HERE), after they survived a tortuous legal battle to release their second album, with kick-off/kiss-off single.

3.  Ben Jones:   "I Wish I Was the Person I'm Pretending To Be"   (from Echobox)
Self-loathing never sounded so hummable, as it does on this track from the excellent solo debut from the leader of British power-pop band, The Lovedays.

4.  Paul Simon:   "Rewrite"    (from So Beautiful, So What)
Of course every writer of lists got pulled into Simon's narrative about a damaged Vietnam vet who works at the car wash while endlessly revising his screenplay, because we all sympathized a bit too much, it didn't hurt that the song is just beautiful.

5.  The Generators:   "You Against You"   (from Last of the Pariahs)
These long-running former Schleprock-ers (more HERE), never get the respect they deserves for their Social Distortion-meets-Bad Religions punk sound but they perservere.

6. The Front Bottoms:   "Flashlight" [or "Maps"]   (from Self-Titled)
To get this New Jersey indie-punk band, sort of a mixture of The Weakerthans and mewithoutYou, it helps if you love songs that put the heart-breaking narratives up high in the mix.

7.  Houseboat   "Quivering"   (from Thorns of Life)
I already regret leaving this off the "Best Albums of the Year" list what with Grath unloading one of his best batch of "pityscapes" with catchy tunes and endlessly clever lyrics on us.

8.  Buffalo Tom:   "Guilty Girls" (from Skins)
It's funny how I've always admired the commitment and intelligence of nineties alt-rocker Bill Janovitz but never fell in love with one of his songs till this infectious number.

9.  Mates of State   "Palomino"    (from Mountaintops)
Sure, maybe it's just a 21st century kind of pop but if you love soaring hooks and alternating male/female vocals you can find some unguilty pleasure herein.

10. Night Birds:  "Bad Biology"   (from Fresh Kills)
This ultra-ultra-ultra catchy ripper by NJ surf-core band featuring at least one ex-Erg is originaly from 2009 but finally saw wide release on this 2011 singles collection.

11. Tommy Stinson    "All This Way for Nothing"   (from One Man Mutiny)
Replacements advocates, like yours truly, are often left grasping at straws when trying to explain how, if the band was such a crucial part of the eighties, why so little great things have come from the band's members in the twenty years since their break-up. Well  this Stones-y album from bass player Tommy Stinso ain't gonna settle a thing but at least it gives us a replacement Replacements track in, "All this Way For Nothing".

12. The Decemberists:   "The Calamity Song"   (from The King is Dead)

Somewhere between Bad Religion and The Band (well no one but me would read them that way, exactly) lie this widely-praised beloved Portland indie-folk-rock band, who I've always found pleasant but never so much as on this album packed with finely-written acoustic pop songs!

13. Will Hogue:     Goddam California  (Hogue discusses the song HERE)
Glad to have a country song make the list, this wouldn't have got any mainstream radio play but that's just because of the cursing and not because Hogue couldn't lay waste to a lot of today's' country elite in song-to-song combat

14. Teenage Bottlerocket:   "Mutilate Me"   (from Mutilate Me 7")
Wyoming's finest rock n' roll band spit out another trashy but catchy punk tune from their sole release of the year.

15. Wild Flag:   "Romance"   (from Self-Titled)
This song is catchier and more fleshed-out then any I remember from Sleater-Kinney

16. The Smoking Popes:   "Still in a Punk Band"   (from This is Only a Test)
An improbable nineties come-back tale by this band who sound a little like a Morrissey-fronted Weezer, which now that I think of it might be a goad career move for all concerned.

17. The Copyrights   "Crutches"   (from North Sentinel Island)
Y'know some bands get praised for their consistency and other bands, like the Copyrights get damned for it, as if the band making a prog-metal concept album based on Bartleby the Scrivener or having Kenny G play with them on national television would be more worthwhile then another slab of jackhammer pop songs.

18. 1/2 Man 1/2 Biscuit   "Left Lyrics in the Practice Room"     (from 90 Bisindol)

While it's no Achtung, Bono, the new 1/2 Man 1/2 Biscuit (whom BBC DJ Andy Kershaw called "the most authentic British folk band since The Clash") album still offers even more proof  that Nigel Blackwell is, like Roy Harper or Robyn Hitchcock, one of those Englishmen so particular in their eccentricities, that their appeal becomes (sort of) universal.

19. Canon Bros.   "Out of Here"    (from Firecracker/Cloudglow)
This track puts this Winnipeg duo's guitarist, Allanah Walker, on lead vocals, where she excels, and lets her winningly chant “Hey Let’s get out of here, I hate it here!” until you want to reach through the speakers and help her escape.

20. The Valkyryans (ft. TV Smith):   "Gary Gilmore's Eyes"   (from Punk Rocksteady)
These Finns have by no means made a perfect album but this collection of punk covers, Jamaican style,  does overcome its novelty appeals by proving just how the malleable the punk rock canon is.

21.  Cold Warps:   "Stupid Tattoos"   (from Self-Titled cassette)
This lo-fi punk-indie band's cassette was a strong contender for non-album release of the year list but Brushback only told me about it last week!

22. Okkervill River:   "Wake and Be Fine"   (from I Am Very Far)
Yup, they are one-time indie darling (though ones who recorded an album with Roky Erickson) and yup, they have bearded members but this songs is strong and the band perform it with a real jump in their step.


22.1 I Am Chimp!    "Old Men in Coloured Trousers" (from "I Am Chimp EP)
The best :21 second song of the year, bar none!

Y'know our last two lists generated less COMMENTS than usual...

please leave a COMMENT:




Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Die Toten Hosen: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is EP (1994)

Die Toten Hosen (more HERE) followed their 1991 punk covers album, Learning English Lesson One, with an all-English album of originals called, Love, Peace & Money in 1994.  That album (which I bought in the dollar bin at Extreme Noise in Minneapolis in '95), seemed a bit grunge-damaged at the time but now sounds like a fun rock-punk mix with Wagnerian production.

This EP, donated to us by Bristolboy from the fantastic My Life's a Jigsaw (as a response to this gift from our reader, Roberto - don't you just love the cycle of giving!) comes from that album. Both album tracks, "Love Song" and "My Land" are cynical and utterly catchy and well worth your time. It seems lesson two of the band's plan to learn English was to form an alliance with The Boys, whose members Honest John Plain and Matt Dangerfield get writing credits on every song on Love, Peace & Money, including the two aforementioned anthems. One of those Boys, John Plain also get a co-writing credit on the terrace-echoing football song, "Long Way From Liverpool" and (I believe) he and Dangerfield pitch in on a foul-mouthed-but-still-kinda-clever cover of "Guantanamera" that would've sent Pete Seeger into an axe-wielding frenzy! Plus you get the band running through "Whole Wide World" with it's writer, Wreckelss Eric (more HERE) on lead vocals.

Track listing

"Lovesong" (Breitkopf/Frege, Plain) − 3:41 (English version of "Liebeslied")
"My Land" (Breitkopf/Frege, Dangerfield) − 3:55 ("Willkommen in Deutschland")
"Whole Wide World" (Wreckless Eric) − 3:19 (Wreckless Eric cover)
"Long Way from Liverpool" (Breitkopf, John Plain/Frege) - 3:01
"Guantanamera" (Joséito Fernandez) - 3:20

And in case you've missed them: 

  • MRML's want list is HERE
  • MRML'S Best Unappreciated Album are HERE
  •  MRML'S Best non-album releases of 2011 are HERE

Support DTH! 




Monday, December 26, 2011

My Want List: What I Didn't Get For Christmas!

MRML's Want list!

So you're all familiar with the give/receive binary and how the former is widely considered to be optimal  here during the jolly season.

Therefore in order to give you, dear readers, a chance at betterness, here is a list of out-of-print releases for which MRML is seeking donations of decent quality rips  and cover scans for:

If you can help, please feel free to e-mail me at:


  • Mega City Four: Any demos (1987-1994)
UK pop-punk

  • The Gas: Emotional Warfare (good rip) + early singles. (1981)
UK new wave

  • The Cry: Leave Your Bones in the Hallway (1981)
Canadian new wave/power-pop

  • Ruggedy Annes: Jagged Thoughts (1984)
Canadian indie-punk

  • V.A. - Not Just Mandella (1987)
UK pop, punk, indie compilation

  • On the Air: Ready for Action 7"
UK mod-punk w/Simon Townsend (Pete's bro)

  • Swalk: No Shame (~1983)
Eighties glam-pop w/ Jo Callis

  • Modernettes: Gone But Not Forgiven LP (1981)
Canadian power-pop

  • The Payolas: China Boys/Make Some Noise 7" (1979)
Canadian power-pop

  • Wreckless Eric: Yuletide 45 (1990)
UK/France rock n' roll

  • Poisoned 12" (1986)
Canadian Eighties new wave band w/ Art Bergmann

  • Rise: Joy 12" (1990)
Canadian melodic hardcore

  • Doug and the Slugs:  Ten Big Ones LP and any radio broadcasts (1979-1981)      
Canadian new wave

  • The Slugs (-Doug) "Running Around" 7" (1981)
Canadian new wave

  • Graham Shaw: Good Manners in the 80's (1981)
Canadian new wave


Speaking of of all that giving, MRML loves fitting musical donations of Mp3's and cover art (as you shall see in just a few hours, meine freunde). So if you think you're in possession of other out-of-print treasures not listed here (nor available at cooler blogs) by all means let me know at the e-mail above!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Yobs: Xmas II

 (Image courtesy of Record Collectors of the World Unite)

Roberto's Rarities:
irregular MRML series powered by the wild generosity of our reader, Roberto: Enjoy and don't forget to leave our benefactor a thank-you comment.

"Hi Jeffen, here is the long time out-of-print Yobs (a.k.a. The Boys) Xmas II from 1991.Yes, it's stupid and childish (take a look at the lyric sheet...) and full of stinkers ("Yob Rap" and "Xmas Guantanamera" are particularly appalling) but at its best it's a great Pistols-Swindle-era sound-alike for us aging old punks..."

So let us know what you think of the offense-for-offense's sake style of The Yobs in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the Xmas II link).

Support The Yobs




Friday, December 23, 2011

The Pointed Sticks: Xmas Time Again/Power-Pop Santa single

This was offered as a free download on the Pointed Sticks site a while back. What we've got here is two new-ish (2008?) P.S. tracks, which really wave the power-pop flag without getting all wussy about it! The lyrics to "Power-Pop Santa" are both clever and pretty in-jokey ("And the Methadones get whatever Santa brings them") while the tune is sure to dance in your head like visions of sugar plums. "Xmas Time Again" is similarly sweet and has more of a Spector-ish feel.

Merry Christmas (or whatever!), see you guys on Boxing day!

If you've only joined us this year, or are suffering from premature memory loss, please re-vist MRML's Holiday Hang-Over songs HERE.

Let us know what you think of this Pointed Sticks Christmas gift in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the Xmas Time Again/Power-Pop Santa single link)

Support The Sticks!

15 Underappreciated Albums That Rocked 2011

While there wasn't a bombardment of killer activity in 2011, there were some modest, hard-fought advancements and a few artist fearlessly raised there head above the parapets of mediocrity and fired with all they had.

Of course,  I'm still down here in the trenches slogging it out. Here amidst the rats, the vermin and the stench of corpses, I will seek music that which lives and fights, rather then that which seems to just meekly blend into its surroundings. Let the dullness be prepared for hand-to-hand combat!

So, in that warrior spirit, here is my list of fifteen albums by artists that didn't get to live in peace and luxury but rather marched into battle as possible canon fodder:

(All band name links go directly to MySpace - or some such place - for your listening pleasure.)

1) TV Smith: Coming in to Land
 TV Smith's body of work, as good or better then any of his fellow London punks of '76, is drastically under-appreciated (outside of Germany), which is cruel as every one of his albums, and Coming in to Land is a great example, is loaded with incisive, incendiary songs that you'll want to sing along to. (Video HERE)

2) The Carmines: Wider, Fatter, Louder
 Surf's-up, punks!

3) Dirty Wings: 30th Avenue Heartache
Great debut albums by a Brooklyn band who "...Sound like they love the Stones, The Clash, Bruce Springsteen, Social Distortion and a whole buncha other, less obvious kinds of stuff that they'll only tell you about once you buy them beer. (more HERE)

4) Van Buren Boys: Up All Night
 Attitude-fulled power-pop-punk straight outta Chicago! (Video HERE)

5) Peter, Bjorn and John: Gimme Some
Of course, this list always features our "token indie-rock' album on the list, not any misguided sense of fair play, but just because under the amorphous heading of 'indie-rock' there's always something that brings the songs and brings the noise like this 3rd albums by a Swedish band I was never sold on previously. (More HERE)

5) Frank Turner: England Keep My Bones
One of our tradition's here at MRML is to have a "Dylan Was a Punk" album of the year, and this is the second time Englishman Turner has snagged it for his latest (and near-best) set of sturdy folk-punk tunes. (More HERE)

6) John Wesley HardingThe Sound Of His Own Voice
Y'know the pleasure of a good singer/song-writer album is underrated and quintessentially-English JWH and his American backing band, The Decemberists,  have pulled together a diverse but always witty and hummable brace of tunes here that more people need to hear. (more HERE)

7) Breakdowns: The Kids Don't Want To Bop Anymore
This lack of bopping by the youth of today must be stopped and The Breakdowns know just what to do - rock!    (More HERE)

8) Zebrassieres: Gooey Zoo
 So my country's capital, Ottawa, is in the grips of a sweater-vested, dictator-in-training and yet that modest-sized city is producing a shipload of great loud, rocking, tuneful  bands like Steve Adamyk Band, The White Wires, and Mother's Children and the slightly artier, fuzzier, new-wave-ier Zebrassieres! (

9) Will Varley: Advert Soundtracks
Frank Turner, Last Man on Earth and the Freewheelin' Bob Dylan might make good points of comparison but English folkie Varley is determined to make his own caustic soundtrack to the age. (Video HERE)

10) Steve Adamyk Band: Forever Won't Wait
Eff-er-fuckin-vescent pop songs played with punk bottle. Ottawa strikes again!

11) Junior Battles Idle Ages
 A pop-punk pot-luck from this Toronto [!] group who snitch for the more underground and more over-ground styles of that oft-misunderstood genre. (Video HERE)

12) Dropkick Murphys: Going Out in Style
Boston's Celtic-punks don't get a lot of respect due to their consistency of sound (and accusations of meatheadedness) but the fact is that the band have grown as writers and performers enough to make Going Out in Style "a flinty, hard-nosed affair with eleven new songs (plus two from back in the mists of time) that have a vintage freshness about them, steeped in history but fully in the moment."  (More HERE)

13)  Wrong Words: Self-Titled
San Francisco garagified-punk that'll have you singing along in seconds flat! (Video HERE)

14) The Slow Death: Born Ugly, Got Worse
Growly, catchy, angry, painfully self-aware, Rick-Springfield-quotin', high-lonesome heartland-punk which somehow manages to contain a former Erg. (Video HERE)

15) Geoff Useless: Don't Stop
The last MRML tradition that must be served is our token "Anachronism of the Year" by which a late-released album that whipped past us at hi-speed is formally acknowledged, such as this December 2010 record by Geoff Useless which imagines an accord between Buck Owens and The Queers.

So, despite my ready-aye-ready talk, I'm not proposing declaring war on all those big name lists. I'm willing to admit that I haven't even heard the majority of albums within my allied genres, never mind my supposed enemy styles. It's time to admit that those in the other trench are just people with different taste and perhaps it's time for a Christmas truce.

Good grief people, the last list (see HERE) went without the support of (almost) any missives from those of you on the home front. What do you think of these albums Did you hear anything you dug? Did we miss something that might've fit? Let us know in the COMMENTS section!

Best Songs of the year list will be coming after Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

All the Small Things: Best Singles + E.P.'s of 2011

So there's lots to talk about in 2011 but I've got to break it down to avoid overwhelming anyone, including yours truly. The usual warning I offer is that this is a stylistically-narrow list chosen by a biased (and rapidly-aging) amateur musical historian who only listens to a very humble fraction of what's released in a year. Take it as a set of recommendations, rather then as a pronouncements heavy with the stench of omniscient authority (Pitchfuck, I'm looking at you!)

Our first entry in the best-of-the-year derby, is a list of all those things whose brevity disqualifies them from our forthcoming "Best Underappreciated Albums That Rocked 2011". This list is a bit pop-punk heavy, partly because the best pop-punk of the year seemed to come in small packages

1. Jimmy Cliff: Sacred Fire EP
A reggae pioneer enters a potential late-career Renaissance courtesy of producer Tim Armstrong, who sets up Mr.Cliff with one of his Rancid tunes, as well as a Clash song and a Bob Dylan one.
(Listen HERE)

2. Kurt Baker: Rockin For a Livin' EP
With every album Baker did with The Leftovers, he brought the band closer to a classic late seventies power-pop sound but now that he's gone solo he's fully embraced the skinny tie!
(Listen HERE)

3. The New Rochelles: It's New EP
The best new pop-punk band I've heard in years, one that loves love the Ramones, Screeching Weasel, Teenage Bottlerocket but also Green Day (and even Blink 182!)
(Listen HERE)

4. Wilco: I Might 7"
The fuzzy-garage-pop sound of the A-side, sounds great when backed with a rockin' cover of Nick Lowe's "I Love My Label".
(Listen HERE)

5. Adjusters:  Wrong Plae, Wrong Time 7"
To quote myself, "Another shot of backwards-looking, striped-shirt rock n' roll from a set of young lads from the North West of England.
 (Listen HERE)

6. OFF!: Compared to What/Rotten Apples 7"
SoCal punk vet Keith Morris is cranky, stuck in the past and burning like a motherfucker!
 (Listen HERE)

7. Chixdiggit: Safeways Here We Come EP
Calgary's kings of pop-punk aren't kids anymore (kids don't write songs about friendships ruined by dogs!) but they still sound as irrepressible as ever!
(Listen HERE)

8. The Cry: E.P.
Snotty AM-radio fed punk rock that swaggers!
 (Listen HERE)

9. Sharp Objects: 5 Song EP
Catchy-as-fuck blasts of SoCal Punk Roq with with lots of oozin' and aaah's.
 (Listen HERE)

10. Naked Raygun 7" series
Chicago hardcore legends have returned with their final, and underrated, line up to liven up the singles market.

 (Hompeage HERE)


Whaddya mak-a da list? Did you hear anything you dug? Did we miss something that might've fit? Let us know in the COMMENTS section!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

101'ers: Smokey Joe's Cafe 2-CD set (Live, Demos)

How many years since Joe Strummer died? Wikipedia reminds me that it's been nine years, minus a day, since that news broke. Sure I was shocked but, like with the passing of an estranged family member, my reaction was both delayed and complex. I remember dismissing all the praises for Streetcore, thinking it was all just so much posthumous posturing. While I've fully come around on the Mescaleros era, especially Streetcore, I can understand those who haven't.

Similarly, it took me some time to come around to The 101'ers. I snatched up a copy of the  101'ers Five Star Rock n' Roll featuring Strummer's  '76 pub-rockin roots back about twenty years ago but soon ditched it. It wasn't till the release of  Elgin Avenue Revisited in 2005 that the appeal of the band's ultra-stripped down retro rock n' roll style finally clicked.

CD 1 (demos and live)
1. Gloria (Derby Cleopatra's 20/12/75)
2. Rabies (Pathway Studio's March '76)
3. Keys To Your Heart (Pathway Studio's March '76)                             
4. Surf City (Pathway Studio's March '76)
5. Sweet Revenge (Pathway Studio's March '76)
6. Surf City (Pathway Studio's March '76)
7. Five Star Rock'N'Roll (Pathway Studio's March '76)    
8. Surf City 42 (Orsett Terrace Jan '76)
9. Sweet Revenge (Orsett Terrace Jan '76)
10. Keys To Your Heart (Orsett Terrace Jan '76)                     
11. ??? (???)
12. Sweet Revenge (Orsett Terrace Jan '76)
13. Monkey Business (The Roundhouse 18/4/76)
14. Shake Your Hips (The Roundhouse 18/4/76)                                
15. Junco Partner (The Roundhouse 18/4/76)
16. Don't Let Go (The Roundhouse 18/4/76)
17. Surf City (42 Orsett Terrace Feb '76)
18. Sweet Revenge (42 Orsett Terrace Feb '76)
19. Sweet Revenge (42 Orsett Terrace Feb '76)
20. Surf City (42 Orsett Terrace Feb '76)
21. Keys To Your Heart (42 Orsett Terrace Feb '76)
22. Heartbreak Hotel (42 Orsett Terrace Feb '76)                
23. Heartbreak Hotel (42 Orsett Terrace Feb '76)
CD2 Live at Derby Cleopatra's 20/12/75
1. Bony Moronie                            
2. Letsagetabitarockin
3. Shake Your Hips
4. Hoy Hoy Hoy
5. Heartbreak Hotel
6. Choo Choo Ch'Boogie
7. Smokey Joe's Cafe
8. Johnny B.Goode
9. Oh Carol
10.Out Of Time
11. I'm Down
12. Route 66
13. Who Do You Love?
14. Silent Telephone
15. Monkey Business
16. Junco Partner
17. Be Bop A Lula
18. Steam Gauge 99
19. Hideaway
20. I Saw Her Standing There
21. Slippin' & Slidin'
22. Country Rock & Roll/Hand Jive
23. Sweety Of The St Moritz
24. Motor Boys Motor
25. Roll Over Beethoven
26. Gloria

This is a pretty raw double-CD bootleg, consisting of demos, outtakes and a full live show from late 1975. The two discs show both the band's early covers-heavy set and also their nascent song-writing, in originals like "Sweet Revenge" and, of course, "Keys to Your Heart". Remember Strummer.

So give us your takeon Joe's time in the 101'ers in the COMMENTS section (where you'll find the Smokey Joe's Cafe linkS)

Get the 101'ers!




Tuesday, December 20, 2011

V.A. Back to Front (1977-1983) Volume Three

When Incognito Records began this limited-edition series back in 1993, they made an honest attempt to contact as many of these late seventies/early eighties bands as they could to secure rights, giving this series claim to being one of best in the torrent of punk retrospectives that the nineties unleashed. While  compiler Peter Parzinger still tilts this series towards wilder, cruder punk rock from all over the Western world with bands like Seize, Schoolgirl Bitch and Friction, the third time around also includes some more charming, more catchy bands like The Rivals, God's Heart Attack, First Steps and tennis-punks, The Rude Kids.

 (Incognito INC. 055, Germany, 1993)

    Treat Me Like A Doll (God's Heart Attack, Holland, 1978, from only 7")
    Day Doult (Chaos, Austria, 1979, from split 12" with The Sick)
    Out Of Order (Seize, UK, 1982, from 2.7")
    Just Like Your Mom (Vox Pop, USA, 1980, from only 7")
    Industriemadchen (S.Y.P.H., Germany, 1979, from 1.7")
    Next Time I'll Beat Bjorn Borg (Rude Kids, Sweden, 1980, from 4.7")
    Here Comes The Night (Rivals, UK, 1980, from 3.7")
    Nothin' To Lose (Red Rockers, USA, 1980, from 1.7")
    Think For Yourself (Schoolgirl Bitch, UK, 1978, from only 7")
    I Never Thought I'd Find Someone Who Could Be So Kind (Manikins, Australia, 1978, from 1.7")
    New Lottery (Godhead, USA, 1981, from only 7")
    Where Is The New Wave? (Cybermen, USA, 1978, from 1.7")
    Profit (Ebba Gron, Sweden, 1978, from 1.7")
    Pistol (Friction, Japan, 1980, from 2.7")
    Kill Me I'm Rotten (Luchs Brothers, USA, 1978, from 1.7")
    The Beat Is Back (First Steps, UK, 1979, from 1.7")
    Going Out With The In-Crowd (Manic Depressives, USA, 1980, from only 7")
    Cigarettes & Alcohol (Leftovers, Australia, 1978, from only 7")
    Ono (Wasteland, UK, 1979, from 1.7")


Click the image to visit Incognito Records

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cannon Bros. Firecracker/Cloudglow (2011)

Hey, please come check out my review for my home-town's favourite indie-pop duo, Cannon Bros. HERE!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Pointed Sticks: Stiff Sessions (1979)

England's Stiff Records (more HERE) was likely the defining indie label of the original punk era and the first Canadian band they signed was Vancouver's The Pointed Sticks . The band who began as Ernie Dick and the Pointed Sticks, after a Monty Python sketch, represented the power-pop side of Vancouver fertile (and febrile!) punk scene. (Note how this part of the 'White Noise Tour' combined the heavier, the artier and the poppier sides of the scene.)

While The Pointed Sticks went from Vancouver indie, Quintessence to London's Stiff Records and then back to Quintessence before breaking up, there's is still a triumphant story. After all, unlike a thousand great-but-unfulfilled bands of their time, their three-minute melodies survived and spread around the globe. For instance my first encounter with the band was actually the Fastbacks (more HERE) cover of "Apologies". As well, the band's legacy was burnished by their Japanese cult following which led to a tour, a single and an album and more to come...

This unreleased Stiff album, briefly released overseas in 2008 but now seemingly unavailable, done with Police producer Nigel Gray is a great addition to your PS collection but really is only meant to supplement the old and new stuff available in the links below.
(To read an interview with Nick Jone that covers these sessions visit Dave over at Revolution Rock.)

Let us know what you think of the world of the Pointed Sticks in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the Stiff Sessions link)

Support The Sticks!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Subhumans: Pissed Off...With Good Reason (1978-1995)

Okay there were six ways that you could wreck an early-eighties hardcore re-issue during the CD boom of the nineties:
1) Non-chronological sequencing of material
2) Over-long running time
3) Inclusion of dodgy live and/or demo material
4) Unexplained omitting of well-known tracks
5) Inappropriate and/or ill-fitting cover art
6) Adding newly-record material

The Subhumans CD, Pissed Off … With Good Reason! (Essential Noise / Virgin Music Canada, V2 41724, 1996) commits EVERY damn ONE of these errors plus some I haven't even thought of yet. The good news is you can take this out-of-print album here, cherry pick what you need and then go out and BUY the singles comp, Death Was Too Kind (Alternative Tentacles, 2008),  even if that release flirts with 5) by screwing with the the band's first 12" cover and fully commits 4) by leaving off "Behind the Smile and "Out of Line" from the Vancouver Independence compilation LP.

1         Death To The Sickoids        
2         Model Of Stupidity        
3         Firing Squad        
4         Inquisition Day        
5         Dead At Birth        
6         Slave To My Dick        
7         Look At The Dawn        
8         America Commits Suicide        
9         Out Of Line        
10        Urban Guerrillas        
11        Out Of Place        
12        Death Was Too Kind        
13        No Productivity        
14        We’re Alive        
15        Googleplex        
16        Pissed Off With Good Reason        
17        Fuck You        
18        I Hate Words        
19        Canada’s Favourite Sport        
20        The Big Picture        
21        I Gotta Move        
22        Escalator To Hell        
23        Twenty-First Century        
24        Oh Canaduh        

Track 1 "Death To Sickoids/Oh Canaduh" 7" single (1978)
Tracks 2,5,10 & 14 "Incorrect Thoughts" LP (1980)
Tracks 3 & 13 "Firing Squad" 7" single (1980)
Tracks 4,6,12 & 17 "The Subhumans" 12" EP (1979)
Tracks 7,8,15 & 16 unreleased demo (1981)
Track 9 "Vancouver Independence" compilation LP (1980)
Track 11 recorded live in Vancouver, BC (1981)
Tracks 18-24 recorded live in Edmonton, AB (1995)

So is this one of the most 'screwed-up' eighties hardcore re-issues? Let us know what you think in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find Pissed Off...With Good Reason CD).

Alternative Tentacles

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Subhumans: No Wishes, No Prayers (1983)

After Gerry Hannah (more HERE) went underground, vocalist Brian Goble and guitarist Mike Graham replaced him with Ron Allan for The Subhumans' (more HERE) one-album dalliance with the influential-but-iniquitous record label, SST Records. For those keeping score at home, that means the Subhumans' first two full-length albums are solely owned by (different) labels who will neither keep the albums available or release them back to the band. While the album is hampered by the loss of Hannah's song, it's still got a slew of classic Subhumans moments like, "Canada's Favourite Sport", "Slap in the Face" and "No Wishes, No Prayers".

No Wishes, No Prayers

LP, SST Records, SST/Enigma E 1005, 1983.

  1. Canada’s Favorite Sport (W. Roy)
  2. Moron Majority (W. Roy)
  3. For the Common Good (W. Roy)
  4. Helicopter (M. Graham)
  5. Slap in the Face (W. Roy)
  6. Screwed Up (Case, Webster, Tannett, McDonagh)
  7. America Commits Suicide (M. Graham)
  8. Hiroshima (M. Graham)
  9. No Wishes, No Prayers (W. Roy)
  10. Mobile Electric Chair (W. Roy)
  11. Breaking Point (M. Graham)
  12. Googolplex (W. Roy)

Let us know what you think of The Subhumans final album of the 20th century in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the link for No Wishes, No Prayers).

Alternative Tentacles

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gerry Hannah (Subhumans): Songs From Underground (tape, 1985)

While serving sentenced to a ten-year prison sentence for his role in the various politically-motivated bombings of the group that became known as the Squamish Five (more HERE), former Subhumans bassist/song-writer, Gerry Hannah did not just learn to whittle. Rather, Hannah kept trying to fight the "Holy American Empire" but without the 550 kg of dynamite. 

As for the sound of this still-radical 12 song cassette recorded behind bars, it's acoustic-folk with a bit of that seventies consciousness-raising coffee-house vibe (especially when that flute chimes in!) It works outstandingly on the more finger-pointin' Dylanesque "Livin' With the Lies" but moves a bit into singer-song-writer-John-Denver territory on tracks like "Summertime". In-between those two places there a lot of stoic dignity and an audible refusal to knuckle under even in brutal circumstances.

In the Glen Sandford short film, Useless which followed Gerry Hannah after leaving prison, Hannah still seems bitter and angry. However, in Bloodied But Unbowed (more HERE and HERE)  film-make Susann Tabata caught Hannah in a different place. In the more recent film he explains that political violence can be a tool of your enemies and so he cannot support it. While he many not yet be the Canadian Gandhi (my countrymen admire Gandhi but often only seem to remember the civil part of civil disobedience) there's clearly been a change in his understanding of the world. Of course, I could just be projecting my own long-standing distrust of political violence onto the man.

So what do you make of Hannah's underground songs? And while were asking questions, what do you make of politically-motivated violence? Let us know your views on either of the above (or anything else for that matter) in the COMMENTS section (where you'll find the Songs From Underground link).

Alternative Tentacles

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

D.O.A. Right to be Wild (Free the Five benefit single) (1983)

On January 20, 1983, former Subhumans bassist Gerry Hannah and four others involved in a series of politically-motivated bombings were arrested by a group RCMP officers masquerading as highway workers on a highway just outside of Squamish, British Columbia. The Squamish Five (documentary HERE), as they were called became a source of outrage for the Canadian media and a rallying point for friends and fellow-travellers.

Unlike the FLQ and the October Crisis, during which I was an infant, this was a chapter in the short history of Canadian terrorism, for which my memories are vivid. My family were chatty but during the eighties we listened to CBC Radio's The World as Six during dinner every day. As a result, I heard about every action in this political drama as it happened*. So when CBC TV made a kinda-terrible docudrama, The Squamish Five (watch a bit HERE), I actually stayed home solely for the purpose of watching it. Well before that odd viewing experience,  I'd submitted an essay on the Squamish Five for a Great Canadians project in my grade eleven Canadian History class (with the lyrics to D.O.A.'s "Trial By Media" carefully typed out as an appendix). The project actually involved poring over microfiche of newspapers from 1983 in the public library and helped spark an interest in history, not as something ancient and settled but as something still breathing down our necks.

After this benefit single, Gerry Hannah's "Fuck You" -  my vote for The Great Canadian Punk Song - effectively because D.O.A.'s. So strongly did they come to own the song, that when I played The Subhumans' version to my favourite dyed-in-the-roots punk girl back in '85, she dismissed it as "too slow". Of course, by that time D.O.A. had effectively assimilated The Subhumans by bringing it's leader, Brian "Sunny Boy" Goble (a.k.a. 'Wimpy Roy'), on bass and vocals.

 ("Fuck You" is the second song of three songs in the above video.)

So? Is "Fuck You" The Great Canadian Punk Song? Is D.O.A.'s version better the The Subhumans version? Let us know what you think in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the Right to be Wild link)

Support D.O.A.!

* Please forgive that programming schedule joke that only CBC-fed Candians of a certian age will get.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bloodied But Unbowed: The Life and Death of Vancouver's First Punk Scene 1977-1982 (3 DVD Deluxe Version)

Director Susanne Tabata sent me a copy of of the three DVD version of her documentary "Bloodied But Unbowed: The Life and Death of Vancouver's First Punk Scene 1977-1982" and after taking it all in, a wonderful but complicated procedure, I have produced a review. Please come and read the review HERE and if you enjoy it, leave a COMMENT and/or pass it on!

Bloodied But Unbowed's site HERE

Doug said...
Link to Knowledge Network version of 'Bloodied But Unbowed':

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Subhumans: Live at the Marion Hotel (1981)

Canada's Subhumans (more HERE) were never road warriors, like their regional rivals D.O.A. but they certainly did tour hard and tour well, as evidenced by this excellent soundboard recording from a venue that is, quite literally, three blocks away from where I write these words today. The Marion Hotel has always been a biker bar, which makes sense as the rough-neck sounds of both D.O.A. and The Subhumans always had a certain amount of biker appeal. It's a set heavy on non-LP (and in some cases unrecorded) tracks like "Escalator To Hell", Out Of Place" (both written by Ken 'Dimwit' Montgomery R.I.P.) as well as Gerry Hannah's anthem "21st Century", Mike Graham's classic "Behind the Smile" and Brian Goble's defiant "Out of Line", both from the Vancouver Independence compilation. All in all, an essential addition to a good Subhumans collection.


01. Firing Squad
02. Escalator To Hell
03. New Order
04. Out Of Line
05. Slave To My Dick
06. The Scheme
07. Model Of Stupidity
08. Greaser Boy
09. Urban Guerrillas
10. 21st Century
11. Screwed Up [Menace cover]
12. Behind The Smile
13. Let's Go Down To Hollywood

So MRML readers, give us your take on Canada's The Subhumans in the COMMENTS section 'cuz we've got more rarities in the bag. (Speaking of the COMMENTS section, that's where you'll find the Live at the Marion Hotel link).

Alternative Tentacles

This is not my rip, that pain-staking work was done by Bat29 who runs a fantastic blog called Noise Addiction. Over at NA, Bat has been digitizing his massive tape collection and the results are stupendous. Go visit him!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

V.A. Last Call Van. Indie '77-'88 (Now with 44 page BOOKLET!)

Once again the magnificent Roberto has come through with hi-res scans of the 44 page booklet [!!!] for the aural history, V.A. Last Call: Vancouver Independent Music 1977-1988. The liner notes are written by Grant McDonagh of Zulu Records (a store and a label, which were both vital to Vancouver's musical development)  and Tom Harrison, supportive music critic of The Province (and leader of Bruno Gerussi's Medallion!) .

Thanks to COMMENTS from readers, as well some further research, I've added lots of new links to  where further music is available elsewhere (including other blogs). If anyone has either rips n' scans of out-of-print releases by the bands herein (or links to other blogs where they are available) please let us know in the COMMENTS section.

1.01     Furies–     What Do You Want Me To Be        
1.02     Skulls –     Fucked Up Baby        
1.03     D.O.A. –     Disco Sucks       (More HERE)
1.04     Stiffs –     Fuck You        
1.05     Generators  –     I Wanna Be A Girl        
1.06     Dishrags –     I Don't Love You   (more HERE)
1.07     Active Dog –    Nothing Holding You  (more HERE)  
1.08     Biz –     I Don't Give A Shit        
1.09     Shades –     New Clientele        
1.10     Pointed Sticks –     Real Thing    (more HERE)    
1.11     Private School –     Science Fiction        
1.12     Subhumans –     Slave To My Dick  (more HERE)      
1.13     Young Canadians –     Hawaii     (more to come)
1.14     Female Hands –     Divided By Three        
1.15     UJ3RK5 –     Eisenhower And The Hippies  (more HERE)    
1.16     Modernettes –     Barbra     (more to come)      
1.17     Insex –     Off The Deep End        
1.18     AKA –     634 Dog        
1.19     Secret V's –     Waiting For The Drugs To Take Hold        
1.20     Tim Ray –     Seen A Fight        
1.21     Corsage –     Shame I Feel        
1.22     Popular Front –     Synchronized Swimming        
1.23     54-40 –     Yank        
1.24     Scissors  –     Mystery Movie        
1.25     Los Popularos –     Can't Come Back    (more to come)    
1.26     Moral Lepers –     Music Is Your Body        
1.27     Enigmas –     Teenage Barnacle       (more HERE)
1.28     Actionauts –     Party Dog        
2.01     Family Plot –     The Crush        
2.02     Nomeansno –     Self Pity         (more HERE)
2.03     Work Party–     Work Song        
2.04     Bolero Lava –     Inevitable     (more HERE
2.05     I, Braineater –     Edge  (more HERE)      
2.06     Go Four 3 –     Just Another Day     (more HERE)   
2.07     Animal Slaves –     Learning To Live   (also see HERE)     
2.08     Brilliant Orange –     Happy Man         (more HERE)
2.09     Slow –     Have Not Been The Same    (more HERE)    
2.10     Shanghai Dog –     American Desert    (more HERE)
2.11     No Fun –     Be Like Us       (more HERE)
2.12     Cannon Heath Down –     Bone Of Contention        
2.13     Lost Durangos –     Evil Town         (more HERE)
2.14     Herald Nix –     Dirty Ol' Town        
2.15     Poisoned –     To Tell The Truth         (more HERE)
2.16     Bob's Your Uncle –     Talk To The Birds        
2.17     Rhythm Mission –     King Blood        
2.18     Scramblers –     Solitary Man  (available HERE)       
2.19     Oversoul Seven –     1 + 1 Is 3     (more HERE)   
2.20     Hip Type –     Darker Than This

If you missed the music itself go HERE.


Roberto scanned all those pages, e-mailed them out and then I chopped them all down to a regulation size, so please feel free to leave a thought for all the words we've brought you today in the COMMENTS section (which is where you'll find the link for Last Call booklet).