Abuse #5 zine
PO Box 684272, Austin, TX, 78768
“Bodily Fluids & Functions” issue. Wow. I must be sick, but this stuff is right up my alley. Stories, comics, poetry, rants and collages all relating to snot, vomit, blood, sperm, shit etc. run for 120 huge pages in the most recent (not brand new) issue of Abuse. I highly recommend writing to Mistress Abuse and begging for a copy. $5.00 ppd. [Matt]

Ash - Oh Yeah 7"
Ash can be really, really good sometimes. ‘Kung Fu’ did such a good job emulating the excitement and fun of Jackie Chan’s work that it made the closing credits of “Rumble In The Bronx”. Ah, Jackie Chan - the only moviemaker for whose credits everyone stays. However, ‘Oh Yeah’ is just too slow for the patented Ash treatment, and they haven’t gotten the ballad-speed song quite down yet. Though pleasant and patently inoffensive, the title track is undeniably ho-hum, for two full versions. The other tracks move, but the songs just aren’t as strong, or unbelievably catchy, as ‘Petrol’ or ‘Jack Names The Planets’. Track down the domestic 7” of ‘Petrol’ instead. It’s on an indie label, on fun-colored vinyl, a great song, and it’s backed by a cover of Helen Love’s extremely entertaining ‘Punk Boy’. You’ll see what they can do with a good song.[Bakunin]
Apples In Stereo (Robert Schneider) at Aquarius Records, San Francisco and the Starry Plough, Berkeley (twice)
Aquarius is a small store. The Apples in-store quickly became Robert Schneider solo. For the first time ever, he told us. Mr. Schneider is a big Brian Wilson fan. Unfortunately, he seems almost as shy as his hero, too. Nevertheless, his solo mini-set at the record store was great: a solo artist lives and dies by his material, and Schneider’s is great 60’s-inspired pop. His guitar is genuine and steady, and his nervousness translated into an endearing sincerity. It was brief, but affecting. As a full band, though, the Apples let down Mr. Schneider’s excellent writing. During the first show at the Plough, he introduced ‘Heroes And Villains’ with, “..this is our favorite song..our favorite Beach Boys song..our favorite song.” Indeed, the Apples played a nice version of the followup to ‘Good Vibrations’. However, their interpretation focused my dissatisfaction. On untidy tunes, like ‘Tidal Wave’, the Apples’ sloppy enthusiasm is just right. However, on ‘Heroes And Villains’, as well as some of the newer, more carefully arranged songs, I wanted the band to play more strictly, in time and dynamics. I like their raggedness, but I’ve always imagined H&V as an ornate epic, and the Apples delivered unembellished amerindie: fun, but I want more. I’m not asking the Apples to sound like slick pop classicists. I enjoyed both Apples shows, and I think Robert Schneider is writing great music. However, Mr. Schneider & Cie. could learn more from Mr. Wilson about arranging and, especially, conducting. The Beach Boys could make a dull folk tune (‘Sloop John B’) into transcendent hit-parade provender, while the Apples don’t quite live up to their heroes’ example. They were quite good, but with a little hard work, they could be great. [Bakunin]

Azusa Plane
- Fall Meander EP 7"
Doorstep Vinyl
- Beyond Infinite split 7" w/ Fuxa
Doorstep Vinyl
Speaking of space rock, what is it with the kids these days? Scant minutes after Slowdive folded due to lack of interest, the Michigan scene hits big on the hype-ometer. Can we really blame all this on Flying Saucer Attack? Slave to fashion, I picked up a bunch of the new motor city product. Though I didn’t hate any of it, the only record that grabbed me was the Fuxa split. Not for their side, but for the Azusa Plane’s half. Unlike the rest, the Azusa Plane — essentially, one guy with a guitar and a tape deck and thank god for home recording — actually sounds interesting. His ear for noise is impeccable, and he bases it in a simple structure that keeps things going. Mmmm - longer, slower, and more repetitive. His project sounds interesting: there supposedly will be ten volumes of official Azusa Plane work (the above are Vol. I and II respectively), after which it will cease. It’s like an expiration date. I like it. Get some now before it goes sour.[Bakunin]

Bovine Over Sussex W
- Animal Technician Escape Pod 7"
- Car Park Attendant Playset 10"
I don’t like drum machines. I dislike techno, jungle, whatever. Bovine Over Sussex W, though, I like. How troubling — they use drum machines. What gives? For one, BOSW program them very well. More importantly, they put them to good use: the rhythm serves the song, and not vice-versa. If you track down the 7", there are quite a few tracks of pure bedroom pop weirdness, and the 10" still is informed by that indie spirit, though they definitely feature that jungle shuffle, and beat the shit out of their sequencer while ignoring the guitar. Lovely stuff. PS - I stole the term ‘micro LP’ from Oska’s insert. I had to mailorder the 7”: Oska, 40 Dale Cres, Patcham, Brighton BN1 8NU England [Bakunin]

Burning Man Festival
Blackrock Desert, Nevada
Ironically, one of our friends died in a drinking and driving accident this year out on the playa, and it wasn’t really as much fun as it has been in the past. Something about the size (10,000 people plus vs last years 4000) kinda bugged me. Here’s what we liked: Drugs, clean porta-potties, bicycles, burning stuff, naked people, melted ice from our coolers, spray bottles, Polkacide’s Geodesic dome, Stubble, Radio Free Burning Man 99.5 fm, water-water-water, and the Seamen. Here’s what we didn’t like: Frat boys, unclean portapotties on drugs at 107 degrees, rave camp still blasting thunderous beats at 7am, (cars kicking up) dust, going to sleep cold waking up boiling, Haight Street showing up somehow, pissing clear, and Michael Furey’s death. [Matt]

Butthole Surfers
- ElectricLarryLand
I wrote off the Butthole Surfers back in 1989 or so. Then when they played Lollapalooza I figured it would never work out between them and me again. I was so wrong. Electriclarryland is a brilliant album and one of their best. But it still doesn’t compare to the Surfers’ live shows(which are almost as good as I remember from ‘87 or so). We got slow and went to see them at the Fillmore and the Greek Theater this last fall. Between Gibby, the light show, and the full moon at the Greek I realized that there are some bands that can play huge shows like these and really make it work. (Sonic Youth are another. Now why doesn’t someone have the Buttholes and the Youth tour together? That would be worth going to!) But uh, back to the album, it’s really solid, and pretty fucking weird. I actually heard some Butthole Surfers remixes on the radio the other day and it weirds me out that they get played on commercial modern rock stations like Live 105. If you ever liked the Butthole Surfers and then stopped when they started putting out lousy records, try this one. [Matt]

- What Would the Community Think
- Myra Lee
Smells Like Records
I popped Myra Lee into my CD player before I listened to What Would the Community Think and made up my mind about Catpower too quickly. I wrote the record off thinking that it just wasn’t my thing. A few weeks later I was at my friend’s radio show one night when he was going on and on about how great Chan Marshall’s band is and then played a couple of cuts from the Matador release. I was hooked! Sucked in by her voice and simple guitar plucking I understand what the hype is about. I ended up seeing Chan play solo opening for Smog while the members of Guvner got drunk and made a lot of noise in the back of the room. Community is probably my favorite record of 1996, and I listen to Myra Lee (which has grown on me in a big way) whenever I think I’m getting tired of the other one. The problem with falling in love with an artist when they don’t have a huge back catalog of releases has to do with my own lack of patience. It was a lot easier to get into the Who because whenever I was ready for a new album, I could just run down to the store and grab one I didn’t already have. [Matt]

Chunklet #11 zine
PO Box 2814, Athens, GA 30612
I dig Chunklet. Henry does a zine very similar to Cool Beans! and even though I only recently discovered it, it’s been around longer than CB. #11 is 72 or so pages of amusing articles and a couple of interviews with Flying Saucer Attack, Servotron, Azalia Snail, UI, and X Ray Spex. This issue contains a 7” by Don Cabellero with a couple of live, unreleased tunes worthy of your attention. Yup. Check it out. $5 ppd[Matt]

Cirkus Re-dick-u-less, Punk Rock Circus video
Chicken is a legend. He came up with the idea of having a circus filled with punks tour across the country, contacted everyone he knew, scammed everything, and they hit the road. This is what happened. It’s a tragedy, a comedy, and a beautiful look at touring life similar in scope to the Social Distortion/Youth Brigade documentary “Another State of Mind”. My favorite act was the speed metal tap dancers, but Chicken himself scored points with me by sending the inflated part of a balloon through his mouth and out his nose. A great video. For ordering information write to: Phillip Glau, 1400 Golden Gate Ave, LA, CA, 90026 [Matt]

Climax Golden Twins
Imperial Household Orchestra
Like their double 7" and 3"CD, I find this full length CD most enjoyable. Moody clangs, bells, gongs, toys, pianos, taped sounds and the like from two young lads in the rainy region. More entrancing than abrasive although both elements exist here. I am reminded at points of my experiences with psych-wards. Excellent soundtrack for a rainy day. Mine is captured by this collage of sound by CGT. Nice embossed handmade cover sans jewel case as well. Co-produced by Scott Colburn (Sun City Girls). [Pusser]

COME - Near Life Experience LP
Come’s latest, Near Life Experience, marks the first release since the departure of drummer Arthur Johnson and bassist Sean O’Brien. Their absence is felt when you notice the brooding groove is missing. That’s the element that made the band’s previous efforts a solid listen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Come fan. I’d even go as far to cite Eleven Eleven as one of the best records in the past ten years. This band would have to turn out pure shit for me to hate them. ...Experience just isn’t their best record to date. Thalia Zedek and Chris Brokaw have enlisted some friends, including Jesus Lizard drummer Mac McNeilly, to help the cause. Even Brokaw turns in a watered down Thurstonesque number entitled “Shoot Me First.” You know how you cringed when Chris Spencer let Pete Shore sing for the Unsane? Same feeling here. Thalia is still the same, husking down her melancholy three pack a day rasp. Love songs never had as much gut as Thalia puts into it. You can’t help but hang on every word that crawls from her soul. What’s wrong with ...Experience is that it picks you up, gets you going, and just drops you off at the wrong stop. Then it becomes a struggle to pick up the momentum again. Maybe the use of various players had something to do with the lack of consistency on this record. I’m only speculating, and at a loss for answers. Take the song “Bitten”, it’s filled with climaxes, has a lead that grabs you by the nose, but then you flip over the record and you’re brought down by Brokaw’s “Shoot Me First”. You really can’t go wrong by picking this up because there are some great songs here, but don’t expect it to hit you like Eleven Eleven or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Then again, maybe I’m just a dick looking for perfection and you shouldn’t really listen to me, or perhaps I’ve been let down. I really wish the best for Come, hope they can find a solid rhythm section replacement, and get their groove back. [Troy Brookins]

THE COWS - Old Gold 1989-1991 CD
Amphetamine Reptile
This is a collection of tracks from the first three Cows records released on Am/Rep plus the b-side, “One O’Clock High”, from the 1990 single “Slapback.” I’m sure that most of you are beaming with pride having already given these records plenty of time on the turntable. Well thank your lucky stars, because most of this is out of print or difficult to find. Since the Cows have toured with Primus and have been picked up by Lollapalooza to court their indie second stage, Am/Rep is expecting a slew of well wishers to ring them up and beg for the much desired Cows’ back catalogue. Sorry kids, slim pickins is what you’ll find which is why the testosterone driven label has coughed up this carrot for you Johnny-come-lately types. Don’t fret your little west coast funk lovin’ heads, because you still get a heavy slug of petulance. Besides this is a good start for you less adventurous saps. And not to mention that someone is going to need a pack of smokes one day, so you’ll be able to find your favorite Cows record, in its full length glory, at the used record store. [Troy Brookins]

DESCENDENTS-Everything Sucks
This doesn’t! I kept wishing to myself that ALL would go away and that Milo would rejoin the Descendents. Well, the way I understand it, Epitaph agreed to sign All to the label, only if the Descendents would get back together, and put out an album. Hell, if that’s what it takes.. I guess I can deal. I kind of wished it was purer — like the band just couldn’t keep doing the ALL crap and Milo finally got his last degree or something.. Some bands from the past get back together and just play live shows, or release records made up of past glories. I didn’t even know the Descendents were back together until I got their new album in the mail! Talk about classy! I understand there’s going to be a tour too. There’s just something much cooler about a band getting back together to write songs together.. and then putting out a record, and THEN announcing it to the rest of the world you know? This is classic Descendents stuff. As good as Milo Goes to College and I Don’t Want to Grow Up. No wanky metal songs like on the Descendents ALL album and it’s goofy, but way-heartfelt. Milo just fucking rules. And even though 13 of the 15 tracks on this CD are Karl, Stephen, Bill and Milo.. Frank appears on two tracks and Tony is on one. [Matt]

Descendents at the Trocadero 12/29/96
I hate the Trocadero. We saw Slayer there earlier in the year and I had a lousy time for the exact same reasons. They way way oversell the place and then the crowd climbs all over each other because there’s no way to move across the club politely. The band was in fine form, and with only about 5 seconds between each song (max) they probably played half of the songs from each of their five full length albums. I got a new Bonus Cup and a cool sweatshirt. I don’t know if they played a second encore though, cause I had to leave. Band good. Club bad. [Matt]

E.A.R. w/ Sonic Boom (Sonic what?) at The Knitting Factory, NYC 7/27/96
They sounded like the soundtrack from The Shining and it only lasted 20-25 minutes, for $10. Maybe it would be good as a lounge band in a restaurant or at an art opening, but as a headlining band, it was pretty weak. (Bert)

Amphetamine Reptile
From the depths of hell, the mighty have returned. After taking a long hiatus, seven plus years, Australia’s Feedtime have awakened. Remaining heavy, dark, dank and brooding, Billy picks up where they left off—somewhere between post Melvins and pre Godflesh. The unfortunate thing about Feedtime is how strong an influence this band had on many of your favorites, but because they folded back in the late eighties they never received their due recognition. Feedtime are back and should reclaim the heritage they left behind. I dare you to pick this up and witness the powerful destruction of sound. This isn’t for the faint at heart, or those that tend to be weak in the knees. Billy will kick your skinny ass down the block like the wuss that you are. The trio are fighting for the return of their crown with meathooks the size of Texas and unless you’re hankering for a cheap shot to the balls you’d better embrace or get the fuck out of the way. Are you hip to that, Chauncey!? [Troy Brookins]

Flygirl # 7 zine
PO Box 786, Flagstaff, AZ, 86002
I’m reviewing an advance copy of this zine with contributions from many people including: Jeff Smith (Feminist Baseball), Bob Fay (Sebadoh), Billy Childish, Gene Booth (Drag City), and Dennis Callaci (Shrimper/Refrigerator). This is mostly mail-art stuff. Rantings, writings, drawings... with a rather random feel. If you like any of the artists I’ve mentioned, you’ll probably be interested in their contributions to Flygirl. Included in the non-advance copy will be a 7” with tracks from the Swirlies, Lou Barlow, Ohia, John Davis and a couple more. I’m not sure how limited the print run is on this thing, but I’d order one now. $5 ppd[Matt]

THE GRIFTERS - Ain’t My Lookout CD
GODHEADSILO - Skyward in Triumph CD
Sub Pop
Sub Pop grabbed The Grifters and GodheadSilo in a coup which has restored some of my faith in a label that just doesn’t seem to matter any longer. Are you listening Matador? The Grifters clock in with a Railroad Jerkish/Pavementesque pop record that seems to leave the lo-fi notion behind. Recorded in their hometown of Memphis at the ever busy Easley Studio, The Grifters, Easley, and Davis McCain give the production an upgrade that doesn’t fall too far behind Crooked Rain Crooked Rain. All reference points aside, ...Lookout is a smartly crafted record that holds up with the best of their contemporaries. The infectious pop melodies and sweet crooning of The Grifters will have you sucked in no time at all. The dynamic bass and drum duo of godheadSilo is like nothing that you’ve ever heard before. The amazing quality of this record is that you never miss the element of guitar. It’s like guitar never existed. Mike keeps the music rolling with his bass while Dan pounds out the beat. The vocals are buried deep inside the rolling groove that never stops or stammers. When I first saw godheadSilo play live I expected a heavy over the top Melvins-like slow dirge, but instead the pair gave this balls out performance that bordered on manic insanity. Skyward in Triumph is an adventure in sound that will probably annoy more that it pleases and that’s a bonus in my book. [Troy Brookins]

Neil Hamburger
- Is America’s Funnyman
Drag City
“Oh my god, this is killing me” - Ed, after I forced him to listen to of the Neil Hamburger album. I personally find it quite entertaining to listen to this commedian BOMB in front of real live audiences and scratch my head when he goes into his “we’ve got a zipperlips in the audience” routine. Here’s a Neil Hamburger joke: “I hate doctors though. I went in to see the doctor yesterday and he asked me for a stool sample and a urine sample. I said, ‘Doc, you should have asked me yesterday, I just sent three pairs of pants to the cleaners!’” If you didn’t think that was funny, but think the idea of an unfunny commedian is funny, this stuff is for you. I just wish I could see the real Neil perform live. If anyone in the Bay Area hears of him playing Cobbs open mike night or something like that; give me a call. This is also really good in-between song stuff for mix tapes. [Matt]

Heavy Metal Parking Lot video
Trackshun Industries
If you haven’t seen this.. you obviously haven’t been over to our house. Along with the amazing Three Day Stubble video, this video is played for more houseguests than any other. Picture if you will, a Judas Priest parking lot in the mid 80s with a bunch of long-hairs running around screaming about their favorite heavy metal artists and about how much they love to drink Bush and Budweiser. Well, it’s funnier than I can describe because everyone caught on tape seems to think the guy shooting them is from MTV or is putting together an anti-drinking and driving commercial. Just try to find a copy. You’ll probably end up watching it over and over with your friends. [Matt]

- Lee Faust’s Million Piece Orchestra EP 7"
- A Harbour Of Thoughts 7"
- I’ve Forgotten How To Live 7"
Love Train
I don’t understand the perverse reflex to prefer obscurity to success. It makes me sad when great bands meet with no acclaim. Hood can’t even get a buzz going among the hipoisie. These kids should be playing stadiums! No.. better.. art school cafes! Hood is hard to peg. They have a melancholy, almost acoustic guitar sound that ranges from sparse atmospherics through folk picking and jangling strumming to oppressive noise, sometimes within the same song. Though rooted in moody, slow pop, they can throw in feedback and shouting or a variety of instrumental flourishes. If one thing ties their work together, it’s a sense of desperate isolation. Rural psychedelia, indeed. They even have handmade packaging; how can they fail to wow the kids? I thought perhaps it was their label: Fluff, now defunct, may have pressed as many as 200 copies of their brilliant debut LP. Sure sounds like a recipe for world domination, eh? But a more widely-available reissue wasn’t the runaway indie hit it deserved to be. Now you noise-pop kids and junky bebop hipsters have no excuse. These three EPs contain more tracks together than many a full LP (7, 6, and 3, respectively), and any one of them is better than yet another remix 12". The winner in the bunch is the Orgasm 7", with a particularly strong set of songs. The 555 7" is a close second; though marginally less well-written, it is a bit more inventive and has a nice brown-bag package. Though the Love Train 7" has a great A-side, it merely reprises the best tune on the 555 EP It also loses points for being a mere single, next to two lovely micro-LPs, and for lacking the trademark hand-pasted xerox sleeve. Micro LPs. How can you resist? [Bakunin]

KOSTARS - Klassics With a K LP
Grand Royal
Okay, my girlfriend picked this up on a recent trip to Berkeley and I have to admit that I chuckled a bit. But now I’m eating crow, because Klassics is one fucking hot record. Viv and Jill, from Luscious Jackson fame, have their shit down and groovin’. This record is swank. There’s no getting around it, Kostars upset some of the best of Lucious Jackson. The immediacy of slow, comforting soul/funk and the addition of harmonized vocals hits you like Martin Denny walks along the beach. This is definitely a record for the heat of a slow motion day. One of those days that should last forever. Kostars should start billing themselves as top-down-summer-rock. This is the perfect record for a long drive, or a slow seduction. [Troy Brookins]

Longpigs - She Said 7"
It’s my regular Anglophile update. You just can’t keep me from the import bins, no sir. I tried the Longpigs because they’re produced, at least in part, by Kevin Bacon. No, not the actor, the Comsat Angels’ ex-bassist. If there was a better moody, brilliant, and totally ignored early-80’s act, write and tell me who it was. Joy Division does not count as ‘ignored’, in case you were wondering. Now, the Longpigs. They sound nothing like classic Comsat Angels (classic = ’79-’82), more’s the pity. They’re sort of a grunge-britpop act, if that is to be believed. That is, they write some tunes, smear on a light layer of grime, throw in some gratuitous harmonies to show they’re sensitive, and generally try to get on the radio. I don’t read the charts, but I don’t think they’ve made it. However, there’s nothing I love more than a failed stab at breaking a pop act. Isn’t that how the Velvet Underground met? Even if the Longpigs do make it, I’ll probably buy another single. Though far from perfect, the Longpigs have enough panache, and solid enough songs, that I do enjoy their stuff. I may even splurge on the LP. [Bakunin]

MARY LOU LORD - Martian Saints 7”
Kill Rock Stars
Mary Lou’s voice is so beautiful it makes me shiver and shake. This green vinyl 7” is a three song record, with a note inside promising a five song CD version of the same record to be released in 1997. The song “Martian Saints” is a song written by Nick Saloman of the Beevis Frond (who also plays guitar on this track) and stands out as the strongest track. On the other side is a Chipmonks song.. oh wait.. it’s 33rpm on side two... Ok, check that... side two has two songs “Salem ‘76” penned and performed by Mary Lou with Nick on guitar and bass and “I Figured You Out” written by Elliott Smith performed by Mary Lou solo. No credit is given for guitar on the last song, but it’s recorded by Elliott Smith and I believe he’s the one strumming. Man-oh-man, I can’t wait for the LP!! [Matt]

Kill Zinesters tour
Why would we want to meet other ‘zinesters’? We skipped this. [Matt]

Kiss somewhere in San Jose
So Ace Frehley’s not doing heroin anymore huh? Big deal. Skipped it. [Matt]

Lollapalooza 1996 at Shoreline
Metallica and Soundgarden... We just kind of ignored it this year. [Matt]

Magnog - 2xLP
Have I mentioned I am peeved at the Kranky empire? In a word: CD-only. Grrrr... So, in revenge, I bought the Magnog vinyl. Maybe I’ll find the Roy Montgomery CD in the cutout bins. Kranky means noise, right? Though that’s a facile truism, I assert that Magnog are very interested in how their music sounds. A trio, they push the envelope of the feedback drone genre. I’m not sure how improvised their stuff is, but it sure sounds like structured jams, and their songs can be quite long. If that hasn’t scared you off, you should give this one a shot. Magnog gives great noise, and they head pretty far out. Rather than push long, meandering, meaningless solos, Magnog head into ever stranger noise, as the foundation of the songs ebbs and flows. I think the few vocals are my only complaint. I don’t think they work very well. But the organic development of their work renders this complaint petty and minor. A nice one, with swank, solid gatefold sleeve a nice touch. [Bakunin]

A Minor Forest
- (Constituent Parts 1993-1996)
Thrill Jockey
If you liked Slint, you’ll like this. Actually, I think I like this more than Slint, even if it sounds as much like them as Overwhelming Colorfast sounds like Husker Du.[Matt]

Misfits at the Fillmore
Right, the Misfits without Danzig. That’s like drinking those little teabags of decaf coffee. Skipped it.[Matt]

Pop sensation Jeff Mangum has finally released his full length on Merge with the help of some special guests; Robert Schnieder of Apples in Stereo, Lisa Janssen, and Rick Benjamin. The always in transit rotation of players Mangum works with tends to confuse newcommers during a live performance, but that’s the beauty in their live performance because there’s little chance you’re going to hear the music as it’s played on the record. Magnum is clearly the guide when it comes to recording the music. His approach is not too far from Lou Barlow in the sense that NMH have released several 7" and a cassette that involve different people. And he shares a Beatlesque approach to arrangement and delivery with Robert Pollard. But don’t begin to write this band off in the files of an ever growing lump of lo-fi bands, because Mangum’s music takes on a refreshing approach to four-track home recording that avoids rehashing the genre. Magnum moves in neo-psychedelic-fuzz-folk as if George Martin was behind the dials. Sometimes haunting and sometimes part circus calliope, NMH are always entertaining. I have to get my hands on more of this stuff. [Troy Brookins]

The Overwhelming Colorfast
- Moonlight And Castanets CD
Headhunter Hi-Fi
Semi-punk pop, medium-fast tempos, emo vocal style, okay for listening to a couple of times. Can’t resist the Descendents comparison; buzzy guitars with that posi-punk tenor vocal style that crops up every weekend at VFW halls or skate ramp parties. Interesting songwriting that makes use of harmonied guitar lines and lots of distortion. “Mickey’s Lament” has a catchy guitar riff. Sometimes the singer sounds like a young Ozzy, which is pretty cool, and the Husker Du influence looms pretty large, particularly on “Burning Question” and “Margaritas For Two.” A really cool bossa-jazz instrumental, “Last Song,” shows that the players are capable of more than just generic pop songs. Somebody should’ve told these guys that the retro-cover art thing already came and went (“Oh, I get it! It’s supposed to look like an album!”). Annoyingly, there’s no lyrics printed on any of the eight panels in the booklet. Instead, we get moderately interesting pictures of martinis and schlock art. I detect a strong Satan influence here. [Ed Ivey]

PALACE - Arise Therefore LP
Drag City
The elusive Will Oldham/Palace checks in with, Arise Therefore, his/their forth full length for Drag City. I can’t recommend this band enough. I know all you tough guys are throwing a fit at the mere mention of credibility when it comes to Palace, but sometimes you have to realize that it’s okay to show emotion and let the tears flow. Just the other day, I saw a skinhead weeping outside his girlfriend’s window, choking back the words to “Come In”. It was a beautiful sight, almost an epiphany of sorts. Don’t think that the title, Arise Therefore, has no meaning. Just throw this baby on the turntable when your lover of choice is over, guaranteed sack time. Thus giving meaning to “more bang for your buck.” You know what I mean. If you haven’t picked up any of the several releases by Palace/Palace Brothers/Palace Music you’re missing out on one of this decade’s best contribution to pop music. If you can’t afford to pick anything up, trust me brothers and sisters, get your ass out there and hustle for the dollars—it’s more than worth it. [Troy Brookins]

PAVEMENT - Stuff Up the Cracks
Pseudo Indie Label
I don’t have this and I want it! If you know where I can get it, please write to me at ga@coolbeans. com or at the Cool Beans! mailing address. [Matt]

Wow. She can act! When Courtney showed up on the screen, I didn’t even recognize her. I thought to myself “Wow, that junkie chick is pretty hot...” Then it came to me that it was Courtney, and this was early in the film, she wasn’t supposed to be a junkie yet. Overall, this is a pretty entertaining and informative film. Best I’ve seen in a while. I’m really only writing this review cause I wanted to tell the story about noticing that the woman onscreen was a junkie before I noticed she was Courtney.. oh nevermind. [Matt]

From the opening track, “Jean Jacket Kids”, this disc is completely rockin-hilarious all the way through. With the timbre of early Bowie and the stream of consciousness of Iggy or Jandek, Pterodactyl Man howls and growls about timeless rock topics like hot pants, 14 year old girls, and rock music. “you’re 14, I’m 27, the difference..........14!” The musicians must be students of Motorhead and Slayer, the latter being thanked on liner notes. They totally kick ass! Check out the “Eruption” style guitar solo track called “Octonasalia”. A must see in my book should they ever pass through town. Includes the Icky Boyfriends cover “Flying Monkeys”. [Pusser]

Sex Pistols at Shoreline
Skipped it. [Matt]

SLAYER - Undisputed Attitude CD
When I was on tour with Rhythm Pigs this was the record we listened to when we wanted to stay awake for our 12 hour drives between shows. I’m now more than tired of listening to it, but for a couple of months it was great to hear Slayer RIP through some of my favorite old hardcore songs done up with such top notch production. Of course their version of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” is so terrible I almost knocked off two full stars, but their covers of DRI’s “Violent Pacification” and Plus we saw them at the Trocadero and it really wasn’t as much fun as last year when they played over in Oakland and had huge kiss-like stacks, a fantastic light show and what felt like 5000 people in the pit. This time it was just going to see this speed metal band down at the Trocadero. [Matt]

Shangri-la Records
I really don’t know what to make of Strapping Fieldhands, but then again who knows what to make of Captain Beefheart/Don Van Vliet, and he still garners respect. The Philadelphia five member Fieldhands have been tagged as a part of the lo-fi crowd, GBV and The Grifters, but those comparisons only hold up on a track or two. Look for something that resembles the Butthole Surfers’ Rembrant Pussyhorse psychedelic slant, Sun City Girls Eastern influence, and a good dose of Thinking Fellars’ trotting pop. I know that I slagged these guys in issue #5, but the one track contributed to the Screwed soundtrack is nothing like Wattle & Daub. This is actually an amazing array of pop songs that twist, turn, and warble like a hillbilly on his first date.

Teenage Fanclub
- Don’t Look Back
Last year, Teenage Fanclub toured in support of 1995’s ‘Grand Prix’ LP, opening for some band or another that I didn’t want to see, at one of those big, advance-ticket venues, for way too much money. I missed that show. I managed their free in-store at the now-defunct Rough Trade store in San Francisco. Their unpretentious manner and lissome pop were lots of fun; my friend John put that 20-minute set on his ‘ten-best’ list for the year, and I don’t think he was wrong. I played their record occasionally thereafter, but sometime this spring, I put it on and it was, suddenly, just right. Each song on the first side got progressively better, sounding more and more like a perfect radio show for a lonely drive somewhere far from home. As ‘Don’t Look Back’ hit the beginning of the chorus, where the song suddenly starts insistently throbbing away, the guitars go quietly wobbly, and the singer sweetly insists “I’d steal a car to drive you home..”, something caught the back of my throat and I was hooked. I’ve obsessed about a lot of pop songs, from Magazine’s version of ‘I Love You You Big Dummy’ to McCarthy’s ‘Red Sleeping Beauty’. Teenage Fanclub’s contribution to my own little pantheon isn’t as consuming as some of my favorites (the verses and bridge are merely very good), but I find myself entirely arrested every time the chorus starts. I think the LP has since become one of my favorites, although I find it hard to flip over after such a perfect first side, with three great songs wrapped on each side of ‘Don’t Look Back’, taking me up to the mountaintop and letting me gently back down. I suspect many readers may not share my weakness for the radio-ready pop song. You shouldn’t rush off to buy this one unless you knew before you read this review that you’d probably like it. Although I love the song and the record, I recognize that it’s mere pop crap — insanely great pop crap, perhaps, but not more. This review isn’t really about this record, anyhow. It’s about the moment, that indefinable state to which art can transport you. You can find it anyhwhere: in something that bores me, or that I hate, or even in something I enjoy distractedly. I find that moment here, and that’s plenty. [Bakunin]

Triple Fast Action
- Broadcaster triple 10"
I was in Chicago, buying used records and reading free weeklies. In one rag were TRIPLE FAST ACTION and their MAJOR LABEL debut OUT SOON. What crap. But when I saw a dollar 3FA indie 7", I bit. A buck to know it’s bad, no? Surprisingly, it’s nice, friendly pop-grunge. So, I bought the MA.., er, major label debut, also used ‘n’ cheap. Like its little cousin (both sides of which are rerecorded here), the album is full of accessible, slightly abrasive pop that could get airplay. I see why Capitol signed them. To their credit, Triple Fast Action try their best, but there’s only so far you can push this formula. Their sound is an amalgam. The vocals are raw, the guitars RAWK, and then they throw in those sensitive quiet bits that set off the loud parts _just so_, you know, like that famous band. And they’re not averse to sweetening the grunge with some nice harmonies — you know, like, umm, oh, I forget the name, but they have that song: “baa baa ba, daa da da, DAA DAA DAA!” The infernal thing is, I can’t hate them for being calculating, because they have such a deft touch with a hook. At least they sport a distinct lack of pretense. I can’t fault Don Fleming’s slick production; it abets the music as it polishes for heavy rotation. Can’t help love the format: three 10" EPs wedged into a duofold sleeve. Sure, it’s hard to get the records out, but isn’t that what they said about ‘Metal Box’? [nB: similarity ends there] This is the same summer record one band or another has been churning out every year for thirty years, dressed up in alterna-sheep’s clothing, but I don’t think it matters. There’s got to be a place in rock for craftsmen. Triple Fast Action are redoubtable pop craftsmen. Better than Poison, man. [Bakunin]

Tunic - Tick Tock 7"
Love Train
Mostly, when I buy a single, I play it once. I buy too many records to do anything else. The crap goes in the swap meet pile, and everything that’s at least a little likeable gets filed. It took me a week to file this one away. Not only do Tunic write wonderful tunes, with enough pop for a carton of carbonated candy, but there’s also distortion, noise, and general weirdness to keep me interested. Mostly, though, the songs are amazing, catchy mishmashes of five generations of guitar pop. Why aren’t their other records distributed? I’m getting too old to buy direct from the label. As for this one: the lyrics are good, the instrumentation is creative, and you’ll be humming “Tick Tock” on the bus the next morning. [Bakunin]

Urinals at the Kilowatt, San Francisco
Twenty years after the fact - after turning into 100 Flowers, then Trotsky Icepick, and then adults with day jobs and pension plans - the Urinals are back. Why should you care? Even as a 100 Flowers fan, I’d never heard their music (aside from the occasional “Ack Ack Ack” on radio). Their stuff is pretty unavailable, though rumor claims a pending reissue. So, like me, aside from dealing with the usual trepidation surrounding a ‘reunion’ tour, you’ve probably got only reputation to get you excited. Good news: they’re not the Eagles. Ten minutes after they’d hit the stage, the Urinals had played six or seven songs, each a gem of tight, tense, art-punk. A three-piece, they used the extra space to advantage, stuttering through and winding around the silence, rather than smothering it with noise. Each song ended because the point had been made, and though I wouldn’t have minded more, I liked their brevity and discipline. I was sold by the time they started playing covers. ‘OK, troops?’ asked the singer as they launched into a version of ‘Shape Of Things To Come’ that did Max Frost proud. (Weren’t they film students, once upon a time?) A few 100 Flowers tunes and a nice, but less brilliant, rendition of ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ helped round out the set; after all, the Urinals catalog is very short. I went in worrying I had turned into the moral equivalent of a Streisand fan. I came out wondering when I could see them again. Solid. I was too young in ’79; don’t be too cynical now. [Bakunin]

V/A Bored Generation multimedia CD
It’s kind of cool to have a CD that you can play in your CD player or your CD rom drive. (assuming you’ve got one) I was impressed by the snowboarding/skateboarding/etc. video sequences and especially by the mixing of sounds from the video and the punk-rock-Epitaph style tunes. If you like Epitaph bands, you’ll dig this. If you skate, this is probably a necessity for you. [Matt]

V/A Lounge Ax Defense and Relocation CD
Touch and Go
I’ve never been to the Lounge Axe in Chicago, but almost everyone I’ve talked to in Chicago has recommended it as a cool place to play if you’re in a band, and also a cool place to see bands play. This compilation includes a ton of bands on Touch and Go records plus a couple others. Worthy cause, excellent compilation. [Matt]

V/A The Sound Gallery 2xLP
Some time back, I bought one of those RCA ‘Sound Your Eyes Can Follow’ records for $1. It was so groovy: a hugely thick cardstock outer, with a cutout window through which you could see a colorful inner that was thicker and glossier than many a modern LP jacket. I like the music on that one plenty, but was heaps disappointed by others I picked up: weak orchestral versions of pop standards, and what’s worse, anemic production and not enough eye-following silliness. Luckily, the cocktail lounge revolution enabled me to sell most of the rest for ludicrous amounts of cold hard cash, some $12 of which I used to purchase this little gem. Where the late 50’s (well, 1961) failed me, the early 70’s came through: incidental music that makes your spineless Martini quiver in submission, and your friend’s Manhattan do something terrible to a guest’s Rob Roy with the swizzle stick. Supremely stupid. Absurdly well recorded. In horrible taste. “the best available studios.. the best session men.. the most advanced recording techniques of the day.” Any number of colossal ripoffs, including the vilest instrumental version of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ you have ever heard. All this for music that sounds like the very best backing music for the very worst television shows of the early 70’s. The very best of the very worst. And I used to think the soundtrack to the Batman TV show was good party music. This puts the ZOT! to that idea. Or was it MINT!? NEWT!? BORT!! [Bakunin]

The X-Rays - Double Godzilla (With Cheese)
Grease-monkey hardcore with songs like “’69 Dodge Charger,” “Kill Yer Speed,” and “Super Cooled,” this is very fucking punk. Buy this for your Mopar buddy down the street. Really lousy production helps things out a lot here. “0-60 On The Mainline” is like a drag-racing anthem or something. My favorite, “Haitian Voodoo Baby,” starts up with a wacked-out narration from some snuff flick or bad documentary. Snotty-assed vocals and wall-o’-mush guitar noises. Thirteen songs, all fast, just like your car oughta be, bro. Four stars and a checkered flag. [Ed Ivey]

Zoinks! - Stranger Anxiety
Dr. Strange Records
Happy sounding wo-oh emoish pop punk. Zoinks! are from Reno, with Bob from Second Guess zine on drums. I can’t really tell if they are a fourpiece or threepiece, but it doesn’t really matter that much I guess. This is a compilation of previously released comp. tracks and singles. It’s a good place to start. [Matt]