Monday, April 30, 2012

Various - "DIY: Come Out And Play - American Power Pop I (1975-78)" & "DIY: Shake It Up! - American Power Pop II (1978-80)" (Rhino, 1993)

I abstain a lot to think of my self as a power pop specialist, but on the other hand I have heard over the years so many records under that term that I believe I’m able to have a word or two without being categorized as a smart-ass, right? Those two volumes were part of Rhino’s once upon a time attempts to anthologize in the best possible way, the mid to late 70s punk rock scenes for the both sides of the Atlantic. And except for the fact that are actually the best volumes of the series (9 in all), are also and probably the best official compilations on the genre. You know, the other day I was checkin’ up my ‘zines library and on this Fast, Loud Rules issue found that this first volume seems to was in the beginning a boot LP in which the good guys at Rhino based upon (and copied possibly everything as you can see…) to create this issue (but then again I never saw it with my own eyes so let’s see this as a good trivia)! Who said bootleggers are only thieves and cheaters? Cause if you consider yourself a true rock & roll fanatic (which is probably true if you’re here not accidentally, haha!), the totally brilliant series in the likes of KBD compilations only this time for Power Pop under the “Powerpearls” name, are (guess again) bootlegs too! Anyway, I always liked Power Pop and what a great name to come up with! Instantly all the guiltiness about finding yourself enjoying a rather melodic tune with hooks and sha-la-la’s goes away! And that was power pop’s life story. A generation of punk rockers who felt free to dive in shamelessly in the earlier days of Fab Four without the fear of being accused by comrades as squares! Cause on both volumes these bands had more in common (if not a straight line inspiration) from the Mersey Beat 60s scene than the one of U.S. Garage. Every little song here’s a sparkler, piece of history and one way ticket back to the days where you were able to see girls as innocent creatures and not as evil monsters (for my female readers: don’t get it wrong sweeties, I’m no sexist - I just have clear memories of how in my mind females translated in less than a year from cats to leopards)! And you can get the crème de la crème even if names like the ones of Dwight Twilley or Phil Seymour shine in their absence (rights owners may have my curse!). Name check? Alright then! Count the classics: The Shoes – “Tomorrow Night”, The Nerves - “Hanging on the Telephone”, The Real Kids – “All Kindsa Girls” (in a probably demo-ish recording, for sure rawer than Norton’s Red Star debut CD reissue) Cheap Trick – “Southern Girls”, The Diodes – “Tired of Waking Up Tired”, The Rubinoos – “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”, 20/20 – “Giving It All”, The Beat’s both cuts, Fotomaker’s “Where Have You Been All My Life”, The Plimsouls – “Zero Hour”, Flamin’ Groovies (of course!) – “Shake Some Action” and Chris Bell – “I Am the Cosmos”!!! And all the above tracks, are those that come in me mind without to check the track-list in the back, right this moment OK? Looking at the date both CDs been released (on the back says 1993...) I really wonder why for so MANY years someone hasn't put out a box in the likes of ‘Nuggets’ or ‘No Thanks!’ for Power Pop's little jewels? A matter of rights maybe? Anyway, if you ever face up these two volumes at a second hand store, don't let 'em slip away. A good way to have in one place some of the best products American power pop ever produced. Till then, here they are for your ears pleasure (sorry for the marked 'M.H. Lime' on the sleeves, when I was younger I used to stamp all of my records). I believe we owe more than we think of to Greg Shaw...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Ramones - "Blitzkrieg '76" ( Bootleg LP - Blitz, 19?? - 2nd Edition)

This is our third Brudders post and like the previous two, recorded where the ripped jeans company from Queens created the myth, on stage! Come to think of it, I never found a person claiming his love of rock & roll and not listing the Ramones on his top 5 live acts. I have this as well in a CD-R but the sound lacks in comparison with the vinyl version (it says "remastered" but sounds like re-sequenced and punch-less). I must say JP got me 'in sleep' with this, cause of the 20 more or less Ramones bootlegs I own, NONE has the quality of "Blitzkrieg '76". As the front cover's writing, this show recorded in May 12, 1976 at the "The Club" in Cambridge, Mass but judging by its sound this is probably broadcasted through radio cause it's worm as Kitten Natividad's natural pillow clasp! The songs source it's from the two first albums, so you know already that what you're going to have is 40 plus minutes of sugar-ish buzzsaw at its best! Btw, there's a new semi-official/boot CD out these days under the title of "The Cretin Hop" by Smokin'. Like the sleeve says it's a broadcasted show on WBCN FM during the "Road To Ruin" days and i presume it's cool but sadly not much money to spend on another boot. If anyone's of you guys and gals got it already, please comment if it's worth the money dropping or not. One, two three, four!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Taxi - "Like a Dog" (Dead Beat, 2003)

You know, there’s a hype going on the last few months (in the good sense of the word and I’m part of it as you can see) about Giuda and their blast under the name “Racey Roller”! And how not, cause this pill’s probably the coolest piece of plastic in Rock & Roll for so many years (let's not forget Johnny Throttle's releases). It has the street wise almost hooligan strength of Cock Sparrer in their prime, along with almost every Junkshop Glam 45 that kicked ass (no wonder the front sleeve it’s a remonstrance of Bilbo Baggins’ glitter punk sparkler - in the vein of Little Richard, “Saturday Night”!) with maybe some added Iron Virgin nasty hard edged bubble (did I wrote all this by myself?..I mean, WOW!)! The sad thing’s that Giuda were not long ago Taxi, the BEST punk rock outfit came out of Europe the last ten years and with many kilometres distance from the second one! I know I’m bit steep most of the times here, but that’s the way I love things and believe me, at least this time every word I use has been chosen carefully (I repeat myself again, right..?). Anyway, Taxi had no glam bootboy statements (OK maybe a little but imperceptible), were a 100% kick ass punk rock gang with their minds totally focused on the good bands of KBD/Bloodstains comps and maybe Chuck Berry if the MAN was younger and a member of the Bad Brains.  And the Chuck Berry reference wasn’t placed there incidentally. Unlike many 1977 bands and their kids, Taxi had catchy and well hooked songs, just like the ancient art of rock & roll demands. And I always loved the way sang them in English or French (especially the last)! On “Je Tombe En Bas” and “Slot Machine” you think you’re listening to the Kids singing in their mother language (hope not making a mistake here and the Kids are from the German speaking area of Belgium…) and generally you have the sense that all these blasts are unique re-births of songs by bands like PVC, the Vibrators or the Rezillos (with the often expecting on this genre touch of Stooges). “Rabies is a Killer” it’s the definitive highlight of the album since it is a cover song from a completely unknown (to me...) glam new wave of British heavy metal act (Agony Bag), which btw looked like a troupe of transvestites in a mixed situation with the Droogs (talk about taste!). This is if I’m right their first and to my tastes the best release as Taxi. Never too late for Rome’s first rate hools!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Stitches - "8x12" (Vinyl Dog - 12" EP, 1995)

Alright. Name your favorite 90s punk bands and records. Come on you don't have to be shy, feel free to even  include "Dookie" or Rancid among them, you won't be embarrassed! I still rate them high too cause they actually  belong there. I wish the airwaves today had more of the "Dookie" period Green Day pop-punk quantity or the same title Rancid CD. And forget the rules! Punk rock after all was about "no rules" even though it ended more fascist in some cases than those it supposed was against of... Maximum Rock & Roll it's for sure one of the most important ever zines and even today if i found an' issue I'll grab it, BUT it is NO BIBLE! Come on, 'bibles', 'holy grails' and 'sacred cows' have absolutely no relation with punk rock, so f*ck anyone trying to set up rules for it on what's cool, proper and right (I was always to the left side of the things)! Saying this i realized recently just by staring at the "90s punk" shelf of my records that our generation had actually MANY cool records and bands. Teengenerate, the Infections, Rip-Offs, Devil Dogs, the Dimestore Haloes, The Humpers, The Didjits, The Stitches, it's endless!
The Stitches hit me right away. Their name was the best of all the new kids on the block and it was making clear to everyone that this is a PUNK ROCK band and nothing else! Their look (imagine some skate holding Heartbreakers!) especially on the quite a few 7inch singles was THE right one, the perfect mix-up of 1977 poster collage technique and its 90s improvement! Their sound the possible best from skate punks who knew their roots (hardcore) but knew as well that the roll element is factor no.1 to make some asses shake, just like what U.S. Bombs did. This EP is now legendary. It has at least five pressings with different colors on the stripes (pink, red, blue, green, and the 15th anniversary re-release on black!) and eight totally double-edged punk blasts, just like the cool razor logo they had on all of their records. Two amazing covers on La Peste's "Better Off Dead" and Shane McGowan's "That Woman's Got me Drinking" and less than twenty minutes of blazing REAL punk rock action! In my top 10 fave punk records of the 90s easily.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Cramps - "My Daddy Drives A U.F.O. - The Lux-urious And Elegant Unease Of The Cramps Bootlegs Vol.2, Studio Demos" (WAXCD 006)

Well, well, well! Hell yes we‘re here, ready to present our 6th "CD" and at the same time second volume of the Cramps bootlegs in the grave look for series. Hmmm... I really don't know what else to write and add. We know words hardly matter on posts like this and your only ambition is to hear. Fair enough. So, for a second time in a row, the man behind the ripping duties is my pal Jean Philippe. And like a good gravedigger he is, he picked on the best tracks his Cramps related bootlegs vault hides, only this time concept says ‘studio stuff’ or as we like to say here at WTS HQ, ‘Coffin recorded material’. By the time this lines being written I'm not totally aware of our product and due the fatherhood obligation orders, with the one ear I’m (trying to) listen to the Ivy's snatchy guitar licks and with the other to catch a possible fight between my boys... Who told you bloggin' is an easy ‘job’ for someone to do? And you know what, this music's definitely NOT the right one for keeping two little male demons calm... Ha-ha who cares? Maybe their mother, but I prefer (or for better wish) to follow their daddy’s steps than their mom’s (you know, there’s a big gap between Motorhead and Rihanna…). As we promised this volume is going to have the studio stuff not officially lapsed through the band's shrunk hands. All selections are from a specific period, the earliest and the best. From the time Miriam Linna was banging' the traps till the day Nick Knox took her place, deeply cared with cool covers if you think yourself a connoisseur and with the best possible sound. As usual, no bootlegging on WAX CDs. Share and dance freely!  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Slade - "Get Yer Boots On: The Best Of Slade" (Shout! Factory, 2004)

Aaaahhhhh, Slade! You know what, I FUCKIN’ LOVE Slade (Miriam Linna as well)! How can someone to not? I mean, these brats had all the right elements a good ol’ party rock & roll band needs. And the word “party” doesn’t take its place in that line accidentally. This Mihaleez nick is actually a Slade-ified version of my real name which is Mihalis. I remember my English mistress (a slender 26 yo - at the time I was 14 - always to the laps with a minor slashing in the right down side tight dress woman, and her old fashioned glasses to make things even worse...gosh i loved her class) to chide me repeatedly for making this violation to the English words. “C’mun” ( I was afraid to go further by writing it CUM on!!!), “crayzee”, “luv”, “gudbuy”, “skweeze”! Haha, I still go in to do it! And forget all this glam hype crap. There was no glam here. I mean, what is glam anyway? There's nothing more stupid in the music business (leave out the ones so many years are holding many peoples luck) than to name a movement by a fashion trend! What's in common for Slade or Sweet with Queen or Elton John? Nothing against glam ‘trend’ of course, but Slade predated and outlasted the whole ‘genre’. To me they were always some kind of bubblegum AC/DC. Boogie & filthy hooligans with loud choruses (not unlike those of the football/soccer fans) and even louder guitars. From the In-Be-Tweens days (see Miriam's piece on 'em and the Stooges here), to the almost MC5-ish live document of "Slade Alive!" in 1972, and from the "this is how we do it kids" approach of "Whatever Happened to Slade" in the midst of the punk maelstrom (see the totally different image, almost oi!) to the almost 'artistic' (an' offensively word for sure to them) work of "In Flame", they knew how to raise eyebrows and shake some asses!
For some strange reason the US fans had to wait for (the) Quite Riot’s note to note metalized cover versions to get to know them well. Maybe were too Brit or maybe too loonies for them, who knows? Starting here with the Bobby Marchan/Little Richard soul & roll anthem (Get Down With It) and continuing the foot stomping journey to their own trademarks (Cum On Feel The Noize, Gudbuy T’Jane, Mama Weer All Crazee Now etc) this is perhaps the best to this day compilation of Slade’s finest/most known moments and a good starting point for the rookies. Of course there are MORE to discover from these mavericks (buy with no second thoughts the “Alive!”, “Slayed?” and “Whatever Happened to Slade?” LPs/CDs tomorrow) but for Friday/Saturday nights “Get Yer Boots On” is exactly what the title pronounced: A loud ass, crank the volume up, dressed to kill record, for kicks and chicks. Noddy Holder for President. Cum ON!