A sub-division of oldpunks.com

Friday, December 30, 2005

Review: A Dirty Shame DVD

When John Waters lost Divine an era of great bad filmmaking came to an end. The Woody Allen of Baltimore, Waters manages to scrape together funds every few years to make a film that will most definitely suck, yet still must be watched out of counter-culture obligation. A Dirty Shame is his best film since Serial Mom and a hundred times better than the career depths of Pecker and Cecil B. Demented, but the party ended years ago for the shock value of John Water's bad taste.

Waters has a puritan streak that comes out in his mostly faux-shocked amazement at what people do for pleasure. He's a reserved voyeur in the cultures he embraces, and I'd say he's more like his parents than he'd admit to, but he's always admitted to being a closet upper middle class square. A collector of sexual phraseology, Waters waters A Dirt Shame with every nugget he could find, and while on one level it's funny it's also less of a script than a laundry list. The best perv tidbit in the film is the "Upper Decker", rivaling "Tea Bagging" in my heart as the funniest thing in the universe.

A Dirt Shame is shocking I guess but not to anyone I'd hang around with. It's true to its camp vision but the lesson of it is known before the film even starts so it just plays itself out and then ends. Thematically it's a lot like Hairspray but I don't envision a Broadway run for this one. Does the world need another John Water's counter-morality play? Probably not.

Technically A Dirty Shame is Water's Citizen Kane. The lighting is perfect, the acting good across the board and the endless reaction shots from extras finally achieve correct timing. Nobody mangles Water's stilted dialogue, which makes me miss Edith Massey that much more.

This film proves once again that most people look good in layers and layers of clothes. Patti Hearst is either addicted to botox or face lifts. David Hasselhoff makes a weird cameo in the same year he made a strange cameo in The Spongebob Squarepants movie.

Here's some funny trivia on this NC-17 film:

"When the MPAA were asked what would needed to be cut to obtain an R rating, they replied that if everything the MPAA objected to were to be removed, the movie would only be 10 minutes long."

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Review: Cock Sparrer - What You See... Is What You Get DVD

Cock Sparrer,TKO Records and Belgium filmmaker Pollet Yannick collectively produced this 8 hour, 2-DVD set featuring concerts, interviews and extras. The 90 minute documentary is a glorified home movie. It's a bit random and a bit much at times, and gawd knows the concert footage needs an index, but my money is my vote for the first and greatest street punk/Oi band of all time, Cock Fricking Sparrer. In a genre where "real" means "real stupid", Cock Sparrer are really nice people playing real music for real reasons.

What you learn from What You See is that Cock Sparrer are absolutely free of affectation. What they believe is simply how they feel, and they don't find themselves heroic. They're quite amazed people still remember them and pay to see their infrequent shows. I still have no idea what a Cock Sparrer is. The name was once Cock Sparrow if that helps.

Cock Sparrer didn't play the UK for years because they didn't want anyone getting hurt, a problem not found elsewhere. To them it wasn't worth the money. Sham 69 wanted it both ways and the crowds they incited bit them on the ass. Sparrer stayed in the pub and shook their heads. Writing on their site about the recently cancelled Wasted USA festival, they note:

It has been suggested that part of this problem has been caused by some bands demanding their money up front. We would like to state for the record that COCK SPARRER have NEVER, and never will ask, for any advance payment for any gig we do - we know how difficult cash flow can be for promoters. Anybody who knows us, or has worked with us will know this to be the case.

I'm telling you, Cock Sparrer are working class heroes with an ingrained integrity that's not a political statement. They also look old enough to be The Rolling Stones. Do they have day jobs? I imagine they'd have to. I loved this line from an interview, "'England Belongs To Me' took 10 minutes to write and 25 years to explain."

Where was I... Cock Sparrer, the first and still the best. Bats Out, indeed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Review: Millennium (TV Series)

I watched all 67 episodes of Millennium so damn right I'm going to tell you about it.

The Watch All The Episodes Of Millennium Project began a long time ago, only on weekends and holidays. Millennium was X-Files' creator Chris Carter's first side project, the second the very ill-fated The Lone Gunmen. Starring b-movie legend Lance Henriksen, Millennium started as one thing that couldn't last long as is, tentatively became like the X-Files and then settled into a whole new show with another star before the thing was put to rest.

Lance is obsessed with bringing back his Frank Black character, named after the lead singer of The Pixies, but while it was a neat show the character doesn't warrant another life. His "gift" of seeing what the killer sees was a visual gimmick that was cool until it stopped being cool, and aren't there enough profiler shows as it is?

Season One was "Se7en: The Series". Each week featured a serial killer or somesuch while Frank Black saw horrific visions of bloody, screaming mayhem you wouldn't want to watch before bedtime. The season was good but each episode hit the same notes of depressing depravity while Frank's visions were a visual trick you can't base a show on for long. Then again David Banner could slowly turn into The Hulk twice a week for eternity for all I care.

Season Two was the best season. It delved into metaphysical issues, explored the internal workings of The Millennium Group and experimented with humor. "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me" was by far the best episode of the run.

Season Three was The Emma Hollis Show. The first few episodes had Frank as a supporting character. I liked Emma but am reminded of when Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish joined The X-Files while Mulder and Scully fulfilled contractual obligations. The plot-line became highly paranoid, The Millennium Group and the highly nuanced Peter Watt's character switching to pure evil. The Psych 101 dialogue also grated at times. CC Pounder's character turns bad and is arrested in "The Hand of St. Sebastian" but then is recast as an innocent victim of a different set of circumstances in "Skull and Bones". Did they think nobody remembered? They also reused character actors in different roles.

Megan Gallagher played Frank's wife and left after season two because her role didn't go much beyond looks of sympathy, empathy and concern. Brittany Tiplady as Frank's daughter won an award for her work in the harrowing "Borrowed Time". She said of the third season "Millennium is still a lot of fun. My part this season is bigger and more involved. I don't spend a lot of my time sleeping anymore." The Lucy Butler character was great and super creepy while the Barry Baldwin character was just a prick.

The show ran from 96-99 so we never did find out if The Apocalypse took place or not on 1/1/2000. Millennium was a good series with some great episodes. It couldn't sustain what it started to be and never settled into a cohesive franchise. Oh well.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Boxing Day Tape

I hope you all had a festive Boxing Day on the 26th. I know I did. A decade ago I lived in Arlington, VA in a Sears House a few blocks away from the famous Dischord House, another Sears House with a basement that redefined "unfinished". I turned my basement into a gym and boxing area, and I made a tape to box to, like in aerobics except I'm maybe beating Billy Blanks to the Tao Bo punch.

Here's what's on the tape and next to it what I was supposed to do during each song. I doubt I ever made it all the way through. Only one fast punk song on it because I was boxing, not tearing apart a rat with my teeth.

Devo - Snowball (warm up footwork and punches)
Didjits - Dad (slow combo punching)
Squeeze - Annie Get Your Gun (abs)
Rubber Rodeo - Anywhere With You (kicking)
Jawbreaker - Fine Day (speed bag)
Psychedelic Furs - Here Come Cowboys (footwork)
Peter Gabriel - I Have The Touch (abs)
Peter Gabriel - Shock The Monkey (kickboxing)
Elvis Costello - I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down (footwork)
Devo - Beautiful World (non-telegraphic punching)
OMD - Messages (kickboxing)
Bad Religion - Anesthesia (alt. title Hooray For Heroin) - (fast combos)
Kraftwerk - Tour De France (cool down punching)

So Wrong It's Still Not Right

A Charlie Brown Kwanza

The audio is not safe for work

Thursday, December 22, 2005

X-Mas Punk

Punk Santa

Pint Size Punk With Santa

Punk Aid. "Ere's Your XMas"

XMas Punk

Punk Reindeer

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Review: Killing Joke - Killing Joke

12/27/05 update: Well, the killing joke was on me this time. The cd reviewed below is not the 1980 debut but the 2003 cd of the same title. That's the problem with using burned cds instead of having the original discs. On my work computer the songs only come up as track 1, 2, 3 etc. so I rely on allmusic and amazon for title lists. I made a few changes here and there. Oh well...

I came late to Killing Joke's debut album (I'm still waiting!). Last week to be exact. 25 (2) years late I be. Jeez, you can't buy everything that comes out. I imagine this must have been pure danger back then. It's really good now but also kind of quaint when you compare it to bands that took Killing Joke's aggressive and heavy tribal sound and took it beyond the nth degree. I visit a friend at his job at a head shop. Drugs are illegal but crack pipes aren't as long as you can them oil burners. He always plays the kind of death/grind/something metal where the drummer kicks double bass pedals and the singer sounds like the Cookie Monster vomiting. Compared to this Killing Joke are The Carpenters.

Their 2003 cd with the same name as their debut once again proves that pounding drums bring out the savage human beast. I like drum circles in theory because the caveman in me grunts merrily. Sadly only hippies do drum circles and I can only tolerate them in theory. If rave never happened I imagine the hu-persons in The Matrix Revolutions would be dancing to Killing Joke instead of DJ PuffNStuff. The slow tunes on Killing Joke are heavy metal, and stadium rockers too where you can wave your lighter-holding arms over your head while singing along with the "uh oooooo uhs". The fast numbers are pretty exciting and full of pep.

Killing Joke are probably against a lot of stuff like government but without a lyrics sheet I can't tell if they're pre-apocalyptic, apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic. There's gotta be C.H.U.D. in there somewhere. "The Death & Resurrection Show" opens with a robotic vocal intro that goes right into the pounding. Technology is destroyed by the primitive or something? Jaz Coleman sings the slow ones like he has throat cancer. He can also make a gargling sound on demand. On "Asteroid" I could swear Lee Ving is singling for a while. "Seeing Red" is my favorite track. This is a great record even if I don't get in to the slow stuff. They created a great and original sound.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Review: Devo - The Complete Truth About De-Evolution DVD

I love Devo. I also think they recorded some really crappy albums. The Devo story is one of context and it's complicated. Take this review in context too.

There's no way to keep this a humane length except to focus on the bitter, insecure and nonsensical Gerald Casale, bass player and co-founder of Devo. The DVD is a transfer of an old laserdisc that's so not complete there should be a lawsuit. It's cheap enough and loads of fun, especially the running commentary by Casale (pronounced "Keh-Sally") and Mark Mothersbaugh (pronounced "Mothers-bah"). If a film about Devo is ever made they'll have to get Dave Thomas to play Casale. Underneath his cowardly rage he might be a nice guy but there must be 4000 topics that set him off into rages of spittle spewing.

My first encounter with Casale the neurotic came in this book. At the time I wrote "It's obvious he was the driving force behind "De-Evolution" and religiously beat a fun gimmick into a tired dogma. He's a smart fellow but his nerdish rage might have tempered his impact. You get the impression he has less to show for his work than he might or should."

This recent interview shows he hasn't mellowed one bit. To think he still talks of de-evolution as real. Listen to the commentary and marvel at how Gerald wants it both ways, how he makes up band history as he goes along and rages against the machine of corporate music he sought and signed with, both eyes wide open. He talks about Devo in the third person like pro athletes do and comes up with pseudo-intellectual run-on sentences when not name dropping artists and philosophers. While the video for "Freedom Of choice" plays Gerald notes "We outfitted the surfers in clothes from The Gap. We always thought at that time that The Gap kind of represented this kind of soft core neo-fascist uniform of American middle class." That's innovative and arty?

He talks of both high art/low culture and commerciality/anti-commerciality as if Devo succeeded in melding these. What a crock. Their sexual references were the most juvenile ever put on video. Skateboarders, breakdancers and roaming packs of dancing kids made their videos silly, dated and ineffectual as political statements. For all the talk of new video technologies their use of blue screen frankly blows, creating visual errors that rank near amateur.

The commentary hits a high of a low point when "Disco Dancer" is discussed. It's a horrible song yet Casale asserts the record company killed it. What a delusional self-image. Remember this exchange from Spinal Tap? It applies to Devo and the trouble they got into with the "Whip It" video:

Ian Faith: They're not gonna release the album... because they have decided that the cover is sexist.
Nigel Tufnel: Well, so what? What's wrong with bein' sexy? I mean there's no...
Ian Faith: Sex-IST!
David St. Hubbins: IST!

Devo is a cute nostalgia act with a great and geeky history that goes back to the very early 70s. Some of their catalog is the best of their genre, and yes, Devo was a punk band too. Casale's just blowing smoke out his fat behind when he stamps his feet and flaps his yap about attention that must be paid (my pretentious Death Of A Saleman reference was brought to you by Devo). Devo sold out bigger than anyone. Keep that in mind whenever Devo tells you the story of Devo.

Indifferent About The Quality Of Food

According to Moscow newspapers, Stalin told the scientist: "I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat."

Yup, when yer gonna breed an army of human-monkey super soldiers, make sure they come equipped with bland taste buds.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Review: Public Image Limited - Metal Box

For one brief shining moment last Thursday I thought I finally "got" PIL's Metal Box (available again in a metal box). I listened to it twice, and the second time the dub reggae/death disco mix found that tiny part of my brain where the medicated serial killer with the long attention span lived. I fantasized the slow torture of my enemies and danced a bit in a noncommittal fashion whilst checking myself out in the mirror. There was blood. Oh Yes.

This morning, back to nuthin'. "Memories", "Socialist" and "Chant" kept my ADD at bay but the rest dragged on with little direction or reason. I once worked stage security for PIL when they had Minor Threat and Wall Of Voodoo open for them at the University of Maryland around 1982. I thought their set would never end. Maybe it never did.

Jah Wobble's template for the dub bass line is fairly genius but once figured out it's just repeating itself. Keith Levene's guitar is neither new nor especially creative, but he seems to find ways to keep his hand in. Lydon doesn't sing like Rotten, which wouldn't work anyway.

I've always thought the long, slow tracks in this style appealed mostly to people prone to psychosis. Some of my friends lean this way so it's not a true putdown. I lightly assert it takes a "defective or lost contact with reality" to get into all 7:46 of "Poptones". Stay on your meds, kids, and think happy thoughts.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

New Link

Link exchanged with Steph Wills. Mission Accomplished

Wacky Ramones Link

From the Netherlands a Ramones site that combines space aliens and the Ramones. Kooky, man, kooky! Here 'tis!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Video Killed The Slamdancers

Whenever I hear The Buggle's "Video Killed The Radio Star" I imagine it being used as the soundtrack for a slamdance/pit scene in a movie. It has ebbs and flows and slow parts and fast parts so to me it'd be great to film a band playing and their fans dancing - and then editing it to generally fit the Buggle's song. Real time and slo-motion would both be required.

Imagine that and tell me if I'm nuts.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Tao Of Doc Savage

"Doc Savage seemed not to hear the inquiry, which was another of his traits. The bronze man, as those who came in contact with him soon learned, rarely voiced a theory; only what were in his own mind proven facts. Rather than make evasive answers, or indulge in a long argument about what might or might not be the facts, he simply became deaf to inquiries"

Dumb As In Duh...ummmmm

This internet quiz, "are you an old school punk or new school", is really bad. Take it anyway.

Stop The Neocons!

Stop The Neocon Death Machine is back, and it's about time. Dean (not real name) is the man.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Review: The Fall - Fall Heads Roll

12/15/05 update: I have a burned copy of this and it seems my disc is the UK version with a different order. I've changed everything accordingly and I hope this time it's right.

The Fall have been at it for three decades but I don't know them well enough to review this in any career context. Here's a longish band history. The allmusic.com review of The Real New Fall opens with "Two years and 32 compilations, box sets, books, DVDs, and so on, since their last studio album..." Yikes! From ye olde days I remember "Bingo-Master's Break-Out!", "Totally Wired" and "Rebellious Jukebox" quite well but the first LP, Live At The Witch Trials, didn't inspire me to check out the endless parade that followed. Their latest and just released Fall Heads Roll fell into my lap so here we are.

From various reviews I get the impression much of The Fall's catalog is a string of similarities with high and low points. I can see a definite kinship with The Mekons and how they've influenced Sisters Of Mercy. The Fall's Mark E. Smith has a singing voice like no other, and I imagine his mouth must be very elastic to twist around as it does.

What jumps out at me is how much Fall Heads Roll reminds me of Iggy Pop. Smith copies Ig's stylings to an extent and this hypnotic, abrasive dance music is what Iggy should have been recording all these years instead of faux metal. 9 of the 14 tracks truly rule, and I'll be editing it down for heavy lifting days. The tracks pulse with the same electrified danger you get from Big Black's "Kerosene" and "Cables". This is very intense and dense material.

The songs have no choruses and it seems the lyrics are stream of consciousness ramblings laid over often unrelated instrumentation, not unlike Patty Smith. "Pacifying Joint" is pretty much the same song as "What About Us?". "Midnight In Aspen" is also strangely the same as "Aspen Reprise". At least they have similar titles.

My favorite tracks are "Pacifying Joint" (Devo-esque riff), "What About Us", "Blindness" (pulled bass like Big Black), "I Can Hear The Grass Grow", "Bo Demmick" (echoes of "I Want Candy"), "Youwanner", "Clasp Hands" ("Lust For Life" energy), "The Early Days Of Channel Fuhrer", "Breaking The Rules" ( a very happy guitar riff) and "Trust In Me" (my favorite).

I have to award Fall Heads Roll four out of five X-Mas cookies. It's deep and out there too.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Review: Screeching Weasel - Weasel Mania

Weasel Mania has a teeny tiny subtitle that reads "Mortgage Payment". If you press your nose against the cd and move back slowly as you listen you can just make it out. There's also a new website and Ben Weasel writes a blog.

Ben's settled into a respectable adulthood of novel writing, band starting but never finishing and milking the Screeching Weasel cow. The compilation Thank You Very Little came out in 2000 and Kill The Musicians in 1995, but there's still no place to find the Pervo Devo version of "I Wanna Be A Homosexual" with the intro by Bruce LaBruce. Their comps all seem random.

The Screeching Weasel discography is exceedingly mixed, some albums with little replay value at all. I like My Brain Hurts, half of Wiggle, Anthem For A New Tomorrow and Emo. Ben's solo album Fidatevi (ask for it by name) was pretty good even though it kept hitting the same harmonic high point the best Weasel tracks managed to rise to. The Vindictives were the better snot punk band, The Queers more well rounded and The Lillingtons the better conjurers of the Johnny Ramone guitar wall, but Screeching Weasel was there early and made an impact in their scene greater than the others (The Queers are probably their equal in the big picture). They probably also invented the guitar solo based on the infamous one-note solo in the Ramone's "I Wanna Be Sedated", which seems very labored and inexact to the point where you're cheering on the guitarist not to screw up.

Screeching Weasel record some amazing tunes when the chords ring true and the lyrics don't pander to the idiocy of The Kids. Maybe that's a solid third of Weasel Mania. Another solid third panders to teenage idiocy as in pushing units by pushing the lowest common denominator of crowds for which Ben can only have contempt. A weak third of this disc is just middling. I was expecting "Burn It Down" but in it's place was maybe "Joannie Loves Johnnie" with its cliche Happy Day references. Ben can be clever though: "She says her armpits are hairy cause it's natural/ So why does she shave her head?" As Ben loves to admit it's all hit or miss with Screeching Weasel.

I wouldn't recommend this but you should start with Anthem For A New Tomorrow and work from there.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Review: The Undertones - Teenage Kicks, The Best Of

The Undertones are still around but you'll have to excuse me if I refer to them in the past tense. Their two great albums fronted by Feargal Sharkey (real name not Dirk Gently) came out in 1979 and 1980, and that's where and when I think of them on the great timeline of alt.music. Nothing against the band now by any means.

This quote from Wikipedia is perfect: "Scarcely a harsh word was ever written about the Undertones. Their genuine inability to pose or pontificate disarmed the most hardened critics. No-one could ever quite come to grips with their apparent innocence and naivity. They weren't at all naïve, of course, they just came across that way, and, to some extent, it prevented their later work from being taken as seriously as it deserved. Regarded as perpetual teenagers. No-one, it seemed, wanted them to grow up." - Mick Houghton

The Undertones were a pop-punk band who lacked the bite of The Buzzcocks but were tougher than Split Enz, their closest rivals around 1980. Or maybe that would be The Rezillos. I think of them as a singles band, sounding even better in small doses. It's not about repeating themselves as much as their music is so peppy and fun I can't imagine it being maintained (or appreciated) in large doses.

Teenage Kicks: The Best Of The Undertones is an excuse to write about a great band that may get lost in the shuffle. What they took from the Ramones was the aesthetic of writing the chorus to great pop songs and rarely leaving that high point. From The Sex Pistols they took DIY inspiration and stepped in the door as it was being opened. They may have shared some of the Jam's mod energy but lyrically they tapped the same source of Ray Davies and The Kinks.

The only track on this I like from 1981's Positive Touch is "When Saturday Comes". At this point they branched out to a more relaxed sound with keyboard and horns. The early tracks are gems. I can't imagine hating The Undertones. 99% of the hardest scumfuggs out there still appreciate a good melody and The Undertones knew how to write them.

All I'm saying is if "Get Over You" doesn't make you smile you're dead inside.

Friday, December 09, 2005

ModPopPunk Archives

The ModPopPunk Archives is worth it just for the MP3 downloads.

"This web site feature Mod '79-Power Pop-Punk Pop '77 bands biographies, discographies, line-ups...Loads of picture sleeves,bands pix, sounds, links. The bands listed here were active between 1976 and 1985. "

A Truth

I love this line. The context is irrelevant:

As is the custom with intellectual cowards, he wants his ideas taken seriously; he just doesn't want them judged according to traditional evidentiary and logical standards.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

My T-Shirt Idea Is The Poop

My latest get rich scheme is a line of t-shirts that say on the front "I'm X Dumps Away From The Best Shape Of My Life", X being any number from 1 to 1000.

On the back would be a composite of this type of image with a small Tommy Toilet of R. Crumb fame underneath. The words would read "Push For Greatness!"

So, watta ya think?

As an added bonus, here's a Squat Toilet

CBGBs Lease Extended

From punknews.org

In a surprising turn of events - particularly in light of recent revelations about future plans, CBGB has renewed it's lease with the the Bowery Residents Commitee. The BRC had served eviction papers to the legendary club in September but in light of the new agreement, it will occupy the current location until Halloween 2006. Mayor Michael R.Bloomberg issued this statement:
I applaud the management of CBGB and the officials of the Bowery Residents Committee for working together to reach a year-long agreement that allows CBGB to continue serving audiences. For more than a quarter of a century, CBGB has served as an incubator for cutting edge artists and entertainers. With today’s agreement and our efforts, I believe CBGB will continue its prominent role in setting trends in music and culture.....

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


A craze sweeping tiny slivers of the nation is Moshzilla, which started with a single photo from a San Diego punk show. It's now all this and more.

Poor Moshzilla, all she wanted to do was mosh. But for the grace of gosh go us all.

PS: Did I mention some people have a lot of free time and nothing better to do?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

New Link

Sean Pelette runs Windmills On The Hill from atop his perch on the CN Tower in Toronto, Can-O-Duh and claims to have recently seen John Cale in concert.

Old Punk Memory 392 - Club Kid Edition

Yesterday I reviewed !!! and quoted a goofy review. The whole thing is here. This made me laugh hardest: "On the back of all this arrive !!! (pronounced chk chk chk), a band who's very name looks like an act of defiance." Nothing stands strong against oppression like naming your band after a punctuation mark. If that's so then Prince is John Connor.

A decade ago I dated a woman who years before regularly drove from Cleveland to NYC to go to clubs run and populated by the insane clownish posse featured in Party Monster. She was fabulous. We were watching a daytime talk show and the topic was Club Kids. The first to come out was a lumpy dumpy teenage girl who struck a pose and warbled "Don't hate me because I'm an Icon!" I fell off the couch in hysterics. The next putz was a dumpy lumpy fat boy wearing coke-bottle glasses who said he doesn't like his mother because she disrespects him. I was still on the floor and at this point I started flopping like a fish.

My girlfriend started crying because she was a Club Kid and knew all their trials and tribulations, their hopes and dreams, their gender confusion and love of clothing with a built-in expiration date of one wearing. She demanded I have compassion when all I had to offer was a spit-take and some floor-stompin'.

Needless to say, it was all my fault (as usual).

Monday, December 05, 2005

Review: !!! - Louden Up Fast

Strike one is naming your band a punctuation mark repeated three times. Strike one and a half is pronouncing it "chk chk chk". How can you say that without being embarrassed? Someone brought to work a box of Yum Yum Donuts. Imagine working the phone there and constantly chirping "Yum Yum!"

Strike two is cursing all the time for no reason except to curse. This proves what exactly, if you're not 15 years old? As politics it doesn't accomplish anything. And if you're so damn street why release an extra disc of clean versions? Strike two and a half is having this review written about you: "Rhythm is rebellion. From the first blasts of rhythm and blues to the beat generation right up to acid house, the simple act of dancing has constantly been sidelined by society as an extreme act of defiance." Gack.

Strike three is playing white funk/disco/dub/reggae/no wave and singing like The Clash on "Rock The Cash Bar". Strike three and a half is resorting to endless electronic handclaps.

2004's Louden Up Fast came recommended since with many caveats I like Gang Of Four. It's more like Gang Of One plus a raver, a dubber and a weirdo. I give !!! credit for being clever electronic alchemists and for throwing in a few bizarre horn blurts, but disco sucks and white people shouldn't pretend they're black when it comes to funk. White people's hips don't have what it takes. The Talking Heads recorded underplayed white funk while GOF, before they loved a man in uniform, were too angry and spastic to get down to.

I listened to the whole thing. It's a mishmash style I can see being popular, and if I didn't hate disco so much maybe I'd get into its finer points. A long time ago I got over the inclusive laziness of people who call everything they like "punk". I hold my ground on this: disco is not punk and it will never be. Asexual white funk is new wave, but James Brown is the King Of Soul and it's an insult to relabel what it is into something it is not.

L7 Interview

A fellow named Steve asked me to link to his interview with L7 so I thought "ok" and now I'm typing these words and creating a link here.

Friday, December 02, 2005


Yesterday at my gym, L.A. Crapness, they played an XM radio station that terrified and amazed me. It was dance music not based on songs but two beats and an aesthetic so removed from humanity I thought this was what people in The Matrix listened to in their goo-filled cubby holes.

The beats never changed. Something akin to lite jazz elements were added here and there but the insidious beats never varied and I, like Pheobe on Friends when she ate the cookie, thought "Sweet Lord, this must be what evil tastes like!" One beat was a slightly elevated heartbeat, the other an afro-latin "Boom-Ba-Doom-Boom". It never ended and there was never a hint it might in my lifetime.

Years ago I forced myself to watch Groove because rave culture seemed to be the most inane musical wasteland the mind could conceive. The angst for the DJs was to ensure each song melted into the other with no noticeable change. What made the dancing ravers go nuts were the slightest variations to a beat that never changed. It's an extacy thing so I wouldn't understand.

Boom-Ba-Doom-Boom is even worse.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Blondie and The Pistols

Blondie and the Sex Pistols will be 2006 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. How much you want to bet Johnny Rotten will act like he doesn't care.

Review: Weird Tales Of The Ramones CDs and DVD

Why spend $64.95 (or less) for this collection of three cds, one DVD and a comic book? If you're obsessive-compulsive like Joey I can see it, or if this X-Mas you want to dazzle someone who's not familiar with Forest Hills' creme de la scum might do it. Otherwise I'm at a loss to explain the need of another hits package. Johnny Ramone selected the tracks and as a conservative I'm sure he did it only for filthy lucre. Now he's dead and the state is open for smashing by the lumpy proletariat.

The DVD is "Lifestyles Of The Ramones", which came out on VHS years ago. The 3-D comic book is a comic book. I listened to the 3 cd, 86 track set to get a sense of the ebbs and flows of their career as dictated by Johnny. I own every Ramones cd but only really listen to the first five. There's some alternate takes (listed here) but for collectors there's nothing brand new that I know of.

The first four albums comprise their golden years, and the rest, from 1980 to 1995, a series of ups, downs, sideways and verticals. What sticks out most in the latter period are Dee Dee's stabs at hardcore punk, "Warthog" an almost desperate attempt for respect in a HC scene that owed them much but whooshed past many bloody mosh pits ago. Dee Dee's singing, which improved later on, is like an angry, cancer-throated midget's (as I imagine it). I'm surprised I liked CJ's songs as much as I did, and I'm shocked, shocked, that "Touring" from Mondo Bizarro didn't make it.

The Ramones are the single most important band in punk history. And that's that.