A sub-division of oldpunks.com

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

End Of The Line (Blog Edition)

Exactly one year ago today I started this blog as a continuation of a web zine I wrote for five years (oldpunks.com). It's run its course so I'm stopping. I think I'll let the old site die too so I won't have to renew the domain name.

Whatever motivated me to write and review five-ish times a week has subsided. Whatever points I wanted to make have been made, and reviewing cds takes the fun out of listening to music. I'm not a political person and I have no agenda to push. I don't have the answers and I don't pretend to. My goal in life has long been to avoid what I see as negative people and situations. I wish more people were smarter, nicer and more considerate so the world wouldn't be as screwed as it is.

My politics vary depending on the issue, but I can say with certainty that the most evil figure in world history has to be Karl Marx, whose theories have led to more misery and wholesale slaughter than anyone could have imagined. It's a mental illness where Utopia is achieved through genocide, revenge, resentment and perpetual misery. Its followers know this, but it's their way of exacting revenge on a reality they hate.

Thanks for visiting and please hit the links to visit other sites I hope will still be around for a good long time.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Review: Cowboys International - The Original Sin

It's amazing what you can find for 75 cents. I've seen this album for-figging-ever in dollar bins. Ah, the smell of old moldy cardboard, second only to mothballs. Cowboys International lasted for about two years, with this 1979 LP coming in the middle. They're remembered as an electronic pop group, which is wrong and the same false designation given many bands, especially Devo for most of their career. They had a keyboard player like everyone else. It was no more important in the mix than the drummer or guitarists. I wish more reviewers were able to distinguish between pop and electronic. Later in their career they were said to be moving toward dance music, but as far as I know by then they stopped recording. Lead singer Ken Lockie went on to Dominatrix, but that's a whole other project.

Cowboys International were a great pop band in the mid-70's sense, but very updated. You won't find a finer example of post-punk neo-pop than what's on The Original Sin. Lockie singing evokes both The Human League and David Bowie. The songs take on various styles of pop and new wave, each with its own quirky personality and nice touches. The cover art is more fey than the songs within.

I'd say their contemporaries would be Aztec Camera, The Bluebells, Orange Juice and Squeeze. But not really. There's an eccentricity to the songs that makes them less commercial and therefore better. No two songs are alike but they come from the same sensibility. It's a shame records like this are left to languish.

Terry Chimes was the original drummer for The Clash, given the name Tory Crimes. He went on to play for Johnny Thunders, Generation X, Hanoi Rocks and Black Sabbath (?!). Lockie's pal Keith Levine (PIL) appears on the LP. It's said Lockie was a member of the old Sex Pistols' original gaggle of fellow travelers. Good for him (I say as I put my pointing finger in my closed mouth to make a popping sound as I snap it out on the side).

Friday, April 07, 2006

Review: The Queers - Live In West Hollywood

Live In West Hollywood is more of an accomplishment than it is a letdown, but you can argue either side fairly well. On the plus side the playing is tight and the sound quality excellent. On the down side it lacks a human quality and after any ten minutes on the 31 track cd you get the point and want to move on.

The Queers are a great band and everyone should see them live at least once. They're America's #1 choice for when you just want to turn off your brain and act like a pinhead. For better or worse Joe King writes songs on demand like a guy at a party who can take five pieces of information from the crowd and instantly writer a song about all five things. If not that, then Queers songs never get deeper than their titles.

Blog By Dolby

Thomas Dolby has a blog. He's now as bald as the law allows.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Review: Teenage Bottlerocket - Total

A major selling point for Teenage Bottlerocket is the once part and now full-time addition of Kody, who fronted The Lillingtons, one of the best post-Ramones bands. Teenage Bottlerocket have only a bit in common with The Lillingtons in sound, being harder and driven by the sweet one-note-at-a-time guitar leads made famous by Screeching Weasel and The Queers. The appeal of The Lillingtons, one of them at least, was how Kody strummed out hypnotic 4-chord riffs.

You can sample the only Teenage Bottlerocket song that sounds like The Lillingtons here as an MP3 sample. That would be "Stupid Games". As a matter of fact it sounds something like "I Saw The Apeman (On The Moon)". Needless to say it's the poop.

Teenage Bottlerocket ranks up there in the upper middle of the best of Screeching Weasel, The Queers, The Methadones and The Riverdales. They're not a revelation but they are carrying on a fine tradition that as far as I know lies dormant.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

More Like Black Market Geezer Take A Nap Grandpa! (chortle)

His children seem to have a difficult time picturing their father as a punk rock pioneer.

"The record company sent promo posters to the house," he recalls. "I put one on the fridge, and I've gotten so much grief -- 'Dad, what are you doing that for? You don't even look like that anymore.'"

The Clash = Terrorism

London calling to the faraway towns, now war is declared and battle come down

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Review: Saves The Day - Stay What You Are

Time again to review a cd by a popular band that's loved/hated by the young and tragically hip.

Stay What You Are from Saves The Day is listed as their best so I placed it on my personal victrola and turned the crank a few times. The word I want to use for it is serviceable, which I don't mean as an insult. It's very good actually, and if I was of a certain young demographic I'd go for this in a big way.

By my account, Saves The Day would be a third wave emo band, correlating nicely with third wave ska. There's some third wave ska I like but for me it's a pale comparison to The Specials or Toots and the Maytals. Saves The Day are poppier than what came before it, evoking Weezer, a band that fits yet doesn't in the emo category. The melodies are tuneful and the sing-alongs fun, but my gawd, if Radio Disney played emo this might be it. That's my way of saying it's music for kids who could easily be MY kids.

In general I think emo is a great genre, at least musically. It's creative, sonically sweeping and usually pretty peppy. The "emotional" aspects fly over my head. Lyrics are mostly sounds to me and I can't make out half of them anyway.

Anarchy In The UK (sub-titled: It's Not Funny, 'Cause It's True)

Courtesy of Little Green Footballs,

And a string of crimes including common assault, threatening behaviour, sex with an underage girl or boy, and taking a car without its owner's consent, should normally be dealt with by a caution, the circular said.

How Are The Old Punks At Home?

The Old Punk's Home

Olde Punks

The Sex Pistols?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Review: Ray Davies - Other People's Lives

Other People's Lives, I'm sad to report, is not that special. It was in the works for years so I expected more of the songs to be more than Ray reading the phone book (as it were). I love Ray and The Kinks, especially their cheesy mid-70s output of stage-oriented rock operas that never had a chance. Ray rhymes well but as a lyricist he's almost the opposite of poetic. He's a descriptive writer long on factual details. Half the songs on Other People's Lives are slow numbers with musicians providing slight backup to Ray, who in essence reads the phone book of Ray Davies-type lyrics.

The cd opens strong with "Things Are Gonna Change", and at first I thought I had the wrong disc because the backing band is kicking a bit-o-ass in a way The Kinks never did. Ray's singing at first also sounded alien. I was reminded heavily of when Fred Shneider hired decent bands to fire up his fascinating (as in a car wreck) cd Just...Fred. The Kinks had the worst drumming, with its plop, plop, plop beat, so it's odd to hear a Ray Davies album with pro-active, sweeping drum patterns. Other People's Lives does have its share of plop, plop, plop, so that may be dictated either by Ray's insistence or singing.

"After The Fall" sounds like a track from Misfits, most closely "Rock & Roll Fantasy". "Next-Door Neighbour" is a nice ditty that sounds like Colin Moulding's music hall contributions to the last two XTC cds. "All She Wrote" and "Creatures Of Little Faith" offer inventive instrumentation, then "Run Away From Time" finds Ray in nice old form. After that though the sameness of Ray's delivery wears thin, a break coming in the rousing "Stand Up Comic".

Back to the music hall, I think Ray Davies arrived decades too late. He was where he was born to be when he appeared on the very first VH1 Storytellers.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Let's Have A _______, So We Can All Die

Dr. Eric R. Pianka and an unidentified woman from the University of Texas at Arlington following a recent speech before the Texas Academy of Science in which Pianka endorsed airborne Ebola as an efficient means for eliminating 90 percent of the world's population. Pianka received an enthusiastic and prolonged standing ovation. Later he received more applause from a banquet hall filled with more than 400 people when the president of the Texas Academy of Science presented him with a plaque naming him 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Danzig KO

In 2004 Glen Danzig pushed a fellow and was knocked out for his troubles. Here's the shove by single blow account of the event and the film itself. Danzig should have had his hands up after he shoved the guy. Nice traps and back for an old guy though.