Punk Retrospective
6Apr/116

Sorry Ma…it’s the Replacements…

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

I'm not sure if I heard "Johnny's Gonna Die" or "Gary's Got a Boner" first. Yeah, I got into the Sex Pistols in '78 and Blondie not too long after, but then I went into high school and northern Montana didn't really offer up any more punk rock. '81 passed without a hint of the Replacements reaching my ears. Sure, there was a brief moment in '83-'84 when some kids from California played some Black Flag for me, but it wasn't until '85 that I met my punk rock guru...finally destroying any possibility I would be a normal Republican guy.

This fella was a strange looking character, my guru. He had near white hair, which was shoulder length, I suppose they'd say, but...it was shoulder length all the way around and he somehow hair-sprayed it into a helmet-like piece every day. I'd heard about him on campus, helmet head did this, helmet head did that...what the fuck is his problem...what's with those mirrored glasses...blah, blah, blah. KGLT was his realm...he had a radio show from midnight to 6 AM at the college station, but he also worked at Stromboli's Pizza, which is where I asked him about his freakin' hair.

Turned out he was a punk rocker. I was a metal head at that point, but "Subterranean Jungle" changed that forever. Sure, I had brief relapses when "Reign in Blood" and "South of Heaven" came out, but my life has been predominately influenced by punk rock, punk thought and punk culture since I met that weirdo. Thank god! When I hear the shit my friends from home say, believe and listen to, knowing that could be me, I thank the non-existent god(s) for Hyyppa...and every record he owned or played on KGLT. He was, and still is, one of the most intelligent, friendly and free-thinking people I've ever met in my life...cheers to Helmethead!

So, in some of these old tapes...I used to record those radio shows...I'm finding really old Replacements stuff, and it's got a completely different vibe than most of the other punk of the time. I have a really hard time understanding what it is, but there's an underlying hopefulness, a touch more reality and a spirit of fun that just rises through the Replacements songs. Even the real melancholy stuff doesn't sound hopeless. This is a rockn'roll band turned hardcore by influences of the time...these are kids who aren't feeling the despair of the working class under Reagan and Thatcher. Sure, they've seen drug use and violence, but those are peripheral to their true experience...and I'm glad. Sometimes I prefer feeling hopeful.

So, "Sorry Ma, I Forgot to Take Out the Trash" opens with "Takin' a Ride" and just rips from there. The band was amazingly tight, considering the fact that Tommy Stinson was all of 13 when they formed. The rest of the band were 19-20 years old, but I always hope younger readers will see there is not some magical age where you're suddenly qualified to play. Tommy is no better or worse than the rest of the band...he's just a great bass player who happened to be 13 at the time.

Hyyppa had this in his pre-burglary collection...not sure if it disappeared then, but I recorded this album to cassette and played it until there were large spaces on that 1/8" tape that had no magnetic shit left on them...absolutely one of the greatest albums of the 20th century...and one of the greatest bands to play rock music. Their "maturation", as many called it back then, consisted mainly of Paul Westerbergs penchant for slow, bleeding hearted ballads that still carried a current of rebellion under their sorrowful surface. They never "made it" in the sense that Green Day and Nirvana did, but they got some pretty heavy rotation with their "Bastards of Young" video. Somehow their MTV success validated this music I was bringing home to my siblings and their friends. But, even as the Replacements challenged conventions and pushed into unexplored territory, they were creating a breeding ground which would soon be inhabited by a whole new form of music....the bane of my existence...alternative rock. It really sucks that that's how I'll remember the influence of these groundbreaking souls, but I don't blame them, I'll continue to blame those now forgotten, sell-out Alt.Rock artists of the mid '90's.

There's a pretty cool Replacements website out there at colormeimpressed.com and an unchecked MySpace page for your limited listening pleasure.

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Replacements%20-%20Sorry%20Ma/03%20Customer%20The%20Replacements.mp3] Replacements - Customer Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Replacements%20-%20Sorry%20Ma/11%20Shiftless%20When%20Idle%20The%20Replacements.mp3] Replacements - Shiftless When Idle Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Replacements%20-%20Sorry%20Ma/10%20Johnnys%20Gonna%20Die%20The%20Replacements.mp3] Replacements - Johnnys Gonna Die Link source

8Mar/111

Cramps

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

It's been a little over two years since Lux Interior died. The primitively wild front man of the Cramps was quite possibly the greatest showman of the entire rock era. His penchant for low rider leather pants and high heels, coupled with an overtly sexual performing style and an innate ability to channel the best qualities of all the rockn'roll and rockabilly greats made his performances particularly memorable. Add to this equation the psychobilly vixen known as Poison Ivy, one of the preeminent guitar players of the entire punk scene, and you've got a volatile combination.

The Cramps began in 1976, riding and shaping the wave of punk rock erupting out of New York City. As with most of their peers, they were unique in style and message, combining rockabilly roots with a dark passion for the perverse. The Cramps pulled new life from the remnants of the past and created a legacy of their own.

This 14 track live disc was recorded in 1986 following the release of their 'A Date with Elvis' LP. I'd place this in my Top 10 albums almost any day of the week, and probably in the Top 3 best guitar albums. That's fuzzed out, crazed guitar...not the masturbatory noodlings of the Yngwie Malmsteen crowd...and it will melt your brain.

Here's a somewhat tame version of the first song on 'Rockinnreelininaucklandnewzealand', Hot Pearl Snatch:


...

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Cramps/02%20People%20Ain%27t%20No%20Good.mp3] Cramps - People Ain't No Good Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Cramps/13%20Georgia%20Lee%20Brown.mp3] Cramps - Georgia Lee Brown Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Cramps/05%20Sunglasses%20After%20Dark.mp3] Cramps - Sunglasses After Dark Link source

Check out their website for some high res photos and sadness, and their MySpace page for even more.

Look at all these crazy expensive collectible Cramps titles in GEMM!

26Feb/110

American Hardcore

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Today a friend of mine posted a link to an article from the Los Angeles Times entitled, Punk rock's creative and savage legacy at Subliminal Projects gallery, which talks about the photos and flyers, as well as the Raymond Pettibon & Winston Smith artwork, which will be on display at Subliminal Projects' Westside gallery through March 26th, 2011. More exciting still, for those near enough to attend, is a performance, tonight February 25, 2011, right now (well, over by now), by OFF!, the new Keith "Johnny" Morris vehicle that's got the hardcore kids all abuzz. Why am I talking about it, when I can't even go? Well, my friend suggested people rent the semi-recent (2007) film, American Hardcore - The History of Punk Rock 1980 - 1986, after they finished reading the article...and I was offended!

Why the hell would you rent American Hardcore when you can buy it new at Amazon for $8.49...with free shipping? It's a great piece of cultural history, seriously, and it really captures the spirit that existed among bands, and fans, in what mainstream America must have felt was a seemingly insignificant offshoot of punk rock. Time has proven that notion wrong, as leaders of many social movements have risen out of the iconoclastic fury that was American hardcore and the rest of us still feel the glowing embers of a deep, primal urge toward a less contrived, more thoughtful approach to politics, life, economics, education, etc., etc.

This was not a united scene for the most part. The divergent opinions that came through hardcore are as diverse and passionate as you can find anywhere, but there was always an underlying distrust of the authority figures who would try shutting down their shows, prosecute them on obscenity charges and who would never, ever invite them to the table to discuss a record deal. They knew they had to make it on their own and the world was not going to help them...so they did. The content of American Hardcore is nearly as powerful as the music, expressing that unique combination of ingenuity, innovation and contempt for the rules of our dominant systems.

You can feel the truth of what hardcore means in the interviews with its most well known proponents and performers. Yes, Keith is in it, so is Henry, and H.R., and yes, Ian...you know what I'm talking about. But that's not what it's really about, and I'm telling you, it's not an ego-fest, because all of those guys and gals from hardcore know it's about the music and standing up in your own life...so no, don't rent this film...buy it!

Eh, ok...I'll just toss in a few mp3 links for you (not necessarily in the documentary, but good, nonetheless):

[play-button:http://thedecibeltolls.com/mp3/Black%20Flag%20-%20The%20First%20Four%20Years%20-%2001%20-%20Nervous%20Breakdown.mp3] Black Flag - Nervous Breakdown Link source

[play-button:http://www.midwesternhousewives.com/silverunity/more/11%20Live%20Fast%20Die%20Young.mp3] Circle Jerks - Live Fast, Die Young Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Let%20Them%20Eat%20Jellybeans%20%281981%29/04%20Bad%20Brains%20-%20Pay%20To%20Cum.mp3] Bad Brains - Pay to Cum Link source

[play-button:http://www.minneapolisfuckingrocks.com/mp3/03%20Seeing%20Red.mp3] Minor Threat - Seeing Red Link source

and, just for good measure:

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Let%20Them%20Eat%20Jellybeans%20%281981%29/08%20The%20Feederz%20-%20Jesus%20Entering%20From%20The%20Rear.mp3] Feederz - Jesus Link source

17Feb/111

Loudmouths

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

While mainstream music mags and documentaries consider the mid-90's to be the period when Guns N' Roses handed music off to Nirvana, there was actually a great resurgence of punk happening at the time. Bands like Screeching Weasel, Teengenerate and Propagandhi were infusing new life into the scene that never died. This was also the era of Electric Frankenstein's "The Time is Now", the Rip Offs' "Got a Record" and our own "Squatters' Inc.". Not to be left behind, San Francisco's Loudmouths released their self-titled debut at the end of 1995/ beginning of '96, with a ferocity unheard since 1993's "!!Destroy-Oh-Boy!!" by the New Bomb Turks.

Enough 90's name dropping...this recording rocks! The raw, primitive, garage punk energy of the Loudmouths is enough to change any mood. Dulcinea has an intensity rivaling "Damaged" era Henry Rollins, and her vocals, combined with chainsaw guitars, flattering bass lines, and driving percussion make this overlooked and exciting gem a must have. At three buck each, I'd buy a bunch for my friends, too.

Even though they're all in new bands now, check out the Loudmouths official website and Beth Loudmouth's MySpace page and that of her new band, the Meat Sluts (MySpace) or the more useful Facebook page.

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Misc./01%20Saki%20to%20Me.mp3] Loudmouths - Saki to Me Link source

[play-button:http://www.tenbulls.com/gotobed/HandsUp!.mp3] Loudmouths - Hands Up! Link source

[play-button:http://www.tenbulls.com/gotobed/NoGuts.mp3] Loudmouths - No Guts Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Misc./17%20Creature.mp3] Loudmouths - Creature Link source

16Feb/110

Stupids

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

That OFF! box set has kinda put me in the mood for some mid-80's hardcore of the Stupids variety. Their offbeat sense of humor, driving speed and amazing breakdowns set them apart from the standard hardcore band...could be their UK roots showing. All I know is they're beyond classification and not nearly as accessible as, say...Minor Threat.

Comparisons are easy...Redd Kross, A.O.D., Gang Green...but the Stupids encompass and surpass them all in one way or another. I'm not saying they're necessarily a better band, just that they've got a style similar to, yet trancendent of Redd Kross, Gang Green and A.O.D. They figured out 2000's punk in the 1980's...repetitive speed followed by a killer, hook-drenched, melodic breakdown...and did it better.

These 33-song discs are dropping for four bucks a pop on Amazon...don't buy that stupid Starbucks coffee...get one of these instead! Or, you could plop down 20 bucks and get the 67-song Stupid is as Stupid Does: The Stupids Collection
...your choice. Bruce Springsteen, eat your heart out!

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Stupids/05%20Jesus%20Do%20What%20You%20Have%20To%20Do.mp3] Stupids - Jesus, Do What You Have To Do Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Stupids/27%20So%20Much%20Fun.mp3] Stupids - So Much Fun Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Stupids/14%20Always%20Never%20Fun.mp3] Stupids - Always Never Fun Link source

...and the best Springsteen-ish cover ever...

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Stupids/32%20Born%20To%20F__K.mp3] Stupids - Born to Fuck Link source

8Feb/111

Bad Times

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Stumbled across this crazy piece of garage rock history last week. Imagine grabbing two friends, hanging out for a day, writing and rehearsing songs, then recording it all the next day! That's exactly how this recording came into existence, as the semi-famous Eric Oblivian invited the even more semi-famous Jay Reatard (May 1, 1980 – January 13, 2010 - R.I.P.) and King Louie to some real Bad Times...and what great Bad Times they turned out to be.

This 14-song monster of garage rock rage is the product of the greatest minds of Memphis music circa 2001. Hyper-distortion and supersonic beats collide to create what would have been a defining album for any other group of rockers.

Here's how Reatard remembered it..."We went to New Orleans, practiced once, recorded an album and played one show." Here's some of that...

...and here are some songs...

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Misc./Garage/04%20the%20jim%20miller%20bounce.mp3] Bad Times - The Jim Miller Bounce Link source

[play-button:http://www.recidivism.org/music/badtimesband.mp3] Bad Times - Listen to the Band Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Misc./Garage/10%20trapped%20in%20the%20city.mp3] Bad Times - Trapped In The City Link source

Amazon is giving me a hassle about this picture and won't include it below, so here's what the CD looks like:
Bad Times s/t

7Feb/112

Teenage Head

Posted by LastofmyKind

If these guys had been from New York instead of Ontario, Canada  they would have been huge.  They get my respect by just naming their band after a Flamin' Groovies classic.  I wouldn't  classify these guys as strictly "punk", because you can tell they had actually listened to music BEFORE  the New York Dolls or The Stooges.  You can hear the influences on their 1979 debut self titled album. These guys must have worn out plenty of Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and Little Richard records.  This is some high energy stuff, poorly produced but great nonetheless. If you can't groove to "Picture my Face", "Curtain Jumper" or "Ain't Got No Sense" then you better go purchase some more Coldplay tracks from iTunes and slowly let your soul drown in the Abyss.

I absolutely think these guys could have been on the same field as the Ramones, but Canada didn't quite have the punk movement that NYC had in the late 1970's..... a shame,  they coulda' been contenders.

[play-button:http://www.teenagehead.ca/mp3s/TopDown-withMarkyRamone.mp3] Teenage Head (With Marky Ramone) - Top Down Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6571345/Teenage%20Head%20-%20Ain't%20Got%20No%20Sense.mp3] Teenage Head - Ain't Got No Sense Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6571345/Teenage%20Head-%20Picture%20My%20Face.mp3] Teenage Head - Picture My Face Link Source

[play-button:http://www.teenagehead.ca/mp3s/Frantic_City/04-LetsShake.mp3] Teenage Head - Let's Shake Link source

[play-button:http://www.teenagehead.ca/mp3s/Some_Kinda_Fun/08-SomeKindaFun.mp3] Teenage Head - Some Kind of Fun Link source

[play-button:http://www.teenagehead.ca/mp3s/Teenage_Head/06-CurtainJumper.mp3] Teenage Head - Curtain Jumper Link source

This is as close as I can find to a real Teenage Head Myspace page...ok, well, this says Official, but doesn't supply the music to back it up...and here's the official website.

..and here's your chance to grab some Teenage Head from Amazon....or rare stuff from Gemm.

16Jan/110

OFF!

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Why does it take a bunch of old guys to create one of the most exciting, new bands to appear in a number of years? Keith Morris (Black Flag/ Circle Jerks), Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Steven McDonald (Redd Kross), and Mario Rubalcaba (Earthless/ Hot Snakes/ Rocket From the Crypt) form OFF!, a "super group" that lives up to the title!

It's been a long time since a band played with this much ferocity, and it's exactly what we need right now. 16 songs, in about as many minutes, translates to a wake up call, not only to the whiny indie scene, but to the frustrated masses looking for a soundtrack to tar and feather their (insert your favorite, real-life villain here) to.

The major labels, and independents, could learn a thing or two from the way OFF! are doing things. As you can see below, about 1/4 of the material they've recorded is readily available for free download. The original 7" pressings sold out in a number of days, and with roughly 2 days of recording under their belts, OFF! are being cheered on by notable indie sites for bringing excitement back to music. They've kept their expenses down and created an aura of anticipation around their next move. By re-teaming with iconic artist Raymond Pettibon, releasing energetic and unrestrained music and videos, and playing the 80's hardcore card, they're making products people want to own...not just download.

I'd prefer owning the First Four Eps 7" Box Set on vinyl (available now), but there is a link at the bottom to get "The First Four EP's" on CD. (this is pre-order: release date Feb. 15, 2011)

[play-button:http://offofficial.com/Upsidedown.mp3] OFF! - Upside Down •Link source

[play-button:http://offofficial.com/Darkness.mp3] OFF! - Darkness •Link source

[play-button:http://www.viceland.com/blogs/en/files/2010/11/09-panic-attack.mp3] OFF! - Panic Attack •Link source

[play-button:http://downloads.pitchforkmedia.com/OFF!%20-%20I%20Don%27t%20Belong.mp3] OFF! - I Don't Belong •Link source

16Jan/110

Wire

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

When Wire released their 21 song masterpiece, "Pink Flag", in late 1977, they opened rock music to a completely new form of expression and experimentation. While the album didn't initially achieve great commercial success, it has received high critical praise, with Rolling Stone & NME magazines counting it among the greatest albums of all-time.

Their early works influenced artists ranging from the Pixies to the Minutemen. A number of bands have built themselves up by doing Wire covers, including a couple of my favorite tracks, [play-button:http://www.piccadillyrecords.com/mp3/Minor%20Threat%20-%2012XU.mp3] Minor Threat's version of "12XU" •Link source and the [play-button:http://boxstr.net/files/6697941_x5c0m/09%20Mr.%20Suit.mp3] New Bomb Turks' cover of "Mr. Suit". •Link source

Don't forget to check out the Official Wire website, their Twitter feed and their MySpace page.

[play-button:http://www.pinkflag.com/assets/mp3/3_Girl_Rumba.mp3] Wire - Three Girl Rumba •Link source

[play-button:http://www.pinkflag.com/assets/mp3/Dot_Dash.mp3] Wire - Dot Dash •Link source

[play-button:http://www.pinkflag.com/assets/mp3/Want_To_Ex_You.mp3] Wire - 12XU •Link source

[play-button:http://www.pinkflag.com/assets/mp3/wire-two-minutes.mp3] Wire - Two Minutes (from the new album Red Barked Tree)

Find all the great Wire titles @ GEMM!

15Jan/110

Wipers

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Next in the list of absolutely essential recordings is this box set containing the first three Wipers albums, and an EP from the time period, remastered and re-released in 2001. Included are 1979's "Is This Real?", the "Alien Boy" EP from 1980, "Youth of America" from 1981 and "Over the Edge" from 1983, which represent some of the most divergent and influential recordings in rock history. Along with all the recordings listed above, the collection offers 23 bonus songs, 6 songs of which had never been released, and liner notes written by the mastermind behind the Wipers, Greg Sage.

[play-button:http://www.recidivism.org/music/wipersctb.mp3] Wipers - Can This Be •Link Source

[play-button:http://notimetobe16.freeblog.hu/files/wipers%20-%2003%20-%20up%20front.mp3] Wipers - Up Front •Link Source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11894993/04%20The%20Chill%20Remains.mp3] Wipers - The Chill Remains •Link source

Head on over to the Zeno Records website to find out more!

There is also a fan site for the Wipers on MySpace.

Look at all these great Wipers titles @ GEMM!