|ISSUE 6.4||FALL 1996|
Intro | Notes & Letters | News & Rumors | Reviews | Misc. | Ads
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Joel Treadway for President! Be Bliss full. - Bob B.
For those of you who remain oblivious to the hype that surrounds Cheater Slicks, it is a three piece band consisting of two guitar players and a drummer. Yes, they are something of a scum rock band, and this single is the most fiery music I've heard from them so far, making for a superior introduction to the band than their more subdued Whiskey album. Don't get the wrong idea though. By no means at all do I mean to suggest that the Cheaters are merely a surlier version of the Stray Cats. Instead of basing their music on rockabilly, they're rooted in mid 60's garage rock. Imagine the furious stomp of the Stone's "Paint it Black" filtered through the over-driven guitar sound on the Velvet's "Sister Ray" and you'll have an excellent notion of what they sound like. There is enough fuzzy, hazy noise here to please fans of either Neil Young and Crazy Horse or early Dinosaur Jr, and like those bands, Cheater Slicks are surprisingly capable of singing about earnest human feeling. So where most bands in the greaser rock contingent are only able to cover Stooges songs about fucking and getting fucked up, the Cheater Slicks actually do the Modern Lovers song "Walk Up the Street." If you like this, their most recent album Don't Like You may be worth checking out. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe
Yep, its pop punk or pop alt with a bit of muddy distortion. Most of the tunes/lyrics are not just poppy, but humorous, silly, funny or sarcastic. With a bit more practice/playing time and stage confidence, theyll be a perty good live band.
Oh, the Meister is a drums, guitar/vocal, bass/vocal trio. The guitarists vocals are more melodic, emotive and smooth where the bassists vocals are fragmented and spoken. A good number of the tunes are in ballad-like tempos – but thats not to say theyre ballads.
Did I mention they covered the Violent Femmes Blister in the Sun? - Joel
When I first saw Creeper it was as a one man band, and I think the "Ohio" was added to the moniker to acknowledge the presence of Mike Rep and Tommy Jay on this recording that distinguishes it a bit from the nutty one-man-band concept (imagine one guy playing guitar, harmonica, and kick drum all at the same time.) Actually the sound here is, if anything, even more wonderfully oddball with kazoo and scrappy percussion creating a beautifully chaotic din one imagines a Sun Ra fan might enjoy. But Creeper is a folky at heart, and the song writing sensibility underneath the clatter owes a little something to the three B's: the Byrds, the Beatles, and Bob (as in Dylan). Regardless, this is a truly strange, and highly individual aesthetic. Nobody else that I know of (save maybe sometime accomplice Mike Rep) sounds quite like this. The music on this record is proof positive that Creeper practices what he preaches on the song "Think For Yourself." And how you resist funny, clever lyrics like the one on "New Improved Hit Single"?: "It's the coolest commercial on my album." Indeed, this single would make a pretty damned cool commercial for somebody's album. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe
This tape holds nothing new. Its just the same old in your face, take no prisoners, get out of my face, and drink more beer! This tape is pure Thug!
It has a very homemade feel to it, which fits them perfectly. It even has guest performances from Richard Petty, Speed Racer, and the God loving Ned Flanders. So all I can say is God bless you boys. - L. via Cringe
(The above review was handed to me on a cocktail napkin. And ya thought this was high tech! - Ed.)
Well, they still have that heavy sludgecore type thing going on. The vocalist has a more hoarse, demonic, low pitched, deathmetal/industrial chant going on through all the tunes. The lead guitar in the first tune hints at an acid rock/Middle East style. Musically, the second tune is a bit more standard with some almost poppy vocal and guitar hooks in the chorus. Theres even a short bass solo. The third song makes that Black Sabbath influence fairly evident. Warpigs or something else from Paranoid. - Joel
Though the quality of the songs bore a hole through the album's poorly conceived production, Hairy Patt evidently learned the right lesson from the experience because the subsequent "Brown" single sported a grittier, distorted, more "live" sound. Now with this release, the process seems to have come full circle, because the dirty production has been combined with a more adventurous, experimental approach to the recording process itself. The stripped-down blues of the B-side is my favorite, with it sped-up, almost Captain Beefheart vocals, and what I swear must be a flute accompaniment lurking beneath the noise. The more aggressive A-side, is notable for drumming so unbelievably kinetic you might think Joe Patt has been cloned. Someone suggested listening to this record at 33 RPM, and strangely enough it works as noisy, dirgey, trash rock a la early Monster Truck Five. This may be Hairy Patt's best recording to date. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe
Indeed there is just enough art damage on this recording to make you wonder how Ron House got to become such a punk rock icon in the first place. Especially noticeable are the traces of Cleveland/Akron mid seventies avant-garage scene. Ron's whiny vocal tantrums and Sylvester the Cat like slurping are total Electric Eels. An awareness of Pere Ubu, Devo, and perhaps the Styrenes is also apparent in the wonderful noises created by Twisted Shout Chuck Kubat's performances on a curious service known as an "Audio Servo Generator." Actually, the influences run beyond Ohio to encompass the gamut of late 70's post punk. The Moses Carryout rhythm section of Kim Workman and Greg Six perform cool sounding dirges that could have been lifted from Joy Division or the Fall. And the clatter of the Twisted Shouts's "Love yourself/Loose Yourself" sounds like a lost Swell Maps outtake.
Producer/Twisted Shout guitarist Mike "Rep" Hummel, in his liner notes declares that the Twisted Shouts remain "the most Avant Garde group" to have ever been created in Columbus. I wouldn't know about that one way or the other, but whatever the case this music does not sound the least bit dated. In part this can be attributed to the fact the influences that shaped these songs remain so highly regarded; however, I think the timelessness of this music has more to do with the fact that underneath the noise are actual rock songs that belie any "avant garde" pretensions. The Twisted Shout's "Chuck Berry's Orphan" has a powerful enough rhythmic base to sound good next to Slave Apartment's rockers like "Down To High Street" and "My Mysterious Death (Turn it Up)"; and a song like Moses Carryout's "Cause Without the Rebel" is lyrical enough to make you wonder when Bob Dylan's going to cover it. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe
Okay, youve guessed that Im not much of a fan of the genre(s) in question (but youre biased about everything too, so please dont bother writing me a letter about it). However, I think In Moebius fails to compel me mostly for their lack in personal or aesthetic vision. Their lyrics and music are all familiar, generic anger; nothing here even comes close to the deeply personal anger of something like Lou Reeds Berlin album. I mean these guys sound constipated, like theyre following the Thrasher Magazine Book of Musical Etiquette. Anger-by-numbers. In Moebiuss idea of adding variety to their music is throwing in a lounge number at the end of the cassette (as a joke, of course; God forbid anybody think they actually liked Frank Sinatra). They probably think that any music that even hints at more complicated feeling or tender emotion is for wusses. Too bad, because they could learn from the example of something like Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground if they want to discover how to write incredibly tough albums and yet speak of an amazingly wide range of human emotion. Listening to In Moebius is like listening to people who complain about their problems, but never do anything about them. You just want to say, why dont you figure out why youre so angry, and how to make yourself happy, and stop blaming everybody else? But just as those sort of people fail to ever look inside themselves, In Moebius chooses to look outside, indiscriminately ranting about taxes or thoughtlessly dropping political buzz-words as if it were somehow deeply insightful to tell us that we live in a messed-up world. If these guys want to be deep, they should try their hand at writing sociopolitical analysis; this is just sub-pathological bitching. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe
The recording quality is at least as good as the times Ive done sound for them (pretty much every time they play Bernies). Like I said, it tends to be noise and feedback driven. Lyrically, their songs fall more into the Beer Run category: just a few repeated words about the bar, band and beer drinking lifestyle.
Gee, and I was just gonna take the easy way out by simply regurgitating the song titles as a review. Aw, what the heck: Incident, Loose Control, Monster, I Smoke Shit, Shut Up, Asshole, Little Girl, I Wanna Die, Burn in Hell, and Cant Find My Mind. - Joel
My favorite track is their cover of an early Ron House song: Cause Without the Rebel. Its a classic song--especially the lyrics--and I think it was insightful of Log to recognize that the song is equally convincing sung in a womans voice (bass player, Shirley Tobias sings). Though Mr. House has cultivated a reputation of indulging in writing boys-will-be-boys anthems like Cheaters Heaven it is clear here, he is capable of expressing complex emotions that know no gender boundaries.
My other favorite track is the title song, because it reminds me of the country inflected, organ-drenched, white-gospel my parents got me into when I was a little kid (No kidding). As a lyricist Mr. Nini engages in too many generalities/homilies (Ive been searching for the longest time/to reclaim what I thought was mine) to be any match for the wonderfully specific words of the House song (I used to dream/that we would meet/in the middle of a riot/and kiss in the street,/but ten years have passed/and were still apart/no one knows what to do with their heart), but at least he writes about more uniquely human feelings than the visceral urges that most punk rockers prefer to sing about.
Nothing I Can Use, another good song, is a jangley, peppy, mid-tempo rocker that suggests that the Feelies comparisons are not completely unjustified, though the vocals remind me more of the dueling male/female vocals of Antietam (Note to Mr. Nini: this does not mean you should start including Antietam comparisons in your press kit). The final song Just because You Can has a folky, homespun character that was charming to me the first couple of times I heard it. Now it gets on my nerves. The chorus is too repetitious, and I think they go into overkill on the vocal harmonies (their harmonies just arent that appealing to me, because they arent technically good singers and shouldnt pretend to be.) If youre less rockist than me, you might enjoy this song too, and, frankly, people who only want to rock should avoid this recording altogether. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe
Id probably scream my lungs off too if someone spun me around, flipped me over and spun me around again. Id at least get dizzy enough to see butterflies. ‘Look, a Lilac Butterfly. Id probably demand a little more respect and attention,too... Just a second Girly , I got to get the Machine. Theres a guy gabbing on the horn, on the Talkline. Kind of interesting. Better in person. May be itll go somewhere on Earth? - Ann Earthling via Cringe
Let me state this up front. For a short period NUdE guitarist Brian Lucey and I played in a band together. His earlier bands, Wishyfish and Plectorhythm, were two of my favorites. (OK, I never warmed up to the plecto name thing.) Wishyfish is still one of my favorite, but deceased locals; and Brian is still one of my favorite guitarists.
Now on to NUdE... Two guitarists (Brian Lucey and Matt Michalski) with a bit of that Fripp Crafty Guitar technique/training. Bill of Plastic Factory/Medicine Wheel and Stunt Baby on bass and two drummers: Jim Castoe of Men of Leisure and Ned Wreckman fame and Doug Carraway (of Throat?).
Bob Petric (Girly Machine, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments guitarist) once asked me why NUdE had two drummers. My response: Jimmys not good enough. Dont ya love sarcasm. Jimmy is one of the strongest drummers in town. Its nice to see him have a chance to fiddle around with more sparse or intricate percussion.
The music is very atmospheric with lots of neat guitar sounds, effects, chords and patterns - almost Security-era Peter Gabriel/Eno type organic sound/ambience/vocals. They also have some heavier, blusier moments. Of course there are generous drum incidentals, polyrhythms and atmospherics.
The problem is they never seem to go all out or far from a common medium. The tribal aspects are OK, but the overall big organic sound ends up becoming rather lackluster for me. I dont know, maybe some more up tempo time changes would help. Maybe a little more dissonance; more clashing in the sonority, style and register of the guitars would make me happy. Maybe it has something to do with their Seattle-based New Age-oriented label, Deep Music. Maybe I just really miss Wishyfish. - Joel
(The day after completing this review I got word that there may be a reunion of sorts in the works with Brian and at least a couple members of Wishyfish. Hmm, Just sayin it can make it happen. - Kate Bush. - Ed.)
On the Jerry DeCicca side, we get--of all things--a traditional folk song called "Choir of Boys." Since my own knowledge of the genre is probably only a little better than the average Stache's regular, I think we'll all be better off if I talk about this in the context the rock n' roll most of know more about. Like any good Lou Reed song it tells a story; here, we have a narrator whose girl has skipped town, leaving him stuck with contemplating the emotional danger of becoming just another member of his girl's "choir of boys." Jerry's singing voice, really a slow, bucolic warble, is as eccentric as the vocal contortions by such post-moderns as Yoko Ono, Dave Thomas, or, uh, our own Ron House. It may take getting used to. There seems to be a conscious use of negative space--silent pauses in the music--that even indie rockers into the Pixies or Slint might be able to appreciate. Despite the slow, almost radically slow pace (a la "On the Beach" period Neil Young), there is enough quiet, introspective melody to be found to please fans of American Music Club. Of all the "solo-acoustic" musicians that have sprung up on the campus music scene of late, Jerry sounds to my ears to be the most deeply aware of traditional folk music which means he's either the most old-fashioned, or the most radical. In either case, if you consider yourself adventurous for checking into Will Oldham's Palace (Brothers, Songs, etc.), you ought to start investigating more traditional music whether you buy this or not. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe
The Hairy Patt Band's song "New, New Shiteater (sic) Blues" is as the title says, a "new" version of the song that appears on the Buford's Last Pusser album. This is a faster, more furious take, closer to their live shows, and in my mind superior to the cleaner sounding album version. It's a good listen, especially if you have yet to become familiar with their Pussy Galoreish take on folk and blues, but I must confess I simply don't understand why the band didn't go ahead and put out a song they've never before released.
I don't know much about The Beel Jak, but I believe they are named after a brand of frozen (?!) dog food, and were once tagged by Moo magazine as a metal band. Interestingly their song is called "What is this, Metal?" Hard to tell these days with all the "alternative"/metal cross over stuff now on the radio, but this song is sludgy and slow enough to be more Sabbath than Megadeath, but too dissonant to be, uh, "grunge." I wouldn't mind hearing more from these guys, but I probably wouldn't run out to see them play Bernie's on a Sunday night just to do so.
The Lee Harvey Keitel Band sport the funniest name on the compilation (despite being free of dog food references) and sound--on this song, anyway--like they could have a successful jam session with the guys in Hairy Patt. In other words they take folk music, amp it up, and mix it with a sick Zappa/Fugs like sense of humor. Though not as distorted or as ferocious as Hairy Patt, I still can't help but wonder if they are Hairy. Maybe they should do a show together just so I can stop wondering.
Slur, in contrast, is total ear candy complete with mash-note lyrics that Cheap Trick fans will appreciate. They play Descendants-style rock that some of you would probably want to call punk, but I would rather call "power pop" since I question the priorities of anyone who'd want to be a self-identified punk in 1996 and isn't old enough to be Dee Dee Ramone (or Jerry Garcia for that matter). If you're a sucker for this kind of sound, you'll probably like this, but don't you already have enough Buzzcocks et. al in your collection? - Nathan Weaver via Cringe
For tonight's show, Heifer opened up. The sound system was hardly able to contain their mass/mess of country funk destruction.With a prime horn section, wacky songs and tons going on at the same time, Heifer never ceases to confuse and amaze me. They have a very kinetic live show and although tonight's performance was not as crazy as I have seen them do, they were still very good.
Next up, Boy Wonder, is still one of my favorite bands. Tonight they kidnap a Bigfoot song and give us their version of "Come On". It sounds different, given the instrumentation, but they lay into it anyway. In case you don't know Boy Wonder is a quartet with a drummer, keyboardist, bass player that plays like a guitarist and a vocalist reminiscent of an Irish Michael Stipe. They get compared to REM a lot; and from where I stand that is a good thing. They have a lot of melody and emotion (two of my favorite things) going on, both of which are exhibited well on their two independently released 7"s. They actually rock pretty hard for not taking advantage of distortion pedals or a guitar.
But nothing could prepare for the vicious onslaught of SCRAP ROCK!!!; that is Preston Furman. This band is in top form when they actually fall apart mid-song, sometimes never recovering. But it doesn't matter. Three singers and multiple song writers means they never lock down into one style, instead taking them all and violently melting them down into one pure form. The drummer, Jason, is especially fun to watch as he crashes around his drum kit Animal style. Tonight he manages to sever two digits and pierce an eyeball (luckily not his own). As always, no matter how serious or life threatening the injury, the show does continue. Great songs, super, no bullshit guitar heroism and charisma to burn ... I take these guys over any band , anywhere, ever. PRESTON FURMAN is THE GREATEST BAND ON EARTH!!!!!
Anyway, they were good tonight. But, as usual, no one came. Good food, good friends, tonight was kinda special. Being from Raleigh, NC and the only out of town band, Boy Wonder was given all of the door money. They made $8.00. - Lizard
The vocalist, the one with the long hair that led a friend to expect, even hope, for a metal band, did the lower, somewhat pleading male vocal croon thing. Yeah, kinda an American Bono or Blood Sweat and Tears David Clayton Thomas ... or that guy from Jesus Christ Superstar. (They covered U2s In Gods Country.) Not too much Vedder, though. I take that back. Later in the set I did start to hear a bit of that Seattle influence. But, hey, I heard a bit of Rush too – without the pompous musical artistry.
As far as the instrumentalists go, the drummer seemed perty bored most of the time. Maybe thats his schtick? The guitarist stuck to prettier arpeggiated chords with a chorus/slight echo effect and just a bit of distortion. His leads didnt seem too heartfelt, but they were minimal. The bassist was perty smooth and appeared to be the trained musician of the bunch. His Cure t-shirt wasnt completely out of place, either.
In short, Seasons End is a pretty alternative pop band with a harmless edge and lower male vocals. 5-10 years ago I think I played the same kinda stuff. - Joel