Every two months, you will found a bunchload of (mostly) exciting reviews of recently (re)issued records. Tired of the one-man-thing, I asked a couple of pals to contribute so I was very pleased that all three of 'em were delighted to join the "Batarang Review Gang". 'M&M' and 'Tom Bazooka' will start contributing from the September-October issue, while 'Sam' shares his love for trashy lo-fi rock 'n roll from now on...

 

JULY - AUGUST 2005

 

Daddy Wants a Cold Beer and Other Million Sellers - THE A-BONES (Norton Records 2005 - 2CD)

Some ten years ago, I attended a concert by the A-Bones and to this day, it still is the most frantic balls out garage rock 'n' roll party I have ever witnessed. The sloppy greatness of their sound and the beer-addled enthusiasm made the sweaty crowd dance like fools for over two hours. Unfortunately, it was a one-time experience since the A-Bones only made it once to Europe. This awesome compilation however comes close to the greatness of that fabulous night in 1993. 'Daddy Wants A Cold Beer And Other Million Sellers' celebrates the A-Bones' 20th Anniversary and culls 46 tracks from singles & unissued tracks. As with all Norton releases, this terrific release comes with a giant photo booklet and exciting liner notes. Party time!!! *luKe*

 

Es Largo El Camino - ANA Y JAIME (Amort Records 2005)

Columbian brother-sister duo Ana y Jaime were only teenagers (respectively 15 and 17 years old!!!) when they recorded 'Es Largo El Camino'. Sung all in Spanish, this obscure 60's gem has now been reissued although I doubt whether this is an official release because there is no barcode and the packaging is really poor. The music however is a true revelation : wonderful psychedelic folk sounds & fabulous cool organ-drenched 60's pop! The songwriting is amazing and it's very hard to pick favourites as all of the 13 songs are truly godlike! I rate Ana Y Jaime as high as Os Mutantes which is quite a statement but then again, the music on 'Es Largo El Camino' really is a gift from heaven! A quintessential release! (I bought my copy at The Freak Emporium, non-Europeans should try Other Music.) *luKe*

 

Hooked By Love – The Best of HOMER BANKS (Stateside/EMI Records 2005 - midprice CD)

This midprice compilation by Homer Banks simply ranks among the greatest soul reissues of the last couple of years. It might as well have been the next installment in Honest Jons' recent reissue series of unsung soul heroes (remember those terrific Candi Staton, Bettye Swann and Willie Hightower collections). Homer Banks, who died two years ago in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, was an amazing producer and songwriter (among others for the Stax label) as well as a very gifted Southern soul singer. This anthology concentrates solely on Banks' small but formidable body of work as a singer. The songs fall broadly into two camps: the riff-heavy dance tracks and the big Southern soul ballads. He proves himself a master of both styles. Although much lesser known, Homer Banks' versatile talents can easily be compared with Don Covay's. The release of these recordings was mooted first at Sequel then at Westside and finally at Connoisseur Collection, but now in 2005 they finally arrive on CD at their natural home - Stateside. Hard to figure why such a great legacy has been gathering dust for so long since this is 24 karats Southern soul music. The informative booklet with song-to-song info is an added bonus to this 20-track compilation. A landmark release and essential purchase! *luKe*

 

Battleship - BATTLESHIP (Raw Deluxe 2005 - LP)

Cool noisy, weird and bitter post-punk album by this band Battleship here. I have no idea where these guys come from or what they look like or whether their bottoms look feasible or whatever, but they do seem able to combine the art punk utter destruction of bands like The Piranhas and The Popular Shapes with a macabre touch of The Phantom Limbs and maybe just a sniff of hardcore. This is a one-sided 7-song LP and “Parasite” is my favourite. They sound like bad dressers. *sAm*

 

Black Lips: Live at WFMU LP (Dusty Medical)

These Atlantians play that totally stripped down yet surprisingly original sounding garagepunk crap, yours truly just happens to enjoy. These recording were made live at the WFMU radio station in New York and in fact I think this is the best they have ever done. Comes in a very cool DIY self pasted package with a “Bad to the bong” theme. The titles on the back of the album are all fake, as this contains all your favourites like “I got a knife”, “Freak out”, “Juvenile”, etc., etc.…also the original version of “She’s not white”, a song they gave to the Lids. They sound as wild, funny and destructive as you would expect them to be, or as they put it themselves: “We from Georgia, so we’s stupid”, leading up to a radioman ending these historical recordings with the words: “What a mess”. I can’t wait to see them in the Pit’s again. I would already like to announce that I plan to get very, very, very, very, drunk on said occasion. I might also be naked while eating French fries and make comical movements with my penis while dancing. I haven’t made up my mind yet. *sAm*

 

Brainkiller - BRAINKILLER (LP)

Another killed by death/bloodstains across/hyped2death alike compilation, with the difference that this is a bit wavier than aforementioned comps and that it’s actually freaking good, compared to some of the more recent KBD’s. What you get here is all American stuff ’77-’83, ranging from better known or already reissued things like Crime, The Gizmos, Los Reactors (with the killer synth driven track “Be a zombie”) and Cynecide, but also some very interesting obscurities like The Symptoms, Bob, The Tanks, The Units,…the strange ducklings in the batch geographically are Familia Real from the Canary Islands (?!). Cool to think how apart from hordes of fat swimmingshorts wearing German tourists in the late 70’s these islands were also inhabited by swastika wearing teenage punks. This might have a bit more synths than your usual compilation of punk rarities, but I think it’s very good and I even think it can stand right up there with the first four KBD’s. *sAm*

 

Demon's Claws - DEMON'S CLAWS (P-trash Records 2005 - LP)

Cool new garage rock’n’roll band from Montreal, Canada featuring Skip Jensen (Scat Rag Boosters) on drums if that’s a reference. It’s pretty raw in production and exciting enough to keep me coming back to this, as I’m just a fan of this kind of ’60 inspired broken down garage/r’n’b stuff. Reminds me of a faster Mystery Girls. Nice. *sAm*

These guys sound like the bastard sons of the mighty Cheater Slicks. The wild sloppy sound of raw guitars & desperate vocals make this an awesome killer release. Hands down, one the best punk-blooze releases of 2005! Buy or die!!! *luKe*

 

Radioactive - DUTCH MASTERS (Goner Records 2005 - 7”)

New Memphis outfit featuring Eric Oblivian and Scott Rogers from the Cool Jerks, but sounding pretty different from these previous bands, as this is very straightforward punk stuff and with a-side “Radioactive” they might have written the near perfect song in said genre, add to this that the two songs on the b-side are killer as well and you find yourself hooked up with one mandatory 7”. Now let us just cross our fingers and pray that Robby G. gets these guys to make it across the big pond in the fall. *sAm*

 

Learn to hate the feelers - THE FEELERS (Dead beat Records 2005 - LP)

I had very high expectations of this and although this sounds a bit stranger in production then I thought it would be, I can already announce that this is probably going to one of THE records of 2005 for me. What you get here is the best of 70’s punk without any of the boring clichés pulled through a modern day meatgrinder. The Catholic Boys meeting up with the Clone Defects after getting total wrong road directions from The Spits, to create this record on a four track in the neighbourhoods crappiest glasscontainer and steal booze and cigarettes from the Reatards. Very artpunk but totally bouncy, wild, aggressive and all the other big words you wanna hear. However this nowhere tops their “Fuhrer’s New Miniskirt” 7” this is an absolute must have. *sAm*

 

Final Solutions: Eye don’t like you 7”(Shit Sandwitch)

Oh boy, oh boy! Memphis’ stupid sunglasses and ducktape clad sleeveless punk thugs The Final Solutions have returned with another 7” and it rips. Jay Reatard on drums, goofy yet dangerous keyboard and Zack’s mongoloid singing are once more combined in 3 blast of utter nihilism and the “please give these guys a fanta” feeling is omnipresent. Get this now or weep like a little whipped puppy later. *sAm*

 

Rosco’s Rhythm – ROSCO GORDON (Charly Records 2005 - Budget CD)

Here's another great budget release featuring 30 (!) R&B killer drillers by one of the most distinctive of urban bluesmen. Rosco Gordon began his recording carreer at Sam Phillips' SUN label and most of those dynamite tracks, recorded between 1951 and 1956, can be found here. It's great to hear how this cool cat's enthusiasm for music shines through these raucious recordings. The compilers proudly state that this is one of the most comprehensive Rosco Gordon packages and I full heartedly agree. Definitely hard to beat! *luKe*

 

Here comes… - THE HEARTATTACKS (P-trash Records 2005 - LP)

From Savage-city Stockholm comes yet another great punk’n’roll explosion, this time featuring members of The Blacks and The Tokyo Knives and although I wasn’t that impressed by their previous 7” this album will blow you away. They can easily win the Teengenerate copycat award of the 2000’s (heavily Swedish accented vocals, four songs with the word “baby” in the title alone) but that’s ok, as it’s very well done. It’s the same rollercoaster ride you’ve been on a zillion times before, but that doesn’t make it any less fun, and I’m sure all you garagepunker types will be happily giggling along to this in your little rooms, probably surrounded by enormous piles of used Kleenex. *sAm*

 

Hot Machines: hole in my heart 7” (Cass)

I discovered this band on the 'Maybe Chicago' compilation but it wasn’t until I saw some of their live footage on the 'Chicago blackout 2003' DVD that I became seriously impressed. As you have probably already figured out this is another Chicago band, consisting of a fiery 20-year old redhead called Miss Alex White on guitar, Jered from The Ponys on the other guitar and Matt from the Baseball Furies on drums. They play a great Velvet Underground/Modern Lovers inspired kind of fierce and intense garage rock’n’roll that works very good for me. The a-side “Hole in my heart” is a slower Patty Smith alike song sang by Alex and b-side “I draw your face” a faster rocker sang by Jered. I don’t know if they are still active, but this is sure worthy of your attention. *sAm*

 

Circuit breaker love - KILL-A-WATTS (Rip Off Records 2005 - LP)

If you like 'real' punkrock, you like Rip Off Records and if you like Rip Off Records you gotta love the Kill-A-Watts. Although they’ve broken up by now, I think this second album shows the band at it’s peak, right up there with their “New things” 7”. While not straying too much from the first album sound wise, the songwriting is better and it all blends together nicely. For those off you unfamiliar with this 2 guys/1 girl outfit with male/female vocals I could tell you they play fast punk’n’roll in the vein of Teengenerate, New Bomb Turks, and the whole nowadays 'Wisconsin invasion' and do a cool cover off “Can’t stand the Midwest” by Dow Jones and the industrials, so I guess this would go nicely with striped t-shirts and hot dogs. *sAm*

 

THE KING KHAN & BBQ SHOW (Goner Records 2005 - LP)

Holy Shit! This is awesome!! Two of the most exciting men of the Canadian punk rock 'n roll scene team up and make an instant classic album! Well, in fact they already played together in The Spaceshits but this is something else : 12 bona fide smash hits that keeps you spinning the album over and over again. This is the kind of record you will cherish for the rest of your life, a platter for every occasion, the ultimate proof that real rock 'n roll will never die. I'm speechless. This is the shit!!! *luKe*

 

King Khan & the Shrines: Mr.Supernatural LP (Hazelwood)

Superwild and ultra-groovie chieftain King Khan (ex-Spaceshits) and his tribe of shrines returns with one heck of a great soul/funk/boogaloo album that will fill dancefloors immediately and lead up to some quite out of control buttshaking. It contains mainly wild dancers, some James Brown/King Coleman alike howlers and both sides have a cool ballad type song. Essential at any party and in these gloomy days of MTV r’n’b crap this is something to lock yourself in the house with and spin it over and over and over and… *sAm*

 

In de winkel - KRUNCHIES (Criminal IQ 2004 - lP)

After being very impressed by their “Wargasm” 7” last year I knew I had to pick this up as soon as possible, which proved to be a very wise decision indeed, as the Chicago hardcore/punk maelstrom captured on these 12” of black plastic blows me away time and again. Hard, fast & furious songs, pounding drums, Amanda’s and Kevin’s vocals work very well together and the overall feeling is a very tight one. They seem to draw influences from the early hardcore bands like Black Flag or The Circle Jerks, but also go very well with modern punk bands like The Feelers, Catholic Boys, Functional Blackouts... The best hardcore/punk record of 2005 so far, unless you’re one of those Agnostic Front types off course. *sAm*

 

The Lamps - THE LAMPS (in the red 2005 - LP)

Ooooh yeah, I know some of you garagepunkers will hide under your cosy little KBD blankets as soon as I mention the name “In The Red” but if you don’t pick this up I declare you a fool, as this is just awesome! Think all the old Crypt stuff : Beguiled, Cheater Slicks, Country Teasers, Oblivians,…raw vocals, angry hooks and total fuckedupness are the basic ingredients here, very dark and making you wanna dance around in the most ridiculous way and smash something at the same time, yet this description doesn’t do them any justice, as they seem to have developed their own sound. These guys came completely out of the blue to me but I sure hope to hear more from them in the future. Your new favourite band! *sAm*

 

The Covert Stomp - DAN MELCHIOR (Hate Records 2005 - LP/CD)

Here’s a great collection from our favourite garage blues troubadour. Dan Melchior is originally from London but moved to New York City in 2000. Most people will know him from his work with Billy Childish and Holly Golightly, but where he really shines is on a couple of albums he recorded with his band The Broke Revue and on some solo stuff he did for various obscure labels. Although the roots of his music go back to American folk music from the Great Depression Era and lowdown prewar blues, his music easily stands on its own. This collection is subtitled ‘Archival Recordings 1992-2002’ and features 17 previously unreleased recordings, most of ‘em recorded in England. What we get to hear are some great renditions of old blues songs like Skip James’ “Special Rider”, Blind Willie McTell’s “Broke Down Engine” (godlike!) and Bukka White’s “Aberdeen Mississippi Blues”. The way he adds that great raw garage blues touch to these classics is a pure delight and proofs that Melchior is not a silly copycat. Next to these cover versions are traditionals arranged by the man himself. Genuine interpretations of gems like Sam Cooke’s “Wade in the Water” and The Tenneva Ramblers’ “The Longest Train I Ever Saw” show that Dan Melchior is a true artist with his heart in the right place. Add to this a couple of great originals and you get an idea of the greatness exposed on ‘The Covert Stomp’.The CD version has 2 extra songs, both formats issued by the Italian 'Hate Records'. *luKe*

 

The Mojomatics: A sweet mamma gonna hoodoo me LP (Alien Snatch)

Besides The Intellectuals and Motorama sunny Italy has yet another rock’n’roll duo to offer. These gentlemen go under the name 'The Mojomatics' and happen to have produced one of the best rock’n’roll/bluespunk records ever made by a two man band. This will get you shaking from the beginning to the end, from straight rock’n’rollers to swampblues infested stuff over bluegrass tingled ditties with an omnipresent stomp and cool harmonica that never comes too much into the foreground. This sounds very full for a 2-man band and if there was any justice in this cruel world they should at least have a pizza named after them. *sAm*

 

M.O.T.O: Single files CD (Criminal IQ)

Now if there ever was a band that’s been very sadly overlooked it’s the masters of the obvious. These guys are from Chicago and have been going since the mid-eighties, releasing about 18 albums, almost all on cassette and this is a compilation of their singles from 1988 to 1994. These guys play punk/powerpop with a greatness you have never witnessed, and with a funny simplicity that makes loli and the chones look like brain surgeons. Songs like “Crystallize my penis”, “It’s so big it’s fluorescent”, “I’m infected”, “Places we used to go” all remain clustered inside your skull, causing you to hum along to them all day. If you haven’t been introduced to M.O.T.O yet, then get this, as this is ESSENTIAL. *sAm*

 

N°1 de Number 1 (Popular African Music 2004 - CD)

Günter Gretz of the wonderful German ‘Popular African Music’ label has issued a third volume in Dakar Sound’s anthology of Senegalese legends Number One de Dakar. He proudly states that this compilation does not feature tracks that are on the Dakar Sound releases which is some mighty good news since Number One de Dakar tracks are scarce as hen’s teeth. After I had bought this CD, I felt like a fidgety schoolboy and could hardly wait to pop the CD in the stereo. As soon as I had done, I realised that this collection of tracks that are compiled from various albums and cassettes is another essential African milestone. Not an everyday occurrence! At times, Orchestre Number One de Dakar consisted of up to 15 musicians and attracted excited audiences all along the West African Coast during the 1970’s. Their style was broad : from traditional wolof music to popular latin stuff. The group consisted of five singers, of whom the salsa crooner Pape Seck would later become famous as the founding member of African salsa legends Africando who also featured Medoune Diallo from Orchestre Baobab and amateur boxing champion Nicolas Menheim. The music on ‘N°III de Number 1’ is breathtakingly beautiful. "Alee" for example is the kind of majestic African ballad that only true legends are able to deal with. It’s a praise song for King Bilame Diemé, a generous ruler who always cared for his people. The respect and devotion of the singers and musicians shines throughout this brilliant song. The sounds Yakhya Fall conjures out of his guitar are extraordinary. He truly is a master on the effect pedal and his inspirational playing is pure magic. In "Yonou Dara Ji" for example, his guitar goes where few have gone before (and ever since). You won’t find this unique guitar player in Mojo’s ‘100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time’ which tells a lot about the genuineness of that certain mag and is another classic example of Western supremacy. I myself am really hooked on this terrific music which guarantees a transcendental experience. You own it to yourself to listen at least once to this amazing collection. It is mind-blowingly good, really! *luKe*

 

Basement Anthology 1976-84 – PENETRATORS (Swami 2005 - CD)

Most of the tracks that appear on this CD are taken from the 1988 'Kings of Basement Rock' collection on Venus Records that gathered the band's early singles and unreleased favorites from 1976-1982. This greatest hits collection was later reissued on Italy's Rave Up Record as part of their 'American Lost Punk Rock Nuggets' and that title really hits the nail on the head! Syracuse's The Penetrators were a rebellious bunch of wannabe rock 'n roll stars that made the kind of irresistible & snotty garage punk rock and roll that still sounds vital today. There are too many standout tracks to list highlights and some, like the genious "Rock-N-Roll Face", have become real anthems in this household! I don't know why the people at Swami replaced the studio version of "The Scandalizer" by a live version but with 7 bonus tracks, a "Shopping Bag" video and 44 classic Penetrators images there's really no reason to complain at all! *luKe*

 

Music For Funsters – REAL LOSERS (Alien Snatch 2005 - LP)

Whooaaaaaa!!!! Talking about a party album!! After their raw-assed blasting debut album on Squirrel Records, 'Music For Funster' is another noisy punk rock 'n roll attack that'll make you swing the curtains & go completely berserk! Adrenaline-driven & way over the top, this is the kind of record that makes my day! If you don't get a kick out of this, uhm... well, I suppose you better keep on comparing the latest range of megapixel camera cellphones... *luKe*

 

Monster Child - REATARDS (Zaxxon Virile Action 2005 - 7”)

Yeeeaaas! Praise the lord in heaven and all the faggy looking little angels above as the Reatards have reformed and blessed us with a new 7”. With sweaty hands I put on this highly anticipated masterpiece and the satisfaction was immediate. From the first seconds when Jay screeches: “You’re such a pretty dame, I believe I used to dream” it’s just one hate and frustration filled 4-song bluespunk deadride to the final collapse. As pissed off as Jay was at 16, the more pissed off he seems at 25(?), and I got the same feeling all over again like when I heard “I’m so gone” for the very first time. Three new songs and one alternate version of “Tell a lie on me”. Get this! *sAm*

 

River City Tanlines: Black knight 7”(Misprint)

Apart from her (great) indierock band Mouserocket the ever prolific Alicja Trout (Lost Sounds) now has another non-Jay Reatard project called The River City Tanlines, just because it sounded funny. Fun does seem to be the main goal here with songtitles like “Bummer in the summer” or “Drag you down to my level” and there’s nowhere a synthesizer around, but pretty bouncy, beer in hand sorta bored at a barbeque in the backyard kinda straight up rock done the Alicja way. *sAm*

 

Shop Fronts/DC Snipers 7” (Your Permanent Records 2005)

Great, great, great New York split here, with the DC Snipers rockin’ out some very decent late 70’s influenced punkrawk, but the winners for me personally here are the Shop Fronts. This band off 2 girls, 2 boys and female vocals play that typical NY punk’n’roll sound we’re used from all the local 70’s bands (Ramones, Heartbreakers…) as well as modern bands such as The Mullens, The Stallions, The Little Killers, The Tie Reds and with a bit of soul jive like The Ghetto Ways but rawer. The guy from Underground Medicine mailorder told that “these recordings don’t live up to the band”, so I’m pretty dazzled as what to expect from them in the future. *sAm*

 

We don’t care about your good times - TURPENTINE BROTHERS (Alive Records 2005 - LP)

I was actually pretty excited when I found the album of this New York garagerock’n’roll band at my front door, as I knew it had Tara from Mr. Airplane Man in it and Oblivians comparisons were flying all over in reviews. But I don’t really hear any Oblivians, I think it’s more Reigning Sound than anything else, not that that’s a bad thing off course, it’s just that this is getting somewhat generic and boring to me after a while. I mean it’s not all bad, “People are talking” for example is a great song, but overall it isn’t doing much for me and it doesn’t seem all that special. Well, maybe I still have to get into it and should spin it some more. *sAm*

 

I am homicide 7” (Shit sandwich), Incarcerated 7” (Die slaughterhaus), On your video 7”(Smart guy) - TYRADES

I love the Tyrades: hooky aggression, energy, wild show, Jenna’s awesome vocals and the fact that they seem to be able to repackage the 'punk' thing into something totally excitingly relevant and unheard makes them one of my favourite post-2000 bands. Hence this little comparative study of their most recent 7-inches. First of all the “I am homicide”, of which the titletrack is possibly their best song yet, “He’s so popular” on the b-side is also killer, although I think it’s a cover. The best single in the batch in my opinion, also the most '77' style one. “Incarcerated” takes on a more artpunk wire-esque approach, but utterly great, my favourite being “Who’s gonna pass the PCP”. “On your video” continues in the same vein, but not with the standard amount of greatness, although “Out of touch” is pretty good. All these releases are worth picking up, but I would go for the album and the “I am homicide” before “On your video”. *sAm*

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