Thursday, October 26, 2006

Advertisements of the Flaming Druglords

In my dream last night, I walked into a store to buy something. As I walked out, I realized that a TV commercial was playing a Lake of Dracula song. I went in to watch the rest of the commercial and tried to tell the clerk how cool it was that Lake of Dracula was finally getting some money, because I always thought they were very underrated and deserved it.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Title: Pressure
Artist: 400 Blows
Purchased: Don't remember
Verdict: Out

There is a 400 Blows from LA. This is not them, but they have to be better than this. Mind you, I still think that any band that names themselves after a Truffaut film sucks. Joe Garden Rule of Rock. Put it in your playbook. Pressure is a 12" single that comes with four different versions of the same track. "Track," not "song." The original is a dull, almost inaudible melody, a lazy drum machine 4/4 beat, with the word "pressure" sort of sung intermittently throughout. There may have been other vocals, but even after four versions, I can't remember them. I want to listen to it again so check, but we're listening to The Devil's Anvil, and I can not be bothered to take off something interesting in order to put on something so dull, even for you, curious reader.

When I was in high school, I never knew what dub was. If a record, at least the kind I was buying at the time, had a "dub version," it meant that they cut out some vocals and cut in some lame. This has a "dub version" entitled "Dubbing Pressure," which means echo on the vocals and tinny distortion on the drum. Sorry, drum machine. Also, there's "Radio Pressure," "Club Pressure" and "Perspective 2." Wait, maybe that last one isn't a version of "Pressure," but it was not distinguishable from that song in any way. This wealth of versions is probably great for DJs who wanted to keep the groove going, but who can dance at 92 beats per minute? I, according to some, am a terrible dancer, but I know what makes terrible dance music. This is it.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Title: Pistolswing
Artist: Johnboy
Purchased: Given to me by a college paper arts editor in 1994
Verdict: Purged

I got this record, and a stack of other Touch and Go distributed records, from the arts editor of a nameless college newspaper while I was serving as a college rep for a nameless major record label. Okay, it was the Badger Herald and Sony. Don't judge me.

I liked the idea of having a stack of Touch and Go distributed records more than I actually liked playing them. Not that I don't like Touch and Go. In the course of doing this, I have had to ask myself, several times, why I own all these records without having listened to them. It's an embarrassment of riches. I don't listen to them precisely because I can listen to them any time, and the thrill of the bargain is usually greater than the actual record. That's my theory today.

So on to Pistolswing. Perhaps I didn't give this the fair shake it deserved. We were cleaning at the time, so I didn't sit down and soak up the nuance. Not that there was a lot of nuance to soak up. There was a lot of noisy rock, probably some mean vocals, and then Anita would turn on the vacuum cleaner. And that didn't really detract from the experience.

I understand the Trance Syndicate sound. I like it in some cases, like Ed Hall and The Cherubs. I even like The Pain Teens. But this was just boring guitar noise that never really ratcheted up in intensity. Good night, Johnboy.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Two-fer: Nasty Savage and Penetration Point

Titles: Nasty Savage, Penetration Point
Band: Nasty Savage
Purchased: Uhhhh…
Verdict: Keep 'em

I only vaguely remember when and where I got these albums. I remember that I spent cash money on them for the usual reasons: the covers and the price. I mean, look at those covers? What the hell is that? No, not the cover of Nasty Savage. Any idiot could tell you that's just the band's name spelled out in swords. Look at Penetration Point. It's got some sort of owl man goat monster on it. And a little boy. And a sword. And some serious late 80s design element on the right. I had a friend in high school, Kyle Anderson, who would draw stuff like that. Only he was good.

There's not a ton of information about Nasty Savage. At least, there wasn't a ton of information that my four minutes of googling and searching Wikipedia turned up. Their official website is a Geocities site, now shut down. The music, one might guess, is metal. Between the two albums they went from the Motley Crue denim-n-bondage look to the Metallica long-hair look, or maybe the Suicidal Tendencies long after that song about the Pepsi look. Musically, they rock. Fast drums, fast guitars, and lyrics obsessed with evil and self-doubt and the welcome wagon. That is not a typo.

The rock is passable. It's like a poor-man's Florida-based not-as-smart Metallica. Not quite as blistering, but still pretty enjoyable if you want to listen to metal that doesn't suck.

My favorite moment is on the song "Asmodeus." When he hits the last syllable of "Asmodeus"–keeping in mind that he has added an extra syllable between "as" and "mod"–his voice swoops up about 5 octaves. This visual approximation can not do it justice, but here goes.


He sings about a demon like a girl. And that, on record, is just too amazing to let go.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I recently lost by USB-to-iPod connector cable. I have a back-up, but it's FireWire, which the new iPods do not support. So I had to go buy a new one. 3 1/2 feet. Made in China. $19, plus tax. Go to hell, Steve Jobs.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Super Hits

Title: Super Hits
Artist: The King's Road
Purchased: 2004, Half Price Books, Madison, WI
Verdict: Like gone, man.

The title doesn't lie: these are super hits. "She's A Lady." "Isn't it A Pity." "Jesus Christ Superstar." I'm in so far. The lie of omission is that nowhere on the cover does it mention that these songs are performed by The King's Road. Who? For the sake of history, I will now transcribe the rear jacket notes, sentence fragment for sentence fragment, word for unnecessarily capitalized word, so that the timeless message of The King's Road will last until the internet dies. Or I die and this Blogger account lapses. Or I lose interest.

"The Hits and the Heavies of today.
Flick the dial, let the sound lay on You.
Jazzrock blasting big and wild.
Music of the Woodstock Nation.
The black beautiful sounds from the ghettoes of America's shame.
Head music from the Coast via Mill Valley and The Strip.
Getting the groovy feeling all over.
Good vibrations coming down.
Superhits are like the sounds you dig.
Right on!
For a little bread.
What was that that group called that made it happen.
Our group is called King's Road.
It's a place in Chelsea.
Swingin' London. B.A. (Before Altamont)
Be free.
Dig the way these cats make it happen again.
Instant replay.
Sounds like the original. Maybe better? [transcriber's note: No]
Open up your head to the thing with someone else's music.
It's a commune for hit freaks.
People who dig talent, message, love!
King's Road are street people.
King's Road are the sounds that talk to us.
They're saying something .
That something is superhits.
Superhits all together.
Get It Together!"

It reads a little like Bela Lugosi's monologue from Bride of the Monster. The space between "something" and the period, by the way, is on the original. I thought it was probably some sort of hippy code that was important to the vibrations of the intended message. Also, note that it reads "Superhits are like the sounds you dig," and not "Superhits are the sound you dig," a subtle distinction that was clearly lost on me when the blonde in the Superman shirt caught my eye at the Half Price Books.

Okay, they do a passable "She's A Lady," which I already have on three or four Tom Jones albums. They screwed up Lynn Anderson's "Rose Garden." I can forgive that, although I don't know what a bunch of swingin' mods are doing covering it. But "Knock Three Times?" I've never really thought about that song until this listen. That is a really bad song. The King's Road doesn't add anything to the songs they cover, and since I don't often have the urge to put on John Lennon's "Mother," I am disposing of this. Dig? Wild.