BIGBIG CAR – “Limestone throne/Kid
I got this
a while back when I saw BigBig Car play at Lemp but this was in the backup pile until I found it while looking for some other
discs. This is stripped down melodic indie rock (for lack of a better term) infused
with pop hooks and a sometimes off kilter sense of instrumentation and arrangements.
Based on in the pocket drums and catchy guitar parts what emerges are songs that touch on personal and more sociopolitical
themes with a straight ahead honest approach throughout (it sounds less confusing than it reads). While the disc is a little different from BBC live, they have created an album that reveals that pop hooks
and underground tock attitude aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. I
wish I would’ve gotten to this one earlier but I’m glad to get to this album at last. (BOONE)
(Standard Recording Company. P.O. Box 441047. Indianapolis, IN 46244.)
CHUMBAWAMBA – “A Singsong And A Scrap” CD
It’s kind of strange time wise reviewing this as it was
out in England (and, I think, Europe as
well) for close to a year before coming out over in these parts. However, it
did finally get here (at last) and we finally got the time to listen to it fully.
The latest from Chumbawamba finds the band shifting gears from an eight-piece electric/electronic rock band to an acoustic
folk quartet. While the music seems different, the band’s approach remains
with a selection of songs taking on topics such as war, poverty, love, disasters and more along the way with music that ranges
from delicate ballads to rousing folk anthems. They also cover a traditional
folk song or two along with an acapella version of The Clash’s “Daddy Was A Bankrobber.” They’ve taken the folk leanings that have occurred over the past 25 years or so and have successfully
went to a new place with it (who else would write a folk song about anarchists Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman). While I admit my bias towards Chumba, the truth is the band manages to continually create good music and
take the listener to other places. If you dig acoustic based music at all, this
album should be a must have. (BOONE)
in the U.S. on AK Press. 674-a 23rd St. Oakland, CA 94612-1163. USA. www.akpress.org. In other parts of the world, check band
website to find their respective record labels)
DASH RIP ROCK – “Hee Haw Hell”
in the hell do I describe this CD?” I thought after I first put this in my CD player, so after some thought I decided
the best approach was to be direct. On their latest, Dash Rip Rock offers up
a concept album/roots rock opera using Dante’s Inferno as an allegory for life in the South and it’s various aspects. In this journey, the band’s guitar driven songs reference rural/Southern archetypes
ranging from plane crashes, infidelity, evangelists, and jam bands – all inhabitants of this special type of hell, all
with a country fried edge that hints at both southern rock and punk. The ambitious
approach to the subject matter Mixes songs and prose to describe the twists and turns throughout the tale. With appearances from Mojo Nixon and Jello Biafra adding perils to the journey, this is a sonic look at
a region’s darker elements via both music and literary content. Dante’s
either rolling over in his grave or laughing his ass off (I’m not sure which).
It’s good to see Dash Rip Rock still at it after all this time. (BOONE)
(Alternative Tentacles Records. P.O.
Box 419092. San Francisco, CA
D.O.A. – “Bloodied But Unbowed - The Damage So Far: 1978-1983” CD
When this disc came my way, my jaw pretty much hit the floor. This album was one of the albums that changed my life back in the day and it’s
been reissued and remastered on CD. A collection of songs from the legendary
hardcore band’s early years compiling songs from their first two albums, EPs and singles to create some of the best
hardcore punk the late 70s/early 80s created. Fast, crude, angry, and even melodic
at times, these songs are battle cries at a world gone off the rails tackling class struggle, poverty, oppression, Reagan,
and the need to break free from a world that holds people back among other things. All
of this set to straight ahead songs that keep the energy level up and should inspire many who listen. Time has been kind to this music, with D.O.A.’s songs faring well and often remaining relevant over
time. This album helped change my life, maybe it can change yours too. Get it. (BOONE)
(Sudden Death Records. Cascades. P.O. Box 43001. Burnaby,
BC Canada V5G
GOLDBLADE – “Punk Rockers In The Dance Hall” CD
We got a hold of this album a while back and have been meaning
to check this out, but life has kept me too busy until I saw this in the backlog pile recently. This band throws down a collection of short, catchy melodic punk with hints of ska and dance music woven
in. While the songs tend to lean towards the personal/general slant the hooks
and attitude have an anthemic quality that snares listeners and keeps people interested.
There is also a tongue in cheek/sarcastic vibe here that shows the band doesn’t seem to take themselves all that
seriously. Fans of modern punk and its more sarcastic offshoots should find a
lot of things about the new Goldblade album that they’ll get a kick out of. Not
bad at all. (BOONE)
(SOS Records. P.O. Box 3017. Corona, CA 92878-3017. www.sosrecords.us)
THE (INTERNATIONAL) NOISE CONSPIRACY –
“Live From Oslo Jazz Festival” CD
To say I
was surprised to see this would be an understatement – I actually had no idea this album even existed. This reissue from a few years back captures the band’s set at a 2003 jazz festival at Oslo. Aided by two saxophone players, the band
takes their MC5/Stooges inspired rock into more experimental directions with some free jazz skronk and improvisational elements
woven into the band’s mix. As a result it does require more than one listen
to fully understand what’s going on here sonically though they do manage to capture the spirit of their influences and
make them vital in the process. While I was confused by the between song banter
(given that I don’t speak Norwegian, that should be expected), this album has grown on me and has me curious with each
listen. Shout outs to the crew at AT for finally making this album available
in the States. (BOONE)
(Alternative Tentacles Records. P.O.
Box 419092. San Francisco, CA
NIGHTINGALES – “Out of True” CD
I know this sounds like a cliché around here that things I
intend to review seem to run the risk of running down a black hole known as our backlog pile until we get around to it. However, given that I have other things to take care of in my life, this also happens
to be true – as this album is proof of. The latest album from this veteran
English underground band is a collection of rock n roll songs that thrive on a sense of the peculiar. Merging sometimes-dissonant rhythms with hooks spanning various flavors of rock (punk, glam, even folk-country
leaning stuff on occasion), their songs are commentaries on the society around them with a feel similar to The Fall or The
Ex. Tackling subjects ranging from poverty, racism, and everyday life (to name
a few), Nightingales’ latest album is a sonic examination of things some may find hard to take yet shines through with
a raw anger and beauty that should be evident when listening to it. This is one
of those albums that should have some appeal to those into various forms of underground music, so definitely find it and check
it out. (BOONE)
Man Records. P.O. Box 9121. Birmingham. B13 8AU. UK.
PERKINSWOOD – “Son of Sparkle” CD
I first became curious about this duo when I got an email from
friends from Columbia a long time ago. After exchanging emails, we received some of their music to check out.
While they’ve been out for a while, we decided to look at their most recent CD.
Like their debut disc, Guitar Island, PerkinsWood creates artsy pieces using only guitars and some effects that
were added to taste. The resulting songs are instrumentals built on layers of
sounds ranging from ambient to rock and back. It’s a journey in possible
soundscapes where sound and mood tend to collide in a mix of complex arrangements and sparse delivery. This is highly recommended for those readers that enjoy experimental music as well as the more esoteric
underground rock stuff. We hear their third disc will be coming out soon,; we’re
looking forward to it.(BOONE)
THE STOOGES – “The Weirdness” CD
This has been one of those discs that would be under a microscope
any way you look at it. The first studio album from The Stooges in over three
decades finds the return of the mostly original lineup picking up where they left off.
Musically, these songs are crude and somewhat snide hard driving rock built on elements of punk (which the band inadvertently
helped create years before 1976), blues, and free jazz with rough edged guitar licks and a crude, in your face delivery. The songs somehow range from odes to cruising for sex, nihilism, and religion among
other things with a lot of high-energy delivery and an often hard driving sound. While
the modern production adds a clarity that seems shocking to those accustomed to the sound on Funhouse, it doesn’t
deter from the music’s rough appeal. The Stooges again rise from the phoenix
to create one of hard rock/punk’s more underrated albums of 2007. One of
the very few major label albums released over the past year worth a damn. (BOONE)
TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS – “Living With The Living” double LP
I’ve been meaning to get to this for a while but have
been so busy that I wasn’t able to do so until now. Leo and the Pharmacists’
latest is their most sonically broad to date: taking their punk ethos and incorporating elements of sounds such as pop, reggae,
post punk and new wave, and even 60s rock. This wide reaching sonic palette allows
for songs that interweave the personal and the political taking on topics such as the current war, relationships, the current
state of affairs, classism, and more (sometimes fusing political references into what on first listen would seem to be a relationship
song). It’s a ride that’s sometimes challenging and a little befuddling
but will ultimately wrap you in its aural depth and win you over. Once again
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists sidestep the expected and create something that challenges the listener while never straying from
the band’s overall vision. Amazing!!!
and Go Records. P.O. Box 25520. Chicago, IL 60625.
TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS – “Mo’ Living” CDEP
This limited edition EP came out the same time as Ted’s
latest album (it was added as a bonus CD in early pressings) but deserved to be looked at on its own merits. This EP is a little more stripped down than Living With The Living that sonically takes on the more
choppy and dissonant elements of Leo’s trademark melodic indie/punk sound along with stops in pure hardcore punk and
soul music along with a cover of Chumbawamba’s 1990 dance-punk classic “Rappaport’s Testament (I Never Gave
Up).” The sound is different than the album but carries on the spirit of
Leo’s music thus far with songs commenting on the society around us. The
result is a nice addendum to the new album. I think it’s still available
as a bonus disc along with the new CD, but I’m uncertain on the vinyl version having it so check with the label about
and Go Records. P.O. Box 25520. Chicago, IL 60625.
READING FOR THE HARVEST (OKAY, WE COULDN’T COME UP WITH A TITLE, FORGIVE US!!!)
Yes, the TTWN reading review section is back. Feel free to send in any zines or books you put out to our cramped for space and hungry for mail P.O. Box
for a honest review by us. Remember, an underground culture can only be covered
and looked at if we know about it. If you find something you think is interesting,
let the people who do them know and ask for a copy. There’s only one this
time around but we’re going to have a big zines, books, etc section next issue, so stay tuned. By the way, if you don’t like the zines you’ve read or think you can do better, start your
Gruesome Acts of Capitalism
This has been one of those books I’ve been meaning
to get to, but somehow kept slipping through the cracks come deadline – until now.
Most TTWN readers know David Lester as the guitarist for the punk rock cum experimental duo Mecca Normal so when I
heard about this book, I was very curious and wanted to see what this was about.
The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism packs a lot of things into
a very slim volume. Combining sketches, various compiled facts and statistics,
and quotes from historical and present day people, the book tackles the dark result of what capitalism uber alles has brought
us. Covering topics ranging from the history of labor struggles to the dark side
of Wal Mart (including a mention of company heir Paige Laurie’s hiring someone to do her course work) to environmental
damage, world poverty, and other ways the elites misdeeds are inflicted on our lives, all with sources mentioned and in brief
quotes that are extremely easy to digest. The contents here may offend people
but they are real and need to be known. Also included are some brief steps people
can take to try and change things (as well organizations people can contact for more on that).
The delivery is straightforward and revealing with the quotes being the sole contrast to the information for the most
This book is sure to ruffle some feathers; highlighting class
issues and how the market isn’t always the answer does that sort of thing. Still,
this is a book I recommend to anyone wanting to get educated about how things work.
Royalties from the book will be donated to the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, so it’s for a good cause. Get this book. (BOONE)
The Zinester’s Guide to Portland, fourth edition
Microcosm Publishing. 130pp.
We all know about travel guides to a place. Usually intended for the affluent (okay, yuppie scum), they cover things that most readers of this zine
could probably never afford to do or experience. It is that things to do in a
place are almost never put into one source for the low budget underground types… or haven’t they?
The latest edition of this guide compiles a number of places
and activities in Portland, OR
that may be of importance to zinesters (those amongst us who produce underground literature and periodicals) and other extremely
low budget travelers. Here the various writers compile, according to neighborhood,
things ranging from restaurants, parks, coffee shops, arcades, record stores, and other various things (including some chain
grocery stores et al) that those visiting Portland without a lot of cash may find of interest.
It’s a resource that’s full of information regarding places to go, things to do, transportation, and the
like. However, as it mentions in the intro, things can change so it’s important
to call or use the web sites of the places listed to see what’s up as well as consider that things may change and that
listings should be taken “with a grain of salt” (direct quote).
Still, the concept
is one that is very interesting and the book should definitely be one resource for anyone going out to the Northwest wondering
what’s going on in Portland. I wonder if other places will take the concept up for where they live and get something like this together. This is a good thing to have, just in case.