Reviews

HoZac

14th Wish 14th Wish / Gotta Get Rid of You 7″ reissue

Reissue of the sole record from the apparently forgotten New York band 14TH WISH. It was originally released in 1980 on Orange Records. I’ll fall in line with the label’s hype. How did that happen? These two songs are great. Laid-back vocals with biting lyrics backed by a great band with a driving style and lo-fi sound. They simply exude coolness and the songs are so catchy. This band could have easily filled the HEARTBREAKERS’ shoes while they were off shooting up, or taken the place of any other overhyped first wave punk band. 300 copies so don’t snooze (again).

Disco Junk Underage Punk EP

Pitch-perfect teen punk delinquency from Australia. Well, one of the AUSMUTEANTS guys helps, but the kids largely have the say here. Bratty bullshit is eschewed for real-deal antisocial, hateful angst and DISCO JUNK’s the better for it. Four tunes in all, each a slasher spat out by some past-it young puke that knows that he already “gets it.” Can’t wait ’til they go post-punk.

Eddie Criss Group Undertaker LP reissue

Originally released in 1980 on “King of Punk” DAVID PEEL’s Orange Records, the sole album from NYC songsmith Eddie Criss’s namesake group serves up a hot, greasy slice of forgotten rock history. More down-and-dirty, glam-tinged rock ’n’ roll than proper punk, the tunes on this reissued LP have been blessed with the distinct guitar work of the MC5’s Wayne Kramer! Kramer’s fiery lead licks are all over this thing, and tunes like the opening “Lady In Waiting” and “Witches Hour” are bona-fide blazers that will surely command the attention of any ’70s sleaze-rock hound. Production is properly thin and crispy, cracking to reveal pools of subtle psychedelia as demonstrated on “Sequences.” Undertaker is definitely a product of its era, and wasn’t exactly breaking any new ground. “Just No Use,” for instance, is pretty much “I Wanna Be Your Dog” with a different tempo and lyrics. There’s weak spots like the ham-fisted CHUCK BERRY impression on “Let Me Rock ’n’ Roll,” and at least one song that would cause Eddie to be promptly canceled were it to hit the mainstream today (“Schoolgirlz”), but those are overshadowed by the raw street soul that laces the majority of this once-buried slab. I’m glad they dug it up.

Matt Gimmick Detroit Renaissance ‘79 EP

Reissue of this Detroit band’s 1979 EP. MATT GIMMICK were STOOGES loving ’70s punks, so much so that no one would think twice if you told them this record was actually the STOOGES. MATT GIMMICK even went so far as to record two at-the-time unreleased STOOGES songs they learned from a cassette they made when they saw the STOOGES live. That’s ballsy and funny as hell. Their versions are much better sounding than the ones the STOOGES would eventually release, too.

Nun The Dome LP

Melbourne, Australia’s NUN have been releasing darkwave synth punk records since 2012, predating the current trend by more than a few years. This record shifts gears a bit, with more restraint and slower tempos than earlier releases. Dramatic vocals descend among austere but complex synth instruments. The echoey, velvety vocals sometimes seem to take after SIOUXIE SIOUX, while the synth and drum machine compositions occasionally veer into the odd minimalism of Bolides Over Basra-era MEN’S RECOVERY PROJECT. The band is organized like a conventional punk band, with different members creating the lead synth, bass synth, and drum machine parts, which allows them to create a sound that feels both more vital and more tempered than you might expect from a multi-tracked solo project. Definitely something to check out for anyone into darkwave or synthwave or goth cosplay.

The Anemic Boyfriends Fake ID / Bad Girls in Love 7″

A weird reissue of the B-sides from the ANEMIC BOYFRIENDS 45s!? Fake teen punk from Alaska circa 1981! You might know them for the monster anti-creep DIY classique hit “Guys Are Not Proud” (which is not on this), but this collects the more rockarolla faux-FOWLEY glam rockin’ underage teenager rocker songs. Can see why the rawk orientated HoZac would do it this way, but I think I would just rather spend a little more and get the OGs, because the combo of songs are freakier…

Trampoline Team Trampoline Team LP

Furious frenzy from New Orleans for those consumed by the TYRADES style. If that’s you, then you should immediately stop what you are doing and start doing this! Cuz you know that tough punk garage savagery with style and rigor can’t be beat! “Didn’t Wanna Come Here Alone” is so sick: sounds like a group the BAGS woulda played with. This is some true punk rock for fuck you types!!! A truly relentless record to lose your mind to. The cover is just as sick as the sounds within, looks sorta like a Man Ray body horror eye illusion but it’s a fly in a Venus fly trap. Repulsive glamor.

V/A Diamond Distance & Liquid Fury: Sonny Vincent Primitive 1969-76 LP

Sometimes when punx who exclusively listen to punk rock accidentally encounter music from somewhere else and it does not suck, in their confusion the review and redistribution of the modified definition of punk rock starts to tame their minds. This explains when some tried to convince the world that a certain type of fast, electronic music is the new punk, or free jazz is punk. Occasionally it gets real chaotic and hardcore is called folk music. Side note: right now it’s 2020 and even if you have the words punk and hardcore tattooed on your body it is fine to own parts of the Acutel series or microdose yourself at some contemporary classical music event and tell your fellow radical rockers: you had a great Tuesday evening at this gallery where the performance took place. You basically can do whatever the fuck you want and within this freedom I state: this record is not punk at all. Which does not mean it is bad, because it is decent music that my dad would appreciate, too—but don’t worry, he does not possess a leather vest, nor wears a man bun, instead he was jamming me MC5 and ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO when I was around eight years old. This record sends me into that period when playing rock and roll was a radical act, tap water contained LSD, hippies started cults and robbed banks, and wars were either proxy or cold. Although it is a compilation of bands (FURY, DISTANCE, LIQUID DIAMONDS, TESTORS) which all had SONNY VINCENT, the proper curation made the record consistent yet varied enough not to ever become boring. Sound-wise the tracks are on the edge of psychedelic rock but no real chaotic mumbo-jumbo, rather large, extended solos. Everything is sweaty-face-in-trance-desperation tight, mostly mid tempo and big riffs accompany male sorrow. The atmosphere of the record is dirty, tired, coming down from a trip and looking either for epiphany while staring into the rising sun or for scavenging for an early breakfast before fainting onto a dirty mattress. It is closer to ROKY ERICKSON than to STOOGES, definitely not glam at all and also distant from the proto-punk art rock of the VELVET UNDERGROUND. In case you are done with the one-finger solos used on two-thirds of your hardcore songs, here is a whole catalog to lift ideas from, or in case you like to consume weed and get lost in classic sounding but still rocking albums or to be a rock dad with obscure knowledge, this can be your pick. It’s a fun listen.

V/A We Were Living in Cincinnati LP

Ohio’s punk pedigree simply cannot be fucked with, yet Cincinnati never gets nearly as much lauding as most of the state’s other major burgs. HoZac (with help from an esteemed CHROME CRANKS member) aims to change all that with this collection, assembling a wide swath of pretty killer punk to get our scholarly heads a-scratchin’. Lotsa seldom-heard stuff here—a even split between stray single Killed By Death style excavating and wholly unreleased nuggz. BEEF’s “Nosedive,” a rescued live recording from ’78, finds the obnoxo-teen singer mimicking some air-show sounds…What’s not to fuckin’ love? There are some recognizable names as well: the CUSTOMS, the ED DAVIS BAND and even TEDDY AND THE FRAT GIRLS, whose inclusion here strikes me as a tad dubious, but if a technicality allows the now-generation to hear “Clubnite” again, I’m all for it! The great and hyper-detailed liners really convey a whole lotta punk love for this city and scene as well. As if all this were not enough, there is a download component that serves up an additional fifteen tunes—more punk Cin-sanity than anyone would ever need! Top to bottom, an ace collection and document of under-reported punk racket.

Whirlywirld Complete Studio Works 1978-80 LP

This is an amazing compilation of all three releases from Melbourne’s WHIRLYWIRLD. WHIRLYWIRLD was led by Ollie Olsen previously with the YOUNG CHARLATANS and drummer John Murphy formerly of NEWS. The music is minimal electronic sounds, guitar, bass, drums and occasional squawking saxophone. Strikingly Olsen’s vocals have similar cadences and style to Nick Cave and Peter Murphy. They are dramatic, repetitive and playful with the sounds being emitted. The vocals may be the focus of the songs, but the experimental punk-y music forms a catchy foundation that I find equally fascinating. WHIRLYWIRLD was short-lived, only playing fourteen shows, but their music should be remembered along with their more well-known and celebrated contemporaries. Good thing Hozac decided to remind us of that.