Reviews

Jello Biafra

Burning Image The Final Conflict / Burning Image, Burning 7″

Every once in a while, someone comes out of nowhere that doesn’t sound like anybody else. There are “Bat Cave” overtones here, but the music pile-drives along with ten times the balls of any SISTERS OF SEX SPECIMEN. The artwork is pretty deadly as well. If you’re lucky, their guitarist might send you a demented chalk sketch or two.

V/A Inner Mystique EP

The first Pebbles-type collection of lost garage/psych bands from the ’70s and ’80s. Compiled by Rat Race Kid, it features unreleased tracks by BILLY SYNTH and Australia’s LIPSTICK KILLERS. The icing on the cake is the first-ever vinyl appearance by ROCKET FROM THE TOMBS, a seminal mid-’70s Cleveland outfit that would later spawn PERE UBU and the DEAD BOYS.

The Honeymoon Killers Uncut! Uncensored! cassette

A screeching pet rock cousin to New York’s current school of avant-noise bands. The difference here is their fondness for trashing ’50s standards. “Who Do You Love” and “Ubangi Stomp” have never been abused quite like this before. Nice packaging, too.

Saturnalia Inside the Devil’s Circle / The Promise 7″

I passed this up for ages because I thought it was a reissue of a British ’60s band. But no, this goes way beyond most past and present psych outings into the uncharted realms of hammering acoustic guitars, cave-echo vocals, and just the right sprinkle of tinkling piano. Add sax to the B-side for a taste of the best of John Berry’s spy movie soundtracks, and you end up with something truly spooky.

Mighty Sphincter Heathouse EP

Phoenix, Arizona, the depraved city that gave us ALICE COOPER, the FEEDERZ, and the MEAT PUPPETS, has struck again. What crosses are to vampires, SPHINCTER is to music. Even some BUTTHOLE SURFERS fans would gag in horror at the sight of this band. Their sound is a bit more pet-metal than punk, kind of like CHRISTIAN DEATH and VENOM played backwards through a jet engine.

Johnny Forever Rock the Cemetery / Youth Drug 7″

This is what happens when garage rock ’n’ rollers try to make a post-punk record, and I’m not sure whether I like it or not. The flip is more straight-ahead, so it could appeal to closet Jeff Bale types.

Fish Karma To Hell with Love, I’m Going Bowling cassette

Finally, an heir-apparent to the DRIVING STUPID! What is it about Arizona that creates such warped people? Their music is your basic FUGS-style electric grunge-folk, and their lyrics feature some of the meanest put-downs of American consumer culture that I’ve heard in years. Includes “God Is a Groovy Guy,” “Pieces of My Poodle,” and “Cow of My Dreams.”

The Evasions Sun of Surf LP

Surf instrumentals are cool. Any hardcore musician who wants to branch out and play something besides heavy metal should check out this type of music. The EVASIONS’ 14-song semi-picture disc is part of a growing ’60s punk-style revival movement. These guys write almost all of their own material, unlike their better-known contemporaries like JON & THE NIGHTRIDERS. Banzai!

Diamanda Galás Diamanda Galás LP

DIAMANDA GÁLÁS is a performance artist who relies on multi-layered vocal effects à la LAURIE ANDERSON, but whereas the latter speaks in soothing tones, GÁLÁS screams, gags, and shrieks in the piercing ONO-esque tones of an animal being electrocuted. While smoother and less intense than her previous 12”, this album is essential for addicts of the truly primal. Besides, it’s the only record I’ve heard lately that’s left me standing in the middle of my bedroom sweating and staring at the wall.

Dead Kennedys A Skateboard Party LP

Contrary to the claims of a crooked East Coast distributor, this is not an “official” DEAD KENNEDYS studio album. It is a bootleg, recorded live off a radio broadcast in Munich, Germany in December 1982. The copies with the white cover have better sound quality than the copies with the blue cover. Either way, buy at your own risk.

The Henchmen I Got a Right / Rock ’n’ Roll Attack 7″

The only Sydney-style STOOGES devotees to be found in New Zealand. “I Got a Right” is a pretty good version, maybe even better than that of the MICRONOTZ, while the flip is a decent slab of DEAD BOYS-style garage stuff.

The Scientists This Is My Happy Hour / Swampland 7″

The acknowledged leaders of the Sydney psychedelic revival scene. The SCIENTISTS seem to have more influences than just ’60s music, thought, as I detect a bit of BIRTHDAY PARTY and the CRAMPS here. Each song starts out kind of slow and plodding, but just when you think it’s not going anywhere, ka-boom!! That idea goes right down the drain in a mind-boggling whirlpool of leafy musical sewage. It’ll definitely grow on you.

The Real Traitors It’s a Waste EP

Remember when punk was supposed to be about moving in new directions? Well, here’s a punk band with no drummer. I don’t know whether this would appeal more to avant-punk fans or industrial aficionados, but both would probably like these long, scathing dirges. Not for the squeamish.

The New Christs Face a New God / Waiting World 7″

A new band featuring Rob Younger, the singer from RADIO BIRDMAN. Their music is along the same lines—crunchy, no-frills garage rock. This band was a studio group, but the current aggregation is much better live.

Mystery of Sixes Mystery of Sixes EP

Unlike the Sydney garage bands, this Brisbane band is a little more on the post-punk side. They definitely live in their own little world, especially when the Arabic-style vocals on the title song are taken into account. The lyrics have Satanic overtones.

Deniz Tek / Radio Birdman 100 Fools / Alien Skies 7″

DENIZ TEK was the brains behind RADIO BIRDMAN; unfortunately, the A-side is not his best effort by any means. What makes it interesting is that the rhythm section consists of REALLY RED members, and it was recorded in Texas. The flip is an instrumental out-take from RADIO BIRDMAN’S Living Eyes album, and is a must for fans of the VENTURES or LES BAXTER.

The Scientists Blood Red River 12″

Oh boy, six more tracks from these guys. Though none of the songs here grab me as much as the two on the single, all are still worthwhile. They’ve got a European tour in the works, so they may be the next Aussies to be heard on our shores.