Beggars Banquet

Ramones Howling at the Moon (Sha-La-La) 12″

“Howling at the Moon” is by no means the strongest track from their current album, but the two songs on the flip are very good and non-LP. “Smash You” is a return to vintage ’77-RAMONES, while their cover of the STONES’ “Street Fighting Man” is equally irresistible. I guess I still like these guys a whole lot.

Ramones Bonzo Goes to Bitburg / Daytime Dilemma 7″

Continuing along with political/topical material, the RAMONES hit on Ronnie’s trip to the German cemetery with SS dead. The song (B-side is off LP) is a medium tempo rocker, a catchy tune that grows and grows and grows and grows and grows on you! Great!

Ramones Something to Believe In 12″

Alas, the RAMONES, on their latest release, are heading back to their overproduced period of a few years back. Too many instruments (synth, horns, extraneous shlock and vocals) clutter it all up, absorb the power, and detract from their simple raw pop power. Disappointing three tunes.

Ramones Crummy Stuff 12″

“Crummy Stuff” is the draw here, though not really a knockout with tinges of synth here and there. “Something to Believe in” rears its ugly head again, and the painfully slow rock number, “And I Don’t Wanna Live this Life” is the finale.

The Fall The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall LP

There’s three new records by these guys, and it’s all like this LP. They’re faster and funnier than ever. Mark Smith maintains his tradition of never really “singing” the songs. They confidently thwart trends. They laugh while their peers join mindless tribes or dress up like gauchos just to get on MTV. All three records are available on one cassette.

The Fall Couldn’t Get Ahead / Rollin’ Dany 7″

The FALL are getting easier and easier to take on the first listen. This 45 chronicles a day in the life of a terminal loser over a scrappy, howling song with blasts of harmonica. This flip has the first cover tune they’ve ever done, and it draws more of a rockabilly sound out of this line-up.

The Fall This Nation’s Saving Grace LP

Mark E. Smith has always opted for making ugly, twisted music during the career of the FALL, so I expect him to be sacking just about everyone in the band after this record. They continue with hypnotic drone songs with sly pop melodies, with lyrical lashings against middle-class mores and attitudes.

The Fall This Nation’s Saving Grace LP

As with most extremely prolific bands, the FALL hit and miss with most of their compositions. This is basic middling FALL, with the repetitious arrangements and obscure, taunting vocals that aficionados of the outfit have come to expect. About every other song is pretty good, and nearly everything is very, very predictable.