Reviews

CD Presents

Avengers Avengers LP

From 1977-79, the AVENGERS were the quintessential SF punk band. Fronted by the electrifying Penelope Houston and powered by Greg Ingraham’s amazing guitar playing, they were far ahead of their time and, like many others in that situation, unable to stay together. Finally, this 14-song memento has been released for those poor unfortunates who never saw them live in their heyday, never got their first 7″ EP (included here), and/or never got their 12″ EP (alternative versions included here). Other tracks include unreleased studio outtakes and an incredible live version of “Fuck You” that totally destroys. A must.

Billy Bragg Brewing Up With Billy Bragg LP

The punkest record I’ve heard in a while, and it’s not even “punk rock.” Englishman BILLY BRAGG is heir apparent of the great PATRICK FITZGERALD (of “Safety Pin Stuck in My Heart” fame) in that he too mixes biting social and political commentaries with a heartfelt solo guitar-vocal performance. The edge and spontaneous communication characteristic of his live show are inevitably diminished on vinyl, but the integrity shines through. Folk punk at its best.

Billy Bragg Life’s a Riot / Between the Wars LP

Again, Mr. BRAGG returns with more of his biting social commentaries set to punky folkish music. Whether the themes are overtly political (like the cover of “What Side Are You On”) or more personal (like “Richard”), the lyrics will delight, and unless you demand the full sound of a traditional band, you’ll probably find the music stimulating, too.

DOA Right to Be Wild 7″

The proceeds from the sale of this 45 are going into the Vancouver Five’s defense fund, so that’s enough reason to buy it. Still, it’s a mixed bag musically. “Burn It Down” is a slow, boring rock song that I prefer to ignore, but their version of the SUBHUMANS’ “Fuck You” (written by Hannah, one of the Five) has spunk and power, which makes this a worthwhile audio investment.

Lydia Lunch Hysterie 2xLP

This double LP chronicles ten years of work by LUNCH through her infamous work with TEENAGE JESUS, BEIRUT SLUMP, and the highly influential EIGHT EYED SPY. Also, a complete side is devoted to a few of her many collaborations, making a good sample of LYDIA LUNCH and the underground No Wave scene.

The Offs First Record LP

Misleading title, as they put out three 7”ers and have tracks on compilations, too (Deaf Club, etc.). Early OFFS were the raunchiest band in SF, heavy into VELVET’s white noise. They later got “funky,” and ska predominated. This LP represents their latter period (disappointingly), where slick production and saxophones are up front. Find the 45s.

The Subhumans Incorrect Thoughts LP

The same great debut LP by this defunct Vancouver outfit, but with two additional songs. High-class punk, great lyrics, a must if you missed it the first time around. May be released without the ex-members’ permission.

V/A Rat Music for Rat People, Vol. 2 LP

Somewhat better than volume 1 of this series, this compilation contains material by the DICKS, the BIG BOYS, JFA, DRI, and MDC, along with a few others. The MINUTEMEN have a winner with “Fake Contest,” but DRI’s “Madman” and the MDC tracks rate as the highlights on this varied sampler. Inconsistent but still worthwhile.