The last good punk rock that came from Los Angeles was probably in the early to mid-1980s. Those were the days. The Angry Samoans, Black Flag, X, The Germs, Fear, and so many other greats. Then Social Distortion and Bad Religion won the lottery and it was all downhill from there.
Of course, there have been some exceptions to this, like F.Y.P. , which is now Toys That Kill, and, of course, The Stitches, The Humpers, etc. But it's mostly been a black hole of radio bullshit.
That's why it's a good thing I got the new Sampler '05 disc from Retard Disco. They are putting the punk back in punk rock, even if it doesn't sound like it. The bands on this compilation are so different from what's considered punk today, and so different from one another, one cannot help but label this "punk rock."
Bands on this CD include Scream Club, Panty Raid, Totally Radd!!, and of course, my favorites, 14 Year Old Girls. On first listen to this thing, I was transported back to 1982, where everything sounded new and really trashy. Like the early Cramps. The more I listen to this baby, the more I hear that inspiration that was in early New Wave and punk rock, and it makes me think that maybe, just maybe, the kids are gonna be okay.
Just out on Rave On Records comes Heap. It would be a lie for me to say I don't know these guys, or that I didn't share a studio space with them in New York. But it wouldn't be a lie to say I never really thought these guys were that great. Really nice and sweet, but they just didn't have "it", whatever "it" is. But now they do. Their CD, Heap on the Cheap, rocks. These guys now understand the importance of loud guitars, angry yet melodic vocals, and stop-on-a-dime musicianship. That may be because Mickey Leigh, brother of Joey Ramone, has been working with them quite a bit, but it's more likely that members Georgie Boy and Tim have just grown into the shoes that they were always meant to fill. They now rock out with tunes like "Stabbing Pain," "No Shame," and my favorite, "Puerto Rican Girl." These guys are true New Yorkers, and the guitar riffs prove as much. If you like old school New York punk, you'll love Heap. If you don't like this type of music, you have no taste.
Black Death is also a band from New York with a self released CD-soon-to-be-major-album, recorded at Wombat Recording in Brooklyn. Yo, Brooklyn!
Anyway, Black Death's new CD is called Beer Vampire, and, I gotta admit, I really like this group of cretins. At times I don't think they are the sharpest knives in the deck, but that makes them all the more charming and fun. They are the kind of guys who play music that promises the check is in your mouth and they won't come in your mailbox. Totally fun.
Another thing funny about these dudes is while they claim that Kiss, The Ramones, Black Sabbath, and even The Meatmen are influences, they have their own unique sound that's got to be heard to be believed. Some cool tunes here are "Mutiny on the Explorer," "Wanna Die," and "Betting on the Jets to Win Outright." With lines like "Stupid is as stupid does/Do you believe in Santa Claus?" these guys are right on track to a place in my heart and that hole in my gut.
In the world of video games, Tekken 5 from Namco just hit store shelves. It's a fighting game worthy of picking up, and just builds upon its previous incarnations. The graphics are beautiful, if not bloody enough, and the fighting moves are great. But the best is the girl fighters and their boobies. Never has Asuka Kazama looked hotter than she does in her little blue shorts. And Nina Williams? With that triangle crotch cover and boobs that really bounce, my joystick is getting lots of action. Of course there's Christie Monteiro, and some like her. Like my stepfather, Nick. But I think she looks too much like J.Lo, and her big butt just doesn't do it for me. I'm not even gonna talk about Julia Chang and Ling Xiaoyu, but will mention that Yoshimitsu is back with his "thunder blade" attack, and he can slice and dice better than ever. If you like Mortal Kombat (which I love), you'll dig this. If you like more pussy fighting games like Virtua Fighter, I can understand, but get on the other line. The one with the boys.
989, Sony's own brand of video games, just released MLB 2006, and I've got to admit, with all its online functions and team selections and shit, this game is the bomb. It's got features that you just have to love. Like if you use Sony's Eye-Toy with this game, you can scan your face onto a player. You can also wear USB headsets to curse out other players just like the great New York Yankees manager, Billy Martin. Also, as you play online, the content changes -- which means new ads, new players, and more fun. All in all, I really like this game because I keep putting the Yankees up against the Red Sox and make my homeboys win. But I guess my home boys are the D-Backs now, so I suppose I should learn their names and their stats. That's if Phoenix can keep them on the team.
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Finally, this week, I got a mix CD from someone named Ruth who also included a get-well card. Thank you, Ruth. And thanks to everyone else who wishes me well in this stupid and long recovery.
Which reminds me, if you have a band with a demo or CD, please send it to me in care of this paper so I can plug it. I'm beggin' you guys -- get your names out there and make Phoenix the best place for new music since Seattle. Without the rain, of course.
And to Steve Burch of Eloy, Arizona, I didn't include David Niven in the roster of actors to portray James Bond because Casino Royale was not produced by the team of Saltzman and Broccoli. Casino Royale's film rights were purchased before any other Bond story's were, and if you are going to mention Mr. Niven, they you've got to plug Woody Allen as Jimmy (James Bond) as well. All in all, a great and funny movie, and thanks for reminding me of that, and of just how terrible Never Say Never, Sean Connery's Thunderball remake, was. It's either official, with the real Bond music and all, or it ain't.