Consider this a call to arms. Alternative is a lie. Rock radio is a tool in the hands of the military-industrial-entertainment complex. Music is ideology. And if the System controls your stereo, the System controls your mind. The System knows this, and likes it. We must defend ourselves. Tear down your antennae and plug in your turntable. Then bust out your Revolver, get your back to the wall and start blasting. We're all in this together.
Quick props for two sets of local freedom fighters:
Duh Nobuddies are four kids from Paradise Valley who play supercharged, pop-tinged, self-described "dumb-core." Here's to boundless teenage energy. DN played an opening slot for Samiam at Boston's on April 15, and by the last song the stage was full of kids bouncing toward the rafters. DN has been together for two years, but only left the garage a few months ago. Check it out at the Sedona Skatefest on May 11, or send $5 for a "fun pack," which includes a tee shirt, a demo tape and "a buncha other crap." (Duh Nobuddies, P.O. Box 31596, Phoenix, AZ 85046-1596)
Safehouse is also worth a walk-through. This Valley threesome rips through hyper-punk songs from the pop-free zone--ultratight and intricate. Three and a half years old, Safehouse has two U.S. tours and a pair of seven-inchers ("Me, You and Dempsey" and "They Say You'll Grow") under its belt. The band is currently recording a full-length as well, due out this summer. Both Safehouse and Duh Nobuddies play out regularly, so keep an eye on the club listings' small print.
Yawwwn. Moving on to the national portion of our program, we have a band called Chisel with an album called 8 a.m. All Day. . . . Perfect title. You don't listen to this recording so much as you stumble through it in a grouchy mood. This Washington, D.C., three-piece sings lackluster pop songs about love, etc. Trumpet, organ, whatever. 8 a.m. is more lifeless than a Sex Pistols reunion show (oh, come on, you know they're going to suck). (Gern Blandsten, P.O. Box 356, River Edge, NJ 07661)
Budget Girls are a couple of British gals with a few budget guys backing them. BG's EP Get in Your Ear is gonna do just that with four tracks of greasy, squealy, high-decibel garage rock with surf around the edges. This one sounds like American Bandstand meets The Twilight Zone, circa 1964. The last track, "Go Away Geek," comically but viciously attacks Trekkies, D & D players and Internet surfers. The song's nerdy, insistent sample--"But I'm dungeon master"--is classic chuckle fuel. (Damaged Goods, P.O. Box 671, London E17 6NF UK)
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Olympia, Washington, punk brigade Unwound has just released its fifth album, Repetition. Unwound builds alien architectures of noise and start-stop guitar melodies only to tear them down into cacophony--it sounds like the world ripping apart at the seams. Isolation and emotional detachment are the dominant themes here, best articulated on "Corpse Pose" (the first single) and "Devoid." (Kill Rock Stars, 120 NE State, Suite #418, Olympia, WA 98501)
Looking for the perfect album for that candlelight Tuna Helper dinner with your sweetheart? Check out the new Hepcat seven-inch, Bobby and Joe. Hepcat combines reggae, ska and that big-band sound for an instant swingathon that will keep you and your parents groovin' all night long. (BYO Records, P.O. Box 67A64, Los Angeles, CA 90067)
Subincision got its name from a Polynesian puberty ritual for young men where the penis is slit from base to glans to form a pseudovagina. I'll take the eagle claws in the pectoral muscles, thank you. Three months after Subincision's Anti-Bark Device went Top 10 on Berkeley's college station, the band has finally managed to slap it on a seven-inch for distribution. Subincision is all about hellacious droning guitars and quavering vocals a la Jello Biafra. The best song on Anti-Bark is actually "You Get the Shot," a formidable rant about overpopulation and the idiocy of the masses--"No reproduction for the stupid!" It's got my vote. (Wingnut Records, 1442A Walnut Street, Suite 59, Berkeley, CA 94709)
Oakland, California, indie label East Bay Menace dukes it out with the hyphen-punks (y'know, "pop-punk," "melodic-punk") on its ten-band, 18-song compilation Shit Gets Smashed. No pop weasels here, but a couple bands (Strychnine, El Dopa) teeter precariously on the edge of heavy metal. Hot Rod Shopping Cart spins out a couple of souped-up garage tunes, while Mickey and the Big Mouths take a disturbing look inside the mind of a tweaker--"I want to degenerate/Give up everything but hate/I want to be a meth-crazed killer that everyone fears." A great album to clean your house to. (East Bay Menace, P.O. Box 3313, Oakland, CA 94609)--Brendan Kelley