Night of the Unabunnie (and Other Dark Tales)
To: New Times Music Department
From: The Revolver
Re: A Vinyl Manifesto
Print this or I'll blow you up.
Why vinyl? Because vinyl is the original frontier and the final outpost of integrity and idealism in a multinational industry so putrid with greed that Fife Slimington should consider it a second career option. Vinyl is cheap to produce, stock and buy. It flies below the financial radar of those who would oppress true youth music and culture in the name of profit margin and mass marketability. Vinyl is phlegm in their faces, an insurrection in progress, the most visible and practical manifestation of the Do-It-Yourself creed. Vinyl is your chance to put a bullet in the head of corporate rock. Fire at will. AViva la revolucion!
And viva la Celophane. A local four-piece, Celophane wraps up the standard rock structure (vcls/gtr/bs/drms) and puts it in deep freeze (it'll keep). The band has no front man--all four members write songs and sing, and they all trade instruments on stage and on record. Thanks to this equal division of artistry, Celophane songs are pleasantly schizophrenic, varying from ultrafast SoCal style hard-core to bouncy pop numbers to slow, melody-laced tracks. Yeah, they know the name is misspelled--they did it on purpose to avoid confusion with the British band Cellophane (good thing they got that one cleared up). Catch Celophane at Nile Theater in Mesa (on penny beer night, no less) on Thursday, or send them $3 for a four-song tape. Expect Celo's vinyl debut to come out later this summer in the form of a ten-inch EP on Ratchet Records. (Celophane, 6227 West Wethersfield, Glendale, AZ 85304)
Next up is Slugger, a grrl-fronted Tempe band that's been throwing punches at the Valley scene for about a year now. Slugger's guitar-oriented sound is thick and raucous, but Yolanda Bejarano's sharp, sweet vocals make a clean cut through the slab of noise. Think of a hard, harsh whiskey shot with a layer of honey on top to ease the burn. This band virtually brought a Hollywood Alley audience to its knees via a devastating May 26 set on the bill with Reuben's Accomplice and Pine Wyatt. Slugger is scheduled to perform next in an opening slot for Goldfinger at Nile Theater in Mesa on Sunday, and should have a local seven inch out before September.
Careful with that package--the Lil' Bunnies from Sacramento just issued their Unabunnie EP. It's a nail bomb in vinyl clothing--the bunnieboys lighted the fuse on five nearly unintelligible blasts of mayhem, with multiple spikes of pipe organ thrown in for good measure. Like their album's inspiration, the Unabunnies suffer from a twisted strain of garage genius. The sound quality on this record sucks--roughly approximate to your downstairs neighbors rocking out with a boom box in their bathroom--but it's all part of the underground allure. "Sex Bomb Bunnie (Oh, Yeah)" is the obvious fave, a chaotic shock ride guaranteed to cure your phobia of all things pink and furry. (Wrench Records, BCM Box 4049, London WC1N 3XX, U.K.)
"Copyright violation for the nation!" is the Evolution Control Committee's slogan, and damn do these guys live up to it on their new seven-inch The Whipped Cream Mixes. We're talking flagrant fair-use violations. Whipped Cream consists of scrambled tunes by legendary jazz trumpeter Herb Alpert (who recorded the original hit LP Whipped Cream with the Tijuana Brass in 1965), with sampled vocals by Public Enemy rapper Chuck D dubbed over the top (Chuck rhymes "By the Time I Get to Arizona" on one side and "Rebel Without a Pause" on the flip). This one's guaranteed to get you into the groove--just think what ECC could do with Method Man and Charles Mingus. (Eerie Materials, P.O. Box 420816, San Francisco, CA 94142)
Ah, yes . . . simplicity in punk rock. Maximumrocknroll columnist George Tabb (author of the always-remarkable Take My Life, Please column) and his band Furious George have released two songs on MRR Records that are short, loud and to the point. "I Gotta Gun" is a classic three-line violent outburst ("I gotta gun/You better run/I kill for fun")--furious George indeed. The B-side, "Burger King Is Dead" follows the same basic formula: fast guitars plus old-school-yelling vocals equals an effective aural assault of punk-rock rage. I understand MRR is also marketing this single as a caffeine substitute. (MRR Records, P.O. Box 460760, San Francisco, CA 94146)
Naughty, naughty. F.Y.P, those kings of kindergarten p-rock, are back with a spanking new LP, Toilet Kids Bread, that overflows with hard-core immaturity. F.Y.P is fronted by Todd Congelierre, Recess Records magnate and a former professional skateboarder with the Liberty organization. Toilet Kids Bread is a stupendous record, replete with all the snottiness and bird-flipping you can fit on 12 inches of vinyl. The band even throws in xylophones on one track ("Audrea Lee") to push its rotten-little-kid shtick right over the top. Standout tracks are "Die Young" and "Piss on Rye." This slab of plastic has spent more time on my turntable than anything else lately. Support adolescent regression and pick it up--you'll feel like a little 14-year-old skate punk again, even if you never were one. (Recess Records, P.O. Box 1112, Torrance, CA 90505)
"What exactly are the great historical accomplishments of 'your' race that make you proud to be white? Capitalism? Slavery? Genocide? Sitcoms? Pollution? Thigh-Master? This is your fucking white history my 'friend.'" That's right, kids, your favorite Canadian hell-raisers, Propagandhi, are back, disseminating more animal-friendly, anti-fascist, gay-positive, pro-feminist information on their new LP Less Talk More Rock. Something is amiss, though--Propagandhi's last LP on Fat, How to Clean Everything, was full of smartass sarcasm and humor. The new album is a helluva lot more serious and not nearly as much fun. Still, Propagandhi is one of the few bands on Fat Wreck Chords that doesn't sound exactly like NOFX, so don't let its label's reputation put you off (as the small print on Less Talk's jacket says: "So what if we're on Fat Wreck Chords"). Part of the money you spend on this album goes to charitable lefty organizations such as People Acting for Animal Liberation, Food Not Bombs and the Winnipeg Naturopathic Clinic, so it's one of those "feel-good" purchases. (Fat Wreck Chords, P.O. Box 460144, San Francisco, CA 94146)
In the Meeting of Great Minds Department, we have the long-awaited, much-anticipated split seven inch, Thank Heaven for Little Boys, from the last two aforementioned citadels of new-school punk rock, F.Y.P and Propagandhi. F.Y.P slaps down 3 gems--"Mate Like Porcupines," "Dinky Bossetti" (an ode to Winona Ryder's character in Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael), and "Glamourettes" (more xylophones!!). Propagandhi's one song, "Letter of Resignation," is a ballad about a girl dropping out of life that's better than any one track on the new album. (Recess Records, P.O. Box 1112, Torrance, CA 90505)
If you're into that Kill Rock Stars, Chainsaw Records, etc., grrrl-rock thing, the new one from Cold Cold Hearts is a must. Yer So Sweet brings more hypersqueal stylings from this prolific side project of musicians from Heavens to Betsy, Bratmobile, and the Frumpies. Subject matter is the usual middle-finger pointing at the dominant-male paradigm. The best of the three tracks here is "Any Resemblance to Persons Living or Dead Is Purely Coincidental." Slide guitar and whispered vocals are not what we've come to expect from this indie contingent, and the song has a higher impact for it. Live alert--Cold Cold Hearts will be out to boil your blood at Stinkweed Records on June 25. (Kill Rock Stars, 120 NE State, No. 418, Olympia, WA 98501)
Texas Is the Reason may be the most hyped (and thus most controversial) indie band of the moment, but Valley-locked purveyors of the genre have yet to hear, see and judge for themselves. Now the time has come. The NYC foursome is booked to play Big Fish Pub on Tuesday in support of its new LP Do You Know Who You Are? (supposedly the last words John Lennon heard on the way to the hospital). The overall sound on that record is that of a morbid Superchunk. Make that a morbid Superchunk gone prog rock. Texas Is the Reason can't seem to write a song less than six minutes long. The band's arrangements border on chaotic, and tempo dynamics ping-pong wildly. The tension between instruments is also jacked up high, like the guys're all battling for control. Makes you wonder if the members of this band even like one another--onstage fistfight potential may be high. (Revelation Records, P.O. Box 5232, Huntington Beach, CA 92615-5232)--Brendan Kelley
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