1/26/2014

HELL ON HEELS - Dogs, Records & Wine (2007)


When Bomp impresario Greg Shaw first heard Hell on Heels, an all-woman four-person garage band out of Phoenix, Arizona, he told one reporter, “I feel the same way that Phil Spector must have felt when he first saw the Ronettes.” (He put out the first Hell on Heels record, Les Hell on Heels shortly before his death.) That’s maybe a little strong, but Dogs, Records and Wine is one monster of a garage-rock album, with fierce snarling verses and shout-along choruses, strident guitar mayhem and sweet 1960s organ. Album highlight “Can’t Buy Cool” is pure rampage, as lead singer Paula Monarch dresses down a poser, while “Send Him” slithers and insinuates atop an evil bass line. Kindred spirit Nikki Corvette steps up to the mic for the sublimely sardonic, call-and-response havoc of “Pretty Mess” and “Made Like No Other”, a sexy, self-assured “c’mere you” anthem that subtly updates the Shangri-Las. The 1950s and 1960s atmospherics are thick in the air, but you never forget that these are very independent, modern women. None of that moping around in a poodle skirt Mr. Right—the ladies of Hell on Heels are perfectly okay on their own. “It’s not that I don’t need anyone / It’s just the ones I need are few and far between,” growls Monarch in the swaggery-slow, blues-tinged title track. She’s got a dog, a bottle of wine, some cool records and a kicking rock band. A man would just be superfluous. Jennifer Kelly (popmatters)


01 Win Some Lose Some
02 I'll Come Runnin'
03 Dogs, Records & Wine
04 Can't Buy Cool
05 Matter Of Time
06 Made Like No Other
07 Pretty Mess
08 Through With You
09 Send Him
10 Sassy
11 C'mon Turn Me on

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1/20/2014

SHONEN KNIFE - Fun! Fun! Fun! (2007)


Fun! fun! fun! is the first CD with Etsuko as the second SHONEN KNIFE. The songs are split evenly between English and Japanese. There are some classic Naoko-style songs, ‘Barnacle’ and ‘Ramones Forever’ being my favorites. ‘Cookie Tabetai’ is the guitar cruncher for this outing. In some of the songs, though, Naoko is truly stretching her songwriting wings in more sure and graceful ways than she’s allowed herself before. There are a number of examples on fun! fun! fun! where she has achieved real beauty, both musically and emotionally, and it’s a wonderful step for her to be taking! (Rock of Japan)

01 Gravity Zero Gravity
02 Barnacle
03 Flu
04 Ramones Forever
05 Las Vegas
06 Birthday
07 Popcorn
08 I Wanna Eat Cookies
09 Southern Islands
10 Good Night

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1/18/2014

BRATMOBILE - Ladies, Women and Girls (2000)


I really wanted to like this album. Bratmobile, in part, are responsible for creating a veritable revolution in the punk scene. And what was this revolution called? Riot grrl. Along with DC based Bikini Kill, Bratmobile helped create a national touring network and a zine distribution network which showcased feminist bands and literature. Because of Bratmobile’s efforts, sexism in the scene was somewhat reduced, and as a result, girls were actually able to see and participate in concerts. Or so I hear. I was around nine during Bratmobile’s heyday and, a boy. But, I can listen to the music now, and it is, quite simply, boring.

While Bratmobile have matured as musicians since previous releases, much of their reckless rock n’ roll charm is lost. The fourteen tracks on Ladies, Women and Girls blur into one long, indistinguishable surf jam. For the most part, the album is a little more than listenable. At times, it is catchy – “In Love with All My Lovers” and “Girlfriends Don’t Keep” with handclaps – “Gimme Brains” and keyboards – “You’re Fired.” But for the most part, Ladies, Women and Girls seems to be devoid of any enthusiasm whatsoever. Unlike Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna, whose vocal range could go from primal, guttural screams to beautiful melodics within a single song, Bratmobile’s Allison Wolfe’s voice falls flat. Wolfe sings in such a monotonous voice, she’s basically speaking.

Ladies, Women and Girls seems to lack any real enthusiasm or emotion. Unless you are a diehard Bratmobile fan, I wouldn’t purchase this album.  (Punknews.org)

01 Eating Toothpaste
02 Gimme Brains
03 It's Common (But We Don't Talk About It)
04 Not In Dog Years
05 You're Fired
06 Cheap Trick Record
07 In Love With All My Lovers
08 90's Nomad
09 Well You Wanna Know What?
10 Flavor Of The Month Club
11 Affection Training
12 Do You Like Me Like That
13 Come Hither
14 Girlfriends Don't Keep


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1/15/2014

TILT - 'Til It Kills (1995)


After leaving Lookout and signing up with punk juggernaut Fat Wreck Chords, Tilt released their sophomore full-length, 'Til It Kills, in 1995. Despite changes within both the band and the rapidly evolving pop-punk musical landscape, this follow-up to Play Cell is very similar to its predecessor. The material is melodic, up-tempo punk and vocalist Cinder Block is in her usual fine form, but aide from the fine opener, "Libel" -- a minor underground hit -- there is little evidence that the punk outfit experienced any songwriting growth during the two years after their debut. The tunes are often repetitive, slightly vague, and even a little pretentious at times. Throughout the late '90s, Tilt maintained their second-tier pop-punk status, offering up many more titles for Fat Wreck Chords; however, there is no individual characteristic that sets 'Til It Kills (or any of these records) apart from the rest. Many fans of the Bay Area punkers believe that this is a powerful effort from the group, but casual fans of this genre and new Tilt listeners aren't likely to notice anything special.  Vincent Jeffries

01 Libel
02 Confines Of Love
03 Leanin' Like A Barn
04 Unravel
05 Suspended
06 Acathisia
07 'Til It Kills
08 Windowsill
09 Dumb Little World
10 Land Of Fragments
11 Lips Tits Hips
12 Past The Point
13 Dirty Kitchen Eternity

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1/13/2014

FRIGHTWIG - Wild Women Never Die... (1993)


Frightwig was an American 1980s all-women band from San Francisco, California. They pioneered the riot grrrl movement and were influential to its development. They often played at The Farm. They were known for inviting a male audience member on stage to "dance" during the song "A Man's Gotta Do What a Man's Gotta Do", and thereby publicly ridiculing him. Frightwig was composed of Cecilia Lynch, Deanna Ashley, Mia Levin, Susan Miller, Megan Page, Lynn Perko and Rebecca Tucker.
Kurt Cobain was a fan of Frightwig. At Nirvana's MTV Unplugged concert, he can be seen wearing a Frightwig T-shirt.
This album is a compilation of their first two LP's, 1984's Cat Farm Faboo and 1986's Faster, Frightwig: Kill!! Kill!! and is definitive listening for anyone interested in the evolution of Riot Grrrl Rock. (Wikipedia)

01 Wanque Off Song
02 My Crotch Does Not Say 'Go'
03 Jeri's Song
04 I Got Lost
05 Hot Papa
06 A Man's Got To Do What A Man's Got To Do
07 Vagabondage
08 Only You
09 Take This And Fuck Yer Head
10 I'll Talk To You And Smile
11 Tomorrow Never Comes
12 Something's Gotta Change
13 Beverly Hills
14 Crazy World
15 Big Bang
16 Punk Rock Jail Bait
17 Manifest Destiny
18 Booby Prize
19 American Express
20 I Don't Want To Be Alone
21 Freedom

1/12/2014

SODOPP - Pop Rider (2006)


Sodopp is an all-girl rock trio from Japan. Their debut album "Pop Rider" is a little jewel of indie pop-rock sound with 60's reminiscences.

01  Music Rider
02  Yoru no Hana
03  Yeah!!!
04  Norausagi
05  Apostrophe
06  Hoto Pierrot
07  My Car
08  4Beat

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Miss LUDELLA BLACK feat. THE MASONICS - From This Witness Stand (2008)


Holly Golightly isn't the only former Headcoatee with a solo career these days, and with her second album, Ludella Black is proving she's every bit as gifted as the best-known member of Billy Childish's Ladies' Auxiliary. From This Witness Stand features Black singing 14 songs, most written by her significant other, Mick Hampshire, and featuring the estimable backing of Hampshire's combo the Masonics, but even though she gets some valuable assistance on this set, Black is clearly the star of this show. From This Witness Stand is considerably more than standard-issue U.K. garage rock; "Hey, Johnny Raw" is a potent, atmospheric anti-war song that wouldn't be out of place in The Three Penny Opera; she offers a slinky torch number with "I'll Ride the Storm"; "Take a Heart" is a tough slice of blue-eyed R&B; "Push-Button Geoff" is folk-rock with a nice sense of snarky wit, and the cover of the Downliners Sect's "The Cost of Living" aims to charm rather than pummel, and it succeeds. Black's voice is strong and malleable enough that she can cover a number of musical bases and sound sweetly confident and subtly powerful whatever direction she takes, and if you do want to hear her rock out, don't fret: "I Want Some Answers," "Loony," "This Heart Is Condemned," and the title tune deliver the big beat with style. Ludella Black has a great voice and she knows what to do with it, and anyone who doubts it need only turn to From This Witness Stand for some engaging proof.  Mark Deming (All Music Guide)

01 From This Witness Stand
02 Don't You Walk Away From Me
03 Cost of Living
04 I Want Some Answers
05 Come to Me
06 Hey Johnny Raw
07 This Heart is Condemned
08 Take a Heart
09 Push Button Geoff
10 I Can Lose You
11 I'll Ride the Storm
12 This is Elvis Dog
13 Whisper in my Brain
14 Loony

1/11/2014

7 YEAR BITCH - Sick 'Em (1992)


Sick 'Em is the debut album by Seattle punk rock band 7 Year Bitch. It was released in October, 1992 on the local C/Z Records label and collected all of the band's previous releases up to that point onto one record. The album was originally slated for an earlier release date but was delayed following the death of guitarist Stefanie Sargent in June 1992.  

01 Chow Down
02 Tired Of Nothing
03 Knot
04 In Lust You Trust
05 Sink
06 Gun
07 Lorna
08 You Smell Lonely
09 No Fucking War
10 Dead Men Don't Rape
11 8-Ball Deluxe
12 Can We Laugh Now?

1/09/2014

BETTY BLOWTORCH - Are You Man Enough? (2001)


Spewing the sort of unrepentant, biker-bar hard rock that's glory days ended with the breakup of Guns N' Roses, Betty Blowtorch are four leather-pants-wearing gals from L.A. singing about wanton sex, petty jealousy, and your usual rock & roll subject matter with conviction and just a tiny bit of irony. Singer Bianca Butthole's former band, Butt Trumpet, was a silly punk band and Betty Blowtorch have definitely come up from that scene too. But they sound more at home pulling off fiery metal leads and busting rock star moves than they would in a dank punk club. Raunchier than the Donnas and feistier than the all-girl nu metal band Kittie, the gals from Betty Blowtorch write some catchy tunes, some a bit pop-sounding like "No Integrity" and others more Nashville Pussy-like, such as "Hell on Wheels." They are equally adept at both pop and hard rock. On the song "Size Queen," Vanilla Ice makes an incredibly embarrassing appearance rapping about his giant wanger. The song is a sort of editorial from Betty Blowtorch letting guys know that size does indeed matter. Though all this material has been tread upon a million times before, Betty Blowtoch manage to keep it lively. Adam Bregman (All Music Guide)

01 Hell On Wheels
02 Love & Hate
03 Size Queen (feat. Vanilla Ice)
04 I Wanna Be Your Sucker
05 I'm Ugly And I Don't Know Why
06 Shut Up And Fuck
07 No Integrity
08 Frankie
09 I Wish You'd Die
10 Big Hair, Broken Heart
11 Part Time Hooker
12 Rock My World
13 Dresses
14 Strung Out
15 Rock 'N' Roll 69

1/08/2014

THE ETTES - Shake The Dust (2006)

Serving up a sexy but undeniably fierce mix of pop smarts and garage rock power, the Ettes are vocalist/guitarist Lindsay "Coco" Hames, drummer Maria "Poni" Silver, and bassist Jeremy "Jem" Cohen, a trio of New Yorkers who became Los Angelenos. The band formed in 2004 and soon won a following for its mix of Nancy Sinatra style, Patsy Cline twang, and Stonesy rock. Radio airplay and live shows contributed to the Ettes' buzz, which eventually led to the group signing with Sympathy for the Record Industry. Along with the Dead and Gone single and From the Songbook of Greg Cartwright, a split with the likeminded Fondas, the label released the Ettes' first full-length, Shake the Dust, which the band recorded with London garage rock producer extraordinaire Liam Watson. For the follow-up, the band headed back to London to record with Watson again. The resulting album, Look at Life Again Soon, was issued by Take Root in September of 2008. Heather Pares (All Music Guide)

01 Reputation
02 Dead and Gone
03 Alley Cat
04 Spend My Money
05 All Right
06 No More Surprises
07 We Repel Each Other
08 It Ain't You
09 Gimme
10 Dirty
11 Soft Focus
12 Ghosts
13 Beggars
14 I Wanna Go Home

HORRORPOPS - Bring It On! (2005)


Psychobilly. By its very name it's a kick in the pants, an emphatic wallop that metes out harmony between the greasers and punks by the thrum of standup bass. HorrorPops made a real impression with Hell Yeah, their Epitaph debut, and 2005's Bring It On! also delivers soundly. The band never gets carried away with establishing a rabid, rapid pace, or the genre's obsession with grabby ghouls and pools of blood. That stuff's in there, but it's cut with Patricia Day's endearing "girl group gone a little bad" lead vocals and dynamic songwriting that finds the most effective way to combine rockabilly thump with punk swagger, instead of the most obvious one. And HorrorPops aren't two-dimensional. While the cleverly self-referential stance of the Ramones and the Misfits forever lurks like a comforting shadow in the backgrounds of Bring It On!, "Hit 'n' Run" sounds like nothing less than an outtake from No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom and "Caught in a Blonde" is pretty straight-on punk revival. Likewise, "You vs. Me" has a slight new wave kick driving its punctuating guitar twangs. Those guitars are strong throughout, if just a little conventional -- Kim Nekroman and Geoff Kresge (Tiger Army's former bassist) unleash blasts of raucous punk or atmospheric creeping pluck as appropriate, but the whole band seems to realize it's the HorrorPops' frontwoman who's the star of this show. Day is just incredible. She's a precocious babydoll, a vengeful lover (in the '50s-style murder ballad "S.O.B.," she's ruthless), a bawdy bandleader. But most of all she's a fantastic bassist, the thumping strings of her upright leading her band along like bold page numbers in the corner of a nickel pulp novel. Johnny Loftus (All Music Guide)

01 Freaks In Uniforms
02 Hit 'N Run
04 It's Been So Long
05 Undefeated
06 You Vs. Me
08 Trapped
09 Walk Like A Zombie
10 Where You Can't Follow
11 Caught In A Blonde
12 S.O.B.
13 Who's Leading You Now 

1/07/2014

EVE MONSEES AND THE EXILES - Eve Monsees and the Exiles (2005)


Based out of Austin, Tx. the Exiles combine rootsy blues and R&B grooves with a 60s garage rock edge. The founding members of the band are 21 year old guitarist/singer Eve Monsees and drummer Mike Buck. Buck is the drummer of the LeRoi Brothers (a band that he started over 20 years ago), and was the original Fabulous Thunderbirds drummer as well. In addition to the bands mentioned above, Buck has toured abroad with Doug Sahm and with blues man Lazy Lester. Monsees may be new to the scene, but teaming up with Buck has caused her to learn quick. With a good foundation in blues music, she is constantly expanding her tastes and abilities. Second guitarist Grady Pinkerton brings his swampy New Orleans roots to the Exiles. His solid rhythm playing blend well with bassist Speedy Sparks who played for years with Doug Sahm. (cduniverse)

01 Surprise, Surprise
02 Ooh Wee Sugar
03 Needles And Pins
04 I Had A Dream
05 Rock In My Shoe
06 Never Let You Go
07 From Now On
08 Lonely Lonely Nights
09 (I've Got A) Thing For You
10 Lickin' Stick
11 Don't Ever Say Goodbye
12 Stupid Girl
13 Everything's Gonna Be Alright
14 Deed And Deed I Do

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1/06/2014

SHONEN KNIFE - Rock Animals (1994)


Shonen Knife is one of those bands that make you an instant devotee or forever leave you totally bewildered. Part of the Japanese trio's appeal lies in its mutated regurgitation of American and British pop culture: The highlight of 1992's Let's Knife, the group's first widely available domestic release, was "Tortoise Brand Pot Scrubbing Cleaner's Theme," which appeared in two delightfully screwy versions. But you get the sense that even if Naoko, Michie, and Atsuko were singing in their native language, things would still be pretty weird. Choruses stagger by in 15/8 time, voices blend in uniquely twisted harmonies, and bursts of fuzz guitar suddenly invade innocent pop singalongs. Shonen Knife isn't just from a different country, it's from a different solar system.
Rock Animals, the band's second Virgin release, is mellower than its predecessor, with less Ramones drive and more Beach Boys lilt. In fact, the title could be a nod to Pet Sounds, but no one knows for sure; the Virgin press release paints it as an ecological concept album, but the lyrics to songs such as "Little Tree," "Concrete Animals," and "Cobra Vs. Mongoose" are as inscrutable as ever, revealing no obvious Don Henley crusade. The catchiest and most gonzo tunes are the irresistable "Catnip Dream," which speculates about kitties getting high on catnip, and the '50s-style "Johnny Johnny Johnny," which features the memorable lyric, "Hee Hee Ha Ha Ho Ho/He's the coolest boy." Who could argue with that? -- Jim DeRogatis

  1. Another Day
  2. Brown Mushrooms
  3. Butterfly Boy
  4. Catnip Dream
  5. Cobra Versus Mongoose
  6. Concrete Animals
  7. Johnny Johnny Johnny
  8. Little Tree
  9. Music Square
  10. Quavers
  11. Tomato Head
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L7 - L7 (1990)


L7's eponymous debut finds the band just beginning to get their sea legs; their trademark grungy fusion of punk and metal isn't quite fully formed yet, often skewing heavily toward one side of the equation or the other. That can sometimes give the album a schizophrenic feel; one minute they're sneering punk goddesses, the next they're offering hard-partying odes to rock & roll that could have been ripped from a Runaways record. But even if L7 doesn't quite jell into a cohesive album, visceral moments like opener "Bite the Wax Tadpole" (the Chinese translation of Coca Cola) make it worth investigating by devoted fans of the band's sludgy grind. Steve Huey (All Music Guide)

01 Bite The Wax Tadpole
02 Cat-O'-Nine-Tails
03 Metal Stampede
04 Let's Rock Tonight
05 Uncle Bob
06 Snake Handler
07 Runnin' From The Law
08 Cool Out
09 It's Not You
10 I Drink
11 Ms. 45

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1/04/2014

THE DEL-GATORS - Pound Down! (2001)


So few bands claiming to play retro-rock actually capture the energy and verve of the early rock scene. Clear production and smarmy songwriting robs the music of its true roots: the angst-ridden problems of youth. That is where the Del-Gators come in. Armed with an arsenal of country-fried licks and a handful of great hooks, Pound Down is a solid blast of pure rock & roll. Heavily influenced by the New Orleans R&B scene, the bandmembers have a firm grasp on the issues and approach that made that music so great. They play sloppy, they fall out of tune, but their energy level is sky high and they match it with brain-invading songs about old cars and bad relationships and things that people can actually relate to. The sound quality is comparable to listening to a band play in a cave, but hearing Jenna Roker's sweet voice croon "Cruel Game" can easily make you forget about the echoing guitars and muffled drums. Where so many other retro acts fail, these men and women found the exact right way to approach this. Fans of everything from garage punk to rockabilly to New Orleans R&B should give this a listen; there are plenty of good songs to go around.  Bradley Torreano (All Music Guide)

01 Get Down (And Get Stupid!)
02 Dynamite
03 Mudpit
04 Move Mr. Man
05 Bompa My Bones
06 Wiggin' Out
07 Cockroach Crawl
08 Dull-Eyed
09 Car Troubles
10 Crabwalkin'
11 Lay It Down
12 Cruel Game
13 Rubbin'



THE DETROIT COBRAS - Mink Rat or Rabbit (1998)


The Detroit Cobras manage a pretty rare feat with their debut LP by transcending classic R&B material by sticking not to the original sound or slavishly recreating arrangements and stylistic trappings of the genre, but by finding the essence of the rough-and-tumble spirit of the original streetwise tunes the Cobras tackle on Mink Rat. That they've chosen as their material obscure R&B nuggets from such legendary labels as Fortune Records and tunes from the glory days of regional hits and AM radio (with the left-field cover of the Oblivians' "Bad Man" here titled "Bad Girl") only aids and abets their efforts to make this material uniquely their own. Led by rhythm guitarist Steve Shaw, the Cobras are so tight, instrumentally, that they're loose. The sound, in modern terms, is dirty garage rock, but emboldened by a sense of rhythm that eludes most trash rock and punk-leaning outfits. But, really, what the Detroit Cobras peddle is rock & roll, just as raw and funky as it was originally intended. Shaw may lead the instrumental charge, but it's vocalist Rachel Nagy that steals the show. With a limber, husky voice that recalls Peggy Lee gone to seed and chain-smoking while standing on a Detroit street corner, Nagy is soulful without resorting to histrionics. Instead, she infuses her treatment of the material with an alluring bad-girl bravado and a feral sultriness. Always one step away from falling apart, the Detroit Cobras manage to hang together long enough to keep the house party vibe rolling from track to track. A fitting tribute to the spirit of rock& roll and a reason to go dig through the crates to hear the originals. Chris Handyside (All Music Guide)

01 Cha Cha Twist
02 I'll Keep Holding On
03 Putty (In Your Hands)
04 Easier to Cry
05 Bad Girl
06 Slummer (The Slum)
07 Midnight Blues
08 You Knows What to Do
09 Can't Do Without You
10 Hittin' on Nothing
11 Out of This World

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VICE SQUAD - No Cause For Concern (1981)


01 Young Blood
02 Coward
03 Nothing
04 Summer Fashion
05 1981
06 Saturday Night Special
07 Offering
08 The Times They Are  A Changin'
09 Evil
10 Angry Youth
11 It's A Sell Out
12 Still Dying
13 Last Rockers
14 So What For The 80's
15 Sterile
16 Last Rockers (Single Version)
17 Living On Dreams
18 Latex Love
19 Ressurrection
20 Young Blood (Single Version)
21 Humane (Single Version)