And another DIY space bites the dust, at least for now. Goddamn it’s been a shitty summer with all the spaces getting shut down completely or temporarily (in the case of Regeneration Records, it’s over two months since the last show there). I’m sick and fucking tired of this situation.
The Cuntree Club, a basement space in Brookline, got shut down during a show on August 27. We The People, a band with Chuck from Black SS, were playing when the cops showed up and they only got through about 4-5 songs. The women in the house faced the same problem with cops and other authorities a few months back. They spent a lot of time cleaning up the inside and outside, by order of the housing inspector and had recently started doing shows again. Brookline has a reputation for being a bastion of liberalism but it’s a lot like the so-called liberal oasis Cambridge, a city having a reputation for hostility towards all-ages spaces/shows. The Lily Pad, an arts space in Inman Square, had just started doing some rock/punk/hardcore shows and were quickly shut down due to one person’s noise complaints—well, the electric shows were. Interestingly, one of this guy’s complaints came on a night where there wasn’t a show going on. Hmmm... In any case, last I heard, the Lily Pad are trying to work something out with the city. I recently wrote about this situation in a Myspace blog and called it “limousine liberalism,” where people speak out against sexism at Harvard, world hunger, warfare, etc... but then take a completely negative attitude towards shows in alternative environments that—HORROR!—may attract younger folks. God forbid they stand outside in front of the venue.
In any case, once again, the scramble starts for new venues, spaces, etc... there’s always ebb and flow and I’m sure new spaces will become available, then they’ll get shut down and the process will start again. Same as it’s always been.
By the way, Fruit Salad got to play their whole set, prior to We The People’s, and have turned into a killer band—or maybe I never noticed it before. In any case, a mix of spastic thrash and slower, heavier sounds in the new material. Oh, by the way, at the show, I also dropped and broke my camera. Not a great night, except for having dinner at Grasshopper (a vegan Chinese restaurant) with We The People, their friends and one of my friends. I seem to have misfiled the photos I had of Fruit Salad, so I’ve included one from After The Bombs, who played a sick, wall-shaking set at the CC in late April:
ANGEL CITY OUTCASTS-Deadrose Junction (Sailor’s Grave, CD)
I’d much rather be listening to the Aussie band Angel City (well, their early records) than this overbaked RAWK. The Outcasts play hard G’N’R inspired stuff, along with a lot of rootsy and country elements melded into punk. It’s done with bravado, confidence, et al but the end result is overbearing, especially in the vocal department. I like high-voltage rock but never could stand the whole ‘heartland’ type of thing. (PO Box 6785, Toldeo, OH 43612, http://www.sailorsgraverecords.com/)
THE DISGRACE-The Original Unreleased 1979 Album (Welfare, CD)
The Disgrace were a NYC city that included Steve Wishnia, later in False Prophets and vocalist Butch Lust, who was later in the Hypocrites. The story is they never had an “official” release back then, having broken up soon after recording these 8 songs. A little offkey vocally, a little out of tune at times but a Killed By Death score, nonetheless. The Disgrace get by on sheer attitude and snottiness, especially for the leadoff song “Not With You” and “Closet Punk.” I’d imagine that by ’79, things had turned increasingly artsy-fartsy or watered-down in NYC and these miscreants still forged ahead with their spirited noise. One minor quibble—I wish there had been some liner notes telling the story—I had to get the info from Mike from Welfare Records. (58 River St., Haverhill, MA 01832, www.welfarerecords.net)
FIRST STEP-What We Know (Rivalry, CD)
The Go-Go’s had the beat. The First Step have the edge. Sweeping hardcore of the newer youth crew style, succinct and forthright in its opinion, positive in its approach. Stephen St. Germain barks out the vocals with the urgency of the true believer. Truth be told, the lyrics are almost a bit corny but I have little doubt they’re sincere. The title track gets away from the pure speed for a mid-tempo pound it’s the standout here. Waltah, uh Walter (sorry, I was reverting to my Mass. accent) from YOT, Gorilla Biscuits, et al produces, to give it that old school seal of approval. Have to admit these songs are catchy. (PO Box 5242, Concord, CA 94524, http://www.rivalryrecords.com/)
FISH KARMA-The Theory Of Intelligent Design (Alternative Tentacles, CD)
A wide-ranging musical trip alternating mainly between hard, metallic rock and folky acoustic music. Fish Karma (aka Terry Owen) —it’s a guy, not a band—has been doing this type of thing for over two decades. He skewers religion, corporations, Ronnie James Dio, New Jersey and other targets, not necessarily in that order. Definitely for acquired tastes—not always for my taste, either--yet Mr. Karma’s brand of humor-meets-music has a certain warped charm. (PO Box 419092, SF, CA 94141-9092, http://www.alternativetentacles.com/)
MORNING RIOT-s/t (self-released, CD)
These guys keep going back and forth between semi-rockin’ songs and sensitive ballads, with croon-style vocals, although Tony All does let out a bit of a yell here and there and “Numbers” fuzzes it up a tad. I say semi-rockin’ to be generous. This is tepid rather that something that comes out and attacks, that gets up in your face. Poppy bar rock, essentially. Where’s the riot? (http://www.themorningriot.com/)
NAZI DOGS-Chase The Man (TKO, CD)
A band from Germany playing not-so-bad punk meets garage that’s hindered by one thing—weak vocals. Unfortunately, that’s a pretty important element, since it’s obviously the focal point. A shame because I like this band’s gritty Detroit-inspired approach. I also (kind of) got a kick out of the front cover manipulation with Bush and Hitler riding choppers although I’m sure some may take offense to it. Covers of the Pagans’ “What’s This Shit Called Love” and Devo’s “Mongoloid” are serviceable if not extraordinary. Wish this was a better complete package. (8941 Atlanta Ave., #505, Huntington Beach, CA 92646, http://www.tkorecords.com/)
NARDWUAR THE HUMAN SERVIETTE VS. BEV DAVIES-A 2007 Punk Rock Calendar (Mint, calendar!)
Here’s a first—a calendar sent for review. Nardwuar, one of the more unique interviewers on the planet. His work appears in Razorcake ‘zine and on his own site http://www.nardwuar.com/). Here he reminisces with photographer Bev Davies, who contributes striking vintage photos of such bands as Gang Of Four, Pointed Sticks, Clash, Ramones, DOA (a photo that appeared on the back of “Hardcore ‘81” and others Even a picture of G’N’R’s Duff McKagan in his punk days, playing with the Fastbacks. Half of them are live, half are “photo shoot” type pictures, although they have a candid quality, such as Gang Of Four clowning around, which belies their assumed seriousness. They talk about the artists and the stories behind them. There’s also an extensive interview with more photos. So it’s more than just a calendar but also a document. I usually hang wall calendars in my bedroom/record room and office and that means I only have to get one more for next year. Good job. (PO Box 3613, Vancouver BC, CANADA V6B 3Y6, http://www.mintrecs.com/)
PISSCHRIST-Nothing Has Changed (Yellow Dog, CD)
Nope it hasn’t—not in the world today and not with modern-day Swedish-style hardcore, as played by this Australian band. I’m grateful for the latter, at least. Pisschrist feature the rampaging tempos, set-on-burn guitars and low-register howlings associated with the sound. And with such titles as “The River Runs Red,” “Mass Genocide Machine” and “Fuck The World,” there’s no chance of missing their point. They’ve got me hooked. (PO Box 550209, 10372 Berlin, GERMANY, http://www.yellowdog.de/)
RED THREAD (tape)
I always get this band’s name wrong—thought it was Red Threat and, actually, it works better since they’re certainly make a threatening sound. Three-quarters of the short-lived band 40 Watts (who put out a good demo and broke up almost immediately after), with a different guitar player. Garage/punk/riot grrrl—if that’s still an appropriate term. Forceful words, from the anti-tampon message of “Blood Song” to protecting oneself from unprotected sex to the topical “Bowery,” about the grad student from Massachusetts, Imette St. Guillen, who was raped and murdered in New York City, her body dumped away from the crime scene. That was a perfect example of some in the mainstream media “blaming the victim,” saying that she brought it on herself for being out alone at 4 AM. Red Thread’s answer is self-defense and not living in fear. Jen lets out some nasty screams along with her singing and the band plays with grittiness—and that’s meant in a positive way. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
TO HELL AND BACK (Black Matter, CD)
To Hell and Back’s first album shows off their hard-rock/boogie chops. Pretty straight-ahead, not having the obvious tongue-in-cheek ambiance of, say, Turbonegro but also standing up on its own merits. “Backline Fever” has an obvious nod to Motörhead, both in title and spirit. Some fired-up songs, especially “Dumbstruck,” while others tend to be on the plodding side. It’s about half and half. It all depends on how much “rawk” you want in (sorry for the upcoming phrase) your musical diet. (PO Box 666, Troy, NY 12181, http://www.blackmatterrecords.com/)