L7 - Wireless
Ahhhhhh, good ol' L7. Recently reunited and sporadically playing gigs in all sorts of places all over the world (except Las Vegas apparently), the band is back and loud and proud and it's nice to know that this Metal tinged bunch of Punk Rockers are still a threat to be dealt with in this day and age of corporate banality. Unfortunately, until they actually release something new, they're relegated to being just another old band cashing in on a wave of nostalgia but, if that wave happens to wash up a few fantastic releases from the vault like this one, and the Hollywood Palladium release, also on the same Easy Action record label, then I can just keep my big mouth shut and just sit back and enjoy the glorious sound of the nostalgia waves hitting the sand. This record is brutal. It captures L7 at the height of their musical muscular movement, with crushing riffs that could rattle the fillings out of your teeth and a rhythm section that is both thunderous and catchy. The sound quality on this release is awesome. Donita Sparks vocals drip with hatred and attitude, and the rest of the band plays with an almost military like attack on their instruments. Songs like Wargasm, Fast & Frightening, Everglade, and (Right On) Thru all benefit and shine because of the bands familiarity with the material, playing fast and loose with every song on this release. It's great to hear. Yeah, while this is certainly no KISS - Alive type of release from the band, it does do a great job at capturing what a strong live band L7 were (are). While not for novices, if you're unfamiliar with the bands recorded output, you could do worse than to start your L7 experience with this release. It does a good job of letting you know what the band is all about, and that's pretty much just being obnoxious and in your face and rocking out with their clams out. Cool stuff.
Available in limited edition gold colored vinyl from Easy Action records by clicking here. Also available digitally on iTunes by clicking here, and you can listen to the album for free on Soundcloud by clicking here. Available on Amazon by clicking here. "Like" L7 on Facebook by clicking here.
Ahhhhhh... his legendary Blackness... Mr. Showbiz himself... the one, the only, Black Randy. <3 I'm not even going to begin to try to capsulize the bawdy, incredible tale that is Black Randy and his amazing musical endeavor known as The Metrosquad, or any of the drama involved with the band before, during, and especially afterwords of their one and only long playing seminal release, Pass The Dust, I Think I'm Bowie, being unleashed on the world. Nor am I going to bore you with tales of how seeing Black Randy And The Metrosquad perform live forever changed my perspective on bands playing live and music in general. Nope! I'm just gonna dive right in, feet first into the water, and tell you all about the magical musical madness that is found on this tape. The following diatribe is for fans only. You guys will get it. Novices will learn nothing about why they should know and worship everything Black Randy And The Metrosquad related. But they should. Trust me you should. Immediately.
First off, this album has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence as of late. What's up with that? It's been re-released on colored vinyl, 2 X 180 gram vinyl, regular vinyl, there's even been a DJ 12" released of bootleg remixes on pink vinyl if you can wrap your mind around that, and now it's being released in the hipster cassette format, which is weird. I literally can count on one hand the number of people that I know who like this album, much less that even know of it's existence, and even less than that who consider themselves Black Randy And The Metrosquad fans - it's me, Bob, and Jane Wiedlin from the Go-Go's, and that's it! LOL The fact that there's a need for this in the cassette format gives me a slight hope for the future of Punk Rock and music in general. It shows me that somebody out there gets it. Somebody else understands just how crucial this album is. The songs on here are the works of musical insanity gone amiss, the sound of drug addled nightmares come to life. They are both booty shaking funky goodness and head banging intensity, equal parts Zappa/Beefheart/Zeppelin as they are Ohio Players/Parliament-Funkadelic and the music heard in the background of porn movies in the 70's. Once heard, never forgotten, for better or for worse, that's for sure. Either you get it or you don't. If you do, great, if you don't, blow me. Seriously.
So what's on here, you ask? Well, everything comes from the seminal 1994 Sympathy For The Record Industry release, which had some (not all) of the Dangerhouse Records singles, the Green Frog live excerpts, which are amazing (when is that entire show going to show up on an official release, dammit?), and a few demos that only hinted at the brilliant future that Black Randy And The Metrosquad were going to enjoy if only His Royal Blackness didn't succumb to the temptation that is recreational homosexual acts and intravenous drug use. The official 2009 reissue of this album by Vinyl Countdown Records added on 2 brilliant prank phone calls that Black Randy made, which was something he enjoyed doing apparently. The call he makes to Legendary photographer Jenny Lens about a comment he made about her on the Rodney On The ROQ radio show, claiming Ms. Lens sold the best speed in all of L.A., is creepy and cringe inducing, and Black Randy's call to legendary SF show promoter Paul Rat is pure huckster salesman genius. Hearing Black Randy extol the virtues of The Mentors is worth the price of this cassette alone. Well, this release, which was NOT put out by Burger Records, in case you were wondering, has all that on it, the demos, the live stuff, the crank phone calls, PLUS, it also has the alternative lost mix of I Wanna Be A Nark that was put out as one side of a split 7" the band did with Rhino 39 that came out on Artifix Records back in 2009, PLUS, it has the 4 absolutely crucial Black Randy And The Metrosquad songs from the Live At The Masque - Dicks Fight Banks Hate compilation that came out on Year One Records back in 1996. The only professionally recorded live stuff ever captured of the band, and it is some mind blowing stuff indeed - must be heard to be believed.
Yeah, I am both hyped and thrilled to have this pretty exhaustive, pretty well put together compilation of some, again, not all, of the musical genius that is Black Randy And The Metrosquad, all in one handy dandy format that makes it easily accessible, just how I imagine Black Randy would of liked it to be. The musical landscape is leaps and bounds different from when it was back in the late 1970's when Black Randy And The Metrosquad unleashed this drug demon spawned monstrosity onto an unsuspecting public, and despite all that, it's good to know that there is a need for this music, at this time, right now. it warms my blackened heart. It really does. No thank you to Burger Records for keeping the dream / nightmare alive with this crucial release.
This cassette is NOT available from Burger Records, and you can NOT buy it from them by clicking here. You can however buy it from Elective Affinities, where they'll throw in a Black Randy And The Metrosquad badge as well as a tee shirt if you do, by clicking here. The cassette version of this release is also available digitally via Frontier Records, and you can check that out by clicking here. Don't "like" the band on Facebook by clicking here. Just don't...
The Mutants - Your Desert My Mind
First off, thanks to my heterosexual life mate Monica for getting this CD into my grubby little hands. "Review it", she said. "I wanna know what you think about it." Now usually when someone tells me that, what they really mean to say is I wanna hear you talk shit about this band, but with Monica, I actually believe she wants to know what I think about the music, as opposed to just tossing chum into the water to attract me to attack and shred on some random band that deserves it. Not that The Mutants are random, of course. They're an interesting musical experiment in underground scenes that have been kicking up some dust for a while now. I know of the band through Mr. Rat Scabies involvement, and wanted to check the band out live but recently missed them playing here in Las Vegas @Triple B's, because I was out of town playing my own gig in LA, but Monica went to the show, snagged me a CD, and here we are. I was curious as to what it sounded like, so I popped it in first chance I got, fingers crossed that it was going to be good.
The first thing that struck me about this CD is that the opening track, the title track to this album, sucks. Like big time. Terrible choice for an opening track. Made me wanna just huck this CD out my window into traffic. Sounded like The Dandy Warhols covering Kula Shaker after one too many beers drunk during a battle of musical pomposity. Ugh. Once you get past that opening boring behemoth, there's some interesting snippets of things going on here. It's pretty/ugly, it's artsy, with heavily layered/treated vocals stretched out over some droning, atmospheric, slow riffs that probably sound pretty amazeballs if you were tripping on peyote at Joshua Tree and listening to this. Seems like the music is more about setting a tone or creating an atmosphere rather than rocking out. Sonically, it's sounds great, well produced, fantastic mix, but these musically majestic pieces of sludgy gooeyness were more 'miss' than 'hit' with me. Reminded me of a long lost Queens Of The Stone Age / Fu Manchu album full of mistakes and outtakes. Shorter songs like Highway 62, The Final Hand, Machismo Postura, and Night Bus To Krakow (The Return), built around a snazzy Rat Scabies drum line, were the ones that worked for me, and the rest, meh. Not saying it's bad, just saying it's not for me. Is that a bad thing to say nowadays?
Released by the Killer Tracks label, which you can go to by clicking here. Available from the band at every gig they play, and from The Mutants website (click here). Also available digitally via iTunes (click here), Amazon (click here), and various other places where Punk is marketed and sold as the cheap commodity that it is. "Like" The Mutants on Facebook by clicking here.