Notes from the underground.
"LET ME TELL YOU WHAT THE MIKABOMB IS ALL about..." So starts the second song of the LP The Fake Fake Sounds of Mikabomb, on Damaged Goods. They are inescapably cute in that Japanese-girl rock band way, although they sound a bit like the Headcoatees (replete with British pronunciation). They also have a seriously rockin' side that is undeniable, at least on the A-side (if only the B-side rocked as hard, but still a worthy record)... Finally a new LP by The Kent 3. It's called Spells and it's on Burn Burn Burn Records. More of their patented catchy-as-all-get-out, artier than pretentious art poser rock, good song-singing story tellin' jive. These guys are holdin' it together despite geographic differences none farther, and you will find this one as intriguing as all the others; an essential... "Whoa, who injected me with a dose of bloody ape come mixed with PCP?" you might be asking yourself after listening to the new Lost Sounds LP Block Wove (on fabulous eMpTy Records). Well, wipe yourself off, it's only a r ecord, but maybe not just any record. Grim, daunting, and haunting, Lost Sounds are the soundtrack to a synthesizer-addled nightmare. Scary, but at the same time very pleasing and soothing in a fingernails-across-the-chalkboard way. Another essential, buy or die, zero... If you think the guitars belong up front and in your face, try The Nifters' CD Riding Shotgun on Scooch Pooch. Just when you thought Sweden had been milked completely of punk rock goodness. Along comes another fine example... Awright, I am not sure if I am "getting" this new hardcore/avant-noise crap that is coming out as of late. Latest example, The Only Element That Matters is Einsteinium 7" by The Locust on I Don't Feel A Thing Records. What are these guys smoking? It seriously sounds like an old recording of someone making noises like a stuck (and dying) pig, but perhaps you like that... For more on animal slaughter, see if you can find the Suicide Contest Hammer of the Tards CD on Gleet Records. Awright, it's kinda heavy in that SOD's-fi rst record way, and kinda funny as well. Celtic Frost? Well, kinda... On the noisier side of punk--but a welcome clamor--is The Hudson Falcons' CD For Those Whose Hearts and Souls ore True on GMM Records. Definitely some pounding loud punk rock, think Devil Dogs and/or Action Swingers for sheer pound-for-pound pound, if you catch my drift. Gonna see 'em live at the end of the month and you know I'll report back, but my guess is this is gonna be a shitstorm... OK, clear off the dustbin, it's time for the reissues and rehashes section. First and foremost, one of my favorite bands of all time, the neo-Marxist Dils. Coming outta San Francisco in the late '70s, this threesome pounded out super-rockin' and catchy punk rock steeped in class consciousness. Sure, later they went on to form proto-country band Rank and File who had a combined total two-thirds of a good song, but in their prime the Dils were no match for anyone. Check out the 7" "198 Seconds with the Dils" featuring "Class War," a tune made famous later by DOA, with the B-side "Mr. Big." Originally released in 1977, the original is going for big bucks, but the Dangerhouse reissue is a fraction of the price. And if you like that taste of the Dils there is nothing stopping you from picking up the Dils Dils Dils LP, on Dionysus. If I am not mistaken it's pretty much the same as the Dangerhouse LP that came out years ago. Regardless, it's essential stuff that I have been looking for for years. The A-side is studio stuff, and the B-side is live (and kinda shitty sounding, but endearing). Do yourself a favor... There's another Radio Birdman LP worth pickin' up. Look for Radio Activity. The Singles and EPs. It's got a few gems I haven't heard before, including a cover of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and Bo Diddley's "Let the Kids Dance" recorded during their brief reunion in the early '90s. The other stuff is on other recordings but might not be so accessible... For the record collecting nerds out there, what if I told you that the 1979 Stiff Little Fingers bootleg Th e Christmas Album, recorded live in Sweden and limited to 200 copies in the early '80s, has been re-released? The sound quality is pretty good, and you know SLF rules. What if I told you this one is limited to 500? What if I laughed and told you that it is probably sold out by the time you read this? Ha ha, I guess I'm a dick... How about a reissue of a reissue?
RELATED ARTICLE: Joe Strummer
On the live front, just caught a legend in the flesh: none other than the Clash's Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, his new band. Although I have to admit that this new stuff is alright but not outstanding, which might be frustrating for Strummer as the crowd wants to hear all the Clash stuff, perhaps he could do us a favor and simply write songs that are as good as the Clash stuff. To see it live is another matter. He's been punk longer than most of you have been alive and played in one of the all time best punk bands (well, at least until their third record or so). At first I thought they were playing a lot of old Clash songs, and then it dawned on me that they were in reality playing a lot of the covers that the Clash used to do, by Junior Murvin and Toots and Maytals, etc (they even played a Specials cover!). They did play a few Clash originals and some of the new stuff and it was all pretty damn good. When I saw 'em play they had sold very few advance tickets, which were something like $3 0, so they wound up giving away about 1,000 tickets, and there's nothing friendlier than a crowd who wants to see you play and gets in for free, so that might have affected my view of the show. Still, it was worth seeing.--Wez Lundry