Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Mono Men - "Don't Know Yet" - "Lie Detector/Jack The Ripper" (7", Lucky - 1992) & "Just A Girl" - "Over The Edge" (7", Lance Rock - 1992)

Hi there! Just came in from a few days off the modern civilization. No internet, no phone calls, lots of tasty meat and wine and a good cold as a bonus. Not much to say, actually who needs any introduction to the mighty Mono Men? High school buddies of the Fastbacks, adherent friends of the Nomads, label honchos of the Estrus empire and along with Mudhoney my fave bands during the 'grunge' days from the whole Seattle/Washington area. Not your average 'garage-revival' band for sure. Here in a couple (I suppose) out of print singles from 1992. Allegedly disbanded from 1999, with a few 're-union' shows thrown in 2006 and a good M.I.A. thing going on since... I know many 'garage-freaks' didn't like them, possibly due to the fact that never were part of the genre's fashion/trend but I don't give a shit about it. They were cool enough to shake my ass and hold my interest for years. Just for this alone they deserve every bit of my WTS respect! Like the back sleeve says:
 "There's more to the Mono Men than sluts, booze, and gravel-spittin' custom woodies!"
And as it usually happens on singles, all A-sides are Mono Men originals ("Don't Know Yet" & "Just A Girl")and all B's are inspired kick ass cover versions of tracks with origins on Link Wray ("Jack The Ripper"), Billy Childish ("Lie Detector") and the Wipers ("Over The Edge").

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rockin' Bones - "On Fire" (CD, Vinyl Lust - 2001)

Of the longest running punk & roll outfits in Greece (they were born back in 1991) if not the longest, Rockin' Bones proved to anyone was betting against that they're tough enough to get over line up changes, fights, death (ex-Personality Crisis, Fuzzy - R.I.P. brother) and the square prosaism of the country's non existent rock & roll culture. Once upon a time blood-brothers of my favorite Cosmic Teds (for a short but very fond period they were actually the two most dangerous gangs of the city and Teds guitarist Adonis jumped in for a single on Bad Elvis), but still in good relations with the legendary Last Drive (they share Earthbound's duties two of the band members). Alex K of the Last Drive in fact co-produced this CD, unfortunately their only full work to day. From the 'Last Drive (again!) in an early Social Distortion mood' opener of "Son of Reptile" to the closing rip roaring version of (you know...) "Ace of Spades", you can hear a band making real its album title, knowing and using all the best parts of this ancient music just for (your) fun. I can't remember how many times I pogoed with "Go-Go Baby" (still do the same, my fave Rockin' Bones tune along with "Torpedo"). If you're expecting with this to witness something new, you're in the wrong place pal. If not, well, that's a 100% rock & roll rotgut. As the Bones moto says: "If it's too loud, you're too old!", he-he!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Kevin Junior of the Chamber Strings needs our help...

Am I late on this? Don't know, hope not... I guess never too late for such things. I just found that Kevin Junior, yep Chicago's own last bandit, balladeer supremo and healer of the heartbroken is suffering from the life threatening disease of endocarditis. Isn't ironic? As I checked on the net, he's in great need of an open heart surgery, and as you might know or guess such things costs lots of money. You know already that I never asked before and I never will for someone to donate my own ass. But just like in Scott Morgan's case some months earlier, all I'm asking is your generosity and nothing else for a guy Alex Chilton marked as "something special", Chrissie Hynde babysitted, Epic Soundtracks created music with, Wilco covered, Dave Kusworth and Nikki Sudden played along, and many people (among those count me on) still rating him as the next Peter Perrett! Hope you get well very soon man...

Friends of Kevin Junior - Help this heart of gold get fixed...
Heroin Hell ...A very cool piece on Kevin.
Ruins ... Buy the brilliant compilation of Rarities,Outtakes and B-Sides 
The Chamber Strings  Facebook page

-Kevin Junior with Dave Kusworth, London 1998-

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Scott Deluxe Drake & The World's Strongest Men - "Beneath The Bloodshot Lights" (CD, Rank Outsider - 2009)

I LUV those Drake brothers, two underestimated forces and wild flame holders of real rock & roll! From the first time these poor treated ears blasted to The Humpers sounds (it was the mid 90s with 'Live Forever Or Die Trying' on... Epitaph a move that crabbed many of us -  NOFX, RKL and the Humpers under the same roof... WTF?!), I knew that was it! Swiftly these Heartbreakers sounding creeps became naturally household darlings, one thing lead to another and not much later the names (and the records) of the Suicide Kings, the Joneses and the Vice Principals took place on my table too. It was a time when I was thinking a lot that I had to find something new to re-birth my interest and the Humpers with the Lazy Cowgirls were the ones that did it first (then came those early misanthropic punk rock action fueled outbursts of the prime-era Hellacopters, the ultra-party anthems of Devil Dogs and the no-fi assault in the vein of the Kids meets the Pagans meets the Saints of Teengenerate). To this day I remain a HUGE fan of their family tree.  And I am waiting with my breath hold for the upcoming Lovesores full LP/CD and there's not a week from the time I mentioned that I haven't placed something Humpers-related on my stereo.
This came to my hands from Scott 'Deluxe' Drake himself. It was sent for review for our many times mentioned here old zine along with some pins I'm still proudly wearing of. And my face is still in a smilingly state when I'm looking at the label's printed logo...RANK OUTSIDER! Yep, the one that got ex-Lazy Cowgirl Patt Todd on the driver's seat. He-he, I wasn't wrong after all.
This is if I'm counting right Jeff's third solo effort, but who cares about order anyway? The only thing I'm anxious (actually I'm not - just to say something...) every time some new Humpers related thing hits my turntable/CD player is to see if they moved a little, but NO, you can't teach an old dog new tricks! Thankfully!! As I read on Sugarbuzz : "He was every bit the embodiment of rock n' roll motherfuckery - half unstoppable punk as fuck delinquent rabble-rouser, half old-school show-biz, born entertainer." Ha, I go for it buddy, top notch stuff!

CD still available through here

Scott Deluxe Drake on Reverbnation, Garage Punk Hideout and Myspace


Monday, September 10, 2012

Mohair Colin's Back!!!

-NO! It's not Wilko...It's Colin, man!-
Hi there. You know, since my first try on the amature 'music journalism' world, about 15 years back, I noticed almost swiftly that the thrill of talking about your passions (in our case rock & roll) with the ones creating it, helping it and in many ways carrying the torch, is comparable only to good food and sex. OK, I'm into hyperbole as usual but actually this feeling is coming close for me. I had the good fortune to spoke to many people through the years and in a good 99% of them, all the guys from 'my side' (zine publishers, scenesters, concert organizers etc) were the best and with a good reason... The one Tuff Darts immortalized with the phrase "It's all for the love of Rock & Roll"! I idolized writers and fanzine publishers the same way I did with musicians. And I still feel the same in a way. Thay're as much as important are the artists.  I mean, what rock & roll woulda been without SNIFFIN' GLUE, PUNK MAGAZINE, CREEM, KICKS or UGLY THINGS (among countless, happily)? And I'm rating THAT high another one, hailing from Canada this time with a sharp title and with even sharper material in its pages. Colin Bryce's MOHAIR SWEETS. At the time MOHAIR was in print, no bank wanted me to have a credit card (yeah those pricks that now begging me to have more) and unfortuantely the printed part had to be wait some years to come in my hands. But the transformation of MOHAIR into webzine made things easier for a period. Fast forward with the start of this blog and to my ad for SWEETS back issues came to my mailbox Colin's own reply.
"Yeah, I have some, no need of money just send me an address" was his answer. From then I have the honour to call him a friend. Always gentle, always nice and always true. I tried to kick him start again something cause boy, he got things to share believe me! The guys from Eyeplug anticipated me but I'm SOOOOOO GLAD he came back. And he promised me something for this space too - like the memoirs I have the pleasure to witness on our private conversations! So, till the time Colin Bryce write something for WTS exclusively (he-he) check -among other things- the cool interview he did with Tav Falco. Great read, trust me...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Heartbreakers - "L.A.M.F. - Original U.K. Cassette Mix" (Cassette/Tape, Track - 1977)

AT LAST! Thanks to our friend Brian Young of the kick-ass rockabilly gang Sabrejets fame, we are able hereabout White Trash Soul HQ after a long and hard trying, to finally witness the original (and now legendary - known also as UK) cassette mix of punk & roll's ultimate uterus 'L.A.M.F.' ! I'm so damn bored to repeat myself so if you're a rookie on this read here first, you may need some introduction cause what you're going to face up within post is quite simply something of a 'holy grail'.
The story goes a little back, during the 'pre-production' days of 'L.A.M.F.T.M.J.B.' when along my buddy Jean Philippe tried our best to come up with a cassette copy of the album but as you maybe already know, failed entirely. Like a Deus x machina somewhere in there and out of a sudden, Brian makes his appearance volunteering but the sensibly tight schedule of the Jets doesn't let him feed our hunger on time. And you know what, some times in life something's not happening for the best. I know this now may sound like some soft-boiled crap to you all, but I do believe it.
Anyway, on our subject and the verdict says clearly this: Yes, the cassette has the original U.K. mix as most of us know for ages like the back of our hands - minus the mud! Yes, it sounds GREAT! Yes, it was a fuckin' bad pressing issue that caused the whole trouble (and legend). Yes, you still NEED to hear this if you consider yourself a serious rock & roll fan. What still mess ups my mind though are those two "why"s?
1. OK, obviously something went wrong with the pressings and the disbanding of Track Records a little later hold up things for a while maybe, BUT... when the bloody tapes (all those!) came to Leee Black Childers' possession or Jungle's afterwards, why not anyone thought to release properly the original mix instead of the 'Lost '77 Mixes'? We live at the digital age goddammit, we were able to hear in the past years without any sound difficulties for instance Slim Harpo kicking the shit out in a 1961 concert or the Link Wray's lost Cadence album for half a century but we can't do the same for the Heartbreakers original mix!!?
2. And what was Track's possible thinking for sending different tapes/mixes to other countries for their own L.A.M.F. releases (not to mention the singles...)? Anyone?
The cassette proves in the end that the 'breakers were right chatter up about it. From the first two concluded  plays I'm able to say that it sounds powerful, dirty and furious as we hoped or better, fantasized! The vocals of Johnny and Waldo for the first time have BALLS (if you think already had, listen up to this baby, ha!), and Billy's bass lines are audible and fat like Bon Scott's Rosie's ass! Oh, and somehow Jerry's drums sound louder. It's not THAT different from the 'Lost 77 Mixes' but in a way it is (I don't know how to put it right, you have to listen for yourself).
So where the mix issue lies? Perhaps on the surviving tapes Alan Hauser got from Childers, don't know. But that's not the answer to my own question No.1. If we're able here at WTS to track down a decent cassette copy, I'm definitely sure that the Heartbreakers rights keepers have (a lot) more chances to find a better one and master from it, if actually the reason why for all these, is a possible loss of the original mix tapes... Shit, I know I'm sounding like I'm bitching now and Brian told me that Alan's an OK  guy, but I got through so much trouble finding this after 15 years or something... you know what I mean?
Anyway, I came home from the office quite late the day Brian's package arrived and I waited for kids to go to bed first. I made the rip and gave a quick shot... I was blown! The first hour of the new day was running its first steps but I couldn't wait till the next morning's arrival to deal with again... I started the upload immediately and mailed Jean Philippe:

"I'm putting up this moment Side 2 of the Cassette Mix, it's 1:30 in the morning I can barely keep my eyes open but you NEED to hear this buddy! I gave a quick (about one minute of each song sliding the bar of the player and all this through my laptop's speakers) listening and it's definitely different! It's the UK mix indeed but with no fuckin' mud around it. A little bit speed-ed up also, don't know if it's because of the tape recorder or Brian's copy, but for a quickie attempt it sounded like the real thing. I need to hear this tomorrow with less wine running through my vains and through my stereo's speakers but don't know man, I don't think it sounds like the Italian, French or any other pressing. "

A few days later came my buddy's answer:

"Well, well, well, you were right, I was wrong! The cassette mix is definitely different from other mixes. I reduced speed by 3% (but it seems faster still), cut the wav files into individual tracks and uploaded it to our account. There's some (expected) hiss on the tape, which could have been easily removed, but I left it as is. I noticed L&R channel are reversed on some tracks (eg. 'Pirate Love' has guitar inro on the left vs. on the right on other pressings), but not all of them (so that's not Brian's mistake in plugin' his gear). What's not easy to tell is 'how much' this mix is different from others. A good part of the difference might be due to the media (tape vs. vinyl) and rig (tape player vs. turntable). The cassette is not muddy, but it doesn't have much bottom end, and sound is quite midrangey. Is it because of the mix or the media/rig? Some tracks are very different though: 'Baby Talk' and 'Going Steady' for example. 'Baby Talk' seems to be what the UK LP would be if it wasn't muddy. 'Going Steady' drums intro is different from other versions (including UK LP). It would have been a blast if we didn't have France/Italy LP already. Anyway, it's nice to finally hear it and know the truth. "

Indeed, 'Baby Talk' cassette take is by far the best we have heard (at least me)! If we had it during the creation of 'T.M.J.B.' would have kicked 'Lost 77' s ass without second thoughts! But as I said, it was meant to be this way. A full post dedicated to the 'media' a couple of thousand lunatics around the world for ages are/were looking for! There's really no need from our side to bull more. You all going to have in a while your own point of view. Just to complete WTS stuff's blurbs I'm adding the one Brian wrote me for the tape had sent me (the old fashioned way, on paper with a cool Sabrejets logo up left and a signature at the bottom- I dig you man!):

"I have heard lots of different stories about LAMF mixes. Some people insist that the French or Italian albums are much better sounding. It's not something I've ever worried too much about. When I bought LAMF (when it came out) I played it to death anyway. I think the problem isn't that it sounded THAT bad - but it does sound pretty feeble in comparison to the records which bands like the Pistols released which cost thousands and thousands of pounds... and took months to record.
It must have been really disheartening for them though - as some of my pals saw The Heartbreakers on the Anarchy tour and everyone (even if they didn't like the band!) told me they blew the Pistols/Clash etc offstage every night...
So if whoever was recording the band could have captured that live sound then it really would have been a killer album...
But there are too many buts and ifs... for sure Track were a waste of space compared to some of the other labels BUT in fairness they DID advertise the first singles and the album a lot. Perhaps the Heartbreakers should have chosen a less controversial topic for their first 45 too... not gonna get much airplay with a song about smack!
Certainly a different producer would have helped - but you can't rewrite history - and even though the reviews at the time mentioned the muddy mix, most people who bought the album couldn't care less. At the end of the day the in fighting and bickering over the album destoyed the band - but that was their own fault. "

What's left now is the hope Jungle to create a box with deep care for all those rumored different mixes that stayed in the can. I mean, who doesn't want to hear 'L.A.M.F.' in a sixties girl pop sounding mix? 

Keep the rocks rollin'!