Saturday, March 13, 2010

Budget Rock Showcase

Raw, lo-fi garage punk with an attitude! This is a companion piece to the Medway scene I posted a while ago. It was happening at roughly the same time and shared a lot of the same inspiration.
Most of these bands released stuff on vinyl only, some were released on cd (but sadly, a lot of it's out of print now).

The Mummies- These guys put out some of the most primitive punk rock ever. They wore cheap mummy costumes, played crappy equipment and seemed to hate anyone buying their records or attending one of their shows. If you like old bands like The Sonics and The Kingsmen this is what they would sound like if you crossed them with the Sex Pistols. Their first Lp “Never Been Caught” from 1992 and the complilation “Death By Unga Bunga!!” are classics.
The Phantom Surfers- Fun surf music done by mask wearing mystery men. Most of their early stuff was vinyl only (like The Mummies). In 1996 they put out “The Great Surf Crash of '97” and started to add vocals to the mix.
Supercharger- Snotty is the best word to describe Supercharger. Almost every song is a put-down of someone or something, but with sense of humor. Get their debut album and second Lp “Goes Way Out!” on Estrus records.
The Trashwomen- Yes, they were the female version of the Trashmen, even recorded “Surfin’ Bird”. A lot of their music has never been released on cd, just “Spend the Night With The Trashwomen”. Two of the girls would go on to be in The Bobbyteens, another in the Spastics and The Spoiled Brats.
The A-Bones- While the first four bands were all from California, The A-Bones were from the east coast. They played a greasy brand of ‘50’s R’n’B, with a bit of Cramps-inspired attitude as well. They are closely connected to Norton Records.
The Rip Offs- Their only Lp “Got a Record” is an all-time favorite of mine. Great songs like “Dolemite”, “Fed Up”, “Cops” and a cover of The Lurkers “Shadow” make this album one of the strongest ever. Greg Lowery would later play in The Zodiac Killers and form Rip Off Records, my favorite indie punk label.
The Finks-The surf rock on 1994’s ”Fill’er Up And Go!” is fun, fun, fun! They weren’t around for long but their lone Lp is full of great lo-fi surf guitar and cheesy keyboards. Nice mix of original songs and older cover tunes.
The Untamed Youth- Originally from Missouri, these guys played frat rock and surf as well as anyone. “Untamed Melodies” is the collection to get, but their later releases like “Youth Runs Wild” are cool too. Deke Dickerson has released a ton of solo stuff showing off his skill with the rockabilly guitar.
The Spaceshits- Lo-fi garage punk from Canada and the starting place for Mark Sultan and King Khan. I love The King Khan & BBQ Show and this is just as good, only faster!
The Hentchmen- Detroit’s most under-rated band. I like their early frat rock stuff on Norton Records, but I actually think the more refined songs on “Three Times Infinity” and “Form Follows Function” are their best.
Teengenerate- Japan’s champions of budget rock released “Get Action!” and the even better collection “Smash Hits!” in the mid ‘90’s. Members would later turn up in The Tweezers, Firestarter and The Raydios.
The Donnas- In the beginning they were a Ramones-inspired band with a lot of help from the folks in Supercharger. The early singles they put out and the Lookout Records stuff is still their best if you like the other bands on my list. But I’m also a fan of their more polished hard-rock newer records.

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