Monday, December 27, 2010
The Single Life – 7” of Fun featuring Lou Siffer and the Howling Demons, Space Probe Taurus, White Wires, and the Pack of Gurus
I mean really. What do you need in this world besides fast cars and heavy rock and roll? Ok, there’s beer, sure. Some Knob Creek Whiskey, ok. Toss in some cold pizza and 99% of the world’s male population just reached mental orgasm. Lou Siffer and his howling band of demons ain’t gonna supply the beer, whiskey, or pizza, and you’d be damn foolish to be caught standing anywhere near one of their cars. But the crew will supply the rock and roll, heavy, loud, fast, coated in diesel, amped up on bennies, Red Bull, and nitrous. This is high octane, V8 powered, four-on-the-floor rampage rock perfectly suited for late night drag races and gang fights.
Forget that this music comes from Sweden, this is a Detroit-fueled, mega-tons of muscle car, head-on collision to the face of brutal punk-infested garage stomp. Exhaust blows out of the bands nostrils like some devil-spawned hot rod revving at the green line. Hide your daughters, your girlfriends, your neighbors . . . crap, hide your whole town. When Lou Siffer and the Howling Demons come to town nothing but carnage and skid marks will remain. And beautiful carnage at that.
Keeping the Swedish hell-stomp fired up and spewing, oil-stained venom, we got this delicious platter from long-time Ripple favorites Space Probe Taurus. Released in 2000, I dropped a dime to snag this baby off ebay and couldn’t wait to let the needle drop onto three distorted blasts of fuzzed out, grease-stained, acid biker rock frenzies. Musically, SPT are Siamese twins separated at birth by some demented doctor with our friends Lou Siffer and the Howling Demons. But whereas Lou Siffer gravitated towards Detroit muscle, Space Probe Taurus jumped onto a fuzzed out, hellbound Harley and joined the ranks of some smoke-billowing biker gang from the river Styx.
Each song squeals and winces in the pain caused by it’s own massively fuzzed out assault. Ola’s vocals and guitars never sounded better while the band chips in with brass knuckle bass and lead chain drums. Acidfied guitar punk madness at its best. See if you can’t find this one, it’s just wickedly bad!
Mean Jeans/White Wires – RU Mental b/w Please Write
Speaking of punk rock (we were, weren’t we?), next up is this frenetic 2-song split dalliance of hyper guitar, and staccato drum driven agit-rock from Mean Jeans and White Wires. This is raw and ragged rawk, just waiting for you to come by and sink your teeth into. And I mean that in the best possible way. Energetic, refreshing, vibrant, and deliciously raw.
We got two songs here that show off different aspects of the bands, with Mean Jeans' “RU Mental” sniffing glue over a Ramones-frenzy, and “Please Write” revealing a softer, more sensitive side to White Wires' Midwest-flavored garage wailing. Toss a funnel-full of quirk rock a la the Replacements, some angular arrangement surprises, and a pocketful of infectious hooks and this kinetic burst might just grab ya.
Pack of Gurus – Bolero b/w Mystery Date
Every music lover has at least one. Your holy grail. That one record that you just can’t find, but damn, you need to have it. Toss over the nation’s bedsheets, dig through the cyber-garage sales, lose yourself in spiderwebbed nooks and crannies, you’ll look every where to find a copy. In some cases, it may take years of looking just to find another human being who even knows what band you’re talking about.
That’s the way I was with this 7” 45 by Upland, California’s Pack of Gurus. Way back in the day as a disc jockey at KSPC FM in LA, I played the crap outta this definitively tasty mash-up of garage, new wave, and surf organ spy rock. I couldn’t get enough of it’s seemingly random, oddball collection of influences somehow mashed together into two highly addictive agit-songs. But after leaving the station, damned if I’d ever be able to find it again. Years of searching passed, then decades. The internet was no help. The only online store I ever found Pack of Gurus listed must’ve gone out of business years ago because they failed to respond to any of my 2247 emails. At $35, I considered it a bargain. But alas, no luck.
Then ebay came to the rescue and for a mere $9.99 I nearly salivated myself to death as I opened up the package and beheld my very-own, moderately worse-for-wear copy of Pack of Gurus. 25 years in the searching!
So after all that build up, how did it sound? Was it nearly as good as my fading memory had built it up to be? Was it really the lost classic, holy grail of post-punk, LA rock that'd I'd imagined?
No. It wasn’t. It was better.
"Bolereo", with its unforgettable spy-film, organ riff, was like a droplet of wine from heaven. Totally synth/organ driven with a percolating bass line and those oh-so-angstful vocals and perfect harmonies, Bolero is a gold-plated nugget of D.I.Y. LA-spawned new wave pop. Totally engrossing to my ears. And the flip side “Mystery Date,” rang even truer than I remembered with it’s menacing bass, near Bauhaus-like feedback guitar intro morphining into a driving, distorto-guitar riff and singable melody. Excellent period stuff.
Of course, after decades of searching, I’ve now found three other copies popping up here and there on ebay. I think I’ll buy them all. Give me a back up copy for after the flood. And a back up for that back up.
Worth checking out if you’re so inclined.