Welcome to the first edition of the Friday Five. Here, I'll give you five songs every week that have been stuck in my noggin', for the most part, centered around a theme. Sometimes I might just pull five tunes outta my ass that I think rock. Or something that triggered on my iPod or iTunes or that I pulled out of my vinyl collection that really took a hold of my nards and didn't let go. I haven't really decided yet, though, I do have the first few mapped out. So, here we go.
I love my new job. I'm still working at the hospital but instead of having to deal with bitchy nurses nagging me for things they (rightfully, though not of my fault) should've already gotten I now work in receiving and after two weeks training at the main building I got moved to a cushy new offsite that affords me plentiful time to listen to music podcasts almost non-stop. I still dig on my favorite newscasts to start my morning (Democracy Now!, Best of the Left, etc.) but once my triple shot of espresso kicks in I'm in full on rock 'n' roll mode.
My favorites are everything that is broadcast on the Garage Punk Pirate Radio Network, Rev. Norb's AMAZING Bubblegum Fuzz and the Razorcake Podcast and it's because they remind me of just how much music that is out there, whether new or vintage, that I haven't even discovered yet. I'm a 32 punk rock kid who has swallowed oceans of music thanks to many friends and an insatiable curiosity and love for my beloved subculture and all of it's offshoots and even though I'm long in the tooth (in punk years at least) I still love being turned onto glorious new music like when I was a kid and my sisters older friends and my waaay older friends made me mixtapes.
We live in an awesome new world for music lovers where anyone with a computer can rip their vinyl, CD or cassette collection and turn a whole new generation into rabid fanatics of some band that only released one 7" in the 70's that didn't even make it onto a Killed by Death comp or remind them of groups who were waaaaay beyond what their pop star sheen made them out to be (Rev. Norb hipped me to a particularly skeezy Davy Jones track that makes me question just how wholesome some of those Monkees records are). Punk rock, rock 'n' roll...all that jazz is built on tradition just like folk music. And part of maintaining that is the ability to share gems from past eras other's might not think to glance at. So that's where this column is coming from. I love sharing music with my friends (and whoever the fuck else might read this blog) and rather than bomb your Facebook walls with shit I'm currently digging I figured I'd force myself to pick five stellar tracks that have been in my head all week to hopefully groove into your senses. This week's theme is focusing on girl groups or girl fronted groups because...well, out of everything my brain gorged on this week all of the standout tunes featured female singers.
The God Damn Doo Wop Band - "I'll Always Be Your Girl" (from the same named 7" I couldn't find the name of the label it was released on so hit me up and I'll amend this)
First off, ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING involving a member of the Soviettes warrants at least like, three consecutive spins. That member in this case would be Annie (who is also in the great, fuzzed out bass/drum duo Awesome Snakes) and sweet titty fucking christ does this single fucking slay! Quick background on me: I was raised on AM radio by my parents and fortunately that was a time when the programmers weren't just pumping out Beatles song after Beatles song but would play pre-Pet Sounds era Beach Boys (nothing against Pet Sounds, just saying) and LOOOOAAADS of Phil Spector produced girl groups. I worship the Ronettes, Shangri-Las, et. all so when I get presented with a song with such low key, minimalist production (as opposed to the Pippettes', whom I still enjoy, faux-wall of computer bullshit) that just let's the vocals speak for themselves I know the people behind it knew what the fuck they were doing. I mean, the lyrical punch behind all of those great songs ("When I Saw You" "He Hit Me and it Felt like a Kiss" "Dressed in Black") and therefore, the emotional efficacy of the tune, doesn't get driven home if it isn't the singer that is doing the heavy lifting. That said, I was FLOORED when this first creeped through my headphones on the loading dock. I stopped what I was doing and went back a few times to repeat the track. Then I went home and played it a shitload more. THIS is fucking fantastic pop music that is exhilarating and heartbreaking at the same time. Isn't that what we all really want from our favorite musical lamentations on love?
Cudzoo and the Faggettes - "Daddy Issues" (Daddy Issues, Drug Front Records)
Let's move onto the complete opposite side of the spectrum. Cudzoo and Faggettes have released two albums of gleefully offensive, utterly tactless and absolutely fanfuckingtastic barrages of punked up, glammed out, girl group styled comedic sleaze. That's a compliment. Think Shannon and the Clams with better production values and a meaner sense of humor. These ladies better be featured in the next Jon Water's movie or else that man has really lost his taste for trash culture. I get a lot of personal feelings that come up when I listen to this album (well, mainly the track "You Taste Like Intervention" which could've been the soundtrack to my entire 20's and especially the most fucked up, abusive, self-destructive and soul crushing relationship I've ever been in that almost closed those years out and if a song can make me laugh about that horror it's got to be great) but mainly what sticks with me most is the type of self-deprecating feminist humor that would make the readership of Jezebel lose their collective hive-minds. "Daddy Issues" aside, there is a fucking song on here called "Roofies" which treats that malady as a positive! Here's how the song ends, with a nice soliloquy, post roofie rape: "I love you soooo much, I'm gonna get your dried up umbilical chord nub, stick it in my vagina, incubate it for nine loooong months, birth it, raise it for 18 years, then fuck the SHIT out of you again!" Heartwarming.
Porcharitas - Get Wasted (Get Wasted with the Porcharitas 7" Vertical House Records)
I have long ragged on Alabama as being the shittiest fucking state in this quickly fading republic known as these United States of America (Florida, for all it's warts at least produces good punk bands). And for good reason! When I was 17 I went on a road trip with my debate team (dork, I know) to compete in some prestigious tournament and when we rolled into the state looking for a place to eat, all us kids piled out the vans. Including two black ones. We were met outside by the, I guess, proprietors...protectors...assholes of the establishment and told, curtly, to the fuck back off in our van and keep driving. I'm a Texan by the way so you know it takes something epic and awful like to make me feel like I have the right to shit on your state (Vidor, where?). Anyhoo, these are 3 ladies and one gent from that state who have churned out one kick ass garage punk rager. I'm eagerly waiting on getting my copy of this 7" in the mail (Mrs. Debauchery said she ordered it and if not I will be scouring all of New Orleans for it, along with Normals records come Thursday) because there are only so many times I can repeat this record on bandcamp. I love the scuzzed out vocals, guitars that sound like they were recorded in a trashcan, non-existent bass and waaaaay low on the sound scale Casio keyboards. A prime example of modern, snarky garage punk done absolutely perfect. It makes me wanna take out everything bad I've ever said about the state of Alabama.
The Sugar Stems - "Greatest Pretender" (Greatest Pretender 7" Certified PR Records)
Just the other day I was wondering just what in the mother FUCK happened to the Leg Hounds. You remember them right? Those Devil Dogs lovin' Midwestern righteous motherfuckers? Well it turns out that Drew Fredrichsen, after churning out some killer music with the Jetty Boys has moved onto to some great bubblegum pop with the Sugar Stems. Just the other day I was wondering just what in the fucking hell happened to the Leg Hounds. Their first album was totally killer but this single blew the official Cancer Hospital baseball cap that I am forced to wear to work everyday off my head. If this is what the modern incantation of power-pop is going to sound like then I will have a full on priapism ready to balance all of of the (hopefully) forthcoming masterpieces that will be rolling out from these cats any minute now (they do have a new album coming out next year). A fucking exquisite pop song no matter what genre you or I feel the need to put it in.
The Okmoniks - I'm Done (Party Fever! Slovenly Recordings)
So, here comes the oldie (or at least in the parlance of this current generation because this record was released in, I think 2006-7? It was in the heyday of PKY being print is all I remember) and it should count as a modern garage punk classic. For those not in the know, Justin Champlin (aka Nobunny) came to prominence with this band along with the Sneaky Pinks and by golly, if I'm not a total sucker for 60's style garage rock that's sped up and complete with a solid use of organs and female vox. Just listen to the bridge! It's frantic, desperate and underlays the songs epic angst. Homegirl wants to bail and forget this guy as soon as she can. There's a great band from Denver called the Manxx my friend Justin knows that seems to be carrying on the torch for these cats and once I cop some physical music I will let you know just how enraptured I am with them. Still, as much as I dug that song I can't even remember the name of it's going to be hard to top the pop wizardry the Okmoniks were able to create during their oh so brief and oh too short career. At least Nobunny still performs "Not That Good" and my wife will still be able to shake her amazing Irish ass all over the dance floor when that occurs.
And since I ended on a Nobunny note, once again, and one of the greatest memories of my life, here is the first show my wife and I attended together and here first REAL exposure to punk rock.
Til next week brothers and sisters,
Jihad for Rock 'N' Roll Motherfuckers