Top Ten plus Four equals Fourteen

The year 2005 was a very good year for the full length record, with some very remarkable reissues. BUT I am thinking it wasn’t too good a year for punk rock. There were a few bands who continued to push punk rock into new territory, breaking down the walls that genre purists tried to cement solid from the mid 80s through the 90s, these folks all seem to be “usual suspects.” It is the same camp (Country Teasers & related, A Frames & friends, Detroit weirdoes around Timmy Vulgar, a few Load-ies, and various members of the Paris/Strasbourg mafia) who seem to be making the noise. Perhaps it is a bit too early for this current to catch on or maybe the youngsters mistake prog tendencies and just making as much noise as possible for pushing the big black bus that is punk rock into new and interesting places. Perhaps this explains why in my list below there are only a few releases by bands currently walking on God’s Good Earth. Enough screed, here’s the feed in no particular order:

The Bunny Brains "Box the Bunny" 4CD/DVD Box Set (Narnack)
So people complained that 3 CD of the Homosexuals was more than any person needed, what about 4 CDs and a DVD of the Bunny Brains? I’ll take it! One of the more twisted bands to tromp around 1990s punk rock, these guys certainly deserve this very nice treatment of their noise.

George Brigman "Jungle Rot" LP (Anopheles)
Another reissue, this time of an obscure proto-punk private pressing. While Brigman, had been heard of (and heard) in the Black to Comm/”okay, now you name me a great record that was pressed in an edition of 50” collector circles, most of us yuks (present party included) had no idea such a Stoogoid mess of a record ever existed. As good as Michael Yonkers’ Microminiature Love, another lost classic reissued a year back.

Time Flys "Fly" LP (Birdman)
A current band who sounds like they could have been doing this shit in 1978. These guys know their power pop/KBD stuff without sounding like they cooked this shit up in a lab. Like the FM Knives, these guys know how to distill the past and make it sound today. Kids! If you are gonna steal from the past, this is how it is done. Excellent stuff.

The USA is a Monster "Wohaw" 2LP (Load)
This NY duo's last LP put them on my “must have everything” list. This record not only cemented that notion but put me into “must have everything connected to this band no matter how shitty it is, even if it is emo or prog metal” mode. A brilliant record by the modern day punk rock sons of the Fugs.

Frustration s/t 12” (Born Bad)
One of the many great bands stomping around Paris today, Frustration takes the brutal throb of early Killing Joke and fuses it to a Rema Rema like primitivism, adding a bit of tongue-in-cheek dourness. This pup made me march around my apartment, dressed in black.

Icky Boyfriends "A Love Obscene" 2XCD (Menlo Park)
Like the Bunny Brains, another band that certainly deserves a new look on that soon to be obsolete medium called the compact disc. If the Bunny Brains are the left brain of 90s smart dumb punk artfulness, than the Icky Boyfriends are the brain that held the door.

Dead Raven Choir "Cask Strength Black Metal" 3XLP (Weird Forest)
I just reviewed this pup so I won’t drone on. But if static fuzz drenched sea chanteys that sound as evil as a nun on a killing spree floats your whistle, by all means, jump in.

V/A "Staring Down the Barrel" LP (no label)
No one other than a few uber-obscurist collector geeks thought that anyone would ever come up with a new batch of unheard punk rock gems from the “Killed BY Death” era and then came this record. Wow! An 80% solid LP of great rare punk that I never thought existed and the 20% I don’t dig is probably a matter of taste rather than quality.

Country Teasers "Live Album" CD (In the Red)
Very, very few bands pull off live records. In fact, rarely does a band attempt one any more. But as the Country Teasers are not like any other band, I probably should expect them to do what other bands don’t, in this case release a live album. Smart, funny and definitely entertaining. While no No Sleep til Hammersmith, this is a great collection of Teasers’ goo.

Dragibus "Tutti Frutti" CD (Autobus)
When I was handed this by Dragibus band member Franq while visiting his excellent Paris record store, I calmly slipped it in my pocket and promptly lost it in my apartment when I got home to Sacramento. When it finally surfaced and made its way into the CD player, I was treated to some of the best children’s music ever made. Here is where Dr. Seuss meets the Cramps. Dragibus are probably the only band in history to both introduce kids to Moondog and do a series of shows at a circus.

Human Eye s/t LP (In the Red)
Another group of Detroit weirdoes that fucking get that when you decide to fuck with punk rock taking it to the edge of chaos works. Like the Piranhas before them, these guys are a balancing act who teeter on a beam of art and shit. This is certainly way more exciting than the eight zillion Supercharger retreds that seem to haunt our review section.

The Sores "Six Songs of Despair & Frustration" LP (Borax)
This has been a long painful trip for me, though I gotta admit I only had the displeasure of experiencing the Sores in infancy once. So bad were they that when I heard this set of Brainbombs/Karate Party/Flipper sludge, I had to shake myself and, though tears of shame and humiliation allow that I had missed perhaps a wee spark of brilliance...or maybe not. Whatever the case, this turd smokes good.

The King Khan & BBQ Show s/t LP (Goner)
There was brief punk trend a few years ago called “soul punk.” Maybe the thing started even before that. Hell, I don’t know when it started but I do know that nary a band that I heard of the ilk had any soul. So here comes what is pretty much a band made up of two one man bands who just do what they do without calling it some jackass term like “downhome rock and roll” or “rockin sinful blues punk” or some other fucking horrible terms assholes who act “Southern” and home fried make up to mask their lame ass Jon Spencer inspired tilting toward gorehoundumb bullshit band, and these two dude have more soul than a plate of BBQ ribs, a scoop of potato salad, and a slice of white bread. A great record from front to back.

V/A Keats Rides a Harley CD (Warning Label)
Easily one of the best comps ever made. Not only does it capture LA's underground scene circa 1981 (with a nod to Phoenix), it flows perfectly. It also shows that the art/garage punk fusion is probably the most powerful of all punk's sounds. This reissue has 13 extra tracks and that is nothing to gripe about.

Times New Viking "Busy Making Love & War" 7" (Columbus Discount Records)
Man man man this is a nice little record. Not exactly a shower but definitely a grower, Times New Viking has a sound that burrows into you like a shard of hot steel. Columbus’s finest? Sure, why the hell not.
-Scott Soriano

Scott Soriano
1114 - 21st Street
Sacramento CA 95814