In “strictly business, business never personal, I’m housin’ news,” last month was the first month in which we completely sold out of the magazine. That’s right, we have not a single copy of #307, AKA the December issue, left. We sold out on the day we got it, after shipping out all the subscriptions and distro orders. You can still get the issue from our distributors, (maybe try Last Gasp, or No Idea or if you do not live in the USA check out page 5, which lists all of our international distros) or from your local punk rock emporium (Vinyl Conflict, Extreme Noise to name a couple) or maybe try a newsstand near you. One of the reasons we are out of the issue is that a few larger scale distributors picked us up. So hopefully that will mean you can find the mag with ease at your local news mart.
In further MRR-related news we need scene reports. Write one! Right now!
Now! ONTO THE FASCINATING SHIT THAT I HAVE TO SAY THIS MONTH. In a top ten format! Bear in mind all of this was written with the Cro-Mags “Show You No Mercy” going through my brain on repeat. I think I have had this song in my head for over a week at this point. I am not sure if it’s a problem or what the cure is.
1. Right now I feel kind of INSANE as a result of eating a slice of pie for lunch and then some magical bar/cookie thing that our new distro coordinator Diane made for an extra nutritional dinner. Seriously since she has gotten here she has made some delicious cookie related treat almost every day, so in honor of the continuation of this most excellent tradition I am saluting Diane. (Feel free to sing that Husker Du song, though I have a feeling she hates it as much as I hate the song written by my nemesis Eric “slow hands” Crap-tron that features my name. Can you imagine a lifetime of being sung to by kreepy old dudes; ‘You got me on my knees Laylerrrrrrr’? I do not have to imagine this; I get to experience it on a frequency that would numb your brains.) Anyway, Diane gets the number one spot for being a rad human, making cookies, eating rice a roni, and riding SF hills on a track bike, but being nervous about driving our shitty Volvo over those said same hills. Plus she has broken the coordinator curse and actually goes to shows all the time and is already playing music with a bunch of people. The back cover of this magazine was art directed by our combined brains, natural disasters, punks, armageddon, apocalypse, doomtown...you know how we do.
2. My favorite record right now is the all California, all collected from cassette tape edition of Killed By Death, number 13 to be exact. It’s all killer no filler, which for compilation LPs is a rare feat, and the variety of punk covered ranges from post-Adolescents-Agnew-brother-radness (Der Stab) to the drag queen punk act, the Wasp Women, the stars of Whatever Happened to Susan Jane? featured in this very issue. How good a name is that for a punk band by the way? The Wasp Women emerged from the famed Angels of Light drag troupe, which was itself a splinter group from the Cockettes. I believe a dispute started because the Cockettes wanted to start charging for their show and the Angels wanted it to be free. Anyway there’s a pretty cool movie about the Cockettes you should check out for further investigative purposes. I guess in punk rock terms Tomata Du Plenty of the Screamers is the most renowned name associated with that whole scene, but if you investigate further you will uncover more secret histories. The Wasp Women song on the aforementioned compilation is entitled “Kill Me” and is a synth driven drama fest with a definite KBD feel (stating thee obvious but it’s true...) apparently featuring a member of No Alternative in the backing band. I have heard rumors that we have a complete Wasp Women tape somewhere in the vaults here, but I have a feeling it’s just a live recording from the movie. Other stand outs, for me at least, on this record are Castration Squad, a rad all girl band from LA that I guess at some point featured Alice Bag, Dinah Cancer from 45 Grave, Elissa from the Go-Gos, Phranc from Nervous Gender, and the woman who played Tanya Hearst in Desperate Teenage Lovedolls. And they only put out a tape??!! Huh? If anyone has a copy of this they would dub for me I would be super psyched. There’s a bit about them with rad fliers and an amazing manifesto on Alice Bag’s website (www.alicebag.com/castrationsquadhome) Also dug the Blowdriers and the Tanks, in terms of rad lady punk, but seriously folks all songs rule on this... My only question is why is it that the best California demo in the MRR tape box is not on this comp? It’s by Juvinil Justice, who were featured in the first issue of MRR...Hmmm!
3. Sheer Smegma – Audio Suicide 7", AKA Teddy and the Frat Girls. This is the sound of total over the edge end times music, it’s not no-wave, there are no “waves” on this motherfucker. I did a little internet research and discovered that this was a family affair—some of the lyrics were written by a 13-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl for what was their mom’s band. Apparently the rest of the line up consisted of a 16-year-old girl on vox, a 20-year-old former debutante along with the wife of someone from the Eat. They hailed from early-’80s Florida and on that note when you hear this you’ll wanna cut your ears off and get a new pair or at least form a band. It’s the sound of bats turning themselves inside out. Or something. It’s obviously on another level to most music...
4. Seems Twice – Non-plussed 7". The Australian Urinals? It’s easily as rad and as uncatagorizable, got the same knowing/innocent combination, that simple yet fucked up quality to the music. What do you say about what may be the most perfect 7" heard this year so far?? Unfortunately it’s a two hundred dollar record. Someone needs to reissue this pronto.
5. Trying to play something from the We Got Power comp on the radio, and being told that the initial MRR review stated that this very act I was attempting was bound to be near impossible... 20 songs on each side! I wanted to play the Tar Babies but I think I played Mecht Mensch instead, shit happens yo.
6. The Death LP is finally getting released! And we are setting up an interview with the band for MRR. A while back I was consumed by this song “Keep On Knocking” that I’d heard via one of those collector scum MP3 blog-type deals. It was by a mysterious African-American proto-punk band from Detroit circa ’74. The music sounds like Detroit looks—crumbling factories, hard edged urban detritus—it totally captures a moment in time, a feeling, and it’s fucking rad. It’s not “punk” like a Ramones record is. It’s punk like a more street version of the MC5, meaning it’s genuinely exciting to listen to. I think proto punk as a phrase is thrown around a little too carelessly, used to describe music that is straight-up rock ’n’ roll in some cases. But Death is punk sounding. It sounds like the music that would score a riot or a car chase. When you listen to it you feel like something is going on, if that makes sense. It’s just got this rad, alive-yet-tense quality to it—total headphones music obviously.The rest of the LP is equally awesome, and I can’t wait to see what the packaging is gonna look like and to talk to the band.
7. Putting together this issue has been pretty exhausting. I did a lot of the interviews, transcribed them, edited them, and laid ’em out too, alongside all the other shit that coordinating MRR entails. But I am pretty fuckin psyched on it. It’s been super fun watching and rewatching all the classic and obscure punk movies mentioned within. We busted out a few soundtrack LPs and listened to many versions of “Richard’s Hung Himself,” ascertaining that the best version is on that Adolescents demos LP that came out a few years back. In more Agnew related ephemera, I am genuinely bummed that we do not have a copy of Rikk Agnew’s solo LP, All By Myself, in the collection. I first got into this record whilst living in Orange County, looking after my sick Grandma just after I graduated from college. Moving from where I went to school, a small coastal college town in the UK to the OC, was kind of a brutal transition. Riding my bike ’round town whilst listening to “OC life is not the life for me / Stupid little chicks and egotistic boys...” definitely helped.
8. V/A – Esta Sucia Cuidad Tape (Cintes Podrides) When Invasion were in town (not playing shows unfortunately) we got given these tapes, and I just got ’round to listening to mine, which was clearly a stupid move because this shit rules. Seriously another case where there isn’t a shitty band on the tape. So in short, Spanish punk is the best, Invasion made the LP of the year, so far, and there are a ton of bands on here that are so fucking good that need to put out records. Escroto De Rata rules, Residuos Electronicos make fucked up doom-time sounds, um shit, seriously this tape is just rad and you should form a million bands and make a tape comp to represent the scene in your town. The sound of the streets.
9. Total Noise Accord 7"
10. whatwewantisfree.blogspot.com or layla at maximumrocknroll.com