CHEQUERED PAST - CD (Zoom Club Records)
This is the only CD release of this 1984 record as far as I know. The CD came out in 2000, but I got it in the mail this month. No extra tracks, but digitally remastered, with the original cover and innersleeve reproduced in the booklet.
The band featured Steve Jones on guitar so I've got the original LP, which I dug out for this review, and playing both discs I remembered why I haven't listen to this in years. While the Sex Pistols and to a lesser extent the Professionals have stood the test of time exceptionally well this is hopelessly outdated, both musically and visually. I didn't like it when I first bought the LP and I don't like it now.
Opening track A World Gone Wild and songs like Let Me Rock are dangerously close to the softer 80's metal bands. Vocalist Michael Des Barres' voice and the general production / arrangement has that sound, like the cheesy hard rock songs we get in 80's TV serie re-runs. Think Venice Beach muscle man in acid washed jean jacket riding a harley.
If I'm gonna say something nice about it, some of the guitar stuff is like a 3rd rate Brian Johnson era AC/DC and the occasional guitar solo, as the one in Only The Strong (Will Survive), is pretty good.
Nigel Harrison and Clem Burke (both Blondie) were in this band as well as guitarist Tony Fox Sales (who played with Iggy), in case you didn't know. Out of the nine songs one is a cover version - Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way by country singer Waylon Jennings - and it's the least terrible of them.
The band used to do gigs in LA covering what was in the lists at the time, and a decent live recording of that would probably be more interesting, if not better.
If you collect Steve Jones (or Blondie off-shots) and can't find the original LP this is your chance. If you want some good rock'n'roll this ain't.
V/A - Bosse Sound CD (Dionysus/Bacchus Archives)
Ah, Sweden. This is a compilation of bands and songs recorded by or at the studio Bosse Sound, featuring a lot of different sounding stuff. Bosse Sound Studio was a cheap place and attracted a lot of early swedish punk bands. Some known and some forgotten. This CD features recordings done between 1979 and 1986.
SOCIALGRUPP 3 starts with a song about working 9 - 5 which is pretty good. The now internationally known new wave pop song Röda Rosor by ANDRA SIDAN follows. Some slow to mid tempo punk by JÄRNTVÄTT that is almost ok, except they go on for too long. One of MAcKT's songs - Mat Av Plast - sounds a bit like early GERMS. The lyrics are really funny too.
Some boring songs were unavoidable I guess. BAADER-MEINHOF had the early 80's fascist look and intellectual art pop thing going, represented here with Berlin and Belsen and both PÖBEL MÖBEL and MEAT EATERS sounds too boring with some sort of metal feel to it. The constant use of echo on the vocals is really irritating. Other stuff is bordering on softcore skate stuff. ANTI-HUND MINA get away with that because of the lyrics to the song Hon Är Med Barn (She's Pregnant).
If you're interested in older swedish punk you've probably heard of ZEB AND THE FAST ONES. They've got three songs on this one, they're all pretty good. So has KURT I KUVÖS. One of my favourites are DTR and their Juicy Fruit. It's good old swedish hardcore like MOB 47, with very very naive political lyrics delivered so fast it's impossible to sing along. RTS were operating in roughly the same territory, but aren't as fun.
Some of the best stuff is actually recorded live. Hearing Ja Måste Gå by SPY (the swedish word for VOMIT, not some 007 crap) and the two songs by ZPAMHEAD is as close as you'll ever get to what Sweden's local scenes sounded like 20 - 25 years ago.
What's really great about this one is that it shows how young and unprofessional some of the early bands were. Fast, cheap and from the heart. Not necessarily the best punk rock you'll ever hear, but a great documentation of what it was, and what it meant to most of us. The CD only covers bands in a small area in the south of Sweden but the same stuff was heard all over the country.
A lot of this CD's qualities are lost if you don't understand swedish, but there's a way to get around that too: The Bosse Sound website has a lot of photos, lyrics (english translations too), history and free MP3s so check it out!
Dionysus Records, USA, released this one knowing it would probably not be too easy to sell, so cudos to them.
V/A - Busted At The Lit CD (Dionysus/Bacchus Archives)
This is not a straight reissue of Volume 1 of the Shielded By Death series, originally released by Germany's Incognito Records on vinyl. Some songs were left out and some were added to this and the artwork is different too. Volume 2 (Guillotined At The Hangar, only released by Dionysus) reviewed earlier.
Again we get 1977 - 1985 era bands from Eastern Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, a lot of the bands on here are on Vol 2 too.
It opens with THE MALARIANS and their Get Out Of Dallas which is very good 60's garage stuff, not unlike Sweden's NOMADS. THE REDUCERS follows with the anthemic No Ambition. Sounds somewhere between 1978 CLASH and the better english Oi! bands. They have another song on this one as well - Scared Of Cops - which is ok.
Fames A Fortune by THE STERICS is a lot better than the track they've got on Vol 2. THE REGULAR JOES' two songs are pretty good vintage punk. She Don't Drink, the second one, has some not so PC lyrics about killing lonely girls with Drano that's funny in the good old 'out-punk the rest' way. Secretaries On Heroin by BURGEOIS DISEASE goes on for too long and is a bit too 'experimental' for my taste. THE BROKEN HEARTS and their brittish 60's style song Respect is ok for that sort of thing, but must have sounded too retro even back in the 70's.
DA STUPIDS is the only girl fronted band on this one. The song K.G.B. is good and fast but somewhat strangely mixed. DEE STROY, who's got two songs and one radio promo on here, is pretty good. File under Burgers&Puke, I guess.
THE NOT QUITE do a rather awful 60's pop song, but then it's JACK TRAGIC & THE UNFORTUNATES (favourites of Vol 2) doing Fight For Your Life whith a really good early US hardcore sound. Their other song isn't quite as good but still ok. THE PAJAMA SLAVE PARTY wants to Defreeze Walt Disney, which is a slightly better song then their other one Bare Naked. The joke wears thin pretty quickly. Didn't they release some crap on the horrible Restless label in the late 80's? THE FOREIGN OBJECTS tells you to Loose Some Weight in a mid tempo rocker with some good/bad lyrics.
I See Red by CHRONIC DISORDER is fast, great punk and so is their other track A Job A Car A Wife. Is there more with this band somewhere? You also get songs by TARGET CELLS, M80's and THE INTREPIDS.
Rare or unreleased, mostly underproduced (but still good) punk rock. With 27 tracks I can easily accept the odd boring pop song, and as Vol 2 this is a keeper.