CD's of Interest
|Willie Loco Alexander
||He's the MAN
||Be More Flamboyant
|Girl On Top
||Girl On Top
||Actuality In Process
|Three Day Threshold
||Behind The Barn
||Mammon's Little Baby
||With Kit Dennis
MEET MACH 5
BY NOODLES ROMANOV
BAND: MACH 5
TITLE: MEET MACH 5
ON: LAWLESS RECORDS, 2005
Lawless Records, PO Box 689 Hingham, MA 02043-0689
Here I am, comfortably ensconsed
in my Dorito-encrusted e-z chair, gettin my cerebral exercise watchin' Pat Sajak
cause there's nuthin on the radio. A continuous drone of the doorbell forces
me to unencumber myself of my beloved throne.
I'm hoping it's the UPS gentleman,
delivering the cheese sandwich bearing the image of Michael Jackson that I won
on ebay. But, no. It's my weird next-door neighbor. "Here, this came to my address
by accident. Hey, is that my daughter next to that Dorito bag?" Oops. "Phone's
ringin, gotta go". Slam.
Time to turn off Mr. Sajak, and turn my attention to the CD player, cause the
new Mach 5 CD, "Meet
Mach 5", has arrived!
Indeed, Mach 5 has arrived.
There is so much to say about this CD, I
could spew on for days. But I don't want any of you to become derelict in your
duties because of me, so I will get right to it.
I keep listening to this CD over and over, for one simple reason. It ROCKS!
Before gettin into the subject of talented musicians, I feel compelled to credit
Producer Richard Marr and the Galaxy
Park Studios. I take my ski mask off to them, cause the sound on
this CD is nothing short of rabid! The guitar sound... man, I think it was developed
in some secret lab at Los Alamos. Close your eyes and you can imagine the orange
glow of tubes from 100 angry Marshall stacks, straining to record a guitar sound
that will tear your headphones into tiny bits. The mix is just the way I like
it - the guitars are way up, and the vocal is ever so slightly buried. In my
humble opinion, this is the way a genuine rock CD should be mixed, cause it
sounds like a band, instead of a singer with a band behind him. If you have
to struggle even just a little bit to hear the vocals, you are more likely to
pay attention to them. Maybe even pick up some of the smart, clever, and sometimes
funny lyrics that are strewn about these tunes.
A lengthy treatise could be written just about the cover of this CD, but I will
address one salient feature: "America's Newest Hitmakers!"
blares the headline in living black and white. Hmmm. It may not be entirely
serious, but still a bold claim, even for a band consisting of highly accomplished
veteran rockers, led by a Boston rock icon. I am pleased to announce that, like
a full FedEx truck plunging off a cliff, these guys deliver - hard! There are
three great cover tunes on this CD, but it's the original compositions that
I want to address, because they are the ones that really make you want to jump
up and dance around your puny dorm room (apartment? tent? cell?) in a 70s style
hard-rock induced spastic frenzy. After the first tune, "Get It Up", had finished,
I thought "Holy ringing ears... they put the best song on first! The rest is
gonna suck by comparison". Not so, dear rockers. The hits continue. As each
original tune finished, I started thinkin "the next one can't possibly be better"...
but it is. My personal favorites are "Through To You", "Quincy Girl"
( a tune that I DEFY you not to sing along with in the car..."Shut your pie-hole,
Quincy girl!"), and a song penned from the heart called "Kenmore Square",
a lament about the long-gone Kenmore Square of rock legend history.
This CD has enough hooks, harmony vocals, and three-chord nastiness to make
anyone who craves some real rock injections to be utterly satisfied. Power drummer
Jimmy Birmingham, twelve-string bassist
Jeff Thomas, thrash guitarist Dee
"Wild Man of Borneo" Stroy and beltsander-voiced Mach
Bell have created a band that has more chemistry than MIT.
For anyone who thinks Mach reached his musical pinnacle with Thundertrain
or Joe Perry, I've got front-page news for
you. He's still climbing.
"Meet Mach 5" is a CD that grabs you by the neck, shakes
you, and says "Shut off the damn radio!"
Play it often, and play it loud!
Batting a Thousand with Cowboy
You make 'em. I score 'em.
Reviews by Mach Bell
BAND:THE NERVOUS RETURN
TITLE: Wake Up Dead
ON: Salle Records 2004
A prolific quartet out of LA. This is the follow-up to their debut album Headshots,
the cover of which was a "headshot" of a young lady aiming a pistol into her
The music on Wake Up Dead is more rock than rock'n'roll. The jangling
electric guitars and stacked vocals by Jason Muller
(guitar) and Anthony Crouse (bass)
remind me of David Bowie's experimental
Tin Machine. Modern euro-influenced rock.
Shane Gallagher on guitar and Greg Gordon on drums are on the
money as is the entire production, credited to the band. These guys have returned
to the studio already with producer Joe Barresi (Queens
of the Stone Age, Weezer).
they have a nice buzz going on in SoCal. Still, after multiple listenings this
one doesn't really rock me. I think I gotta check them out live.
Picks to Click: Red Camaro, Dramahead
Cowboy Score: 680
BAND: The Adolescents
TITLE: OC CONFIDENTIAL
ON: Finger Records
This album rocks like crazy. Our editor sent this one to me just before I
left for my traditional Christmas trip to Malibu. I cranked it up everytime
I cruised up the PCH.
This Southern Cal quartet features ex-members of Social
Distortion and Agent Orange.
Singer, lyricist Tony Reflex delivers on
13 skatepark approved rockers. Dig the opening line of title track OC Confidential:
"I grew up in Orange County in the shadow of a mouse".
Ripping punk guitar and bass work from Frank Agnew
and Steve Soto support Reflex's
big hooks and melodies. I found it impossible to resist singing
along to "California Son". Produced and engineered by the Adolescent's
drummer Derek O'Brien in his Glendale studio.
Picks to click: Lockdown America, California
Son, Pointless Teenage Anthem
Cowboy score: 875
BAND: THE GLASS SET
TITLE: The Glass Set
ON: self released 2005
I am bringing this one along to our next BGN slumber party.
Leah Callahan fronts this Boston based quintet. "Deathmask" would
be perfect for a D'Argento Italian slasher movie soundtrack. "Jealous
Dead Girl" is another toe-tapper.
The review of this album in the Boston
Globe said that it is a rock opera. I don't understand the storyline too good.
But I dig the album all the same.
Leah's buried-alive vocals are backed by
mad scientist guitarwork by Andy Doherty ,
downwardly spiraling bass lines from Erik Szyska,
spirited casket thumping courtesy of Allen Esser and
spooky key tinkling by Jennifer Dines.
by the zombie-like Richard Marr who put together this studio project in his dimly
lit Galaxy Park Studios.
Picks to click: Titticut Follies, Please, Leave Me Alone,
Good-bye Troubles Cowboy score: 825
BAND: THE MIGHTY IONS
TITLE: Face Rakin' Rock
ON: Dino - 2000
Pile-drivin' retrospective (1981- 1999) from Boston's top ranked wrasslin'
rockers -The Mighty Ions.
as a trio in the summer of 1980, the Ions were Bob
Mackenzie (drums & vocals), Carl Square
(bass & vocals) and Unnatural Axe's Tom White
(guitar & vocals) these guys entered the squared circle with just one thing
on their minds "We Want The Belts"!
You don't need to be a fan of Fred
Blassie to appreciate pulse-pounding garage rock like this . Ferocious
tunes with sing-along choruses (She Won't Shut Up) alternate with some
good yucks (One Of Those Girls, Bill Tupper Rap). These 24 vintage recordings
were culled from various studio sessions made around Boston as well as a 1982
WERS broadcast and rare live recordings
captured at the Underground (1981) and Streets ('82). By that
time a fourth Mighty Ion had joined the tag team, Dan
McCormack (guitar, organ, backing vocals) plus the late great Roger
Tripp (La Peste), soon signed
on to give the Ions drumset a nightly beating.
provides fantastic ringside commentary in a photo-packed 16 page booklet. The
Mighty Ion saga includes free-for-all action at long lost venues like Cantones,
Spit & the Rat. We also get to relive the Mighty
Ions still controversial face-off with western Massachusetts' rock'n'wrestle
title-holders The Foreign Objects (also
on Dino Records), held at the sorely missed Inn Square Men's Bar. While
the outcome of that Cambridge bout is still hotly debated, no one denies that
the Mighty Ions were undisputedly a real bunch of winners.
The Mighty Ions reunited
in 1999 with John Jules (Fox
Pass) on drums to record several of their two-fisted tunes that had
gotten lost in all the years of brawling.
The quality of these Euphoria Studios
cuts (Michael Gatzios, engineer) is
outstanding as is everything on this first rate release. Included are some nice
live cover tunes: Next Big Thing (Dictators),
Tonight We Fight (Unnatural Axe)
and Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight (Fleetwood
I also must mention that Tommy White's
collage of George "the Animal" Steele punishing the Mighty Ions is
My Picks to Click: Government Workers, Andy
& Bill, Pedro Morales, Australopithecus, One Of Those Girls
Cowboy Score: 875
BAND: WILLIE ALEXANDER & THE BOOM BOOM
TITLE: The Dog Bar Yacht Club -2005
ON: Fish Eye Records
Boston's premiere underground rockstar Willie "Loco"
Alexander reunites with his 70's hotshot Boom
Boom Band and comes up with stunning results. Alexander
is the artist who effortlessly bridges the gaps between the beatniks, rockers,
numerous "new"waves, jazzbos, psychedelics, punks and poets of the past 6 decades.
A major label garage rocker in the sixties, Willie
was a leader of the early 70's DIY music movement but the power and popularity
of his 1976 Boom Boom Band propelled Willie
back into the majors.
It's been twenty-five years since those big budget albums and national tours.
Willie has continued to perform and record
stacks of recordings over the years but somehow, right now, the original Boom
Boom Band have returned to us! The band still sticks to a simple
but devastatingly effective blueprint. Drummer David
McLean gets a hypnotic beat rolling. David
and bassman Sev Grossman pump up and deepen
the groove while wide-eyed Willie relates
his story-songs and adds occasional keyboard flourishes. Once the mixture is
really cooking, fretmaster Billy Loosigian
slinks out of the shadows and drops 16 tons of Gibson guitar into the stewpot
and blows the roof off the joint.
Loosigian is co-writer on four songs here
that showcase his distinct style and an attack that frequently takes cues from
Jeff Beck's pre-Stratocaster years ( soaring
slide work on "Gravelly Hill") and seminal Jimmy Page
riff rock ("High Tide Heroes"). I know, a lot of guitarists like to list Beck
& Page as influences, but Billy Loosigian
is one of the few guys I've ever seen who can truly pull that stuff off.
Boom Boom concerts you will always find an army of axe grinders hanging out
in front of Billy's side of the stage studying this overlooked guitar star.
The ever charismatic Willie Alexander returns
to his rock'n'rolling roots with these 13 big songs. Willie
writes about what he knows. A lot of his best lyrics come out of what WA watches
going on outside the window of his hilltop pad in the old fishing port of Gloucester
MA. "Fred Buck's Footsteps" earns a place in my All-time Top 10
and rocks with one of the most infectious rhythms ever devised. Willie leads
the way shaking an empty ginseng soda can filled with black beans. A real beauty
is the opener "Gravelly Hill" with lyrics by Charles
Olson, brilliantly adapted by Alexander.
Another slice of life (and death), this time inspired by Willie's old Somerville
neighborhood, is "Who Killed Deanna" and you can find a mellower
version of this same haunting song on Willie's majestic "The
East Main Street Suite" (Accurate 5034) album. Two more treats, "Oh
Daddy Oh" and "Telephone Sex" recall the ever popular
"ga-ga" Willie "Loco" vocal-style from "Live
at the Rat" days.
This recording was done by David Minehan
at his Wooly Mammoth Studios. Cleanly tracked and unobtrusively produced,
the cd isn't as gloriously heavy as the band sounded on stage at a recent Cambridge
concert, but it still sounds great.
Word on the street is that Willie Alexander and the
Boom Boom Band are headed to Europe for a tour. Bon Voyage and please
keep this reunion rolling boys!
Cowboy's Picks to Click: Gravelly Hill,
Fred Buck's Footsteps, High Tide Heroes, Mystery Training
Cowboy Score: 950
BAND: READ YELLOW
TITLE: Radios Burn Faster- 2004
ON: Fenway Recordings
Frightening quartet out of Amherst MA unleashes a torrent of stabbing guitar
jabs and politically charged ranting. It's hard to decipher some of the lyrics
but Read Yellow's unsettling message still
comes through loud and clear.
The ferocity never lets up and the violent attack of drummer Paul
Koelle and bassist Michelle Kay Frenald
seldom veers off target. Evan Kenney and
Jesse Vuono are both on guitar, employing
feedback and noise washes to good effect, these guys sure know how to get some
good air-raid-siren tones. Everybody in Read Yellow
While the sound has a sharp bleeding edge, the tunes actually stick to solid
arrangement techniques: verses, middle eights, hooks and lots of call and response
choruses. Read Yellow excels at herding
up all their emotion and noise and galloping it forward, until it finally hits
a stonewall head-on with repeated bludgeoning climaxes. Nice!
Formed in 2001 these
artist/punk rockers have found success on the road, with tours of the midwest
and northeast (USA) as well as several European road trips to their credit.
Radios Burn Faster was tracked in Brooklyn NY and finished up
here in Cambridge at Camp Street Studios. Helmed by producer Paul
Kolderie (Hole, Radiohead)
the album was completed in 10 days. I'm gonna be watching these guys.
A lovely booklet comes along with this 11 song longplayer, featuring unsettling
song lyrics, some Ralph Steadmanish gonzo-style inkwork and a
bunch of exacto razor blades falling from the sky.
Cowboy's Picks to Click: The Association,
The Art, A Love Supreme
Cowboy Score: 795
BAND: The Afrika Korps
TITLE: Live at Cantone's 1977
ON: Gulcher - 2002
Rock history is made when the Afrika Korps
show a packed Boston club their stuff. Readers of the Boston Groupie News
and fans of the 70's Boston underground should check out this 20-song set, recorded
live at Cantone's on August 20, 1977.
The Afrika Korps was formed in 1976 by three
pioneers of the American DIY punk movement Solomon
Gruberger (O.Rex), Kim
Kane (Slickee Boys) and Kenne
Highland (Gizmos). All three
had already released their own indie records at this point, and with the addition
of Ken Kaiser on drums and 16 year old Jay
Gruberger on bass, The Afrika Korps
recorded their highly recommended debut "Music To
Kill By" (Gulcher 405). Fresh out of the Marines, Kenne
Highland managed to wed our editor Miss Lyn (but she's
single again right now boys!) and "Live at Cantone's"
was recorded at the blushing couple's well attended post-wedding ceremony show.
Featuring all the Afrika Korps garage-rockin'
faves (Fox Lane, N.Y. Punk, Make Her Know She's Getting
Laid) with Gizmo and O.Rex
tunes thrown in. The unstoppable Afrika Korps
also blast through Willie Loco's "At
the Rat", "Hit Her Wid De Axe" and even Thundertrain's
"Hot For Teacher!"
This lo-fi recording captures the ambience of a hot nite at Cantone's,
with plenty of stage asides, putdowns and banter from a crowd of inebriated
Boston rock scenesters of the era. Cool liner essay by Kenneth
Kaiser, who recalls the tragic death of gifted Afrika
Korps bassman Jay Gruberger in a 1993 automobile accident.
Three original members of The Afrika Korps
played a surprise 3 song set at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain on July
Picks to Click: Califawnia Gurls, You're
A Tease Baby, Jailbait Janet, My Head's In '73
Cowboy Score: 808
BAND: NERVOUS SHAKES
TITLE: Separate Beds? I Don't Think
ON: Nun Records (2004) - Distributed
in U.S. by No Fun Records
These four snotrockin' sprouts out of Belgium have a Boston connection. This
debut CD was recorded at Studio Molière in Brussels on the corner of
l'Avenue Albert and l'Avenue Molière, the very same joint where the Real
Kids 3rd album was recorded. And, Downbeat 5's own JJ Rassler
wrote one of the best tunes on this disc!
Nervous Shakes (1Irish guy,1Italian,1Flemish and a drummer who sounds
like New York to me) open up with a big Bo Diddley beat on "Get The
Fear" I thought they were saying "get the beer" so I did. When I got back
"Hey Baby" was shaking my blasterbox. Maracas rattling in the back of
that track scored Nervous Shakes an automatic 10 point bonus. I didn't dig "Bad
Like Me" so much. Ivan (the singer) goes on about how nice he thinks
his ass looks for 3 minutes. Things really pick up with "Number One"
a rocker with a sha-la-la-la hook (this is the one written by JJ Rassler
& Joe King). Guitarist James Cain and vocalist Ivan Dreini
are the principal songwriters on these 12 bashers.
The high-energy sound is
New York Dolls, Ramones and Stooges inspired. Nervous
Shakes would be a perfect fit on a Boston rock stage. Sounding kinda like
if the late Matthew Mackenzie came back to join forces with the Vatican
Sex Kittens... Flup'K (Fender P bass) and Motor Hagen (drums)
complete the 'Shakes line up. James Cain and Eric Renwart are
listed as producers and the recording is loud and clear.
These dudes tour around
the continent a lot, let's hope they will pay Boston a visit sometime soon.
Miss Lyn told me that they can all bunk in with her.
Cowboy's Picks To Click: You Hypnotize
Me, Number One, Swedish Love Gun, Be A Man, Panzer Division
Cowboy Score: 855
ON:self released (2003)
The editor of the Boston Groupie News sent me this gem. I'd avoided listening
to it at first because with a name like Din I was expecting to endure
some face-melting, ear-bleeding noise ala the dreaded Slick Pig or Government
Dictatorship. Din turns out to be a very catchy pop-rock band featuring
dreamy-voiced Carlene Barous (also on keyboards and bass) showcasing
plenty of strong material all expertly captured on disc by David Minehan.
Carlene floats her melodies over tight hooky backings on "I'll
Find a Way" and "I Want You". Co-writer, singer Glenn
Steadman ( also on bass and guitars) keeps things edgy, executing his very
convincing baritone Iggy vocal track on "Crazy". Expert
drummer John Gulizia ( ex- Moving Targets) and rocking guitarist
Bart Lo Piccolo (ex- Scatterfield) complete the quartet.
These Boston players all have straight-ahead punkrock in their blood but now
they have chosen to slide sideways into this groovy sounding Din territory.
The smooth sounding 7 song collection was recorded and mixed in Boston at Mr.
Minehan's Wooly Mammoth Studios with mastering done by Colin Decker
at M Works in Cambridge. Don't miss this one.
Cowboy's Picks To Click: I'll Find A Way,
Crazy, Hung, I Want You, The Fall
Cowboy Score: 845
TITLE: Let The Light In (cd/ep)
CONTACT: Hydra Head - 2004
Yummy! Six diverse slices of hypno-rock dripping with melodies that
echo in the cranium for days. This Boston-based quartet features Maria
Christopher (Dirt Merchants) on vocals. Maria purrs her innocent sounding
lyrics effortlessly over a clever backing of bass and drums augmented
by everything from jazzy piano to wood flute to synth to Indian drums.
It all fits together really well and what we are left with are a bunch
of really addictive songs.
I understand that this band recently
returned from a lengthy European tour supporting their label mates, Isis.
hope to catch 27 live in concert back here while they are in town, if
they sound anything like they do on this disc live they will be crowned
with the Cowboy's green light to go all the way.
27 recorded this ep themselves and also designed the striking
packaging. I find it interesting how 27 downplay themselves, no band photos and
their names appear in type too tiny for me to read. None of the
self-hype that so many bands (at least the ones I'm in) usually employ. Bring
on the full length cd!
My Picks to Click: The Cause, Make Love Not War, Try (part 2), April
Cowboy Score: 850
BAND: THE RUDDS
ON: Sodapop 2003
The Rudds are a showcase for the unstoppable,
untoppable John Powhida, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist
and rock frontman of the first order.
Boston native (by way of Albany) Powhida
dazzles with high-flying vocal chops (an unusual mix of Robin
Zander and Prince) on these 13
hard hitting rockers. Powhida is joined
on this recording by the most excellent Brett Rosenberg (lead guitar/vocals),
Jamie Griffith (bass) and Pete
Caldes (drums) . The Rudds (named
after AC/DC's drummer Phil
Rudd) cook on these uptempo rockers and Powhida
is at his best when his appealing tenor voice rockets into top-gear
falsetto (Oh Delilah). Another highlight is a well picked cover of "Burning
Up" that tops Madonna's original.
12 cuts are all J Po. originals, peppered
with references to Boston and Cambridge streetlife and nightspots.
Powhida can pull all this tricky shit off
live too. He's an engaging frontman and plays hot guitar, and most impressively,
when his drummer didn't make it to Charlie's Kitchen one nite, John grabbed
the drumstix and took over on the skins for a full set while singing all these
Produced with flair by Mike Gent
and Powhida, I don't know where they recorded
it but it sounds damn good. Deep tones with a crisp and big-bottomed mix.
The Rudds aren't garage style, the sound is more polished, with pro
harmonies and hooks, a real classic rock sound. John has the charisma and talent
to take the Rudds to the next level. Don't
be suprised if he shows up at the Abbey with Sheena
Easton on his arm.
Picks to Click: In Lieu.., Burning Up, Rock
World, Oh Delilah
Cowboy Score: 835
TITLE: Blowfish in the New Wave
ON: no label 1977
Oddity from the glory days of rocking Kenmore Square. Funnyman Blowfish
takes satirical aim at Willie Alexander,
local radio, the Modern Lovers, punk rock,
the New England Music City record chain and the Boston rock scene in
general in this collection of novelty tunes and radio bits.
on a rather brief cd, this stuff was originally released on Varulven
Records back in 1977 - the same year the "Live
at the Rat" double album pushed Boston's underground rock explosion
into the spotlight. The back cover of "Blowfish in the New Wave"'
notes that "This was recorded on a Sony 4-track with only a pause button
for editing". Pretty impressive considering that Blowfish
must have been constantly pushing that button to construct these multi- soundsourced
comic cuts. The Infliktors, George
Harrison, Johnny Barnes, the
Ramones and even Thundertrain's
singer (Hey! Who hit me with that rock? ) get the wacky Blowfish
treatment. The comic/ writer/ deejay puts his mimicry skills (Hit
Me Wid De Ex-Lax) and decent guitar chops (Chord Book Blues) to good
use on this nugget from the past.
Many of these bits first aired on the
Oedipus Demi Monde show on WTBS
and it will certainly add to your enjoyment factor if you recall
the 70's or perhaps spent some time hanging at the Aku Aku bar or the Aegean
Fare restaurant over by New England Music City (Pew England Music City).
We all knew we had a really healthy rock community thang happening once Blowfish
(a.k.a. Paul Lovell) crashed the party and began skewering us with his inspired
My Picks to Click: Glue England Music City
(The Goys Are Back in Town and a funny Jonathan Richman parody), 40 Seconds
of Ramones, Rock And Roll Cook, Live at the Rat
Cowboy Score: 775
TITLE: REDDY TEDDY / MATTHEW MACKENZIE
BAND: Teddy Boy (2 cd retrospective)
ON: Notlame - 2004 www.notlame.com
Amazing journey deep into the heart and soul of the late Matthew
Mackenzie, songwriter/singer/guitarist and leader of Boston's flash-foursome
Disc one is the "Best of Reddy Teddy" featuring studio and live
tracks from 1972-78. Opening with the Pete Townshend laced "Teddy Boy" (1973),
Matthew & crew launch into the Rickenbacker-driven,
triple vocal, anglo-harmony sound that became the Reddy
Teddy hallmark. Matthew and hip
shakin' vocalist John Morse are joined by
Scott Barenwald (vocals/bass) and Bug
Witt (drums) on many of these classic tracks.
Also included are cuts from the original line up that included Matthew
and John's sixth grade classmates
from Winchester Mass, Joe Marino (drums)
and Ted von Rosenvinge (bass). Matthew's
unforgettably melancholy melodies, fiery riffing and witty lyrics
(Moron Rock, Babycycle, Sobourbon Lady) soar over gemlike musical
arrangements that wink at big beat contemporaries like the New
York Dolls (Helping Hand) and Willie
Loco Alexander (Novelty Shoes).
Disc two, "Matthew Mackenzie and Friends" kicks off with the
beautifully orchestrated "Crazy Jane" plus 4 other ambitous Reddy
Teddy songs. Many of Mackenzie's delicately
constructed compositions are veritable mini-operas and perhaps his romantic
artistry was just too much for the mainstream to handle. Following the break
up of Reddy Teddy, Mackenzie
continued to rock and his excellent solo work from 1980 (Here By My Side)
and with his later band The Roosters (Girls
of the State) are well represented here.
Fascinating demos from 1972 (with brother Mike on drums) reveal the "Surrealistic
Pillow" side of Mackenzie (Haunted).
Courted by Mercury Records and adored by their Baystate following, the
Teddy boys lived the true rockstar life in their Brookline mansion, Kilsyth
Manor, surrounded by groupies, fellow musicians and other artists.
The band and their fabulous fans later adopted The
Rat as their homebase, helping to turn that Kenmore Square cellarhole
into an internationally known scene. Matthew Mackenzie
and Reddy Teddy trail-blazed a market for
original Boston rock that future beantown bands like the Neighborhoods,
Mission of Burma and The
Cars would later enjoy.
This forty song collection (all but one written by Matthew) has been
lovingly restored and produced by Reddy Teddy
singer John Morse and original RT bassist
Ted von Rosenvinge with superb liner notes and vintage
Picks to Click: Holy Poses, Goo Goo Eyes, Boys and Girls, Moon
Out, Shark in the Dark, Madonna, Ooh Wow
ON: Lawless - 2003 www.sugabomb.com
Sugabomb spits out 12 nasty nuggets of
greasy garage sleazepunk scraped from the underbelly of the Boston rock underground
. Hell-kitten vocalist Vikki Sixx gives
out free woodies while shredding axe-dude Dee Stroy
grinds out a full-frontal-garage-meets-metal attack. Drummer Dave
and bassist Sandybomb complete
the fantastic four.
Kustom-made for the underground club scene that they call home, Sugabomb
offer up plenty of hotroddin' sex (Bar Whore), violence (I
Wish You Were Dead) and even some Motown (Get Ready).
Mouthwatering Vikki and her dirty little
band play it straight and mean while the humor that fuels their repetoire (Titties,
Eastie Greaseball) shines thru.
A highly recommended live band, Sugabomb
cranks out their lightning-paced set Ramones-style, tossing in unexpected crowd-pleasing
grenades like "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" or "Highway
Sugabomb's showstopper is "(Do You Wanna
Touch My) "Titties" (included on this cd) where Vikki
shares the uplifting tale of the day she got unwanted attention sporting her
"tight blue shirt" while getting soaked to the skin in a sudden downpour.
Songwriting is good throughout and is simply credited to Sugabomb.
Production by Ed Riemer, Eric Law and Sugabomb, magnificently recorded at ER
Studios, really nice cover design by CheesyGraphics.com too.
Picks to Click: Speedthrill, Sugardaddy, Highschool, Titties
Cowboy Score: 815
Band: COFFIN LIDS
On: Bomp - 2004
Fearsome foursome out of Boston grind out a horrific platter of Farfisa organ-driven
teenbeat Munster-rock. The Coffin Lids
never let up on the throttle. "Rock"N"Roll"
keeps the dance floor packed solid with 14 real gone gassers. The rhythm section
have a strong Boston-style garage rock attack with arrangements that throw occasional
curveballs just to keep everyone swinging. Coffin
Mike (vocals, guitar, Farfisa) claims The
Mummies and The Sonics as his
main songwriting influences. I think I can hear echoes of Sam
the Sham, The Astronauts, George
Romero, Sandy Nelson & even some
Afrika Korps floating to the top of this
bubbling cauldron. Bloody good cover design by H13D on this baby too!
My Picks to Click: Nite of the Zombies, Supercharger,
Vampire Girl and Smokin' Monkey.
My Big Beef: The production budget might have been a bit slim this time
around. "Rock'N'Roll" has a frighteningly
fuzzed-out carnival ride sound. Y' know, like when you're riding the Scrambler
down at the Marshfield Fairgrounds and the ride operator (the fried
dude in the Motley Crue t-shirt) blasts
his older sister's "Theater of Pain" tape
thru a huge stack of blown out Cerwin Vega speakers straight into your face.
Lo-fi can be kool - but these The Coffin Lids
have a razorsharp sound that deserves a real studio job next time around. Cowboy
Band: VAGRANT SAINTS
Title: Mammon's Little Baby
Nashville rock trio with a funky groove and plenty of twang. Guitarist
Michael Saint-Leon sings about the upside of lovin', gamblin', drinkin'
& losin' in his friendly, shantytown drawl. Co-songwriter Paul Snyder adds
vocal color and impresses on the drums. Standout is bassman Kit
Dennis, best remembered up here in Boston for performances with his
seminal underground band, The Infliktors
(Live at the Rat 1977). If you dig
groovy bass, then Kit Dennis' lowdown fretwork
with the Vagrant Saints is well worth the
price of the cd. These rebel dudes make it all sound so easy with well honed
chops and amusing lyrics. Recorded at The Switchyard in Nashville. It
looks like the group handled all the production themselves and the sound is
full flavored and sharp throughout. Cover art by Boston photographer Mike
Mayhan (Subway News) looks great.
I am a sucker for any album cover that features a hot babe sitting in front
of a big dressing table mirror with the band's name scrawled across it in lipstick...
My Picks to Click: "Teenage Booze Hound" is a good example
of how the Vagrant Saints remind me of vintage Joe Walsh with their hooky riffs
and clever lyrics.The heartfelt "Too Far Gone" is a Jaggeresque
gem. Snyder's bayou flavored drumming rolls right into my current fave: "Coffee
Cowboy Score: 815
Band: THREE DAY THRESHOLD
Title: Behind The Barn
On:Pig Pile - 2002
Hundred Proof roadhouse rock is on tap when this Boston quartet rolls into
town.Three Day Threshold distill a brew
of hillbilly stomps, pirate sea chanties, rave ups & Irish drinking songs and
what they deliver is pure rock'n'roll moonshine. Strong songwriting here from
Kier Byrnes & Sam
Reid. Two guys who know how to borrow from folksy backwoods melodies
and anglo roots music but twist it into a new kind of pretzel. Drummer Jack
Morris drops the hammer down while guitarist Sam
Reid keeps flinging those greasy licks into the fire. Bassman Johnny
Ransom can rock like a Georgia Satellite
or pull it back like a Buffalo Springfield.
Kier Byrnes has a superb voice for this
wild colonial boy stuff and his electric banjo playing adds to the distinct
Three Day Threshold sound. I like the straight
ahead, non-ironic, simple and true lyric writing and singing that is "Behind
The Barn". I've been spinning this disc regularly since last summer.
A winner for sure. Don't just take my word for it. Three
Day Threshold have already appeared on the Van's Warped Tour
and millions heard "Behind The Barn" when it was featured on the
soundtrack of Paris Hilton's "Simple Life" tv show. Recorded at New
Alliance Studio in Boston by Marc Schleicher and Nick Zampiello,
"Behind The Barn" packs a lot of sonic punch. The engineers capture
a big, deep sound but they leave the really energetic rough edges on there too.
One of the best sounding records to come out of Boston yet.
My Picks to Click: Pub With No Beer, For Russ, 25 Minutes, Man With A Pitchfork
and Behind The Barn. Next time you have to muck out the horse
stall be sure to bring this baby along.
Cowboy Score: 960
Review by Holly Daisyn-Dassun
The Blackjacks-- American
June 2004 was declared Johnny Angel month,
in recognition of Mr.Carmen's return (for
one week only) to Boston and why not? The Cherubic
One was all over town on his 7 day weekend. A good excuse as any,
I say, to talk about two recent releases, one by Thrills,
one by The Blackjacks, which demonstrate
pretty well why this Angel fellow was such a legend around these parts. With
all due respect to Sean,
Merle, and Mike, Thrills
was really the Barb Kitson-Johnny
Angel show. Barb , on vocals
and mini-skirt, had Mrs.Philip Spector down pat, with Johnny
playing punk rock guitar (with some country licks thrown in here 'n there),
writing the tunes ,and bouncing all over the stage. Imagine The
Buzzcocks playing 60's girl group songs behind Ronnie S.and you have
Thrills. This CD is a low-tech (homemade?)
collection of the band's Modern Method single, their Star Rhythm EP, an unreleased
studio track (the fantastic "Wait"), and two tunes recorded live at Metro. "Not
Another Face In The Crowd", "Sorry", "I'll Be The
Heartbreaker" and other faves are here for the greybeard/crow's feet
set to enjoy once more, and this is a good primer for the young 'uns who like
it fast, energetic and catchy all at once. I'm not sure how this collection
was put together- my guess is from the actual records, and from cassettes. I
mention this only because the sound levels vary dramatically from song to song,
and I don't want you to be surprised. Highly recommeded, all the same.
Thrills were forced to endure a name change
followed by relocating to NYC in their quest for fame and a decent egg cream,
and that was the end of them, so our Johnny
returned to Boston and formed The Blackjacks (initially
a trio, then a quartet, the latter featuring Rafe Mabry
on guitar and big hair) American Independents (get it?) is an entertaining collection
of the many moods of the band. Their great "That's
Why I Always Dress In Black" (with it's spoken verses) is Boston
garage punk at it's 80's best, and "Generic New York City Woman"
sounds like it's an outtake from L.A.M.F. And remember the "Blackjacks
Manifesto"? That's here, too. The, er, BJ's, venture into power pop
territory as well ("Simple Math", which sounds better today then
back in yesteryear, "Dreaming Of Saturday Again") and wear their
Stones influences on their sleeves (think "Between The Buttons"
and "Exile"),even including their cover of "Dead Flowers".
Johnny also does his imitation of Ian
Hunter imitating Bob Dylan .
17 songs in all by the 'jacks, rarely a
dull moment. Johnny left our low taxes,
mild winters, and pennant-winning baseball team for California sometime in the
late '80's/early '90's,and continued recording out west and 4 cuts are included.
"Rosa Maria" is a straight ahead 70's rocker, but the next two
show Johnny trying to join the '90's- "Ain't
Gonna Beat My Head Against The Wall" sounds like the Red Hot Chili
Peppers (if they didn't suck) with JA doing
a pretty good Anthony Kiedis impression (normally, not a good thing,
but perfect here) "Suzie's On Prozac" finds the boy doing his
drop tuning, minor chord, flannel shirt grunge thing, a noble effort at the
very least. Finally, one of my faves on this whole mess, called "Last
Ride", featuring Johnny with two
drummers (combined, they still make Meg White seem like Gene Krupa),doing
a Stooges "No Fun/Wanna Be Your Dog" soundalike (with background
vocals sung by Patti Smith's unknown twin)
21 tracks totals, good sound quality (would it have killed Mr.Carmen,
who has been a professional writer for years in El Lay to whip off some liner
notes??????),lots of variety, lots of fun, lots of dirty words ,too (a no-no
in John Ashcroft's America, so be careful).
Available from www.dionysusrecords.com
The Blackjacks-- American
Available from Retrospect
TITLE: Teenage Suicide and Hell Tonight
CONTACT: Thundertrain Site
This July, the (cough) esteemed Governor of the Bay State took some time off from
drawing mustaches on John Kerry posters to personally arrange a police escort
to ensure safe passage of the legendary Thundertrain,
from their Concorde (now retired) to their private suite at the Madison Hotel.
Why all the fuss? Simple! The ORIGINAL "MC5", as in "Middlesex County
Five" were back in town, for one week only, to save the young children from
Limp Bisquiks and Not So Hot Chili Peppers, and the older crowd from parrot
heads and any/all new Stones studio recordings. Not an easy task, but somehow,
the Nabobs of Natick took over stages in Boston, JP, Nashua, Woosta and Salem,
and by gawd, once again, they showed we mere mortals HOW it should be done.
Since that week, the electricity
and running water have been restored in these communities, and the sudden increase
in pregnancies seems to be leveling off finally....
For the two or three of you who don't remember this lethal quintet, Mssrs.Bell,
Silva, Provost (TWO of 'em) and Edwards
were the link between good hard rock (with a twist of glam tossed in) and garage/punk
at a time when rock and roll was going through much needed changes.
The '70's started off ok, lots of heavy bands playing lots of flashy stuff
but things got a little silly after a while. 20 minute songs,10 minute solos,
... Thankfully there was Bowie/ Bolan/pre-perv
Gary Glitter, Sweet,
Dolls, and Slade to keep things
fun and unpredictable, but it didn't last, and soon we were back in the soup
again; Rick Wakeman, Jackson Browse, and solo LPs by Bill Wyman and Ron Wood!
Thankfully, the CBGB's scene was happening,
as was the London scene, not to mention our very own Boston scene, and before
long, it was back to basics for rock and roll, and here's where Thundertrain
Here was a band with an outrageous lead singer and front man who moved like
the proverbial 'tiger on vaseline' and sang/shouted like Slade's
Noddy Holder; Mach
Bell. On guitar, playing guitar hero, Steven
Silva, playing as fast and furious (and as nimble fingered as) Johnny
Winter in his prime. Swooping in and then out with his killer riffs,
short, sweet, to the point. The Provost Brothers,
Ric and Cool Gene
keep the rhythm solid ,tight, powerful,(Gene
doing some nice Thin Lizzy dual
lead stuff with Steven once in a while,
too) all the while driven by the secret weapon of the band, Bobby
Edwards (Bobby!) on drums, keeping the beat strong ,with serious
monster flash to top it all off.
They were the bridge between the best of early '70's rock AND the return of
straight ahead stripped down rock, with feet in both camps. 30 years later,
Thundertrain came back to town to play for
us for one special week, with TWO recordings on Gulcher
Records for our approval! The first, Teenage
Suicide, was the first-time-on-CD 2003 release of their original
Jelly Records album (recorded 1976),featuring
the infamous "Hot For Teacher" and
"I Gotta Rock", plus extras including
the song Tyler/Perry only WISH they
wrote, "Cindy Is A Sleeper", live
stuff, PLUS interviews, an ad for a gig back in the day, and a cool booklet
with interviews, pix,history, etc.
The second CD, "Hell Tonight" is
Thundertrain live, on stage, recorded for
WCOZ (!!!!) broadcast back in '79, all material seeing the light
of day for the first time now. "I Gotta Rock"
is here, as is Slade's "Mama
Weer All Crazee Now", "Hot For Teacher"
and the gem of the set, the Standells' "Dirty
Water", with Mach poking
fun at all of the crap on the radio at that time (disco, Barry
Manilow, disco, Debby Boone,
and disco). You haven't lived until you hear Mach
parodying "At The Copa". (note:'COZ
had to bleep Mach's cry of 'disco
sucks' during the broadcast;1979 was such a quaint time, wasn't it?)
I'd love to hear Mach's take these days
on Eminem, Britney,
Godsmack and 50
Cent from the stage sometime- maybe next year?
Both CDs have great
sound quality and demonstrate Thundertrain's
energetic riff-rock to it's fullest. I like the live one a tad better, with
it's louder sounding guitars and that extra "oomph" that a live show can bring
out. Then again, the studio ain't chopped liver either.
These guys do one thing, they rock hard, and if that's your thing, you need
one or both of these. ( Mach writes for
the BGN sometimes, maybe he'll sign 'em for you at the premiere of the
Thundertrain movie!!!!) I'm hoping hoping hoping we'll see the boys
in these parts in '05, perhaps raiding the vaults to put more madness on CD.
Fellas? Gulcher? Whaddya say?
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