Posted by:on June 17th, 2002
Smogtown: Beach City Butchers
Teenage Knockouts: Japanese Murdercycles, Guitars and Guns
Label: Deadbeat Records
Review Date: 2002
Smogtown are the current rulers of the new wave of old school bands. Ok, if you can get past the last inane comment and you’re looking for something to believe in, you’re in the right place. If you’ve already picked up the masterpiece that is Fuhrers of the New Wave and the adept follow up Domesticviolenceand then fear not, because you can sink your teeth into Beach City Butchers, which was originally released as 7 inch, minus one track. Beach City Butchers predates Fuhrers but carries the same vibe, starting with “California Bad Vibrations.” The thing about Smogtown is that they capture the essence of the early 80’s west-coast punk scene without seeming like a nostalgia trip. It’s a perfect blend of sarcasm, twisted wit, and a wonderfully blunt distillation of the facts that make most Smogtown songs instant winners. Chavez looks like a crazed mofo, and sings like one. Guitardo’s riffs are razor sharp with Chip Beef and Tim McVeigh driving home the rhythm section. The last track, “Switchblade New Wave” is an extra not included on the vinyl release, probably for good reason. It’s easily the weakest right off the bat because it tends towards Blitzkrieg Bop to the point of annoyance. Fortunately, it does veer off at the last minute, and it does grow on you. For six out seven tracks you can’t go wrong. The production isn’t on par with their full length releases, but the intensity and the presence is there in spades.
The problem with most split cd’s is that at least one of the bands suck. That is definitely not the case with the Teenage Knockouts. If Smogtown represents the “punk” in punk rock, then the Teenage Knockouts come from the vein of punk rock that essentially pairs traditional garage rock and even power pop with updated snotty vocals. It’s gritty pop-rock songs about girls, cars, and rocking out. You know, your basic 50’s style teenage rock and roll sung by disaffected youth of California. Like Buddy Holly if he lived in the TR house from Suburbia. Don’t call these guys soft unless you relish the thought of catching a beer stained creeper in the ass. The strongest track on the ep is “School Girl Desire.” It’s a traditional dittie about teenage love complete with a short spoken narration, except one of the parties involved is no longer a teenager. Another instant classic. Japanese Murdercycles, Guitars and Guns may have an unwieldy title, but it’s easy on your ears.
I can’t vouch for the teenage Knockouts’ other releases, if they exist, but this one is a winner. Combine it with some killer Smogtown material and a very cheap price, and you’ve got a no-brainer. Pick up this split cd today, or order it direct from Deadbeat records for $10 post paid.
Online Action: dead-beat-records.com
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