Apropos of nothing, save the desire to write about some music, and perhaps that it's been several months since Disaster Amnesiac's last 7" roundup, I figured I'd bust out some of those delicious little slices of plastic. A few of these are long time faves, a few are recent arrivals to the library at Chez Amnesiac.
Beatnik Termites-Ode to Susie and Joey b/w Termite Hop; Recess Records
Disaster Amnesiac must admit that an appreciation for Pop Punk is not exactly my strong suit, but this one from Cleveland's Beatnik Termites makes me want to walk on over to Gilman St. (about 2.5 miles from where I sit) and pogo with the teen set. The drummer is key here, in that he or she actually plays a stompin' 4/4, often pushing things along with a really sweet ride cymbal beat and a nice, fat snare drum sound. The guitarist sounds to me like a Steve Jones acolyte: the tunes' chords are rung out and let to reverberate a bit, none of the characteristic staccato chunkiness that seems to mar so many other Poppy Punk bands. Of course, there's a Ramones bite here, but, I'm sure that at least one band member must have paid some coin for the mandatory Ramones t-shirt at least once, yeah? The lyrics describe a lifestyle that Disaster Amnesiac was never privy to, even as a teenager, but it sure sounds like fun when narrated by these Termites.
Wemean-Faida b/w Goddam My Eyes (Live); Scheming Intelligentsia
This here hot slab of 7" wax has been a favorite of mine for years now. Zurich-based Wemean deliver a heavily rhythmic pounder on the A side, their double time, almost Hip Hop sounding chanted group vocal pushed by a really great bass drum and tom tom heavy trap action, scratchy six string chuck and thickly plucked bass. The whole thing slams to a stop, the gals of Wemean declare some emphatic point, and then they wind it down. FAIDA! The flip side's live spieling (in English, varum?) feels a bit more thin, but the drummer and bass player keep things tight and the guitar player practices the art of the wah wah to nice effect. Disaster Amnesiac will always come back to side one.
Crungehouse-New Society b/w Chocolate Love Groove; Bomb Apple Records
This Kramer-associated group will always bring cannabis to the mind of Disaster Amnesiac. I saw them play some Legalize It type of event on the National Mall in D.C., and picked up their 7" in Arcata (you know HUMBOLDT COUNTY). New Society has the band's guitarist jamming out hot and funky and Page-like to the accompaniment of some Rand Corp. type nerd as he pontificates about how the Psychedelic Indians of the 1960's will surely put an end to all that is Right and Good in 'merica. Point taken, but, hey, if these guys were teetotalers, they'd probably sound like Joy Division or something, so fuck it and pass the bong. Chocolate Love Groove marries more guitar flippin' with an almost Go Go beat and Surrealist Dream narration. That title just screams out "1988 Underground", but the tune's groove still holds up in 2014, even though it's over much too soon. Did Crungehouse put out an LP?
Las Mordidas-Surrounded b/w K.I.T.A; Compulsiv/Dischord split
The dudes in Las Mordidas may have been neighbors with Crungehouse, but something tells me that their song writing was not fueled by the same type of chemical intake. Not that that could ever stop Jerry Busher, one of the greatest drummers I've ever seen play (9:30 Club 1988), from laying down the heaviness; his stomping beats on Surrounded pair sweetly with the original Punk Funk fusion bass of Dug E. Bird and the skittering guitar stutter of one Jon K. Disaster Amnesiac fave man on the mic, Chris Thompson, made his debut on vocals with this band (switching over from bass guitar in Ignition), and, as we all now know most definitely, he was UP for the task. His lyrics are simultaneously sharp, insightful, disturbing, and mysterious. One of his best couplets ever, "the world don't owe you nothing/'cept for maybe a kick in the ass" graces the B side as Mr. K gives snaky lines while Busher and Bird absolutely don't fake the Funk. Another long time fave here. Would that they had released a whole LP!
Artimus Pyle-The Absence of Life (plus four other songs); Prank
Disaster Amnesiac always loved the name of this band, and, upon seeing this 7" at the Half Priced Books store in Berkeley for pennies, well, how could I resist? The listener is treated to five blasts of very Bay Area Thrash, more in the Christ on Parade style than that of, say, Exodus. More rooted in Punk Rock but tempered with Metal power. D-beat, I guess? The songs fly past as chaotic whirlwinds, guitar/bass/drums making a harsh, noisy cloud wall while the singer tells you about a lot of really fucked up stuff in the world. Loud and frustrated Hardcore from the depths of Oakland. ARGH!!!!
In parting, Disaster Amnesiac would just like to give my thanks and regards to everyone who has ever read this little blog. Y'all are really great, even though I'd bet that most of you will never agree with me about the greatness of the reconfigured Black Flag. Who are playing in Oakland in next month! Do stay tuned!