Friday, December 30, 2022
Anthem Jukebox: Klaus Flouride, The Joneses, Laibach, The London Quireboy, The Screamin' Sirens, Too Much Joy, Terminal City Ricochet (1990)
Rattling like a funeral dirge and frequently as nerve-shattering as a slipped dentist’s drill, ex-Dead Kennedy Flouride travels lightly down the darkened path of his unique and original musical vision. Containing over a dozen musical/poetic vignettes, Because I Say So stands proud in an experimental field that only a few brave souls (Brian Eno, Boyd Rice, and Jon Hassel come to mind) fear to tread. Incorporating nightmarish tape loops, mutant pop songs, obtuse and symbolic lyrics, and an improvised musical mish-mash, Flouride has created a disc that is highly recommended.
The Joneses – Hard (Atlantic Records)
“Life is a hard road full of mean women who need a little love” says the insert to Hard, and those words of wisdom sum up the entire listening experience that is the Joneses’ current elpee. Seventies-styled hard rock is the rule here; meaty, muscular songs full of ringing, raging guitars propelled by David Finnerty’s gravely, soaring vocals. The Joneses burn like a nineties cross between Bad Company and B.T.O.
Laibach – MacBeth (Restless Records/Mute)
Laibach are one of the most underrated and underestimated outfits treading not-so-lightly across the same experimental ground as the likes of Non, Psychick TV, and Current 93. Laibach does it with dignity and grace, creating a new classical music for a cyberpunk generation. MacBeth is grand, dark, and disturbing and well worth your investment.
The London Quireboys – A Bit of What You Fancy (Capitol Records)
Part of the current seventies rock ‘n’ roll revival which includes the Black Crowes, the Raindogs, and the Joneses, the London Quireboys will bring forth memories of vintage Rod Stewart & the Faces complete with grungy, ringing guitars; guttural, too much smoke-and-whiskey vocals; and a rocking, rollicking rhythm. Short on substance, long on style, and a lot of fun, the London Quireboys are destined to be today’s influence on tomorrow’s bands.
Uncrowned Queens of Country Thrash, the Screamin’ Sirens have finally delivered a follow-up to their enchanting ’85 debut, Fiesta! The line-up has undergone a few changes since the last time out, with guitarist Rosie Flores striking out on her own for a solo gig, and other members falling prey to marriage and responsibility. Pleasant Gehman, the Sirens’ talented vocalist and songwriter remains, accompanied by the likes of ex-Pandoras bassist Miiko Watanabe and guitarist/songwriting partner Kathryn Grimm. Produced by Ethan James, Voodoo is all guts and fury, thirty-something odd minutes of ringing guitars, flying hormones, sweetly sung harmonies, smart lyrics, and sex appeal guaranteed to please. Seemingly all lace and frills and feminine beauty, the Screamin’ Sirens are all leather and steel when it comes to their music. These girls R-O-C-K with the big boys, so don’t you ever forget it!
Too Much Joy – Son of Sam I Am (Alias Records)
Too Much Joy are to much fun with their second effort, Son of Sam I Am. Four-chord power rock with lots o’ loud guitars, banging drums and such only serve to distract from the real attraction of the disc: the lyrics. Too Much Joy’s songs range from the sophomoric to the slyly satirical, their razor-sharp barbs unfailingly hitting their mark, whether they’re aiming at video hucksterism (“Hugo!”), new age mumbo-jumbo (“My Past Lives”), or life in general (my personal favorite, “Clowns”). Funny, stupid, witty, clever, cynical, and absurd this is a disc that deserves a place on your turntable.
Various Artists – Human Music (Homestead Records)
My buddy Gerard, the big cheese over at Homestead, won’t send me any more records ‘cause he’s still pissed off over a Sonic Youth review from years past, but he’d be glad to know that I plonked down a tenner for the label’s newest low-priced, liver-quiverin’ comp Human Music. Lotsa faves on here, from the scary nightmarish vision of Phantom Tollbooth to the abrasive pop of Happy Flowers, from New Jersey’s Yo La Tengo and their enjoyable reading of Jackson Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby” to the ever-enigmatic G.G. Allin. Also features Half Japanese, Live Skull, and Salem 66 among the twenty-five bands included on this two-disc set. Buy it and maybe Gerard will speak to me again in this lifetime...
Don’t know about the film that this is based on, but it sounds like a real hoot, kiddies! Something ‘bout a city where rock muzak is banned, the Mayor is addicted to the power of teevee, and Public Enemy #1 is a rock ‘n’ roll star…hmmm, sounds sorta like Nashville, don’t it? Anyhoo, the soundtrack is a monster, with cuts from familiar folks like punk crooners D.O.A., the recently broken-up and sadly-lamented Beatnigs, NoMeansNo, and Evan Johns & the H-Bombs. Collaborative material includes a cut from D.O.A. and Jello Biafra, Jello teaming up with NoMeansNo, and Keith LeBlanc’s inspired musical accompaniment to Biafra’s spoken-word piece, “Message From Our Sponsor.” New folks (in these parts, at least) include I, Braineater, Gerry Hannah, and Art Bergmann, distinctive stylists all. An A+ rated soundtrack from A.T.
All reviews originally published in the Summer 1990 issue of Anthem: The Journal of (un)Popular Culture