Saturday, February 28, 2009

Promotional whoring in the 21st century

7 Inch Atlanta is now on Myspace. You should all be its friend.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Coathangers wrap up residency with strong performance

The Coathangers wrapped up their residency and introduced a pair of new songs Wednesday at one of their best gigs to date.

The band mostly played newer songs that will be on their forthcoming LP, Scramble. Among those songs was a slow, melodic tune sung by Julia that had never been performed in public. Another song unveiled Wednesday was a lot more upbeat, and fits in nicely with solid new tracks like "Killdozer."

They also played familiar tunes, though some of them have been reworded. For example, "Haterade" is now directed at a boy-hater and not a girl-hater, and "Nestle in My Boobies" is a mash-up of the original, the Thrill Cosby rap odyssey we all enjoyed last summer, and the Demon's Claws inspired "Dancing With My Cutie." The lone encore song, "Tonya Harding," was also changed to say "This part is so cold, your new car's gold."*

Beforehand, Facehugger opened, and they took advantage of this opportunity to reach a new audience by putting on a good show. Their chaotic, electronic sound and lyrics inspired by great literature are a nice contrast from the fun, party-starting tunes of The Coathangers.

Abby Go Go, who thankfully seem to play two or three shows per week, were also on the bill. These garage-influenced shoegazers stray from cartoonish antics and instead rely on strong guitar work from the twins, Bon and Jon, as their way of setting themselves apart.

Also performing were the always solid Predator, as they sounded like a cross between The Screamers, Frantic and a no-nonsense metal band.

Brannon and Mike have been fixtures in Atlanta for a while now, and John deserves a lot of credit, too, for his torrential drumming both live and on the band's MySpace tracks.

* I'm the one with the new car, if you were wondering why Steph yelled out that line at the end. Thanks to The Coathangers for the flattering shout-out.

News and Notes

Here's a few things, in no particular order, worth sharing:

• Check out the new Customers Myspace, complete with a demo track.

• A minor fuck-up on this site a few weeks ago claimed The Customers are influenced by The Residents. In reality, they sound like The Replacements, and they do not dress like giant eyeballs (sadly).

Vacation Gallery and Boutique will host King Khan and The Shrines on Thursday, March 5. Getting there early is advised, as the place should be packed. King Khan will also perform March 10 at the Masquerade along with Golden Triangle, The Balkans, and The Thomas Function.

If anyone has a little blurb like the ones above they'd like on the blog, just shoot us an email at 7inchatlanta@gmail.com.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wow

Joe has quite a voice.

This makes me want to come out to Variety Playhouse tomorrow night to catch The Black Lips, Gentleman Jesse and His Men, and Atlas Sound. Hopefully, it is not sold out yet.

If it is, there's always The Star Bar, where G.G. King (featuring Greg King and some other Carbonas) and The Customers will be among the bands celebrating the opening of Parking Lot Paul's Reactionary Records.

He likes to hear the birds of paradise sing!

There's good news on the Douchemaster front, as the G.G. King debut single and the delicious-sounding "Pizza All Around" by Happy Burger are now available for pre-order. Check out MP3 samples from both releases at Douche central.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A glimpse at Scramble

For those who have not spotted this yet on the Suicide Squeeze website, here is the cover of The Coathangers' forthcoming album, Scramble. To hear cuts from this album, other than the downloadable "Stop Stomp Stompin," come out to the Star Bar this Wednesday. When it comes to new tracks likely to be played this week, "Cheap, Cheap" (or maybe it's "Cheep, Cheep"?) is especially awesome.

Coathangers wrap up residency this Wednesday

Come out Wednesday to see the final night of The Coathangers' Star Bar residency. If an all-girl punk band poised to release an amazing sophomore album is not enough of a draw, $5 (plus $2 for parking) will get you 7 Inch Atlanta favorites Predator and Facehugger plus Abby Go-Go (featuring members of Ominous Castle and The Mammals).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Speaking of Jesse and Dave playing as The Beat...

Here's a glimpse at a couple of Carbonas (and Warren) performing with a legend.

Classic Carbonas from the vault

Artist: Carbonas
Title: Frothing at the Mouth
Label: Douchemaster Records

On this, Douchemaster Records' launch title, The Carbonas put out a single that almost rivals the quality of Blackout (Waiting to Happen).

"Frothing At The Mouth" captures the band at their loudest and fastest, as it mixes the energy of "Blackout (Waiting to Happen)" with the catchiness of "(Your Love Is) Inside Out." This track fit in nicely with The Carbonas' earlier material, yet it is good enough that it did not sound out of place when the band played it at their last show along with more polished cuts from their Goner LP.

The flipside, "Sick Satisfaction," is a brief ditty featuring a chantalong chorus, and not the oi type of chantalong chorus. Some copies (represses, I would assume) are titled Sick Satisfaction and feature a different cover image.

The final track is a cover of Paul Collins' Beat's "Walking Out on Love." Who would have thought in 2002 when this was recorded that drummer Dave Rahn and future Carbonas bassist Jesse Smith would someday tour as The Beat?

Track this one down, or, at the very least, download the title track off the Douchemaster web site.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Four new bands + one new venue = a great night in East Atlanta

Four of Atlanta's newest punk bands, including a debuting act, performed Thursday at 529 in East Atlanta.

While each of the bands that performed Thursday featured familiar faces from the previous wave of Atlanta bands (The Heart Attacks, Carbonas, Beat Beat Beat, etc.), they still bring new sounds and new life to the local scene.

Up first was the debut of The Stolen Hearts, a mostly all-girl outfit mixing punk and powerpop influences.

Ashley, Rachel and Michelle did great considering it was the first time each girl had performed live, as they performed five songs, including the three posted on their Myspace page. The group also features two of the before-mentioned familiar faces in Adrian from Gentleman Jesse and His Men and Greg King from The Carbonas.

This band will, for better or worse, draw lots of comparisons to fellow Douchemaster Records band The Baby Shakes since most consumers are unoriginal when it comes to labeling female-fronted bands.

To hear a few tracks and keep up with upcoming shows, check out www.myspace.com/stolenheartsatlanta.

On second was The Customers, who were only playing their third gig ever. The band draws deserved comparisons to The Replacements, and they have steadily improved since their Jan. 24 debut.

The Customers are also a group of musicians with recognizable faces and names, as they feature Stephen from Beat Beat Beat on vocals and guitar, Chris from The Carbonas on bass and Brad from The Heart Attacks on drums. The fourth member, Travis, is the younger brother of Tuk from The Heart Attacks and Poison Arrows.

Predator, featuring Brannon and Mike from Beat Beat Beat and Frantic, were the closest thing on the bill to a veteran act, as they have been around since last summer.

Their growing repertoire is made up of catchy songs that sound a lot heavier than Frantic, a group that also featured King on drums. Like Frantic, Predator will soon have a locally-released LP that will likely get heavy play from DJs and fans alike.

The show closed with Poison Arrows, a powerpop quartet who had their first single released last week by Chicago's Full Breach Kicks Records.

Poison Arrows, who debuted last October, sounded as sharp as ever Thursday. Both live and on record, the band brings the perfect mix of early rock and roll and Exploding Hearts style powerpop. They also bust out covers by two very different groups: "I've Got Your Number" by Cock Sparrer and "The American Ruse" by the MC5.

Like the other bands on the bill, Poison Arrows bring some familiar faces to the stage, as Portwood and Tuk were in The Heart Attacks and Joey was in Vengance 77.

Catch this band while you can, as Poison Arrows are already preparing for tours with the likes of The Cute Lepers, The Queers and Eddie and the Hot Rods.

Afterwards, most of the crowd at 529 (pronounced five-two-nine) hung around to hear DJs Lindsay and Chad Radford spin records by bands ranging from The Buzzcocks to Bobby Soxx.

Baby Dinos feature from The West Georgian

Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction have grown in a little over a year from a group of friends with a limited repertoire of songs to a finely-tuned band on the verge of releasing two Die Slaughterhaus singles.

The band began when Jessica Juggz, a local artist known both for her musical prowess and a fire-blowing trick that cannot be described in newsprint, decided she wanted to play drums in an all-girl punk band, so she recruited longtime friends Hayley, Morgan and Megan.

Once the girls sorted out who was playing what instrument, Hayley was on guitar, Morgan handled lead vocals and Megan was the keyboardist, partly because her band mates said she hated the idea of playing bass. Without a bassist, Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction were like a punk and all-girl version of the bass-less indie group (The Apes, Red Paintings, etc.).

Jessica said the band's name was a combination of an idea pitched to her for a band called Baby Dinosaurs and her own concept for a band that would have been called Versus Extinction.

When Jan. 23, 2008, rolled around,the band played a very brief, and sloppy, four-song debut.

"Our first show was our second practice. It was fun and, in a way, it was one of our best shows," Jessica said.

When asked about the first Baby Dinos concert, Morgan remembers more details about eating sloppy hamburgers and lunged beer cans from the audience than the actual set.

That memorable night is also notable because it was the first time both Morgan and Hayley had performed live with a band.

Last summer, the band experienced a line-up change when Megan decided to move to New York for a change of scenery.

With a vacancy left in the band and show commitments on the horizon, the girls turned to longtime friend and Die Slaughterhaus Records CEO Mark Naumann, who was a musician in his own right, to be the band's first bassist.

"Everything in the stars lined up for Mark to be in the band," Jessica said, adding that she now gets to spend more time hanging out with Mark now that they are bandmates.

With both the original and current lineups, Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction have played numerous shows with name bands like King Khan and BBQ Show and Hotpants Romance and local groups like Predator and The Mammals.

Coffin Bound, a garage rock trio from nearby Austell, Ga., is considered the Baby Dinos' "brother band" because the bands often share the same stage and both acts are associated with Die Slaughterhaus Records.

"Coffin Bound is the band we have played with the most times… They are our brother band and we think their music is always great though it's overlooked," Morgan said.

There are no Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction shows booked in the near future, as Naumann said the band is interested in learning new material.

However, there should be plenty of exciting Baby Dinosaurs news on the horizon, as Naumann's label plans to release both the band's first-ever 7" single and a split 7" with Bobby and The Soft Spots (a group featuring the songwriting talent of Bobby Ubangi).

Once the singles are released, Jessica said she hopes the band hits the road, because they have yet to play a show outside of Atlanta.

To hear four different tracks, including the sing-along anthem "$.49 Hot Dog Day," check out www.myspace.com/babydinosaursvsextinction.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Stolen Hearts' Myspace page

Here's a look and listen at Adrian, Greg and the girls. Randy from The Booze apparently had a hand in these Myspace tracks, which is definitely a good thing. Let the excessive Babyshakes comparisons commence.

Three hot new bands and a debut make for tonight's best bet

With all due respect to The Coathangers, who tonight will enter week three of their Star Bar residency alongside Derek Lyn Plastic, tonight's best bet will be at 529. Three of Atlanta's best new bands (The Customers, Predator, and The Poison Arrows) will perform. Also, tonight will be the long-awaited debut of Atlanta's own Stolen Hearts, a female-fronted punk band. Creative Loafing's Chad Radford will be on the ones and twos.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Poison Arrows' SXSW debut to include The Queers

If you are making the trip to next month's SXSW in Austin, Tx., show The Poison Arrows some support by checking out this showcase. As most Atlanta folks know, The Queers put on a good live show. The Cute Lepers are also fantastic live. I'm not so sure about some of these other bands, but you will get at least three solid sets if you make it to this showcase.

Can Can set to play benefit show

Can Can just sent this announcement out via their mailing list:

Hey Everyone...

We will be playing this Tuesday (17th) at The Earl as a part of the John Henderson Memorial Fund.

John was the young man recently killed by a group of thugs at The Standard, the bar where our guitarist Mary works.

Please show your support. All proceeds from the show go to his family.

Line up is...

8:30 - 9:00 CAN CAN
9:20 - 9:55 No River City
10:00 - 10:25 Dave Daniels (side stage)
10:30 - 11:10 It's Elephant's
11:30 - 12:30 Wighat

Doors open at 8PM. WE ACTUALLY DO GO ON AT 8:30 SO SHOW UP IN TIME!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The songsmith's new songs capped off a night of free rock and roll

Derek Lyn Plastic played an album's worth of new songs Thursday, as a sparse Star Bar crowd heard the tunes soon to be known as Let's Play House.

The solid drumming and lyrical debauchery you have come to expect from DLP were present in new songs that were a mix of sped-up punk songs and guitar-driven, slightly slower-tempo songs.

Some of the new songs, like "Runaway Queer," were unveiled in November during DLP's Star Bar residency. Other selections from the 14-song set were unveiled Thursday.

Hopefully, the new tunes made an impact on the faithful few (and the BMI representative) who stuck around to hear DLP.

Beforehand, Matt Kurz One opened, and he once again amazed the crowd with his multi-instruments-at-the-same-time abilities. There was no "Purple Rain" cover this time, sadly, but Kurz had several people after his set wanting to tell him how impressed they were by his fearless attempts to play guitar, bass, drums and keyboards all by himself while cranking out some really good garage-inspired tunes.

Next was The F'n Heartbreaks, who basically are a girl group backed by familiar faces from Atlanta's garage scene (and a face from Courtesy Murder, or all bands) and a saxophone player. Their music was very upbeat and happy, and at times they sounded like a less corny Buster Poindexter. If they had a little more saxophone and a lot more harmonizing, they would sound outstanding. The crowd that arrived early was noticably thinner by the time DLP hit the stage, which made it seem like The F'n Heartbreaks drew a lot of new faces to the Star Bar.

Also on the bill were The Electric Cycles, another imaginative group featuring familiar faces from the local garage and surf rock scene. Since their first gig the day after Christmas, the band has become a tighter unit, and the organ parts have become seemingly more prominent in their songs. Another change is the addition of an electric sitar in one song, which adds a fun element to the music without making The Electric Cycles too cartoony.

Overall, it was a fun, and free, night at The Star Bar. Too bsd everyone did not stick around to hear Derek's proposed new album in its entirety.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The new face of AOR (adult-oriented rock)

Greg King's solo project, called "G.G. King" in double-homage to G.G. Allin and Dee Dee King, now has a Myspace, which features both songs from his upcoming Douchemaster Records 7". If you think solo Greg's output sounds like The Carbonas, you will not be the only one. And if you will look closely at the album cover, you will see that he technically got Clay involved in this project.

Coathangers, CCBB put on a good show at residency

The Coathangers busted out new tracks from their upcoming album, Scrambled, Wednesday at the second night of their Star Bar residency.

Songs fans have heard plenty of times, like "Shake, Shake" and "Wreckless Boy," were played along with new tunes like "Stop, Stomp, Stompin'" in a set that was more techically sound than last week and equally as fun.

Plush tits were part of their stage setup this time, strangely enough, but otherwise it was a typical Coathangers dance party.

Beforehand, Athens-based duo Cars Can Be Blue played their best set in a while, as they delighted the audience with the funniness of tunes like "Abortion" and "D in the P." The last song was "Eyeballs," and both Becky and Nate went the extra mile to "rock out" at the close of their set.

The third band on the bill was Sealions, a guitar-playing indie duo who are complemented by their trusty laptop. They likely were not everyone in the audience's cup of tea, but they had a table of friends there who seemed to thoroughly enjoy the set.

Next week, The Coathangers and Derek Lyn Plastic will perform at The Star Bar on the same bill. Unfortunately for them, The Poison Arrows, Customers and Predator will be close by playing 529.

Come hear The Cramps and a whole batch of new DLP tunes

Tonight's free Star Bar Freakout! show should be great, as Kevy Duty DJ's Cramps tribute will be followed by four live acts. Among the live acts will be Atlanta's Derek Lyn Plastic, who plans on playing in order every song from his fortcoming album, tentatively called Let's Play House.

Also on the bill are the girl-group inspired F'n Heart Breaks, garage-rock newcomers The Electric Cycles and Athens' one man virtuoso Matt Kurz One.

Brand new Coathangers track

The Coathangers, currently in the midst of a month-long Star Bar residency, had a new track called "Stop, Stomp, Stompin'" unleashed Wednesday into the blogosphere. The song is from their forthcoming album, Scrambled. Check out the blog later today for a review of The Coathangers' gig last night.

EDIT: I just read the link I posted, and it'd be insulting if it was not slightly comical that 1) girl bands are still all painted as being Bikini Kill 2.0 and 2) the girls in punk bands apparently are alcoholic hard-asses who do not like to talk to people. Those of us who know The Coathangers know they are nice people who are always genuinely pleased when someone like me praises their new material.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Coathangers, CCBB play tonight

Tonight, The Coathangers will share the Star Bar stage with Sealions and the always delightful Cars Can Be Blue. The show will only be $5, so come check out one of Atlanta's finest bands.

Monday, February 9, 2009

DMR hits another out-of-town homer with Buzzer

Artist: Buzzer
Title: Disco Kiddz
Label: Douchemaster Records
Release date: 2008
Vinyl color: White

San Francisco's Buzzer were one of the better out-of-town bands to have a single released by a local label in 2008 thanks to this three-song 7" released by Douchemaster Records.

The a-side, "Disco Kiddz," is a mix of various influences ranging from glam and powerpop to the Pere Ubus of the post-punk world. The vocals on this track are for some reason reminiscent of Le Peste's lone hit, "Better Off Dead." If all of those factors do not make for a mixed-enough bag, there's even a slightly pretentious prog-rock-esque guitar solo.

The b-side opens with "Cool Feeling," which is less eclectic than the a-side and has catchier pop lyrics. This tune, for better or worse, has more in common with The Cute Lepers than Pere Ubu.

The final track, "Heavy Weather," is another catchy powerpop tune with vocals that sound more like a 1950's rock-and-roll crooner than an American punk vocalist.

Brian and the guys at Douchemaster found some real winners outside of Atlanta last year, including The Perfect Fits, Wax Museums, and this wonderfully ecclectic trio.

Not even the police could dampen a Barberrie House show, and they tried more than once

Despite a pair of interruptions by the cops and some sub-par equipment, Saturday's Barberrie House show was another in a growing line of fun house shows.

The Carnivores, a group of garage-rock youngsters formerly known as Chain Stereo, opened, and their set was interrupted when the police decided that all show-goers needed to be parked on the same side of the road. Unfortunately, The Carnivores stopped before they could play their highly-touted Love cover.

Predator was up next in the coveted "we just ran out of free beer" spot on the bill, and they ripped through an uninterrupted set featuring familiar tunes like "Little Prince."

Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction were all there, and they battled technical issues on their way to a typical brief and fun set. "Coke Dick" sounded great, like it aways does in that house, and "$.49 Hot Dog Day" worked with the vocal mic down because the audience was able to sing along with Morgan.

Coffin Bound was as sound as always, considering they, too, faced techincal issues out of their control and an apparent fight outside brought the cops back to the Barberrie House. It was a shame their set got cut short, since it was Adam's birthday.

With the crowd thinned out and the faithful few in the house drunk, The new-look Mammals featuring Paul and Justin from the old lineup and Jack and Alex from The Barberries, still managed to knock out a full set.

Next month, The Stolen Minks from Halifax, Nova Scotia will be coming to The Barberrie House. If we all hit them up on Myspace and tell them they should play their cover of "Lost Cause," they might just do it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Coathangers are back and better than ever

The Coathangers began last Wednesday at the Star Bar a weekly residency for February with their first funn-filled show in nearly two months.

A crowd packed mostly with members of other Atlanta bands enjoyed The Coathangers, as the all-girl quartet mixed new tunes with familiar favorites while sounding very good for a band that has had scant chances to practice since their last show.

Highlights included performances of "Dreamboat," the b-side of the "Shake, Shake" single, and a mash up of "Nestle in My Boobies" and its less infectious twin, "Dancing With My Cutie."

The earlier songs sometimes shouty and often simplistic, but they are still upbeat dance-punk tunes. Newer songs show the band's growth as musicians and songwriters without diluting their infectious sense of fun.

Beforehand, two up-and-coming Atlanta bands, including the brand-new Customers, performed.

Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction opened, and they were down a member. Morgan, their singer, was a no-show, but that did not stop her bandmates from having a successful set.

Mark Naumann, Baby Dinos bassist and Die Slaughterhaus Records CEO, initially split vocal duties with Hayley, who normally plays guitar and provides backup screams.

After a few songs, drummer Jessica Juggz stepped from behind her kit and took over lead vocals while recruiting audience members to drum.

Juggz wrote songs like "King Khan is a Baby Dinosaur," so she nailed the lyrics. As a frontwoman in her own right with horror-rockers Mourdella, Juggz also showed no stage fright.

In lieu of Juggz, drummers like Stephanie Luke from The Coathangers and Mike Beavers from Beat Beat Beat sat behind the kit during the last few Baby Dinosaurs songs.

Up second were The Customers, a punk band featuring several familiar faces. Steven, the band's guitarist and frontman, is formerly of Beat Beat Beat. Brad Goocher drums and is best known for his stint with The Heart Attacks. Travis, the other guitarist, is the younger brother of Tuk from The Heart Attacks and Poison Arrows. Bassist Chris Van Etten is best known for his recent stint with The Carbonas.

The Customers were very good considering it was only their second show. Expect to hear more about this band, as they have already begun working on their first batch of recordings.

While the other bands made coming out on a cold Wednesday night worthwhile, The Coathangers were the undisputed show-stealers.

With their second album, Scramble, set for an April release by Seattle's Suicide Squeeze Records, The Coathangers may be poised for bigger things. Until then, Atlantans will be able to enjoy a string of Wednesday night shows at The Star Bar with opening acts like local songsmith Derek Lyn Plastic and the comedic duo known as Cars Can Be Blue.

Another one of those crazy Barberrie House shows

The Barberrie House is hosting yet another house show tomorrow night. This time, Atlanta's Predator (featuring Mike and Brannon from Beat Beat Beat) will play along with Barberrie House veterans Coffin Bound, Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction, and The Mammals. Come on out, and bring your own cheap beer.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Last night was a blast

Last night's show at The Star Bar was great, as seemingly everyone came out early and stuck around for all three bands. Expect a full review to run in next week's The West Georgian, because I think The Coathangers deserve all the press they can get.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You're going to miss tonight's show? You'd be better off dead.

Braving the cold will be worth it tonight, as The Coathangers will play their first live show in nearly two months at The Star Bar. Atlanta's favorite group of ladies are beginning a month-long Star Bar residency.

Tonight, in addition to getting to hear new Coathangers tunes and a few old favorites, for $5 admission you also get Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction in their first of two shows this week. With Vera Fang apparently calling it quits, you will not find two better, and more entertaining, female-fronted bands in town.

As if that's not enough, The Customers will play their second gig ever. The band consists of Stephen from Beat Beat Beat on guitar and vocals. Travis, Tuk's younger brother, shares guitar duties, and Brad from The Heart Attacks is on drums and Chris from The Carbonas plays bass.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The newspaper thing is off to a slow start

As I mentioned a few posts ago, my Die Slaughterhaus feature somehow got mislabeled in The West Georgian as a story strictly about The Black Lips. I'm not angry at the paper, and I plan on working with them all semester, but that'd be like if someone mislabeled the upcoming Wet Dreams 7" from Die Slaughterhaus as a Deerhunter record because of Bradford Cox's involvement in both bands.

The Spooks LP story that's running tomorrow is all jacked up, and I have to take full blame this time around. Mark and Adam's names got slightly jacked up by spellcheck without me noticing it, and the story, which I wrote two weeks ago, falsely claims that The Black Lips are currently touring India. Both are honest mistakes, but since I work for a professional newspaper I hope I am held to a high enough standard that honest mistakes will not slide.

This newspaper column can still be a great outlet for me and my musician pals if I actually fact-check before the stories go to press.

Next week's show review of The Coathangers, Customers, and Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction will break my string of shitty newspaper columns.

Spooks LP is more than just a seasonal novelty

Artist: The Spooks
Title: Death From Beyond The Grave
Label: Die Slaughterhaus
Release date: January 2009
Vinyl color: clear

The Spooks’ debut LP, Death From Beyond The Grave, was six years in the making, and it was worth the wait for fans of the band’s energetic live shows.

The band features members of The Black Lips and local musicians Mark Naumann and Adam Bruneau wearing simplistic Halloween costumes and playing music that falls somewhere in between electro-punk, horror-punk and movie soundtracks.

The a-side is the actual album itself, seven tracks which represent the band’s final attempt to knock out a full-length debut album.

The opener, “Ceremonial Death March,” plods along slowly, but picks up in time to segue into “Now I’m Gonna Steal Your Soul,” an electronically-fused tune that would not have sounded out of place in a 1980’s horror movie.

The faster, and stranger, “Cackle of The Dead” is followed by the catchy “California Boys,” which, minus the spooky keyboard part, would sound like The Black Lips’ take on mid-tempo powerpop.

Business picks up with “You Scared,” a sped-up punk tune that easily could have been paired with “California Boys” and promoted as yet another Die Slaughterhaus “Seasonal Seven-Inch.”

“Evil Dead” is easily the album’s strongest cut both musically and lyrically. “If it’s God you’re guided by, if it’s God that the light’s divided by,” probably does not hold any deep meaning, but it sounds awesome when it’s backed by The Spooks’ brand of eerie electro-punk.

“Koji Kondo” opens with a Transylvanian church organ and quickly develops into a chilling mid-tempo song. It’s like a lo-fi version of the sound The Damned tried to capture during their stint with MCA Records.

The album ends with “Now I’m a Spook.” This track is not quite as good as “Evil Dead,” but it is more likely to be stuck in your head by the second listen. Its catchiness is due to a infectious chorus that says, “I was once a cowboy who roamed the land. I was once an Indian in the desert sand... but now I’m a spook.”

Since the whole album fit on one side of vinyl, the band included demos and a live track on the b-side. This means that record collectors and Spooks fans will not have to wait until the 25th anniversary re-release to hear a shoddy demo of “California Boys.”

Other demos include “Ceremonial Death March/Now I’m Gonna Steal Your Soul,” “Cackle of The Dead” and a non-album track called “Mark of The Covenant.”

The b-side also includes a live cut of the band performing “Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachmann-Turner Overdrive. It is more like sloppy, drunken karaoke with friends on stage making guitar sounds vocally and butchering the lyrics than it is a genuine nod to staple of classic rock radio. Criticisms aside, The Spooks may have recorded the best “Takin’ Care of Business” cover since Kurtis Blow’s self-titled debut album way back in 1980.

Death From Beyond The Grave was fittingly planned as a Halloween release, but the LP did not hit the streets until earlier this month. Die Slaughterhaus Records, an Atlanta-based label ran by Naumann, released the LP and its 3-D cover. Naumann said the delay in recording and then releasing a Spooks LP was mainly due to his label’s budget constraints and The Black Lips’ hectic tour schedule. Currently, the band is out of the states because of an aborted mission in India.

Overall, this is a fun LP if you view it for what it is: a Black Lips side project. If you expect to hear something as fresh and crucial as Good Bad Not Evil when you drop down your turntable’s needle, you will be disappointed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Shows and new tracks from The Electric Cycles

This week should be a good one for shows. The Coathangers will begin a month-long Wednesday night residency this week along with Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction and newcomers The Customers (featuring members of The Heart Attacks, Beat Beat Beat, and The Carbonas). Other openers for the Coathangers during the residency will include Cars Can Be Blue and Derek Lyn Plastic.

The Barberrie House will hold one of its raucous shows Saturday as Coffin Bound, The Mammals, Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction, and Predator are all slated to play. These monthly shows get crazy, so get there early and bring your own beer.

The Electric Cycles, one of the bands to come from the ashes of The Barberries, posted three tracks today on their Myspace. They are good tracks, considering the band has only been together for a couple of months. They don't have many friends yet, so be their digital pal and check out the new tunes.