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December 3rd, 2011

10:54 am - Au Pairs – “You” /“Domestic Departure” “Kerb Crawler” (1979)
First, I have to say that this era of UK leftist, feminist post-punk is one of my all-time favorite punk sub-genres. Bands like Au Pairs, Gang of Four, Delta 5, etc. were involved in – or paid lip service to*-- the anti-Thatcher political movements of the day, at least in my view 8000 miles away in California. The music was more jagged, still treble-y like punk is supposed to be, but not as scared of the bass as most punk, before or since. The lyrics of the songs of this era were some of the most astute ever written for pop music, and many would still resonate today if they were set to an electronic beat and auto-tuned.**

This 7” is Au Pairs first release but I didn’t pick it up, or hear it until the mid-‘90s sometime. I won’t say it’s my favorite record of theirs, but I do love it. What it lacks in their later lyrical and musical development, it makes up for in shear enthusiasm.

Unlike their other records, the mix makes the lyrics harder to understand so I always listen to this record for the overall sound. That said, I never knew what “Kerb Crawler” meant until I went to England. I had always assumed it meant (ala Tragic Mulatto) a “creep in the streets” instead of a guy cruising around in his car trying to solicit sex from women. Oh English slang, you confuse us American punk wanna-bees. For years we though the Sex Pistols wanted us to get angry, not drunk, with the lyric “Get pissed… destroy!”

Here’s “You”. I love that so many youtube vids show the actual 7” sleeves!

Rating: I love it, but it was just a warm-up for the great records that were to come.

*which, really is all you can expect in a pop band. Thank you Miley Cyrus.
**I like electronic beats and a lot of auto-tune so don't read that as snarky.
Current Music: Miley Cyrus -- "Liberty Walk"

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November 28th, 2011

07:03 pm - The Daily Schnitzel
I love this shot. It helps that we had just vacuumed the hall and stairs. He's so thoughtful

Pensive Schnitzel

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November 10th, 2011

08:16 am - Los Crudos/Huasipungo “Nunca Nada Cambia…a Menos que lo Hagamos Cambiar” (1993)
This is a Spanish language political hardcore split, Los Crudos from Chicago and Huasipungo from NYC. I hadn’t listened to this in years but I remember this being pretty amazing when it came out. Listening to it for the first time in a decade, I can say that the Los Crudos side is awesome, Martin at his hardcore screaming best. There’s always one side of a split that you gravitate to –even if it’s purely subjective (for me: Blatz over Filth, Code of Honor over Sick Pleasure, Dicks over Big Boys etc.)– and the Crudos side is the one I always played first. And yes, I’ll sing along phonetically.

I herniated a disc in my neck and missed the Los Crudos show at Epicenter that I was supposed to help put on. It was a show for our anniversary week and – I heard – one of the most amazing shows I ever missed. That and the Minutemen/Husker Du/Meat Puppets show that I missed due to emergency wisdom tooth surgery are two of my biggest punk show regrets. I’ve seen martin in other bands, but this – by all accounts – was something special.

And the record was something special too. Much like riot grrrl and queer punk, Latino punk in the early-mid ‘90s de-centered the white male hetero hardcore world. * To me, that was exciting. To others, less so. MRR often had scene reports from Spanish-speaking countries to be sure – and L.A. had the Suicidals – but Latino punks in big urban areas singing Spanish-language punk ostensibly to a Spanish-speaking audience: this was new.
Records like this and Latino punk shows also underlined how relatively privileged the punk scene in the mid-‘90s could be. Immigrant (or children of immigrant) punks who may or may not be legally in the country, have different and more pressing issues than the average backpack-wearing scenester of the time. Could the two scenes exist as one? One Epicenter Collective member asked if it was ok to print out fliers for that Los Crudos gig in Spanish and distribute them in non-English-speaking punk areas of the Mission. People were super enthusiastic, but it underlined the distance –even though he was a collective member putting on the show, he didn’t feel comfortable enough to do that without seeking the permission of the whole group.

Either way, if one listened to this brand of HC at that time, there is no denying that Crudos was among the best band of the time

Huasipungo is pretty good too, don’t get me wrong. Though when I read the lyrics for my favorite song “Tacones Altos”I was disappointed to see that it was one of those criticizing women for wearing makeup/certain clothes etc. that just never works when a man sings it. I actually don’t know much about Huasipungo, never saw them back in the day or anything. I see that they actually still have a website and keep it updated.

Rating: Important record that I pretty much never listen to.

* and there is overlap among all three of these genres, of course.
Current Music: Army of Lovers - "Les Greatest Hits"

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October 31st, 2011

09:13 am - Nazareth “Hair of the Dog”/ “Holiday”
One x-mas, soon after high school, a friend was trying to figure out what to bring to a party as presents for everyone. This was our punk rock/metal crowd. Contrary to our genre, we had a holiday part every year that included someone in a santa costume, gifts, eggnog, and loud music (mostly X, Mojo Nixon, and Johnny Cash, if memory serves).

These weren’t expensive presents, mind you. One year a certain member of our group got about 10 frames for a dollar at the thrift store and cut out pictures from album liner notes and framed them (I got a nice pic from Kiss “It’s Alive II”) The next year he outdid himself when he managed to find about 15 copies of this single and give one out to everyone.

We listened to it a lot that night, but I’m not sure I’ve pulled it out in the last couple of decades.

“Hair of the Dog” is as much of a classic as Scottish metal can be. Tough guy rock that doesn’t sound tough at all 35 years later. It’s the kind of thing that makes you feel like a teen-age badass when you sing along, even if you are singing along ironically and not a bad-ass at all.* “Now you're messing with a son of a bitch” indeed.

One of the things about punk rock that made me fall in love was that the lyrics tended to make real life sense. Whether I was actually going to “sniff some glue” or “lynch the landlord” those things were more accessible in one’s daily travels than the lyrics for “Holiday”, the b-side of this record.

Not to be confused with the Sex Pistols song with holiday in the title – the most prescient critique of capitalism and imperialism ever sneered in the history of punk – (“Cheap holiday in other people’s misery… I don’t want a holiday in the sun, I wanna go to the new Belsen”) “Holiday” by Nazareth has more of a written-in-the-back-of-a-tour-bus-because-that’s-what-rock-stars-are-supposed-to-do feel about it.

”Mama, mama, please no more jaguars
I don't want to be a pop star
Mama, mama, please no more deckhands
I don't wanna be a sailor man
Mama, mama, please no more facelifts
I just don't know which one you is
Mama, mama, please no more husbands
I don't know who my daddy is.”

Rating: One person’s classic is another’s 5 minutes of catchy irony

*it should be noted that some of my friends were bad-asses. You know, just for the record

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October 24th, 2011

09:30 am - Tragic Mulatto ”The Suspect”/”No Juice” (1983)
Ok, I love this band. I actually think they may be San Francisco’s most underrated band from this era. That said, this isn’t my favorite record of theirs. They hadn’t really fully gotten their sound together yet in this first 7”.

“The Suspect” is a litany of excuses, one after another until the singer finally can’t take it and yells, “I’m telling you it isn’t my fault”. It has an amusing line or two – the singer had to watch his little brother because he, “you know, didn’t want him turning into a little creep on the street” – but it sounds like a less funny version of The Inflatable Boy Clams great song “I’m Sorry” which was released in SF two years earlier.

“No Juice” is a better, more original song, heavier on their saxophone accents and with too many lyrics crammed into frustrated stanzas. Again, frustration builds until a whole chorus chants “I don’t, I don’t like, I don’t like your little club!” At least that’s what I think they are saying. Internet paranoia led me to try to confirm and I couldn’t. An argument could be made that he doesn’t like “You, little bug!” or even “Your little pug.”

Their full length (well, it’s a 12” but if I remember, it only lasts about 20-25 minutes) “Judo for the Blind” released the next year is a classic which would remind any San Franciscan of condemmed beer vats, cheap rent, and the 1984 Democratic Convention. This 7” only hints at the greatness to come.

Rating: I still love it, but would have a hard time explaining why to others.
Current Music: Thelonius Monk

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October 20th, 2011

05:55 am - The Daily Schnitzel
Windy Day Schnitzel!
windy schnitzel

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October 10th, 2011

06:32 pm - The Daily Schnitzel
Schnitzel in Fall
Schnitzel in Fall

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October 6th, 2011

06:11 am - Avengers “Teenage Rebel”/”Friends” (1978/1995)
This is from some small Swedish label called “Really fast Records” and I remember that even though I had been a big Avengers fan I had never heard these songs before I bought this 7”. Amusingly, I was looking this up on the internet to see if this was actually a legit release and Penelope Houston, the singer, admitted that she couldn’t remember writing or singing the b-side so I didn’t feel too bad.

I as too young to have seen the Avengers in their first go-round, but I did catch on of their first mid-90s reunion shows. I will defend a lot of their songs – and the “American in Me” 12” is a great record – but I can see why this 7” hadn’t surfaced until almost two decades later. At that reunion show I was thinking how awesome it would have been if they had just changed the lyrics slightly to “I was a Teenage Rebel”. Because, I’m sorry, once you hit 21* it’s a little sad to be singing songs as a teen-ager. I’d include other bands in this too (“Bored Teenagers” by the Adverts, “Teenage Underground” by the Red Rockers etc.).

Here are some of the lyrics:
“Cause I'm a rebel
rebel, rebel, rebel, rebel, rebel, rebel,
rebel, rebel, rebel, rebel, rebel, rebel,
a teenage rebel “

Music by the Avengers but this is someone’s art school video project so no one in the vid is connected to the band

No shame in singing that as a teenager. Hell, it’s a fun teenage rebellion and if I was still trapped at my parents’ house I would totally be singing along right now. But, as an adult…

“Friends” sounds like pretty good mid-tempo Avengers but I swear I listened to this about five times in a row and have nothing intelligent to say about it. Sorry.

Rating: Great for when you are alone in the house and want to pretend that you are 15

Bonus: this is a band called “Strike” doing a totally different song called “Teenage Rebel” which is much more fun that the versions of the Avengers song I managed to find on youtube.

*I’ll allow that year 20 because you can’t legally drink.

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October 5th, 2011

06:13 am - The Daily Schnitzel
We tried to find the same tree. Unfortunately, I didn’t study the pose well enough.

Schnitzel, me, and a redwood tree 2011

Schnitzel, me, and a redwood tree 2010

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October 4th, 2011

08:26 am - Vacation Food
I think that the vacation food alone deserves its own post

Early Girl dry-farmed tomatoes. Stagey said they are the best she’s had since West Texas
Tomato time

A Belgian-style farmhouse ale from Vermont that was pure awesome, especially when drunk in a hot tub

What’s not to love about potatoes or broccoli?

Super expensive steaks in mustard marinade:

Texan cooking steak, as those people are wont to do


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