Reviews

Cardinal Fuzz

Angered Wrecks Bennies, Booze and R&R 1981 LP

At the turn of the 1980s, ANGERED WRECKS were Fredericton, New Brunswick’s coolest shitkickers. Way up north on the east coast of Canada, these four friends lived in a big old house and set up their gear in the main room for impromptu jam sessions. But these no-goodniks weren’t diddling around on some hippie drum circle nonsense, they were covering the new classics of punk rock and its immediate antecedents. Bennies, Booze and R&R 1981 possesses one-mic-hanging-from-the-ceiling fidelity, but these burnouts make it work in their favor. There’s a couple decent originals which lean towards NWOBHM and would sound right at home on one of those Jobcentre Rejects comps. Among the giants given the WRECKS treatment are songs by SUBHUMANS, DEAD BOYS, ALICE COOPER, MC5, BLACK SABBATH, DEAD KENNEDYS, DIODES, and multiple STOOGES cuts. It’s kind of like being at a bar rock gig, except that this bar is punk as hell and the drink specials include lines of speed.

Monoshock Runnin’ Ape-Like From the Backwards Superman: 1989-1995 2xLP

A reissue of a reissue, really: that ol’ SS Records singles/demos CD from a decade or so back gets a proper vinyl enshrining. No complaints, as this is some of my absolute favorite music from the era. Peripheral outsiders-among-outsiders, MONOSHOCK, along with compatriots like THREE STONED MEN and ICKY BOYFRIENDS, loitered SF’s early ’90s punk scene with their far-reaching, loud-ass psych-punk swirl. I mean, c’mon: they backed up VON LMO! What’s key to note here is that the same energy current and spirit heard in the locale’s finest punk/garage “Budget Rock” offerings are also central to MONOSHOCK’s sound—it’s instantly recognizable and forever endearing. Sonically, it’s all throbber/pumper rhythms, pure non-stop push and this jaw-dropper up-top guitar mindset that sprouts from Detroit but reaches for the spaceways. Real feeling, pure expression, no rules and lotsa fuckin’ power. Too many hits, too: “Hawkwind Show,” “Change That Riff,” the best RADIO BIRDMAN and MIRRORS covers ever, on and on across four sides. Kudos to Feeding Tube for re-releasing this mandatory odd/sods compendium for us to boil ’bout (again). Incurably loose and so fiercely punk. Highest recommendation!

The Mirrors The Lost 3rd Album LP

If you ask me, Greg Ashley is a goddamn genius. This motherfucker has written, engineered, played on, pissed on, passed out on, or thought about a theremin line for, well, name it—I’ll figure out how it connects to our boy Greg. Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-all, Ashley will make it better, one way or the other. Despite all this, his pre-GRIS GRIS group, the MIRRORS, still gets short shrift. Both of their early 2000s albums are classics, so you bet I was psyched to hear this lost puppy. And it doesn’t disappoint. While not quite scaling the heights as those millennium-era killers, The Lost 3rd Album is more than worth it for fans. Laying just slightly off the garage rock bombast of that earlier work, the nine cuts here are an obvious precedent for the GRIS GRIS and their seductive, hypnotic sway. Songs like “Patient Flowers Electric” and “Blush Sunshine” are the real Paisley Underground. But you’ve still got full-throated blare like “Gracie’s Pink Pussy Cat” and “Paranoia Blues,” so maybe rip some holes in your thrift store polyester. No one can channel the VELVETS, Roky, Townes VZ, and DREAM SYNDICATE like the Gash. This is dirty psychedelia for drugged-up romantic poets.