Record guide
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AFTER THE FIRE

Eighties pop band that had a major hit with a cover of FALCO'S catchy "Der Kommissar."

ALEXANDER, WILLIE AND THE BOOM BOOM BAND

I haven't heard a lot from Willie Alexander's long discography, but I've liked all that I have heard. His 1975 debut (re-issued in 1978) is a particularly cool instance of rock 'n' roll traditionalism, spiced with pre-punk glam and heavy metal.

ALICE BAG BAND

Off-kilter new wave/punk band featured in the documentary, THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION.

APHRODITE'S CHILD

Greek prog band (late-sixties) in the mold of England's NICE, only with more pop hooks and without Keith Emerson's annoying ass. First band for Vangelis (CHARIOTS OF FIRE.) The band's big hit album, 666, is a wild ride.

ATOMIC ROOSTER

Hammond Organ-driven heavy metal trio of the early seventies. Rooster was in the same school of organ heavy as Deep Purple, but was more prone to spagetti western bombast. Evolved from Arthur Brown's band, the Crazy World.

AVENGERS

California punk band of lasting influence, especially on the West Coast. Singer Penelope Houston was a distinctive voice of the day, and it's a sad commentary on the poor distribution of early American punk records that the Avengers were not a bigger deal nationally.

AXE

Traditionally, musicians have called their instruments "axes." This is certainly a reflection of the workman-like attitude many professional musicians have always had regarding their art - i.e. "this is my axe, the tool with which I make my living."

CANTRELL, LAURA

WMFU disc jockey and alt. country recording artist. Cantrell records solid, if not breathtaking, material and devotees of the genre should take notice.



CORPSEGRINDERS

Mediocre punk rock band founded by ex-New York Doll Rick Rivets. There are a couple winners in there, but the overall discography is pretty square.

CRUCIF*CKS

Wisconson hardcore of the 1980's. released the problematic WISCONSON LP in 1987. I call the album problematic because, while the band is excellent, singer Doc Corbin Dart is so tuneless, loud and awful that the album is practically unlistenable.

DELPY, JULIE

French actress known in America for her roles in such films as "Killing Zoe," and "Before Sunrise." Launched a singing career in 2003, with the release of her eponymous LP. Delpy is also in some stupid Bush video, and is the subject of the song, "Julie Delpy," by indie rock group Stars of the Lid.

DOMINO, FATS

A jazz musician who recorded a lot more than just rock and roll during his long and varied career, Fats Domino was a powerful, distinctive singer who lent his heavy hands to the massive, rolling piano style that would typify the rock and roll sound of the fifties. It is hardly hyperbole to say that Domino could make a corpse dance. His recordings were so definitive, even at the time, that they ruined the piano as a lead instrument for, pretty much, everybody but Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. Be on the lookout for FATS DOMINO SWINGS (Imperial 195?.)

FUGAZI

Ian Mackaye's first big deal band after Minor Threat. Fugazi mines a singular territory somewhere between noisy post punk and atmospheric dub reggae. Their reputation is based primarily on their early recordings for Dischord Records: FUGAZI, MARGIN WALKER, REPEATER and STEADY DIET OF NOTHING. All of these records were released between 1989 and 1991, but the band has released several albums since those days, all of which have enough quality moments to warrant attention.

HAWKWIND

Premier British psychedelic freak-out band of the 1970's. Much maligned by later generations for their propensity for science fiction hokum, Hawkwind were an awesome band, who kept the tired old psychedelic jam session raw, noisy and challenging, while paving the way for punk rock (Johnny Rotten and the Buzzcocks were fans.) The early-seventies line-up, featuring Lemmy Kilminster on bass, was the heaviest and most far-reaching, with the excellent HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN GRILL album a standout.

HORTON, JOHNNY

Country legend and occult kook best remembered for his 1959 hit, "The Battle of New Orleans." Horton was known to the pop audience for his historical story songs, but also recorded a wealth of rowdy honky tonk numbers and even some blistering rock 'n' roll, such as the super raw trucker classic, "I'm Comin' Home." A drunken trucker caused Horton's death on a narrow Texas bridge in 1960, a scant five years after he entered the national charts with "Honky Tonk Man."

MISUNDERSTOOD

The only psychedelic band of the late 60's to feature the pedal steel guitar, California's The Misunderstood recorded three totally original psyche-pop singles in England in 1966, a year or so before bad management and the Vietnam War destroyed the band. BEFORE THE DREAM FADED (Cherry Red, 1982) compiles all the essentials. GOLDEN GLASS (Get Back 200?) features tough blue-eyed soul and heavy rock from the group's later period.

MOBY GRAPE

Classic 60's pop band who were unjustly dismissed by the hipsters of their day when Columbia's high powered marketing of the group raised suspicians of pseudo-hippie cash-in. Their first album, MOBY GRAPE, is essential.

MOTORHEAD

An essential link between British punk rock and heavy metal, Motorhead's classic line-up (Hawkwind bassist Lemmy Kilminster, ex- Curtis Knight guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clark and drummer Philthy Animal Taylor) were among the first bands to apply punk ferocity to old-style, R&B-based rock and roll. Early albums, such as MOTORHEAD (1977,) OVERKILL (1979) and IRON FIST (1982) were as raw and uncompromising as anything released by the punks of the day, but contained enough elements of older British guitar rock and heavy riffing to make punk rock's disdain of older forms seem dogmatic and stupid. Motorhead would set the stage for a generation of later bands, such as Iron Maiden, Diamondhead and Venom, who would apply the speed and energy of the new wave to old school heavy metal , and eventually influence American thrash metal and grunge.

PAGANS

Cleveland punk rock band formed in 1977. Some people I respect worship this band, with their 1983 PAGANS (AKA THE PINK ALBUM) cited by many as an all-time punk rock classic. S'alright.

SCHIFRIN, LALO
SCREAMERS

Keyboard and guitar driven California punk band during the 1970's. The Screamers are remembered as a fine band who refused several small label recording contracts, holding out instead for a major label deal that never came. The group left no recordings, outside of a performance video taped at Target Video.

SEYMOUR, PHIL

Former DWIGHT TWILLEY associate who enjoyed one hit, the fey but awesome "Precious to Me," in 1981.

SOFT CELL

British new-wave duo that enjoyed great commercial success applying SUICIDE'S keyboards/vocals formula to radio-friendly pop. Best remembered for their lukewarm cover of GLORIA JONES' mighty soul hit, "Tainted Love."

WRAY, LINK

With instrumentals like "Rumble," and "Jack the Ripper," Link Wray took Duane Eddy's down-tuned guitar twang into some pretty scary territory during the late-fifties to mid-sixties. Ramming knitting needles through his amplifier cones to distort the sound, Wray was perhaps the first to wrestle with intentional feedback on record and to explore the moody atmospherics and droning riffs that would later find voice in heavy metal.