By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
So while it’s a groovy rut B&S find themselves caught in, it’s a well-furrowed one, too. Hey, why not use a hackneyed rock-crit trick! Let’s quote a new song of theirs about a love affair on the wane and suggest that B&S fans say, for now, “Don’t leave the light on baby/I’ll see you sometime maybe.” (Alec Hanley Bemis)
VARIOUS ARTISTS Be a Caveman: The Best of the Voxx Garage Revival (Bomp/Voxx)
Be A Caveman: The Best of
the Voxx Garage Revival:
Hey, kids, remember those fabulous ’80s? The Members Only jackets? The Rubik’s Cubes? The never-ending barrage of hits by Madonna, Journey and Phil Collins? Of course you do! But unless you happened to be living in L.A. at the time, or were otherwise plugged into the small nationwide network of garage obsessives, your memories of the ’80s garage-rock revival are probably pretty dim, if not totally nonexistent. Yet back when Huey Lewis was busy fending off numerous challenges to his position as King of the Dorks, a whole mess of messed-up kids willfully rejected the pink-and-turquoise trappings of the Leg-Warmer Decade in favor of Beatle boots, Prince Valiant haircuts and Chocolate Watch Band records.
At the center of this odd blip on the pop-culture radar screen was Voxx Records, the mutant brainchild of Bomp Records founder Greg Shaw. “The idea was to present young bands doing pure mid-’60s roots music: garage, psych, surf, beat, folk-rock, and various hybrids thereof,” Shaw explains in his liner notes to Be a Caveman, a 27-track monument to the whole snot-encrusted uprising. Voxx did just that, recording talented bands like DMZ, the Crawdaddys, the Tell-Tale Hearts and the Miracle Workers (all of whom are represented here) in glorious monophonic sound, and packaging them in period-appropriate artwork. Though some of these retro-rockers aimed no higher than the slavish imitation of their heroes, others managed to inject their own twisted visions and personalities into the mix. Indeed, the biggest surprise of Be a Caveman is that the tracks by Fuzztones, the Pandoras and the Chesterfield Kings — three of the revival’s most popular bands — sound flat and unimaginative, while lesser-knowns like the Wombats (“Bye Bye Baby”), the Laughing Soup Dish (“Teenage Lima Bean”) and the Eyes of Mind (“She Only Knows”) deliver some seriously inspired lunacy.
But even the weaker moments don’t sound too bad, especially when you match ’em up against Smash Mouth, the oaf-rockers who achieved massive commercial success in recent years by taking a watered-down approach to the same sort of organ-and-fuzz-guitar juju heard herein. Even if you don’t already own all the Nuggets and Pebbles comps that inspired this stuff, Be a Caveman should leave you with a fairly wicked contact high. (Dan Epstein)
BANGS Sweet Revenge(Kill Rock Stars)
With mall-trash chicks pouting all over the pages of Vogue and Jane, looks like culture’s pendulum has swung right on back to metal bands and white fringe. Why else would Olympia, Washington’s hipster elite put away their granny dresses to slip into leather britches? The arrival of Bangs’ Sweet Revenge suggests that indie pop of the Pacific Northwest is once again changing its hat. Just like the baton toss of that scene’s glum and noisy grunge to moody yet cuddly soloists like Elliott Smith and Mary Lou Lord, Sweet Revenge is an unexpectedly spunky and kinda carefree turn.
It’s true that Bangs labelmates Unwound and Bikini Kill have rocked in the past, but Sweet Revenge just happened to come along at the appropriate time. This year, you can make Bangs’ cover of Cheap Trick’s “Southern Girls” your summer anthem; you can also wear frosted-pink lipstick and a ponytail on the side of your head, and people probably won’t even point or stare. Could it be that this trio was holding back on its first album? Or just not getting enough exposure? Whatever the answer, with Sweet Revenge the band is exploring a wonderful new area: having fun. Sarah Utter’s Lita Ford solo on the title track is worthy of a flying V salute, as is her Tony Iommi–inspired hook on “Scorpi Oh.” Head-bopping drum-roll stop-and-start-again gems fill out the rest of the album, thanks to Kyle Ermatinger’s tight beats and Maggie Vail’s bouncy bass.
Sweet’s one ballad, “Undo Everything,” nutshells what Bangs could be and what they lack: Plain old lines like “The rain is coming down/We’ll never be the same” find themselves next to tricky wordisms like “I shed for you while you were here/unbreathe every breath you ever took before you left.” And some of their “oh-woahs” and “ay-yays” come close to ripping off that piercing vibrato of Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker (who stole hers from Belinda Carlisle). But Bangs’ feisty cuteness makes up for that. It was only a matter of time before good hard pop met soggy Washington state. (Wendy Gilmartin)
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