By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
B-Movie Rats After years of incendiary, skull-crushing live shows, the B-Movie Rats celebrated the new millennium by unleashing their first full-length CD on an undeserving world. Rock and Roll Revolution is a mean and sweaty swagger through that certain circle of hell where Stiv Bators and Bon Scott host a nightly jam session. In other words, a thoroughly kick-ass record with little regard for the petty distinctions between punk, rock and balls-out boogie.
The Excessories Pure Pop for Punk People is the name of the new CD by the Excessories, and it’s hard to think of a more appropriate description. Rhythm guitarist Melanie Coffee delivers songs like “I Wanna Call In Sick Today” and “S-U-M-M-E-R” with equal measures of sass and wistfulness, while lead guitarist Rich Coffee, drummer Roy J. Morgan and new bassist Dino Everett back her up with considerable oomph. Fun in the sun never sounded so loud and unruly!
Backbiter Winner of the 1999 L.A. Weekly Music Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Band, Backbiter have often left their fans wondering a) How do three guys make such a gigantic sound? and b) When is their next record coming out? A split CD with Swedish rockers Elope finally surfaced this spring on Man’s Ruin, revealing that guitarist Jonathan Hall, bassist Heath Seifert and drummer Bob Lee still have their Who-meets- Mountain-at-CBGB chops together. And yes, a full-length CD is rumored to be nigh.
The Invisible Men Once L.A.’s finest surf/garage/trash combo, the Bomboras are sadly no longer with us, but at least their demise has allowed drummer Dave Klein and bassist Shane van Dyke to turn their full attention to longtime side project the Invisible Men. No longer hiding behind bandages and tasteless one-liners, the Men show their true colors (not to mention their mugs) on Come Get Some!, a full-length serving of fuzz that’ll singe your eardrums as it rocks your world.
Fireball Ministry Led by transplanted Ohioans Emily J. Burton and the Rev. James A. Rota II, Fireball Ministry plays old-school stoner rock with a decidedly Midwestern flavor: raw, deliberate and completely devoid of pretense. On the quartet’s new FMEP CD, three inspirational originals hold their own among killer covers of songs by Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Blue Cheer and the Misfits. Can I get a witness?
The Tyde A confirmed Britney Spears fan, Tyde leader Darren Rademaker loves pop music of all stripes and flavors, but his own band (which features several members of the Beachwood Sparks) definitely hail from the more classic end of the pop spectrum. On some tracks, their new Once CD sounds like Dylan & The Band playing Spiritualized songs; on others, they sound like California dreamers creating the perfect soundtrack for a sun-drenched ride from the mountains to the sea.
The Warlocks Yep, the name has already been used, most notably by the pre-fame lineups of the Velvet Underground and the Grateful Dead. Led by former Magic Pacer front man Bobby Hecksher, the latest bearers of the Warlocks moniker draw on the magic of the aforementioned psychedelic godfathers, crossing the sardonic melodiousness of the Velvets with the adventurous spirit of the early Dead. Though excellent, their recent eponymous CD only hints at what these weirdoes can do with four guitars and a homemade light show.
Jigsaw Seen Well known to longtime readers of psych-oriented zines like Ptolemaic Terra-scope and Bucketful of Brains, L.A.’s Jigsaw Seen is now enjoying a more elevated profile, thanks to a Best Design Grammy nomination for last year’s Zenith CD. But while the disc’s packaging is cool, the music is the real deal, and comes highly recommended to anyone who digs the Bee Gees, early Bowie or the darker recesses of late-’60s British psychedelia.
Mother Superior L.A.’s hardest-working power trio, Mother Superior simply live to rock. Over the past six years, Jim Wilson, Marcus Blake and Jason Mackenroth have released a steady deluge of records, all of which continue to do the band’s “heavy soul” ideology proud. Further toughened by a year of touring the world as three-quarters of the Rollins Band, Mother Superior will still be kicking out the jams long after most of their contemporaries have withered and died.
The Newlydeads Glam and goth are cut from the same over-the-top, androgynous fabric, so it’s no surprise that the leader of one of L.A.’s most popular ’80s hair bands is draping himself in something a bit darker and more sinister these days. Two years after local chick-charmers Faster Pussycat broke up, front man Taime Downe formed the Newlydeads, a techno-trash, rhythm-’n’-riff-packed ride through rock & roll purgatory. Inspired by his post-Pussycat experiences in Chicago with industrial beasts Pigface, Downe became a computer junkie, conjuring up eerie loops and melodies in the studio for two years before the band actually started to play live around ’97. Even now, they still don’t play out that much (you can catch ’em every few months or so at Downe’s rollicking Wednesday-night happening Pretty Ugly at the Dragonfly), but when they do it’s always an eve of gloomy excess. The Newlydeads may look and sound like a cross between Ministry and Zodiac Mindwarp, but they aren’t as eccentric lyrically, and they’re not trying to be. “I write about people and sex, and people having sex, and people trying to get sex,” Downe said recently. Still, their Cleopatra debut, Dead End, is filled with imagery that’s more atmospheric than the odes to bathroom walls and cathouses he sang about with Faster Pussycat — who’re currently on a reunion tour. F.P.’s latest incarnation is actually possessed by the Newlydeads — their new remix release, Between the Valley of Ultra Pussy (Cleopatra), gives those old tunes a fierce electro injection, and since the touring group includes members of both bands, Downe’s given them another, unofficial name: Dead Pussy. (Lina Lecaro)