First of all, a few words about Berlin-based label Hound Gawd! Records, founded in 2013, which is fast earning a reputation for putting out some of the most exciting rock & roll releases of recent times. Whether they're unearthing new talent across the globe or digging up lost gems by beloved cult bands, Hound Gawd! has a gift for finding the gnarliest, nastiest, most raw and thrilling rock & roll music that you've never heard.
Moronic Pleasures from Virginia Beach's Candy Snatchers falls into that “lost gem” category. The title is somehow appropriate; these guys were semi-famous for taking nihilism to the extreme — cutting their faces to see how much they bleed and ending up in ER, those sort of goofy shenanigans. GG Allin without the poop (we think).
And then there's the fact that guitarist Matthew Odietus died in 2008 of an apparent overdose, 16 years after the band formed. Tragic yet inevitable, the band continues today with Johnny Yeagher on guitar alongside original members Larry May (vocals), Sergio Ponce (drums) and Doug “Goose” Duncan (bass, replacing Willy Johns).
But Moronic Pleasures was recorded back in the '90s with the original four, and it's an untamed, caustic, occasionally uncomfortable ride. No ballads, no moments of introspection, just 19 examples of just how fast and fabulous these guys could be. There's no point picking out specific songs —one bleeds into the other as the pace picks up. That's not to say the music is tuneless — rather, there are fabulous rockabilly moments on here, plus proto-punk, sleaze/trash rock
The band's influences are betrayed (as we needed them to be) by two amazing covers — obscure later-era Stooges song “Fresh Rag,” and “Such A Fool” by early Ohio punks the Rubber City Rebels. It all makes sense — like those bands, The Candy Snatchers were and are unpredictable and frankly furious. This is a timely reminder that they exist.