By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Hey! Look what we went and did! We actually put the bong down long enough to pick through our enormous, bulging music stash and compile a CD of some of OC's best unsigned and indie bands, plus a few from Long Beach, which we long ago adopted.
Want a copy? Of course you do! So, rather than sell these out of the trunk of our car for 50 bucks apiece, we decided to be nice and give them away-that means they're free! Go get a copy of the OC Weekly, flip to page 28, clip out the coupon, take it to one of the fine retail establishments listed there, and you've got yourselves 66 minutes of some of the sweetest love-makin' moozik ever slapped together-21 of the HOTTEST HITS of the '90s, by the ORIGINAL ARTISTS, many of which have NEVER BEEN RELEASED, all in CRYSTAL-CLEAR DIGITAL SOUND! And if you order within the NEXT 30 MINUTES, we'll throw in this jar of PALM-HAIR-REMOVAL CREAM for NO EXTRA CHARGE!!!
But really, why shell out perfectly good money for warmed-over swill like that U2 greatest-hits rip-off disc-most of the songs you probably already have anyway-when there are 21 sickly, malnourished local bands on our free, FREE CD (have we mentioned that it's free?) who cry out desperately for your love and affection? Uh-oh . . . make that 19 bands. Two have already broken up! See what happens when you don't act fast enough?
Just so you know what you're getting (for free, by the way), we offer a track-by-track breakdown of Localer Than Ever!, with our superspecial Lyric-Quote-O-Ramas (LQOR) popping up every now and then:
TRACK 1-Tub, "Coaster"
Sweet, singing feedback sounds slink their way toward an orgy, where they shoot their wad of savage guitar terror! Jeez-we oughta write movie-ad copy with sentences like that! Anyway, Tub just might be our favorite band, a pretty scary thing to admit since we've only heard about six of their tunes, including the five on their stupendous White Over Purple EP (dig up a copy; thank us later), which made us instant converts to their Replacements-like riffing. But they're great, and happily, they were nice enough to loan us this preview cut from their Coffee Tea Soda Pop Pee full-length album, which is now scheduled for a January release. LQOR: "I've been jaded/I'm overrated/I know she thinks I'm a dick."
Contact: (323) 957-2000.
TRACK 2-Mention, "Reveal"
A Long Beach band, but we still let them on here. And Mention deserve to be, seeing as they play a wicked mix of soul and pop, along with groovy, Dead-like jams that somehow don't reek of patchouli oil. "Reveal," a track from their cheapo-but-superb Mambo Sessions CD, is a prime example: it pops, cracks and zings, and it makes our nipples perky. LQOR: "Then after 8/I pin you down/I watched your head/Spin round and round."
Contact: (800) 903-9566.
TRACK 3-Big Saver, "Welcome Back to TV"
We're 99.9 percent sure this is about Shelley Long, with its references to an unnamed actress who was "igniting NBC every Thursday night," got a swelled head, decided she wanted to be a movie star, bombed pathetically, and went crawling back to the tube life. Our second guess would have been David Caruso, but we think our first stab is pretty accurate. Regardless, we thoroughly enjoyed this poppy South County band's slam against somebody because we hate celebrity culture with a deeply ingrained passion. By the way, they're desperately searching for a drummer. LQOR: "So you walked into those studios like you were on a mission/But the critics said you weren't exactly nuclear fission."
Contact: (714) 744-3275.
TRACK 4-Peace Corp., "Mosh Pit"
One of many pristine tunes from Peace Corp.'s self-titled CD that came out in September, "Mosh Pit" is a welcome, snotty editorial comment built around a midlife-crisis sufferer who walks into a bar where a punk band's playing. He, of course, gets stomped on by a bunch of inbred youths who think they invented slamming last week. For more on Peace Corp., click over to the "Pissed Corp."story.
Contact: (949) 548-9887.
TRACK 5-Smear, "You Could Be a Star"
Straight from the streets of Brea-where we used to work way back when, and where cultural enlightenment only happened when the local video store changed their policy to allow customers to rent up to eight porno tapes instead of four-Smear are a bunch of horny goofballs who write songs about their genitalia, urine drinking, shit eating, bondage, dominance, spanking and pedophilia: your typical Celine Dion-type stuff. "You Could Be a Star," a sweet reminiscence about growing up in the '70s, is one of their most toned-down tunes, though, to the point where it even sounds like a friendly, Top 40 hit, even with lines like "I go and run around/ With my pecker out/And everyone's just standing there amazed." Yeah, they wish.
Contact: (714) 804-5603.
TRACK 6-Overbored, "I Got a Honda"
Spastic singer Mike Merickel's nasal whine is a dead-ringer for Jello Biafra's, which might be why we appreciated this track from their well-done All for Effect CD so much when it arrived with our mail a year or so ago. Depending on your POV, "I Got a Honda" (next line: "And I think it's a Ferrari") is either about people who think green hair and pierced tits are an expression of individuality these days when all they're doing is just copying everybody else or about Rodney King. You figure it out. This is the point where our disc gets closest to straight-ahead punk terrain-for those who need to know such nonsense.
Contact: (714) 960-0463.
TRACK 7-The Neil Armstrong Band, "Invisible Man"
Okay, maybe we slopped on the hype a bit too much when we called the wonderful Neil Armstrong Band "jaw-dropping" on the CD insert. We don't think any band is really worthy of that pronouncement, and if we've used the term before in describing anyone, we were probably just too lazy to think of anything else. Don't get us wrong, though-we love the Neil Armstrong Band, whose calming, atmospheric, electric moods remind us of a cross between Wilco and Crazy Horse, fronted by singer Matt May's winsome, Daniel Johnston-flavored voice, which, when run over by the magical beauty of his Fender Telecaster, is a sound to behold. We love them, they gave us a brand-new song, and they have a cute phone number.
Contact: (714) 558-SHAG (7424).
TRACK 8-00 Soul, "Tabu"
When completely useless marketing schemes like Prodigy are what's passing for dance music these days, you know the fine art of bootie bumping is in sad shape. Thank Allah, then, for Long Beach's 00 Soul, who infuse their urban rhythms with old-school funk, using such honest-to-God real instruments as organs, drums and horns that seem to have arrived straight from an old James Brown session. Keyboard genius R. Scott is a certified groove master who has his hands in a vat of such equally funky side projects as Redd Foxx BBQ and West Coast Harem and even has roots in '80s alterna-band National Peoples Gang. But to truly appreciate Double-O, you need to see them live, especially at their ridiculously sweaty shows at the Foothill the first Saturday of every month. "Tabu," yet another new song donated to us-do we rate or what?-comes from their just-out new CD that's loaded down with mounds of other freaky grooves, too-plug, plug! LQOR: "We're hippies!/Why should we be like the other straight people?!" (Okay, it's a sample.)
Contact: (888) 556-9347
TRACKS 9 & 10-Moe's Art, "Kirby Lane" & Room to Roam, "Fall Again"
In 1994, a collective of Fullerton artists called Homespun put out a compilation CD with music, spoken-word stuff and assorted noodlings. It was pretty eclectic (in other words, some of it wasn't very good), but it served its purpose in getting the word out that there was indeed culture and creativity going on in OC north of the 91 freeway, something people needed to know back in the dark ages (in more other words, before OC Weekly was born). We did our part to publicize the Homespun disc by writing a full-page article about it for The Orange County Register's Show section, which nobody read-because it was in the Register. There was some great music on the comp, though, and we've resurrected two of the best tracks here, songs that deserve to be heard again: Moe's Art's rollicking "Kirby Lane," which is about a great Austin, Texas, café that's famous for its gingerbread pancakes (turns out, though, that the joint is actually spelled K-E-R-B-E-Y, which we discovered a couple of years ago when we were in Austin trying to find the damn place), and Room to Roam's "Fall Again," which is probably their most popular tune and would show up a year later in a different version on their superfine Oblivious CD. But this first take is the one we fell for, with its shimmering guitars and nifty drum breaks that made it a perfect cruising-around song. Both bands shoulda been huge, a slice of what was going on in Fullerton, circa 1994. Unfortunately, time hasn't been good to either band-they've both since broken up.
The whereabouts of Moe's Art members are unknown. But Room to Roam's Pat Gallagher is working on putting together a new band; you can buzz him at (714) 255-1684.
TRACK 11-The Pharmaceutical Bandits, "Teen Idol"
Well, we felt we had to put some ska on here. Wait, don't turn that page! Come back! Even ska-haters should love the Rx Bandits, or at the very least, "Teen Idol," even though it's a nasty-ass little rant about somebody's sleeping-around girlfriend. Lord knows there's a ton of crappy ska out there, but the Bandits just seem to be flat-out better musicians than all of the others. They punk their songs up when apropos (while showing enough restraint to not go overboard), they put on really sticky live shows, and they thanked us on their Those Damn Bandits CD, so of course we like them.
Contact: (562) 493-1746.
TRACK 12-The Irish Brothers, "Blue '55 Chevrolet"
Don't read too deeply into their name; this isn't any of that lame Riverdance Muzak. Irish is the real-life last name of real-life brothers Keith and Karl, who used to play under the name Orange Cicadae. We're awfully glad they changed it because their old name was too damn hard to pronounce. We've always thought that "Blue '55 Chevrolet" rose above any name hassles, with its glorious, echoing guitar ring, which gives it a sweetly innocent tinge. It doesn't hurt that singer Keith sounds a helluva lot like Los Lobos' David Hidalgo, either.
Contact: (714) 771-0498.
TRACK 13-Chlorine, "B.R.N."
No, the initials do not translate to "Bisexual Republican Nuns"-get the CD and decipher it yourself. What's more interesting is their squashing together of-at least on this song-punky metal (or metaly punk?) with reggae, and if you're really stoned, you might even be able to pick out parts of the Grateful Dead's "Terrapin Station." Y'know, we've been told on occasion that we have B.R.N. ourselves. LQOR: "My job's so, so hard/Now I'm on the beach with beer/And my boss isn't here/So I don't care."
Contact: (714) 374-4071.
TRACK 14-The Torquays, "Twitchin'"
Because this is OC, we felt like putting some surf music on here. This monster rips and makes us wanna go snap our necks while trying to conquer the Wedge. LQOR: "Na-na na-na-na-na nah/Na-na na-na-na-na nah."
Contact: (714) 538-0272.
TRACK 15-Dan Lo-Fi Champion, "Chill"
Dan is the only solo guy on this band-heavy CD. He's also got the most, um . . . earthy recording-hey, that tape hiss adds ambiance, okay?-done up intimately on a spare acoustic in various bedrooms and bathrooms. Seems like he was born to busk on a sidewalk somewhere, and if we spotted him, we'd give him all our money. "Chill," as we wrote more than a year ago, has this lonesome, innocent sigh to it, the kind you want to last forever, like a good Jonathan Richman ballad.
Contact: (714) 664-6599.
TRACK 16-The Fireants, "12 Years"
Lead Fireants belter Skie Bender likely isn't as pissed off as she seems, but she could still probably kick the asses of everyone on the Lilith Fair tour-and probably the roadies, too. She's nicely adept at cranking out muscular, nonconformist songs about not looking in the past and not surrendering to male oppression, which we're very down with. Their music's cool, too, real paranoia-inducing, creepy-crawly stuff that made us feel like we were being watched. LQOR: "Your fetish is the FBI/Surveillance cameras in your eyes/I catch you dusting fingerprints/Can't you see I'm dropping hints."
Contact: (714) 848-5355.
TRACK 17-The Killingtons, "Hand"
We liked the Killingtons from the moment we caught them at the Tiki Bar nearly a year ago, so much so that we renounced our decision to return to our lucrative burger-flipping career. Then we heard some people calling them an emo band, and we wondered just what the hell was up with that. Sorry, but the Killingtons are just a great rock band, and slapping some fool label on them is silly. All venting aside, we seriously have yet to come across anyone who doesn't lust after them, and we've made instant converts of everyone we've spun their tape for, which gives us a queasy feeling of what it must be like to be a Scientologist. "Hand" is-lucky us yet again!-a new tune from them, and we think it's good enough to finally get them that deal they've been looking for.
Contact: (714) 780-9600.
TRACK 18-Charley, "She's a Warhead"
Yet another club discovery, this one from a Memorial Day weekend show at Hogue Barmichael's. The place was totally, completely, impossibly dead (it was a holiday weekend), even with Mention on the bill. But Charley-it's a band, not a guy (or a girl)-was the ultimate, an unnervingly awesome power-pop outfit that laid down wondrous tuneage in a Matthew Sweet vein. "She's a Warhead" isn't even the best song on their self-titled CD; we've since taken to "Oxsana," probably the happiest-sounding ditty we've ever heard about violent celebrity obsession. "Warhead," though, is much giddier. And, just like Big Saver, they're in need of a drummer. LQOR: "When she offers you a kiss/Prepare for nuclear bliss."
Contact: (714) 937-1253.
TRACK 19-Barrelhouse, "Albert's Shovel"
From jangly power-pop to Mississippi Delta chain-gang howling-ain't we neat? Barrelhouse are regulars on the local bar-band circuit, pounding out a fine blues-rock mélange. Here, though, singer Harliss Sweetwater (not his real name) yelps like someone's stuffing his balls in a blender and setting it on purée. Or maybe he sounds like he's ramming white-hot knitting needles into his eyeballs. Either way, the dude's in pain, baybee, and he makes sure you feel it. We haven't figured out yet just who the hell this Albert cat is or what exactly he's gonna do with that shovel.
Contact: (714) 437-8576.
TRACK 20-The White Liars, "Mr. Supernaturalistic"
The White Liars play really loud, plodding, post-Sabbath (can you tell we're trying to avoid saying "grunge?") sludge-but it's a good kinda loud, plodding, post-Sabbath sludge, which can only mean they're very Soundgarden-esque. They make us want to go out and commit bloody, violent acts-hurl bricks off overpasses, or jam tire irons between the spokes of speeding Harley riders, or hammer razorblades deeply between the teeth of creepy right-wing politicians, or . . . well, you get the idea. It's the kind of music that Wal-Mart doesn't like to sell.
Contact: (714) 903-0458.
TRACK 21-Relish, "Alone"
Like many of these bands, Relish have been gigging around for years through various incarnations and styles, yet going mostly unnoticed. We've always felt they were worthy of a higher profile, so we asked them what they'd been up to, and-bless them!-they also sent us something new, "Alone," a gorgeously spacey near-blues (it just seems a fitting adjective) song that closes everything out quite nicely with a long, aching fade-out. Ahhh.
Contact: (714) 562-6765.
Don't forget! Send tapes, CDs, show dates and comp tickets that we'll just turn around and scalp to Locals Only, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, because if this compilation goes fast enough, we'll do another next summer.