Never mind the breakup: after selling, like, 1,500 copies of this, their newest release, in just 15 minutes, it's pretty evident that Le Shok are wanted as much or more dead than they ever were alive. This single is proof that like spirit guides the Germs and the Fall, Le Shok could be sharp as a razor onstage—if they wanted to be. The Le Shok treatment of the Screamers' "122 Hours of Fear" (cornered and captured on KXLU last year) really digs out the topnotch songwriting of Tomata Du Plenty and company, amplifying the jittery anxiety that was the '77 LA synth punk band's stock-in-trade into a tightly focused slash from the past. (Fun fact: "122 Hours of Fear" was inspired by a newspaper article about an airliner hijacking! Trs topical!) B-sides "Give Me Something Help Me Please" and "Do the Dramatic" are from a set on WNYU ("We're Le Shok from Long Beach, California, infected with the death drug," slurs Hot Rod Todd by way of introduction); it's an edgier, cleaner and clearer presentation than the purposefully muddy version on their full-length, but the between-songs banter isn't as classic as you might hope (then again, my favorite live banter involved hurling wrought-iron chairs, which tends to reproduce poorly on vinyl). As a snapshot of the band in various stages of disrepair, it's tons of fun but not essential for the casual fan. Of course, what Le Shok fans were ever casual? They probably own multiple copies of this already. (Chris Ziegler)
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Orange County and Long Beach bands and musicians! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact information, plus any impending performance dates) for possible—stress possible!—review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.