AUTO5 reviews f-j

"FAMILY SERIES VOL 14" by Simon Morris

The latest in the series of old or unreleased Morris goodies from 1980 to now. A myriad of bands are involved, including the revived anti-music ensemble the Metal Ovulation Rhythm Band, a brilliantly shambolic live set of outlandish cover versions by Iron Lion Zion, & Simon's own take on the current noise tag, Yesmeansno. Best on here are the new rough mixes of tracks planned for a new CD, "Mr. Vicar (Why?)", "Scotch Mist" & "Secret Garden (For Maggie)". These really bring out the great Morris lyrics (oh, & the great stolen riffs). This is all topped off by primary school a Capella punk bands (well, that's what it sounds like) & a twisted but beautiful live a Capella interpretation of Daniel Johnston's "Laurie". All in all, the usual unusuality (?) courtesy of the boy from Blackpool. - Philip Smith

BWCD, Phil Todd, 7 Woodside, Madeley, Crewe, Chesire, CW3 9HA


Musical comedians Wayne Faust and Rusty Lewis have this song called "Been There, Done That." It's a nice enough song. Anything comic with a banjo almost can't help being at least a little catchy and amusing, but that can't carry an album. They should have called the whole thing "Been There, Done That." These guys wouldn't know biting satire if a dentist yanked it out of 'em with pliers. They go for the cute and obvious, and their comedy ends up toothless. They probably got some mileage out of these songs as a bar act in the 1980's, with drunken buds singing along, getting really loud on the naughty bits. They toss in guitar, bass, keyboards, saxes, flutes, and banjos (with Woody Allen credited on lead guitar), but they should have come up with some new material by the time they got to a studio in 1993. Their subjects have this dated feel: blind dates, fake breasts, political correctness, yawn, been there... oh you know. Like listening to a long buildup to a punch line you can see coming way, way down the pike. Like if comedy clubs had reruns. "Hyphenation" has modern couples passing hyphenated names to their offspring causing problems and a punny punch line several generations later. Does anyone even do the hyphenation thing anymore? For "White Meat" and "Third World Flying", picture Colorado Parrotheads on a really bad vacation. "Lots Of Things Rhyme With Duck" and "My First Drink" are excruciatingly adolescent. For "The Poultry Song" they create dueling musical styles they call "Grooveless Big Band And Cuba-billy." Well, it's grooveless for sure. The lyric extols various chicken parts, with their suggestive erotic connotations. What's that, you want to know more? How about "I like to wrap my hands around a couple of breasts"? Happy now? Was it worth it? Maybe Faust & Lewis'll end up on some Dr. Demento compilation someday, but when they joke about being sued by Monty Python on "The Mounty And The Moose" they can rest easy. They should be so lucky. - River Pearl

Picklehead Box 2211 Evergreen CO 80439 USA


Everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink recording of free form guitar scraping and electronic noodling. 36 (!) sections of assorted tempos and atmospheres. The j-card informs us that they've used "5 six-stringed electric instruments in a variety of tunings" along with a vast assortment of noise makers. Some very short pieces (mercifully?), some longer. Some beat-dependent, some simple sound experiments, some processed, some not. As with any such freeform experimentation I liked some pieces more than others, but on the whole I found this quite interesting. I think I'll listen to this again. - John Gore

Box 333, 145-149 Cardigan Road, Burley, Leeds, W Yorks LS6 1LJ UK


Mostly guitars and singing on the first cut. Next... next... "Telephone" has an out-of-time drum loop keeping it "together." "MS-1-itis" has some very nice drum loops creating a lo-fi version of trip hop. "Rock" and "Cry Baby" are really cool as well. When samplers replace guitars and loops replace guitar solos, this is the new punk rock. - Ian C. Stewart

Semi-Roar Suginami-Ku, Ogikubo 3-39-7 Hirokawa-So #102 Tokyo Japan 167


Hit-or-miss collection of compilation tracks and unreleased stuff. "Electric Blue" is a solemn guitar-strum + strained multilayered vocals number. "Don't Let" is a real nice rock band piece. Song. Likewise "Headaches Start"---very nice vocal harmonies. The Chicago cover is pretty cool too, "Hard For Me To Say I'm Sorry." Nice Casio drums!!! Side one rocks best. Very intriguing. - Ian C. Stewart

P.O. Box 8253 The Woodlands TX 77387 USA


Live recording of what sounds like performance art and poetry at a cafe. Each selection is short and "artsy" but the cassette makes it hard for me to really discern the elements of the performance or the lyrics. Says here "this tape expires June 1998." Sounds like it already expired if you ask me! - Victoria

Fire Ant Mound 1439 Glencoe, Mount Pleasant SC 29464


Guitars and girlie singing. The singing is mostly out of tune. When it's in tune the songs are fairly haunting. A lateral-fi Azalia Snail perhaps. Emotive and slightly depressing in a good way (I mean "melancholy") songwriting. - Ian C. Stewart

Day 2 Records 2073 SW Park Avenue #118 Portland OR 97201 USA


Fresh, charming guitar pop. "Always Right" is catchy and slightly playful. It's my anthem, because, well... I am always right. Always will be. "Odds" is dark and pleasant at the same time. What? "Larry The Paint" is up-tempo and fun. Girlboy Girl will make a great singles band for some lucky pop label out there. You hear me, Twee Kitten? Get over here. Yep, a great singles band. I can see it now. - Ian C. Stewart

42 Howard Road, Southville Bristol BS3 1QE UK


Opens with a Casio-frenzy version of the Beatles' "Good Morning" with all kindsa noisy shit going on, sure to raise the ire of all Beatlefans within 20 yards, as well it should. Equal parts "experimental" and "pop" with just enough of each to isolate absolutely everyone. "The Universe Within" is a ricky-ticky Goff instrumental overlaid with a prerecorded spoken, um, thing. Meanwhile "Only Yesterday" gets full noizepopassault treatment with Goff's Tory Z Starbuck-sounding voxxx and a rather sizzling synth solo that sounds rather like an electric razor. Tape thoughtfully brief at 30 minutes! - Ian C. Stewart

Ecto Tapes 5912 NW 62 Terr, Oklahoma City OK 73122 USA


Um...GBN take the term "anal retentive" to a new extreme! The cover art to this single is a fold-out poster revealing hundreds of pretty graphic little photos of turds coming out of various members of GBN's assholes, and into containers, or onto people's faces. I am very glad about two things: 1) Said poster is NOT full color 2) There is no scratch-and-sniff anything anywhere to be found in the package. Whew! The japanoise on this 7" is not really all that memorable, though I do wish I could rig up a way to get each cut off this to play successively every time someone flushes my toilet (yeah, that would be cool, huh huh). The "songs" are brief enough---there are 18 cuts on side Arsehole and 16 on side Butthole. I just can't see getting into this all that much... "Yeah! Shit rules, man! Shit kicks ASS!" - C. Reider

Akinob Ohtaki B37-6 Horinishi, Haono City, Kanagawa, 259-13 Japan


Traditional rock songs (lyrics about girls even!) with Moog ack-shawn thrown in. Fuxer (one day I'll get the umlaut over the u; not today though) Ryan Anderson drums on the opener "Last Call." It's much, modern rock than Fuxa. "Lazy Fingers" is a nice rollocky guitars 'n' tambourines number with Scary Analogue FX and a really tidy little riff. "Women's Super G" is an up-tempo alternarocker with Moog-gurgles and very nice backing vocal harmonies. "Up Your Fidelity" is similar---up-tempo guitar pop. "First Line Downer" similarly uses nice chords and vocal harmonies. "It Can Work Out" is so good you'll swear you've heard it before somewhere (always the hallmark of a good song). "Forever" is a jumpy pop track---this stuff is like ice cream with sprinkles on top. Awesome. - Ian C Stewart

Mind Expansion P.O. Box 725161 Berkley MI 48072 USA; GW 20464 Law, Trenton MI 48183 USA


You were late for work again.

Now you're trying to finish a job that's twelve hours overdue. The air conditioner is broken, people can clearly see your tattoos through your shirt. You've been reading the Rolling Stone someone left in the breakroom--with Jewel on the cover. You know for a fact that you've farted better songs than hers in your sleep.

You're making no headway and it's after midnight. You put on "ALGORITHM". "Reduviid Complex" comes on and rocks your workspace at top volume. Ninety seconds of complex rhythmic release that ROCKS LIKE FUCK. The singer screams "shut down" as you look back at your workspace. "Process Of Attrition"--hey, this sounds like Jawbox, or that "do you wanna die" song from Beavis & Butthead. They didn't like it but you thought it was okay. "Crack Blues" is like Helmet covering "YYZ" wrong.

"Gold Spot" is kinda mellow for the first couple of minutes, but then it rocks. Then it's quiet again---then it REALLY FUCKING ROCKS. The dude's voice cracks he's screaming so hard. You find a blank piece of paper and write "creative riffing, masterful dynamics." Co-workers look at you and look away quickly. Track seven! Seven. Shit, seven is called "You Became The Angry Chimes." Fuckin' emo to the gills. You vaguely remember buying Tailspins mag a couple summers ago. Remember? Hey, the guitarist is also the editor! Cool, man, where does he find the time. "Strawberry Flan," it all comes together. You yell along: "why try! Why Try! WHY TRY!!!" and kick the wall so hard your wallet falls off its chain. Ouch. "why try! Why Try! WHY TRY!!!" Woulda hurt even more without those steel-toe shoes. There's a song called "Linda Lavin" that has great bass chording. The bass player is just like... dude. These fucking guys ROCK. They ROCK. Thirty three minutes later it's time to go home and work on your resume. - Ian C. Stewart

Throwrug P.O. Box 579100 Chicago IL 60657-9100 USA


Carcass babies! From Spain! The song titles tell the entire story here: "Incinerator Of Cadaveric Leftovers", "Dissect", "Exhume", "Devour", (not to be pedantic, but shouldn't you exhume first?) (featuring some very nice puking sounds!), "Decom-posers", "Intravenous Molestation Of Obstructionist", et al. Quickthrash (I picked that up from a German metal zine. Quickthrash. You like it?) and gurgly growling. Good production. You know it rocks because Carcass always did. - Ian C. Stewart

Morbid Records Postfach 3, 03114 Drebkau Germany


English football-obsessed pop songs. The singers voice is slight and limp but the songwriting is strong enough to nearly obscure that fact. Nearly. Songs like "Terry Butcher", "The Only Halifax Supporter", "What's The Fuss About Ryan Giggs", etc. sound like a great idea on paper but nothing here translates into American for shit. I'm going to do an album about pro wrestling. - Ian C. Stewart

Rutland Records P.O. Box 132 Leicester LE2 3ZF UK


Hard Cousin comes on like a lunkhead rock band with that chimpy bass intro, but the guitar playing and the female vocalist totally change the direction of the song. "I Feel Like Dancing" is a great song, a comparison to Lush's less ethereal moments would not be far off the mark. Ovahead's "Superfrenzy" rocks like LOOP use to (gotta mention Loop every issue), with the vocals being somewhat buried (and delayed to hell) behind a vibrating wall of guitars. "My Spy Rocker" adds a bit of tribal drumming. Dare I call this shoegazer-y? Hell yeah, the shit is catchy. I'm off to Norwich! - Ian C. Stewart

Jawbone c/o Unit 10, St. Marys Works, St Marys Plain, Norwich UK


Rachel's vocals sound just like Natalie Merchant and the songs have a very 10,000-esque quality about them. This is a very good foot-tapper for the home collection. "Jet Lag" and "Purposeful heart" are the top two songs and make this tape well worth tracking down. Brian on drums keeps it moving along!! - Howard Cowell

P.O. Box 50497 Minneapolis MN 55405-0497 USA


Outtakes and compilation tracks by Mr. Doug, starting off with mostly 4 track guitar ditties. The liner notes make all the difference in the world in this case. The guitar bit to "Pastel Marble Blues" is infectious, though the rest of the song is as claustrophobic and breathy as much of Harrison's more recent work. "Like A Tree" and "My Way" are swampy, schizo blues (Sonic Youth blues, not Robert Johnson) traxxx. While "Hat And Gloves" by Doug's only-ever band Butt Dragon sounds like Mudhoney. "I Believe In Sunshine" has a late-period RIDE feel. "The Symptom Is The Cure" is a swampy, schizo Robert Johnson blues. Doug hit another homer, y'all. His shit kicks my ass every single time. - Ian C. Stewart

Doug Harrison P.O. Box 5501 Richmond VA 23220 USA


Yes! Ian's been gushing about this Doug Harrison guy. This time he's right on. Harrison totally wins me over with this tape. His stuff strongly reminds me of that minimalist trance scene in Dallas made up of bands like Tear Ceremony and Windsor For The Derby (kudos to the two people in the universe who know what I'm on about). The beginning of his side starts off with some mopey, somber, minimal guitar and singing... very sweet, sad and fully great (though someone keeps knocking into the mic-- a little distracting). Then there's a lengthy section with some skilled sound collage. This guy's a worthy contact. Projectiles, on the other hand, do some repetitive, trancey, sequenced synthie stuff, akin to some of Ed Ka-Spel's early smecky-faced, stoned instrumentals, and it is some pretty cool stuff as well. - C. Reider

Doug Harrison P.O. Box 5501, Richmond VA 23220 USA

Projectiles 2030 W Grace St #4, Richmond VA 23220 USA


Recorded at Morrisound in Tampa---where Deicide, Napalm Death and Robert Wegmann have all laid down their traxxx-o-death. I suppose it was inevitable that some of the death metal people would eventually start doing this peculiar blend of industrial and death metal; especially with the rise of Marilyn Manson in the US.

Conceptually, this CD is "disturbing"-by-numbers. I mean, it would truly be disturbing if you'd never heard any of it before, but... song titles like "Ripping The Wings Off The Backs Of Angels," "Your Soul To Satan," "Raped By The Virgin Mary," etc. etc. should tip you off immediately. Ooooh, we're so controversial.

The production job is ambitious--these guys musta spent a fortune! But it's a pity if they did because the tired old drum machine is always buried in the mix. These top-heavy, riff-dominated songs are missing the key musical elements of all good industrial music---the dominant kick and snare drum sounds. Without those you might as well go home. The friggin' "cymbals" blast away while the rest of the "kit" is inaudible. Yawn.

Except track six: "I Hope You Catch AIDS," which features an even-worse live drummer. The guy can't groove for shit, he's awfully stumpy. Sounds like he keeps tripping over his snare. "Toilet Licking Maggot" is the closest thing to a good song here; a nearly-believable "psycho" rap song with chugging guitar in the background. I mean, if you needed Marilyn Manson to play your wedding or something and they couldn't make it... hell, you could always have HOE. The HOEs. - Ian C. Stewart

Neptune Records P.O. Box 20342 Tampa FL 33622 USA

HOE P.O. Box 24711 Tampa FL 33623 USA


Ex-scare-a-mental improv! Keyboards, samples, clickyclacky "percussion," duck call, etc. It takes a nation of John Cages to hold Herd Of The Ether Space back. "I'll Drink the Pond Scum, But I Won't Eat The Mud" is my new anthem. - Ian C. Stewart

Taped Rugs P.O. Box 146 Lawrence KS 66044-0146 USA


Oh dear. If this had come through my tuner while I was listening to the radio I would have turned it off quickly. Bad, unfunny skits and a bunch of other bullshit about how great cows are. It's grownups doing this stuff, folks! Hard to believe but true. - C. Reider

HC of M P.O. Box 2263 Pasadena CA 91102 USA


Uh-oh... it's David Koresh from Puri-do on vocals again! "We Let The Ghost In Bed With Us" is a spooky noizer with that dude giving a guided tour of Lincoln's parents' house (???). "The Reformatory" is lovely-- acoustic guitar, violalala and something resembling a theremin. Male + female voxxx. Nice. "Angels Like Moths Eat The Trees" is a very very nice, slow track with layered female vox. "Birth Of Celesta" is the shit, atmospheric and slow. Katrina Baker can sing my ass to sleep any day of the week (yeah I sleep during the day). Yum. The CD should prove to be very hottt indeed, even with The Talker Of Smack occasionally on the mic. - Ian C. Stewart

Brian Castillo P.O. Box 23042 Seattle WA 98102 USA


Low-lo-fi stuff. Kittycraft's "Truth Or Not" is cute. Female singer, la la la. Charlie McAlister and that damn banjo sound pretty friggin' hot on "Heat", a fairly catchy tune. Strong traxxx also from "One Boy Band", "Little Debbie", "Guitarded" and "Randy Ike". - Ian C. Stewart

Squirrel Energy Now P.O. Box 603 Iowa City IA 52244 USA


Opens with a thick-ass slab of sizzle enshrouding a few terrifying tones. Um. "Not Misbehaving." "At Eventide" is like a movie soundtrack played through a digital delay pedal with occasional surprise blasts from an aerosol can. Or something. As ambient as it is scary and epic. The title track uses guitar samples in an unholy manner. This shit is ill and I wanna go home! I like it. Put it on your answering machine if you're an antisocial bastard like me. Or if you get a lot of sales calls during the day. - Ian C. Stewart

HC 65 Box 595, Smilax KY 41764 USA


I mean, this is some stupid shit---but it's funny! There are 101 song titles on the cover (including "I'm Dead Fat," "Motley Crewe," "My Funeral Pyre, New Order's 'Everything Gone Green' Played As A Fitting Tribute," and "Rub A Squid" from side Celebrity AIDS Awareness Gala and "Exposition For A Potential Eazy-E Memorial," "Shut Up Swashbuckling Fucker," and "I'm Dead Liberal" on side Celebrity Animal Rights Gala) that have apparently nothing in common with the sounds on the tape. As if I know! Because the pasted-on cassette labels fell off! The recording? Er... two bored and possibly pissed blokes reading poetry and "playing" every object in the room. The shit is funny. Really. - Ian C. Stewart

SCUM 13 Chewells Close, Haddenham, Ely, Cambs CB6 3XE UK



Largely comprised of earnestly played (but carelessly dull) whitebread heartland rock bands, with the occasional odd jibe thrown in for novelty/laughs: "Slightly Miffed" (industrial metal), "Pork Roll" (industrial), "Dresscode" (what can only be described as outmoded dance music), "The Outcast" (saccharine-laced, yet highly enjoyable tech-pop) and "Toddio" (weirdness. Scariness.). Smells like an ASCAP/BMI reject sale or talent show. Some of it is okay but nothing here kicked my ass in any profound way. There's some strictly-promotional (i.e.-pointless) CD-rom stuff as well, which is a very good idea, and I hope if they do another of these compilations (which it looks like they will, based on the liner notes) I hope they emphasize the freaky stuff instead of the lame-o Hootie rip-offs. - Ian C. Stewart

Kathode Ray Music 1487 West 5th Avenue #205, Columbus OH 43212 USA


Mostly Finnish artist comp tape. 1) The Huxleys from the UK: "fashion" bad guitar playing, squealing, muffled babble; 2) Hugo Ramo of Finland "Onneksi on ruokatunti", "Hakupalat naapurissa" Finnish rock with country-tinge in the second selection, the Finnish vocals make this all the more intriguing; 3) Dave Knott from Seattle offers a selection of his pleasant acoustic plucking on various stringed instruments; 4) Kemialliset Ystavat (a group? a solo artist?) gives us a selection of nine short oversaturated tape-boombox recorded stumming that has its moments of interest, some with beats, some with obnoxious folky Finnish vocals, some with tinny guitar and tin whistle accompaniment, brevity makes these selections all the more tolerable, a highlight being "Teknopop Pilaa Meidan Maincen"; 5) Spam from Finland sings in English and presents us with two selections of decently-recorded songs reminiscent of pop / rock illustrated by his cover of Tracy Ullman's megahit "They Don't Know" (Yikes! This guy has got to get out more! Or change the radio station!); 6) 2267 also from the home of the Huxleys comes off like a "Chairs Missing"-era Wire clone (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) being fairly entertaining considering the quality of the recording; 7) The John Travoltas (you've got to be kidding with that name right? Maybe they're scientologists. I wonder if a lawsuit is in order.) give us a nice electronic Krautrock sound with decent melody and happy feeling jazzy bass work, best on this side, I think. Side B: 1) Herrahomppaherra, a Finnish British-Invasion rock band with pronounced Ventrues-surf-rock-guitar on the first selection. Their second song "Rapujahdissa" gets a bit rockier but with better song development and a continuation of the cartoony vocals of the first song "Aloha, Mr. Homppa". I REALLY like this. 2) Sawhorse Scuzzy (from Seattle) begins its 2-song set with "Hamster-In-Mind, Right + Left", which offers an enjoyable bit of drumming that plays with the stereo field (hence the "right + left" of the title). Instrumental rock with a nice slow gait that catches up with you; 3) Darin Johnson gives up three enjoyable goth-y, folk-y ditties with strange little string noises and dark sounds as spices over competent singing and playing. Somebody sign this guy quick! 4) Vyohyke offers "Kiirastuli", a drum-heavy piece laced with interesting sounds and a decent oriental-sounding (whole-tone scale?) melody. 5) The final piece on the tape, "Siion, Kevaasa", is done by KLV and is a much more mainstream approach sung in Finnish and using the standard rock formula of guitar, bass and drums, cutting off suddenly at the end of the tape. - John Gore

M Kuorinki Karhuntie 16A3, 96500 Rovaniemi Finland


Nineteen song tape recorded live "inside his room". Much in the manner of the Violent Femmes, meaning that the ideas are straightforward and simple enough to be appreciated done in this way. I enjoyed "Best Dream". A man, his guitar and a cassette recorder couldn't be a better team for creating honest and hooky, but sparse songs. - Victoria

Mark Nichols 710 W Orlando #3A, Normal IL 61761 USA

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