The Beatles have been taken on by everyone from the Feelies to a bunch of dogs, each adding their own slant to things, so why do I dig this particular record so much? Well, honestly, this quartet from Nebraska in 1980 actually were trying to make the Beatles' music sound better. However you judge in terms of improvement, the attempt was done in a pure spirited way with a set of basic electronic elements, vocals, bass and drums, managing to project a sense of lofty artistic and definite postmodern design, but without pretentiousness. Because of the cold/synthy approach here, a lot of people already lump the Better Beatles in with a similar ideology the Residents took to their cover targets (Hank Williams, James Brown, Stones, etc.), but I think the Eyeballed Ones were a bit more mastered in the art of media manipulation and the connotations attached to pros like themselves taking on pop culture. The Better Beatles, again, just really seemed to really just have vibed on attacking the songs with the vocabulary they had inherent within themselves. Add that in with the fact that in Middle America circa 1980, the Fab Four's indelible etch upon pop consumer consciousness (even for kids who weren't around during their heyday) seemed a logical monolith to chuck in start to mount. Only having officially put out one 7" single, Hook or Crook has just raided the complete tape vault and issued a full LP, featuring an informative bio and modern-day interview with Jay Hinman. Thanks to the label for letting us give you all a sampling here on BOHA.
Apparently Jello Biafra thought them to be a Texan slant on the Flamin' Groovies, but this tune from 1979 has Ramones written all over it, minus the buzzsaw ampage I suppose. They also tended to prefer the word "wanker" to "pinhead" as demonstrated in "Pigeon Hole Wanker" (and the song offered here), and also seemed to be pretty anti-parent based on song titles like "Leave Your Mother", "Daddy! Whatcha Doin' To My Sister?" and once again, the MP3 above. I think the sister/daddy thing spills over into this one as well. So one should assume that Rokker had even less to draw on lyrically than the Ramones did? Completely awesome. Thanks to John and Tovah Olson's always bitchin' Izane site
The Imperial Pompadours
In my never-ceasing quest to hear the most screwed up DIY music ever made, the upstanding gents at Mutant have thrown me enough headscratching, what-the-fuck sounds in 2007 to last for many moons to come. Sometimes it's a chore to keep up on the voluminous output, but I
am extremely thrilled to have caught the posting of the 1982 record Ersatz by the one and only Imperial Pompadours. Reviewed on Julian Cope's site back in 2000, this zero-budget, acid-punk thing of beauty was birthed by Barney Bubbles best known for creating assorted Stiff label and Hawkwind sleeves. In fact, Hawkwind's Robert Calvert and Nik Turner join him in this insane session, comprised of Nuggets-style covers (see the Novas' "Do the Crusher" MP3 above) all quickly recorded and augmented with pots and pans percussion, messed up electronics and ridiculous vocal performances. The record's musicians are all anonymous on the sleeve, with a Novas-style "Play It Loud You Turkeynecks" stamped on the back. The 24 minute finale "Insolence Across the Nation" drifts for its first half through strange collage soundscapes then delves into a lost mind mode right up there with Patty Waters' "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair"; it seems to be one of these guys reciting his life in Hitler's shoes. Completely wacked, and the whole album file is up here.