SINGLES AGAIN / Chuck Eddy

Chuck
Eddy dusts off his old vinyl and scratches his head. We all win
.

 

Greetings,
BLURT readers. This column’s theme is fairly simple: Basically, I sort
alphabetic ally through my shelves for dusty old 7-inch vinyl indie singles
from acts that aren’t household names, and try to figure out why I wound up
keeping them in the first place. This is the 7th installment (first
two appeared at Idolator.)

***

 

 

GOOPS “One Kiss Left”/”Build Me Up Buttercup” (Blackout!,
1994)

 

The picture sleeve’s front cover looks like some kinda Big
Daddy Roth Garbage Pail Kid Wacky Pack, with four cartoon band members (three
crazy guys, one hot girl) racing along in their flaming monster truck with the
license plate “KILL,” brandishing baseball bats and barbecue forks, chasing a
squirrel so scared its feet have turned into wheels. Back cover has the band
all naked (with naughty bits peeking out) on a polka-dot couch, puking and
slavering as a gigantic furry rodent splats from the sky and spills its sticky guts
all over the room. Six-page black-and-white comic book inside has the Goops “On
The Road,” driving from party to party and town to town and batting more
squirrels around and bathing together and covering obscene Avengers songs on
stage while (again) wearing no clothes. Yet even their penises and vaginas
manage to seem funny, not gross or prurient. And oh yeah, there’s also music!
Catchy St. Mark’s Place-style middle-class fake-punk garage trash (from back
when St. Mark’s  Place was still trashy)
with gal-singing and guy-guitaring better than passable; in the ‘90s, NYC and
L.A. both coughed up a bunch of such bands, while critics ignored them — maybe
because they sang like they wanted a hit, and therefore weren’t deemed hip
enough. Here, the A-side is a lust song with some semblance of a beat: “C’mon
baby, don’cha be that way/I’ll do anything you say.” But the B-side’s the keeper:
A kicking cover of the Foundations’ 1969 garage-soul classic about being led on
by a fickle tease. The Goops build it up, and don’t let us down.

 

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=152991456

 

 

 

 

CLAY HARPER “Prayin’ Hands”/”Church On The Corner” (Casino
Royale, 1996)

 

More excellent cover graphics: The front has a colorfully
dressed guy, with five-o’clock shadow and his tiger-striped shirt unbuttoned too
low, posing just like Roland Bell on the LP cover of The Harder They Come; there’s a city and church behind him, and
when you flip the sleeve over, you see said house of worship close up, with
hands folding in prayer on each side. It’s not the only picture-sleeve 45 I’ve
got on my shelf from Clay Harper — a guy who used to sing for the Coolies, an Atlanta band whose less than 15 minutes of fame had come
from putting out an album full of silly Simon & Garfunkel covers in 1986,
the same year Paul Simon put out Graceland. A decade later, in 1996, Harper apparently
put out one 45 on Casino Royale every month or close to it; I’ve got 11 of the
things, and they’re beautiful – soldiers and strippers and factories and devils
and sleazy dames with guns and lurkers in the shadows and Blaxploitation movie
posters and Kung Fu movie posters and ominous urchins from the street. Most of
them credit Art Direction to one Kosmo Vinyl and Art Production to guys named
Kerry Hadaway and Brian Joyner. I haven’t played them in years, but as I
recall, they mostly sound good, too. But I’m singling out the single that came
out in June of that year, for the way its two titles are conceptually linked,
and because its cover is my favorite. “Prayin’ Hands” has The Harder They Come in its sound, too: The rhythm is ‘70s
soul-reggae, with a horn break seemingly referencing “007 (Shanty Town)”
by Desmond Dekker. Harper has a gruff Dixie
white-soul voice – more “pub-rock” than “roots-rock” or “Southern rock,” I’d
say, by which I mean amiable and energetic but not particularly stodgy or redneck-macho.
He sings about a little girl with a crappy life who prays the world her soul to
keep and winds up in a better place, which I suppose mean she dies; details
beyond that are hard to make out. “Church on the Corner” brackets itself with
church organ (credited to “Reverend Oliver Wells”), but Clay confesses that he
never liked churches, that he just passes them by without entering, and he’s
not sure where his antipathy comes from. But a wedding, or maybe that same little
girl, wind up changing his mind. A gospel backup singer helps.

 

http://www.casinomusic.com/vinyl/index.html

 

 

 

 

HELLA “Stephen Hawking Has A Posse”/FOURTET “Both When I Am
Alone And We Both Are” (Ache, 2003)

 

Hella are a noisy Cali duo whose 2002 debut album likeably
reminded me of the very early (hardcore-era) Meat Puppets, but I lost the plot
soon after; their track here has a gradual keyboardish opening (played on
guitar maybe) giving way to blurry belches of distortion and apocalyptic clangs
like tin cans repeatedly toppling off a high shelf. The title suggests
theoretical physics might be an inspiration as well. Fourtet is London “post-rock”
electronic guy Kieran Hebden, and his cut has more space – e.g., little brush
strokes. What they have in common: clattery beat, fuzzy effects, vagueness. And
the scratched-up collage on the 45 sleeve is just as blurry, blotchy, and
amorphous.

 

http://www.myspace.com/hellaband

 

http://www.myspace.com/fourtetkieranhebden

 

 

 

THE HOT ROLLERS Uncornucopia (Flotation, 2007)

 

A three-song seven-inch EP on nail-polish-white vinyl from
three badass ladies, dressed like they’re ready to join the Shangri-Las’ gang.
So: Ratted-hair rock, maybe Seattle’s answer to
(Detroit’s)
Gore Gore Girls. “You Don’t Satisfy” rides the slime oozing out from beneath the
garage door of some service station on a dead-end street; opens with a riff
from the Monkees’ “Steppin’ Stone,” drummer Starr Harris screams like the
Sonics’ Gerry Rosalie, and Lori Campion lets loose black clouds of guitar smoke
as her vengeful vemom shoplifts a lyric or two from “Steppin’ Stone” itself,
then turns into talking as she chides some bad-in-bed clutz that he can’t do
the deed like some other fella. “Heard About Him” rocks up a ‘65 B-side by
British bird Sandie Shaw, ending on a high note out of “Wimoweh”/”The Lion
Sleeps Tonight.” And raunchy fuzztones blanket everything, including three-part
harmonies and (I think) a cowbell, in the raunchier, dirtier, heavier “Outta
Control” – about a mean chick from a northern galaxy who has cherry-red lips
and bloodshot eyes. She’s running wild tonight, she’s gonna fuss and fight, and
I’m pretty sure Girlschool would be impressed.

 

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Chuck Eddy is the
former music editor of the
Village Voice and the author of several books, including the greatest book on heavy
metal ever written,
Stairway To Hell.
He won’t admit it, but he knows more about rock ‘n’ roll than the entire
accumulated BLURT brain trust.

 

 

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