Radio Ready – Lost Power Pop Hits 1978-1983: Texas, Vol 1, Permanent Basement, Truck Month, Christ Adonis Algiers, yr4 pt5
Radio Ready, Hundred Visions, Slugbug, Coma in Algiers, and the Able Sea
Reviewed by Tim Stegall, Fri., Oct. 4, 2013
Radio Ready – Lost Power Pop Hits 1978-1983: Texas, Vol. 1(Cheap Rewards)
Local imprint Cheap Rewards has been lovingly reissuing punk and pop obscurities of Texan or Southern origins for two years, including classic 7-inchers from Dallas' Hugh Beaumont Experience and Houston's Legionnaire's Disease Band. Radio Ready remasters 13 advocates of high-energy, skinny-tie pop, including five Austin acts – the Fad ("Think"), the Lawnmowers ("Want You Bad"), the Rattlecats ("Those Are the Breaks"), etc. – that dominate side one alone. The best here rivals the Undertones and Buzzcocks.
Hundred VisionsPermanent Basement (SlamMammals)
Nasty, loud, vicious power-pop that careens drunkenly out of a garage stacked with crates of Replacements and Ramones end-of-the-punk-rock-fulcrum 45s. Tunes like "Where Do I Sign?" and "Regina, Hold the Line" slam and screech as much as they jangle and harmonize. Then, just to befuddle, "Last Cab From Tunis" is a syncopated funk workout that could be a "Funkytown" follow-up. Wired singalongs from these ATXers prompt unconditional love.
SlugbugTruck Month (Plastic Waffle Records & Tapes)
Self-described as "a tape wave/dork funk/business rock band/man from Waco Austin TX" and "Zolo-punk," Slugbug appears to be the nom de musique of Paul D. Millar. His specialty? Aggressive cut-and-paste electro-absurdity that would do early Devo or the Residents proud. Weapons of choice? Analog synths and tape machines, alongside more standard guitar/bass/drums. When properly wielded ("Nervous Man Music," "Shirt Man (I Am Working)"), there's a vicious Dada-tronic edge that's been missing for too long.
Coma in AlgiersChrist Adonis Algiers
The heavy metal/sludge-punk mantle's been so successfully assumed by these young Austinites that they should've opened Black Flag's recent comeback dates. This LP's a treat, brimming with piledriver drumming and wounded guitar/vocal howling. It's lyrically impenetrable to the point that tunes like "Breeders and Their Spawn" and "Taste the Spray" refuse to reveal any meaning after 15 plays. Underground Austin adores absurdity and you'll love the speedfreak-with-a-ballpoint-pen sleeve art, too.
The Able Seayr4 pt5
Obtuse to the point of indecipherable, ethereal while somehow still having a pummeling rhythm section, the Able Sea sound like teens who got into their older siblings' Joy Division and Comsat Angels records after their owners left for college. The sleeve even mimics Factory Records designer Peter Saville's various tropes whilst referencing The Prisoner. Still, tunes like "Lungs" and "500 Miles" aren't captivating enough to justify this two-record set.