Monday, March 23, 2015

Cleaning out the Corners - featuring Ex Friends, Stephen Duffy and The Drones

Another installment of the column where we weed through the piles of vinyl in my office together to decide what stays and what goes.  Is it a keeper or a tosser?

Chosen randomly from my "To Spin" stacks . .

Ex-Friends - Twisted Around EP

Spirited, raw and spit-faced hardcore punk in the old school vein.  Hell's yes!  "Punk Rock Wedding, Punk Rock Divorce" is a spleen-spasm of vitriol punk, simply perfect.  "Rainy Season" shows some classy depth of range with a melodic guitar hook and some acoustic strumming.  Like a bar sing-along at your favorite watering hole.   Side two keeps the phlegm rolling with more guttural bursts of punk snot.   In the end, it's all just kinda perfect.  According to their bandcamp this slice of vinyl is sold out, and I understand the band is now broken up, so finding one may be a challenge, but if you're a hardcore, old school, UK, Oi! punk fan, you owe it to yourelf to track down a copy for yourself.  I have no idea where mine came from, but I guess I should thank the punk fairies for placing this under my pillow.

Verdict: Keeper

Stephen Tin Tin Duffy - She Makes me Quiver b/w Push It. 

Again, no idea where this came from.  I tend to buy large lots of 7" vinyl on eBay and get random stuff there, so I guess that explains this one's presence in my collection.  I'd never heard of Stephen Tin Tin Duffy before, but apparently he was one of the original founding members of Duran Duran but left before they signed on with EMI.  Just as well, he was the original vocalist and in truth he doesn't hold a candle to Simon LeBon.  So it all worked out as it should.  Still, I have this 7" taking up space in my collection, so what's the verdict?  Competent if slightly banal 80's pop/funk in the early Duran Duran vein.  Stephen's vocals are adequate if underwhelming and the music is solid, if uninspiring.  I actually have a soft spot for 80's rock like this, but I'm having a real hard time with this one.  Flipside "Push it" borders on the asinine, so the entire verdict will be based on the A-side, "She Makes me Quiver" and it almost makes it.  Stephen's vocals are nicely thick with accent, like a b-grade Soft Cell, and the bass pulses in all the right places.  But damn, I can't get passed the darn lyrics.  "She makes me quiver/She's dreamy to the max."  Wow.  Maybe in the '80's that worked, but not now.   Let's label this one as dispensable.

Verdict: Tosser

The Drones - Temptations of a White Collar Worker

Guitar fueled, original punk rock of the kind that can piss off grade school teachers the world over.  Featuring a distinct post-Sex Pistols tone and 'tude, The Drones were the real deal.  Released way back in 1977, this is first run, old school punk. The guys probably hung out in Chelsea back in the day and spit into the same fountains as the Pistols.   This copy is the 1998 reissue on Data Records.   There's no explanation for why these guys aren't talked about more often as one of the original punks.  That's a tragedy.  With band names like MJ Drone, Gus Gangrene, Whisper and Pete Purrfect, you know these guys were having fun, and it shows.  Four simple bursts of pure punk energy.  No reason to talk about each song, they're all the same.  Punk, punk and more punk.  And that's just fine with me.  Great stuff.

Verdict: Keeper


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