Unsolicited Mini-Reviews Of Records From Beyond The Qartak Nebula

Flop – Whenever You’re Ready

Did the world need a more tuneful version of the Buzzcocks? Doesn’t matter, ’cause we got one anyway in Flop. Whenever You’re Ready, the long-deceased band’s meandering sophomore effort from 1993, packs an embarrassment of heartsick crescendo/decrescendo that lead Flopper Rusty Willoughby tries to downplay with Cobain-style lyrical subterfuge (“You’ll survive a vegetable, the meat’s diseased and she said so!”). Silly choruses aside, you can’t shake the majority of Flop’s unapologetically saccharine earworms, and Whenever’s only real detractor is the generally paper-thin production.

Hog – Nothing Sacred

Chris Farley fans might remember Hog from the soundtrack of Black Sheep. As far as I know, Nothing Sacred stands as this meat n’ potato “rawk” collective’s only full release, a record that gets by more on raunchy attitude than craftsmanship. You won’t hear anything here you haven’t heard from the bar band down the street: Stadium-ready testosterock, lazy mid-tempo balladry, and even lazier Alice in Chains theme hijacking. Still, you could do much worse when it comes to generic crap, and the big hit—“Get a Job”—retains its crushing riff and semi-sarcastic charm all these years removed from Penelope Spheeris’s third or fourth worst film. Raise your beer and/or Axe body spray canister to this one.

Jello Biafra w/ D.O.A. – Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors

I think Mark Prindle once opined that Last Scream is the best record Jello Biafra made outside the Dead Kennedys, and he’s unequivocally correct. In fact, I’ll go one further and say this record is streets ahead of the final DK entry, Bedtime For Democracy. It’s louder, it’s shorter, but most importantly, it’s angrier. D.O.A.’s no frills punk plodding spurns Biafra to bleat his sardonic bile like ’82 never ended and also creates the perfect throbbing soundtrack for Last Scream’s crown jewel—the ominous fourteen minute drug war conspiracy manifesto “Full Metal Jackoff.” Jello pours so much passion into what ends up being a human rights screed you’ll be surprised how often you find yourself listening to the entire chilling composition.

Gay Cowboys in Bondage – Owen Marshmallow Strikes Again

Playfully lo-fi punk n’ roll from the 1980s Texas underground. It’s never explained who the titular character is, but we do learn the singer of Gay Cowboys is addicted to Kool-Aid and favors bologna to other lunch meats. If you’re expecting anything as vicious (or as viciously played) as the song these guys had on that Flipside comp so many years ago, you’ll be let down, but Owen Marshmallow Strikes Again remains a fine meeting point between the Dead Boys and “Weird Al.”

Deez Nuts – Stay True

Aussie rapcore outfit that’s taken Andrew WK’s party-all-the-time agenda and applied more R-rated urban anger. “I make music ’cause it’s what I fuckin’ do!” vocalist JJ Peters grunts on the opening track. Meatheaded stuff, but also possibly some kind of purposeful goof. The ducat-chasing anthem “I Hustle Everyday” justifies Stay True’s entire existence, if only for the following LULZy verse: “When you get a bitch knocked up, who’s gonna cough up? The hospital bils, and every other fucking thing…be my guest, put your head in the sand, but if I was you, man, I’d formulate a plan!” Sure, Deez Nuts promote a lot of stupid things, but at least they’re looking out for baby mamas.

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