Last week my friend Matt let me tag along with him to KDS Studios where his band Grave Return is working on their full-length debut. As mentioned previously, KDS is the organization that now occupies Lou Pearlman’s old recording facility in Orlando, the lavish audio bunker Pearlman built under the assumption his Boy Band Reich would last a thousand years. After seeing the place allow me to say: “Big Poppa” may be the Madoff of pop music but the guy knows how to construct a studio. It’s the kind of spacious yet cozy wood-paneled fantasy you see in movies.
KDS employees have decorated the walls with various awards trumpeting their own accomplishments (platinum sales markers presented for work on such entries as Ministry’s Psalm 69 and Björk’s Post), but there remain a few reminders of the former regime. In fact, the first thing you see when you waltz through the front door is a collection of framed Backstreet Boys albums on the opposite wall. The albums were hanging crooked the night I showed up, as if to say, “Yeah, Nick Carter once haunted these halls, but that was a few presidents ago.”
Stranger than Nick Carter’s ghost: the KDS Studio vending machine has an option for Coke with “CLASSIC” written in such a large font you’d assume it was installed in 1985. Maybe it was. Maybe this is Lou Pearlman’s favorite vending machine, the one he was buying a Shasta from when he first heard a young Chris Kirkpatrick harmonizing outside a Stuckey’s in Memphis (or however that part of the N’Sync story shook out). This guy was running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme; he could probably afford to track down a Mid-South vending machine if such was his wont.
Obviously there’s a lot of Lou Pearlman/Trans Continental lore we won’t be privy to until long after all those boy banders are dead. I’m sure personal Coke dispensers are just the tip of the sweaty, diamond-encrusted iceberg.
Last Rites For Genocide / M.I.A.
Famed 1981 split between New Jersey’s Genocide (atypical metalli-Jerz hardcore slime) and Alt Tentacle’s M.I.A. (skate thrash with enough pop sense to stun Tony Hawk). The edge has to go to M.I.A. here because they’re A) in tune B) in time and C) far less horny. Still, I’m not gonna front like I wouldn’t blast Genocide while barreling down the Garden State Parkway in search of cheap thrills and toxic waste.
Tank – Filth Hounds of Hades
Algy Ward from the Damned was in this poor man’s answer to Motörhead. Filth Hounds came out in ’82, and it fuckin’ sounds like it. You couldn’t get the Brit metal stink off this one with eight pounds of tomato paste. Pretty good if you wanna pretend like you’re in a biker bar on the edge of London during the heyday of “Fawlty Towers.” The only honestly excellent track here is “Turn Your Head Around,” which, for all we know, was actually ghostwritten by Lemmy. No harm, no foul.
Anal Babes – Delirium or Diarrhea
The guy from Turbonegro’s other band. This one dropped in Norway in ’94, making it a key player in the Scandihooligan rock n’ roll revival of oh so long ago that utterly failed in its attempts to sail across the pond. Delirium is thinly produced and boasts one too many covers, but overall it’s a sneering, snot-laced, unforgiving good time. The bile on display in “Shoot The Hostages” and “People Are Garbage” makes up for all that goofy Village People crap Turbonegro tried to give us a few years later. I also dig the Anal Babes’ overdriven rendition of “Not Of This Earth.” Can’t go wrong with the Angry Samoans.
Rosemary’s Babies – Talking To The Dead
Originally released in 1983 as Blood Lust, reissued in 2004 with extra stuff. Proof Lodi, NJ, had at least one great band outside the Misfits. The fourteen seconds that make up “What I Hate” (“IHATEWORK! IHATESCHOOL! IHATERELIGION! IHATERULES!”) are an orgasm of punk transcendence. Brutal speed eventually gives way to twisted creeping as singer J.R. sells the deranged sociopath angle with a truly perverse amount of glee (see “Sounds of Death,” “Let’s Molest”). Very interested to know in which abandoned mausoleum they recorded this gem. Next time I’m across the river, I’ll have to pay my respects.
Maggot Sandwich – Dead To My World
Super amateur early ’80s hardcore from Florida. Feel like I saw a picture of Maggot Sandwich wearing Zoobas once. Did Zoobas exist in the early ’80s? If they did, these guys were probably wearing them only semi-ironically. Ah, I tease. These guys border on cacophony, but doesn’t nearly all classic punk?
Würm – Feast
Remember that tambourine-heavy, vaguely glammish metal album Chuck Dukowski made with a few of his bros in 1985? Neither does anyone else. Feast is better than it has any right to be. Still, you should probably only crank this one after you’ve had a few. Black Flag fans beware: these songs make “Bastard in Love” look like “Nervous Breakdown.” Did I mention Würm does a swing metal version of the Flag’s “Padded Cell?” They do, and it’s pretty goofy.
Ministry – The Last Sucker
Ministry had absolutely NO cred left when they released this one in 2007, but it’s still a fine entry in their canon. Crushing / hypnotic waves of industrial guitar, jackhammer drum noise, busloads of anti-GOP rhetoric—a nice callback to Ministry’s strength in pre-Bill Clinton America. Sure, the asphalt-ripping cover of “Roadhouse Blues” is probably the definition of overboard, but can you remember the last time Trent Reznor was this angry?