Peggy Sue///Hell by The Spin Doctors

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Electric Blue Peggy Sue and the Revolutionions From Mars by Winona

Finnish band “Electric Blue Peggy Sue and the Revolutionions From Mars” has something to say. What exactly it is, I don’t know. I can barely understand the lead singer, Ray Katz, over the grungy guitars, Drano-laced vocals, and chunky chords. In a post-Stooges universe, “Electric Blue,” as I’ll henceforth refer to them, is made up of a little bit of Big Black, a pinch from The Flesh Eaters, and a very weird fascination with the Beatles.

Give me a moment to digress. Alternative Finnish rockers are very near and dear to my heart (well one alternative Finnish rocker). On a balmy night during my wild high school days, I made my way down to Whiskey A Go Go club in Hollywood for an all-ages night of Finnish fun. As usual, in the hi-octane crowd situation I was amazingly crushed, so I sought refuge in the very back of the venue and watched a Finnish band called The Rasmus sweat and sometimes shred on-stage. It was cool, but I was far away and with a friend and wearing colors that were much too bright, and generally felt terribly out of place. After the show I lingered for a while, letting the crowd clear, when I noticed the band standing to my right, ordering a few beers. They saw me and smiled, somehow they had slipped away from the crowd unnoticed. They said they liked my shirt or something, and proceeded to introduce themselves in very, very limited English. They were the kind of band that used more eyeliner than was really appropriate, but hell, they were the nicest group of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. We spent about 15 more minutes chatting or trying to and they gave me a free shirt, told me to come to Finland, and went on their way.

First impression? Finnish bands are really freaking nice.

So I noticed Electric Blue’s album, featuring a Great White Shark on the cover, and lay it down on the turntable to one track described as “Ya ya!” in the review.

“Right Feel” by Electric Blue 

And here’s a photo to set your peepers on:

The first 10 seconds of this song start like a weird They Might be Giants track (the guitar riff and playful vibe n all).  But then Katz’s vocals come in, all screech and lighter fluid and what have you, and take this somewhere else. It’s fun, it’s kind of exotic, it’s weird as hell. The repetitive guitar and steady beat make the outlandish vocals sound even more defiant against such a controlled backdrop. It’s a short and sweet song that oscillates between “fuck you” and “let’s dance,” and that sounds really great in the context that this is a band that worships the Beatles (their title “Revolutionion” a conscious play on the Beatles “Revolution”) and makes music that sounds like gristle. They’re definitely not the Rasmus, but maybe the next best thing.

 

Richard Hell by Joseph 

I’m not very punk rock. Right now I’m wearing khaki pants and grass-stained Asics sneakers. My hair is neat if unshowered. I smell like stale air and sitting sweat. Richard Hell is punk rock. He wore torn shirts. He spiked his hair. He dropped out of high school to write poetry in New York City. Shit, Richard Hell did Sid Vicious before Sid Vicious did Sid Vicious. Of course, the aesthetic doesn’t make the movement, as much as some people seem to think, but Richard Hell also literally started punk rock. He was in the first iteration of Television. He played at CBGB in the ‘70s. To quote LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, he “was there.” He was right there at that time in that place with all those people.

I didn’t start listening to punk until college and I’m still very unknowledgeable about the genre and its history. In high school, I primarily bumped Andrew Bird and the Decemberists. The record Blank Generation by Richard Hell and the Voidoids literally couldn’t have existed in my reality then. If someone had played me this record, a black hole would have sucked up my hometown with the quiet whoosh of a thousand suburbanites’ repressed screams.

I’m still not punk rock and chances are I’ll never be. I’m a cautious person. I keep diligent To Do lists. That being said, it’s Friday. It’s 6:26 PM and I’m still at work writing this. I’m tired and I have a headache. My eyes are dry because I drank too much coffee today. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna throw this song on and crash into the weekend.

 

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