El Buzzard was from Cupertino, CA. As this area of the country is known more for Steve Jobs’ flashy cars not having proper tags and the “Infinite Loop” where all Apple products are born, this music is a great incongruity. Made up of members of the short lived Mohinder from the early nineties (also from Cupertino), El Buzzard was magnanimous enough to put their entire discography of 2001-2007 for download at http://elbuzzard.net/. Mohinder and El Buzzard were a far flung cry from kids today who wear tight neon clothing and operate under overcast terms like “screamo” and “emo”. Loud, frantic music and scenes expertly cut from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre make great cuddle buddies. This song is “Gagged/Garinshed” from the album Gringa.
Wrangler Brutes were around for even a shorter time, just about a year (2003-2004). Kind of like an all star punk/hardcore team, WB boasted Sam McPheeters on vocals (Born Against) and Andy Coronado on guitar (Monorchid, Skull Kontrol). On their album Zulu Keith Morris and Chris Thomson contributed vocals. There is always the argument about having too many cooks in the kitchen, and in this case there were a lot of great cooks hanging around, but predictably, the music came out great. The song above, “Take a Bath” is from their 16 song “demo” originally put out on a cassette (!). Finding and securing a record by Wrangler Brutes is not easy, so if you do come across one it is in your best interests to pick it up since everything they did sounds fantastic.
Teengenerate were around for three years (1993-1996) but left a slew of singles, compilation appearances and two wonderfully incomprehensible albums. Back on the shores where Rock n Roll was invented and perfected, many hung their heads in shame because we forgot it was suppose to be fun, goddamit. These two songs can be found on the full length Get Action, which also included a cover of “Shake Rattle n Roll” that defied the laws of gravity and speed for a song played in the 20th century.
In 1995 Nada Surf released the song “Popular”. The song proved two things: They could produce a hit and that high school doesn’t ever really die, it just hibernates in the part of your brain that also controls bowel function. On their follow up release to High/Low some musically retarded “magic” makers at Elektra Records smeared chicken blood on the walls and didn’t foresee teenagers spending their paper route money on another Nada Surf album. Among the covers they suggested for the album The Proximity Effect was a song called “Why Are You So Mean to Me?” It was a hit single on the original 1998 release but has since been taken off on reissues.
“Why Are you So Mean to Me?” was by Topeka, KS own Vitreous Humor; it was a great song before it was covered and Nada Surf did not improve, add to or take the song places it had not already traveled to with its original writers. The song also happened to be one of many crashing, chugging and exceptionally crescendo’d tunes Vitreous Humor had produced in an abbreviated six year existence.
“385 Ft. Wide” is my favorite. Like a number of their others, it starts off with an infectious bass, then explodes into a short ride to the lip of Danny Pounds vocal wave. Rock writer Jim Miller wrote that he could hear Veronica Bennett of The Ronettes strain in songs to hit the proper notes that other premier female vocalists of her time seemingly belted out with ease. Luckily, for Danny Pound it was the 1990’s and the strain became an otherworldly, fantastic affectation. Unluckily for Pound, his powerful heartfelt rasp led to a punctured lung and the end of Vitreous Humor.
Songs that are titled after a woman’s first name are so steeped in cliches of old rock n’ roll it’s difficult to get out the chisel and hammer to see what’s really below. The lyrics were courtesy of Screeching Weasel, but Sam McPheeters screaming out “Janelle” like it’s his last word ever is all Born Against.
“Never love a wild thing…. He was always lugging home wild things. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was a full-grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can’t give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they’re strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That’s how you’ll end up…. If you let yourself love a wild thing. You’ll end up looking at the sky.” Truman Capote from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1958
From Red Fang to this, it makes sense if you disconnect the dots a bit. This video of Sabbath in Paris was shot the same year Paranoid came out. Recorded at the world famous Olympia in Paris, which was founded in 1888 by the very same guy who started Moulin Rouge.
A 40 year old, over-the-hill sonic testament to a great band seemingly at the height of their power.