Monoshock-WALK TO THE FIRE CD (Blackjack, 663 10th St., Oakland CA 94607, or try Eclipse, not to mention the usual outlets like Bomp! who sell these things)
Monoshock-RUNNIN' APE-LIKE FROM THE BACKWARDS SUPERMAN: 1989-1995 CD (S-S Records, 1114-21st St., Sacramento CA 95814)
Let's face it, the nineties weren't all they were cracked up to be. Oh yeah, I know a few of you out there will say that they were a vast improvement over the eighties with punk rock suddenly going full-blast and even heavy metal making some noise we could all appreciate (that is, if you thought Alice in Chains were the ultimate in heavy metal jamz), but I thought of 'em as an even more downward spiral started when the energy and verve of the seventies (the good seventies mind you) became prostituted to loads of subpar trash that some were stupid enough to believe was an evolutionary step upwards from all of that promise the previous two decades held. But I don't wanna re-rehash things here...just take a gander at yesterday's post for more'n a gist of what I'm tryin' to say here.
So when it comes to the nineties (and the oh-ohs for that matter), it was stuff like Monoshock that at least made them years more or less a bit more bearable in the wake of Nirvana and a lotta their grunge brethren that always came off like the derivative shuck they most certainly were. In a decade that paid lip service to high energy, Monoshock were high energy without the sociology major attitude that plagued (and continues to plague) way too many musical aggregations out there. Rock & roll stripped of forty years of self-consciousness. Lemme tell you, it was a relief to get an earfulla Monoshock back then especially when the competition seemed to be decaying right before my very eyes.
WALK TO THE FIRE was Monoshock's first and only album, a two-disc affair at that which had me salivating upon first listen and made such a shovel-to-the-head smashing IMPRESSION that I actually gave this one the lead review slot in BLACK TO COMM #22 back in 1997. Well, I guess it's now available as a CD (maybe it was then, I don't remember), and you can read that review over by yourself if you like rather'n have me explain to you again and again as to what a nice set that was, a real hard-thump of noise rock that seemed in-place with what the nineties were giving us on one hand, yet too good for them years or the doofuses who populated the "hip" underground enclaves writing reams about every cheap piece of alternative/indie goop to come down the line in order to be "with it." That review of mine was such a wowzer that I feel that I should quote at least one juicy part of it, which'll maybe give you a taste so's you'll go out and buy yourself a copy:
"Imagine a not-so-standardized rock & roll band (guitar, bass guitar, bass bugle, saxophone, drums, percussion and "vox") taking up four sides of vinyl trying to re-enact THE PARABLE OF ARABLE LAND with hefty references snatched from early Hawkwind, early Black Sabbath, FUNHOUSE-period Stooges, RADIO ETHIOPIA-period Patti Smith, Ohr-period Guru Guru and just about everything cool that has gone down in the past 40 years of rock & roll gulcher. Or is that the entire history of the Western World."
Need any more excuses (not) to buy it?
RUNNIN' APE-LIKE is a collection of single/ep sides, comp tracks and a few unreleased things tossed in in order to rope a few nimnuls who think they already have it all on rekkids anyway. Actually, I prefer this one to WALK TO THE FIRE which may prove that Monoshock were a singles band more than anything. The songs are more driving if you can believe that and at times show a mad glint of avant garde pop that seemed to be lacking in most nineties music. From neat covers which also happen to reflect Monoshock's influences(Hawkwind, Radio Birdman and Mirrors) to over-the-top originals, you can't miss with this truly cult classic that may do for early/mid-nineties underground reference points what the Cleveland underground groups did for the early/mid-seventies! Personal fave, the electronic gutter-burst of "Psychedeic Warlords" which is strange because I think when I first heard it the song didn't make any great impression on me, or at least enough of an impression to warrant me wanting to play it again. Just goes to show you something, but even at this point I'm not sure what exactly that is!
Oh, and did I tell you I caught a riff swiped from the Gizmos' "Chicken Queen" (though they swiped it from RAW POWER)???