1–2. The Rebel, "Turtle v. Octopus" and "Please Ban Music" (SDZ).
3–4. Country Teasers, "Prettiest Slave on the Barge" (In the Red) and "Thank You God for Making Me an Angel (Crypt).
5-6. Brainbombs, "Mommy Said" (Ken Rock) and "Jack the Ripper Lover" (Load).
7. Evil Twin, "Adult Movie Dweller" (Livesey).
8. The Ex, "Apathy Disease" (Ex).
9. Throbbing Gristle, "Six Six Sixties" (Mute).
10. Stick Men With Ray Guns, "Christian Rat Attack" (Emperor Jones).
11. Flipper, "Ever" (Def American).
12. Public Enemy, "Fight the Power" (Def Jam).
13. Pink Section, "Francine's List" (MP3 of self-released 12-inch from 1979).
14. No Trend, "Overweight Baby Boom Critter" (Touch and Go).
15. Babes in Toyland, "Vomit Heart" (TwinTone).
16. Au Pairs, "Kerb Crawler" (RPM).
17. Joy Division, "Digital" (Factory).
18. Kim Salmon and the Surrealists, "An Articulation of the Thought" (Black Eye).
There are two things that the Country Teasers' Ben Wallers is really, really good at (three if you count impersonating Mark E. Smith—but I don't). One is making a song out of just about anything—or nothing at all—and the other is backhanded rabble-rousing. One of his heroes is Lenny Bruce. The title of his "solo project" EP, recorded under the name of his alter ego (the Rebel) and issued a month or so ago on a French label, is Exciting New Venue for Soccer and Execution of Women.
Despite the wonderful title, nothing on the new EP is as subversive as the third track on this mix, wherein Mr. Wallers sings about a heavily shackled young thing as if he's a perfectly natural subject for a filthy dirty dirge of a love song, or the fourth, which has Wallers also thanking God that he can "sing about bitches in his song." (It also has him taking so much from Joy Division's "Digital" that I included that song later on the mix because it's going to be stuck in your head anyway.) Although I have it on good authority that he makes a conscious effort, Wallers' satirical scuzzbucketing can't hold a candle to Sweden's Brainbombs and their sludgy, slasher-movie songs. They are hateful and deceitful, and their Ken Rock 7-inch from last year makes a torture ballad out of a song so bad that even the Stooges would have thrown it away. It's weird that something so twisted and wrong can be so right, but well, there you have it.
These songs are equal parts piss and vinegar; their composers are misanthropes all, whether subtle or straightforward. But at least they know who they are ("I am one of the injured," goes the Throbbing Gristle track) and what they're made of ("Hearts as hard as dog chews," from the Evil Twin number). And they know who you are, too. ("You are the trend/You are the disease," No Trend says to our parents, and "It's fear that binds you all together" is Salmon's line on one of the toughest songs ever sung.) I figure you either face down the demons—and give them a name, a voice, and a badass bass line of their own—or you write songs about kitties and glitter. The truth hurts, and I like it when my music stings just a little.
Laura Cassidy is a staff writer at Seattle Weekly.