Watching Guitar Wolf videos on YouTube to whip myself into a frenzy before their show, I rediscovered Teengenerate . They were one of the exotic bands for sale in the Rhythm catalogue in mid-90s. I remember chuckling at the listing for the 7" they shared with a band called Bum. Happy, innocent days. Listening to their roaring "Smash Hits" compilation on the mighty Estrus label is always a thrill. As with Guitar Wolf, the more distorted and furious they get, the better they are. Their ram-raiding cover of Mark Hollis's pre-Talk Talk group The Reaction's "Talk Talk Talk Talk" ups the ante on the original and makes vast swathes of the more recent garage punk groups sound a bit tepid.
Sure they're a whole lot more pop than Guitar Wolf and Teengenerate but Shonen Knife are still inhabited by the punk spirit - they did record a whole album of Ramones covers after all! - and their new album for Damnably is a bouncy, melodic joy. After the first couple of plays it feels like one of their best. The title track "Pop Tune" takes catchy to hitherto unimagined levels:
"Psychedelic Life", Not Unloved's current favourite from the album, is an endearing stomp through hippie cliches (incense, peppermint tea, meditation etc.) with added recorder solo that comes off like a schoolgirl's take on a Shocking Blue single. They're doing a UK tour in October and there's no way Not Unloved won't be at the Glasgow leg of it at Oran Mor on the 5th. Not after year's blasting appearance at Nice'n'Sleazy.