Turning Blue (Disaster)
by Jon Sarre
When ya stick Alive/Total Energy records head guy Patrick Bissel in the same room with US Bomb’s Duane Peters and have ’em put together a label, obviously “punk rock oriented” is gonna be a handy tag/slur for the result of such scheming, right? Of course. Thus Disaster Records hits the racks with Smogtown and The Pushers, two of Orange County’s finest old school punk outfits, complete with snotty Anglo-aping vox (which is what ya get when Duane Peters is house producer).
Smogtown runs thru the numbers well enough. They’ve got suburban teen dream nightmares and distill ’em thru the fewest three chords any human’s ever decided they need. Take a second or two to picture that (done), think of Ramones cops (“Judy’s a Model,” “Neighborhood Brat”) if ya really need more info. Think high school vandalisms comin’ from guys who appear to be in their thirties (“Teen Age,” “Ode to Street Violence,” the fucking great “Harbor Blvd. Nights”). I don’t quite get all the “Bodie Go!” references and Smogtown’s radiation paranoia and New Wave-bashing kinda gives the impression that they’re a bit more stuck in the ’80s then they need to be, it’s almost as if their frames of reference are frozen in time until the Dead Kennedys put a new record out.
Disaster’s other new release is the sophomoric sophomore slab from The Pushers who get all suitably dumbass as they vomit up yell and response shout-alongs. Turning Blue is chock fulla brain-impaired observations about how astronauts get “free Tang” (“Space Monkeys”), how being a slut can hurt a girl’s marital prospects (“Fish Nets”), what a drag it is to hang out with welfare moms (“Welfare Girl”), junkie tales/odes/warnings/PSAs (lots of ’em), acoustic/electric songs about the beach (“Mini Street”) and the Dead Boy’s “Caught Wit’ The Meat In Your Mouth.” The Bator/Chrome lyrics on that last one makes the shit the Pushers push sound just plain dumb. It’s okay when yer not paying close attention, tho’, but with Duane Peters doing A&R;, there’s just gonna be more to ignore.
(PO Box 7112 Burbank, CA 91510)