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virus211 ZEN GUERRILLA
Positronic Raygun
virus211 (1998) LP - $8.00
iTunes
emusic
"Give me a broom, said the Zoom-Zoom man, and I'll Sweep you up some dirt." The shape of cool to come takes center stage. Punk-rock blues from the psychotic garage.





If everyone who bought this magazine picked up a copy of this record from these San Fran-via-Philly big'n'bad-like-a-trainwreck-Stax-soul- with-Chess-heart-psychotroggs, uh… wait a second - if everyone who read this magazine in their favorite store… okay - if everyone who's ever talked about visiting violence on the editor/publisher of this magazine bought a copy of this new Zen Guerilla release, well Positronic Raygun still probably wouldn't crack Billboard, but the mainstreamers'd haveta stick an ear above the ooze and take notice of the best band in the country at the moment (mebbe the Stone'd allow these guys a photo op with Puff Daddy).
     Since the captain has yet to turn off the "Payola" light, I'm just gonna haveta stay strapped in my seat and elaborate a bit. After umpteen thousand live shows in which they've made rabid fans outta complete strangers and pounded flat many an opening (or closing) band (as this correspondent can attest to, bein' the sole survivor of a punk rock outfit wiped out pretty much single-handedly by karate-kickin' singer Marcus Durant in Providence, RI back in '92), Zen Guerrilla has deigned to loose their first full-length on the world (Alternative Tentacles was good enough to package two previously released EPs on one record - last year's Invisible Liftee Pad/Gap Toothed Clown-get it while ya still can). Ya gotta give Raygun a coupla listens just to clear the haze, but by the third, ya just accept this mutation of Isaac Hayes, Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, the Chambers Brothers, a psycho tent revival preacher, and the Cramps as something no self-respectin' rock'n'roll fan should be without.
     Zen Guerrilla messes stuff up so god, you'd swear they got together solely cuz they were plain fed up with the entire spectrum of the FM dial. Maybe that's what "54 Stars and Stripes" is about, but I can't tell for sure cuz Durant's raspo-distorto vocals are real hard to decipher, then again the sound of the music (like a dentist's drill on a concrete sled speedin' down a luge track) oughtta speak for itself. Actually, sounds like that don't speak, they throb like the mother of all migraines turned upside-down into a hiccuping round of bed-spins ("Saucerships to Ragtime"); they speed by ya like a supersonic freight train, only registerin' an aftershock on yer radar(love) ("Tomato Cup"); they stomp into yer chest like Marvin Gaye's preacher daddy throwin' buckshot into "Trouble Man" on his last moment on Earth ("Fingers").
     Can a Nanker/Phelge primeval Stones gem ("Empty Heart" cum-Johhny Thunders) distort Positronic Raygun past the blurred pixels of the album art (a giant spider attacking an unfortunate human)? What'd ya think of some Philly soul from hell like-War-if-they-sounded-more-like-their-name ("Healing in the Water")? Maybe ya wanna hear thrash and response calls to testify and "Rise up in the morning!" with guitarist Rich Millman, bass player Carl Horne, and drummer Andy Duvall effortlessly knocking everything Durant throws at 'em out of the park ("Trouble Shake")? What about that, huh?
     Well, if you're like me and forgot where exactly that last paragraph was going, don't fret 'bout it. I think it had something to do with Positronic Raygun, or it could've been about the other day when I got hit in the head. I just haven't been able to concentrate… Oh, look, the pilot has turned off the "payola" sign. Feel free to stretch, mingle, or proceed directly to your nearest record store. You wouldn't wanna be punching yerself in the mouth later. You need this! (Jon Sarre, Lollipop Magazine #44)

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1. "Saucerships to Ragtime" (2:15)
listen to "Saucerships to Ragtime"   MP3 (2.1 MB)
2. "Trouble Shake" (2:27)
listen to "Trouble Shake"   MP3 (2.3 MB)
3. "Roachman" (1:04)
4. "She's Radar" (2:28)
5. "Tomato Cup" (2:38)
6. "Fingers" (2:15)
listen to "Fingers"   MP3 (2.1 MB)
7. "Empty Heart" (3:16)
listen to "Empty Heart"   MP3 (3.0 MB)
8. "Swamp" (3:45)
9. "54 Stars and Stripes" (2:41)
10. "Healing in the Water" (3:41)
listen to "Healing in the Water"   MP3 (3.4 MB)
11. "2000 Watts Over the South Side" (2:54)
12. "Frequency Out" (2:49)



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