Two stories up this week about two of the Boston’s best straight-up rock groups – the 12-years-old Konks, who are playing their last show ever tonight at Great Scott, and the just-hatched Trabants, who played an incredible set last night at the Rosebud Bar.
The Konks are a Boston institution and it will be sad to see them go. From the ashes of Bullet LaVolta, Kustomized, the Racketeers and a lot more came this ugly concoction of garage punk on a couple of drums – one of them forever teetering precariously on a stack of milk crates. They’ve bridged the gap between the glorious (yet sometimes moldy) Abbey Lounge-centered rawk scene and the weirdo noise pranksters (see their long-standing alliance with Tunnel of Love), and for that alone they deserve all sorts of medals. These guys are beloved across the board.
They never really toured, but they did play New York a bunch and once got an on-stage introduction from ’70s sleazegali Kim Fowley. They found a trashed upright bass one day, duct-taped it together, and used it for gigs until it caved in on itself mid show at the Midway. When they flew to Vegas for some shows, Davis duct-taped the milk crates together and checked them as luggage. They put out a record on esteemed Bomp! Records (Dead Boys, DMZ, Black Lips) that slipped through the cracks when label founder Greg Shaw passed away. “The audacity, right?” says Wilson. That album’s “29 Fingers” was later resurrected in Rock Band — Davis is an office manager at Harmonix.
But it’s their blatant disregard for lofty ambitions and their zeal for meeting moronic challenges head on that will fuel this legend for years to come. Case in point: the time they won Little Steven’s goofball “Underground Garage Battle of the Bands” on a lark. “We played to 30 people at the Roxy,” says Wilson. “And they gave us thousands of dollars’ worth of gear.” They sold most of it. After they won, they went straight to the Abbey, where they had a show that night.
Another thing that deserves mention is the completely badass synths they hand-built for release with last year’s “Nerves” 7-inch. One of the coolest things anyone has ever put out with a record:
Link to the complete story at the Boston Phoenix here.
Trabants — who isn’t a sucker for surf, spaghetti westerns, and foreign pop music? This band has been curating sets full of the best instrumental pop from all over the world for the last year and half or so — everything from Burt Bacharach’s zany “Bond Street” to the hazy psych freak-outs from old French compilations. And of course, there is impeccably played surf.
The debut Trabants album, dubbed “Highwire Surfing’’ and recorded in old-fashioned mono, is a testament to the power of old-school rock ethics, from its sparse arrangements to its trippy delay. There’s sputtering spring reverb on the guitars, crisp melodies, warm drums, and sly horn lines all over the place. Penna pulls elements from spaghetti western soundtracks such as wheezing harmonicas and sound effects piped in from Telstar satellites. The only twist is in the names; Penna’s affinity for Cold War Eastern European ephemera in Ketman carries over in such song titles as “St. Petersburg Shake’’ and “Zubrówka,’’ the name of a Polish vodka banned in the States. “Trabants’’ themselves were small East German cars ubiquitous throughout Soviet bloc countries.
Link to complete article at the Boston Globe here.