The Screeches


oh wait they changed their name

*special introductory paragraph!

The Screeches used to be the Leeches. Read on for more detail. Roger Moore detail, that is! (They're British)

Suck - British Medical Records 2002
Rating = 8

The Weeds BLOW! The Seeds STINK! And the Leeches SPIT BLOOD! That's today's biology lesson. The Leeches hail from Britain and play what they call a "high-energy brand of twisted anglo-ironic artpunk." Interestingly enough, that's not a bad description! Their guitarist Andy Cooper double-tracks the crankle and fuzz with raw electrical jankling and bashing as a female vocalist toys with losers' emotions by jumping from cute-and-detached to bitter-as-a-schoolmarm in the time it takes most women to have sex when Mark Prindle is around. I don't mean to brag, but it's true - any time a woman has sex with me, we're finished pretty quickly and I can make it home in time for Tic-Tac-Dough. Don't thank me now!

The closest approximation of a comparison that I'd care to make for the Creative Leeches is that they SORT of have a sound kind of a LITTLE comparable a TAD to The Fall's more reverbed material - with the crankly, "occasionally bordering on rockabilly but too creative to be rockabilly" sound and style. And in 28 minutes, your heart will demonstrate appreciation for numerous genres torn apart at their hands, including happy midtempo smart-tones (their heavenly tinny/acoustic/guitar solo anthem "Hey" is even better than the Pixies song of the same name!), brash punkers (you name `em, you got `em! I suppose that sort of follows though, doesn't it. How could you name them if you don't own the CD. Odds are you haven't heard them on the radio or "The Real World"TV.) and darker mood pieces like "Obedience" with its queasy stomach-churning low-end vomit swoops tempting your tummy with the taste of nuts and honey - it's a honey of an "O" - it's "O"-bedience.

The Leeches are one of the most consistently smart and entertaining new batches of songwriter/musicians that I've hapt across in quite some time - and they're not even part of that insane hardcore punk/metal screaming movement I keep talking about all the time. Any fan of The Fall or early Gang of Four or Killing Joke should buy a copy of Suck today. They have a classic double-guitar hyperactive artpunk sound (I can't BELIEVE they only have one guitarist - these are songs that sound like they were written by TWO guitarists! But it's just one guy!!!! ONE GUY!!!!!), but without sounding like a copy of ANYBODY. They do their own thing and it sounds terrific. A high 8 from me! And I'm not just saying that because one of the guys likes my web site a lot!

I am, however, just saying THIS because one of the guys likes my web site a lot: "Dude! You know what would KICK ASS? Wearing a shirt that says `New York Fuckin City!' That would be SO WACK!"

If "wack" is good. Who knows with youth culture in the gutter like it is today - did you know that the latest thing among teenagers is to wear their pants on their head? It's nuts! Everywhere you go, there's these kids walking around with their pants on their head. And have you heard about these "Piss Corrals" they have? They all gather together in public libraries, punch each other in the kidneys and draw pictures on the wall using the blood in their urine! Even the GIRLS! What is UP with kids these days? You've heard of Britney Spears, right? You know what her big hit single is? It's called "Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman, Yet Have Breast Implants." Can you believe me? This is nutRAgeous! Can't somebody stop the world from calamitizing around the iron core of my home? Maybe YOU should keep an eye on what YOUR kids are doing!!!! Because MY kids are upstairs in bed, thank you very much!!!!!

Huh? Well, no. But fertilization or no fertilization, I call them my kids and about sixty thousand of them are upstairs in a puddle on the bed right now. THANKS FOR NOTHING, BEA ARTHUR!!!!!

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Skidmarks - British Medical Records 2003
Rating = 8

E Pluribus Unum, everybody! E Pluribus Unum! Heh heh heh. You know what that means? "Out of Many, One." Originally the advertising slogan for a Three Dog Night single, this phrase was added to America's currency in 1970 when president Richard Nixon realized that the dollar's original motto, "Worthless Paper Backed By Nothing," was leading to the greatest inflationary period that the world has ever known. So if some trickster tries to bum your trip with a seven-dollar bill bearing the likeness of Martin Luther King, tell them, "No thanks! E Pluribus Unum!"

As you can see, Mark Prindle's Record Review Guide and Online History Museum is both a recreational AND educational destination for our children (who are the future), so it's only in the best interests of society and the global economy that federal funds be allocated to the ongoing preservation of this national treasure. As Abraham Lincoln said when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what your country can do for Mark Prindle." Legal experts have argued that Lincoln never actually spoke these words, but that's the same as calling Abraham Lincoln stupid and I won't have you speak that way about my United States of America.

Our next exhibit is The Leeches/Screeches shenanigan fiasco. Much has happened to this jolly band of cockney rebels since their last release. First and foremost, my brother got me the The Office DVD for Christmas, so now do I not only understand what it's like to be British, but I AM British. Secondly -- and you'd think I was joking here if it wasn't so tragic and horrible -- their bass player DIED. The guitarist told me how it happened and I abruptly forgot, but I think it might have been a medical condition of some sort. Whatever the reason, that's...well, terrible, quite frankly. So let's move on to lighter issues, like the cease-and-desist order they received from a much more famous group already calling themselves The Leeches (you know who I'm talking about - that band "The Leeches" with the big hit single climbing up the charts). Unable to continue using the name The Leeches, our band of foreigners (except when they're in Britain) decided to retain some sort of continuity by using a name that rhymes with "leeches." After a few false starts with "Peaches," "Feces" and "The Beach Boys," they finally settled on "The Screeches," a name synonymous with an obnoxious character from a shitty old U.S. TV show called Saved By The Bell (Shh - don't TELL them this and RUIN it for them!) So that's the history. Now let's get to the music, 'ello?

Skidmarks presents a different sound for the band, guitaringly. The last one struck me as a little bit challenging, with duelling guitar skrankle-ploof crackling the fizzle-fazzle etc, but the follow-up is mostly straightforward (but creative) gutar riffery. The guitars still zoom out of each speaker, but much of the time they're playing the same part. Don't fear the musical reaper though, because Mr. Andy still keeps things interesting with some terrific lead guitar lines -- check out the pretty note run in the verse of "Do Gooder" and the sorrowful arpeggiations in both "Back To The Wall" (which bashes Madonna as she deserves to be bashed) and "Dangling Man" (in which the female singer portrays a male suicide victim with a high girly voice). In a larger sense, what we're looking at here is some fast punkish rock and roll, a tad of poppy new wavey beach bingo and a wee bit of sad slow nervousness -- all awash with the awesome, gritty distortion of (a) loud guitars using (b) no effects pedals but (c) pumped up really loudly through (d) tube speakers. But the riffs are NEW! Punk sequences yet unheard; rock lines yet unexperienced. Look at the Sonic Youthy "Alice," for example. It's already a pleasant enough guitar run, but then he throws in those orangey flicky-flicky high chords at the end of each vocal line -- to just to keep the music as interesting as possible for himself and many others. That to me is the sign of an intelligent musician.

But enough about the fucking guitar player. Fuck that asshole and his goodness. Let's move on to the new bass player, who also goes out of his way to create original music for your ears (especially in the odd lumpy "Misfit" song -- AND NO, I DON'T MEAN "TWENTY EYES!" HA HA! A LITTLE GLENN DANZIG HUMOR FOR ALL THE NOSTALGICS OUT THERE!). The drummer seems good too, although sorely lacking in notes and chords. And vocalist Kate is sounding even more icy and cold than before, like she'd just as soon poke a fingernail in your eye as listen to you tell a hilarious joke about eggs. Check out her mocking high-pitched vibratoed "ohhhh!"s and bored silly "What-evah" in "Lovely Day" and you sure as hell won't want to lend this cruel devil your dalmation collection any time soon! Heh heh. Get it? "Cruel Devil"? "Cruella Deville"? 101 Dalmations?

Look, not all jokes work.


Also, lots of songs have these really bored-sounding male back-up vocals. I like those and highly recommend them to rock music in general.

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