NECK TIE PARTY “STRANGER STILL” 3-SONG 7″EP When I first listened to the EP in its entirety from start to finish “Little Dahlin” and “Squash…” kind of blend into each other and play together like one long song but I split them apart here. If you want to be a purist, then open up yer sound editing software and cut and paste both songs together so they’re one long track in their original incarnation. The band has a cool Facebook page, so check out it out- there’s lots of great, fun, vintage pictures of the band playing (both on stage and off-stage).
(LONG ISLAND, NY- LITTLE BORIS, 1981)
There is a LOT of funny stuff happening on the front of the sleeve (more commentary
on that later!) And more later on the THREE different sleeve variations that exist
as well. Perhaps an episode of It Never Ends is needed! The record also came with
a sticker insert, but then some of those were an orange day-glo color while others
The back of the sleeve is more tame and we see that this was the band lineup:
Antino Teterone- Vocals
Bwap Masterson- Bass
Caleb Macabre- Guitar
Mike Ock- Drums
You will also notice that the credits section include “Maxx The Dogg” for his
barking on the last song (listen carefully and you will hear it). This has to
be the first time I’ve ever seen a dog credited for helping to add additional
audio on a punk record- hilarious!
Here’s the insert sticker that came with the record,
in its orange color variation. I think I heard one
time that this thing measured at like 5 x 7 inches,
but of course you would never know that from this
The band (l to r): Antino (vocals) / Caleb (guitar) / Bwap (bass) / Mike Ock (drums)
This is the original picture that was used for the above sticker insert.
Dig the singer’s moustache, which I think is a solid runner up for “best punk moustache”.
(#1 of course goes to Pat Fear (RIP) from White Flag…)
First off, gotta love the band name which is a slang phrase from the old West for someone being hanged. Or it sounds like some kinda phrase that the Mafia would use.
Secondly, whatever the record sounds like (only one song will appeal to “purist” fans of crazy KBD-ish punk), you can tell these guys were having a good time and having FUN which is always a plus and brings a smile to my face. The whole fun thing was lost on many bands from the KBD years who took themselves too seriously eh.
I mean, just look at the crazy artwork on the front of the sleeve (see above)- a band member with a big, unkempt 70’s beard has a sockpuppet (?!) on his hand and he looks to be having some sort of serious, pissed off dialogue with it. Hilarious. And then the other artwork- two outstretched arms are reaching out (and about to be bit by) what might be snakes. But they actually look more to me like two electric eels. And then one arm has this heart tattoo on it, like one of those heart tattoos you may see with a heart and the word “Mom” above it. However, this tattoo has a 13 letter(!) abbreviation on it and god knows that those 13 letters stand for. Must be some kind of in-joke that only the band (or maybe only the artist) understood. The artwork definitely lives up to the record title “Stranger Still”…
The good time vibe comes through on all 3 songs, from the over 6 minute(!) title song which is a post-punkish type of thing done at a slooooowww pace. During this song, they try a little bit of everything as various sound effects and instruments pop up all over the place. According to one of the sleeve variations, this song was in the Top 5 for airplay at WUSB SUNY Stonybrook in Long Island at the time, right up there with Agent Orange’s “Everything Turns Grey”.
The second song, “Little Dahlin”, is kind of a punky send up of a doo-wop song from the late 50’s or something. With repeated listens, this song is a catchy one that has a tongue-in-cheek vibe throughout it from the self-mocking “Wee ooo-ooo-ooo!” chorus to the hilarious spoken word part near the end of the song between a guy and his lady. The guitars sound nice on this tune and the pace is a nice, quicker one. And then the sound effects at the end of the song with the sped-up noises is funny.
For my ears, the highlight is the last song “Squash…” in which they really let loose and play fast, like they’re racing each other to the end of the song (which I think is always a good thing for bands to try to do). The vocals get all snotty during the chorus, the guitar is on-point, and the drumming is one of the real highlights of the song. Total manic crazy drumming which- as one person properly observed- brings to mind the hyperactive drumming on the 1st Damned LP. The way he plays, I myself picture him practically standing up from his drum chair so he could play so manic and maintain that pace for the length of the whole song. And dig those “Oh my” falsetto background vocals. And listen carefully to the crafty lyrics that maintain the “squashing” theme throughout them- first a dog meets his maker, then a cat, then a duck, and finally someone who unfortunately gets drafted into the Army who doesn’t want to be squashed.
I first heard of the band back in 2005 when “Squash…” was included on the last-great vinyl KBD comp, Staring Down The Barrel. It was a total standout track, and when I first heard it I was like “What the hell is this? Where’s this record been hiding all these years? How come I never heard of them before?!” I’ve been wanting to hear the entire EP for some time, so thanks to Andrew for providing the rips!
The version of “Squash…” that was on Staring Down The Barrel has the ending sound effects edited out but here I included the unedited version of the song. And the ending part is pretty funny to me- the singer’s voice is slowed down to a sludge pace where it sounds like he’s saying “Sheee-ittt, Mo Fo’s!!” and “C’mon, little doggies”. Very funny. Thanks for the laughs, I chuckle every time I hear it.
When I first listened to the EP in its entirety from start to finish “Little Dahlin” and “Squash…” kind of blend into each other and play together like one long song but I split them apart here. If you want to be a purist, then open up yer sound editing software and cut and paste both songs together so they’re one long track in their original incarnation.
The band has a cool Facebook page, so check out it out- there’s lots of great, fun, vintage pictures of the band playing (both on stage and off-stage).