J CHURCH: Seishun Zankoku Monogatari: CD

This is the San Francisco trio’s second Japan-only release. The title roughly translates to Cruel Story of Youth. Half of the songs are covers and half are originals that veer all over the map stylistically but somehow hold together. “Who Killed Pasolini?” laments the loss of the important Italian writer/poet—“Who took Pasolini’s life/a prostitute of the extremist right?/why has no one cared enough to take his spirit’s fight?” “Near 600 Pages” is another literary discussion that goes beyond your basic freshman English class concerns. The covers range from The Cars to Richard Hell. The Fall’s “Psycho Mafia” seems to be stuck in my skull the most. Cool guitar riffage and heartfelt vocals make this one to seek out—or even order as a pricey import. Makes me want to find out more about this band that has been deserving increased attention for far too long.

 –koepenick (Snuffy Smile)