RHINO-39: Self-titled: 2 x CD

Jul 25, 2008

As a certified non-West-Coast-grower-upper, the totality of my Rhino-39 knowledge was obtained from four discrete sources: 1. Their song on the Hell Comes To Your House compilation; 2. Their song on the American Youth Report compilation; 3. Their name being plastered across miscellaneous flyers which i had managed to inveigle from kindred West-Coast-grower-uppers; and 4.The fine print on the sides of various commercial aerosol disinfectant cans. It is perhaps not a mark in the band’s favor that the thing that always struck me as the most interesting thing about them was that they named themselves after a germ with a cool name ((and, if you think about that for a while, shouldn’t most of the resultant Cool Points™ be awarded to the germ itself, not the band who merely hitched their wagons to that germ’s mighty star?)). Based on the two songs of theirs that i knew, i always sort of thought that they were kind of in with the less weighty elements of the SST/New Alliance crowd ((i.e., perhaps they didn’t completely hate jazz- and art- rock, and wouldn’t sound out of place on a record with Raymond Pettibon cover art)). However, now that my square-ass ass has been set hip to their initial three-song Dangerhouse release, it is apparent that i was completely oblivious to their status as early entrants in the “first ever hardcore band, maybe” sweepstakes, which, in any rational nut’s taxonomy, puts them more in line with Middle Class, than, say, Saccharine Trust or Overkill ((what’s also amazing is how much the chord progression in “Prolixin Stomp” sounds like that last song on the first Leg Hounds CD, which technically makes Rhino-39 the earliest known Devil Dogs clones—so early on the bandwagon, in fact, as to predate the formation of the band by whom they were influenced by well over a decade. Now THAT’S early adoption!)). Further, the band’s ratty little breakneck guitar solo in “Xerox 12” reminds me of Tommy Hawk’s zany thrash-pop fretboard butchering from the early stages of Cleveland’s Offbeats ((whose existence was still a good three years away at the time of “Xerox 12”s recording)), and even the occasional goofy keyboard solos herein might have predated the similar spaz-out in the Dead Kennedys’ “Stealing People’s Mail” by a few calendar months, so obviously this band, to their great credit, was clearly out ahead of numerous curves. That said, the sort of not-really-in-my-face guitar sound, coupled with their kinda echoey vocal treatment, kinda puts the bulk of this band’s work more in line with the whole The Last/Urinals crowd ((more Last than Urinals, to be sure)) than any of those other bands i mentioned ((except maybe for Middle Class. Yes, i am vacillating. I can’t help it, it’s that time of the month)). But, THAT said, I’ve listened to the Hell Comes to Your House album moderately extensively over the course of the last quarter-century, and when “Marry It” rolled around, it barely registered as a song that i should theoretically be familiar with. My conclusion, after thorough inspection, is that the coolest thing about this band is their three songs from the Dangerhouse single, and the second coolest thing about this band is still that they named themselves after a germ. Take that as thou wilt. BEST SONG: “Prolixin Stomp” BEST SONG TITLE: “Xerox 12,” but only because the band name is “Rhino-39.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Longing to hear what the band sounded like live, i copped a squint at the video footage on Disk 2, and was amazed that the band pretty much sounded exactly like they did on record. It took me until the video was halfway over to realize that the footage was shot without audio, and that they did, in fact, dub songs from their record over the top of it. Doi.

 –norb (Nickel and Dime)