"Cheaper than the Beer"
◉ ◉ ◉ ◉ ○(4/5: great)
Punk 7" vinyl
Lookout! lk31 (1990)
I don't remember how much I paid for this.
Your Blatz experience begins with a menacing West Side Story dance-fight chant of "Tonight we're gonna fuck shit up." You, in your milquetoast suburban home, start to feel the hairs rise on the back of your neck. Are they going to scratch the paint on your BMW? Did they figure out your ATM pin? ARE THEY GOING TO SELL YOUR STOCKS AT A LOSS!?!?!

No, they don't care about you. They probably don't care about anything. This nihilistic approach shows in their music, a crusty chaos of punk and purposefully grating male/female vocals. Annie is a particularly talented screaming vocalist and Jesse grits his teeth together and hacks out a counterpoint that's more in tune but equally pained. Beneath the dueling vocalists of 2+ singers and one-take sloppiness of the band, there is some decent songwriting happening. Driving rhythms and good note choice keep the first two songs in your head long after the record stops playing. These are perfect 1990's teenage rebellion songs: your parents will hate it.

"Lullaby" begins the slight downturn to this record. A weird guitar phasing/flanging effect puts you off and the melodramatic slowness puts you to sleep. It might also hint that Annie can actually sing as she hums randomly behind Anna Joy's husky rasp. The B-side includes two songs not on the Blatz/Filth split that I listened to religiously in 1995, so they aren't as tinged with nostalgia as "Fuk Shit up" is. There is more of the guitar effect that I dislike but there's more of the yelling that I do like. "Blatz To The Future" is a grimy anti-sellout song (4 years before Green Day even made it big!) with a great chorus: "We're sick and tired of punk rockers playing in business suits!" "Hustler" is about playing pool. It lacks some of the rhythmic hooks that the previous songs have, but continues to be sloppy and full of yelling.

Peppered throughout the record are outtakes and silliness. "Hustler" ends with someone meowing, for example. There are a few extra people just talking at the start of "Fuk Shit Up." For some reason, I really like this effect. Similar to the cover of "With or Without You" that 10:07 did, the extra bits add to the songs instead of detract from them. Make them more real, more attainable. That's always been one of the features of punk that I like: anyone can do this. Of course, it's not that easy to make the perfect teenage rebellion song like Blatz have, but you are encouraged to try. DIY, do or die!
A1: Fuk Shit Up
A2: Fuk New York
A3: Lullaby
B1: Blatz To The Future
B2: Hustler
Last updated: 02/26/2014
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