The Drug Czars On Venus Thanks to the USSR

Drug Czars

On Venus

(Fruit Bat Entertainment)

Last time we looked at the Drug Czars, we drew little lines separating the old from the new and identified these guys as potential line-blurrers. And keeping in the tradition of skipping around in artist's catalogues, we'll be looking at their last released effort, the On Venus EP.

Back for the reverb-y, echo-y garage punk ride are Michael O'Brien (guitars, vocals and tapes) and Jeff Hodapp (guitars/bass) with new recruits Marky Awesome (bass) and Chuck Loose (drums).

There are some cool tape loops bookending this slab of wax, adding a nice, nervous psychedelic edge to the proceedings. Meanwhile, the actual tracks are rock 'n' roll bliss. Deviant, bizarre in subject matter, weirdly Floridian, and far more punk rock than records half its age.

Opener "Rat Farm" sets the mood with some raging guitars and tight rhythm before OK-ing our mutual demise with the incestuously depraved and deranged "Little Debbie." Hoo-boy! Side B continues the delicacies of kitchen referential material with "Freezer Burn," which is more reminiscent of Roach Motel and hardcore-tinged Eat than the poppier stuff on the Drug Czars' first EP. "One Less Life to Live" closes the EP on a bleak and slightly psyched point. It's a good track.

The EP was recorded in 1998 by Rat Bastard and it was released in 1999. Aside from having a good card stock cover, the artwork is simple and illustrated with space photography compliments of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

This one crops up with frequency for decent bucks and I suggest you get your hands on it. On Venus is a solid EP that merits many listens.

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Abel Folgar