3/12/2011

PILLBOX - Jimbo's Clown Room

PILLBOX Jimbo's Clown Room cd 1993
Get Hip / Holly / What She Wants / Sister Caroline / Bobby's Shakin' Again / Sinister Urge / Come up Heroin / Nowhere Land / Devil in My Bed / 5000 Miles.
Produced by Pillbox & J. Aiosa.
Pillbox: C. Barry: vocals / Mr Ratboy: guitars / Screamin' J. Rizzo: drums / J. Baum: bass.

Before there was a Strokes to make it safe as milk, the snarly glam punk spirit of the Stooges, New York Dolls and Dead Boys lived for a time in the skinnyassed tattooed bodies of Pillbox, a New York quartet which offered a skankier, more menacing and less theatrical alternative to the likeminded and better-known D Generation. In capturing the lost-boys sound and tawdry ambience of their idols without overdoing it, the energetic "Jimbo's Clown Room" drives down a power alley of sharp, memorable songs on twin hotrods, guided by guitarist Ratboy's slithery Johnny Thunders/Steve Jones raunch and ex-39 Steps singer Chris Barry's wavering, whiny conviction. The catchy plea to a drug dealer ("Come Up Heroin") is pitiful and obnoxious, but "What She Wants," "Sister Caroline" and the amphetaminized "Nowhereland" wrap the line between inspiration and imitation around history's neck to fine effect.

The Pillbox on the flatly recorded followup EP has a new bassist and a different singer/lyricist. Although he clearly wouldn't have suited the sound of Jimbo's Clown Room, the plain-voiced Mark Phelan is also the wrong man for the band's newly slicked-back guitar rock, a poppier and not specifically retro-minded rethink. As Pillbox's sonic architect, Ratboy (Gilbert Avondet) reveals himself capable of writing and playing more complicated and subtle music — the atmospheric drug epic "Red Bag/Blue Bag" dedicates delicate piano, feedback and acres of space to a strongly melodic chorus — but Pillbox never latches onto any ideas as immediate or exciting as the album. TrouserPress.com

Buy it HERE !

13 commentaires:

MIDNIGHT RAMBLER a dit…

PILLBOX "Jimbo's Clown Room" cd 1993

This is one of my all-time favorite bands and in my opinion, one of the truly great records of the 1990s. This is the first post-39 Steps record that Chris Barry, who many might know from his days in the late '70s fronting Montreal's first ever, and definitely greatest ever, punk rock band, the 222s. He was only 16 years old when the 222's were operating, and when they broke up in 1981 he eventually went on to form 39 Steps from of their ashes. 39 Steps, you may recall, were the band who Dianne Wiest took Woody Allen to see at CBGBs in his film Hannah and her Sisters, in that great scene where Woody takes considerable issue with Weist's assertion that in 39 Steps, he was "witnessing genius." The 39 Steps had a very bright future set out for them at one point in the mid-80s but apparently got screwed over by a series of bad record deals and so much bad luck that they just sort of faded away and finally broke up in 1991 after having relocated to NYC from their native Montreal. But not before releasing a couple of truly amazing rock and roll records that just didn't seem to fit in with their time. J.Levebre
Review on Amazon.com

MIDNIGHT RAMBLER a dit…

For all those out there who love the 39 Steps music as much as I do, they've absolutely got to hear the band that the singer Chris Barry started in New York after 39 Steps broke up. They were called Pillbox [NYC] and the one and only record they did with Barry is called Jimbo's Clown Room. And it's mind-blowing. A gritty snapshot of life in New York's Alphabet City that is lyrically and musically stunning! It also includes one of the most spot on accurate songs about heroin addiction that I've ever heard, Come Up Heroin. I strongly believe that Jimbo's Clown Room is a masterpiece. It's obscure, consistently overlooked, but I've never played it to anyone who didn't eventually find themselves feeling as strongly about it as I do...
J.Levebre
Review on Amazon.com

Anonyme a dit…

Hey man,

Thanks for posting this. Hopefully "The Clown Room" will get the exposure it deserves one day...I'm happy to see that Pillbox is someone's all-time favorite bands. We put our heart & soul into this record then and both Chris Barry & myself are very proud of this it today.

Mr. Ratboy in Tokyo

Anonyme a dit…

Excellent! Thanks.

Ritasse a dit…

Excellent! Thank you.

MIDNIGHT RAMBLER a dit…

Hi Mr Ratboy,
Thanks for the comment!
"Jimnbo's Clown Room" is a very good album, for sure !
Cheers from France

MJG196 a dit…

Thanks a lot for this - I never heard of them!

Anonyme a dit…

crazy! I just put this record on, came and visited the site, and here it is, right at the top. Saw these guys a few times, opening for The Ramones amongst others. The album is a stone-cold classic and that 7-inch pictured below has great alternate versions of the stuff on the album. There's also a 5-track demo of the same sessions I believe. Great stuff! - Rich Jones, London

Anonyme a dit…

Mr Ratboy new band Sour Jazz are very rocking good too. many records and all favorite.

Doug a dit…

Thank you very much Mr M Rambler!

Anonyme a dit…

Anybody know how i could get my hands on that 5-song demo Rich from London mentioned? That would be very, very cool! Thanks

MIDNIGHT RAMBLER a dit…

I never heard about these demos... I know that there's an official 10 '' ep out in 1995 on Feralette records but it's not demos.

Chris a dit…

Thanks for the 411 Midnight Rambler. I've heard the 10-inch Pillbox record you're talking about but it's not with Chris Barry and frankly, I didn't think it was very good. And this is from somebody who LOVES Jimbo's Clown Room. I'll keep looking around for the Pillbox demos online but I have a feeling they'll be pretty hard to find. Hardly anybody knows about this crazy great band in thee first place so I'd be really surprised if any unreleased demos from such an obscure group were to surface all these years later. But if you or anybody out there does somehow come across them, if they even exist, please post about it here becuz I would so love to hear any other Chris Barry-era Pillbox stuff that might still exist.