Before heading to Scandinavia last summer I’d read that Helsinki and Stockholm were crate diggers’ paradises with strong vinyl cultures. We started our trip in Finland, and I must say I was disappointed, though in large part this was because I was primarily looking for local punk records. Jazz is huge there, and so is metal, so that stuff was plentiful, but for punk I was forced to settle for a handful of used CDs and frankly I was glad to have them. I did come across a copy of Lama’s self-titled LP from 1982, but the 100 Euro price tag scared me off. Turns out that’s actually a decent price, but it was still way more than I was willing to spend, especially considering I’d already bought the same album on CD for 10 Euro. So we went to Sweden with an empty record bag, and I was nervous.
I shouldn’t have been though, because the guys at Trash Palace in Stockholm had my back. To say their collection of punk and metal was fantastic would be an understatement, and I came away with a nice stack of vinyl… but not before I had a scare when they spent 15 minutes trying to get my credit card to work. I wasn’t sure if I was going to walk out of there without any records because they couldn’t get it to go through, or if I was going to be charged three times for the purchase. But it all ended well, and they even hooked me up with one of their store messenger style record bags for free, which was awesome, until one of the plastic clips holding the strap on broke about two blocks away from the store. Thankfully I had my hand under the bag and caught it as it dropped, keeping my precious cargo from a hard fall on sidewalk. But hey, it was still free, and plastic clips are cheap! If you’re ever in Stockholm, it’s a must-visit stop.
The Bitch Boys were an early Stockholm punk band that formed in 1979, and they released their first LP H:son Produktion a year later. I pulled an original pressing out of the bin at Trash Palace, and since I’d read that they were highly regarded back in the day I added them to my pile. This is good early rock ‘n’ roll style punk rock – short songs, very basic chords, and sneering vocals. Only two of the album’s 14 songs are more than three minutes long, with four coming in at under two minutes apiece. They’re short, to the point, and without too much gratuitous instrumentation… with the notable exception of the opening track on side B, a western style instrumental called “High Chapparal.” Overall H:son Produktion rocks, it’s tight, and it has some attitude, just the way I like my punk.
The Bitch Boys have songs on a handful of punk comps that are available on CD, but as near as I can tell none of their albums have been re-released on that format, which is too bad. This one may very well be worthy of a burning to mp3.