01. The Look of Love (Bacharach/David)
02. Zip Code Gentlemen (Heifetz, Turkington, Singer)
03. Ranch Style Beans (Turkington, Singer)
04. I Need Him (Russ Saul)
05. Henderson (Turkington, Singer)
06. Happy Like Larry (He Taught Me How to Die) (Les Hughey)
07. Riders on the Storm (The Doors)
08. Zip Code Gentlemen (Re-Mix/Filler) (Heifetz, Turkington, Singer)
Gregg Turkington – lead vocals, tape loops
John Singer – guitar, bass, organ, keyboards
Recorded in San Francisco at The Wally Sound
Tracks 1 & 7 recorded at the Chameleon
It’s hard to determine if Zip Code Rapists are an offshoot project of Zip Code Revue, vice versa, or if each band released an album or two (for Amarillo), then decided to call it quits. Whatever the case, Zip Code Revue released the roots rock album Abundance in 1994, led by singer/songwriter/guitarist John Singer. He was supported by a set backing band (something that Zip Code Rapists would later shun). The only thing constantly reliable about the Zip Code bands is the ongoing presence of Singer. Their sound was similar to other Amarillo classic rock-style recording artists like U.S. Saucer and Dieselhed, two bands that Zip Code Revue/Rapists would tour with.
Zip Code Revue soon went on hiatus, but would later mutate into a completely different band, both stylistically and personnel-wise. Singer decided at this point to team up with Amarillo Records head Gregg Turkington under the tasteless moniker Zip Code Rapists. A completely different musical approach was taken — trying to see how far they could push their audience. Gone were the well-crafted tunes of the Revue, and in came screaming, noisy compositions (broken up here and there by a dirty funk track or a lonely country tune), accompanied by confrontational performances, as evidenced on their 94124 E.P. Presently, both bands are inactive.
Judging from the band’s name, you know that the 94124 EP will not be your run-of-the-mill, ordinary listen. The group’s roots lay in the band Zip Code Revue, where songwriters John Singer and Gregg Turkington first collaborated. After Singer ditched the rest of the band, he and Turkington set out to write compositions and perform concerts that would be an all-out assault on their audiences’ senses and stamina. For example, the nonsensical « Ranch Style Beans » is a punk rock rant which includes confessional lyrics — the singer is in desperate need of some beans, yet manages to declare that everyone is queer in the process. « Zip Code Gentlemen » is the album’s best track, with its funky music and sleazy vocals/lyrics complementing each other perfectly (included is an original version and a similar remix/filler version). The Zip Code Rapists’ live experience is captured here on a ramshackle cover of the Doors’ « Riders On the Storm » with a new set of lyrics. Like the Stooges, Dead Boys, and Suicide before them, Zip Code Rapists turn out to be proud carriers of the confrontational-rock torch. Proceed with extreme caution. (Greg Prato, All Music Guide)
As a pretty big time Neil Hamburger fan, I was interested to see what Gregg Turkington had to offer sans the comedian schtick. The Zip Code Rapists succeed largely in areas of mass annoyance. The first track is a 51 second track of Gregg screaming a cover of “The Look of Love”. The intro is perfect given the context; the entire CD is smattered with drunken stabs at ‘the classics’. The “Riders on the Storm” cover goes the same route, with Gregg rambling and screaming halfway through the song about canned corn. Much of this starts to verge into mildly amusing territory, but it’s never really funny enough to constitute it as a comedy album of sorts. Nor is it truly listenable enough to be an album of musicality. Instead, it serves as a novelty of bad cover songs and sprawling creativity. The best track on the entire album is “The Zip Code Gentlemen”, a dance hit that sounds a lot like Neil Hamburger’s Seven Elevens or Zipperlips songs. It’s so good that they put it on here twice, the second track a remix about as good as the original (but spacier). This album isn’t exactly ‘worthy’ of a purchase, but definitely check it out if you’re a die hard Neil Hamburger fan. Also, in the liner notes there is a normal photo of Turkington before the Hamburgified gross-out appearance. Interesting and mildly amusing, the 94124 EP is definitely worth at least a quick skim through but it never really amounts to anything that would merit a repeat listen. (Linoleumbandito @ Rate Your Music)
FR Il y a quarante ans disparaissait Jim Morrison. Afin de célébrer dignement cette date, voici un mini-album il est vrai quelque peu anecdotique sorti sur le néanmoins toujours indispensable label Amarillo, où les Zip Code Rapists règlent son compte à cette vieille scie de Riders on the Storm. Histoire de ne pas faire de jaloux, Burt Bacharach déguste lui aussi gentiment avec son Look of Love. Pas forcément très écoutable, mais jouissif à sa façon.
ENG Jim Morrison died 40 years ago, so let’s celebrate with this mini-album by the infamous Zip Code Rapists, released on the always almighty and essential Amarillo label. Have fun?