Hozac Hookup Klub Year Two
by Kevin J. Elliott

In the pages of Primitive Futures the last 12 months or more, there’s been some healthy competition between exclusive singles clubs. Be it Sub Pop, who have now fizzled out, Columbus Discount Records, who seem to have stalled in the summer months, or Hozac, the undisputed victor (based on sheer volume), lucky, diligent subscribers have been guaranteed to get a little sunshine in their mailboxes at least once a month. And many of those months, in the case of Hozac most prominently, those subscribers are being hipped to unknowns clamoring for some well deserved attention outside of their respective dives. Todd Killings, leader of the Hozac empire, keeps on rolling right into Hookup Klub year two, and while the rest of Hozac’s regular lucre can be hit or miss (missing more often than not lately), in the Hookup Klub you’re assured to receive quality material whether you know the band or not. There are supposedly still slots open, so it’s never too late to get in on the ground floor. Along with these and the recent Super Wild Horses LP (to be reviewed later), it’s looking like Hozac’s summer slump is over.

Radar Eyes, “Shakes” b/w “Not You Again”
For the launch of year two, Mr. Killings decided on long shots, bands that have yet to prove their mettle. Radar Eyes, local recruits from Chicago, likely have a following of denizens for whom drunken, albeit good-natured debauchery, usually follows. I can see confetti and streamers, spiked punch bowls and chaperones at this soiree. Even as strained as the launch of “Shakes” might sound, it gets the party started. Twenty years ago we would’ve called this some of the purest power pop made in the Windy City. Now we realize all the influence that could’ve been ingested in that time. I hear chords cultivated in the Pixies frenetic sci-fi marble, echoes of hours under the watchful eye of Joey Ramone’s Rock & Roll High School curriculum, and even a little of the Smoking Popes’ (obscure, but warranted) chugging pub-punk romanticism. “Not You Again,” the B-side, is the real gem of this one. Though it’s closer to the indie heart, it coasts on a mid-tempo nostalgic dourness, haggling with New Order outtakes and soundtracking the sunset scene of some imagined John Hughes film. The band is from Illinois after all, and that vibe of (Rock*A*) teens rallied round the campfire is ever present. That is until the finale here, where one too many shots make lead singer Natron’s bark curdle into a pied-piper march off to the party barn for another bender. Inspired stuff.

Sex Church, “209” b/w “Paralyze”
Another relative unknown is British Columbia’s Sex Church. I know, the pretentious name and endless struggles with reverb might be the first warning to stay the hell away from this. You’d only be half right. While every other band in sight is slightly mocking an Elevators journey on every other song they write (and thus adopting a name that doesn’t fit), Sex Church has some tricks. Neither erotic nor devout, “209” does make a case for how much you can fit on one side of a 45—at a speed of 33 1/3. Sex Church take six full minutes to cause a great deal of brain damage, so much so I had to survey their brief history. It’s a place where they worship the Cheater Slicks (one of the only influences listed on their MySpace) and perhaps Suicide with equal aplomb. Yeah, you’ve definitely heard it all before, but these west coastal Canucks make a case for following them down their path of destruction. While the B-side, “Paralyze,” is more of the same, it goes deeper. It’s tidier and dirtier all the same. If you’re a fan of the Woven Bones and the resurrected love for everything Spacemen 3 (and all that fell from that wagon hard, i.e. the Slicks), then you would be remiss not to buy this.