YOU GOT GOOD TASTE! The Very Best of The Cramps’ Album/Single Covers

By Neve Robinson

Good lord, I love the Cramps (like any respectable Bad Girl Should). They’re hyper-sexualised, no holds barred, grimy punk perfection. Shit loads of leopard print, shit loads of leather, shit loads of stillettos. Endearingly sleazy. To love the Cramps is to celebrate one’s own filth in all its grungy glory. And what better way to pay tribute to the kings and queen of camp than to traverse through their endless library of excellent album covers? Featuring predominantly the blisteringly beautiful Poison Ivy herself, these covers are some of the most iconic of their genre, and epitomize everything the Cramps are about. Here are ten of their best album or single artworks, from the bootleg to the bikini-clad girls with machine guns in hand…

10 THE CRAMPS / BOOTLEG ALBUM: TALES FROM THE CRAMPS / 1977-79

This comic book-esque cover for an amalgamation of their earlier works is a belter. The muted colour palette and art are reminiscent of slightly later punk album cover artists like Raymond Pettibon, who did the Sonic Youth Goo cover and some of the Black Flag covers. I also really enjoy the idea of them knocking around a graveyard with a fuck-off spotty guitar. BIG fan.

9. SMELL OF FEMALE

This is definitely one of their most iconic covers, and I absolutely love the seedy sex show vibes – not to mention those to-die-for crushed velvet scarlet gloves. My only qualm, and completely unintentionally so I’m sure, is that it reminds me far too much of that XXX sex shop that got knocked down recently on Tib Street, Manchester. Perhaps brings down the immersion of a late seventies sextravaganza of the cover when I’m just thinking of a drunken urination spot in NQ.

8. LOOK MOM NO HEAD!

What a name, what an album. Iggy Pop’s feature on Miniskirt Blues makes this a record you can’t forget. Set in a sinister house of mirrors, we get multiple Ivys necking multiple wines. You love to see it, really. It’s a little less sleazy than some of their other covers though, and I like a bit of filth in my punk single/album art. Maybe if she had a weapon or a bikini of sorts it would be a bit campier and more appealing to me. I’m easy to please (or sleaze).

7. WHAT’S INSIDE A GIRL?

The single cover to What’s Inside A Girl? really shows us, erm, well, what’s inside a girl. Lux’s x-ray eyes gives us a cracking view of Ivy’s pelvis, something I’ve always wanted to take a gander at. All jokes a side, while it’s a pretty paint-by-numbers cover, I do like the campiness. I can see this being a pretty cool advert on a billboard, you know? Or maybe in a doctor’s office…

6. FIENDS OF DOPE ISLAND

Their final album bears a cracking cover. Lux looks like a sort of Nosferatu character – incredibly intimidating and yet undeniably sexy, I shan’t lie. I’d love a black vinyl pressing of this record, it looks like it’s been fished out of the Black Lagoon. I really think it is emblematic of that gothic side that the Cramps capitalised on in their later years, and reminiscent of old horror films of yore. Big into it.

5. DATE WITH ELVIS

Oh, yes. Now we are talking. Probably their most iconic album, A Date With Elvis gives us the most 70s pornography-feel cover of the bunch, really. It looks straight off the back of a seedy VHS found in the 18+ section of the local offy, and I love that. The satin background makes me want to reach out and stroke it. Satanic symbolism never looked so sexy!

4. FLAMEJOB

A nineties record, Flamejob is by no means their best work, even it is rather impressively produced by Interior and Ivy themselves. However, the impressiveness of this cover is undeniable. A sleek all-PVC number with killer stillettos and flamethrower? The polished power of this stance sticks in the mind, that’s exactly what you need from album art, surely – even if Mean Machine is one of the only tracks really worth a damn on it.

3. STAY SICK!

Have you ever seen a sexier cover? It’s raw, it’s animalistic, it’s sexually perverse and SICK!!! The zebra print really makes this record pop and amps up the camp. Ivy’s hair style is particularly fabulous in that this is arguably their most psychobilly record (even featuring a cover of Elvis’ Jailhouse Rock), and she has the 50’s rockabilly pinup girl hair down to a T. 12/10.

2. CAN YOUR PUSSY DO THE DOG?

Well? Can it? One of the sexiest songs by The Cramps surely deserves one of their sexiest covers, and Can Your Pussy Do The Dog? does not disappoint. The illustrations are almost cave paintings and primal, which more than fits our tiger girl and her incredible striped suit. I would KILL for an outfit like this, seriously. The colours are completely clashing and yet somehow completely work. Here kitty kitty, you better move along…

1. BIKINI GIRLS WITH MACHINE GUNS

Ah yes, the magnum opus of Cramps covers. Truly a sight to behold. It has everything one could want from a punk record’s cover really – a badass woman wearing a badass sequin bikini with a badass machine gun in hand. And don’t even get me started on that lush wallpaper. If they sold this in B&Q, that would be well plastered in my living room let me tell you. From the beloved aforementioned Stay Sick, this single cover more than packs a punch and does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s bold, it’s beautiful, it’s bloody cool. I don’t need to say much more on the matter other than that I am simply desperate to be this woman. The Cramps forever and ever, man.

Music Video Review: Jarring visuals and edgy lyricism: Legss put forward their first offering of 2021

© Legss, 2021

By Lana Williams

London’s up-and-coming alt-rock quartet, Legss, are Ned Green (Vocals), Max Oliver (Guitar), Jake Martin (Bass) and Louis Grace (Drums). The post-punk experimenters are two EP’s deep and are set to release accompanying visuals for the title track of their sophomore offering. Directed by the band and Luke Kulukundis and filmed by Rory Edmonds and Mollie Gallagher, the video is set to be an exciting accomplishment, adding to their resume of delightful musical creations.

Ambitious, ageless and authentic, ‘Doomswayers’ takes us on an alt-rock sonic journey through London, following a poignant protagonist with utter potency and incredibly ability. The lyrics and unwavering vocals exacerbate the dark side of post-punk with a certain edge that takes their music to a next level.

Speaking on the video, frontman Ned Green informs: “The video for Doomswayers is the concluding statement from our EP. A sprawling, epic, emotionally-charged, scatty, nauseating, vitriolic visual accompaniment, set in a 17th Century, modern, time-warped LondWinium-by-Sea, to a three-part throwaway Violin Concerto in D Major, found in a tip and then transcribed into the six-minute title-track EP-closer that you can all love, listen, and now watch today.” 

Doomswayers’ is teeming with jagged riffs and tongue-in-cheek lyrics that tackle themes of modern-day urban life of crowded streets and intense volatility that come along with the 21st century. The opening monologue sets the scene for razor-sharped observations and critical orations that is present throughout. The track lends a unique view into the inner workings of a bustling city, dark undertones and volatility alike.

Legss have the mesmerising ability to produce off-kilter tracks which is blindingly brilliant, they’re poets that just happen to have a penchant for searing instrumentation.

Legss are set to support the eccentric Pom Poko on their upcoming tour: HOME | pom poko.

Listen to their single here.

A Discourse Loosely Involving Ian Astbury

© Pinterest

By Angus C.Rolland

Ah… to comment on a YouTube video, forget about it entirely in the 2/3 years since and suddenly get a *reminder* about it but a few days ago… in the packaging of a reply, combative in nature. The video in question was a live performance of The Cult playing their track ‘Nirvana’ on Bliss, some long defunct TV show. Now, let us examine the comment that started this saga, the reply that provoked a crossing of keyboards and perhaps even dissect the causality of what this represents in the grand portrait of affairs.

To explain, when I mean ‘anime villain phase’; The Cult were a band that had a great thing going on their first 2 LPs, Dreamtime & Love. They were a kind of fusion of the whole punk-cravat-post scene, with a clear homage to the classical (rock) soloing of the late-60s/early 70s, something I imagine would have been sacrilege to attempt in the eyes of the more puritanical of stud-fiends. I’m not alone in regarding this earlier material as being both artistically superior and generally much more consistent than their unfortunate transition to the commercial viabilities (thanks Rick Rubin) the LA cock-rock thing granted them. As expected, it was only a matter of time before they become something of a joke by trend-tailing themselves into the gutter, courtesy of the Nevermind-led crusade that swiftly put them and the rest of the spandex-ilk to the sword. Anyway, the reply, by a fellow (re)named “Geoff Rodgers”, laid bare his hostility towards the medium of Japanimation… and quite possibly to I?

Never one to shrug off an exchange fraught with little-to-no danger, and a general desire to provoke “Geoff” into an incandescent stupor, I countered that he ought to try just a little harder! Ignorant to my scheming, he took the bait, as though he were farmer being (falsely) informed someone was uprooting his crops and flogging them at a local market, price heightened. He dished me a comeback, albeit a little on the ordinary side… not quite the catch of, let’s say encircling the German 6th Army, but it’ll do for the time being. On a tactical level, only an idiot would reciprocate with further spewing.

Instead, I undertook the principle of taking the cycle lane (favourable terrain*) over the motorway, where the perils of velocity dictate! Continuing to irk my conversational assailant through my own interpretation of sophistry, I slowly began to whittle down his decision-making capacity. If all went well, I would (soon?) be able to snatch the initiative away from him; his hopes of a swift, outright victory crumbling before his bewildered eyes, minute-by-minute.

Overconfident, I took pity on his (apparent*) fruitless struggle. Offering him a reprieve, I quoted from Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, specifically from a character that happened to be the ‘Anime Villain’ of that story, the very thing he feared. His terse, almost neutral acknowledgement appeared to indicate a sense of fatigue, the classic ‘bitten off more than he could chew’ realisation… just right for the table of negotiation.

Softening to something a little more conciliatory, I wished him well in all his endeavours, grand and not. Never a man to stamp down on an opponent’s aspirations, I sort to display to him the idea of magnanimity had not been lost in this plutocratic free-for-all we call the present. Yet, it seemed he wanted no such truce…? Puzzled, I attempted a deconstruction; where could his motivations lie? Was he intent on going down with his ship? Could his antagonism toward me be a deep-routed thing? Might his socio-economic background, opaque to I, have played a part in his ‘rationale’? Perhaps he only liked The Cult from their 1987-period onwards, and was just looking for trouble by visiting the comment section of their earlier, pre-1987 material? Had the tables been turned without me even knowing? Just… who… is… “Geoff Rodgers”!? Your guess is as good as mine.

Attempting to make sense of his increasingly disagreeable tone, I cited a theory of the late Mr Huxley. Whether or not he was familiar with the Mind-At-Large concept or even the hallucinogenic wonders of trouser creases was… irrelevant, his curt reply, as though quoting that ‘root beer’ scene from Reefer Madness, was enough to indicate where his true values lay. What’s that? A hypothesis you say? Hmm… The only ‘antipodes’ he appears to be sailing towards… would have to be… (*unfortunate curtain call*) the fringe-right of conventional political thought; aligning him (no doubt) with the likes of the extrajudicial deaths-squads of Rio De Janeiro, the white-robed Clerics of Riyadh and… of course, the ever-nefarious Piers Morgan. 

In a futile attempt to appeal to his better angels, I tried to get him to shake off the scourge of his dangerous beliefs. Alas, I received no further correspondence… my measured diplomacy no match for his past-glorifying, delusional fantasies.

Now, if I may address our mercurial pariah directly, as a last resort –

Angus: “Geoff”, if I dare presume first-name basis… should you still be lucid enough to read these words, I implore you to do the right (not that!) thing and cease with your latent misdeeds. Laugh if you want, a warning such as this might seem innocuous to you, and the other ‘residents’ of that particular… ideological tree-house, but… as the saying goes, ‘the cat is out of the bag’. And with that; I offer you a rope away from your tendencies, with these parting words: less of the jingo, and more of… the Ringo.