The Queers

The Queers Are Here

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The Jennifer Kaufman directed video of "Punk Rock Girls," which is placed towards the end of this fascinating DVD by New England area band, the Queers, is a defining moment. Joe King, aka Joe Queer, comes up with the best song the Beach Boys never wrote with a superb hook of "yummy yummy punk rock girls" and excellent lines like "I wish they'd let me share their bubble gum." Placed after a sonically challenged "Noodlebrain," one gets the picture that the carefree spirit and approach of this band are as limiting as they are empowering. The pastiche of videos from "This Place Sucks" to "Blabbermouth" keep the art contained inside the underground while the professional cartoon video to "I Can't Get Over You" has the pop elements that hit radio craves. It's total dichotomy, the singsongy, commercial potential of these great, short, classic pop tunes and their cool videos obliterated when "Fagtown" and "Wimpy Drives Through Harlem" come over the speakers -- as recorded in Florence, Italy -- and sonics that feel like a transistor radio after the speaker got smashed. The band can switch from pounding Ramones-styled vignettes to pure hardcore rife with the stage crushing crowds, plenty of 'F' words, and impending violence. Interviews with Joe Queer are spliced throughout, though he's not about to unleash the secrets of the universe -- it's more like he's trying to fit as many expletives into a sentence as humanly possible. As a document The Queers Are Here is intriguing, it has its lows as well as highs, the lows good for one spin, the highs begging for different placement on this disc. One of those magic moments is another Beach Boys flavored epic called "Don't Back Down" -- a delightful bikini beach movie kind of clip directed by Isaac Camner. Followed by "Night of the Livid Queers" guarantees that the audience attracted by the slick pop is going to leave in a hurry when the slam dancing starts up again. There's no denying the Queers have worked hard over their decades in the biz and have made their mark, it just would've been nicer to have the studio videos kick the DVD off and let the lo-fi material follow. But "nicer" and the attitude of the Queers are complete opposites. J.J. Rassler from DMZ makes a guest appearance or two, and 28 titles is a generous helping, though it is the studio videos that you'll give repeated plays to.

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