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In the mid to late 70s, a seam of largely underground music got to percolating around the world to counteract the bombast-choked mainstream.This was before pub rock was tweaked to become punk.This bunch was one of those units from a time when everything was much less premeditated and I'm pretty sure no one had come up with the curse-word that is "spreadsheet". Sometimes the racket they made was as rough as a bear's behind but as you'll hear here, that just added to the explosive quality.
It's odd that two of the covers would overlap with another band that ended up on Sire Records,The Rezillos.That Edinburgh-based combo also featured 'Glad All Over' and 'Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight' in their live set way before they ventured into a studio. So it was strange to encounter those because it caused a definite flashback to the days when this level of energy could have lit up a small city.
Generally, what people were used to was the "rock".There was largely no conception of the "roll" aspect.What an act like this brought to the party was to celebrate both. They recognised the greatness of The Stooges, New York Dolls or Flamin' Groovies and correlated that work with Lenny Kaye's Nuggets to create music that would never go out of fashion.
There was an attitude that would breathe fresh life into their choice of covers.To unearth gems and relocate them in the hearts and minds of a new generation has always been a worthy endeavour. Instant gratification wasn't possible but much of the excitement was in chasing up the originals. Just one instance was that DMZ introduced people like me to The Sonics.
And it was something of a thrill to be confronted with a version of 'Search And Destroy' in the teenage wasteland that was 1976. Much of this material was recorded at a Boston radio station in that very year.Two years before their Flo & Eddie-produced proper debut hit the racks. By that time, "new wave" was used as a catch all and the photography on the cover of that album might have been shot by Mick Rock but - in my opinion - entirely misrepresented the contents. 'First Time Is The Best Time' and 'Teenage Head' originally came out on Todd Abramson's Telstar imprint in 1986.The sleeve lettering was done by a young lady of Elinor Blake prior to her becoming April March.
The band was firing out short, sharp anthems of their own alongside choice covers to packed crowds that wanted to dance. It was about having fun first and foremost, then building on the music they loved. Listen to this and I reckon that you'll agree that it shows.
Jeff "Mono Mann" Conolly laid it out simply for interested parties at the time - "I'm just lookin' for something to make us sound good. No message.We want people to dance when we play.The music comes first, then we put words to it.We don't have anything to say.We're not trying to do anything revolutionary."
And that was the genius of it.All this way down the pike you get to hear what are essentially field recordings made by real people playing real instruments in real time.
It's true, kids, bands like DMZ used to do that, without the aid of laptops and hard disks. Blimey.