Saturday, March 04, 2006

Keats rides again

About five years ago, I wrote an article for Sound Collector magazine about punk compilations. In addition to classics like Sub Pop 100 and Flex Your Head, I thought to include another lesser-known West Coast collection from the early 80's called Keats Rides A Harley. And now it's out and reissued for all God's little skinhead children to enjoy, thanks to Warning Label (great name for a record company). Not coincidentally, it's done by the same enterprising gent who originally did Keats but now there's 13 bonus tracks to enjoy also, including tracks by Gun Club, Meat Puppets and Leaving Trains.

Here's what I had to say about it first time around.

Los Angeles native (James) Talley-Jones formed Happy Squid initially to have a place to put material for his own band, the Urinals. He soon found out about other interesting bands in the South Bay area that he considered like-minded enough to join his roster though in no way were these other groups sound-a-likes- in fact, what made the label’s small output so strong was the variety it offered. As such, the Keats Rides A Harley compilation (a 9-track, 12-inch 45 rpm record) stands as a great, over-looked collection of bedroom new wave, making you wonder what would have happened to many of these groups if they had some additional time and/or money. Still, this comp contains some of the earliest recordings from indie-rock mavens like Gun Club (primal bluesy rumbling) and the Meat Puppets (psychedelic guitar with howling voices, so wild that it’s comical). Intriguing possibilities also come out of lesser-knowns like Earwigs (spooky keyboards, funky beat, mewling vocals), the strangely catch S. Squad and Talley-Jones’ post-Urinals project 100 Flowers (lo-fi guitar, punky pace, flat vocals).


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