Saturday, December 13, 2008

Flipper's catalog returns

The wait is over- these San Fran hardcore legends finally get their catalog reissued. Again. Henry Rollins and Rick Rubin did the job in the 90's with their American label but the whole label went under and all of its catalog with it (including a number of other fine reissues). So now for the third time (originally coming out on the local indie Subterranean Records), Flipper's albums are out again, thanks to the good people at Water Records.

The second album is kind of a sophomoric effort, the compilation is a good collection of singles and the live album is for fans (like most live albums are) but their debut, 1982's Generic Flipper Album, isn't just one of the ultimate punk statements but one of the finest albums of the 80's. It wasn't just the absurdist humor, grinding riffs, wall of noise guitar, booming drums and lo-fi production that made it such a classic but also the combo of all of these things together. The opener, "Ever," seems to start with the sound of squealing animals, then a car back-firing and then a wind-tunnel of sound, followed by existential lyrics about this crazy thing called life. The closer, the ultimate nihilist statement "Sex Bomb," has a handful of chords, seven words and about eight minutes of howls, adorned by saxophones and a screaming synth.

It's hilarious and brain-numbing and inspirational. No wonder Rollins (who does liner notes for the other Flipper albums) and Nirvana (whose Krist is now the band's bassist and also did liners here) and Rubin (who was once in a Flipper cover band) loved this so much. Needless to say, so did I- I still have a promo photo of the band on my wall, which looks down at my from my desk.

And yes, the band is still together though minus bassist/songwriter Will Shatter (RIP) and with Krist. Hopefully, they'll be touring again some time. I saw them do a great show at CBGB's in the last run of shows for the club three years ago- you can see three clips of the show I filmed from PopMatters' YouTube page.


Blogger jonder said...

Aren't most second albums sophomoric?

2:00 PM  

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