Mother of all fuckers... I take the week off work to catch up on things and kick back and enjoy life a little, and what happens? I come down w/ a whopper of a chest infection, one which gives me the wheeze of a sixty-cigs-a-day 90-year-old, the sensation of a pair of lungs being filled up w/ infected, yellow phlegm (they were) and the feeling of a possible head explosion every time I cough. Well, that was yesterday. Thanks to the marvels of modern medicine, I've come relatively clean in just 24 hours, and when not watching crappy DVDs (I aimed as low as a man could get: the new Rambo pic and the remake of The Hitcher) or even crappier TV, I've been listening to a couple of 7"s I bought last weekend. In fact, I bought these at a "show" - gig, concert, et al - last Friday, one which was a bit of a showcase for the Aargt! label, a new-ish imprint set up by a few buddies of mine. Actually, such good friends am I w/ them, I shan't stroke their egos any further w/ guff directed their way.
First on the chopping block is a 7" EP by local lowlifes, The UV Race. I don't know the other members from a block of cheese, though the drummer is one Dan Stewart, he being the fellow behind the much-loved (at least by me!) fanzine, Distort, which I have prattled on about at great length in previous posts. An intense young fellow, he reminds me a little of myself before the weight of the world and demands of life crushed my spirit. Prone to forming spittle at the corners of his mouth when discussing Black Flag's touring prowess, mid '70s Cleveland rock, Roky's psych-warrior status or the drug-imbibing genius of Flipper, his heart is - quite obviously - in the right place. When Aarght! told me they were releasing a 7" by the band I took a step back and thought, Really? I'd only seen them once and, well, not to get all Musician magazine on you, but they didn't particularly strike me as a tight unit. Under-rehearsed to the point of possible retardation, the shit-rock schtick was A-OK by me, but would you buy it? Well, the answer to that question is yes. For one, I did. The UV Race sound like they crept from the same basement as the Modern Lovers ca. '73, Screamin' Mee Mees, The Godz, Mike Rep, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments (and other Datapanik/Anyway mobsters) and a zillion other bedroom-bound weirdos, and whilst every douchebag and their mother tries to carry off such a persona these days, few of them mean it. Or do it well. Or perform music one might actually wish to hear. For one, The UV Race are pretty odd fellows. For two, their songs are good, like, the kinda songs you'll play, flip the record over, play some more, then skip back to the side you just played 5 minutes before. There's songs about sniffing aerosol, Lego and The Kids gettin' into all kindsa trouble, man. Six songs, a trashbag sleeve and lots of hate: in ten years time I'll probably be diggin' this one up for one of those 7" bonanzas I'm always raving about. If I didn't genuinely like 'em, I simply wouldn't mention 'em. I'm writing about 'em coz I like 'em. Just because I haven't written about your band - yet - doesn't mean I don't like 'em, too. Did that sentence make any sense to you?
Next up is the much-hyped Deaf Wish. Friends of mine have raved - and I mean RAVED - about these guys to me the last few months. They're like Zen Arcade-period Huskers meets My War-'Flag. Or a heavier version of the Wipers. Or some other u/ground '80s shit from the US. ie - up my alley. Maybe I just suffer from a chronic case of assholeitis, or, perhaps, as a friend noted to me just the other day, I like to be seen as a taste-maker not follower, so when others - even really good friends - keep telling me how great a band is and how much I would love them, I turn off. I shut down. And then, ever so humbly, I give said band a listen. Deaf Wish, last Friday night, didn't live up to my expectations, but then again, my expectations were ludicrously high. They were, by any common standards, pretty fuggin' great, a completely shambolic, multi-vocalled machine w/ a powerhouse rhythm section (esp. the drummer), a ton of stage presence (oh what a lost art form that is!) and unexpected melodies sweeping to and fro throughout. I could throw a few names around - the aforementioned Husker Du, maybe a bit of mid-period 'Flag, and I'd even mention the anthemic quailities of At Home With You-period X (an album I've loved for, what, 22 years?) - though there's no sense of a band impoverished for a good idea simply ripping off riffs from an impressive record collection. Folks said it was a dud gig for them. I'll have to go see 'em again - and pronto - coz word on the street is that they're gonna call it quits any day now. For posterity's sake, there's a 3-track 7" on the Idget Child label, which documents their sound pretty well. "Take What You Want" does possess a kinda 'Flag/Huskers hybrid sound, w/ a beautifully twisted Mould/Ginn gtr screech and anguished, near-Rollins-esque vocals (hey, think Damaged and not anything the guy has recorded the last 15-18 years, got me?), and "Mum Gets Punched In The Face" sounds like you'd expect it to. Still, Deaf Wish's approach is surprisingly post-punk, a fact I came to realise from their live performance. I expected hardcore, and Deaf Wish ain't that. You heard Husker Du's "Statues" 7"? Sure. Keep that thought. The B-side track I can't really speak for. It's entitled "Freeze The Sound". Either the pressing or my needle are sub par, since my copy skips all over the place. Bummer. I'm hanging onto this 7" for good, and I promise I will see Deaf Wish if they ever play again. When friends recommend a band to me, they do it out of love, not spite, and I should appreciate that. I promise to become a better human being. Or at least give it a shot.