Sunday, December 23, 2018

“Whatever cools you down, take a look around…”

3. GIRLS AGAINST BOYS “[I] Don’t Got A Place” (1994)
From the album “Cruise Yourself”

We’ve touched (and gone) on this before, but Touch & Go Records had what I remember to be an almighty roster of Premier League noiseniks, though having just read a partial list of them this seems to extend as far as all the bands I mentioned last time, plus The Rollins Band, Butthole Surfers and a load of other ones I haven’t heard of.  That’s the old rose-tinted classified ad in the back of the Melody Maker for you.  But on the plus side, they did give me free stuff…

For yes!  As mentioned some six entries ago, this song came to me on a 7” from Touch & Go records, sent to me free when I ordered another batch of Jesus Lizard singles, in a physical version of Amazon’s now-classic “People Who Liked This Also Bought…” scary spy function.  And despite not having Putinesque access to my buying habits for the last twenty years, they were perfectly correct in their assumption that I’d like another crushingly loud band with an unusual approach to playing and a non-standard lead vocal.

The whole package is quite something.  The production of Girls Against Boys records is something I’ve always described as “head in a box”; you feel hemmed in by the music, surrounded, like it’s coming from eerily close to your ears as opposed to speakers on the other side of the room.  It’s even more claustrophobic on headphones…  Hm, maybe not ‘claustrophobic’ – I’ll reserve that for the Manics’ paranoid classic “The Holy Bible”.  I think the word I’m looking for is ‘personal’; like it’s happening only for you, and nothing else is happening outside of it.

As a lapsed bass player, it’s really good to hear a band with a two-bass, one-guitar line up as well – it’s always refreshing, and never less than extremely heavy (see also Enemymine).  As a result, there is nothing crisp about this song; everything is fuzzy, jittery and scratchy, like a case of bugs beneath the skin.  Meanwhile, a gentleman who must smoke 80 Marlboro Red a day is drawling the kind of half-awake vocal J Mascis would be proud of over the top of this juddering cacophony.  It was arresting from the second I put it on the turntable, and it still jolts me into livid attention every time it starts up.

It’s been starting up rather a lot lately, given it was the very first track that I looked up upon joining the still-unnamed streaming service, as despite my income-powered buying up of seemingly every CD I had to pass on as a teenager, the album of origin for this track, “Cruise Yourself”, had stayed tantalisingly out of my reach.  I haven’t looked back since.  And in closing: isn’t it nice, in these increasingly cynical times, that a song that was gifted to me as a freebie could have such an impression?

Here comes 2!  And “I’ve Had Enough”!  So let’s show some “Devotion” and take a trip to a “Boogie Wonderland”…

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