November 25, 2010


Way back in the wilderness years of 1991-92, as grunge was sweeping the nation(s), I discovered a different kind of noise. VPRO Radio had a weekly show called Stompin' that was a grab-bag of primal r&b, soul, powerpop, punk and garage, and while I never cared much for the 80's garage revival, this new garage stuff had a freshness and excitement about it that elevated it above mere "neo-60s". Thee Headcoats, New Bomb Turks, Oblivians, Gories, all legendary (even, what's the word - "seminal") bands these days. One band seems to be all but forgotten though, and back then it was my favourite of the bunch: The Fall-Outs!
1992 single Don't Want The Sun was their 1 minute 58 of fame, a brilliant combination of 1965 vintage Kinks infused with the spirit of quirky 80's hardcore (Angst, Rebel Truth). After that, the records came few and far between, the band seemed to split up every other year, and tours were non-existent, so the Fall-Outs slowly slipped into oblivion.
Looking back, the Fall-Outs seem like a forgotten Evil Twin brother of that other Northwestern band, Nirvana; it's almost eerie how much they had in common: both bands were from rural Washington, were three-pieces, had blond singers with raspy voices, recorded cover versions of Dutch 60's songs (hear the Fall-Outs' 1993 Cuby + Blizzards cover Your Body Not Your Soul), had members of Mudhoney helping out in their rhythm sections, and combined 60's pop with 80's punk. Guess Nirvana just combined the "right" 60's pop with the "right" 80's punk. Plus Kurt was cuter.
One advantage they have over Nirvana though is that their singer, Dave Holmes, is still alive. Better still, in 2004 they (once again) reformed and put out a great LP called Summertime, which disappeared without a trace. It's much poppier than their early stuff, but still has the trademark spare scratchy sound; check out Flowers For Hours.

November 12, 2010


Someone puts out a single, then it becomes a hit - or doesn't; in any case, when it's time to do an LP, they re-do the song that was on the single, because they think the original sounds too primitive (Rezillos), there's a sax on the original that they decided was not punk (Suburban Studs) or simply because the single was recorded in Mono (Beatles, Otis Redding, lots of other 60s stuff). But then, years later, when the music gets reissued, comped and put on radio playlists, you'll always get the LP versions instead of the original - often superior - ones!
I first heard the Boys' I Don't Care on their LP, and didn't care; too rushed, too crass, trying too hard to be punk it seemed. When I got the actual single, I was surprised to find out it was much slower, poppier and er... nicer! Basically this is the earliest pop punk record, predating the (Shelley) Buzzcocks and Generation X by about 6 months (it was released March 1977 I think). So can somebody explain to me why they put the LP version on their "Punk Singles Collection" CD???