by Dan Gibson
In two parts again this week, enjoy music hand-selected by our writers, including songs by Rein Sanction, Joe Hill Louis, and The Damned.
Rein Sanction, "Every Color"
Another great '90s band, this one unjustly tagged "grunge." On the surface, being signed to Sup Pop and playing really loud guitar suggested they were lumberjack metalheads from Seattle. But in fact this mysterious power trio hailed from Jacksonville, Florida, and specialized in mossy, psychedelic pseudo-prog with a punk-rock attention span. Miserable vocals, murky yet technical riffs and an elaborately stomping rhythm section ensured that no one then or since sounds like Rein Sanction. I always imagine the comics character Swamp Thing trudging through 'gator-infested Everglades when I spin this band's music. One day these guys will be rediscovered and justice—as it relates to rock history and criticism—will be done.
Joe Hill Louis , "Gotta Let You Go"
I contend that if there were a catastrophic event that obliterated North America’s music archives, but left us the catalog of Sun Records, we would be just fine. Not only would we preserve the foundational figures in American music, but, as this deep cut by Sun Records’ One Man Band (aka Joe Hill Louis) suggests, the more obscure artists are equally worthy of canonization. This driving, manic kiss-off becomes transcendent when Louis truculently barks about getting no love (or sustenance) for “digging and slaving and cutting up that concrete” in a manner more celebratory than forlorn.
Back in 2008, UK punk rock pioneers The Damned released their 9,784th album So, Who's Paranoid to very little fanfare. I mean, it was 2008. Step aside blokes, we have The Horrors now. The Damned have been through about a bazillion line-ups and flirted with about the same number of genres in their long and storied career, were they still relevant? And where is Rat Scabies, arguably one of the Top Five Best Punk Drummers of all time? (Actually, he was writing a book about his search for The Holy Grail, and that's not a metaphor. He was actually searching for Thee Holy Grail and that's another story for another time) Well folks, guess what? The album is actually pretty great, and I'll stack "Under The Wheels" with anything off The Black Album or Strawberries, two of their best. Dave Vanian's croon hasn't lost any of it's sexy and spooky luster, and the good captain himself, Captain Sensible can sill make your ears bleed with his overlooked guitar work. A very welcome and pleasurable surprise.