Friday, October 21, 2016

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter C, Part 31)

There were many albums I went to great lengths to hide from my parents, but this was the top of that heap. For a while there, in my immature 15-year-old brain, I was a punk, but how hardcore could a kid with few wants and no needs be among the cornfields of Illinois? The Crucifucks' self-titled 1984 album, however, was the real deal. There was much to rail against in the midst of the conservative Reagan era, and these fed-up lads from Lansing, Michigan, had a particular penchant for ripping the three Cs... capitalists, Christians and cops. There's no way I understood all of the politics, but I did know this was subversive shit, and the anti-authoritarian non-conformist in me loved their gall and gumption. It was merely a bonus that the music was as intriguing as the message.

If you have never heard the Crucifucks before, what you'll notice from the first note is how good the album sounds. This isn't lo-fi DIY punk recorded in the basement, and you can thank Jello Biafra's legendary label Alternative Tentacles for that, as well as the producer known as Spot. He's famous for working behind the glass of your favorite recordings on SST during the label's heyday. Doc Dart's voice is of the love it or hate it variety. It's shrill, whiny and perfect for this kind of antagonism. He really gets under your skin. The one member of the band you do know is Steve Shelley. After his time with the Crucifucks, he moved on to play drums for Sonic Youth.

Let's listen to all of side A. There is a continuing story playing out before almost every song that pits the band against the local police. They have a show coming up the authorities and media are worried about. Mr. Dart decides to have some fun with the controversy. I think you'll enjoy it. If you are digesting this post at the office, beware. You may take that garbage can in your cubicle and throw it through the window while screaming about "the man."

"Democracy Spans Bad Taste"
"Go Bankrupt and Die"
"You Give Me the Creeps"
"Marching for Trash"
"Legal Genocide"
"I Am the Establishment"
"Cops for Fertilizer"
"Hinckley Had a Vision"


George said...

I've just played the Matthew Crenshaw songs, preferred the first tranche to the second, especially Somebody Likes Me, liked that one a lot. Not much to say about today's lot, two songs was enough.

The Swede said...

I've been reading a little about Doc Dart while playing through the songs and it seems that he remains something of an outsider to this day, even though he's apparently now renounced all profanity. To be honest, Dart's voice is the thing I struggle with the most among the tracks you shared. Musically there's actually quite a lot going in places on and the production, as you say, is spot on. Interesting stuff and one I would probably have hidden from my own parents too!

Brian said...

Swede, happy to hear he is still with us. Not sure I would have bet money on that.

Misterprime said...

Been away for Half Term and just catching up, Brian, but was both pleased and surprised to see this entry. Follow-up album 'Wisconsin' is also a weird and wonderful piece of work...

I'm afraid I missed the Nottingham POP! All-dayer this year - it sold out before I got organised enough to buy a ticket. Plus I had no idea it'd be my last chance to see Allo Darlin' play live (outside the Capital, at least) - though tbh I was more annoyed about missing out on the Fireworks again (did you know that Beth Arzy is a member now? Truly it's all-go in the indiepop world!)

Brian said...

Pleased and surprised on this end, too, Misterprime. It's a smile thinking about a kid in your neck of the woods knowing this band. As for the festival, at least you can say you saw Allo Darlin, but I'm sure it would have been nice to say your goodbyes this time around. They will be missed. I have known about Beth for a while. She was in that spooky first video from the EP. Any band that's good enough for Beth...