Saturday, June 1, 2013

Max Load “s/t”

(BDR) This Southern Illinois band existed from 1979 to 1983, ostensibly making punk music, but the hardcore that took over teen get-togethers up in Chicago must not have meant much to them. My colleague Jeremy Nobody at Ugly Things recently reviewed this record through 60s psyche-tinted sunglasses, which is not unfair, but not super accurate. Although there are a few 60s/garage sounding numbers, or even a few things with classic Illinois poppy undertones, what makes this band so crazy is how thoroughly goth and dark they were able to get five minutes after making a track that sounded like low budget Cheap Trick. Dark synthy tracks that might as well have been making declarations about Bela Lugosi’s state or mortality, (or been sandwiched between necrophilia nuggets on TSOL’s “Dance With Me” LP) are somehow crafted by cuties with feathered hair. Known among collectors for the great “X-Rod” b/w “Magazine Sex” new wave single (which precedes TSOL by a coupla years), this package features those tracks and more on a handsome vinyl edition, a CD with bonus tracks, and a DVD of a cable access appearance from 1981. The songs on the LP, from the snot pop majesty of “Va-Va-Va-Vicky” to the hardcore-esque “Mini-Fad” to the jangle-psyche “Wishing Machine” are wonders. But the bonus tracks on the CD delve into straight up goth chick in the dungeon material! Yet the DVD shows them looking like dudes from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (while being a lot smarter than Spicoli as they demonstrate that they are pretty important to keeping whatever scene Belleville, IL had chugging along). A beautiful insert of archival flyers and liner notes makes this one of the must have releases of the decade.

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