Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Skafish “Bootleg 21-35”

(skafishbootleg.com) While there have been a number of Chicago punk revelations unearthed over the last few years, I will declare this my favorite. Jim Skafish was both a quirky weirdo and a exquisite perfectionist, so despite the off kilter nature of his depraved New Wave music, his band was always crisp, well rehearsed, and in line with his vision. This lengthy live set from 1977, on Jim’s birthday, and at the beautifully named Ratso’s, is amazing. The angular, controlled chaos, is recorded at far better than bootleg quality, but with a lo-fi rawness that gives Skafish some extra edge not found on all his records (at times they become more an organ-driven garage band than a keyboard driven New Wave act). This is a full show, with dozens of songs, banter (about bullies, psychiatrists, throwing up at the Cubs games, La Mere Vipeire), a cover of “Splish Splash,” an early version of the classic “Knuckle Sandwich,” tons of songs that don’t appear on albums, and a lively “Sign of the Cross.” This digital-only album is something your 21st Century Walkman cannot live without!

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