Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

So while we're on the subject of Australians (see below), let's take a gander at this CD reissue of late 70s Brisbane punk rock destroyers THE LEFTOVERS' one and only 45 ("Cigarettes & Alcohol / No Complaints / I Only Panic When There's Nothing To Do") along with a large delivery of archival live material. It is a FANTASTIC collection -- and I don't usually dig shitty, 25-year-old audience-recorded live tapes. But taking for granted the majesty of that 45, which is easily one of the Top 50 balls-out, snot-caked raw punk rock singles of all time, this live stuff is hot, hot, hot. I'm talking PAGANS or BAGS hot -- in fact, the Leftovers' cover of the Velvets' "Run Run Run" is so drop-dead great and uniquely-rendered that it reminded me of a similar smoking cover from a 1977 Bags live show I heard recently ("White Rabbit" -- if you can believe it). They also throw some false-start punches at 60s punker "My Flash On You", among others, and they succeed swimmingly. This band is one of the very few punk rock acts that can wistfully brag about fighting with the police at every show & have me buying it ("task force vs. the Brisbane punks" -- different band, but maybe there was something to it). The Leftovers played gnarly, angry and wholly visionary punk rock -- because except for a few of their like-minded peers and a handful of Americans I'm 99.9% certain they hadn't yet heard, this band were pretty much blazing their own shitstorm-strewn path. If they'd been American or English we'd have been taught these songs in school, but that amazing first wave of Australian punk bands (VICTIMS, RAZAR, ROCKS, BABEEZ etc.) get the short straw every time. If I could be a grumpus about anything it's the dumb title, but you won't care once you get a postal order & international cheque out to Dropkick Records for this white-hot platter.