Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

After an experiment buying my first virtual LP/CD a couple weeks ago, it was only mere days later before I had to try it again. The reconstructed MISSION OF BURMA have decided to give a hefty boost to the nascent "Internet" industry by releasing an online-only EP called "Snapshot", and despite the general feeling I had that it might be something akin to a fan club throwaway, let me assure you that it is not. The cyberdisc's got eight super cranked-up live-to-studio versions of bold tracks spanning their career ("Max Ernst" to the new record's great "Absent Mind"), mostly early, recorded better than a radio broadcast should really sound. Burma are flat-out one of the tip-top live rock bands of their time, full of tape-loop screech and hardcore feedback & whine, and while I didn't see these gallant tunesmiths during their first go-round, the bootleg and file-sharing evidence continues to pile high.

This one has them taking on THE WIPERS' "Youth of America" and narrowly beating the original for tight chops & overall sonic power (I always thought the post-first LP Wipers were pretty overrated anyway). It seems to be part of a nostalgic west coast punk trilogy these guys are pushing now, along with live covers I've witnessed of "Class War" and "The American In Me". Not too shabby, hunh? Of the remaining 7, the knockouts are the kickoff 8-minute-+ "Tremelo", which you may remember from their live LP (this one's better) and a wild "Mica", which I'll argue is their best pop song, hands down. For seven bucks or whatever this was, it's a pretty satisfying set of packets. And keep your eye on a flood of these iTunes-only records in the months to come. Anyone know of any other good ones?