Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A footnote in my regrettably overflowing stacks of CDs, but to hear original recipe late 70s Boston punks talk about LA PESTE, their hard-pop punk action was something to shout about. You can hear it in parts on this 1996 posthumous collection, which is mostly live from a 1979 show at The Rat. The opening live track "Don't Wanna Die In My Sleep Tonight" is a jacked-up power pop roar, sort of trending toward CARS-style limp new wave in the guitar chords but otherwise a wallop (and just a great song all around). The 15-song set is mostly average-to-very good, the sound of your favorite bar band amped up to ear-ripping levels & making quick stabs at the hot new punk rock sound. Much is mid-tempo, like their excellent, desperate 45 "Better Off Dead". I wish the other studio tracks had the muscle of that one, but they're all fairly weak, even the Ric Ocasek-produced "Don't Wanna Die..." (imagine that!). The band definitely had a "tough look", though, I'll give 'em that! I keep this around for the 45 and a few of those live rippers; otherwise it's one for the Beantown nostalgics.

PS - Can anyone tell me why so many in Boston have seen fit to hype up a radio station's (WBCN) "Rock and Roll Rumble" battle-of-the-bands competition for years? Is it really a citywide badge of honor to be a finalist in such a thing? Groups from MISSION OF BURMA to GANG GREEN have been in "the rumble" & hey, when you win. You're the best band in Boston all of a sudden. Wow! Why does this parochial nonsense continue to captivate that town?