Agony Shorthand

Wednesday, February 19, 2003
JOHNNY HASH.....Here's a hot young duo you might or might not be familiar with: Ladies and gentlemen, JOHNNY HASH. It's now going on a decade since the release of their gnarly no-fidelity blues trash masterpiece 7" "Pink Lunchbox" and 8 years since the equally raw and wacked follow-up "Summer Of Cum (For Robert Wyatt)". I listened to these 45s last night, and I'm still stunned -- the A-sides of these records are among the craziest sounds from the early 90s garage punk revival, spearheaded by In The Red records (Cheater Slicks, Night Kings, Fireworks, etc.) -- except calling these mere garage punk does them severe injustice. This is drunken, animalistic slide guitar blues, played by someone (Dan Brown, ex-'68 Comeback & Royal Trux) who actually knows how to use one, backed with precision cardboard-box drumming and barked vocals. These grunts & feedback-laden trips down the frets (especially on "Summer Of Cum") are classic, raw rock and roll, in a pantheon with CRIME, MEAN RED SPIDERS, early GUN CLUB, and the like. Amazingly, the B-sides of these 45s are just "OK" -- a great example of a band who chose not to shoot their wad with a mediocre LP packed with filler. A quick check of the Grunnen Rocks garage punk database reveals that the band may still be in existence, carefully choosing their material and toiling in utter. undeserved obscurity . It's high time to start the lobbying campaign to get Larry at In The Red to put out his label's early 45s on a CD or two.