Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Local Anesthetic

I'd be lying if I said I'd heard of the Local Anesthetic label, owner Duane Davis, the label Davis co-owned prior to the formation of Local Anesthetic (Wax Trax), or, hell, the fact that there was anything of a punk scene in Colorado thirty years ago. But this is why music is re-released and retrospective compilations made. Those of us born in the 1980s would less frequently discover artists like Orange Juice, James Chance or Prefects without re-released material to spark interest and raise awareness. And without labels like the Numero Group or, in this particular case, Smooch Records, to compile memorable highlights of a given niche, certain labels and artists would get lost in obscurity and remain unknown to anyone not in the right scene at the right time.

Last month, Smooch released a tribute of sorts to Local Anesthetic and the Colorado punk scene of the late '70s to early '80s; comprised of a hearty 33 tracks – every seven-inch released by the label and then some – the collection covers a range of punk that touches on hardcore, classic '77 punk, and (in a category of its own, really) Jeri Rossi's cover of “It's a Man's Man's Man's World.” Rossi's cover, gloomy, free and sneering at once, is to James Brown's ballad what Aretha Franklin's “Respect” was to Otis Redding's original. Well, almost.

Though the most high profile act here is undoubtedly the recording of Allen Ginsberg's “Birdbrain,” set to some new wave harmonies by Gluons (also the first release by Local Anesthetic, in 1981), I really love “Psycho Surfer,” the first of two tracks by Defex, quite similar to the '77 rock style of Generation X in particular. Also, definite standouts are Frantix, who'd be perfectly in line with any neo-grunge bands from Terrible Twos to the Amazements to Pissed Jeans today, and goth pop band Your Funeral, fronted by Jeri Rossi and (for the sake of easy comparison) for fans of Siouxsie and the Banshees or Public Image Ltd. In truth, this is quite a perfect compilation for its variety, as well as its simultaneous ability to appeal to the punk purist.

Your Funeral - The Abyss
Defex - Psycho Surfer
White Trash - Nazis in My Neighborhood
Purchase The Local Anesthetic

1 comment:

theneedledrop said...

I'm glad you came across this compy, too. I'm quite partial to "My Dad's a Fucking Alcoholic" and "Birdbrain."