Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Range Rats!

Hi, all. Been meaning to post a bit about this find for a few months now - lord knows there's more where that came from - and am pleased to have a few spare minutes to spend on it. Having been a fan of Dead Moon for a few years, and Pierced Arrows since catching them on Valentine's Day 2008 with Black Lips (oh, lordy, what a nice time for a hyperlink), it was a treat to discover another project by Fred and Toody Cole, a one-off called Range Rats that appeared to last only for one album's worth of material, and which preceded Dead Moon.

Recorded in 1986, the Range Rats' only record is a low-budget home recording by the couple out of Clackamas, in that vague genre of cowpunk that doesn't seem to get made much anymore (see: Gun Club, Lone Justice, Blood on the Saddle). In fact, it's ridiculously simple: Fred, Toody, and a drum machine. And given such, the record gets a bit repetitive in its faux-nostalgic formula for the old west. It's unlikely that they could have kept this formula up for long, so it's quite lucky that Dead Moon formed shortly after the experiment. But its faux nostalgia found a natural jumping point in Fred's previous band, the Western Front, and it's got some hokey but fun chugga-chugga-choo-choo-style novelty to boast.

Fred Cole's turning 63 later this year, which pegs him at around 38 for the Range Rats recording; while most musicians hit their highest worth in their earliest years and are sorting out day jobs by the time their late 30s roll around, Cole hadn't even begun his time in the bands that would find him at his best known, not to mention that he hadn't yet recorded his best work. This Range Rats record is likely a novelty find strictly for fans of Dead Moon and Pierced Arrows (as might be the case with other, earlier bands of his, like the Lollipop Shoppe), but it's a cheery little adventure that fills a half hour nicely.

For some additional Fred/Toody Cole action:

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