Friday, July 22, 2011

Freestone - Bummer Bitch reissue on Last Laugh Records

I've been working my way through this recent batch of singles from Last Laugh Records, East Coast's punk version of Mississippi Records, tracking down the important artifacts of overlooked and ignored music of yesteryear. This latest one, which looks to be the first release from Last Laugh is this single from Freestone, named after the town in Sonoma County CA, and the stand out has to be the A-Side's "Bummer Bitch" which is barely a minute and a half. It's comforting to know tracks like this were being recorded and pressed to vinyl in the late '70s.
Bummer bitch / you make me sick / bummer bitch / suck my dick
You could almost say music didn't even really start to get interesting until right around 1975 starting with the Ramones and leading to Freestone yelling 'Lick my Balls!' which must have partially inspired the warning at the bottom of the back of the sleeve: WARNING Due to the subject matter of the following program parental discretion is advised. The PMRC didn't exist yet, so was this some kind of preemptive self censorship? Or it probably got the attention of any kid browsing through the 45 bins in the late '70s. That and the cover of Jesus hanging on the cross probably made this an easy choice. As subversive as humanly possible? Check.
Billy DeMoya's vocals are loud as hell and what I thought might have been a girl fronted group at first is probably just giving away the age of these guys at the time. There isn't a hint of vocal effects, they made the obvious choice to have these genius punk lyrics way on the top of the 4 chord rhythm with piano! Everything else is pretty much buried, the chorus has a great vintage '70s carefree feel, I can picture them trying to get that sound just right...ok, take 14.
"Bummer Bitch"
That was pretty good but can you sing it a little happier?
The final verse finds Billy completely out of his head screaming, "Eat my ass!". This would have been the first 45 I would have to play quietly with the door closed when my parents weren't even home, or all music would have been banned immediately. I would have to listen to it late at night with headphones, it's good to be an adult.
The B-Side, "Church" doesn't have a chance of living up to the previous side, but the organ opening is a nice touch, but it has that '70s prog rock sound, bordering on Dead Kennedys nasal punk, which is delivered by Willie Braun on this side, going crazy with the effects, phaser guitars, echo vocals, layers of attempts at big time radio sound, which actually today are a perfect period example of Ariel Pink, the underwater warbling drums that have been bounced down numerous times, muffled guitars the vocals added last and weirdly clear. Could easily be a Spinal Tap song. Two weird sides of this short lived band, and another example of the historic importance of the format. I'm glad Last Laugh is taking the time to track down the rights to these and reissue them.

Thank god... honestly for Terminal Boredom message boards for keeping track of articles on a band like this.

Killed by Death ripped a test pressing you can hear over there, (Bummer Bitch was a joke?) but you don't have to pay $600 bucks to hear this universally loved classic, get your copy from Last Laugh Records and friend them on facebook or lick my balls.
Either one.

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