Friday, May 24, 2013
The Denizens on Young Soul Rebels Records
You never heard of The Denizens.
No one has - they existed for maybe a year or two in the late ‘70s in Detroit and released this one single. Originally from Livonia, Michigan they used to get together in someone’s basement after school, worked out some songs and eventually ended up playing one of the first shows of Bookies Club 870 the only venue in Detroit’s punk scene at the time. But more than just being first on the scene they recorded some impressive garage punk tracks that could stand alongside anything rereleased on Almost Ready. A single like this is a record of an underground story that’s been all but forgotten and this is a reminder to continue to search this sort of thing out.
"Danger in Disneyland" on the A-Side - I spent the first couple minutes looking for the AR logo somewhere but this punk, black and white sleeve is from Young Soul Rebels records. Thank god I figured out these guys recorded this in ’79 because if this wasn't a rerelease, someone is a weirdo scary genius. There’s something so perfect about this early punk, its got a thin treble emphasis throughout with scratchy guitars layered in that double up with force, then dropping out for this bass line quiet section. It’s a real rebel xerox punk that goes all the way back to the garage stuff from Nuggets comp, all the anti-seriousness of rock, just having a good time with the whole thing. Kicking this off with a heavy squealing solo and right into the vocal in a high register that's like a snottier, adolescent Joe Strummer with a Jeff Novak appreciation for near glam history and the fun/fast Dictators sound (Did I mention them twice in a week?). The title of this song is a perfect approximation of where they’re coming from, there’s no real danger just the weirdo kind that's about loud and fast but clean and listenable, focused on this railing power chord sound and diving in for the whole shebang. Nailing that change into nothing but the bass and straightforward percussion which otherwise fights the entire time to keep up and make itself as important and fun as the vocal.
B-Side "I know you hate me" - Crunchy guitar vocal yelling kick this one off feeling like its buried under that scuzzy hiss in a period perfect way, thin vocals over a thick crunch coming off like the Buzzcocks “Ever Falling in Love”, such a great guitar tone, a lesson in stripped down sound making the A-Side seem like power pop. "It's Gotta Be Her" goes heavy with a thinner distortion and bursts a few repeated chords in a Kinks kind of aggression it feels like a rehearsal like they just figured this out it's good. This vocal is perfectly spread over the top in a sing along punk, capturing that live feel they must have had. The bass is barely here these treble heavy distortion peaking and under driven sounds are the key to this. Check out “I know you hate me” over at this link with the only page of band history I could find, but really that’s all you need.
Pick this up from the UFO Factory or an Italy Records page. David Buick has a hand in Italy and Young Soul Rebels and would have only bothered to put this out because it was criminally overlooked...and recorded by Legs Mcneil!