Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Features on Last Laugh Records

New York City has changed a lot since this record from The Features was recorded back in 1979. The East Village, Soho, Times Square, virtually every single neighborhood would be unrecognizable to these guys today. Did the state of the city have anything to do with influencing their sound? Would they even have existed if NYC wasn't abandoned in the late '70s? Well the A-Side "Floozie of the Neighborhood" wouldn't have been written at the very least.

1979 seems pretty early to have this kind of raw, garage sound recorded at Dreamland, a fairly serious midtown studio up until recently. Smart snarly vocals that remind me a lot of Liquor Store if they went into a midtown studio and had one of these engineers close everything off in booths, locking down and deadening these sounds. It's novel for a punk bluesy number like this to have this level of production. Getting the four yahoos in matching bowling shirts on the back of this sleeve into the studio at the same time took some doing. The lyrics are the star of course:

40 dollars is what you want / 20 dollars is all I got

You know where this is going, a screechy buried solo in the texture of the 53rd and 3rd single, these guys even have a bit of that speed and crashed out hammer chords, bending up and down in a blues scale. I'm sure this is autobiographical. What are you going to sing about nowadays?

Condo's going up / go get some coffee / bring my laptop / which small batch mayo / should I get at the food truck

Terrible. She's not even a hooker. Remember when parking lots in times square had hookers blowing guys behind the row of vans at the back? I do. So do they.

The B-Side is a freaking Beatles cover "I Wanna be Your Man" of course this is the better one. How they managed the royalties and then Last Laugh and this repress must have been some kind of legal nightmare, or when you press a few hundred copies they get the middle finger. Great raw sounds like the Stooges Raw Power sound with crashing static cymbals and lots of attitude but not outright punk in that English way, just a bunch of guys who have seen a lot of shit and put a gutter spin on this classic - just a mere 15 years later, the original was barely ancient.

Last Laugh has consistently been an education with every release. The Embarassment single has led to tracking down all their full length's on ebay. That's the sort of thing you used to be able to get from the guys at your local nonexistent record store - so this is worth your support. The insert is awesome, faithfully recreated down to the address to book the band on first ave. A block that actually looks kind of shitty still. Way to go.

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