Friday, August 23, 2013

The Mortal Micronotz S/T Fresh Sounds, Inc 1982

In about 3rd Grade, my mother gave me a book for the holidays entitled Stairway to Hell the 500 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums in the Universe by Chuck Eddy.  At the time, I was into ear splitting metal bands, Megadeath, Anthrax, that type of thing.  Chuck Eddy's book was not, so it was shelved.  However, occasionally I would thumb through the book.  As I got older, I started reading the reviews and started to understand that Chuck Eddy wasn't talking about "metal" at all, just ear splitting rock n' roll.  Throughout junior high and high school I was looking through the book for something new about once a month.  There's tons of obscure titles within his work.  The best of which is the Lawrence, KS punksters, Mortal Micronotz, who get the honor of #421 in his book.

The Mortal Micronotz S/T Fresh Sounds, Inc CAT# FS 201 1982

Well, this means a lot more to me than it does Eddy, for one, I’m from Kansas.  Two, I went to college in this band’s hometown.  Lawrence, KS, home of the Jayhawks and the best small music town in the nation.   Three, they hung out with William Burroughs, he even wrote some lyrics for this LP.  I went to William Burroughs house when I was in high school, and found out the same thing the Micronotz did, Mr. Burroughs liked high school age boys, which is creepy, but you throw that all way because he wrote Naked Lunch and Junkie.

Keeping on the same tip, one issue I do have with Eddy’s review is refers to the band as from the ‘burbs.  Well, that’s not true at all.  Lawrence is a college town.  Living in Lawrence for as long as I did, I always envied the high school kids in Lawrence, because I did grow up in the ‘burbs.  College townies have access to art (in this case the home of William Burroughs), a local music scene, cool record stores, and beer.  I think Chuck Eddy mistakes suburban boredom for kids begging for more.  Bored is when you grow up in Olathe, Kansas and go to the 711 every Friday night until the cops send you down the road.  Wanting more, would be having liberal college professors for parents and access to punk rock.  The best punk rock has anger, spite, angst, and is from an area where "the man" is out to get you.  Judging by lyrical content, the Micronotz lived a pretty normal life and "the man" was never out to get them, even if they tried.  However, we must also take into account when the band cut this record, they were still in high school.  And seriously, we’re all little embarrassed looking back at our world outlook when we were in high school, right?

As far as the punk rock moves, the Micronotz have them.  They must have had the coolest fucking record collection of any high school kid, ever.  This ain't your Washington, DC, angry at the government (because my parents work for it) white kid hardcore.   It’s got moves.  It owes a little to the Brits, the dance rockers like Stranglers, The Fall and Gang of Four, but overall, it’s got a nice early American punk feel.  Too dirty and loud to sound like the Talking Heads, more on par with trashy New York Dolls rhythms and some Ramones repetition thrown in.  They've got a lot of pop to them and you just sensed if they were to ever cross the nation as a band, they would've had the hooks to sound like the Replacements.  Best comparison, and almost an identical situation, would be Squirrel Bait.

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