Crush, kill and destroy everything around me are just some of the things that come to mind as I listen to IRON LUNG! We all know that this band can’t be fucked with. Check out this rad video playlist that IRON LUNG put together for CVLT Nation…
Big Black “Kerosene”
Driving around in a 1983 Toyota Corona late night. Pretty sure we had taken “something.” This song came on the radio. This was when Reno had a real independent voice. The “Bottom 40.” I had to know what this was.The guitars sounded like saw blades scraping on shit-stained pavement. Like nothing I had ever heard. It was better than what hardcore had become. The rhythm section was not human. It was not of this earth. It was sickening. What was this? I had to know. I waited until the DJ proclaimed. On our way home we encountered true blue Satan worshipers in cloak and gown and bunnies with red eyes. Possibly a sign?
Jesus Lizard “Boilermaker”
The anticipation had been building. The day it came out, we threw it on the turntable. The intro edit will always be a jump start to hot-wire a heartbeat. It was a departure from the clear clean production of “Goat.” Thick and full. Dirt with purity. Duane Denison has informed the way I play guitar more than any other. Not a single live band could ever reach the heights now or ever, period.
Die Keuzen “Rumors”
“Oh, you like the weird shit. Check this out.” These were the words from an older kid. How much more could that be true? The vocals and that rhythm section came from another planet. Brian Egeness will always be one of my favorite guitar players. The immediacy of the recording. What or who does this speak to? Me? Someone else? No one? Everyone?
Devo “Be Stiff”
Devo was my gateway drug. As a kid looking toward the unfathomable future, sucking up every bit of science fiction, this was the only viable soundtrack. This song is not the most alien, but it is one of the most perfectly written “pop” songs in their catalog. Very minimal and concise. Without Devo I would have never have discovered Herbert, Dick, or Ballard. Not to mention punk or hardcore.
Obviously, I like the mid-west. Now I will move to the down under. Still my favorite band of the “Industrial Era.” The promotion for “Machine Age Voodoo” was barking at every local record store and I remember thinking, “What is the deal with this band?'” Nothing on that record sounded like the lore surrounding the acronym. Was this the same band? Everything I had read did not translate to this limp, poorly produced dismal cash grab. A few years later, I discovered what I had been missing. Like any great creative dump the first is always the most real and the most satisfying.
DICKS – “Hate The Police”
The single greatest punk song of all time. I keep trying to find one better, purer, more perfectly distilled than “Hate The Police” but there just isn’t. The recording is wild and scary, the performances are loose and combative, the lyrics are intense and provocative, the art… iconic. Perfect in every way. Every single time I play it, the hairs stand up on the back of my neck and I get so amped I wanna yell. If there is a better song out there then I haven’t found it yet and doubt I ever will.
RUDIMENTARY PENI – “Cloud Song”
The bass line gets a lot of play when I’m warming up. There is something so pleasing and hypnotic about it the cycle of it, the atmosphere it automatically provides. I’ve probably listened to this entire album more times than anything else since first hearing it more than 30 years ago. Back in junior high, my buddy Shawn had an older brother that would wear a leather jacket around with an RP logo painted real big on the back. I asked him what that meant and he handed me a dubbed tape of Death Church straight of his walkman and said “You need this, now. I’ll make another one.” There were months where it was only Death Church on repeat. And there still are times where I can only listen to Death Church until my head is right again. It is perfect.
DOGS – “Slash Your Face”
I like Detroit rock/punk stuff as much as the next guy but there is something really special about this song. The simplicity of the riffs, the perfect pocket, the anti-superiority ideals of the lyrics, the fact that the phrase “Slash Your Face” is just so damn catchy. They do this thing where they leave the low E string open and play power chords on the octave simultaneously creating this hypethral world of possibilities and closing down all but the one true path to get to it. Fucking magical, this. When I found out this was a live recording my mind was blown right out of my head. Sadly, none of the other songs they’ve managed to release even come close to the power that this one has.
FLOCK OF SEAGULLS – “Messages”
An odd choice in the bunch but why the hell not? Aside from accidental hair style choices and a flashy sense of alternate reality, these Liverpudlians were based in punk, even getting their name from a Stranglers lyric, and they approached song writing with that fervor. Catchy choruses, driving tempos and themes of disorientation in modern society were all there in spades. The hits on the album are well known but the whole thing is well worth the time. Especially “Messages” though. The snare roll in the intro is a little wobbly but perfectly executed and lets a listener know they’re in for something unexpected.
BLACK FLAG – “I’ve Got To Run”
This often overlooked B-side on the “T.V. Party” EP is pure. Pure, raw energy that jumps right out of the speakers and rips your carotid out through the earhole. From beat one I am cranked all the way up and ready to jump. It’s hard to fathom how people don’t talk about “I’ve Got To Run” more. It’s explosive and heavy and menacing. In a word, perfect. So why is it not a classic? It probably doesn’t help that it’s sandwiched between the two more well known tracks, the titular being a silly novelty and the other a stone classic of anti-authoritarian hardcore. Maybe people weren’t ready. Maybe they were scared. Maybe “I’ve Got To Run” is like a downed power line in the street, just whipping around wrecking shit, leaving a wake of destruction that people just want to push out of their minds… or run away from? I’m no psychologist so I can’t say but that analogy makes sense to me.