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Grim Klone Band

“Blank Space” is the title of volume 10 of the series, American Punk Rock Nuggets. It’s put out by Rave-Up Records, some Italian label that seems to issue only this series. I love them for it. Perhaps half of the albums I recommend in a week will be from this series. Each LP features a different unheard of punk band from the seventies or early eighties. The first one I bought was Grim Klone Band. I got it at Issues, a magazine/record store in Oakland. It was the sticker on the front that cought my eye: “Trashy Rock’n’Roll, 1978.” How could you go wrong? It has everything I like. I value Rock’n’Roll as an artistic aesthetic and I see punk rock as a prime utilizer of such. But my taste in punk is specific. I like the early stuff before it turns into hardcore, where it still has riffs and rhythm. Examples of this would be the first Damned LP, Richard Hell, Johnny Thunders, and the Sex Pistols. These are classic punk acts when the genre had yet to devolve into its current form but was rather a type of stripped down, revved up Rock’n’Roll. That is why this series, Lost American Punk Rock Nuggets, is so great! It focuses on this time period, when the genre was still fresh and without the constraints and limitations it has today. Grim Klone Band is stellar. It’s a power-trio lineup but several tracks feature an overdubbed lead guitar and the bass generally does not follow the guitar exactly but, rather, bounces around it like a good funk player. The bass is recorded very deep and does not detract from the guitar but holds up the bottom end very well as the drums are not nearly as heavy. The drums are intricate but do not demand attention. My attention falls on the guitar. The rhythm is recorded very dirty and sounds like a crumpled piece of paper. The lead is recorded very deep and smooth, without much treble and sounds like the smooth-talking dude at the party who takes all the girls from you but whom you can’t hate because he’s so disarmingly nice and clever about it. The lyrics, however, are not too clever, but they sound fine. I ignore the words and see them as a contribution to the band’s aesthetic. Sure, the words could be better, but there’s a reason the band never got famous and the singer’s style is great. Totally punk, he shouts in key but never croons or talks down to the audience by trying to prove he “knows how” to sing. The songs, then, are stellar. Very rock’n’roll, they feature classic rock riffs tweaked slightly so they sound familiar but not redundant. Over all, a fantastic record and definitely worth a try. To simplify, it sounds like a cross between Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and The Dead Boys. Sort of the bouncy pop of Richard Hell but with the meaner, rock’n’roll edge of The Dead Boys. It made me pay attention to this series and every time I see another record from it, I pick it up. A couple have been disappointing, but, generally, they are all just what I’m looking for, classic Punk Rock. These are the records I was looking for years ago when, as a teenager, I became interested in punk and went out searching for the good stuff. I’ve finally found it!