Saturday, March 8, 2008

I Don't Need No Pig Stomping On My Buzz

click for enlarged view

The near-unanimous hype that surrounded Squirrel Bait upon the release of their initial 12" was pretty strange for the time, seeing that a lot of it came from the newspaper and alterna-weekly types who held that the other bands on the Homestead roster (Sonic Youth, Big Black, Dinosaur, etc) were pretty much the scourge of modern music. Whatever the case was, the hype was more than realized by this single, which was a preview of Squirrel Bait's powerhouse "Skag Heaven" LP and in my mind their first really perfect piece of vinyl.

That isn't to say that the first Squirrel Bait 12" was bad, only that it was a little spotty, having been patched together using an early demo and some newer recordings. When you listen to that first record now, it's pretty easy to pick out which of the songs are the demo tracks. (Two songs from the demo that didn't make the record ended up being released by The Pope fanzine as the "Motorola Cloudburst" 7-inch.) When "Kid Dynamite" was released, though, it definitely gave notice that Squirrel Bait had reached an entirely other level.

It's said that "Kid Dynamite" is about a mugging on the street that some of the members of the band suffered on their first trip to New York; a weird back-masked voice was slapped over the bridge of the song, which I've never been able to figure out.

Another story that used to go around was that Squirrel Bait started out as Squirrelbait Youth, a name they originally took to make a jab against all of the "Youth"-named hardcore bands that were around at the time (Wasted Youth, Bored Youth, Reagan Youth, and so on). I think I read in Forced Exposure or somewhere once that when Sonic Youth first got together, Thurston Moore wanted to release a 7-inch with a folded-up, photocopied paper sleeve, so that straightedge kids would buy it thinking it was a hardcore record and then go, "What the fuck?"

click for enlarged view

Squirrel Bait -

"Kid Dynamite"

"Slake Train Coming"

(these files are now listen-only)

click for enlarged view


Drindle said...

Love these guys, They had a perfect sound, but worked outside the norm in terms of that sound. Love it.

Jersey Beat said...

Hey Dave
When I sent you those photos, I literally sent you those photos. I don't even have copies. I have some other SB pics which have been reprinted a lot (often without my permission) like this one:

Brushback said...

Wow, I don't even have the original copies anymore (these here were scanned from the pages of the zine, of course). Go ahead and take the large-scale scans I made, if you want to post them in a gallery-- they're yours anyway.

I've seen this photo everywhere (and it's a great photo, too), never realizing that it was one of yours.

gabbagabbahey said...

As a Slint fan, I always wanted to hear something from these guys. I'm not sure how, but I got the idea they would sound like a harder-to-listen-to version of Tweez, but this is actually pretty good. I get a strong Husker Du flavou from it... thanks!

Brushback said...

Yeah, Squirrel Bait were about the most accessible out of all of the bands related to the Slint 'axis'.

HC4N is pretty cool, by the way...

spavid said...

All of you should really check out the Bangtails ep I recently uploaded on Wilfully Obscure:

Peter Searcy meets vintage REM. Classic.

Brushback said...

Y'know, Spavid, I'd be downloading a ton of shit from your site, but I just can't get those .rar files to open up on my computer.

Anytime I've tried to grab a RapidShare file from a blog, I get the same "can't determine which program to open file with" error statement.

Perhaps there's a plug-in that I need?...

Brushback said...

The mp3 files on this post are now listen-only (non-downloadable) files. For those of you who missed the boat, I will do my best to respond to any e-mailed requests for the original files.