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?"
Squirrel Bait -
"Slake Train Coming"
(these files are now listen-only)