Sunday, March 25, 2012

I Should've Known Better

Whenever the subject of "favorite live albums" comes up, my list generally starts off with AC/DC's "If You Want Blood, You Got It" and Dredd Foole & The Din's "Eat My Dust, Cleanse My Soul". I'm not sure if the Dredd Foole record exactly counts as a live record per se, since it's actually a radio tape, but it was recorded live/improv and there's people clapping in the background, so I'm gonna say it counts.

This record hit me at just the right time, after I'd been listening to mostly hardcore for a couple of years and was beginning to hunt around for other things that were just as fucked up and abrasive but also had some melody. It was right around then that the first wave of really good Homestead records was starting to come out -- Big Black, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur, Breaking Circus, Volcano Suns, etc. -- and those records quickly became fixed to my turntable and in the tape deck of my car, including (naturally) the Dredd Foole & The Din record.

Half of the brilliance of this record is how the band remains locked inside a Mission of Burma meets Birthday Party-type groove the whole time, allowing Dan "Dredd" Ireton to sort of roam around in different directions and eventually come back while the band never seems to get lost behind him. I'm not sure how much time the band actually had to work on these songs beforehand-- with the other bands these guys had going on at the time, I'm guessing it couldn't have been much-- but the songs are still amazingly catchy and well-written. There's some really great, fleeting moments on this record -- two of my favorites being the squall of feedback that introduces the surge at the end of "Shoulda Known Better" and the part in "No Gun" where the music drops and then Dredd offhandedly says "I thought I told you twice" -- which are made even better when you realize that all of this was just sort of captured in a single take as it went along.

There's an earlier Dredd Foole single where Dredd is backed by Mission of Burma, but in this case "The Din" is made up of one of the Volcano Suns' earlier line-ups (Jeff Weigand and Jon Williams, with Peter Prescott on drums), alongside Kenny Chambers ("Kaiser Ken") of Moving Targets. At first this was released on cassette only, on Dredd's own Religious Records if I remember correctly, but fortunately Homestead pressed it up for posterity on vinyl a little while later. As you can see, I don't even own a regular copy of this anymore; the photo at the top is just something that I found using Google, and the copy I have is a test-pressing that I picked up in a used bin for $3 quite some time ago. There's a bit of extra surface noise owing to the fact that the grooves haven't been protected by a cardboard jacket the whole time, but otherwise I think it came out okay. I've posted 4 tracks separately for convenience (they also happen to be four of the poppier songs on here), but you're really gunna wanna listen to the whole thing in the order that it was intended (from the .zip file), it's just better that way.

Dredd Foole and The Din -

"It All Ends Here"

"No Gun"

"So Tough"

"Shoulda Known Better"

And, for just a little while, I'll include this zip file of the ten tracks that I ripped:

"Eat My Dust, Cleanse My Soul" (10 of 12 tracks)


lex dexter said...

You are the king. I am in a very Homestead, T+G, AmRep, Forced-Exposure-back-issue-reading kind of place, and I have some learning to do with this rock band in particular. Which other records of theirs MUST I own?

And what are your third, fourth and fifth favorite live records?

Brushback said...

Dredd's output is decades-long and pretty varied, but in my opinion the other "must own" Dredd Foole & The Din stuff = the first single ("Sanctuary") with Mission of Burma as the back-up band, which is totally monstrous. Then there's a studio album, "Take Off Your Skin", with the same lineup as "Eat My Dust, Cleanse My Soul". Den 0' Sin posted that one:

Take Off Your Skin