Monday, October 24, 2005

Walkabouts: Das Ist Gut Seattle Rock Musik!

Hey, anybody remember that Sub Pop anthology, The Grunge Years? I think I must have bought it at Record & Tape Traders when I was a geeky Bel Air, MD 8th grader, and it introduced me to the existence of underground music via its inclusion of a single-only Nirvana track. A whole post could be devoted to it at some point but anyway... one of the several bands I discovered via that disc was The Walkabouts.

Very different from the stereotypical Sub Pop band, The Walkabouts were and are a punk-influenced folk rock band with a dark, dare I say grungy? sound that I can’t always put my finger on. In their two decades they have never earned the stardom they deserved, but they are apparently huge in Germany for some reason. In fact, it appears that they don’t even bother touring the states anymore and their latest album, Acetylene is, as far as I can tell, only available in Germany. Maybe they live there (although they are from Seattle) – I don’t know. As far as I can tell, they don’t even maintain a web site of their own.

So anyway, apparently they have a new album available only as an import. Says band leader Chris Eckman: "I wondered what it would have been like if Neil Young had stopped by Wire's rehearsal space, sometime in 1977? That seemed like a good place for us to start."

Actually, I think it just sounds like Neil Young’s On The Beach myself, which is a good thing. The tracks available online are a lot more angry and raw than their sometimes detached earlier work, but not quite as accomplished either. I’ll have to devote another post to their best work, but this is pretty good nonetheless. No other band captures The Walkabouts’ odd mixture of isolation, desperation, and good ol’ rock n’ roll.

Devil In The Details
Fuck Your Fear


Blogger The Grunt said...

Walkabouts, eh? I'll need to check them out now. You know, you're only enabling those of us with a severe record/cd hording problem. I've got to go finish cleaning my Dr. Feelgood "Malpractice" LP.

Nice blog!

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Rob,

Yes, indeed! I do remember The Grunge Years (both the record and the years themselves... well, for the most part) and thank you for reminding of that wonderful compilation. I recommend it highly, though I'd caution people to beware of Love Battery. In the days before MP3s, Amazon samplers and such, I purchased the album Between The Eyes on the strength of the title track as featured on The Grunge Years. Needless to say, the rest of the record (and indeed any other Love Battery records I've heard subsequently) have not lived up to the promise of that song. But the Walkabouts track was always a favorite of mine and I don't know why I never sought out any of their records. Perhaps I will now---or perhaps you could just burn it for me?

4:27 PM  

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