Before the Doughboys cut their great Whatever (Pipeline) debut, John Kastner and crew assembled for a demo session at Montreal's Studio La Majeure in the winter of 87. The songs they re-recorded for their album never captured the reckless spirit of the first takes, as you can now hear on the fab three-track La Majeure 1987 (Scamindy) 7-inch and CD EP featuring the Forecast, Stranger From Within and their classic I Remember, which never sounded better. www.scamindy.com
While digging through the dumpster behind the neighbourhood clinic looking for returnable empties ditched by tipsy medical staffers, I happened to come across a big piece of pink styrofoam used to pack a dialysis machine. That wasn't any big deal in itself, but underneath it was a single by the Horn Band called Pink Styrofoam (Neapolitan). Talk about your plate-o-shrimp moments. The best bit is that this rootin'-tootin' record out of Milwaukee is actually stone cold funky, like 10-year-old Muenster.
Back to the underground
This Canuck underground hiphop comp, Urbnet.com/Hiphopmix V1 (Shoreline), is long overdue - about two years, to be exact, since all the tracks here from the Swollen Members, BrassMunk, D-Sisive, MC Collizhun, Tru-Paz, Jugganot, Nish Rawks and others were recorded circa 2000-2001. It's a testament to the skills of the producers involved, particularly DJ Serious, that all this stuff still sounds stoopid fresh in spite of the Elián Gonzales references.
When I spotted the Disco Still Sucks (Get Hip) reissue collection of singles tracks released by Pittsburgh garage punk overlords the Swamp Rats, I figured it was going to be a straight gathering of their nasty-cool St. Clair label A and B sides. The blistering No Friend Of Mine and Psycho are classics, of course, but the real shocker here is the previously unissued and totally unhinged Hey Freak. Astonishing. You've got to check this.