Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Fleshtones: IT'S SUPER ROCK TIME: The I.R.S. Years 1980-1985

The Fleshtones

IT'S SUPER ROCK TIME: The I.R.S. Years 1980-1985
Raven Records


Whether you're a devoted fan trying to get their hands on the old stuff that isn't available, or a new convert to Super Rock, you've learned by now that older Fleshtones material is rare and super hard to come by unless you have unlimited funds to pay off shady dealers on ebay. Mourn no longer. Raven Records has released IT'S SUPER ROCK TIME: The I.R.S. Years 1980-1985 with a whopping 25 (!) tracks covering The Fleshtones' five year tenure at IRS Records. This is not just a compilation of their three IRS released Roman Gods, Hexbreaker!, and Speed Connection, but also rare tracks appearing on CD for the first time!

Songs like the raunchy fuzz of "The Dreg" put one smack in the middle of New York 1979 at a Blue Whale Party. It's not only young, fresh, and LOUD, but so surprisingly modern that you'll end up feeling like you missed out the first time, even if you didn't. Another track from Roman Gods is surf and harmonica of "The World Has Changed." The song and statement haven't aged at all. A personal favorite is "Screamin' Skull" from 1983's Hexbreaker! I owned a copy of the vinyl 25 years ago. Needless to say, I was a little new wave kid caught up in "The Age of Earnestness", so our beloved 'Tones didn't do too much for me back then since it had very little hints of seriousness, but I have fond memories of that tune as well as the silliness in Keith's voice on "Right Side of a Good Thing." It's great to hear it again. Obviously, it didn't take too long for me to learn my lesson.

I have to make a sidetone here about the whole "Age of Earnestness" thing. It was brought on by countless new wave bands who made serious, somber, sad, silly emo music. Unfortunately, it put great rock 'n roll bands like The Fleshtones and their former rehearsal space mates, The Cramps out of contention for gaining the recognition that they really deserved. Luckily for us, both bands are cemented in our own personal Hall of Great Rock 'n Roll Fame and their music continuously withstands the test of time and is rediscovered.

25 tracks to span five years, two studio albums, a live album, and tons of EPs, singles, maxi-singles, and extras. Over three decades of The Fleshtones. The great party anthem "Girl From Baltimore", the anthemic "American Beat '84", the psyched up cover of Lee Dorsey's "Ride The Pony", the awesome tremolo and sing along of "The Theme from The Vindicators" - honestly, every song is a sing along party anthem, a sweet groove, a little garage, a little rock, a little surf, and a whole lot of soul. It's a lot for five years and it only scratches the surface of just how good they really are. The Fleshtones are unabashed rock with soul that's unmatchable on songs like "All Around The World" The stuff is so good that it's a true musical revelation, and the best party your ears will ever have.

The Fleshtones were so prolific that a box set of all their material would be overwhelming, but a requirement for anyone who thinks they're a real rock 'n roll fan. Sadly, this is likely to never happen. For now, IT'S SUPER ROCK TIME: The I.R.S. Years 1980-1985 is essential. You'll be grateful to own a copy.

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