Cramps - Coast To Coast 12 inch
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The Cramps are one of those select handful of bands that have such a groundbreaking combination of sharply-defined musical, sartorial and behavioral styles as to stake a claim to being 'unique' in so far as that oft-abused epithet may be applied to a mere 'beat combo'. The Cramps weren't Punk like The Pistols, New Wave like Television, Garage like The Fleshtones, nor Glam like The New York Dolls... no, they really were something else, with a garish graveyard Trash aesthetic all of their very own. The Cramps first releases were a brace of singles, produced by ex-Box Top and Big Star maverick main man Alex Chilton, recorded in 1978 at Memphis' Ardent Studios: Human Fly b/w Domino and Surfin' Bird b/w The Way I Walk. The band's potent fuzz-drenched and reverb-soaked sound was succinctly and accurately described as a stew of depraved influences - TV, 60's garage punk, comic books, jungle movies, deep-ghetto R&B and shock-value theatrics. By the summer of 1979, the Cramps had completed their first European tour and returned to New York. They signed to IRS Records and began work on their debut album produced once again by Chilton. The producer's obsessive attention to detail resulted in the album, 'Songs The Lord Taught Us', not being released until March 1980. This superb recording from New York's Irving Plaza features rip-snorting live versions of 6 of the albums 13 tracks: Mystery Plane, Zombie Dance, Garbageman, I Was A Teenage Werewolf, Sunglasses After Dark and TV Set. Although The Cramps sophomore album, Psychedelic Jungle was not destined to appear until 1981, both Voodoo Idol and Rockin' Bones are also previewed here. Weekend On Mars would have to wait even longer before finally making onto wax as the B-side of a French New Rose single in 1984.