Thursday, October 31, 2013

Johnny Hash - "Summer of Cum"/"Rat Petal" 7"

Johnny Hash – “Summer of Cum” 7”
In the Red, 1995
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2008
Price: $.25
It took me a minute to realize that this band’s name was a joke. “Wait, should this be under H?” I thought. Then I was like “Oh, it’s pry a name that is a band name but not the name of someone in the band.” “Oh, hash, like hashbrowns.” “Oh, hash like drugs.” “OH IT IS A PLAY ON JOHNNY CASH I GET IT!” So there’s my thought process. Also, I gotta say, “Summer of Cum” is probably the best sleazy song title you’re gonna find anywhere, especially when paired up with the song itself which is basically grimy blues rock played into the worst recording equipment imaginable. It sounds like total garbage, which is the point, which is why I’m grooving down on this 7”. This is before the White Stripes made bluesy garage rock hip again (I’m still taken aback every time I hear a crowd chanting the hook from “Seven Nation Army” at a massive sporting event). The b-side, the almost equally excellently titled “Rat Petal” is more subdued, but just as grungy and fueled by guitars that are so distorted they sound like they’re being played through a concrete wall. Tracing the genealogy of the band is tricky since in the 18-20 years since this 7”s release (I’ve seen the release date listed as 1993, 1994, and 1995, and of course it’s nowhere on the sleeve) multiple folks have made the same play-on-famed-country-singer’s-name game (notably white rapper Johnny Ha$h). From what I could find, the group is a duo (Dan Brown and Marty Moore) with roots in the Mick Collins (the Dirtbombs) side project the Screws. The Mick Collins tie makes me think they’re from Detroit, but since these songs were recorded in Memphis I’m not so sure. It certainly sounds like dirty Detroit garage rock, that’s for damn sure. The selling point though was that this was released on In the Red records (although I’m sure even if it wasn’t on a label I knew, I still would have bought it for the title “Summer of Cum” that’s for damn sure) which I thought had popped up fairly recently with the mid-to-late 00s garage rock revival (Vivian Girls, Jay Reatard, the Black Lips, and pretty much every other band of that ilk released SOMETHING on In the Red. I remember when I was music director at KJ seeing In the Red’s neat little VU meter label on the back of a CD usually meant that the CD would at least be listened to) but no, it’s been around since 1991 and released tons and tons and tons of awesome shit.

"Summer of Cum (For Robert Wyatt)"

"Rat Petal"

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