Thursday, April 17, 2008

Car Thieves - The Furious! Fighting! Car Thieves

(Planet Pimp, 1994)

Super-trebly surf punk. Sound quality is some real tapedeck SHIT, and I can’t deny that that gets in the way of my total enjoyment of the disc; it truly sounds awful (perversely, by far the best-sounding material on the record is the intro/outro drum-machine silliness that serves as a crass ad for the label). I’m no surf fan, though, so maybe it’s high praise when I say that this stuff does at least have energy and balls – a rockin’ “Baby Elephant Walk”?! – and, best of all, there’s a detailed backstory here that matches anything cooked up by the likeminded folks over at Amarillo Records. Briefly: At the time, the single was advertised in Planet Pimp catalogs as the debut offering from “America’s Gayest Surf Band,” and the sleevenotes tell the story of how label head Sven-Erik Geddes first met the Car Thieves in a San Francisco YMCA, where they slipped their demo under a bathroom-stall door. Song titles include such cheap guffaws as “The Man From U.R.A.N.U.S.,” “Steers N’ Queers,” and “Ass, Ass, or Ass, Nobody Rides For Free.” The label’s Goode Tyme Jhambhoree compilation continues the joke with a series of prank calls to the pissed-sounding band (Geddes “fucked our record up completely… he put on his silly little beatbox stuff and mixed it down real low”) praising them for empowering the gay surf-rock community. Then we get a hilarious disco/club remix – handclaps and police whistles! – credited to “The Original Car Thieves.” The overarching joke is better than the music, yeah, but that total package makes it well worth the attention of folks who get a kick out of acts like Neil Hamburger and Scharpling & Wurster. Simply consider this crude 7” part of the soundtrack to a larger, bizarro concept-gag and you’ll enjoy it just fine.

(...Midheaven’s $1.00 pricetag doesn’t hurt either.)

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