THE ESSENTIAL RADIO BIRDMAN, 1974–1978
This is what happens when the slovenly scuzz of Stooge-itude gets mixed up with suntan lotion and surf wax, when a slick of Detroit motor oil washes up on pristine Antipodean shores. Deniz Tek, a Michigan expat homesick for Eskimo Pies and Stroh’s, hooks up with five Australian larrikins to make a noise that hurtles at terminal velocity but still stays snare-drum tight. 'Aloha Steve & Danno' is a throttling, reverb-soaked paean to the episodes of Hawaii Five-O that were once invaluable lifelines to bored-stiff Sydney teens. 'New Race' is a rallying cry — punctuated with a massively satisfying 'yeeeaaaaah hup!' — for the creation of a hearty stock of hep kids who’re 'really gonna punch you out.' The hyperkinetic romper-stomper 'Do the Pop' is all the better for lyrical masterstrokes like 'Come on, babe, I said squeeze the weez.'
Teengenerate covered 'Burn My Eye' in the mid ’90s to greater and grittier effect, but then Teengenerate probably wouldn’t have existed without Radio Birdman. Like their compatriots the Saints, RB made a racket that kick-started punk’s sound and fury. Unlike the Saints, they’ve been criminally underheard for far too long. It’s been 23 years since their first two LPs have been in print stateside, but finally these white-hot garage-trashers are getting their due.
Issue Date: January 3 - 10, 2002
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