[Christopher Arnott continues to espouse the glories of the many 45s he’s kept in the basement all these years.]
The Botswanas, Little Witch b/w Primitive High. Hardwired Archie comics fanatic that I am, I once accidently mistyped the Botswanas song title “Little Witch” as “Teenage Witch” (as in “Sabrina the…”). Whereupon another New Haven rock band, The Gravel Pit, wrote a song called “Teenage Witch.” My little contribution to local band culture. “Little Witch”—there, I got it right, is a real barnburner of a garage anthem, wrought by the guitarist Price Harrison and featuring vocalist Eileen Ziontz at the height of her miraculous melding with the spirits of Nancy Sinatra and Wendy O. Williams. White vinyl for all the white magic.
The Trashmen, Lucille b/w Green Onions. One of several packagings of previously unreleased tracks by the distillers of “Surfin’ Bird.” Both are dance-at-the-gym standards from The Trashmen’s mid-‘60s heydays, sped up a bit and graced by the band’s patented sandpaper vocals, but otherwise respectful.
Shiv, Lust b/w EMK and Stratego. Three-song EP put out by John Nutcher’s Caffeine Disk label, which really believed in this band. It’s one of those slowburn, thumpy, bass-heavy sounds which eventually morphed into emo but was still considered punk back in 1993, when this came out. Singer/ guitarist Keith Cotlier has recently resurfaced in the somewhat spritelier Forge Records band The Clearer.
Malachi Krunch/Maggot split EP. Each side has its own collective EP-style title. Malachi Krunch’s is called “This Will Be on Your Permanent Record” and contains two tracks, “What Can I Do for You Now?” and “Flinch.” The Maggot NYC side is dubbed “From the Cradle to the Grave” and has three short songs: “Your God,” Death Trip” and “Casualties of War”—which I don’t believe I’ve ever heard. That’s because it’s impossible to get past the fun-loving hardcore-badass MK anthem “What Can I Do for You Now?” Malachi Krunch reunited last year, nearly 20 years after breaking up, to honor the late Wally Gates (who briefly played in one of the last editions of the band) at a memorial show at Café Nine last summer.
The Furors, Electric Guitar and Drums. One of the most brilliant (literally, like colorful) packaging concepts in the history of the Connecticut music scene: Eleven songs spread across two singles. Each side of each single is a bright color—red, blue, green, yellow—unsullied by any text. The music is, in classic Furors fashion, basic and brilliant. For the past 30 years, Derek Holcomb and Tom Dans haven’t wavered from the model set down in the title of this album (unless you count the Huntingtons, but even that isn’t too far afield). It’s astonishing how clearly they’d figured their sound out from the very beginning, and how superbly it still works.
Until I looked at the liner notes just now, I didn’t realize how far back the connection between Rob DeRosa and this mighty duo went. Rob apparently took the cover photo for this “juke box album.”Decades later, DeRosea would release a two-CD Furors tribute album on his Thin Man Music label.
The Furors, Furors for the Live EP. A four-song 45 from 1979 that predates the more elaborate Electric Guitar and Drums (which was an album’s worth of music splayed across two 45s). “Letters” remains one of my fave Furors tracks—it’s simultaneously Buddy Hollyesque, Beatlesque, New Wavesque and completely furious. The other tunes—“I Couldn’t Pretend,” “Her Other Man,” “A Look for the Honey”—are not shabby, but “Letters” is immortal.
The Furors play this Saturday, along with dozens of other Connecticut bands, at the Daffodil Festival in Meriden’s Hubbard Park.