The Vertebrats (Roy Axford, Jr., Matt Brandabur, Kenny Draznik, and Jim Wald) built a following for their stripped-down style of garage/punk/pop in Champaign, IL and throughout the Midwest between 1979 and '82. Their signature anthem "Left in the Dark", included on Voxx Records' Battle of the Garages compilation LP in 1981, has since been covered by The Replacements, Uncle Tupelo, The Screaming Tribesmen, The Leonards...even Courtney Love!
Screaming Like a Mad Choir is the first in a series of planned releases encompassing The Vertebrat's recorded legacy. This effort is being curated by Jon Ginoli, Pansy Division frontman and longtime Vertebrats aficionado. Includes remastered versions of most of The Vertebrats’ original studio recordings, those tracks put to tape in their hometown of Champaign, Illinois and seven live-in-the-studio tracks captured during a swing down the West Coast recorded for Bomp! Records at the tail-end of the band's initial live incarnation.
Paul Westerberg, The Replacements:
"Oh God, that’s a great song!"
Jay Farrar, Son Volt/Uncle Tupelo:
"The Vertebrats had written the quintessential garage rock anthem... 'Left in the Dark' is a time-honored, minimalist piece of what garage-rock was all about."
"[The Vertebrats] straddled punk, borrowing it's direct drive, aggression and edgy attitude, but marrying it to a more classic melodic pop sense, and with more guitar playing rather than punk’s power chord blitzes… Everything here makes the critical grade, thanks to seemingly effortless harmonies, frugal jet-pack riffs and an overall 'rock the joint' loose feel… a treasure trove for fans old and new."
"A raw but lovable noise that echoed the worthier aspects of power-pop, while presaging the Replacements school of punk-inflected confessionalism."
released May 24, 2011
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