Snotty Bastards Alert!! These guys aren't just imitating the Stones in several respects (cover, title, certain cuts, etc.) but also the Kingsmen, Kinks, Sex Pistols, half of CBGB's, Nils Lofgren, and a whole bunch of the rough-siders as they fleer, sneer, thrash guitars, stomp and shout, and, hold on there, Lemuel, they're most likely eyeing your nubile young daughter to boot! The Hangmen were one of L.A.'s finest punchy ensembles and much admired by cats like Keith Morris (Circle Jerks), Rob Younger (Radio Birdman), Mike Ness (Social Distortion), and others—Lost Rocks, culled from four albums along with bonus unreleased cuts, vividly demonstrates why.
For one, there's also a shitload of early Stooges-type finest moments here, and while the four gents mostly keep to the kind of pounding simplicity that typified the punk movement and much of the 60s music they so admired, there's also a surprising amount of sophistication in the guitars of Brian Small and Rene Raisikka, not to mention some compositional subtleties that aren't always noted on the first go-round. This, I have to suspect, accounts for the band's elevated status among the razors-n-nipple-rings crowd, 'cause one of the deepest, darkest, nastiest, most embarrassing secrets of punk is this: while the yobs were excoriating the hippies, the true musicians among them were gobbling up 70s materials like there was no tomorrow. That, after all, is how they learned to compose beyond 3/4 and kindergarten rhyming stanzas.
Yeah, Lost Rocks is definitely headbangin', skankin', spazzin', birdflip music that muscularly revivifies the arrogance of adolescence, testosterone sonic mayhem, and a lot of dinosaurs my age are going to be a bit knocked off their pins to find quality the level of Lord Sutch, Ray Davies, Blue Cheer, Jagger-Richards at their early rawest, and all the prototype brash boys who liked their thudbump with a lot of sandpaper and concrete blocks in it. Beware, children of the 60s: while your hairline is making a beeline for your behind, The Hangmen will short out your hearing aids and put Jolt Cola in yer pacemakers. I doubt you'll be complaining about it, though, 'cause this is great shit, and there's 18 cuts worth of it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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