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The Matchheads

Backtracks 1980-1982 / The Matchheads Present The Mohawks, Lucky Strikes, The Gassers 1981-1985

(Matchheads)

The Matchheads were a punk rock band in the early ‘80s that are known only to a handful of people in San Francisco. But that doesn’t mean what they created should be tossed aside. These two discs are rather strong and bring to mind bands like The Clash and Radio Birdman among others. The first disc covers 1980 to 1982, with “Why” being a cover of The Byrds tune with great results. “Wanted Man”, “Ceremony” and “Young Capitolist” are other punchy nuggets that have lead singer Patrick Wickler sounding like he was decades ahead of Julian Casablancas and his Stroke-mates. Need more proof? “Modern Way” is a great garage tune that is quite primal, much like The Strokes’ “Modern Age”. The first track that veers off this course is the bass-fuelled and minimal “Standtime” which branches out into some elongated guitar solo. The lone soft spot might be the mellow, downbeaten “The Underside”. The second album contains a handful of songs from different groups that were based from members of The Matchheads. “Pearl Harbor” and “Fat Bitch” have more snarl and bite to them while “Bill Holden” by The Mohawks brings to mind early Talking Heads. Most of these tunes are under two minutes, including “Sleep on the Job” and the messy “No Lie” and, er, “Dick”. Highlights include the rough and ragged blues rock of “Doin’ Pushups” and the quirky, catchy “Bing Crosby”.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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