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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