The hits keep coming from Lumpy Records, & they pretty much always zig when you expect ’em to zag. Although Belleville wave-punks Trauma Harness have had a handful of limited-run cassette releases & one split 45 (with my band Bunnygrunt, conflict-of-interest trainspotters!), they remain criminally unrepresented on vinyl for as hard working a band as they are. So what does Lumpy do to rectify that? Release a solo 45 by bassist Andy Peterson (the “Quiet Harness”), of course. And like everything else I’ve heard on Lumpy Records, it’s great (of course).
Operating as Gibbous, the two songs Peterson presents here aren’t a wild departure from the Trauma Harness sound, but they do fill in the background a little. Side A(I guess)’s “No Elevators” is a driving low-fi punk track that would have sounded just right a few years back on Dirtnap Records. Some squalling saxophone sets it apart from the pack, harking back to those X-Ray Spex-y kinda times, when saxophones didn’t sound weird in punk rock. The flip dips into synths & drum machines with “Mortal Crust,” sounding like what early 00’s synth-punks thought early 80’s synth-punk sounded like. Do androids dream of stage diving?
Belleville punks Max Load were looking to the 80’s for inspiration, too, only they were doing it way back in 1979. Released on their own 198X (pronounced “1980-X”) Records, their “X-Rod/Magazine Sex” 45 is one of this region’s few early punk rock records to be known nationwide, having been distributed by Bomp! Records, & later bootlegged on some “great lost punk 45’s” type compilations. The two songs revel in dirt-rock, B-movie pop culture themes, but musically show an open-mindedness that was was already using punk rock as an excuse to expand the future, not as a set of rules to limit it. Ripples of this restless creativity still resonate in bands like Trauma Harness today. Or maybe Belleville’s just weird.
Gibbous “Mortal Crust”
Max Load “X-Rod/Magazine Sex” (clip lists them backwards, ha!)