LINEUP: Jeff Pezzati, John Haggerty, Pierre Kezdy, Eric Spicer
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Workmanlike Chicago punk rock commenting on political and social issues in the Reagan area.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Naked Raygun’s high point to date, this record is a meat-and-potatoes Chicago punk rock band. Borrowing some of the rigid structure found in Big Black, along with some incendiary political commentary (“Mr. Gridlock”), Naked Raygun hit the mid-80’s in stride.
Featuring “Home of the Brave”, an anthem about the alienation of the youth of the 80’s, the band’s tightened song structure allows the messages to come through loud and clear, and also keeps everything focused.
There’s still some experimentation (“Peacemaker”), and a few tracks don’t really distinguish themselves from the others. Yet with “Home of the Brave”, Naked Raygun would not be forgotten.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: There’s a new rhythm section, though the record was written before they joined except for “Backlash Jack”.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A B-side and a comp cut added on.
GRADE B+: Decent punk rock with a couple of outstanding tracks.
LINEUP: Jeff Pezzati, Camilo Gonzalez, John Haggerty, Jim Coalo
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: One of Chicago’s early punk bands changes up personnel and issues their first full length album.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Naked Raygun finally solidified their lineup long enough to get into a studio and record a proper album. Of course, the lineup fluidity was just part of the deal in the early days of a punk scene. Band members join and leave to find other bands or start their own.
This version of Naked Raygun introduces John Haggerty into the mix, who changed their style a bit but they still kept the intensity. Intense is the key word for this group.
The intensity does overwhelm a few of the songs, where it’s a fast burning flame that peters out too quickly. Most everyone writes songs, and that variety is one thing that keeps it from being repetitive. It’s a good effort, but not the release to start exploring this group.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was recorded in 1983, but Homestead Records signed them and put off the record until 1985, which is an eternity in punk rock!
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, the 1999 CD reissue adds a track.
GRADE: B: Decent workman-like punk rock, kind of fitting for a Chicago band.
ARTIST: Naked Raygun TITLE: Basement Screams YEAR RELEASED: 1983 CHART ACTION: No SINGLES: Basically, this WAS a single – three songs on each side. OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No LINEUP: Jeff Pezzati, Santiago Durango, Camilo Gonzalez, Jim Colao. WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First real recording of venerable Chicago punk rock group,
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Naked Raygun has been in the shadow of Steve Albini and Big Black ever since Albini gained notoriety (and Santiago Durango moved over to play for him). But for a while, Raygun WAS the Chicago punk band of note.
This is Naked Raygun’s first EP – and it kind of is a single in the punk rock way. There are three songs on each side but one is pretty short. It’s good, solid punk record that enhanced their reputation amongst the scene. Be warned, though, as you can see John Haggerty’s not on this album.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Durango and Pezzati joined Big Black when Albini went from a one-man show to an actual band.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. There’s a bunch of bonus tracks that are basically lo-fi demos. Those can easily go by the wayside.
GRADE: B+: It’s over in a flash, but that’s a good thing.