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Pre Release

Gramme

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Album Review

Gramme's Pre Release came and went without a whole lot of notice when it was released by Trevor Jackson's Output label in 1999. Five years later, as one of the post-punk revivals was winding down, Jackson reissued it. Much was made about how the EP predated the likes of LCD Soundsystem, !!!, Liars, the Rapture, and all the other bands that were looking to the predominantly British dance-friendly bands of the 1978-1981 post-punk era. And that it did, but Jackson and company made it sound as if the U.S. indie rock of the later '80s and '90s was a wasteland of Sonic Youth clones and Velvet Underground copyists. Just a few years before Gramme, Trenchmouth, Brainiac, Six Finger Satellite, and dozens of other bands flamed out prior to this alleged forecasting of the great post-punk revival. (And let's not get into the effect Gang of Four had on so many American bands, danceable and not danceable, all throughout the '80s and '90s.) Even if Gramme was the only band drawing from A Certain Ratio, early PiL, and Liquid Liquid — again, clearly they were not — Pre Release deserves to be judged on its own terms. Made with assistance from Jackson, the EP contains six tracks, all of which are bass-heavy exercises with jagged edges from front to back. It's all raw and noisy stuff — even the vocals sound either buried beneath the din or willfully muffled. It's the type of record you'd expect to find tucked in the back of an old record store bin, wrapped in a black-and-white sleeve with scrawled handwriting and minimal information. That kind of anonymity might've actually benefited the record's reputation; given the way the reissue's been advertised, there's too much to live up to.

Pre Release, Gramme
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