Bandcamp of the Day: Fastbacks

Unless you’ve been to a 9/11 Memorials in Tompkins Square Park lately, live rock shows are probably still a little ways off for you. That’s why today’s Bandcamp of the Day is a live set from one of the more endearing acts to grace the Pacific Northwest, Fastbacks.

Flashbacks to 1979, when founding members Kurt Bloch, Lulu Gargiulo and Kim Warnick met while attending highschool in Seattle. The three precocious teens bonded over their shared love of rock and roll, particularly The Ramones and Queen, and as so often happened during the late ’70s, admiration for rock stars turned into curiosity, and curiosity eventually welled up into bold ambition, and a band was born. Fastbacks was mostly a regional phenomenon for the better part of a decade, managing to open for touring bands like PiL and John Cale as they swept up the Pacific Coast, while earning firm local fealty. Fastbacks was almost exclusively a live band and creature of the local club circuit during these early years, not releasing their debut LP ….And His Orchestra until 1987. They would release a few albums on smaller indie labels in the following years before being swept in the alternative rock boom that propelled so many underground bands into the national spotlight, forced out of their subterminal existence by the dynamite success of Nevermind. As a result, Fastbacks would sign to Sub Pop for their fourth LP The Question is No in 1992 and open for Pearl Jam during their European tour in 1995. They would ride this wave of celebrity until it no longer suited them, breaking up in 2002 when Kim left the band to pursue other endeavors.

Mural Amphitheater, Seattle, WA August 25, 1986, released earlier this year, is an LP and archival recording of Fastbacks before they released their first album. Their signature sardonic, proto-pop punk, and ragga-muffin Ramones style guitar work had been firmly established at that point and you can really hear just how comfortable the band is playing in front of a crowd together on these recordings. It’s almost like your just listening to a bunch of friends doing something they love together, and there just happened to be an audience there to witness it. It’s pretty easy to imagine yourself in the bleachers and in that crowd- the band on stage, a cold Rainier beer in hand, enjoying the sun and sound of guitars jangling with a sharp eclectic titter as they prance forth from the amplifiers to embrace your ears- and think to yourself, this is how every summer is should be- is GOING to be. Well, it wasn’t the way last summer was, and may not be how this summer goes, but someday soon we’ll be able to see each other and our favorite bands together again. In the meantime, you’ll just have to settle for Kim, Kurt, and LuLu’s rendition of “Somebody To Love.”

You can stream and purchase Fastbacks’s Mural Amphitheater below via Bandcamp:

You can also watch Fastbacks’s set at the Seattle Center Mural Amphitheater via the magic of the internet below:

Grab Mural Amphitheater on CD here.

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