Posted in music on April 18, 2014
by Andrew Sacher
While any English punk band worth two shits could get a label deal in the heyday of punk, a lot of American groups were on their own. Had La Peste done a proper LP circa '77/'78 with the backing of a decent label, surely it would have been on a par with the all-time punk classics of the era. They were that good - a scorching powerhouse of a band with the songs to back it all up. As it is, their patched-together debut album belongs in the record collection of anyone who professes to enjoy punk rock. [Faster and Louder]Boston punks La Peste's only official release during their brief career was the 1978 single "Better Off Dead" b/w "Black." If you're unfamiliar, fans of '70s punk will find this right up their alley, but it also sounds like it could've come from any of today's garage punk bands as well. "Better Off Dead" is as good an example of '70s American punk as any, but the b-side, "Black," is sleazy psychedelia that sounds informed by the sludgier moments of The Stooges before them, but also predicts much of the underground rock of the decade that followed.
The songs have been out there over the years, but Wharf Cat Records (home to a similarly-minded newer band, The Ukiah Drag) is giving the 7" a reissue on Record Store Day, aka this Saturday, 4/19 (pre-order). Both tracks have been remastered (and sound noticeably nicer than the versions floating around on YouTube), and the release comes with an insert with a writeup by Mission of Burma's Roger Miller. The remastered b-side premieres in this post, and you can stream it, along with the a-side, below...
La Peste - "Better Off Dead" b/w "Black"