Album review: Chain and the Gang, “Best of Crime Rock”

by Jon E. Lynch

Chain and the Gang, “Best of Crime Rock”

Available: Now, via In the Red Records as a compact disc and on vinyl as a standard black LP. Also available in limited quantities (approximate pressing of 500 to 750 copies) of hot pink vinyl if ordered directly from the label. As is the norm with In the Red Records, the limited-edition record is “first come, first served. No guarantees.”

If you’ve been a semi-regular reader of the breakout record reviews for DGO, my affinity for the Los Angeles, California-based independent record label In the Red is certainly apparent to you by now. The label began in 1991 by Larry Hardy as a vehicle to release a single by his then-favorite band, genre forebearers, Detroit garage punkers The Gories. To date, the label has released hundreds of titles by some of the most renowned artists in the indie/garage/punk/etc. genre and subgenres, including Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, King Khan, Kid Congo, Jay Retard, Black Lips, and the list goes on and on. Few labels today have amassed the sort of continuity top to bottom. In short, just about anything they release is worth your hard-earned cash.

The latest release from the label comes from D.C. luminaries Chain and the Gang. Fronted by the legendary Ian Svenonius (of seminal ’80s and ’90s acts Nation of Ulysses and The Make-Up) and backed by Anna Nasty on bass, Francy Graham on guitar, and Mark Cisneros on drums, Chain and the Gang have released a unique record of brash, trash-tastic garage punk. This record is unique in that some classic Chain tunes have been rerecorded here with renewed grit and grime, alongside brand-new, never-before-heard cuts from the band, making this a perfect record for old and new fans alike. From the mouth of the label itself, “Chain and the Gang are singular, terrifying, unparalleled. Not only the most ferocious live combo ever witnessed but also the world’s only anti-liberty rock ’n’ roll group. Their motto?: “Down with Liberty … Up with Chains!”

Recommended for fans of The Make-Up, Nation of Ulysses, King Khan and BBQ Show, Pussy Galore, or the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

Jon E. Lynch[email protected]

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