CONSUMERS: All My Friends Are Dead: LP

It’s really easy to overblow the past. Punk’s no different. This is especially true when uncovering woefully overlooked or underappreciated bands and records. Shit, there’s a whole industry dedicated to it. Killed By Death. As a kid who grew up in the desert, I had the triple whammy of liking punk, investing in countless cassette tapes, and poor organizational skills. On one of those tapes, I had many of The Consumers songs on a mix tape that one of my friends made me. Only, I didn’t know it was The Consumers. Neither did he. And it was a crappy tape, so it sounded muddy and muted; a dupe of a dupe. I just thought that’s how it sounded. So when I saw that In The Red had reissued All My Friends Are Dead several years back on CD, I shrugged—not doubting Larry Hard has great taste—but thinking, “Good, not essential.” I’m an idiot. The devil’s in the details and the devil had been busy making a masterpiece. I’d put The Consumers on the same dart board cork as Zero Boys’ Vicious Circle. Pitch-perfect, from-the-void (neither Indianapolis nor Phoenix were punk hotspots), way-too-well-recorded songs by people who could play their instruments far-too-well and had cut their teeth on the AOR cover band dreck of the early ‘70s. There’s something to be said of a band that, on its best day, was barely tolerated, even by inner-circle punks. You can hear the hate, the exclusion, the unanswered scream, and the about-to-happen implosion. A lost gem. On par with the collected Cheifs output and a public service, really. Alienation transcends decades, centuries.

 –todd (In The Red)