The 7” says right on the sleeve, “Both out-takes from the original Hate the Police studio session.” The 10” is a well-recorded, noisy live set from the Punk Rock Prom from Austin, TX, 1980, featuring one of my favorite songs of all time: “Kill from the Heart.” If you don’t own any Dicks on vinyl (or the retrospective Alternative Tentacles released several years back), it’ll do you more than a bit of good to get square with The Dicks and snatch up this vinyl. Here’s the Cliffs’ Notes: The Dicks were part of the original embryonic nutrients of Texas hardcore, whose mutant DNA can still be heard in bands today. Way before codes, rules, and instructions made a narrow corridor, then a box, for much of hardcore, The Dicks pushed conventions, of both the old guard and the new spawn. They were a band made of thugs headed by a flamboyantly gay, very left, extroverted, meaty man with a great voice (much like the Big Boys’ Biscuit or Minutemen’s D.Boon). It’s liberating, twenty-plus years later, to hear that such a wide musical conduit still sounds great. They’re unmistakably punk and on fire, but they’re also well imbedded into soul, blues, and country without betraying the original fighting spirit of any of those genres. It’s such a tall order for any band: make contemporary music that both understands and undermines their influences to create something original. And the Dicks have been one of the very few bands to not only pull it off, but to set it ablaze. What a treat.
–todd (Delta Pop Music)