GUN CLUB: Destroy the Country and Moonlight Motel: CD

From what I’m able to glean, these are “official” releases of a couple of bootlegs originally making the scene in 1984-85. Included are tracks culled from four different performances—the earliest from April 1983 and the latest from October 1984—in three countries, two of which are taken from appearances on a Dutch television program and on The Tube television program in the U.K. Bootlegs are often a total crapshoot in terms of the quality of both sound and performance, but in this case both are actually better than expected. The band is caught both during and immediately after the lineup that produced their celebrated Las Vegas Story album, resulting in markedly different takes on the band’s sound and even certain songs that overlap—one may sound more laid back and experimental, the other louder, driving, and more “punky.” Sound-wise, we’re talking stuff that sounds like it’s either straight off the board or pulled from a television recording within the first few generations so that it isn’t the usual sonic mess one ends up with on bootlegs. Add on some brief but comprehensive liner notes and you have yourselves a party, kids. Fans are gonna eat this up, and rightly so, but for the rest of the punters, this will likely either be the gateway into a band they’d never heard or the perplexing, ramshackle ramblings of a band that played by their own set of rules. Being a fan of discerning tastes, I’m pleasantly surprised at how good these are.

 –jimmy (Cleopatra)