HASKELS, THE: Taking the City by Storm: LP

It’s usually a tall ask to wring even one solid posthumous album from the recorded legacy of a band who never released an album at all; improbably, Milwaukee’s Haskels have provided two in a year. Whereas last year’s eponymous album captured their initial ’70s phase, with Presley Haskel and future Oil Taster Richard LaValliere splitting songwriting duties, Taking the City by Storm documents what’s commonly referred to as the “Haskels II” era, with the erstwhile quartet compacted to a speedier punky/poppy/rock’n’rolly power trio masterminded by Presley alone (this era is ofttimes colloquially referred to as the “black and white” era of the Haskels, as the new rhythm section were Black dudes and Presley was a white dude. Wisconsin, ‘n’ so?). Unsurprisingly, this album is built around 1980’s Taking the City by Storm EP—the band’s one and only non-posthumous release—with the rest rounded out with demos and a handful of live tracks. The song and sound quality remain fairly high throughout the entirety of the record, largely sidestepping that pukey grab bag quality projects like these can take on. I do wish this lineup would have recorded these songs as a bona fide album—it’d be of particular interest to hear how they handled the stylistic outliers like the reggae-ish “In Between Girls” or the Hendrix-lite/Roxy Music-heavy jamminess of “Am I Groovin’ You”—but, all the same, this is the tartar sauce that completes the smelt fry. Permanent teenageness, I salute you! BEST SONG: “Taking the City by Storm.” BEST SONG TITLE: “In Between Girls.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Presley’s stage banter includes the legendary “who do you know… wants to buy a car?” tag line of Ernie von Schledorn, greater Milwaukee’s most notorious/obnoxious used car dealer. –Rev. Nørb (Splunge, splungecomm.com)