Long out of print 2001 CD release from music recorded 1982-1985. Extremely limited quantity available through the BandCamp store. The follow up album to November’s Heat that was never released.
We admit to a certain bias, but will put forth and stand by the claim, that, for a brief period at least (1983-85), and probably a bit longer, Certain General were, simply put, the best independent rock band in the United States.
“Certain General were a living contradiction of a band. They were both ahead of their time and perfect for the time they were a band. They had punk rock energy for a post-punk alternative sound. And, as this collection shows, they were at the top of their game even when it seemed like it was all falling apart. “An Introduction To War,” available at the Sourmash Records USA website, is a 2CD deluxe set featuring completely unreleased Certain General material.
The first CD, “Dead Rabbit Gang,” would have been the band’s second album, culled from recording sessions that took place upon their return from a successful UK tour. This material was prevented from release by internal band turmoil, as the liner notes state, but you couldn’t tell by listening to it. All fourteen tracks pulse and crack with raw energy: the mark of a band at their absolute peak. There’s so much to hear in these tracks to prove what an affect Certain General had on the musical landscape of the time. You hear elements in these tracks that definitely reveal the Generals’ influences, such as the Velvet Underground-esque melodies and basslines, but there’s so much more in what influence the Generals had on bands of that timeframe. It’s in the vocal delivery tried by just about every 80s band, and the power in the drums, and the wailing guitar. These bands may not be trying to rip off Certain General, per se, but after hearing this collection in comparison to other bands, it’s hard to deny that they at least heard the music and appreciated it. It would have been a fine proper album at the time, and now it’s a timeless classic heard finally.
The second disc, “Savage Young Generals,” captures the band live on tape at several shows at CBGB and City Gardens over a 13 month period. If the raw energy present on the studio material doesn’t grab you, the live album will definitely blow you away. The showmanship on display for these recordings is the kind most bands would die to have. Sixteen of these songs have never been released in any format, and it’s good to hear them alongside the odd cover and the traditional but higher energy interpretations of the songs off their releases. 77 minutes of pure sonic delight. Taken together, these two discs represent a fine document of a, as their website puts it, “criminally overlooked” band.”
~ Brainwashed Magazine
Comprised of two complete-in-themselves albums, CD1 is a studio document entitled “DEAD RABBIT GANG” These sessions comprise what should have been Certain Generals follow-up to “Novembers Heat”, itself named record of the year by several noted publications and a smash hit in France. Dead Rabbit Gang easily stands up to the best work of bands such as the Bad Seeds, Gun Club, Echo & the Bunnymen, Dream Syndicate and itself contains the seeds of what would become the vocabulary of much of the late 80s American underground scene i.e. Flaming Lips, Camper Van Beethovan, Meat Puppets, Screaming Trees, Swell, et. al. Fans of any and all of those bands owe it to themselves to check this music out. CD2 of the set, “SAVAGE YOUNG GENERALS” showcases an earlier Certain General recorded live at various clubs in the NYC region during their formative days in 1981-83. Clearly showing the bands roots coming out of the No Wave scene, the disc also highlights the incredible mixture of No Wave/funk/pop/garage psychedelia all mixed with an instrumental virtuosity that belies the fact that this is a band just starting out. The material here mostly precedes Novembers Heat and catalogs almost the entirety of the bands repertoire in those days. An amazing document from an incredibly active, innovative, and prolific band.