The Hangmen “Lost Rocks”

An import-only, Finnish “Best-Of”…The Hangmen were always one of my favorite bands from the “Metal Years”-the scuzziest, snottiest, most authentic, alley-punks, out of all those scarf wearing, eighties glam-metal bands.
Legendary gutter-prince, Bryan Small, has quite a way with his unforgettably familiar storytelling, and S.T.D.-catchy melodies. If you like dirty rock’n’roll, along the lines of Cranford Nix and the Malakas, the Humpers, Stiv Bators, or the Lazy Cowgirls, this retrospective will melt your hot pants. My favorite era of the Hangmen’s long and colorful career is when blues punk guitar-god, Jimmy James, joined their rascally ranks. Jimmy James, as most of you know, was the relentlessly creative guit-sling for some of the best bands that ever slinked around the Sunset Strip, including Rock City Angels, and the under-appreciated Coma-Tones.
‘Put it this way: I absolutely love the elegantly wasted songwriting genius of the Hangmen, and being a bitter old nowhere songwriter, myself, I hate almost everyone else. He’s got a tinge of that spooky Robert Johnson/Jeffrey Lee Pierce, haunted bluesman thing goin’ on, a dash of the Deadboys/Ramones streetpunk attitude, and more than a whiff of that old outlaw-country eye for detail.
There are few bands left on the scene, who have the unspeakable essence possessed by Bryan Small’s ragged crew of torn and frayed ramblin’ men. Mike Ness produced the Hangmen’s last E.P. for Acetate Records-the essential, “In The City”, reimagining “I Will Stay”, a song I used to think Stiv Bators wrote, with the same potent soul they injected into the Tony James classic, “Russian Roulette”, from the album before that.
There are dozens of black-haired dudes imitating Iggy Pop, and Stiv Bators, but the venerable Bryan Small is a genuine songwriting talent, whose highly memorable tunes are in league with Pat Todd’s very best work. You can even compare much of his material to Tom Waits. He’s very nearly in a category all by himself. I really respect this cat for his songs, and a remarkable roll-call of underground rock’n’roll’s most important statesmen are trotted out, to testify here, on the Hangmen’s behalf, in the handsomely put-together liner notes.
If you’re a haggard old rock’n’roll animal, like myself, all your faves are here: “Bent”, “Rotten Sunday”, “I Luv You”, “Can’t Stop That Train”, “I Wanna Be Loved”, and “Desperation Town”, along with some half-forgotten, or recently unearthed, other gems, aptly-described by the title of this important retrospective.
The booklet-cover is a beautifully rendered parody of an Old Rolling Stones dust- sleeve. A perfect collection of devilishly catchy hits, flawlessly designed to win the hearts and minds, of any late-comers, or young people, who have yet to experience the exceptional punk’n’roll gutter grace of the Hangmen.
If you like the Dogs D’Amour, Keith Richards, Snatches Of Pink, Izzy Stradlin and the Juju Hounds, the NY Dolls, or anything like that, this record smokes most everything else I’ve listened to, in recent years. An instant classic from a class-act.
Lovingly customized for the Real Rock’n’roll People to have and to hold, I’m strongly urgin’ all you motorcycle-punks, sequined strippers, lonesome fugitives, culture-war casualties, street musicians, mohawked drifters, and other dapper no-goodniks, to do whatever you have to do, to track this disc down, and get it playin’ on that boombox, with the busted speaker, and all the old glam band stickers on it, as soon as possible. There is nothing else that will rock you any harder than this. The absolute nazz!!! Would I lie to you?ALSO RECOMMENDED: THE OUT OF PRINT, SELF-TITLED DEBUT, “METALLIC I.O.U.”, “WE’VE GOT BLOOD ON THE TOES OF OUR BOOTS”, “LOTERIA”, and “IN THE CITY”.

(-Anguish Young)

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