Crate Skimmers #28 The Lee Harvey Oswald Band – A Taste of Prison & The Fall 1993 Touch and Go mail order catalogue

Owned since: 2015

Genre: Garage rock, the noise rock way

Where I bought it: Waaghals, Nijmegen

Year: 1994

Label/pressing: Touch and Go

If the name doesn’t give it away this is some prime 90’s noise rock which for sure had a hang for try-hard names. For sure, the cover does as well, which for reasons I can’t show on this site, showing a topless woman after shooting up. Tasteful otherwise, but honestly it’s mid-90’s Touch and Go, taste isn’t really their main concern.

The Lee Harvey Oswald Band comes out of the whole Texas scene and are fronted by Rick Sims, who you might know from Texas garage hardcore punk legends Didjits who are still extremely underrated in my eyes. Poorly, I don’t own a record by the Didjits but I do own this weird offshoot he did in the mid-90’s which I got out of the cheapo bin at maybe the most noise rock store in the Netherlands; de Waaghals.

Nijmegen is a cool town, it’s an ancient student town and spots some tremendous record stores and venues. Waaghals is the best of all, set in a back alley in the middle of the city center it’s the place to find your favorite obscure noise rock and 80’s indie rock records for sure, even though they keep recent stuff in stock. They also run a great Discogs account which cuts even further back into their impressive archives. I haven’t been there since Covid started, which sucks because I tend to pick up a lot of weird bullshit over there for fairly cheap, and it’s always fun to haunt its weird basement where most of the nosie rock/hardcore punk stuff lies.

The Lee Harvey Oswald Band are very typical for a band you would find in that basement. A release everyone seems to forgot about, but is surprisingly a fun entry to pick up for the 5 euros I paid for it. It’s like a less punky Didjits pretty much, loads more showcase on garage band rock and roll which is brought with a lot of humor and fun. It’s nothing world shocking, and it doesn’t set out to be, but it’s just a lot of fun. It includes two covers, even (Locomotion and Paul McCartney’s Junior’s Farm), which fit in perfectly with the original tunes. It reminds me in some spots of the Personal & the Pizzas record we covered earlier on but way less power poppy.

Really, that is mostly how this record sounds fun. There isn’t a lot to say about it or it’s even more deep cutting. Just good trio set-up based rock and roll with liner notes that are partly in Japanese and of course cross dressing, it remains the 90’s after all. It’s only rock & roll, and boy I like it quite a bit. There is a real 70’s late punk edge to this all also, think of the Dead Boys and the Heartbreakers more catchy take on the original American punk movement. I think no more than 3 chords are used in any song and boy does it sound like that. Good stuff.

Maybe even more interesting then the record is that my copy includes the Fall 1993 mail order catalog for Touch and Go record and their distributed labels. That being Merge, Drag City, Invisible, Tance and Quarterstick Records. Let’s give that a look, I guess.

Touch and Go promotes a ton of releases which include some cool stuff, i’ll not cover anything but whatever:

  • *The first 7-inch of Girls Against Boys even if it does show their debut full length Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby below for some reason
  • Arcwelder’s tremendous Pull LP, one of the most unsung Touch and Go releases ever. A record full of bouncing yet catchy post-hardcore for everyone who likes Hüsker Du
  • r*peman being called the best three peice (yes that typo is there) since Rush

For Quarterstick, we get the following

  • Rollins band just get called Intense. A I don’t know how to sell this this sentence if i ever saw any. Maybe say include Henry Rollins?
  • Therapy? In their noise rock years before they became one of the weirder major label success stories and had a hit with a string-loaded cover of Hüsker Du’s serial killer song Diane

Typical Merge stuff, honestly

  • Polvo gets called focused with chaotic precision which well checks out
  • Superchunk were just off their great singles collection (and future entry) Tossing Seeds here with of course Fishing, one of the best indie-rock tracks of the 90’s

Indivisible got a lot of industrial stuff other people on this site will know more about than me, but it includes two killing joke shoot offs

Trance (syndicate) is a label that released a lot of stuff I loved, formed by King Coffey of the Butthole Surfers they released a shitton of weirdo mostly-Texan stuff

  • Cherubs released a tremendous reunion album some years ago and their bizarre high-pitched sense of noise rock still rules. No Heroin Man seen here, but second album Icing is also solid
  • Crust were this bizarre great Texan band that really went hard on tape loops, industrial and drum machines based around a televangelism gimmick. Both albums listed here are well worth a check
  • Johnboy are, well, just Helmet with even shorter hair. Helmet raised on hardcore-punk
  • Drain was Coffey’s post-Butthole band and a lot harder hitting then those guys ever were. Near industrial levels of noise rock, Pick Up Heaven is worth a listen for sure

Drag City has a bunch of bands you most likely know

  • I’m not going to repeat what it says about Royal Trux but Cat and Dogs is the first record where they first produced something that sounded like a real song
  • Smog is Smog; it’s depression, it’s wonderful. Listen to Wild Love, Red Apples Fall and Julius Caesar

A bunch of t-shirts also I would do a murder for to get. Even more the Pegboy and Locust Abortion one, I do own the mouse with bomb Jesus Lizard one because they repressed it for the reunion tour of 2009. Can’t fit it at all anymore but hey that’s life.

Also shipping to the EU is 5.50 per record and 3.50 add-on. If I were to ship one record from the USA these days, it costs me something like 28 dollars at least, even at the lowest rate. I remember the rates being around the 8 dollar mark in the early 10’s and after that they got beyond jacked up which is also a reason why I own so little American records post-that that I’ve haven’t bought on tour.

Those upcoming releases include Girls Against Boys’ tremendous debut full-length, Seam’s The Problem With Me and Don Caballero’s good For Respect. Also I Love Mekons is great, it’s a record their label rejected for some reason and so Touch and Go picked it up. 12 love songs, great little songs.

Well that was fun, next time pick a record I can talk a bit more about.

Sloot & Roll: Lotta DC/NC rep in these ramblings. Did not care for the Locomotion cover(Bresson: bet you care for this one), but everything else was solid enough.