Northwest Underground rock 1980 'til the End of Time


Jan. 2017: Fastbacks – Now Is The Time

Good Lawdy Miss Claudy!

Another year is upon us and as usual, our plans for the year are still developing.  Or perhaps I should say brewing and bubbling as they are many fine things in the works that will no doubt change the very nature of reality.


But first, let us begin with our January Album of the Month – the tip-off of 2017. For the second year in a row we will feature a fine No Threes release from yester-year. Last year, The Cheaters – See You Next Year, Fuckbrains, and this year, the Fastbacks – Now Is The Time. The latter is a two LP set of the Fastbacks earliest recordings, with songs both unreleased and released on their No Threes label, long before they sold out and went big time with Popllama Fastbacks Collageand Sub Pop. The album features 24 beautiful tracks presented more or less chronologically. You also get a download thingy with a pile of extra trax including pretty versions of “New Rose” and “Highway to Hell.” For this month’s AotM, I will focus on the tunes that were actually released on No Threes in the early 80’s, the single and two EPs, the glorious In America and Everyday is Saturday. Plus a few more I will explain. Further. Later. Double plus a bonus track they have never released. OK.

 I go back a long way with the Fastbacks. Back in my comparative youth when I worked at Everybody’s Record Co. I came up with a clever idea for partying at work. On Saturday afternoons we would have local bands like The Heats, Student Nurse and The Pudz play at the store. The Fastbacks, who had their excellent 1981 You Can’t Be Happy/It’s Your Birthday single out, were one of those bands. A year or so later I had a little 4-track basement studio and mixed a seven song demo with Kurt, one of which, “See and Say” appeared on the very first GMR cassette release, Local Product.

 Fastbacks Cassette 1Fastbacks cassette 2As I was pulling this AotM together, I had an odd sensation. Many of the songs on the new album seemed “wrong.” I thought that was weird. I went through an old box of cassettes and found the 1983 demo. There it was – all the versions that my brain has wired as being “right.” Not those fancy 1984 versions! Odds are pretty good my brain is the only one wired that way.

 In 1985, I recorded “Time Passes” with them on glorious ½” 8-track to include on my Monkey Business comp. I don’t think it has appeared anywhere but there and the GMR Anthology, so I have tacked in on the end of this material, where it sits in their chronology before their LPs appear. As I recall when we recorded it, LuLu was not thrilled that I kept putting out the songs she sang on. She was fabulous of course. So enjoy these beautiful songs of youth. Enjoy them loud!

 In other news, we have a dodgy but kinda full agenda for 2016, featuring new material from The Green Pajamas, the re-release of a pile of Australian back Pajamas catalog, a new album from AAIIEE, Brain Wizard’s first release and much, much more. Next month, I will be releasing a project I started in 1995 and finished two weeks ago, Songs To Annoy Small Children. I trust you will find it annoying. In a week or two I will pull together a sweet little sampler of last year’s releases that you can have for a silly price. More to follow on that.

 There are some shows to be had – bad ass Burnseer is playing Thursday Jan 5 at Substation, the delightful Swedish Finnish will be at Slim’s Saturday the 7th and one week later, Saturday the 14th, the mighty FUZZ will be playing out at Darrell’s in Shoreline. Huzzah!

 That should hold you for now.

Kurt Bloch td

 PS. In case you didn’t notice, these vintage Fastbacks were featured on this year’s GMR Xmas album All I want for Christmas: GMR Xmas VII.

PPS. In case I didn’t mention it, Kurt Bloch is a total guitar monster.


The Fastbacks are: Kurt Bloch – Guitar, Kim Warnick – Vocals, Bass, Lulu Gargiulo – Vocals, Guitar, plus a drummer. On 1, 2 & 3 it’s Duff McKagan, on 4-8 & 11-15 it is Richard Stuverud and on 9- 10 it is Danny Zakos.

Additional vocals on “In America” and “Whenever I’m Walking” provided by the Dynette Set, Christi McWilson, Niki Mafune and Leslee Swanson.

All songs by Kurt Bloch Energy House Music.

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