Sleeping Dogs


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One of only two American bands to release a record through the U.K. collective Crass Records (MDC's Multi-Death Corporation was the other), Sleeping Dogs released the four-song EP Beware in 1982. A San Francisco trio -- bassist/singer Bad Boy (a woman, naturally), drummer/singer Dirty Dog, and guitarist Helen Harmon, with rhythm section help by Crass' Penny Rimbaud and Phil Free -- Sleeping Dogs came from the weird artsy subset of the local punk scene, with the opening "Same Old Song" buffeted about by echoing dub blasts and the grinding "Concrete" pulsating along at a sludgy, bass-heavy tempo not unlike the sort of thing Flipper were doing around the same time. The 2004 reissue of Beware takes the four original tracks and adds a handful of demos recorded after the EP, live takes on "(I Got My Tan In) El Salvador" and "We Got," and the entirety of a 1989 EP recorded by the same participants under the name Brainrust that finds the trio incorporating grungy synths for a sound that at times strongly recalls late-period Captain Beefheart. The set ends with two early demos recorded by Bad Boy and Dirty Dog that are experimental punk at its most minimalist. Unlike many of the obscure first- and second-wave punk albums reissued in the new century, Beware is actually a fully interesting, at times fantastic, album well worth discovering.

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