Baby Lemonade

Local Drags

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The very first release from Baby Lemonade was this 7" single, which turned up on German import label Munster. For those who adore the later work of the band, "Local Drags" might come as a bit of surprise. Not a disappointment, mind you -- not by any means -- but certainly a snapshot of a band with a few more frayed threads around its edges. The song is a two-minute explosion of pure punk, albeit punk with a highly contagious melody. The guitars cough and slash, David Green beats the bejesus out of his drum kit, and Mike Randle and Rusty Squeezebox almost spit their vocals at you, singing half the time and larynx-shredding the other half. It is about as perfect as two minutes gets, and is better than 99% of the stuff on the radio at the time. The B-side swallows Elton John's "Bennie & the Jets" whole, stripping it of its goofball piano-bar lurch and reimagining the song as psychedelic garage rock. The final product obliterates the memory of the original, or at least should (no offense to the original). Other than an EP release the same year, it would take a full two years (during which the band played as Love behind the legendary Arthur Lee) before Baby Lemonade would resurface with their debut album. By then, some of the rough edges had been polished and the combo would help spearhead a renaissance of Los Angeles rock & roll, but at this point, the raggedness was part of the thrill. If you happen across it, steal it up as quickly as possible.

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