Empty Sounds from Anarchy Ranch cover

Empty Sounds from Anarchy Ranch

Released

The Pop Rivets were Wild Billy Childish’s first band, and they didn’t last long. They formed in the late 1970s, and by the end of the decade, three of the four members (Childish and bassist “Big Russ” Wilkins and guitarist Bruce Brand) would go on to form the Milkshakes. But their debut (hilariously titled The Pop Rivets’ Greatest Hits) and this album, released in 1979 on Childish’s own Hipocrite Music label, are furious blasts of primitive punk energy. “Skip Off School,” “Empty Sounds,” and “2is2” offer the same clang and clatter of the first Clash singles, and Childish’s vocals possess an unhinged, Joe Strummer-esque fervor. But the album’s middle stretch betrays his true interests — a section simply titled “Mak Show!” consists of cavemanlike covers of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” the Troggs’ “Wild Thing,” and other garage rock anthems, performed in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd with lots of feedback and distortion. And the closing “Return to Anarchy Ranch” is a bizarre cowboy/doo-wop singalong that must be heard to be believed.

Phil Freeman

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