Sunday, June 30, 2013

REVIEW: Future Primitives - Songs We Taught Ourselves

The Future Primitives are a garage rock/proto-punk trio from Cape Town, South Africa. The band consists of Johnny Tex on guitar and vocals, Heino Retief on bass and backing vocals, and Warren Fisher on drums. I received this record from Casbah Records, who've sent us some good garage rock/rockabilly like Owen Temple Quartet and Mesa Cosa, so I was inclined to pay attention. It looked like an album of covers, so my expectations were a bit modest. And I am blown away by this record and this band. They're playing in a bit of the same territory as some other WYMA favorites like The Allah-La's and Ty Segall. Their approach is a bit more, uh, primitive, but at the same time they sacrifice nothing in the way of musicianship - the bass really drives things along here, while the drums and guitars are free to go on all sorts of wild flights. 

Songs We Taught Ourselves is their second album, and not only is it well-played and well-recorded (even given the self-imposed limitations, the sound is very true), it's a bit of a Nuggets/garage rock education, which is nectar to us at WYMA. Given our year-long dedication to revisit a 60's garage rock classic every single Friday, it's as though the Future Primitives picked 13 of their favorites just for us. And of course, education that's fun gets us involved. The album is a bit of a trip through garage, punk and primitive psychedelic rock history, featuring songs by Captain Beefheart, The Mummies, Link Wray (yes, "Rumble"), The Haunted, The Milkshakes and others you may or may not know. But it's for sure you will want to know them all by the time you've finished with this record.

Here's "She's Mine" - originally released by The Children of Darkness on Royce Records in 1966:

And here's "Everybody Up", a surf gem from Fender IV:

Fender IV were a band from Baltimore who moved to California in 1965 because... well, just listen to this stuff. Where would you go?

And perhaps my favorite track on the record - a cover of "We Sell Soul" by The Spades. The Spades were Roky Erickson's first band:

Why is a band from South Africa playing this stuff? Because they can, and once you've listened all the way through, I think you will agree that they should. I could listen to this record for a long, long time and not get tired of it. To play stuff this simple, this primitive, and still make it interesting is not an easy thing. 

Songs We Taught Ourselves is available from Casbah Records on Bandcamp - follow the links at any of the tracks and make yourself happy, and supply yourself with an absolutely slamming soundtrack for your next beach or backyard party.

Future Primitives website


Rocksteady74 (Scott) said...

John, this is absolutely great stuff. The band clearly understands the music. This album is going into rotation on my players for a long time. -Scott

Jim Desmond said...

I also endorse this. Fantastic stuff.