German Measles is the among the very best bands of the inbred Brooklyn scene. They've got a sense of humour, their first release was called "Demos Sorry" - a tape now proudly listed as 'sold out' in the already impressive catalogue of Captured Tracks - and they don't hesitate to call themselves a party rock band. In the tradition of the wildest 60s garage and fratrock groups of course. I can definitely imagine them playing new track "Totally Wild" at a North-West college dance in 1966. Or as a track on The Savages' album Live 'n' Wild from the same year. The 'demos' are obvious live recordings too, most of them introduced with "take one". The only thing about it is that the guitar sound is a bit too thin, but then again that makes them sound like Desperate Bicycles! Especially on the opening track "Monkey Me, Monkey You", whose haphazard rhythms has the unusual effect of putting a big grin on anyone's face. Indie music has always had too many pretentious saddos, and such a work of simple genius as this is as rare these days as ever. To me, lyrics like those to "Mosco Street" and "We Want You" is the most fantastic thing since Helen Love's "We Love You". That they have one foot in the 60s (tempted to say in the grave) is proved by the silly "Japanese Beetles" and their playful inversion of Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe" (also covered, of course, by many garage and folk-rock groups). Perhaps none of this would have got them far if they hadn't had a singer with a real personality. A true (post)modern Gerry Roslie! German Measles may be a live band (proved by the fantastic session on WFMU that you can listen to here) but at least the sound on the soon to be released 12" on Captured Tracks has improved dramatically, thanks to Gary Olson's production. I talked about the recording with him when we played in Germany and he says he's very happy with it. Two mp3s from it are floating around as I write, so if you don't buy it... And don't forget to buy the 12"!
German Measles was one of the many bands who played the Captured Tracks / Woodsist festival in New York this summer. For those of you as envious of the visitors as me, there are some great videos over here.