Had a request for this one. Personally, I was never very motivated to sling myself onto the caboose of the Leaving Trains, but I know how endearing they were to the droves who were more than content to depart the station with them. This was their first album, released a couple years prior to their stint with SST. I've heard bits and pieces of those subsequent records, but Well Down Blue Highway might be the first I've encountered wall-to-wall. And I'm definitely down for some of it, 'specially the more rompin,' rockin' forays like "She Knows the Rain" and "Virginia City." There's some sweet psych flourishes on "Always Between Wars" too. I've been informed that ...Highway's follow-up, Kill Tunes, was their utmost achievement. Here's what the boys at Trouser Press had to say.
That said, the Los Angeles band's debut, Well Down
Blue Highway (co-produced by Rain Parader David Roback
and featuring a guest drummer from Gun Club and a keyboard
player from Green on Red) is actually the picture of
restraint: James' quietly desperate delivery suits subtly
seething songs like "Creeping Coastline of Lights" and "I
Am in a World Crash With You" marvelously, and when the
clock registers rage-time, guitarist Manfred Hofer responds
with some totally wired riffing.
Kill Tunes sacrifices some of that reserve in favor
of an old-school pub-punk approach that will remind some of
the Saints (whose "Private Affair" gets a lusty run-through
here). On an album that continuously shifts gears, from
shit-kicking 4/4 like "She's Looking at You" and "Black" to
lighter ballads ("Light Rain" and "Kinette"), the frontman
displays his boozehound-next-door humor for the first time
on "A Drunker Version of You," and it provides a welcome
respite from the vitriol sprayed elsewhere.
What I'm presenting here isn't my rip, so a mighty thank you to whomever was responsible for it. There may be a couple of minor glitches, that to my ears anyway were barely discernible.
01. Bringing Down the House
02. Leaving Train
03. All My Friends
04. Always Between Wars
05. You Can't See
06. I Am In A World Crash With You
07. March 7th
08. Hometown Blues
09. She Knows Better
10. Creeping Coastline of Lights
11. Virginia City
12. Going Down to Town
13. Bringing Down the House (reprise)
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