Where Were You? Hen’s Teeth and other lost fragments of unpopular culture Vol. 2
For untold years, Leeds’ Mekons have been spreading their particular jelly of punk, country, and calamity across this white-bread loaf of a planet, following no-one’s star but their own. The band, whose members have established names for themselves through sheer dint of sticking around and consistently producing quality material (imagine that) always brings unexpected items to the table, and it’s likely that your typical Mekons album will feature a lilting country waltz followed by a drug-addled space voyage. Not that typical at all…
Where Were You? collects demos and outtakes from their prolific career — this is the second such volume, and I expect there should be many more. High points (at least for me) include the dissonant twin-fiddled “Darkness,” a desperately straightforward “Folsom Prison Blues,” and an updated version of the anthemic “Mekons Rock and Roll” that’s guaranteed to turn the arena into smoking rubble.
The Mekons may be underappreciated in number of fans, but the fans more than make up for it in undying faith, and deservedly so. With a discography as extended as the Mekons’, it’s difficult to say whether this is a better entry point than any other. It certainly is strong enough to stand up with the balance of their lunatic output, rarities demos and b-sides or not.
Quarterstick Records, PO Box 25342, Chicago, IL 60625