I hadn’t yet heard the DESPERATE BICYCLES when I published a fanzine in 1998 that contained a long piece on the “Forty-Five 45s That Moved Heaven and Earth”. Number one for me was (and remains) PERE UBU’s “Heart of Darkness / Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo”; number two was (and remains) the ELECTRIC EELS’ “Cyclotron / Agitated”; after that I forget. Having only heard of the Desperate Bicycles in passing within the pages of Forced Exposure magazine, all I knew was that they were punk-era progenitors of the “D.I.Y.” aesthetic, that they were excellent, and that their singles were impossibly rare. Certainly their first two 45s, now that I know & love them, would have bumped a couple of ringers off the list if I were to do it again today.
“Smokescreen / Handlebars” came out in 1977, with both songs on one side. I have a very clued-in pal who told me he’d never heard the band before, and that made me realize that I might have an opportunity to blow at least one mind by putting them up on Detailed Twang. I don’t really have a ton to add about the band that hasn’t been already written about here, here and here, but let me add my voice to chorus calling these masterpieces among the most invigorating & exciting rock and roll records of all time. The second 45 is even better, and that’s also coming to a computer screen near you soon.
Play or Download THE DESPERATE BICYCLES – “Smokescreen”
Play or Download THE DESPERATE BICYCLES – “Handlebars”