Head of David – Dustbowl (Blast First) 1989


As a teenager I  used to save my money all year to go and spend it all in one hit on vinyl over the Christmas holidays at an indie record shop 1500 km’s away from where I lived. The shopping expedition took some planning. I had myself a list culled from reviews I’d read in RAM, NME and the offerings of various mail order catalogues. One of the beast catalogues was the Blast First one which had all of the latest releases by BigBlack, Sonic Youth, UT, Butthole Surfers, Rapeman, Big Stick, Dinosaur Jr – it was one hell of a label – and I managed to methodically  track down most of those records. I’ll be honest I fetishised those releases in a very unhealthy way. But there were two bands whose records I never managed to track down – Band of Susans and Head of David.  Fast forward – university, career, relationship, house and kids and I’ve finally managed to track down a copy of Dustbowl. Although I didn’t know this at the time, and it wouldn’t have meant anything to me anyway, Head of David was the band that Justin Broadrick joined after Napalm Death and before Godflesh. I’ve never been a huge fan of Broadrick’s other work but this is just tremendous. The majority of the bands on Blast First were American but Head of David and AC Temple were (I think) the only two British bands during those early years.  Although I wouldn’t claim that the label had a “sound” per se it is interesting that the British bands were greatly influenced by their label mates. Head of David reveal a strong Big Black influence on Dustbowl and in fact I checked my ipod once or twice to make sure I was still listening to them. The sounds makes sense when you consider that Steve Albini produced this although there are some tracks that veer towards a punk-metal blandness. When Head of David hit their stride they may be one of the best 1980’s alt-rock bands you’ve never heard.

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One Response to “Head of David – Dustbowl (Blast First) 1989”

  1. Other Head Of David stuff that is highly recommended:
    – LP (released on CD under the name of … CD) – this contains the very first 12″ (DogBreath) on side A and a Peel session on side B
    – The Saveana Mixes: songs from Dustbowl, how they original sounded (much better than the version that would end-up on Dustbowl IMO)
    – White Elephant: 2 Peel Session

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