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The Fall - Live at the Witch Trials & Dragnet

Live at the Witch Trials 03/16/1979, Step Forward
Produced by the Fall and Bob Sargeant

Dragnet 10/26/1979, Step Forward
Produced by the Fall and Grant Showbiz

Mark E. Smith is a fucking genius. If you're reading this, and The Fall is completely new to you, stop now. Don't read another word until you've picked up Hex Enduction Hour and/or This Nation's Saving Grace and/or The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall. If you like modern indie post punk psych or just plain rock, The Fall have been doing what you like, and doing it amazingly well, for thirty years. Sonic Youth, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Jesus Lizard, Nirvana, even No Age and Animal Collective are all indebted to the Fall.

The Fall never seem dated. It probably helps that Live... was recorded in one day, Dragnet in three. From the title track to their debut Live at the Witch Trials:

We're still one step ahead of you/
I still believe in the R&R dream/
R&R as primal scream

And it's true as ever.

I am at a loss for words when it comes to this band. Mark E. Smith, however, is a true rock and roll icon, never at a loss for words: (from "Crap Rap 2")

We are the Fall/
Northern white crap/
that talks back/
We are not black. Tall/
No boxes for us/
Do not fuck us

Dragnet has less polished production, without sacrificing any of what makes the Fall so transcendent. This album adds Craig Scanlon and Steve Hanley on guitar and bass, who would form the Fall's sonic backbone for the next decade and some.

They've never stooped to naming an album All Killer, No Filler, because that would be redundant. These first two albums are as essential as everything else the band has done.

I'm sure I'll be just as shit at trying to review the rest of their catalog to date, so I'll leave off here, as to have more useless shit to say for the rest of their oeuvre.


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