The Gizmos


The Gizmos The Gizmos EPs 1976–1978 cassette

This is a no-brainer. Unless you think punk began with RANCID, you’ve most likely bobbed your head to “Muff Diving” or “Amerika First” at some point. The GIZMOS were Bloomington’s first punk band, and darlings of record nerds (Graham Booth, where are you?) for a minute. If you’re a newbie to the GIZMOS’ magic, it’s a charming mish-mash of lo-fi bedroom (literally) STOOGES-style scuzz (such as “Kiss the Rat”) to MODERN LOVERS folksy fun (such as “Regular Dude”). It’s all of this and ’60s garage rock molded with delightful Midwest dumb joke humor. There’ve been many versions of this band with various members over the years, but this is the real deal original here. You even get three unreleased bonus tracks, so what are you waiting for? Buy or lie about being cool.

The Gizmos Raw ’76/’77 cassette

A tape of demos and live tracks by these legendary Indiana proto-punks, who’ve had more afterlife than they did actual life. There’s early versions of future GIZMOS classics like “Human Garbage Disposal” and “Kiss of the Rat” and others that would be heard on later releases. They’ve included a live recording of the band stumbling joyfully out-of-tune through their obnoxious ode to oral, “Muff Divin,” at a drunken house party. Also included is a previously unreleased recording of the first jam session the group had together (in the kitchen of Gulcher’s Bob Richart), being true rock’n’roll nerds as they laugh their way through covers of KISS, the STOOGES, and “Rambling Rose” by the MC5 (with the Brother JC Crawford “Are You Ready to Testify?” intro intact, natch). It’s these recordings that make this a compelling reissue, giving it personality and a story, which is so much more interesting than upholding obscurity for obscurity’s sake. This is a Legendary Guitar Amp Tapes type of recording that will give all GIZMOS completists out there some real Hoosier hysteria.

The Gizmos The Gizmos in New York 1980–81 cassette

In the spring of 1980, the GIZMOS (at the time, Dale Lawrence, Billy Nightshade, and Tim Carroll) left their hometown of Bloomington, IN to make a go of it in the Big Apple—someone’s gotta teach those New Yorkers how to rock and roll! It was a brief sojourn, though—they would split up and go their separate ways by Summer of 1981. But it ended up being a pretty productive period for the group, and it even birthed one of their best known songs, the Red Snerts standout “The Midwest Can Be Allright.” This cassette compiles the complete recordings from that time period, including a lot of tracks that are getting their official debut. “Now I Wanna Go Fast” and “Pig Nose”—two revved-up punkers—are maybe the best of the bunch. I’d probably prefer to have this on LP, but any release in any format from the GIZMOS is going to be essential, and this is no exception.