Les Lou’s Wild Fire 12″

If you dwell in obscure femme-punk circles, there’s a good chance you’ve heard “Take a Ride” by the QUESTIONS—a wildly catchy, almost BUZZCOCKS-ish punky power pop (or poppy power punk?) bop, the song was never officially released, but gets regularly excerpted from a cult 1979 film called La Brune et Moi whose loose narrative (buttoned-up businessman falls in love with an aspiring punk singer) was basically used to stitch together “live” performances from a host of early French punk/new wave acts. The QUESTIONS were actually LES LOU’S, the first all-female punk band in France (two male friends filled in on drums and lead guitar for their film appearance after their original drummer split)—they started out in 1977, quickly landed on tours with the likes of the CLASH, RICHARD HELL, and SUBWAY SECT, but only managed two 1978 comp contributions as their recorded output before falling apart the following year.​​ This four-song archival 12″ clears out the LES LOU’S vault with both of those previously released tracks (a live cover of the SEEDS’ “No Escape” and studio cut “Back in the Street”), plus “Take a Ride” (pulled directly from La Brune et Moi yet again, complete with incidental background sounds!) and the unreleased live track “Wild Fire.” Like fellow French first-wavers MARIE ET LES GARÇONS, LES LOU’S’ minimally-chorded rock’n’roll rave-ups circle back to the VELVET UNDERGROUND/MODERN LOVERS model, with just enough leather-jacketed raw power to push it into punk; Francophone girls occupying their own private ’77 CBGBs. The rest of their recovered offerings might be far from lost classics, but “Take a Ride” is still unquestionably (no pun intended) a stroke of minor genius however it’s presented.