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Scorched Earth Policies: Then and Now
Los Angeles, CA
(Ratchet Blade Records)
“….and now the Mau Mau’s return to their regularly scheduled programming”
For those wondering, yes this is the same “should-be-legendary” Mau Mau’s from the late ’70s. Formed in Los Angeles in 1977, the Mau Maus come from the Stooges/Pistols school of punk, pogoing around and flashing devilish little grins from old tape of an era long gone. Although one of the more notorious bands of LA’s early scene, there was very little Mau Mau material ever released (save for a few songs on a compilation), but lucky for you, the Mau Maus have decided to reform (because that’s what bands do in the 2010s) and release a full-length LP.
Now a brief breakdown, there is a heavy emphasis on the ‘Then and Now’ part of the title as this album is broken into two parts. The first half is original material recorded by the group in 1983 by Robbie Krieger (yes, The Doors’ Robbie Krieger) and the second half is new material recorded by Dead Kennedys/Germs (and also Meredith Brooks) producer Geza X.
Production-wise, both sides of the record are great (the ’83 stuff has of course been remastered), but by no fault of Geza, the ’83 material is definitely more compelling. It almost just seems like a byproduct of context. The ‘83 material was recorded by a band cutting a mark in a scene alongside the likes of The Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, and X whereas the new material sometimes comes off as B-sides left over from the old days with some up-tempo punk songs thrown into the set to keep up with the young cats on the scene. If you’re an LA punk archivist or you were there for the first round, this LP is well worth picking up for the ’83 sessions alone. The Mau Maus are a treat for punk historians and rock and roll glue sniffers alike. [editor’s note – the CD booklet contains a wonderful history of the band, as well as many rare photos]
Produced by Robbie Krieger, Geza X & The Mau Maus
Engineered by Mark Avnet at Mad Dog Studios
Mastered by Geza X