I hadnâ€™t yet heard the DESPERATE BICYCLES when I published a fanzine in 1998 that contained a long piece on the â€œForty-Five 45s That Moved Heaven and Earthâ€. Number one for me was (and remains) PERE UBUâ€™s â€œHeart of Darkness / Thirty Seconds Over Tokyoâ€; number two was (and remains) the ELECTRIC EELSâ€™ â€œCyclotron / Agitatedâ€; after that I forget. Having only heard of the Desperate Bicycles in passing within the pages of Forced Exposure magazine, all I knew was that they were punk-era progenitors of the â€œD.I.Y.â€ aesthetic, that they were excellent, and that their singles were impossibly rare. Certainly their first two 45s, now that I know & love them, would have bumped a couple of ringers off the list if I were to do it again today.
â€œSmokescreen / Handlebarsâ€ came out in 1977, with both songs on one side. I have a very clued-in pal who told me heâ€™d never heard the band before, and that made me realize that I might have an opportunity to blow at least one mind by putting them up on Detailed Twang. I donâ€™t really have a ton to add about the band that hasnâ€™t been already written about here, here and here, but let me add my voice to chorus calling these masterpieces among the most invigorating & exciting rock and roll records of all time. The second 45 is even better, and thatâ€™s also coming to a computer screen near you soon.