EXHUMED: The Strate Coats 7" EP

posted Monday Oct 30th, 2006

Just what was Greg Ashley doing in his days that preceded the mind-altering states of the Mirrors and the Gris Gris? He was raising hell as a teenage punk in Houston, Texas and learning how to master the guitar in the trashy sounds of the day in his high school band, the Strate Coats. Hook or Crook Records has just graced this society with a long-lost demo recording of the Strate Coats, recorded circa 1998, which should immediatelly perk up some ears. As the formative years will reveal, this slice of unhinged teenage rampage which results in the eight songs contained on this 7" EP, is going to tear your collective heads off. To put this in perspective with the primordial ooze Timmy Vulgar and Jay Reatard were secreting in the late 90s would be an accurate analogy, and with the technically adept guitar solos, it's hardly a surprise that Greg blossomed so well into the groundbreaking rock'n roller he is today. Leading off with a tight cover of Freestone's "Bummer Bitch" (the 'Gloria' of the late 90s underground trash music culture), Greg's tortured and well executed take on the often quoted "Rip Off sound" veers quickly around the stereotypes and allows him to show his real potential in the arena of short, fast, and loud punk music without just being another footnote. Raw and lashing like there's no tomorrow, these lost and found tracks (originally submitted to Mike Lucas of Repent Records) of pure teen rage won't necessarily turn the heads of most fans of his current sound, but to those keeping track of the heavily influential Texas lo-fi wave of the mid-late 90s (including the Motards, Cryin Out Louds, Lord High Fixers, etc.), it's another missing piece of the puzzle. Maybe it's just nice to know he was a bombastic snot-nosed punk kid who had no problems with screaming 'Bitch!' and nothing to lose. Why this band was left off the definitive Texas Speed Trials compilation is another story, but to anyone with an inkling of kinship to the late 90s trash aesthetic, this EP will soon be one of the most cherished of the era, and another essential pick-me-up for a skull-crushing Saturday night.