Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

A punk band that's pissed off and . . . middle-aged?

Okay, it's an unusual combination, seeing how the "youth" part of the equation is absent, but then again, The Zips are an unusual band. Formed in Glasgow in 1978, the quartet were just a blip on the U.K. punk radar. Their eponymous EP was released in April of '79, with the "Radioactivity"/"I'm Not Impressed" single coming one year later. By the close of 1980, guitarist Brian Jackson -- who had initially helped bring the band together -- had packed his bags for Australia and The Zips were finished.

Then something a bit remarkable happened: After a 21-year hiatus, The Zips reformed (with replacements for Jackson). And much to their fans' satisfaction, the most recent tracks have as much bite as their previous material. The group's 2004 Dumbstruck EP features songs with politically charged titles such as "Govern Meant," and dishes out criticism towards Messrs. Bush and Blair.

So yes, pissed off and middle-aged. And for the moment, it works for The Zips.

The track listed below, "I'm In Love," was off their self-titled LP, which was released by Detour Records. According to the band's web site, it was cut during a November of '78 recording session at Burns' Howff, a popular Glasgow nightspot. Funds for the record came from a local record shop owner named Charlie "Hannibal" Hayes, a name and face lost in the annals of Scottish music history.

Ultimately, the song and the EP became a hit: renowned DJ John Peel expressed his fondness, while the initial press of 500 copies sold out quickly.

Hear it for yourself. Download: "I'm In Love" by The Zips.