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Certain General "An Introduction to War" (album)

by Certain General

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Out-of-print 2001 2CD set from Certain General. On SourMash Records. Musicians: Phil Gammage, Marcy Saddy, Parker Dulany, Russel Berke.

    We admit to a certain bias, but will put forth and stand by the claim, that, for a brief period at least (1983-85), and probably a bit longer, Certain General were, simply put, the best independent rock band in the United States. And this is 2-½ hour, all previously unreleased-document backs that up claim. Comprised of two complete-in-themselves albums, CD1 is a studio document entitled "DEAD RABBIT GANG" These sessions comprise what should have been Certain General’s follow-up to "November’s Heat", itself named record of the year by several noted publications and a smash hit in France. Dead Rabbit Gang easily stands up to the best work of bands such as the Bad Seeds, Gun Club, Echo & the Bunnymen, Dream Syndicate and itself contains the seeds of what would become the vocabulary of much of the late 80’s American underground scene – i.e. Flaming Lips, Camper Van Beethovan, Meat Puppets, Screaming Trees, Swell, et. al. Fans of any and all of those bands owe it to themselves to check this music out.

    CD2 of the set, "SAVAGE YOUNG GENERALS" showcases an earlier Certain General – recorded live at various clubs in the NYC region during their formative days in 1981-83. Clearly showing the band’s roots coming out of the No Wave scene, the disc also highlights the incredible mixture of No Wave/funk/pop/garage psychedelia all mixed with an instrumental virtuosity that belies the fact that this is a band just starting out. The material here mostly precedes November’s Heat and catalogs almost the entirety of the band’s repertoire in those days. An amazing document from an incredibly active, innovative, and prolific band.

    "Certain General were a living contradiction of a band. They were both ahead of their time and perfect for the time they were a band. They had punk rock energy for a post-punk alternative sound. And, as this collection shows, they were at the top of their game even when it seemed like it was all falling apart. "An Introduction To War," is a 2CD deluxe set featuring completely unreleased Certain General material.

    The first CD, "Dead Rabbit Gang," would have been the band's second album, culled from recording sessions that took place upon their return from a successful UK tour. This material was prevented from release by internal band turmoil, as the liner notes state, but you couldn't tell by listening to it. All fourteen tracks pulse and crack with raw energy: the mark of a band at their absolute peak. There's so much to hear in these tracks to prove what an affect Certain General had on the musical landscape of the time. You hear elements in these tracks that definitely reveal the Generals' influences, such as the Velvet Underground-esque melodies and basslines, but there's so much more in what influence the Generals had on bands of that timeframe. It's in the vocal delivery tried by just about every 80s band, and the power in the drums, and the wailing guitar. These bands may not be trying to rip off Certain General, per se, but after hearing this collection in comparison to other bands, it's hard to deny that they at least heard the music and appreciated it. It would have been a fine proper album at the time, and now it's a timeless classic heard finally.

    The second disc, "Savage Young Generals," captures the band live on tape at several shows at CBGB and City Gardens over a 13 month period. If the raw energy present on the studio material doesn't grab you, the live album will definitely blow you away. The showmanship on display for these recordings is the kind most bands would die to have. Sixteen of these songs have never been released in any format, and it's good to hear them alongside the odd cover and the traditional but higher energy interpretations of the songs off their releases. 77 minutes of pure sonic delight. Taken together, these two discs represent a fine document of a, as their website puts it, "criminally overlooked" band."
    ~ Brainwashed Magazine

    Includes unlimited streaming of Certain General "An Introduction to War" (album) via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 21 Phil Gammage releases available on Bandcamp and save 25%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Right On (single), Messages From the Grave (single), The Woman in the Window (single), Pick Me Up on Your Way Down (single), Hitchhiker (album), From Nowhere to Somewhere (album), Certain General "An Introduction to War" (album), It's a PreFab World! (compilation album), and 13 more. , and , .

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Uptight 04:02
Nowhere 05:25
In a Bad Way 04:16
Guts 05:05
Hiding Place 03:06
Steamy 05:47
Trench 02:12
Sell Out 02:06
Enigma 02:22
Bb C2 02:34
Party Line 02:25
Leader Out 04:43
Red Ledge 01:21
Dachau Now 02:35
Touch 01:16
Water 02:54
Desert 02:31
Bedpan 02:01
Propoganda 00:55
Kickback 02:51
Gun Flower 02:25
Ancient Toys 03:40
She Can Fly 04:12


Here is another stunner from this band. Those of you who are familiar with the music of Certain General will be delighted to finally discover what the band sounded like before and after "November's Heat". This is some lost classic, like the second album which never made it, and it is stronger than the other compilation "These are the Days .. " (1998-Fantastica).

"An Introduction to War" contains two CDS. "Savage Young Generals" is the band live during 1981/82 and the whole set is there, the music is incredible, raw and is like some crazy electrosurfpsyche-music. Phil Gammage produces great surf licks with tons of reverb and still stays very modern in his guitar playing. All these songs have never been released before and it is amazing to see the inspiration Parker Dulany was floating on.

The other CD entitled "Dead Rabbit Gang" is that lost second album that sadly was never properly recorded due to a management change for the band. But "In a Bad Way","Down Came the Rain", "Nowhere" and other favorites are all there in their earliest versions which are easily the best ones I have ever heard.. The introduction song "Uptight" inspired by the reading of the Velvet Underground's biography with that title could have been as successful as "Maximum G", had it been released when the band was popular. Here is a new chance to hear that lost nugget. Then "Keys in the Carpet" opens by a dedication to Patti Smith, and Edgar A. Poe among others and they truly are good relays to Certain General works.

There are even covers on those CDs, and not the most predictable ones, "White Rabbit" and "Inna- Gadda-Da-Vida" revisited in the shrieking surfey Certain General mold. From old modern writing to new one, from garage music to electronics, Certain General is the initiator of "Avant-garde Garage music"!!! Listen !!

~ Jacques BALL


released October 20, 2020

In cooperation with Sourmash USA Records. Produced by Stephen Graziano. (SM201)
Live recordings from CBGB (New York) and City Gardens (Trenton, New Jersey) 1981-83.


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Phil Gammage New York, New York

Songwriter, vocalist, and guitar slinger, Phil Gammage is a Texas-born artist who now resides in NYC. His new album, "From Nowhere to Somewhere", (Oct 22) is a robust collection of Americana songs as diverse and heart-felt as the genre itself. Twisting endless roads, and the folklore of 20th century America, the album draws inspiration from Phil’s life as a musician, historian, & fiction writer. ... more


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