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Smersh

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Smersh were one of those long-forgotten proto-laptop bands (we called laptops “4-tracks” and “drum machines” back then) who made music in their bedrooms, toiled in obscurity, didn’t have many friends and never got anything but underground radio play… but had a ton of fun doing it and released a ton of music, which I ain’t heard… but I do have this masterpiece. Bands like these, alas, never got much of a following - they never played out, publicized their lifestyles or lived in cool places - Smersh hailed from Piscataway, New Jersey of all places.

Lacking any further credentials (and truly outsiders in the original Chusid sense) but having a penchant for noise, synthesizers, drum machines and guitar feedback, Chris Shepard (since deceased) and Mike Mangino got together once every week (Monday) to lay down tracks and put together their cassettes. Their band’s songs grace several dozen compilations (it would seem) and eventually RRRecords noticed them and released this, their first vinyl in 1986. Unfortunately, this led most people to assume they were an industrial band because of the relationship with RRR and magazines probably gave it to Peter in the Corner with the Black Turtleneck to Review and he no doubt hated it.

Instead, think a less clever Big Black (era: “Lungs”) but with more synthesizers, less collegey wank and maybe even a necrophiliac urges for the corpse of Ian Curtis.

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