Austin, Texas punk / no wave legends Terminal Mind only blazed through the Austin scene for three years (1978 – 1981), but they are back with a powerful release of rare cuts from their short time together. Recordings collects a rare four-song 7″, live cuts, and unreleased studio tracks. It’s a solid collection and already in the running for best reissue of 2018.
Opening with the skronky, bold “I Want to Die Young,” the band’s powerhook guitars are put front and center right away. “I see life as a TV at midnight, nothing but static and outdated reruns,” Steve Marsh sings as he dreams of becoming something better than he is now before he gets old and waits for a heart attack.
“Refugee” has Marsh continuing his themes of alienation as he sings, “In a war, there are winners and losers. I’m in-between.” The post-punk attitude of “Sense of Rhythm” is sharp as a hatchet (and so is the drumming). “Zombieland” sounds like an early Devo cut as Marsh sings about the joys of “living in negative space” and ignoring the suffering and injustice around you. The guitars on it devolve into a wild cacophony that almost sounds like air raid sirens by the end.
“Obsessed with Crime” has a raw energy not unlike something you’d hear from the Stooges. Terminal Mind once opened for them, so the influence shouldn’t surprise anyone. The guitars and bass on “Fear in the Future” are downright dangerous. Marsh growls “Time is a trigger, I hold it in my hand. I point it at the future. I think you understand.”
The live tracks begin with the snappy “Radioactive,” in which Marsh sings about hoping to have super powers so he can survive a nuclear war and watch everything burn around him. The equally speedy “Bridges Are for Burning” follows it.
“No one wants to know the meaning of life anymore,” Marsh sings on the angry “(I Give Up on) Human Rights.” “Black” is like Joy Division if they decided to speed up the beats and crank up the distortion. You can almost feeling the audience grooving during “Missing Pieces.” The keyboards on “Bureaucracy” slather the song in a glorious, distorted noise that ends the album on a high, post-punk note.
Three years was too short for a band this good, but at least we have this reissue to remember Terminal Mind. Let’s hope for some new material in the future. I’d love to hear their take on modern times.
Keep your mind open.
[I don’t want you to die young. I just want you to subscribe.]