early in highschool my pal meschel and i useta fully geek out on stuff like "harborcoat" by r.e.m. and "cartoon" by soul asylum and anything else we could find with crazy vocal harmonies. she always tried to sell me on 54•40 but somehow it never stuck. this past week i dug out a mixtape i made back in probably tenth grade with a bunch of my favorite stuff on it (including the aforementioned r.e.m. & soul asylum tunes), which is probably pretty similar to the 9,000,000 tapes i made for her back then, so i started thinkin' about 54•40 and my now-biennial attempt to give a shit about 'em. last time i got what i thought was their first lp (1986's self-titled deal on reprise) in the dollar bin i ignored it for like 18 months so i decided against that route and turned on the computer; SADLY, the internet doesn't seem to care either, but i managed to find some crap mono videos on youtube (not helping, dudes), which thankfully led me to a live film of them doing something called "jamming with lawrence" much earlier in their career (judging from the haircuts). the difference between this embryonic stage of the band and their later-'80s drivin' & cryin' (another fave of meschel's) phase is stunning - it seems like they followed a path not unlike their neighbors here on this blog, dancing hoods. this early stuff (a mini-lp and an lp) is way more bass guitar-driven and shares a whole lot more with early-'80s aussie and athens (GA) stuff than anything else: fantastically repetitive and mesmerizing, but with a decent nod towards big music. i reckon people into stuff like chameleons uk and the sound, as well as NZ stuff like the gordons, will dig this too. this is really blowing my mind, and since it was a little bit of a trial to dig this stuff up, i'm puttin' it here for you.