April 21, 2023

The Gits - The Best of The Gits (2008)

Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Punk Rock, Grunge
Label Number: ADM00154

© 2008 Liberation Music
It's hard not to feel a sense of poignancy and betrayed promise while listening to the Gits -- one that has nothing to do with the music. The Gits played music that was deeply emotional but was also loud, muscular, and utterly fearless, and it's not hard to imagine that given time they would have made the same impression nationwide that they did in their hometown of Seattle, where they were a popular and deeply respected band at a time when the city was enjoying its short-lived status as Rock Capitol of the Universe. But after releasing one album for the independent C/Z Records label and working on a second while being courted by a major label, the Gits came to a crashing halt on July 7, 1993 when lead singer Mia Zapata was raped and murdered while walking home from a night out with friends. Without Zapata's forceful, bluesy vocals and intensely personal lyrics, there was no way the Gits could have continued as they were, and while guitarist Joe Spleen (aka Andrew Kessler), bassist Matt Dresdner, and drummer Steve Moriarty continued to record as the Dancing French Liberals of '48, the new band was by its definition a very different kettle of fish. The Best of the Gits serves double duty as an overview of the band's abbreviated career and a soundtrack to Kerri O'Kane documentary film about the band, and while this disc not inappropriately pays homage to Zapata, these recordings leave no doubt this was a fine and very powerful band, not just a vehicle for a great singer. Grunge may have been the sound that put Seattle on the map, but the Gits followed a different path that was dominated by the speed and aggression of early punk and the seismic force of hard rock, and their work boasted an immediacy and fist-in-the-gut impact that few of their Northwest peers could match. SpleenDresdner, and Moriarty are an admirably tight and cohesive band on these 14 songs, but as good as they were Zapata was clearly the Gits secret weapon -- her gale force vocals could more than keep up with the fury conjured up by her bandmates, and there was a humanity and unblinking honesty in songs like "Another Shot of Whiskey," "Whirlwind," "Insecurities," and "Cut My Skin It Makes Me Human" that was unique and deeply effecting. The Best of the Gits doesn't feel like this group's definitive musical statement, primarily because they never really made one -- while the scraps they left behind feature some great songs and fiery performances, it's clear this band could have benefited from a sympathetic studio cohort who could have reinforced their strengths while giving them the powerful sound they deserved, like Butch Vig did for Nirvana on Nevermind. But even if the Gits never cut the masterpiece they were capable of, they left behind plenty of evidence that they had the talent to create one, and The Best of the Gits contains 43 minutes of triumphant music, even if the group's story was destined to end in tragedy.

 tags: the gits, the best of the gits, 2008, flac,


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