History In Reverse [KLP164]

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The Blackouts were the best Seattle band you never heard of. To those who bought their records and attended their shows, this is no secret. But for the majority who didn't, this exciting anthology — long overdue  thankfully now exists. Sequenced in reverse-chronological order, it begins with their last recordings, which were produced by Al Jourgensen and originally released on Wax Trax! (three Blackouts later worked with Jourgensen in Ministry after the Blackouts demise). The album ends with their debut 45 “The Underpass”. Included on History in Reverse (KLP165) are three previously unreleased songs from the Wax Trax! session.

In 1979, following the breakup of the notorious Telepaths, several members (guitarist Erich Werner, drummer Bill Rieflin, synth/sax player Roland Barker and bassist Mike Davidson, later replaced by Paul “Ion” Barker) re-formed as a new musical alliance--the Blackouts. They had an implosive intensity and were the antithesis of the bar bands that dominated Seattle's anemic local music scene. Intentional, dynamic songs were the Blackouts' stock-in-trade. At this they excelled. Over the next six years they released four singles and EPs on four different labels (Modern, Engram, Situation Two, a subsidiary of 4AD, and Wax Trax!) and relocated to Boston, then San Francisco. Few bands from that era can claim as impressive a legacy as History in Reverse.

The digital version of this album is available from Bandcamp

  1. Happy Happy Hunting Ground
  2. It's Clay Again
  3. Chipped Beef
  4. Idiot
  5. Writhing
  6. Everglades
  7. Exchange of Goods
  8. Industry
  9. Young Man
  10. Dead Man's Curve
  11. Probability
  12. Being Be
  13. Five is 5
  14. Make No Mistake
  15. The Underpass
  16. Idiot (pre-version)


“The Blackouts say they want to play in prisons or mental wards if that’s what it takes to find innocent, open-minded people who aren’t involved in purist barriers or not worried about themselves. The Blackouts have a lot of material written and they cover new ground relentlessly but scrupulously. They suffer no blackouts in any of the things that bands become great for.” Karl Neice, the Rocket