Tuesday, March 6, 2012


It's a sound that I wasn't prepared for when it came out, and it's still got me scratching my head years after it's release. The Romans were some kind of oddball L.A. supergroup, made up of members of Monitor, B-People and Human Hands, three bands that would often share bills in the early eighties. They initially played mostly surf type instrumentals, a few of which came close to matching the intensity of punk, a scene that all three of the bands were often loosely associated with (though none of the three were actually punk bands). Their first album, You Only Live Once, was a great album, and as much as I liked it, when their second album, Last Days at the Ranch, came out, it totally threw me for a loop. While the band retained most of the members of their first, the second LP was like a precursor to the whole alt-country (I hate that term) thing. There's about four people who would get this description, but the best I can muster is that it sounds like the Flying Burrito Brothers if they had been listening to the late "Sound of the Rain"-era Dils, and decided to turn it up a notch.

When the Romans' first LP was reissued on CD a few years ago (full disclosure: I wrote a paragraph for the liner notes), what I had really been salivating for was a possible reissue of Last Days at the Ranch. While that was not to come about, I managed to find a download of it online, but didn't post it in case a reissue was forthcoming. It's been a couple years, so today I thought I'd see if it was ever reissued. A search turned up the whole LP, plus about a dozen unreleased tracks, on ex-member Robert Lloyd's site. This is some good shit friends, but I can't claim to be objective. I can say that it has been pretty much dissected at this point and still holds up. Just remember, if you blink it may be gone.

A few notes: The Last Days at the Ranch was produced by Steve Wynn (ex-Dream Syndicate) and mixed by Paul Cutler (ex-Dream Syndicate and 45 Grave), so there's a lot of umph, even on the more acoustic songs. I'm only posting a couple songs, but you can get the whole shebang here. It's the definitive post-punk, pre-alt-country Pasadena version of Beggars Banquet. Or something like that.

The Romans - Greed, Hate and Drinking mp3 at House of Here
The Romans - You're Coming With Me mp3 at House of Here
The Romans - Last Days mp3 at House of Here
The Romans - A Wretched Son of Satan mp3 at House of Here
The whole collection:
The Romans - Last Days at the Ranch at House of Here The whole album plus 12 unreleased tracks, in individual mp3s.
The Romans at House of Here
The Romans at Facebook
The Romans - You Only Live Once available at Warning Label Records

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