A long-lost Captain Beefheart album is to finally be released, on what would have been Don Van Vliet's 71st birthday. Bat Chain Puller was recorded in 1976 but shelved later that year, due to a dispute between Frank Zappa and his former manager, Herb Cohen. Bat Chain Puller was originally intended to be the follow-up to 1974's maligned Bluejeans & Moonbeams, after Vliet recruited a new band. Zappa produced the sessions, and tracks like Owed t'Alex and The Floppy Boot Stomp made it all the way to Beefheart's label, Virgin, as well as several journalists. Unfortunately that's as far as things got. When Zappa sued Cohen, Bat Chain Puller was caught in the litigation and the album was shelved. Although many of Bat Chain Puller's songs were re-recorded for subsequent Beefheart releases, the original record has only been available among fans, as a popular bootleg.
The Sound of Speed is second in the trilogy of Jesus and Mary Chain "odds and sods" releases. This one isn't quite as essential as Barbed Wire Kisses (the first), but it definitely holds less cash-cow negativity and greater value over The Jesus and Mary Chain Hate Rock 'n' Roll (the third). The period covered here is 1989-1993, collecting most of the B-sides from Automatic and Honey's Dead. It's not quite complete, missing at least four B-sides ("Subway," "In the Black," "Terminal Beach," "I'm Glad I Never") and a small number of remixes. "Snakedriver" provides the best reason for picking this up, a classic Jesus and Mary Chain song in the sleazy, bluesy, "Beach Boys on lots of smack" mold. "Write Record Release Blues" skewers the Man while poking fun at themselves; one major demand: "Leave me in peaceful abject misery."