KILKENNY CATS  “Attractive Figure” b/w “Of Talk”  (Coyote Records COY111, 1984)

Back in 45 RPM #6, I wrote about the magical impact of the 7-inch on ’80’s indie rock.  Well here’s another great artifact from that time period.  Even though I was lucky enough to witness their live set a few times, Athens, GA’s Kilkenny Cats have always held great mystery for me.  Even to this day not much is widely known about them, which makes this single all the more fun and entertaining.  So I won’t bore you with silly details about my underage beer-soaked nights at the 40-Watt Club, I’ll just let these Cats’ sexy vibe speak for itself.

A VU-influenced ode to the joys of taking speed, side-A’s “Attractive Figure” introduces us early to the KC’s ratatat drumming and steel-rake guitars, then propels us head-first into its stop-start verse and soaring chorus.  Great music for shaking off a hard day’s work, or more likely a long week’s finals.  And when the band stops and singer Tom Cheek does that little thing where he breathes in?  Pure sex.

The disc’s longer B-side, “Of Talk,” sounds like it could be an outtake from the Steve Wynn/Dream Syndicate 1982 classic Days Of Wine & Roses LP.  Walls of distorted guitars bury Cheek’s low Lou Reed-like mumble, creating a dreamy atmosphere perfect to smoke pot (or shoot heroin) to.  Or just kick back & let the music be your drug, which I think is the idea here.

Unfortunately my little lo-fi YouTube uploads failed this week.  Probably too many grandmas at once trying to upload shots of cats chasing string.  Anyway, there’s virtually no extensive footage of Kilkenny Cats anywhere on the internet.  A travesty if you ask me, but you can catch a quick blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse of the band in this trailer for the film ATHENS, GA INSIDE-OUT from 1986.  A great film if you can find a copy, AGIO serves not only as a stellar indie-rock time-capsule, but also as a snapshot of how and why so much unusual and influential music could emerge from such a quiet little Southern college town.

NEXT WEEK:  A double A-side from what I imagine would be Marvin Nash’s least favorite band.