"The Klitz were Memphis punk ground zero." --Ross Johnson
Recorded by ALEX CHILTON and SAM THE SHAM in one three-hour blast in the summer of '78, Sounds of Memphis is the first archival Klitz release. Widely regarded as Memphis' first punk band and championed by JIM DICKINSON, The Klitz featured GAIL ELISE CLIFTON on vocals and LESA ALDRIDGE (of Big Star's Third fame) on guitar. Sounds of Memphis is a Midtown lo-fi gem. Includes a version of Chilton's "Hook or Crook."
The original all-girl Memphis punk band! This record seemingly came out of nowhere, but is essential for any collector of local music. Recorded in 1978 by Alex Chilton and Sam the Sham, and championed by Jim Dickinson, how much more street cred do you need? Sounds of Memphis features four tracks of raw and primitive punk rock, including the Chilton song "Hook or Crook" and the local hit "Hard Up."
--Chris Shaw, Memphis Flyer
Beyond-gone primordial scrapings of punk from this groupof women, living in a city that factored into so many other kinds of music, fostered by Alex Chilton (his girlfriend Lesa Aldridge was their guitarist) and recorded by him and Sam the Sham in the muggy confines of 1978. Far more crude than the Panther Burns, the Klitz played what they knew (“Two Chords” even addresses how and what they were capable of), and the results are well outside of the frame, the essence of punk being distilled locally for the first time as these songs were laid down. They’re not unlike a disintegrating Kleenex, recorded through wet Kleenex *cough*, with drums that might as well have been mic’d through a stethoscope. Their sound is more British/continental than the roots sounds which one would expect, but with a really odd, othering quality (like learning how to cut your own hair) that completes the circuit. Quite a find for many reasons, all musical ones and then some.
--Doug Mosurock, Still Single
If you thought the KBD Santa had finished blitzing his way into your record collection, think again – this archival 1978 four-song single is way-excellent falling-apart primitive punk, from an all-female crew who were purportedly “Memphis punk ground zero”. Guitarist Lesa Aldridge dated Alex Chilton not long before she helped assemble THE KLITZ, and she looms large in Big Star mythology as the full-blown inspiration behind “Third”.
Yet I give the nod for most inspired performances on this one to scratchy-throated singer Gail Elise Clifton, who struggles through her whoops and yelps like someone working to regain her pipes after a week-long social bender, and drummer Marcia Clifton, whose rhythmic I-think-I-can tippy-tap beats are perfect for the songs’ beautifully ramshackle construction. The band’s loose version of Chilton’s already loose “Hook or Crook” isn’t even the highlight; the whole’s thing’s a wonderful hot mess, and one of my favorite unearthed treasures in some time.
--Jay, Dynamite Hemorrhage