La Peste, “Better Off Dead”

Jayson Greene

By Jayson Greene

on 04.02.14 in Listen to This

La Peste’s “Better Off Dead” is a sweaty cocktail of New Wave neuroses and punk rock hormones that arrives to us from its birth date of 1978 with its bug-eyes and churning stomach acid still intact. Boston band La Peste were the sort of outfit you’d see in The Rathskeller, the grotty dive in Kenmore Square that local punk fans loved to compare with New York’s CBGBs, and “Better Off Dead” is their signature tune. Wharf Cat Records is lovingly re-releasing this band’s lone single in limited edition on April 19th, right down the original sleeve and imprint. The song itself is a terrifically nasty number, a song with no morals or thoughts in its head, just a series of glandular impulses that does the Stones’ “Stray Cat Strut” one better in grossness—the opening lyric is “Well she started to grin so I slid it right in” and gets less dignified from there. The music combines the troglodyte stomp of hardcore with the thrumming nerves of New Wave.