Back in Charlottesville, Virginia, singer/bassist Michael Dean was in Baby Opaque, a trio whose lone album applies tight punk unity and a bit of jazzy aggression to imaginative rock songs with slightly deranged vocals. Although guitarist Todd Wilson keeps threatening to run off into noiseland, Baby Opaque never loses control, and winds up in some surprisingly subtle territory. Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat/Fugazi) guests on the trio’s version of “Long Black Veil,” the old Lefty Frizzell ballad.
Moving to San Francisco, Dean became one-third of Bomb, a similar but more incendiary and self-amused outfit whose open-space rock thrashings (like “Healthfood and Heroin” and “I Loved You and Then I Died”) fill the first two albums with an odd semi-psychedelic mixture of Buttholian frantics and rough flower-powery atmosphere.
The well-produced and stronger-sounding Happy All the Time has two songs (including “Lucy in the Sky with Desi,” which became the title of a CD compiling the band’s two Boner releases) on the 45 rpm side and four (including a remake of “Healthfood and Heroin”) on the 33 rpm reverse.