The Soft Pack have by now become better known for who they are NOT than for their music. They are most certainly NOT The Muslims, who released their self-titled EP in 2008 to great blog buzz and maddening scarcity.
Each 12″ LP was famously riddled with actual .22 caliber gunshots before 1928 Recordings shipped out. This presented clear production and distribution issues that made hard copies somewhat difficult to locate. Such did my monomania consume me that I befriended one of the owners at San Diego’s M-Theory Records who kindly promised to hold a copy for me if he ever received one, which was a lie from the pit of hell. Nevetheless the band had become a little too cool for school, migrated to LA, and were scarcely to be found in San Diego again.
Upon some reflection, quite possibly industry pressure, and maybe a sobering assessment of the impetuous decision to follow in Salman Rushdie’s footsteps, The Muslims announced a name change to the slightly more politically-correct The Soft Pack and this year released a(nother) self-titled debut under the new moniker. Not as gritty or immediate as their former incarnation, The Soft Pack is still a wonderful throwback to the 80’s when underground bands released college music without such tremendous regard for irony.
The Soft Pack’s consensus standout is closer “Parasites,” the only re-tread from previous releases. However I would also remark on my personal favorite, “Answer to Yourself,” a sort of personal creedo battling with the demons of self-doubt of early adulthood.
Yea you gotta answer to yourself
Two days a week outside yourself
You take an hour a day, an hour a day,
And you don’t respond to anyone else…
You gotta choose what to read
Choose what to believe
And you don’t take it from anyone else.
But I think I’m gonna die before I see my time.
Reminds me of some of the Indie-clastic lyrics that Frank Black would occasionally write and by the way is driven by an infectious guitar line.
Now back to your own Muslim(s) pilgrimage. While The Soft Pack is available basically everywhere, The Muslims EP is still a bit of a trick. For instance Google, “Muslims music” and see what Jihadist fright you come up with. So let me offer my best understanding of the original, which is again available on a limited basis.
The actual gun-addled Muslims self-titled EP and 3-song CD insert is a dream, forget it and move on. However you can buy a remastered Muslims 10-song LP, still authentically pistol-damaged, at Insound. Alternately, 1928 now offers what it calls, “The Soft Pack’s Muslims LP” including digital download, above.
Religion has always been very confusing.