Railroad Jerk

Younger Than You / Ballad of Jim White 7″
Matador, 1991

Judging by the amount of unsold Railroad Jerk LPs I’ve seen around and the neglect of any mention of this stellar single on discogs.com or allmusic.com, this NYC band never got the love it deserved. Once upon a time they were critically acclaimed and had a coveted touring slot with Extra-Width-era Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, yet somehow, anytime I play this or their excellent Third Rail LP for people it’s some big revelation and discovery. They caught my ear on the Matador label’s 1990 New York Ear & Eye Control compilation, from when the label was a little more adventurous, with a skronking, noisy mess of a song entitled “From The Pavement,” which I’ve included below. Railroad Jerk’s later releases became more polished and conventional, and presumably palatable to collegiate/indie/alt-country types, while their early work, like The JSBX, was a seamless amalgamation of raw punk noise with classic blues influences. In Railroad Jerk’s case, the blues influence had more of a chugging (in a non-metallic sense) railway hobo sound, with twangy vocals layered on top of sharp no-wave shards of bands like Mars, DNA, or Teenage Jesus & The Jerks. This early no-wave abrasiveness and snottiness, softened in later releases, is demonstrated perfectly on this single with two great songs only available on this 45.


Railroad Jerk – “Younger Than You”
Railroad Jerk – “Ballad of Jim White”

Railroad Jerk – “From The Pavement”
from New York Eye & Ear Control compilation

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