Hammer Damage formed in 1978 in the Akron, Ohio area when Mike Hammer and Dave Zagar left the Rubber City Rebels. They put out a 7″ single and later a 12″ EP, their “Laugh/Automatic Lips” 7″ single going on to KBD rare status decades after the band’s demise. The 7″ is a great slice of 1970’s punk and another record that had it been available longer would probably be in a lot of people’s lists of all-time classic punk singles.
“Laugh” is the real gem on this single and the reason why it has become a KBD punk classic. It is a fast-tempo, 70’s style punk song with hard-edged vocals and overall bears a bit of a resemblance to The Pagans (which should come as no surprise considering both bands were from the same general area at around the same time. This song easily stands up as well as any popular punk tune from the same era and had this record not been unavailable for so long and relatively obscure, this single would have been one of the punk rock staples of people’s record collections back in the day (and even now). “Automatic Lips” is a mid-tempo, new wave styled song that sounds as good as any of the new wave from the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. It has a bit of a clanging guitar sound, and a melodic, sing-along style chorus. It’s a strong new-wave tune that has stood up to the test of time.
Last Laugh Records has done the punk rock world a favor by reissuing this 7″ single and making it available for a far lower price than tracking down an original copy would set you back. The record is pressed on a thick, black vinyl with labels that look like the original (from the photos I’ve seen anyway as sadly I do not own an original copy) with the exception of the change of label info/release year. The record is housed in a black and white, glued sleeve that is made of thick cardstock. All the original artwork was reproduced nicely and the only minor change is the Last Laugh Records information on the back. I for one am thankful to have this record in my collection now as I’ve been missing out on a real punk rock gem by not owning a pricey original copy. This is as good an old punk single as they come and I give it my highest possible recommendation.