Sunday, July 1, 2012

Los Angeles Post-Punk, Vol. 7


Featured Acts:

20/20, Animal Dance, Artistic Decline, Barton A. Smith, Bay of Pigs, Black Randy and the Metrosquad, Brooke Shields, Celebrity Skin, Code Blue, Electric Peace, Fender Buddies, Gabriele Morgan, Invisible Zoo, John J. Lafia, Lem, Mark Lane, Nervous Gender, Nip Drivers, No-Y-Z, Pop Art, Randoms, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Screamin' Sirens, Skooshny, SSQ, Stefan Weisser, Steve Stain, Stillife, Suspects, The Dream Syndicate, The Germs, The Hollywood Squares, The Last, The Motels, The Plimsouls, The Romans, The Signals, The Skoings, The Soul Brothers (of Chula Vista), Tidal Waves, The Tweezers, Tunneltones Visiting Kids, Wall Of Voodoo, Zoogz Rift

The Skoings, Doctors Wives 7" (Vigilante, 1977)
Disk 1
1 Brooke Shields — Introduction (1980) 0:04
2 The Skoings — Do The Orbit (1977) 3:23
3 Nervous Gender — People Like You (1981) 2:40
4 The Signals — Clam Up (1984) 1:06
5 Mark Lane — White Glove (1984) 3:33
6 Barton A. Smith — Roland #119 (1980) 5:50
7 Black Randy and the Metrosquad — I Slept in an Arcade (1980) 2:30
8 20/20 — Yellow Pills (1979) 4:17
9 The Hollywood Squares — Hillside Strangler (1978) 1:55
10 Tidal Waves — Fun, Fun, Fun (1979) 1:53
11 Tunneltones — Happyland
12 The Last — Lies (1980) 3:20
13 The Dream Syndicate — That's What You Always Say (1982) 3:12
14 Lem — Scat Cat Kitty (1977) 4:18
15 Stillife — Celadon (1984) 7:35
16 The Plimsouls — I Can't Turn You Loose (1981) 3:22
17 The Tweezers — Ernie Kaboyng (1981) 2:08
18 The Germs — Round and Round (1981) 2:16
19 The Skoings — Doctor's Wives (1977) 2:15
20 Randoms — Let's Get Rid of New York (1977) 2:42
21 Suspects — Talking Loud (1979) 2:21
22 The Romans — Runaway (1983) 2:21
23 Invisible Zoo — Synthesizer Man (1983) 3:14
24 John J. Lafia — Escape (1984) 7:04
25 Stefan Weisser — You Think That Was Not An Attack (1983) 3:39

Electric Peace, Medieval Mosquito (Barred Records, 1987)
Disk 2
26 Visiting Kids — Trilobytes (1989) 3:21
27 Zoogz Rift — You're Killing Me (1982) 2:02
28 Animal Dance — Fake! (1983) 4:25
29 Skooshny — It Hides More Than It Tells (1978) 3:21
30 Red Hot Chili Peppers — True Men Don't Kill Coyotes (1984) 3:40
31 Fender Buddies — Dancing a Frenzy (1980) 1:48
32 Electric Peace — Case Of Dynamite (1985) 4:08
33 Celebrity Skin — S.O.S. (1990) 3:37
34 Nip Drivers — You Need Us (2000) 1:10
35 Code Blue — Whisper/Touch (1980) 2:35
36 The Soul Brothers (of Chula Vista) — The Brothers Johnson (1989) 2:37
37 Screamin' Sirens — Maniac (1985) 2:34
38 The Motels — Celia (1979) 3:06
39 No-Y-Z — Little Did He Know (1983) 3:33
40 Gabriele Morgan and Doll Congress — No Moon At All (1981) 1:40
41 Red Hot Chili Peppers — Why Don't You Love Me (1984) 3:23
42 Pop Art — A Beautiful Girl (1984) 3:27
43 Animal Dance — Sterile Mecca (1983) 3:29
44 Electric Peace — Came Into Town (1987) 6:05
45 Bay of Pigs — Mary Tyler Moore (1987) 2:21
46 Wall Of Voodoo — Ring Of Fire (1980) 6:11
47 Germs — No God (1993) 1:54
48 Fender Buddies — Poolside (1980) 4:37
49 Steve Stain — Flight of the Drill (1986) 3:50
50 SSQ — N'importe quoi (1983) 2:56

Notes by the guest editor Jeremy for Disk 1 (my notes follow):

On May 31, 1980, Brooke Shields celebrated her 15th birthday on “Rodney on the ROQ,” the radio show that helped bring widespread attention to the local punk and hardcore scenes. That cross-wiring neatly encapsulates Los Angeles.

Rodney Bingenheimer was also partially responsible for the success of the first single from the Hollywood Squares: “Hillside Strangler” was recorded, released, and snapped up (to the tune of 500 copies) well before the real Hillside Stranglers (turned out there were two) were caught in 1978. Other punk cuts here that would likely have seen airtime on KROQ include the Germs’ gloriously sloppy Chuck Berry cover, the Randoms’ anti-NYC anthem (the first single from Dangerhouse Records), and “I Slept in an Arcade” by notorious roustabout Black Randy (also on Dangerhouse).

The Skoings—whose only single was printed in Westwood and featured another serial killer tale, “Doctors Wives”—the Signals, the Tweezers, and Tidal Waves all had a jerky pop sound but none of them managed more than a handful of releases. In more of a straight-ahead power-pop vein were 20/20 and The Last, both prolific and both overlooked.

There are also a couple Paisley Underground representatives here. Steve Wynn and Kendra Smith recorded one post-punk single as Suspects while still living in Davis, California, before moving south and starting the ’60s-leaning the Dream Syndicate (and Smith’s great Opal project). The Plimsouls cover of Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose” is a nice nod to L.A. music history: Redding opened his famous 1966 show at the Whiskey a Go Go with the same tune.

Other UCLA affiliates besides (presumably) the Skoings include Barton A. Smith and John J. Lafia. Smith was a composer and tinkerer who recorded “Roland #119” for the school’s Institute of Dance and Experimental Art. According to the liner notes, it’s “suitable for several unique scenes and situations including: sound of bees, spider webs, cosmic, propulsive, industrial, laboratory work. Especially useful for scenes involving increasing mental tension.” It’s an impressive piece made using rhythm sequencers and has a more climactic energy than the rest of Smith’s work (which was recently rereleased by Folkways).

Lafia was a graduate of the UCLA film department who recorded one LP and a couple compilation tracks (see Volume 6) before transitioning to the movie industry (where he co-wrote Child’s Play and directed Child’s Play 2). Both Lafia and Stillife (Chas Smith, Dennis Duck, Michael Jon Fink, Michael Le Donne-Bhennet, Tom Recchion) are linked to the LAFMS and the Trance Port label, and both were primarily ambient projects. Stillife’s “Celadon” in particular is ridiculously pretty.

The Romans were another collective of LAFMS-ers. They were responsible for a disk’s worth instrumental surf-noir and space-lounge that was re-mastered in 2003. They seem to have been the brainchild of Juan Gomez but also featured members of the Dream Syndicate, which maybe gives some sense of the crossover between different scenes.

Tunneltones was one of Brad Laner’s gazillion projects; Nervous Gender included Daniel Voznick of Afterimage; and Mark Lane is still a minimal synth guru whose recent compilation The Anti-Tech Testament: 1981-1985 is worth checking out in full. Both Lem and the new wave trio Invisible Zoo featured Doug Lynner who was from the goofier edge of the city’s electronic music world.

Stefan Weisser was born in L.A. but spent most of his career in the Bay Area art-world recording as Z’EV. This B-side from the Editeditions & Contexts 7” consists of noisy tape loops of a man and a woman arguing and does an incredible job capturing the rhythms of that sort of thing. The inserts for record are six very cool panels of text-art built supposedly out of mimeographed student papers.

4 comments:

  1. Out of curiosity, you wouldn't happen to have the rest of Steve Stain's The Brain Feels No Pain on MP3, would you?

    His shouty PiL track you included on this comp is amazing and I'm curious about the rest!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here: hsegstevo@aol.com

    Also, I noticed you'd posted selections from The Rub's Bikini Gospel on Vol. 10. I've been looking for that one for awhile too.

    If you have this stuff, it's be SO APPRECIATED if you'd pass it on.

    Keep up the killer work! I'm in love with these mixes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello bstefans, I would be interested very much in mp3's of the Steve Stain LP, too!
    If I could offer you something in exchange, let me know, what you're searching for!? Maybe I can return the favor!?

    My e-mail is: sascha_ballon@yahoo.com

    Thanks in advance!
    Sascha

    ReplyDelete