20/20, Animal Dance, Barton A. Smith, Bay of Pigs, Black Randy and the Metrosquad, Brooke Shields, Celebrity Skin, Code Blue, Electric Peace, Fender Buddies, Gabriele Morgan, Germs, Invisible Zoo, John J. Lafia, Lem, Mark Lane, Nervous Gender, Nip Drivers, No-Y-Z, Pop Art, Randoms, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Screamin' Sirens, Skooshny, SSQ, Stefan Weisser, Steve Stain, Stillife, Suspects, The Dream Syndicate, 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)|
4 The Signals — Clam Up (1984) 1:06
9 The Hollywood Squares — Hillside Strangler (1978) 1:55
23 Invisible Zoo — Synthesizer Man (1983) 3:14
|Electric Peace, Medieval Mosquito (Barred Records, 1987)|
Notes by the guest editor Jeremy for Disk 1 (my notes follow):
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. The Tweezers have since released a "remixed" CD of their first 7" with additional tracks. In more of a straight-ahead power-pop vein were 20/20 and The Last, both prolific and both overlooked.
Notes for Disk 2:
I actually didn't know LAFMS had an online store before Jeremy sent me the link for the Romans. That's where you should go to buy LPs by BPeople, Child Molesters, Human Hands, and whatever LAFMS associated music that's appeared here. My apologies!
Visiting Kids were a one-off project by some members of Devo who recorded an EP in 1990 in Los Angeles. The band was composed of Bob Mothersbaugh, his then-wife Nancye Ferguson, their daughter Alex Mothersbaugh and two other children, August Kimbaugh and Scarlett Rouge (along with some other adults). They appeared on late night TV, opened for Sparks, annd created one incredibly cute video for this track, "Trilobytes." But my favorite YouTube video of theirs is this one for "Microwave Babies."
I've been in touch with Robin Carr of Animal Dance, and she turned me on to the group's one single which I found at a rare vinyl site, both sides of which appear here. They also made one music video for a track called "Wired" which is not terribly recommended as they were trying to get a contract and they became suddenly a whole lot less interesting. I love these two new tracks, though I think "Under Pulse," which appears in Volume 1 of this series, is still my favorite.
Included are two tracks from the Andy Gill (guitarist for Gang of Four) produced first album of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which is usually derided for its cold production. Well, Gang of Four was criticized for their first LP, Entertainment!, for the same reason, and it's a classic. The culture clash makes for some interesting moments, especially in the horn section of "Why Don't You Love Me" which is just hilarious. George Clinton produced their next record, which, while I suppose "better" in many ways, deleted those contradictions.
Fender Buddies were one of the many infamous "art punk" bands that appeared in LA around this time; they released just this one single. The Bay of Pigs that appears in this set is not the one who appeared on the last one (they were actually from San Francisco, oops). LA's Bay of Pigs had some connection to LAFMS (through Rick Cox) and managed one LP.
Celebrity Skin was a spin-off of Pat Smear's first post-Germs band, Vagina Dentata, and were quite active on the scene, producing an EP and LP and being banned from basically all the clubs in SF and LA in their short tenure. I'll include some of their original material in the future, but I just love this cover of the ABBA song. Speaking of Smear, I like this Germs track mostly for the clapping section in the middle, which I could imagine the guys from Animal Collective going apeshit over.
Ok, I really like the Motels, particularly Martha Davis, a really talented if uneven songwriter who had terrific presence in the pre-MTV days, as you can see on this video for their track "Total Control." I remember them from watching MTV in the 80s and not really getting it, but I was a young then and anything mainstream was anathema. "Celia" is subtle and minimal, showing their actual roots in the punk scene here in LA but with a touch of Tom Waits-ish storytelling. Code Blue is one of the spin-off bands from the Motels who released one LP.
I don't know much about Screamin' Sirens but discovered this track on the compilation The Enigma Variations and liked the harmonies and production, though it verges on novelty. Electric Peace sounds a bit anachronistic, kind of from the era of Deep Purple, but I think there's something else going on here, and the organ line on "Came Into Town," coupled with the Who-esque synth track, is a killer.
Steve Stain, who released an LP called The Brain Feels No Pain, is one of those many the Minutemen's New Alliance artists that you just can't find anything out about. He was also part of a band called What Makes Donna Twirl that I'm dying to hear. I discovered the Soul Brothers on some compilation that I can't locate right now. They remastered all of their recorded music from that period under the name Soul Brothers (of Chula Vista).
No-Y-Z released one album, the picture disk Sheer Electronic Din, and included a member of Twisted Roots. Gabriele Morgan started as a solo artist with Sean's brother Michael Penn in the band that eventually became Doll Congress, represented earlier in this series doing the classic "Concrete and Clay." This is another beautiful cover of a song recorded by Doris Day and Ella Fitzgerald among others, with a lot of (I like to think) Savage Republic-inspired percussion.
This track from Pop Art is taken from their first, self-titled LP, kind of their Chronic Town (R.E.M.'s first EP) but without the world-conquering follow-up. Literate, hooky, with some nice jangly guitars. Nip Drivers, whose Mike Webber was a damaged genius, and Wall of Voodoo, whose catalogue I'm trying to explore more since getting over my distaste for Stan Ridgway's vocal stylings, have appeared earlier in this series. This cover of the Johnny Cash song was apparently an underground hit back in the day, and certainly makes its points with some lovely secondary melodic synth lines later in the track (it ends with a piece of abstract tomfoolery that is technically the next track but which works really well as a coda).
Skooshny is a little hard to explain, kind of a holdover from the psychedelic days but who managed something of a legendary status on the scene in the 70s. They were the backup band for a so-so single by a guy named Page Croft. Some solid songwriting, though this is the only track that comes close to being considered "new wave," mostly due, to my mind, to the organ line and the angsty vocals. All of their stuff from this era has been remastered and can be found on iTunes. Skooshny might not be as great a name as Skoings, but seems to be in the same family.