17 Pygmies, Abecedarians, Afterimage, Animal Dance, Atila, B People, Beat-E-O's, Choir Invisible, Christian Death, Danny & the Doorknobs, Dogma Probe, Fibonaccis, Freshly Wrapped Candies, Gleaming Spires, Green on Red, Human Hands, Iron Curtain, Kommunity FK, League of Nations, Life After Death, Martyr Complex, Monitor, Nu Beams, Null And Void, Oingo Boingo, Outer Circle, Perfect Imperfect Circular, Plebs, Rand Kennedy, Savage Republic, Shadow Minstrels, Sparks, Standard Of Living, Steaming Coils, Suburban Lawns, The Squad, Wall Of Voodoo, Wet Picnic, Wild Kingdom, Zolar X.
|Suburban Lawns, Janitor 12" (Suburban Industrial, 1986)|
So here's the distillation of my "post-punk" anthology of Southern California bands. I'm having a hard time finding a truly accurate title for the comp, since many of the bands are from the county but from places with very particular scenes, like Pasadena and Long Beach, and a few are from outside of the city altogether (but within a two-hour drive). And to call these "post-punk" bands is not entirely accurate; many of them are "new wave," "darkwave," "deathrock," "art rock," even something like "freak folk." Oh well.
Some older bands are included, like Zolar X and Sparks, since they might be the strongest native influences (outside of Zappa or Beefheart and local groups like LAFMS and COMA) and seemed somehow to respond the post-punk/new wave phenomenon. I've included early tracks by bands that have gone on to produce hits, like Oingo Boingo and Wall of Voodoo, since they just seemed part of the scene back then and are certainly strange enough (and also more original than a lot of the Devo/Cure/U2 etc imitators that I've come across). Some acts, like Missing Persons, Berlin and the Motels, for all their presence on the scene, were quite commercial from the start and are so well known that I've skipped them.
Of special note is the first track, by Wild Kingdom, since this is their only studio track and was released as a flexi-disk insert in a short-lived music magazine called No Mag. It's pretty amazing -- I can't find anything else by them except an appearance on Peter Ivers' New Wave Theatre which isn't very good (but you get an introduction to their eccentric drum kit). The band was almost entirely Chicano, and one of the guys even sports an exaggerated Elvis-pompadour.