Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’


Friday, December 27th, 2013

Part of Me 7″
Sub-Pop, 1995

By the time I found Plexi, around the time their excellent Cheer Up record came out, they’d mutated into a glossier glam-pop version of themselves with sharp, punchy guitar hooks and a hard rock swagger. I’ve loved that album for years now. Digging back into their discography with their 7″ debut, I was stoked to find a more aggro version of the band with two tracks that are just a little more tense and in-your-face than their LP tracks. The sleeve design is pretty sweet too, with embossed letterpress art and the 2 songs jammed onto the A-side of this 1-sided 45. I picked up a used copy, but it looks like it’s still available at the Sub Pop website too.

Buy “Part of Me” at



Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Deprogrammer LP
Mystic Records, 1982

Here’s a classic example of a totally underrated record that’s quietly slipped into the abyss of dollar bins and cheap-ass used vinyl stacks without nearly enough respect. True, it’s hard to get excited about mid-paced hard rock-style punk — there’s nothing particularly outstanding or novel about it — but goddamn, you will not find many records that can soulfully stomp along as solidly as this one does. I nabbed it for a dime at a college radio vinyl selloff (thank you KRUI) on account of it being a Mystic Records release, expecting some inept Z-grade hardcore bashing, ala labelmates RKL, Dr. Know, Ill Repute, etc., but this record is a million miles from Nardcore or the mega compilations put out on the label. Initially I was disappointed by it’s relatively mellow demeanor, but after years of sporadic spins it’s slowly worked its way into my tinnitus-wrecked skull. Style-wise it fits somewhere between the Dead Boys and Joy Division. It’s moody without being too gloomy and has enough snarl to elevate it above the typical hard rock drivel.


Deprogrammer – Deprogrammer LP (37.3mb ZIP file)


Download Deprogrammer’s s/t 7′ at KBD Records
Deprogrammer post at Punk Business Manager blog
Deprogrammer post at Glorify the Turd blog

Black Angel’s Death Song

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Nothing Equals Nothing 7″
Dionysus Records, 1991

Following the line from the namesake Velvet Underground song “Black Angel’s Death Song” all the way to current Austin psych darlings The Black Angels, you’ll find a number of VU-inspired troupes carrying the underground freak rock flag. This loose-knit Los Angeles group from the early 1990s put out some inspired singles like this one, which falls somewhere in between the nonchalant scrap pop of Pavement and slo-mo guitar haze of Spaceman 3. The title track “Nothing Equals Nothing” is sneering ’80s So-Cal punk accented with ’60s bongo beats, neatly connecting the counterculture strains of each era to create a timeless hybrid that’s as relevant now as it was in 1991. In fact, it may be even more relevant today in the sonic blender of the MP3 age, where decades of rock genres and subgenres are so easily condensed and referenced.


Black Angel’s Death Song – “Nothing Equals Nothing”
Black Angel’s Death Song – “What Do You Mean?”


Black Angel’s Death Song on MySpace

Slug (Part 3)

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Slug 7″ EP
Magnatone Records, 1990

In this final installment of the Slug singles series, we go back to a massive slab of double-density noise jams, the debut vinyl release from this legendary Los Angeles noise unit. Along with Cop Shoot Cop, they were one of the early adopters of non-traditional rock instrumentation, featuring two bassists, two guitarists, a drummer and a vocalist — a novelty that both piqued the interest of mutant rockers while also overshadowing their interesting musical ideas. Reviews of this 4-song monster often emphasized the quantity of players instead of the quality of the overall sound, reducing them to gimmicky purveyors of sludge. I never got to see them live, but other reviews reflected on the inability to effectively capture the full scope of their sound on vinyl, which I imagine would reveal a whole new level to the massive Slug experience. Still, with proper volume there’s a lot to dig from this souped-up noise rock classic. If you can’t find this somewhat hard-to-find 7″, it’s included on the CD version of their Swingers 10″ release, which I’ve seen in $1 bins from coast to coast.


Slug – “Sore Thumb”
Slug – “Painbaby”
Slug – “Freak of Nature”
Slug – “Aversion”

Slug (Part 2)

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Hambone City / King of Ghosts 7″
Sympathy for the Record Industry, 1993

“Streetsweeper” from split 7″ with Unsane
PCP Recordings, 1992

“Borax” from Jabberjaw Compilation 7″ No. 1
Mammoth Records, 1994

Here’s some Slug odds and ends, prompted for you dear reader, by a comment left by this noise-addicted scion of good taste. See how that works? Leave a little feedback and who knows, I might just throw some more pounding tunes your way. Anyhow, here’s a few more tracks from the almighty Slug, each in the focused, rocking style that all of their singles highlight — a Slug singles collection, if you will. If you dig what you hear here, I encourage you to find one of their LPs because Slug, starting from their first 10″ release Swingers, always had a knack for weirdness and the unexpected which you don’t necessarily find with these singles tracks. Without time constraints, Slug playfully tweaks noise rock formulas with wild experimentation and spacious expanses of dub soundscapes, especially on their later releases. They were never content to simply pump out noisy slabs low end pummeling, making them one of the more interesting and art-damaged groups in this genre. Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Slug singles saga for the first 7″ release on Magnatone records…


Slug – “Hambone City”
Slug – “King of Ghosts”

Slug – “Streetsweeper” (Unsane)
from split 7″ with Unsane

Slug – “Borax”
from Jabberjaw Compilation 7″ No. 1


Monday, September 28th, 2009

Breathe The Thing Out 7″
Sympathy for the Record Industry, 1992

Slug was a band that was always pushing the envelope, and therefore was always a couple steps ahead of a huge fanbase. They did manage to get some critical acclaim and a string of records released over their 6-year existence, but those releases, populating used record store bins nationwide, seem to be the only trace remaining of one of the more interesting noise rock groups of the last decade. And to categorize them as noise rock isn’t entirely accurate, since their core sound mutated in so many different directions, so much so that their later records contained long stretches of soothing dub, eerie scratchy tape loops and other sonic experiments far removed from the typical noise rock arsenal. Part of their novelty was the use of 2 bass guitars and loads of unconventional (read: experiemental) instrumentation, including tape loops and multiple drummers. All these elements cook up a sonic stew that sounds something like Crash Worship crashing an Unsane show, or more accurately, like a brutal extension of an earlier forward-thinking L.A. troupe, Savage Republic. One of my favorite Slug releases is this 3-song 45, which captures their early straightforward rock sound, with a loud, dense stomper “Breathe The Thing Out” and the rumbling krautrock trance of “Go Tell” and “Break Neck”.


Slug – “Breathe The Thing Out”
Slug – “Go Tell”
Slug – “Break Neck”

Year Future

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Year Future 12″ EP
Gold Standard Laboratories, 2003

The sadly defunct GSL label had an amazing streak in the early 2000s, cranking out landmark releases with a diverse roster of the era’s best bands including The Locust, Mars Volta, !!!, Chromatics, GoGoGo Airheart, I Am Spoonbender, Sunshine, The Vanishing, and many more — many of which will likely be featured here sometime in future. The GSL aesthetic was ever-shifting and adventurous, from lush prog rock to icy neo-goth to hip-hip and weirdo noise, all somehow capturing the anarchic spirit of punk before punk became a commodified cultural trinket to be consumed at your local Hot Topic. Label head Sonny Kay’s good taste always warranted consideration, so after a string of notable bands featuring him as a member, like Angel Hair and my faves, The VSS (who’s essential Nervous Circuits album recently got a deluxe re-issue treatment on the Hydra Head label), I was primed to hear his latest band, Year Future. Their debut is probably the best representation of the band’s potential, along with their Hidden Hand 7″ released about a year later. And as much as I love these two releases, their debut album, First World Fever was a tedious mess I can barely listen to, a huge disappointment full of clumsy lyrics mixed front and center, dully spouted for 40-some minutes in Sonny’s whiny monotone shout. His “singing” style can be grating on the earlier releases as well, but there they were at least buried in the mix and work as an oppressive force without drowning out the band’s interesting and dense swirl of echoey guitar and synth. At their best, Year Future connected the dots between proto post-punk groups like Warsaw-era Joy Division, Public Image Limited, The Birthday Party, and Killing Joke, to the jaded Gravity Records-era post-hardcore bands like The VSS, Clikitat Ikatowi, Antioch Arrow, and Heroin. Check out some of Year Future’s finest recorded moments from a pair of tracks from their 4-song debut EP below…


Year Future – “All Of Your Eggs”
Year Future – “Some Bodies”


Year Future bio on GSL
Buy Year Future releases


Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Who’s Sorry Now? LP
Flipside Records, 1995

Back in 1995 when about 85% of the music released on punk labels was Buzzcocks or Green Day-inspired pop-punk, Flipside magazine’s record label released a second helping of Babyland’s electrojunk punk, which promptly ended up in cutout bins by the dozens. It’s a damn shame too, because what Babyland brought to the turntable was co-opted in the later ’90s by a punk scene that shifted away from the safe confines of pop-punk to the wild possibilities of Screamers and Suicide-inspired synthpunk of the later nineties in bands like Subtonix, The Vanishing, Replikants, ADULT, Black Ice, SixteensThe Lack, and the whole Digital Hardcore scene that came to light with the popularity of Atari Teenage Riot — not to mention the overall acceptance of synth elements in punk with early 2000s groups like xbxrx, Lost Sounds, Digital Leather, Phantom Limbs, etc. I think a lot of punks were wary of Babyland’s big drumbeats almost sounded like techno, which was justifiably loathed at the time. But digging deeper, Babyland supported those huge beats with a scrappy and abrasive barrage of samples and textures, paring the experimental clang of Einstürzende Neubauten with the manic percussive fits of Crash Worship. While Babyland’s later releases smoothed the edges into more of an industrial-style punk, and their grating, but excellent debut LP You Suck Crap is heavier on the 8-bit bleeps, Who’s Sorry Now? has a full, seductive sound with a darkwave edge that has made it an unsung winner in my book.


Babyland – “Slow News Day
Babyland – “Form 95B”
Babyland – “Cancer Beat”


Babyland website