RADIO FREE EUROPE -Alien Day 2:54 (MiG 001) Austin, TX '79 first: From Austin, TX, Radio Free Europe's Roswellian "Alien Day" leads off their '79 double-45 debut. They added a cassette LP, a less adventurous 45, and a UK-only LP. (They're named after the American propaganda thing, not the R.E.M. song.) Keyboard player Dan Puckett is ex-Huns (and now a veterinarian) and singer Neil Ruttenberg went on to F-System. Dallas' VVV label is most famous for its punk acts (Ejectors, Bobby Soxx, NCM, and the Live at the Hot Club comp), but its heart was always more in the experimental, artwave stuff (as were the musical leanings of its owner, who played in Von Beat).
RALPHS -Mutating Man 3:08 (VVV 011) Dallas '80: The Ralphs were one of VVV's more obscure acts, but they're fairly typical of its middle-ground punkwavers: Doug and David Townsend were ex-Superman's Girlfriend.
REAL WIGS -Wonderland 2:40 (Real Wigs MC 20751) Buffalo '86: Real Wigs weren't technically from the Midwest, either, but, like the rest of Buffalo DIY [Vores, Verge, BCMK+++], the 'Wigs had much more in common with the Ohio home-made scene than with anything going on in New York City new-wave, no wave or noise. "Wonderland" is a helluva popsong, anyway.
REALLY RED -Nico 2:39 // Teaching You the Fear LP (C.I.A. 006) Houston '80: From their brilliant first LP "Teaching You the Fear" now reissued on Empty Records USA. See also Hyped to Death #1]. Houston's Really Red you all know, and their "Nico" should be self-explanatory. Four 7"s, two albums -and almost all of it essential.
REALTORS -Not Acceptable 2:54 / Where is Bed 2:53 // Buy or Beware EP (Realty 180) Santa Cruz '79: The pure punk side of the Santa Cruz Realtors' 45 rates a spot just off the pole position on H2D #1, but for the discerning listener, the new-wavier tracks like "Where is Bed" might be stronger still. Their earlier 45 (as JJ180) is great, too. Reissues from both bands are coming on Rave Up and maybe us, too...
RED ASPHALT -Red Asphalt 1:51 // R/A EP (Egg and Anvil 001) S.F. '81: Red Asphalt's deafening 1981 theme-song reminded a lot of people what Pere Ubu should have been doing if they'd stuck around the Rust Belt, but didn't gain R/A much traction in the Bay Area. They got described as "Meat Puppets cover Genesis" and wrongly blamed for a suicide, and they insist their best material never got released. Now's your chance to find out as their 1982 Unreleased album is now available on cdbaby. Scott, Ted & Ron still get together now and then - Check scodav.com for more.
RENTALS -Gertrude Stein 2:47 (Rent) Boston
RENTALS -I've Got a Crush on You 3:04 / New York 2:56 (Rent 1) Boston/NYC '79: The Northeast The Rentals started off in Boston, but soon found NYC more congenial 1979's "Gertrude Stein" doesn't exactly feature that classic punk beat, but it's got everything else (plus a REALLY handsome rubber-stamped DIY sleeve). "New York" cops a Velvet Underground groove, but you can hear the similarities to the Nervous Eaters' "Talk to Loretta" as well. "Crush" was a huge newwave hit in Boston, at least, and got them picked up by Beggars' Banquet UK, who inexplicably decided to market them in a Rezillos-lookalike picture-sleeve. The Rentals also had a track on the first Boston Bootleg LP and did a bunch of more electrowave/experimental stuff on through the '80s as Attack Under Attack [Homework #104], World Trade, and Jeff & Jane Hudson.
REVERSIBLE CORDS -Legalize Crime 2:13 /
Plastic Money 2:50 // EP (Company Texas 001) Austin '79
REVERSIBLE CORDS -Malcontents 2:21 // LP (Co*Tex 002) Austin '80: Austin's Re*Cords most frequently did business as the Reversible Cords: it's Bert Crews & Doug McAninch (who became the Norvells) with Lin Keller [Chickadiesels], and Tom Huckabee ex-Huns. Ty Gavin of the Next also played with them... Lester Bangs called the Re*Cords "America's first acoustic punk band." Their unique sound -accordion, layers of percussion, drums and twining female vocals- deserves far more lengthy exploration. Their LP is not quite so brilliant or weird, but it's still highly worthwhile.
ROMANS -Nazarene 2:52 // You Only Live Once LP (Solid Eye A2) L.A. '83: Like the Human Hands before them, the Romans comfortably straddled both the L.A. punk and experimental scenes: members came and went from Clay Allison, Geza X, Deadbeats, Green on Red, B-People, Monitor, Dream Syndicate and LAFMS. "Nazarene"'s a snappy instrumental from their best 12". More Romans soon...
JERI ROSSI -I Left My Heart But I Don't Know Where 3:21 (Local Anesthetic) Denver '83: Jeri Rossi brought her prodigiously nihilistic worldview from Denver back to Boston in 1984 or so, where her best work with Black Cat Bone unfortunately never made it to vinyl... She started off in a death-chick combo called Your Funeral, then did this solo 45. Both appeared on the noteworthy Local Anesthetic label [Frantics, Bum Kon, White Trash/Fluid]. She went on to a career as a film-maker and author, as Jeri Cain Rossi: she's now based in New Orleans. Here's her website.
MIKE RUNNELS -Tell Her Again 2:39 (Ninth Circle) Austin '86: Another Austin scene stalwart, Mike Runnels [Mistakes, Reactors (H2D#1)], released a trio of solo 45s and a 12" or two. 1986's "Tell Her Again" is a scarcer, later -and more interesting effort.
SCIENTIFIC AMERICANS -G-Stalt 2:07 // Beyond Rational Thought EP (Tekno Tunes 020) Western Mass. '80: The Scientific Americans, from Northampton, Mass., were as remote from the Boston scene as any band from upstate New York was from the sounds of CBGB, Max's or the Mud Club. Their EP features most of their loudest and most interesting stuff. Two or more cassettes and two flexis are less accessible, but everyone who saw'em says it was an awesome show...
SCREAMING URGE -Homework 2:29 (New Age 002)
Columbus, OH '80
SCREAMING URGE -No Melody 3:01 (Raw Deal 001) 1982
Columbus, Ohio forms the southern point of Ohio's golden triangle of D.I.Y. (with Cleveland at the north, and someplace between Akron and Youngstown to the east). From these few hundred square miles emerged dozens of Homework-worthy bands whose musical roots flow directly from the splendidly guileless art-rock of Rocket From the Tombs and Pere Ubu -with barely a trace of Ramones, Sex Pistols or Elvis Costello... Screaming Urge's "Homework" (from their brilliant 7") is this series' theme-song. They were certainly the punkiest outfit in the gloriously experimental Columbus scene at the turn of the '80s, but the thoroughly un-punk artwork on their LPs and the EP still scares off the headbangers. They played the heck out of Columbus' clubs, church halls, sidewalks and a burlesque club they rented. Major label nibbles came to naught, but they left behind a cool 45 (New Age 002) and two LPs-worth of world-class DIY-punk. Drummer Dave Manic went on to Great Plains. And the 'Urge's complete recorded oeuvre is now proudly on Homework #201: Screaming Urge -Impulse Control CD. Mike and Myke are back in Columbus playing and plotting screamingurge.com.
SCREAMIN MEE-MEES -Hot Sody 3:01 // Live from the Basement EP (Dog Face 001) St. Louis '77: St. Louis' true godfathers of lo-fi, the Screamin Mee-Mees released 4 spectacularly cruddy tracks on their "Live from the Basement" EP in 1977. As of late 2001, Bruce is playing out again: see Jason Rerun's Scene of the Crime website for details...
SECRETS OF LOVELINESS - Make Me Some Love 3:04 / Screams Buried in Screeching 3:05 (Howling Gaelic 8383) NYC '83: Secrets of Loveliness came from New York City, though you'd never know it from the sleeve --made from high-1970s-style polka-dot foil wallpaper, hand-lettered with the band-name and song-titles... "Make Me Some Love" is the death-DIY rant, while "Screams" (go figure) is the catchy pop drone --whose lyrics were purportedly mathematically extracted from the second Bob Dylan LP. Leader Brian Doherty was later in Great Scouts and now helms the Warpodisc/ Warm-o-Brisk label and performs with Lhasa Cement Plant.
17 PYGMIES -Jedda by the Sea  1:39 (Resistance 1948) L.A. '84: Philip Drucker a/k/a Jackson Del Ray was a founding member of the Independent Project scene (with Them Rhythm Ants and later Savage Republic). He did two 1984 LPs with 17 Pygmies as a sort of side-project from the latter, and in fact, "Last Grave" started out as a Savage Republic song, though they never recorded it...
REBBY SHARP -Hollow Earth (Zensor 03) Richmond, VA '82 Rebby Sharp's 1982 solo 45. "Hollow Earth" came out only on the German Zensor label, who did a lot of Kleenex-scene female-vocal DIY and released a Sonic Youth EP one year later. Which makes this kind of a missing link between the Richmond artscene and the later UK/Euro DIY, except that the link sadly never really took hold on these shores. Rebby played (before and after) with Orthotonics and did an LP on Shimmy Disc with Kramer in the early '90s.
JAMES MICHAEL SHEPARD/VERTICAL SLIT -3-piece 78 2:30 // 1978 Art Data Sampler EP (Musicol/VSP 102879) Columbus, OH '77-8: The late Jim Shepard recorded across three decades, both solo and with Columbus, Ohio's Vertical Slit, V3, Ego Summit, etc. His first 7" was this 1978 Art Data Sampler -it's hardly his most adventurous stuff, but "3-piece 78" is a nice bit of old-school psychedelia. Iron Press should have reissue news soon.
SILVER ABUSE -Cuban Homo Farm 3:21 (Schwa 01) Chicago '82: Silver Abuse are another band with an impressive pedigree: Jim Colao, Camilo Gonzalez and John Lundine all played in Naked Raygun either before or after, and Santiago [Big Black] was a founding member There's also four cuts on the Busted at Oz comp LP.
SMALL CHANGE - Highway at Dawn 4:06 (Saxophone 0002) Baltimore '78: Small Change (formerly the Violent Tomatoes) all had jobs at a nursery in Beltsville, MD where they recorded two fine, low-budget hippie-rock shuffles in '78. Most later played with Bill Fortney (also on the Saxophone label). Despite their label-name, they confine their sax-work here to the final 30 seconds of the A-side.
SNEAKERS -Ruby 2:43 (Carnivorous 1) N.C.
SNEAKERS -Be My Ambulance 2:30 // In The Red EP (Car 3) '76: Apart from the whole Ohio thing, you could make a pretty decent case for Sneakers as the first new wave band. It's Chris Stamey, Will Rigby and Mitch Easter, with Don Dixon producing, but they're definitely trying a LOT of things that no one else had done before. The fake-Brit accents and deliberately obscure lyrics sound a bit goofy today, but Sneakers' gnarling and jangling are as effective and edgy as any of this N.C./ N.Y.C. crowd's later efforts... Watch chrisstamey.com to see if a Sneakers CD is coming back into print...
SOCIAL CLIMBERS -Hello Texas 2:06 // triple EP (Gulcher) Indiana/NYC '81: Social Climbers were Mark Bingham's Gotham band after he and Gulcher left Bloomington, Indiana -where he'd done the Screaming Gypsy Bandits, tons of sessions, and produced MX-80. He played in Glen Branca's band around this same time, and Jean Seton Shaw went on to Glorious Strangers. Mark's now in New Orleans at Piety Street Studios, and Dog Gone Records has launched a 10-CD Bingham series (which should include a full CDD or two of Social Climbers material).
SPACE NEGROS -1984 2:00// Maximum Contrast EP (Sounds Interesting 001) Boston '79: The Space Negros are a 20-year+ catch-all for whatever jingle-writer, '60s prep-rock/psych collector, scene producer, and Arf Arf label honcho Erik Lindgren feels like putting out with himself on vocals. "1984" comes from the SNs' 1979 debut, which featured also Clint Conley and Roger Miller [Sproton Layer, Birdsongs, Concussion Ensemble] pre-Mission of Burma. Armand Schaubroeck wraps up this edition of Homework with "Streetwalking Woman," a six-minute rock-operatic tale of teen anguish, alcohol, and inexperience with the differently-sexed. From Rochester, New York, circa 1972.
SPANISH DOGS -1990 2:18 // Don't Sweat the Petty Things EP (Rasta Dog 002) Fort Lauderdale, FL '82: Ft. Lauderdale's Spanish Dogs engineered a cute double spoonerism and visual pun on their second? EP, "Don't Sweat the Petty Things", with the graphics and band-pose of the first Pretty Things record... It was 1982, and the Eat had only recently disappeared from view, though the punk, metal and disco crowds were still sharing the same clubs The Spanish Dogs were unregenerate hippies, and though they were certainly aware that punk was happening, they waste half this EP noodling away with a ska/reggae backbeat. "1990" is something else altogether... Spanish Dogs bio and more from bassist Michael Chatham, online...
SPECIAL AFFECTS -I Know Ah Girl 4:07 (Special Affects) Chicago '79: Chicago's Special Affect (formerly the Untouchables) was an ur-supergroup: several of them became the earliest version of Ministry, though Al Jourgenson didn't join for keeps until their 1980 LP. Meanwhile, Franke Nardiello went on to be Drowning Pool's vocalist, and now leads My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult (as Groovie Mann), and Harry Rushakoff drummed for Concrete Blonde (and Lenny Kravitz). 1979's "I Know uh Girl" already features the beat that would fill a thousand 'Eighties dance-floors, but it's still a mighty fine grind ...
SST -Empty 1:58 (Tidal Wave 201) San Francisco '77: SST are chiefly famous as Ted Falconi's primary pre-Flipper gig, and they came at the punk-scene with a distinctly anarchic/performance art approach, but Residents scenester and artist Irene Dogmatic & co. churn out a first-rate punkwaver in "Empty." (The band-name predated the label, btw.) SST photos and lots of Irene's paintings are online at her website.
STANDING WAVES -No Judy 2:06 (Classified
1981) Austin '79
STANDING WAVES -Integrating Circuits 2:08 (Classified) '80: Down in Texas, Austin's Standing Waves were major scene stars from 1979 to maybe 1981, though much of their material drifted toward the bubblewave end of things. "No Judy" was their loudest, and "Circuits" their most adventurous. Various members played with the Uh-Uhs, the Fad & Mike Alvarez....
STORY OF FAILURE -The Long Ride 3:14 (Swill Radio) Johnstown, PA '83: 1983's Story of Failure hailed from Johnstown, Pennsylvania (of flood fame). They were one of the surprisingly few bands who understood the incredible pop-sensibilities of the early Fall. (As diligently as Mark E. Smith tried NOT to write pop tunes, he knew this, too) Both sides of the S.O.F. 45 are essential. Story of Failure's Scott Foust still runs Swill Radio as a label/mailorder/archive for music a good bit weirder/more seriously electronic than most of what's here on Homework.
STRIPSEARCH -Jesus Over New York 3:06 (Vinyl
Repellant) NYC/Boston '81
STRIPSEARCH / EMILY XYZ -Hey Kid 2:12 (Vinyl Repellant) '82: New York City's Stripsearch had two 45s: they're essentially performance artist/poet Emily XYZ with Vincent Fogerty and a pick-up rhythm section. On "Jesus," it's GG Allin on drums plus the Scumfucs' Al Chapple leaning into one of the finest GaryGlitter-beat grooves ever committed to vinyl. "Kid," meanwhile, sounds uncannily like the Turbines. Emily reappeared on Kill Rock Stars in '94 and she was featured in PBS-TV's "United States of Poetry" in '96. Her 1999 album "Electric Magistrate" is available for download on EMusic.
STROKE BAND -Fiction/Non-Fiction 2:41/ Son of Sam 2:24 // Green & Yellow LP (Abacus 78-095) Valdosta, GA '78: The Stroke Band's LP is one of the more remarkable 1970s LPs of any genre (they also had a 45). From Valdosta, Georgia, ten very short miles from the heart of the Florida Panhandle... Songs from the pen of later jangle-rocker Bruce Joyner (Unknowns, Plantations, solo: visit netbeat.com) sprawl from shit-kickin' garage-psychedelia [H2D#?] to the edgy no-wave/new-wave of "Son of Sam." But it was also Don Fleming's first band [Velvet Monkeys, Sonic Youth, Shimmy-everything], and "Fiction" is one of Don's finest... Check out Don's Instant Mayhem site..
STUDENT TEACHERS -Channel 13 2:09 (Ork NYC 5) NYC '79: Student Teachers released two 45s and appeared on Marty Thau's 2x5 comp LP (along with the Fleshtones and Brian Setzer's Bloodless Pharaohs). "Channel 13" and its flip are their best tracks, especially if you have a soft spot for early Matt Johnson.
STYRENES -Inside of Here 2:10 // Girl Crazy LP (Mustard 4401) Cleveland '79-82: The Styrenes (ex-Electric Eels and Mirrors) were one of the few U.S. bands that had obviously listened to what's now called "freakbeat" -British pop-psychedelia from '67-69. They did 4 excellent 45s and many side-projects. The LP isn't their best stuff, but it's mighty rare, and "Inside" is pretty cool. Buy all their reissues on Scat.
TANKS -March of the Slugs 4:39 (Capital Record$) S.F. '81: The Tanks released one amazing 45 of dirge-punk trudges that careened from Flipper to the best parts of early Romeo Void. But "Bongo Congo" was a rather off-putting title --and people avoided it in droves, even after it became a 50¢-bin staple. Vox/gtrist Susan Miller later played with Flipper's Bruce Lose, and one other may be pre-Pop-o-Pies.
TEENAGE BOAT PEOPLE -Dirty or Sweet 2:25 (Barney Fife) Minneapolis '80?: Teenage Boatpeople were a short-lived band from Minneapolis fronted by Jeff Johnson, who recruited free jazz titan Milo Fine with the promise he could improvise whatever he wanted. The 'Boatpeople's "Dirty and Sweet" seems to be paying low-budget homage to the early days of T. Rex, though Milo says P/i/L is closer: he later appeared in Borbetomagus, but this was Milo's only "new wave" venture...
TENANTS -Submind 2:49 (Rent's Due 001) S.F. '81: The Tenants had previously mixed with folks from Negative Trend, the Avengers and --according to rumor-- the Residents (singer Mark O'Brien has yet to be cleared of this charge). Chris Burns was in the Weeds, and Dave Kockinis now plays with Grace Alley.
MARC THOR -Trak 4:03 (Indy TRAK1) Boston '79: William Burroughs 'lyrics': Marc Thor's second single, "Trak," is also from 1979. It's a typical Boston/Rat-scene gtrrock chug, but the lyrics are a fictional cigarette ad penned by none other than William Burroughs. #1's on Teenline #102 -a flexi- came with a very cool book of posters.
THROWING MUSES -Dirt Is On The Floor 2:29 // EP (Spewing Mouses) Newport, RI '84 debut: As much as H2D hopes you all know and love the Throwing Muses' successes on 4AD, we figure you should also hear something from their astonishing debut EP. Four high-school kids from Newport, Rhode Island, more or less conjuring their sound out of thin air. (Hardly anyone actually heard this at the time ( '84) because it came in an 8" oversized cover and you could barely tell who or what they were even before the sleeve got all tattered and mangled.) "Dirt" was the only song written by Elaine Adamedes, who left the band soon after. But then the 'Muses got into Yoko Ono and a pile of classic '60s country records which somewhat derailed the lead songs on their indie cassette. Fans of their EP (and later work) should be immensely grateful to 4AD and the Fort Apache crowd for setting them back on the right track...[www.throwingmusic.com]
TIDAL WAVES -Sunrise 1:23 (What? 05) Los Angeles '79: Chris Ashford's Tidal Waves had just one 45 on his legendary What label [Germs, Controllers, Dils...]. Despite the surf-wave look, the groove they're in shows a much greater affinity to the Savage Republic / Independent Project sound. Chris also played in noteworthy punkers the Martyrs (likewise on What).
TINY DESK UNIT -Little Metal Teeth 4:02 // EP (9 1/2x16 Records) D.C. '80: D.C.'s Tiny Desk Unit never impressed the club-and-radio Arbiters of Taste, but a quick listen to Michael Barron's handsome guitar-work on "Teeth" and you'll regret every one of the hundred times you left their EP behind in the 50¢-bin... Drummer Chris Thompson was a veteran of the Afrika Korps and No Joe: keyboard-player Susan Mumford was part of Baltimore's Empire Salon project...and later All Things Considered director Bob Boilen now hosts NPR's online All Songs Considered. There's three live TDU tracks on the new 9:30 Club double CD on Adelphi.
TOM & MARTY BAND -Debussy 2:47 (Artifacts 001) Richmond, VA '81: The largest concentrations of experimental bands (on vinyl, at least) in the U.S. centered in greater Los Angeles, and along a narrow strip running from Baltimore to Richmond, Virginia: arty electronic, experimental or just "difficult" music found an unusual level of acceptance in the southern Mid-Atlantic. The Artifacts label scene in Richmond, Virginia tended to be more jazzy/classical and "serious," while the northern end of the scene (which sometimes unselfconsciously referred to itself as "Balto-weird") tended to be more clever and artwavy. The Tom & Marty Band was a studio-only gig by two central figures in the Richmond scene: Tom Compagnoli and Marty McCavitt. They produced a ton of stuff on Artifact, and Marty played in Idio Savant, Trans-Idio, Glad Corp and House of Freaks, as well as on much of LaDonna Smith's more high-brow stuff. Marty said, "We heard Chrome and Throbbing Gristle and thought they were pop bands..." Every sound on "Debussy" is made with massively distorted electronics. T & M played for the first time since 1984 at the 20th anniversary of Plan 9 records --a legendary record-shop in Richmond in July 2001. A CD of the gig is available from them directly as well as a short video clip (online). And here's the Tom & Marty website.
TOMMY DOG -Formal Friends 2:06 // Adam LP (Sod Records) NYC '86-7: New York City's Tommy Dog tagged along after Lester Bangs as a 10- and 11-year old, and launched his DIY-punk career in the early 80s: four solo 45s (one featuring Wildfang [q.v.]) a buncha cassettes and this '87 LP all before he turned 20. Tommy says he also did 4 singles (anyone seen'em?) and an edition-of-100 LP [Homework #105] with the Brain People - The SydBarrett/RoyHarper sound of "Formal Friends" is atypical... Tons of newer stuff is available online at tommydog.com.
TRUE BELIEVERS - Accept It! 2:20 / Death By Freezing 1:15 (New Age 001) Columbus, OH '80: The True Believers. "Accept It!" was their intended "hit," but "Death by Freezing" stole the spotlight -a deliriously creepy meditation on the consequences of getting past second base in the back of a commercial meat-freezer. Mike Rep's on guitar and keyboards while ex-Quota Tommy Jay sings lead: kid brother Randy sings on "Death." Mike and Tommy have continued to collaborate -notably in Ego Summit, with Ron House and the late Jim Shepard. A more recent pairing was on the debut 45 of Creeper Ohio: Mike & Jeff Robertson's mind-blowingly brilliant DIY band (No Age/Old Age c/o 1992 N. High St., Cols, 43201).
TWINKEYZ -Little Joey 2:36 (Twirp 1) Sacramento '77 firs: The Twinkeyz were Sacramento's kings of new wave. Three very indie 45s got released in several different forms on the Grok and Twirp labels. "Little Joey" was their first (and most conventional) track, which is probably why it's the only 45 cut left off of their classic 1979 LP on the Dutch Plurex label [Tits, Filth, Minny Pops+++]. There's a Twinkeyz CD on Anopheles that's sadly out of print, but the best of their material is now on the "Cartoonland" LP (Anopheles 007).
TWO by FOURS -Little Cities 2:38 (Bessemer
Process) Boston '79
TWO BY FOURS -Nowhere to be Found 1:40 / On the Iron Line 2:04 / Another 8 Hours of Boredom 1:34 from unreleased LP: Boston '81
JOHN HOVORKA -The Price of the Truth 2:08 (Bessemer Process 301) Boston '81
Boston's 2 x 4s definitely come from somewhere outside the conventional space-time continuum. They were not gravely serious Artists; they did not play massively/misguidedly commercial guitar-wave, nor could they quite pass for the sort of beer-fueled punk'n'rollers 1980s Boston was famous for. So while their 45 fetched modest airplay, they made little impact on the Boston scene, and broke up with their partly-great debut LP still unreleased. John Hovorka's gleeful/morbid fascination with heavy machinery and Appalachian rust-belt life fueled an EP, his solo 45, two great LPs by his mid-80s band, the Turbines. Tom Martel is the vocalist on "...Boredom." (Before all this, Hovorka played with Lou Miami & the Kozmetix.)
UNDERACHIEVERS -Dead Plants // Underfoot LP (Throbbing Lobster 11) Boston '84: The Underachievers came from the same Boston garage-rock scene, though their lo-fi John-and-Exene making-music-out-of-domestic-squabbles schtick definitely stood out. They had cuts on all 3 of the Throbbing Lobster compilations and a 1986 LP. Bob MacKenzie played with the Lyres, Mighty Ions and a ton of others. They split up a few months after the LP came out, but Bob and Cilla got married, and Noel and Carmen (now also married) moved to Vancouver...
V:- -Need 3:00 / 1926 3:03 // The V;- EP (Propeller no.5) Boston '82: Another Boston genre-buster were V;- Musically they seemed comfiest with the art-crowd, but "Need" shows them at their noisiest. Guitarist Gary Gogol had done time with the legendary Girls, and when unsung punk gawds the Stains first arrived in Boston they crashed at Susan's place (hear her tune on Homework #??). Joe Cuneo (vocals on "Need") produced some later Stains sessions, where Gary helped out. Unfortunately, V;- broke up on the eve of further recording sessions. Susan Anway (singing on "1926") went on to Magnetic Fields with Stephin Merritt (on Merge, etc.) and she's now sculpting and metalworking and helping her husband with what you might call virtual archaeology. Try "Lost Civilizations and Hidden Mysteries" online. V;- songwriter Gary Gogel is still raking in royalties on "1926" from Thalia Zedek's new version on Matador. [Thalia's ex-Uzi, Codeine, Dangerous Byrds, and was briefly a member of the Shirkers [H2D#2] though she never recorded with them...]
VELVET MONKEYS -Shadow Box 2:24 from Everything
is Right cassette LP (Monkey Business 01) D.C. '82
VELVET MONKEYS -Second Ave 3:19 from their "D.J. Tape #1" 1983
VELVET MONKEYS -All the Same 2:52 / Everything is Right 2:33 // Future LP (Fountain Of Youth 5) DC '83<
Don Fleming's Velvet Monkeys were awe-inspiring live. They played gnarly/wheezy/swirly-yet-somehow-still-raving tunes that always seemed to be missing the last note of a great hook. The remixes on their Shimmy Disc retrospective are improvements, but they suffered throughout their career from unfriendly production values and some of the most stupid/pointless artwork EVER perpetratedon every single one of their releases (an original cassette, a 45, this LP, and posthumous releases on Ecstatic Peace and Shimmy). "Shadow Box" appears to be their first recording. It's from their debut cassette and a version also appears on the Connected comp, but it presumably got left off the Shimmy Disc reissue because it's Elaine Barnes on vocals and not latter-day alt-superstar Don Fleming. "Second Avenue" comes from a later promotional-only radio cassette, though it may appear on a D.C. comp called Caught Between Time. Check out Don's Instant Mayhem site, as well as Don's earlier efforts with the Stroke Band and Citizen 23 [Homework #102 & #9].
VOODOO IDOLS -Open Window 2:54 // Temptation EP (VeeDee NR15765) Tampa '84: Voodoo Idols from Tampa cranked out two great 45s (see H2D #4), this fine Flesheaters-style EP and another less distinguished 12" between 1981 and '85. They added an '89 LP as the Barons of Love.
VORES -Forget That Guy  1:48 (Family Only BOP3 D) Buffalo '80 second 45: The Vores played classic American DIY. Grindy/psych-y guitars and who-cares-if-I-can't-sing vocals. "Forget" comes from their 1980 swan-song. (Their first single's a classic punker --on H2D #4.) More songs, further info and their "Moment of Uncertainty" CD are available at thevores.com...
WILD STARES -Never
Seen Before 2:49 (Propeller 1008) Boston '82 second 45
WILD STARES -Not Only Once 1:42 / State of Things LP (G Good Noise) Boston '85
WILD STARES -Piece of the Picture 3:27 // Skorch Turth LP (Birth 203) Boston '87
The Wild Stares were perhaps Boston's most purely D.I.Y. band. They knew they couldn't sing or play but remained completely unselfconscious about it. They recorded two EPs for the Propeller label collective and a few other tracks that turned up on Propeller Product and the crappy-sounding Propeller cassette -more may have been lost forever when the Neats' house burned. In maybe 1982 they moved to Europe where they cut the first of maybe five 12"s. Despite vastly-improved chops on a Euro EP and their two mid-80s LPs, Boston spurned them again upon their return. They broke up in 1993 after a final LP on Ace of Hearts. (Here's an excellent history and discography.) Justin and Steve now play with orchestral innovators W.A.C.O.: visit True Classical for more info.
WKGB -Non-Stop 3:24 (UK Fetish 002) Kearny, NJ '79: New Jersey gtr'n'electro duo WKGB released a fine noise/no wave groove on UK Fetish records, who'd helped launch NYC's Bush Tetras, 8-Eyed Spy and the Bongos (along with Throbbing Gristle). Dave Goessling was concurrently writing and playing played with TV Toy [regrettably left off of Homework #102]. He's now with the Secret Admirers. Both TV Toy and WKGB have webpages: look for a 'KGB reissue soon.
X-X -A 2:49 (Drome
2) Cleveland '79
X-X -No Nonsense 3:35 (Drome 8) Cleveland '80
X-blank-X have finally made it with the punk crowd: their 45s now trade for as much as those by labelmates the Pagans. X-X featured John Morton [Electric Eels], Anthon Fier [Peter Laughner, Feelies, Lounge Lizards+++], Jim Ellis and Andrew Klimek [who both did the Klimek 45]. "A", their first effort, shows maybe Sharon Tate's bound ankles on the PS, in keeping with the theme of all their artwork -gig posters as well as PS and labels- which displayed recently or notably dead people accompanied by their trademark "X"s, viz: X-[John Lennon]-X, X-[Bob Crane]-X, X-[dinosaurs]-X (That was their second PS). Their magnificent grinding and bashing on "A" and the Electric Eels' "No Nonsense" stretch 4/4 "punk" time almost beyond recognition... Visit CLEpunk.com for more...
XMAS EVE -My House 2:04 (VXE 103) El Sobrante, CA '82: Vocalist Bruce Rayburn of Yo [and El Sob] started out in Oakland's Xmas Eve. "My House" presages Yo's, uh, unique sound, although the flip goes for a more traditional[?] freakbeat pop sound [cool, but perhaps too catchy for Homework].
BLAKE XOLTON -Merry Christmas 2:44 (Martian 4444) L.A. '80: Blake Xolton does an Ur-Jesus-and-Mary-Chain take on the holiday classics. Keep a lookout for http://www.xolton.com Blake's newest CD is called "Cool on my Skin."
XXOO -How Will I Know 2:00 (Press 1002) D.C. '82: Back in maybe 1980, Half Japanese donated a song called "XXOO" to one of the rarer LAFMS compilation LPs; then in '82 Jad & David Fair, and John & Rick Dreyfuss [ex-Chumps] and did a one-off single under that same name: XXOO's "How Will I Know (if I'm really in love)?" finds Jad at his most approachably earnest...
Y PANTS -Beautiful Food 2:16 (99 Records 03) NYC '80
Y PANTS -Obvious 2:44 // Beat It Down LP (Neutral 2) NYC '82: Starting with Lydia Lunch and James Chance on one end and Glenn Branca's crowd on the other, New York's artwave scene rapidly evolved into "No Wave." Barbara, Gail and Verge of Y Pants were charter members, and worked with both Lydia and Glenn at other times. "Beautiful Food" was the third release on the seminal 99 label, while Y Pants' 1982 LP was on the similarly fertile Neutral label [Swans, Sonic Youth++]. Pick up their complete works on Periodic.
YO -Knives 2:09 / Pot of Gold 1:38 // Good
Tidings EP (Deadbeat 1763) Oakland '84
YO -I See Beyond 2:10 // Charm World LP (Deadbeat 31485) Oakland '85: Yo were a great band with a terrific singer whose voice nevertheless annoyed a great many people. And though he meant well, their publicist seemed to annoy everyone else. So Yo were, well, widely reviled, despite 3 great 12"s. They beat the sophomore slump with Charm World, their best LP and (fortunately for you) still a bargain-bin staple. Bruce and Sally are still performing in El Sob.
ZOO TYPES -Welcome to the '80s 3:53 (Beast 0491) Boston/ Worcester '79; The Zoo Types were something else altogether: three full-blown gtr-hero-prog-rock burn-outs who passed for "new wave" for a couple years on the Boston and Worcester scenes and put out one 45 on the amazing Beast label [Crazy Jack, Commandos, Hooker, Wormtown '78]. I used to live downstairs from one of them and Frank Gerace now plays guitar for goth/ambient stars Dreamchild.
ZYKLON -Wir sind 2:27  (Grim 001) Grand Rapids, MI '79-81: The industrial/electro folks still haven't discovered Zyklon, an electronic trio from Grand Rapids. Both its extreme rarity and the punk-style PS may have put'em off the scent. "Wir sind" features more vocals -and newwavy attitude- than their other, predominantly instrumental material. GRim Records of GRand Rapids MIchigan has resurrected and [re]released their even rarer 1981 cassette album HEARTLAND plus the three single tracks on CD. Audio samples at CDBaby. At least one further CD of 1979-1982 recordings should follow soon!
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