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NeareSST Relatives, Part III

24 Aug
    sst crew detail

    The above pic comes from an LA Times article I clipped as a young teen and saved, knowing even then that THERE WOULD BE CALL FOR THIS, SOMEDAY. Today’s the day. Now this pic does appear in the new Joe Carducci book, Enter Naomi, too. But only here at Pig State Recon can read the entire article! Yep it’s all tantilizing foreplay to yet another edition of NeareSST Relatives, wherein I’ll continue to dredge the used bins in search of records that belong in the SST Records catalog of MY OBSESSIVE DREAMS/YOUR WORST NIGHTMARES.

    Do catch up with the first and second parts of NR if you feel the need to get some perspective. Then grab your stereo fork and tune in . . .

    1. THE RUB – “Death of Pop” (from the Bikini Gospel LP, Happy Squid, 1987) How many garage bands can claim to be signers of “The Dukowski Petition,” Chuck’s statement of solidarity against the emerging pay-to-play paradigm sweeping across LA clubland in the late 80′s? THE RUB most definitely can, as they announce proudly on the CD reissue of this. Nuts!

    Dunno how I forgot about these San Pedro boys during my first post. They put out two good LPs in the second half of the 80′s, both which John Talley-Jones (URINALS, 100 FLOWERS, TROTSKY ICEPICK) helped mix/produce, and the second which features Dirk Vandenberg (early MINUTEMEN collaborator/photographer) on drums. THE RUB were wilder/looser than any TROTSKY ICEPICK, but still in a vein that wouldn’t exactly offend your average CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN fan. But hey: I kinda dug CVB once too, actually saw em play in ’86 at Safari Sam’s in Huntington Beach (my very first club show!), so I’m not complaining, just lettin’ you know is all. I actually prefer the second LP, Day Off From Karma (Dirk was a wise addition) – but this song, with it’s FlyingNun-esque vibe, is sort of a classic – so it’s what you get.

    2. BACULUM – “Three Deaths: A Narrative” (from the My Friends Became Junkies CD, 3 Beads of Sweat, 2002) Only got around to buying this recently, and whatayaknow but it’s breezy in a lazy Sunday afternoon kinda way – albeit one where global climate changes have brought 100 degree heat and a freak hail shower to boot. Sure most of this is drumless, but hey even I need to take a break from the BOOM-SHA-BOOM occasionally. The main guys here (Sam Goldman, Steve Anderson, Scott Ziegler) are all ex-DINGLE, who you don’t remember from their barely-heard Red Dog CD on New Alliance Records from ’94. Course, they were also all present during the dying days of SLOVENLY too (ca. their great Drive It Home, Abbernathy EP from ’91), while Steve & Scott participated in all things SLOVENLY back to their late 70′s beach cities pre-history. And this CD sounds it! This soars above DINGLE both in sweet melodic content and startling word juxapostion c/o Mr. Anderson. For all you who dug the quieter side of SLOVENLY, ala Riposte. Get it before the label goes belly-up!

    3. SÜR DRONE – “Sagitariass ‘Uh” (from the Sür Drone CD EP, 1998, Love Unlimited, Inc., 1998) I’m smiling and shaking my head right now, cause you really can’t resist doing that when you’re confronted with Raymond Pettibon’s notions of sonic righteousness. This was the second musical project he led that actually saw the light of day, the first being his incredibly beautiful and beyond-gone SUPER SESSION project that issued the Torches & Standards package on Blast First in 1990. This is in the glowing spirit of that set (go listen to some of that here), only without the bitchen art booklet. And with a bit straighter, more identifiably “rock” underpinning – though a pretty shambolic one, I’ll admit. But how disorienting are the vocalizations on this thing? And what the fuck does is all, you know, mean – cosmically speaking? I’m at a loss – a major loss like when the floor accidentally slides away, leaving you hovering Wile E Coyote-like in thin air 1000 feet above the canyon floor. Yes pseudonyms abound in the credits but I do know a bunch of dudes playing on this used to be in PAY THE MAN, who’s flyers and t-shirts used to feature Pettibon drawings in the early 90′s.

    4. GARY KAIL – “Life Is Ugly So Why Not Kill Yourself” (from the GARY KAIL/ZURICH 1916 2-LP, Creative Nihilism, Iridescence Records, 1983) Gary’s a real mystery man. For a long time I thought his only gig was lead gtrist & songwriter for Lawndale’s ANTI, who kinda bored me with their relentlessly trad HC-isms. But he also played on the goth (oh sorry – “death rock”) MOOD OF DEFIANCE LP backing Hatha, the daughter of the hippies who rented out the legendary CHURCH practice/party pad on Pier Ave. in Hermosa Beach. Plus, he ran the label New Underground Records, who released alot of SST run-off on an interesting series of comps in the early 80′s. And: he recorded this insane, double record set – half solo, half collabs under the moniker ZURICH 1916 with folks like ex-REACTIONARIES Martin Tamburovich and Carla Noelle (nee Bozulich) a good decade before she formed THE GERALDINE FIBBERS. It’s a confused record filled with odd electronic squiggles, overblown amp hums, ambient field recordings (some apparently captured on a corner of 153rd St. in Lawndale!) as well as some disturbing tape-splice bits that sound not unlike what Stephen Stapleton of NURSE WITH WOUND mighta come up with, had he been a suburban SoCal loser with no knowledge of dilitante things like Krautrock and Paris student riots. How this HC numbskull came up with something this OUT is way beyond me.

    5. A NOISE AGENCY – “Hang That Monkey” (from the Mom’s in the Kitchen LP, Gnatbreath Records, 1985) OK so this one’s a stretch. Since, to my knowledge there’s no actual connections with SST anywhere on this record. Except it’s out of Lomita, CA, a South Bay suburb just down the street from SST. It’s a town I am intimately familiar with, and I have clear memories of passing over this record for something like 104 straight weeks in the mid 80′s at Peanut Records on PCH in Lomita, until they finally dropped it in the 50 cent bin. I finally picked it up a year or so ago, and damn it if it ain’t totally hard-hitting, vaguely bluesy 80′s independent rock, but with a distinctly FIREHOSEy feel to it all.

    SO: now I’m guessing here, but these guys MUST have sent their tapes to Greg and Chuck at SST first, before deciding to self-release it. Right? Certainly worse bands did, and this ain’t at all horrible. In fact I actually LOVE this one. Just goes to show what kinda South Bay bands didn’t make the cut. A few were actually pretty damn worthy.

    6. SOLO CAREER – “The Painted Desert” (from their Season Finale CD, Box-O-Plenty Records, 2005) Floating, overtone-rich instrumental exploration that roams the freeform terrain my imaginary late-night cousins of UNIVERSAL CONGRESS OF might’ve in their formative days. The SST connection here is through San Pedro-based bassist Richard Derrick, who played in a number of D. BOON-led configurations throughout the mid-80′s (see the D. Boon & Friends CD on this same label for the goods). But drummer BOB LEE (CLAW HAMMER, CRAWLSPACE, BACKBITER, FEARLESS LEADER, etc.) is present too, and he always impressed me as being a BILL STEVENSON who was comfortable playing outside (or at least waaaaaay the hall down the hall towards the emergency exit) when the need presented itself. NELS CLINE is too BUT he’s laying back, merely 1 part of a unified whole rather than leader of the proceedings – so all you NELS-ophobes are safe. These are high-calibre sonic swathes that’ll help you safely navigate any decent-size psychotic meltdown your destiny has planned for the immediate future.

    7. RICK LAWNDALE BAND – “Tijuana ‘O’” (from Surfabilly Rock, SunSpot Records, 2002). I’m a gremmie when it comes to original (’60 – ’64) surf music, but I can vouch for the mucho great BELAIRS and they grew out of the very same SoCal ‘burbs as LAWNDALE. Lazy folks will remember LAWNDALE as some SST punk/surf hybrid – phooey, I say. On record, I count only ONCE ever did they incorporate that knucklehead HC drum beat into their thing. Everywhere else, they sound like a huge witches brew of every instrumental rock/pop classic up until the mid-80′s. So I hear THE VENTURES playing DUANE EDDY’s “Rebel Rouser” quoting QUICKSILVER’s “Gold and Silver” seguing into PINK FAIRIES’ “Raceway” using the MEAT PUPPETS’ shitty gear they used to record “Magic Toy Missing” . . . or something like that. And not many bands can claim Greg Ginn played guest lead gtr on one their records (“March of the Melted Army Men” off of Sasquatch Rock; it’s the ginchiest). No not many, my friend.

    After a decade or so in deep winter hibernation, Rick finally got round to forming a new band with Ricky Sepulveda (ex of RAYMOND PETTIBON’s SUPER SESSION) on lead gtr. A few years later this CD appeared. Alot of the new stuff has Rick’s cornball singing over the top of it – those tracks are a bit too novelty-esque for my humourless ears. But the instrumental stuff sounds mighty, and still seeks to incorporate everything your mother tried to throw out (comics, posable action figures, girlie mags) the last time you ran away from home and camped out overnight on the beach. Man I dig this track and hope they follow this approach more fully on their next rec.

    Almost forgot: here’s the conclusion of that LA Times article begun above. (The whole of THE MINUTEMEN’s Double Nickels recorded for $1500! Unbelievable.)

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