Tuesday, August 2, 2011

286 Los Angeles

Album: Los Angeles
Artist: X
Year: 1980
Genre: Punk (or not)


1. Your Phone's Off The Hook, But You're Not
2. Johnny Hit And Run Paulene
3. Soul Kitchen
4. Nausea
5. Sugarlight
6. Los Angeles
7. Sex And Dying In High Society
8. The Unheard Music
9. The World's A Mess; It's In My Kiss

X are not a real punk band. If anyone tries to tell you that they are please cite the following collection of achievements that preclude them from full-on punkdom...

  • Their original members are all still alive and are even on speaking terms and still play together.
  • The recorded a Christmas single. (Santa Clause is coming to town backed with Jingle Bells)
  • They know how to harmonize and are even confident enough to do it on record.
  • Guitarist Billy Zoom loves to solo and can really play. His lead breaks are perfect little melodic runs played with passion at breakneck speed (check out Sugarlight and Johnny Hit and Run Paulene if you don’t believe me). He also has a reputation for smiling a lot onstage. This is very, very not-punk.
  • They’re fans of The Doors and have one of their members as an occasional producer (Ray Manzerek). They’re not afraid to throw in an occasional Doors cover (Soul Kitchen) in true defiance of Punk sensibilities.
  • They’re happy to play ballads (although Los Angeles is a punk ballad so it’s not so much strings and syrup as slash and swagger- but it’s still a ballad)
  • Their lyrics have a sense of poetry about them. X may have the simplest name in punk but they've definitely got the most complicated lyrical sensibilities.
  • The band members extra curricular activities include: exhibiting mixed media collages, poetry, acting,  repairing vintage amplifiers and playing in Jazz quartets.

Finally the main reason X aren’t true punk is because I actually really like them. I wouldn’t choose to listen to them too regularly but I’ve definitely developed a healthy respect.

Influenced by: The Doors and the Sex Pistols
Influenced: Green Day and other melodic punkers.

Highlight: Sugarlight
Lowlight: Soul Kitchen

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "it certainly dates me to write of hearing this "vinyl" record for the first time back in the late 70's"

-It not only dates you it makes you a time-traveller of some kind since it wasn't recorded until 1980.

So does X mark the spot or would you rather they stayed in LA? Let me know below

1 comment:

  1. They are definitely punk, or at least they sound punk. Maybe they don't exactly follow the punk 'ethos,' but they are punk, but in a non-conventional sense (but not in that they are 'art punk' (whatever the hell that is).