The 25th Anniversary of the Summer of LA Post-Punk is upon us. It was a quarter-century ago this month that San Pedro's best, the Minutemen, with a simple, defiant declaration — “Take That, Huskers!” — unleashed Double Nickels on the Dime, a double-album response to SST labelmate Husker Du's equally ambitious two-LP set Zen Arcade, released a few months earlier. Where Zen was thick with distorted, angsty poppy energy, Double Nickels was a 'holy fuck moment': 45 songs on four sides, each a punk haiku, a spurt of defiance from the heart and soul of D. Boon, Mike Watt and George Hurley. (No Age is reportedly going to perform Zen Arcade in its entirety this year; we're hoping that Abe Vigoda or Mika Miko will step up and respond with a bold move: covering the entirety of Double Nickels.)
What more to be said?
But looking at 1984 and LA yields a whole boatload of inspiration. It was a moment in which, in hindsight, a new LA sound was birthed, one that a current batch of downtown bands are drawing inspiration from. After the jump, ten great LA clips from 1984(ish)
1. Red Hot Chili Peppers, “True Men Don't Kill Coyotes”
The arrival of funk punk in the form of this Hollywood foursome. This is their first single, from 1984.
2. The Rain Parade
In 1984, the Rain Parade was at the forefront of the LA-centric “Paisley Undergound” movement of acid-eating psychedelic punks. Guitarist and Palisades High grad David Roback loved his distorted Richenbacher guitar, and used it to craft gorgeous, trippy songs. He went on to form Opal with Kendra Smith, which eventually morphed into Mazzy Star.
3. Tex and the Horseheads
Those who say Uncle Tupelo “invented alt-country” never listened to Tex and the Horseheads, Green on Red or Blood on the Saddle, three LA bands who tapped twang und drang to create fury. They could create something softer, too, as in this Tex and the Horseheads beauty.
4. Descendents, “I'm a Loser.”
They helped created a sound that Green Day would make billions off of.
5. Minutemen, “History Lesson, Pt. II”
We learned punk rock in Hollywood, drove up from Pedro. We'd go drink and pogo. We were fucking corndogs.”
6. Divine Horsemen, “Time Stands Still.”
Chris D. was a founding member of first-wave LA punk band the Flesheaters. After their dissolution, he went on to form Divine Horsemen (and produce a few seminal Gun Club records). This song, with Julie Christensen on backing vocals, is beautiful.
7. Black Flag, “My War.”
Get this: Black Flag released not only My War in 84, but also Slip It In. Combined, they baffled a punch of punkers reared to hate heavy metal, and a bunch of metalheads who were starting to dig on the Misfits. Black Flag, along with St. Vitus and Wurm, were the lynchpins to a revolution.
8. X, True Love, from 1984.
9. The Three O'Clock, “Sorry”
Kings of Paisley Undergound?
10. Rainy Day, “I'll Keep it With Mine.”
In 1984, a group of musicians got together in Hollywood to record under the name Rainy Day. Among those performing were members of the Rain Parade, the Bangles, the Three O'Clock. On their only album, self-titled, they cover Neil Young, Big Star, Bob Dylan, the Velvet Underground, Jimi Hendrix and others.. If you ever see it at Amoeba, grab it pronto.