Listen to the full album on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSW9f6_vnBA
Album: Art from Sin
Artist: Claude Coma and the I.V.s
Label: Goverment Records (sic)
What’s so great about it: I’m starting Vinyl of the Week off with a bang by sharing this album with you guys. It’s one of the most unique and hard-to-find records I’ve come across in the collection so far. Claude Coma and the I.V.s was a local punk band. So local, in fact, that their now-defunct mailing address is on Adams Avenue, one mile from SDSU. They were regulars on the San Diego music scene, playing all the hip venues like the Ché and the Skeleton Club and with countless influential punk bands, ranging from locals to the Dead Kennedys. They released two LPs and one 7” from 1982-1984, both on Goverment Records, a San Diego label. KCR owns both LPs, including two copies of Art from Sin (their first album), both on super-cool clear orange vinyl, and one of which appears to be a test pressing. KCR’s copy of their second and last album, Manslaughter, is a test pressing and is signed by Claude himself and dedicated to KCR! It reads, “KCR – Thanks for giving us a fair shake. Always, Claude.” The only other place their music appears is a Goverment Records compilation album titled Who’s Listening, which KCR owns two copies of.
What’s it sound like: Humorous and political. Complaints range from the price of gas ($2 per gallon), to the declining state of San Diego’s mass transit, to the increasing numbers of homeless people, to war in the Middle East and Vietnam, to the objectification of women. Punk that shifts from rock n’ roll to ska to pop-rock. Flippant and angry and full of insults aimed at authority, yet surprisingly listenable, up-tempo, and fun to sing and dance to.
Stand-out tracks: “Minimum Wage” – “I ain’t gonna work for no minimum wage, three buck an hour, urban slave!” Yes, I checked, and minimum wage was in fact just over $3 per hour when this song was written.
“Let’s Go To Hell” – I dare you to find another song that groups Nancy Reagan with Jack the Ripper and Charles Manson, while also threatening to “puke on the White House floor.”
“Berserk on the Bus” – I’d like a sequel called “Ticked on the Trolley.”
“Child Molester” and “Babies in Convent Walls” – Play these for your grandparents! They’ll love them!
Listen to the full album on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jfhj-ewRB2w
Album: Beach Blvd.
Label: Posh Boy
What’s so great about it: This is a fantastic compilation album. It was one of the earliest compilations of punk music, which means it’s from that magic moment in every genre of emerging music’s life where people lucky enough to be listening in the right place at the right time get to hear something truly new. The artists featured are the Simpletones, Rik L Rik, and The Crowd, all of whom were from Orange County or Los Angeles (Rik L Rik went to school with my mom!). It’s been re-released a few times, but KCR has the first pressing. A note on the album from 1986 says that it was a staple at KCR “until some beneath-the-phrase-human-being-type-person thieved it,” but that a kind listener donated their copy to the station. Thanks, kind listener!
What’s it sound like: All good, solid early punk. The Simpletones sing, well, simple songs with classic teenage themes about dates and dances, poking fun at suburban culture. The Crowd have a Ramones sound, except now Suzy is a surf rocker instead of a headbanger. Rik L Rik (of F-Word and Negative Trend) has the most edge of the bunch and the beginnings of hardcore punk sound to complement more serious subject matter.
Stand-out tracks: “I Have a Date” (Simpletones) – Perfectly described on the back cover of the album as “Jonathan Richman on a San Gabriel Valley level.”
“Tiger Beat Twist” (Simpletones) – “I go to discotheques, I like the Beegees, let’s do the Tiger Beat, ‘till we go crazy!”
“Meathouse” (Rik L Rik) – Creepy, cryptic, and cool song.
“Modern Machine” (The Crowd) – Loud and fast and fun!