Monday, May 05, 2008

The Last-L.A. EXPLOSION CD (Bomp, visit the group's official website at

Yes, it's me again! In case you were wond'rin just what I was up to these past few days (and I know you do care!), I was in ol' Virginny on the lookout for that ever-elusive Titfield Thunderbolt "In The Can"/"Born on the Wrong Planet" single that came out on the Diskord label way back in '71! No luck latching onto that (and besides, I didn't make it down Roanoke way where the band was anchored and I'm sure millions of copies of this single are rotting away in Goodwill bins next to scratchy Mitch Miller EPs) but I did manage to get hold of a SUPERCAR coloring book that's in almost immaculate condition (shiny cover 'n all!) 'cept for one page that was colored in, and rather professionally at that! But you don't wanna hear 'bout my trek to Virginia nor my scoring of this particularly rare coloring book, and I don't want to tell you about my travels/travails either! Naw, what I want to do is talk to you about today is the Last!

Dunno about you, but I sure remember these out-of-time late-seventies Los Angeles folkpunkers being hyped about a whole lot, and from many a varying source way back when such a thing as a cohesive underground rock press and inquiring rock critics did exist. Heck, THE NEW YORK ROCKER even ran a nice piece on 'em that, if I remember correctly, was written by Phast Phreddie associate/Gun Clubber Don Snowdon and that's certainly was a coup in this group's private banana republic if you ask me! However, despite the underground buzz of the day, what I heard of these highly-touted "retro-rockers" at the time really didn't impress me as much as I'm sure you readers would have assumed. Their track on Bomp's WAVES collection of late-seventies self-released weirdities didn't exactly have me doing flip flops (and okay, I know that "We're In Control" wasn't exactly a good "starting point" to begin my familiarity with this band) plus their 12-inch EP that was also on Bomp and a cover of "Louie Louie" on a Rhino collection weren't winning me over either, perhaps sounding a little too modern on the retro side if you get my drift! Frankly, it wasn't like I was made outta money and could scam every shard of recorded bile this and many other groups out there in Notice Me! Land were cranking out with a strange frequency back in those punk active times, but man-oh-man why did I have to pass on L.A. EXPLOSION? True, I know that if I had heard the thing back when it was freshly hatched it wouldn't have been one of those planet-realignment-esque experiences akin to hearing the first two Velvets or PEBBLES, but it sure would have been a whole lot more fun'n spinning random new wave promo discs scammed in the basement of the Cle Hts. RECORD REVOLUTION in the hopes of finding some new source of atonal sound scrambledge, only to come up with yet another one for the compost heap!

Yeah, L.A. EXPLOSION (this 2003 reissue freshly repressed and once again thrust onto an unsuspecting public) lives up to all that hype and hyperbole that Greg Shaw spurted upon them in the pages of BOMP!, even to the point where this does sound like an actual artyfact from the folk-rock mad Los Angeles of 1965 if recorded under late-seventies standard temperature and pressure. (Last leader Joe Nolte's info-packed booklet notes mention that L.A. EXPLOSION was laid down in the same studio and at the same time that Frank Zappa's JOE'S GARAGE and Fleetwood Mac's TUSK were, so you kinda get the idea of just how far the city had sunk since the heyday of the [not-so detailed] twang.) But despite the time and place this entire album, even the token nod to late-seventies punkdom "I Don't Wanna Be In Love", sounds like it was being birthed from the same hole of West Coast genius that gave us the Turtles, Seeds, Leaves, Bees and Lollipop Shoppe and maybe that's what the whole late-seventies punk rock scene was really clamoring for 'stead of the Go Gos and Knack popsterisms that were being pushed as the haute new wave cusine!

I haven't heard this many Seeds (and even Doors) rips since I began combing through the PEBBLES and BOULDERS compilations back when they were hitting the mailorder catalogs at inflated prices! Even the cover of "Be-Bop-A-Lula" sounds like something the Stranglers would have cooked up had they used Sky 'stead of Jim as their template! And the best thing about it all is that these straight from the mid-sixties (with a few detours) rockers are done with the same beauty and taste of the originals that seemed so lacking in many of the mid-eighties "paisley underground" groups who were trying to walk walks and talk talks (!) yet seemed to have a certain something missing in their DNA. Perhaps it was the O-mind, but we're not talkin' Detroit, we're talkin' Los Angeles!

'n not only do you get the punk-packed album (fifteen-count-'em-tracks) in its entirety, but Bomp! felt it worthwhile to also stick on the three non-LP singles (primitive yet cool!!!) as well as that strange track from WAVES that creeped me out back then. And you know what, it still sounds goony enough, but as a Cee-Dee closer it sure seems in place, kinda like those token avant garde numbers that seemed to get tossed into many a rock album back in the late-sixties!

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