Saturday, May 10, 2008

Plastic Idols-SINGLES, DEMOS & LIVE; HOUSTON PUNK '78-'80 (Hotbox)

Not much happenin' on the moozik front here at BLOG TO COMM central this week, so 'stead of re-re-reviewing some old chestnut in the fire you've known and loved for ages or (perish the thought!) neglecting to write about anything a'tall I decided to reach deep into the pile of PREVIOUSLY PURCHASED SPUTUM BEING SAVED FOR A RAINY DAY and latch onto this relatively-new item that's been wallowing amongst the flotsam for a longer time than I can imagine. And unlike many of you reg'lar readers (who surely know when to reach for the Feen-a-mint!) I gotta admit that over the years I really have lost a lotta my taste for the kinda punk proper that these Texans were spewing forth back during the late-seventies when such things seemed to matter even more than they do now...oh yeah, I can listen to and enjoy a straight-ahead punk rock disque the same way people go to the zoo to see primates flinging their excrement at each other, but when it comes to my hardcore listening desires these days it seems as if I'm lending ear to all of the things that either "made" punk (the "proto" variety of the form) or encircled punk (im)proper not unlike flies 'round some fresh turds not really punk per se but since in fact this stuff inhabited the same corner of the record bin so-to-speak it might as well have been. Dunno exactly where the Plastic Idols fit in...they had that same sorta sick Texas punk sense that began with the Thirteenth Floor Elevators true, and yeah there's a lot in their overall makeup that sure points the way towards early-eighties twee-dom (as doth beget many an angry punk soon to turn mellowed punque), but there's still a lot more to these guys' overall chemical makeup that made 'em perhaps the utmost in loco avant punkdom on the same level with (shudder!) early Pere Ubu or maybe even the Electric Eels, talkin' two Northern examples of worth.

Of course the long-elusive single and compilation tracks are here so you no longer have to worry about scratching your now-rare vinyl copies any more, and as we've all known these numbers are boffo examples of what mid-Ameriga could do in the garage long before snooty New York VILLAGE VOICE critics started conjuring up flitsy terms like "amerindie" in order to cue their worthless readers in. And, like the creem of this loco self-produced rockism you can hear a whole lotta smart influences in Plastic Idols from their own Texas past (many of those late-seventies Lone Star groups could have easily passed for late-sixties pre-ZZ Top/blues influx psychedelic remnants) to the just-previous generation of mid-USA/World "local rock" (Debris comes to mind, perhaps thanks to the occasional use of oscillator) and naturally the late-seventies upheaval which sorta took rock & roll as a meaningful form of youth communication outta the garages and into the streets has a lot to do with these degenerates as well. And yet, Plastic Idols are no mere copycats nor do they sound just like every other independently-produced record of the time which can be a blessing. In fact, there's a nice buzz of mid-energy fervor permeating this disc that doesn't have me chucking this back into the bottom box of my leaning tower of Cee-Dees where a whole load of "pertinent" and "precocious" late-seventies punk reissues reside at this very moment.

Good sound (even on the demo and live tracks!) and of course the info-packed booklet will learn ya a lot more than this post ever could (as usual). And even if you weren't one of those early-eighties import bin boppers who was scarfing up all of the same Wire, Pop Group, Slits and other "Rough Trade" sounds that I'm sure the Idols did you'll probably get more out of this than you would have even dreamed a good five years ago. I know I probably wouldn't've even given this one a second look has it whizzed by a half-decade back, but it's here and I've got it, and I'm sure enough glad that I didn't waste the money on...I dunno, whatever Jay Hinman's been hyping these past few years and Lord knows we have better ways to spend our hard-earned, right?!

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