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Album by Album: X

Old 09-27-10, 07:37 PM
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Album by Album: X

From Allmusic.com:

By the late '70s, punk rock and hardcore were infiltrating the Los Angeles music scene. Such bands as Black Flag, the Germs, and, especially, X were the leaders of the pack, prompting an avalanche of copycat bands and eventually signing record contracts themselves. X's debut, Los Angeles, is considered by many to be one of punk's all-time finest recordings, and with good reason. Most punk bands used their musical inability to create their own style, but X actually consisted of some truly gifted musicians, including rockabilly guitarist Billy Zoom, bassist John Doe, and frontwoman Exene Cervenka, who, with Doe, penned poetic lyrics and perfected sweet yet biting vocal harmonies.

Los Angeles is prime X, offering such all-time classics as the venomous "Your Phone's Off the Hook, but You're Not," a tale of date rape called "Johnny Hit and Run Paulene," and two of their best anthems (and enduring concert favorites), "Nausea" and the title track. While they were tagged as a punk rock act from the get-go (many felt that this eventually proved a hindrance), X are not easily categorized. Although they utilize elements of punk's frenzy and electricity, they also add country, ballads, and rockabilly to the mix.



As it was with the Clash, I was just a couple years too young to have discovered them when they were in their prime and really hitting their stride. I had to backtrack to get into them, but I now consider them up there with the greatest American bands ever. To me, they added a folky Americana warmth to punk like no other band really did. Los Angeles is probably not my favorite X album, but it's certainly awesome. Great tunes, a strong artistic vision, solid musicanship and a little bit o' Ray Manzarek to connect to rock history. A fantastic debut, IMO.
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Old 09-27-10, 09:44 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Not a bad track on the album, although Soul Kitchen is easily my least favorite.

Nausea is probably my favorite track on Los Angeles.

The video of the song The Unheard Music from the film "The Unheard Music" is one of my favorite videos.
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Old 09-28-10, 12:59 AM
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Re: Album by Album: X

I went to high school with Exene's son. Awesome guy.

As for X, I consider them to be one of the seminal punk bands. Los Angeles is a classic album from beginning to end. The band is just vicious, but can also slow things down for tracks like "Nausea." The title track is fucking brilliant. Ray Manzarek's production is perfect for the sound of the band. Everything about this album works, and would only be topped by the band once.

Oh, and the bonus tracks on the Rhino reissue are great as well, especially the demos of "Cyrano De Berger's Back" and "Adult Books."

Last edited by Supermallet; 09-28-10 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 09-28-10, 02:31 AM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Who?
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Old 09-28-10, 02:36 AM
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Re: Album by Album: X

No, X.
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Old 09-28-10, 06:40 AM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Originally Posted by Tarantino View Post
Who?
Now I have a frown.

Honestly, I have that twofer of their first two albums so I really don't differentiate the two. Had I heard them individually I'm sure I'd feel different. I agree with your take Ky-Fi.

Hmmm, come to think of it, I do like the songs on the 2nd a little more. I'll comment when you get there.
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Old 09-28-10, 08:08 AM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
I went to high school with Exene's son. Awesome guy.
Is Viggo Mortensen his father?
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Old 09-28-10, 12:29 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Yep.
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Old 09-28-10, 12:40 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

That's nice that a guy with celebrity parents like that didn't end up as a messed up jerk.

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
Ray Manzarek's production is perfect for the sound of the band.
I tend to agree with you, but reading the liner notes for one of their cds (can't remember which one), it seems the band didn't exactly feel that way, which led to some changes later on (and not for the better, IMO)...
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Old 09-28-10, 12:55 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Clearly they felt good enough to record four albums with him, and those are easily their best four.
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Old 09-28-10, 02:39 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

I was in my late teens. It was the late 70s. Dinosaur bands were no longer cool. I hated disco.
I lived in LA. What else could I do?

X and other LA bands of the era changed everything for me. I still have my original LP of Los Angeles and I still listen to it from time to time.

If anybody wants to know more about those times, seek out a movie called "The Decline of Civilization". Sadly, it was never released on DVD, but it did capture a snap shot of the era.
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Old 09-28-10, 02:50 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Originally Posted by Damfino View Post
I was in my late teens. It was the late 70s. Dinosaur bands were no longer cool. I hated disco.
I lived in LA. What else could I do?
I picture the entire scene being like the Battle of the Bands at the end of Cheech & Chong's "Up In Smoke".

I am not that familiar with X -- I remember loving the "Hungry Wolf" video though, as well as "Los Angeles" on the radio -- but this thread is inspiring me to drop by the Used CD store after work and seeking out the album to give it a listen.
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Old 09-28-10, 03:01 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy View Post
I picture the entire scene being like the Battle of the Bands at the end of Cheech & Chong's "Up In Smoke".
Sometimes it was more battle than band. I actually attended two concerts that were halted by the police. One of them was because rival punks started throwing beer bottles at each other. (Fortunately not at the stage).
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Old 09-28-10, 03:27 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy View Post
I am not that familiar with X -- I remember loving the "Hungry Wolf" video though, as well as "Los Angeles" on the radio -- but this thread is inspiring me to drop by the Used CD store after work and seeking out the album to give it a listen.
You're in for a treat. X may be the best original era American punk band. I know everyone's got a raging hard on for The Ramones, but I'll take X any day.
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Old 09-28-10, 03:40 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

I used to listen to stuff like X, Black Flag, etc. a little and sort of grew out of it. Now I'd take the cramps, DMZ, Real Kids, etc over any of it. Those would be my top "first wave" American punk bands.
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Old 09-28-10, 04:01 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

X are classics, I just pulled out the first four albums a few weeks ago and they blew my mind all over again. My favorites are Los Angeles and More Fun In The New World.
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Old 09-28-10, 07:25 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Following 1980's Los Angeles came their 1981 release Wild Gift.

from Allmusic:

For X's second release, 1981's Wild Gift, the quartet followed the same path they had taken a year earlier on their debut, Los Angeles, creating another batch of timeless compositions that merged the energy of punk rock with other musical styles. Former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek reprised his role as producer on what would turn out to be X's last independent release before signing to Elektra. Included are such eventual punk standards as "We're Desperate," the melodic hookfest "White Girl" (sampled years later by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in their song "Good Time Boys"), and "Beyond and Back" (which would serve as a title for their 1997 two-CD anthology). Other highlights include the '50s-prom feel of "Adult Books," the punk-pop composition "In This House That I Call Home," and the rapid "Back 2 the Base." While it may be a shade less exceptional than its predecessor, Wild Gift is nonetheless a classic effort. [In 1988 Los Angeles and Wild Gift were combined as part of a CD reissue by Slash Records.]



I know a lot of fans rave about this one, but this is probably my least favorite of the big 4 albums. I don't particularly dislike it, and don't have any major complaints; I generally like all the tunes, but they just seem a notch below the songs from Los Angeles, IMO, and it wasn't until the next album that they really started to expand beyond being a punk band.
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Old 09-29-10, 02:11 AM
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Re: Album by Album: X

I always thought Wild Gift was equal to and almost an extension of Los Angeles.

My favorite track on Wild Gift is The Once Over Twice.
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Old 09-29-10, 02:40 AM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Wild Gift is an excellent follow-up to Los Angeles. I think it's big failing is that it's filled with a series of shorter songs that all sound fairly similar, so it's harder to pick out individual tracks. Where Los Angeles and Under The Big Black Sky both feature longer, more distinctive songs.
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Old 09-29-10, 07:17 AM
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Re: Album by Album: X

One of my all-time favorite albums. I've seen them live a number of times through the years.
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Old 09-29-10, 08:04 AM
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The Once Over Twice and White Girl are my favorites on Wild Gift.
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Old 09-29-10, 01:39 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Okay, here's where I get confused because of my twofer. I always thought "The World's a Mess, It's in My Kiss" was from this 2nd album. Wrong. That song is one of the greatest things X ever did. "White Girl" makes this whole album worth having.
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Old 09-29-10, 04:24 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
You're in for a treat. X may be the best original era American punk band. I know everyone's got a raging hard on for The Ramones, but I'll take X any day.
The Ramones were great, I loved them, I loved seeing them play, but I know who I listen more to now.

I prefer Wild Gift to Los Angeles, slightly.
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Old 10-01-10, 03:12 AM
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Re: Album by Album: X

Probably my favorite X album, I like it a bit more than the first album I think, but it's hard to say.

My favorite song on it is probably Year One, I just love how short and quick it is. Adult Books is probably my least favorite but it's still not bad.

I went to High School in LA in the late 70s/early 80s, and I owe X and Rodney on the Roq (along with 20/20 for having Talking Heads on one night when I happened to be watching) a big debt for steering me away from Styx and REO and the other crap like that most people at my high school listened to.
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Old 10-01-10, 03:59 PM
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Re: Album by Album: X

I think the demo version of Adult Books on the Rhino reissue of Los Angeles is superior to the studio version on Wild Gift.
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