RED CROSS, circa 1981 or ‘82, with the Jeff/Steve/Tracy/Janet “Born Innocent” lineup doing “Standing in Front of Poseur” and “Linda Blair”.
There is an unparalleled sense of teenage joy & punk rock lust that comes screaming off the grooves of all the early 80s RED CROSS material, particularly their masterpiece LP, “Born Innocent”, one of my favorite records ever.
There’s a bootleg I bought in 1993 or so that serves up 6 fantastic demos from the same era, including one (“It Doesn’t Matter”) that didn’t make it to the album. Some of the versions – “Solid Gold” for instance – are barely recognizable, and they rule all the same. Here’s “Every Day There’s Someone New” from that same session.
You may have heard that there’s been a Southern California punk revivalist band fronted by Keith Morris the past couple years called OFF!. I’d done an excellent job keeping them off my radar until yesterday, despite seeing t-shirts and records with Raymond Pettibon artwork around. Keith Morris, Steve McDonald, punk band, 2012…..sure.
Yesterday Ben Ratliff had their album in his Best of 2012 list in the NY Times. I read a book about jazz by Ratliff once that I liked, and he did say the magic words with regard to OFF!’s record – “16 songs in 28 minutes”. Could it….could it be….could it be good? Nope, not really. I got about 7 or 8 tracks into the thing this morning via Spotify and that was more than enough. It’s a cut above “Wonderful”-era CIRCLE JERKS (wasn’t that on Combat Records or Metal Blade or something?), an attempt to recapture some 1979 Black Flag genie-in-a-bottle with lots of screaming in the patented “I’m-going-to-EXPLODE-I’VE-HAD-IT” style.
Far be it for me to disparage a good attempt at creating aggressive and confrontational art at an advancing age, but I think I’ll probably have an equally rewarding cultural life without any more OFF! in it.