November 2009 Archives

Randoms: ABCD/Let's Get Rid of New York

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Randoms

ABCD/Let's Get Rid of
New York
Dangerhouse, 1977

Something of an early L.A. punk supergroup, Randoms consisted of X's John Doe on bass, the Screamers' K.K. Barret on drums, and Pat Garrett (Black Randy & the Metrosquad) on guitar and vocals. And you can tell: despite the relatively lo-fi recording, the band sounds remarkably tight. In fact, the gritty nature of the production probably enhances the disk, adding a layer of sonic filth to the decidedly New York flavor of the A-side and just enough distortion to the buzzing B-side to endow it with the sort of rough-edged sound that I associate with some of the best producers of the 1980s D.I.Y. scene.

Between the song's comparatively spare instrumentation and Garrett's slightly drawled vocals, "ABCD" certainly recalls the decadent spirit of post-New York Dolls Johnny Thunders, but the track is actually much closer to the playfully affected innocence and girl-chasing spirit of pop-punk than to the nihilistic drug-laden gloom of glamish Heartbreakers copycats. The B-side, on the other hand, is straight-up angry punk rock (the contemptuousness with which Garrett enunciates "all the money left on Wall Street" and "the whores left on 42nd Street," for instance, is pure bile) with an intense bassline, buzzsawing guitars, and crashing drums. Indeed, while Randoms do sound like a different band on each side of the disk, they sound like two really good outfits, and the record marks a solid -- if not great -- debut release for the seminal Dangerhouse label.

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