Thursday, January 21, 2016
Various Artists - 415 Music (1980)
In an effort to keep this blog as eclectic as possible (and a reflection of my personal tastes), I present to you some punk rock. Specifically, a high-quality rip of one of my favorite vinyl-only collections of West Coast punk.
The 415 Music compilation was the first LP release from the San Francisco-based 415 Records, which was later home to new wave/post punk acts Romeo Void, Wire Train, and Translator. The label was started in 1978 and had released a bunch of singles in the two years preceding this album. But since this album's serial number is A0001, we can assume it was their first LP.
And what a great album it is. Eleven now-unknown acts chip in with garage rock-inspired tunes that go heavy on both noise and melody. At the time, the label's most popular band was SVT, a group that featured former Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna bassist Jack Casady. Their "Always Come Back for More" is one of the highlights here.
But pretty much every song if good if not great. My favorite is probably Sudden Fun's party anthem "(I Can't Wait) For the Weekend Show." Music buffs should also make note of the VIP's "She's a Put On," which was written and sung by the late Jennifer Miro, who died in 2012. Miro was the lead singer and a founding member of the Nuns, a group that helped create the San Francisco punk scene to begin with.
I came to know about this album when I saw it advertised in an issue of Trouser Press magazine when I was in high school. I didn't buy it because I had limited money, plus my folks frowned on me bringing too many albums into the house. I'd have had to buy it by mail order, so they'd have known. Bummer.
But some thirteen years later I was able to get it. And get it cheap. I paid either a dollar or two dollars for it at a now-defunct Maryland record store called Vinyl Ink on Aug. 8, 1993. How do I know that? Because while I was doing the rips and scans for this album the receipt unexpectedly fell out of the jacket. I guess I had inadvertently kept it all these years. Looking at the receipt, it turns out this was one of three albums I bought that day.
A quick digression about the record store scene of the late '80s and early '90s:
Back then you could get mint records like this one on the cheap. Vinyl was the pariah of the music industry, a dinosaur whose time had supposedly come and gone. Only a few of us hardcore fans were still buying it. Trendy Yuppies were selling their entire record collections to used record stores and a small group of us made their loss our gain.
No one was better at accumulating the discarded LPs of the CD-snob crowd than the guy who ran Vinyl Ink, an eccentric music buff named George Gelestino who died in 2002. I first met George at one of the monthly record conventions they used to have out in Pikesville, a town in another part of Maryland. Someone had directed me to him because he had a Jonathan Richman album I'd been looking for. He always remembered me for that, and when I'd walk into Vinyl Ink he'd greet me by saying "Hey! Jonathan Richman!"
It's a shame George died before the vinyl revival because he'd have probably made out really well. Vinyl Ink -- in its original location in an upstairs loft on Georgia Avenue in the town of Silver Spring -- was like a madhouse/warehouse of every type of record you could imagine. I'd pop in for a quick visit and end up walking out hours later with albums running the gamut from Frank Sinatra to the Beach Boys to Joy Division. R.I.P. George. And thanks for selling me this for a buck or $1.99 or whatever it was.
This is my personal rip of this album at 320/48. I've seen a download of this floating around elsewhere and from what I remember it didn't sound so good, so I was inspired to do my own. This rip is so clean you could eat lunch off of it -- possibly even dinner. I've also included cover and label scans, plus scans of the 1980 review and advertisement than ran in Trouser Press. In all, I've probably put more thought into this than anyone has in years, but that's what documenting old music is all about, isn't it?
1. The Readymades - 415 Music
2. Times 5 - Is Your Radio-active
3. The Mutants - Baby's No Good
4. 391 - Searching for a Thrill
5. Sudden Fun - (I Can't Wait For The) Weekend Show
6. The Donuts Featuring Lisa Bosch - Johnny, Johnny
7. SVT - Always Come Back for More
8. The Symptoms - Simple Sabotage
9. The VIPs - She's a Put On
10. Jo Allen And The Shapes - Shimmy, Shimmy
11. The Offs - I've Got the Handle