Saturday, January 13, 2007

XEX: "Group: XEX" CD (a review)

Long ago in the late 70's/early 80's there were synth bands using electronics
(the Casio,I guess? anyway, this was later than the time of the m00g) as well as conventional electric guitar/ drums/bass and producing a kind of antsy,agitated type of pop that was sometimes labeled as avant garde or 'alternative'. well, here in America we always need a label for everything. Anyway, this stuff was a lotta fun in small doses.
Some great outfits that spring to mind now are VOICE FARM, the MONDELLOS, LOS MICROWAVES, and PINK SECTION. At the time I thought of much of this genre as very..West Coast.
At around this same time there was a band, XEX, that had a cassette circulating called "Steel Negro Music". I never hear this tape, but the mail -order house that was carrying it had a lot of San Francisco music, so I must be forgiven for assuming that this was a west-coast band.
Much time passed and the Frisco underground of 1979-1983 passed into legend.
Now I get this CD in my mailbox, from WFMU as part of last-year's Marathon.
It's an excellent collection of tracks from the 1980's, with some very topical subject matter,
such as Red Brigades and kitty-cats. To call this avant-garde now would really be a mistake,
although clearly at least one reviewer has done so. It's pop, or at least a kind of pop.
Certainly, the sound suggests the West Coast to me , even now. Something about the vocals, with the understated, near-deadpan quality, and the synth lines.
These people were from New Jersey, it says here. Worth checking out anyway. well, the world is getting smaller, and here is something you can put on your bookcase next to the Pink Section singles, and the Voice Farm stuff..
recommended, so go check it out.



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