Apr 082008

My teenage rock nerd treasure hunt begins.

Some of you are aware of the profound influence issue #46 of Trouser Press had on my young rock nerd’s development. It was the first issue of the new decade, and my favorite underground rock magazine kicked it off with a snazzy, double-length issue that looked back at the decade that had just passed and looked ahead to the promise of the 1980s!

As some of you are also aware, the promise of the 1980s soon turned ugly for this once-young man’s dreams of a return to energetic, concise rock ‘n roll on the radio. Instead of The Clash, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The Buzzcocks, The Jam, and The Undertones ruling the airwaves, the underground pop song movement would emerge victorious, Yamaha DX-7 synths in tow, as the synth-pop of mildly entertaining types like Thomas Dolby and Thompson Twins and finally the massively successful dance-pop of Madonna and Rock Town Hall flashpoint Prince. Despite the success of a few more commercial contenders from that scene, like The Police, The Cars, and Blondie (and Costello and The Clash, to some extent), the closing credits were rolling on the dream.

Trouser Press #46, “Some 1970s Albums You Might Have Missed” (~40 mb)

That didn’t mean I couldn’t spend the ’80s seeking out cool, underground albums from the ’70s that were mostly alien to me before I’d reached my late teens and became a loyal Trouser Press reader. I scanned what’s still my touchstone article from that issue, “Some 1970s Albums You Might Have Missed” (~40 mb; click to download). It’s a large file, but if you download it and print it out, you’ll have some choice bathroom reading! Then – after you’ve washed your hands – I’m sure you’ll want to log back into the Halls of Rock and share your thoughts on these albums, those times, your own significant moment that helped launch your personal rock nerd journey.

Where prognostications went to die.

  6 Responses to “Trouser Press Remembers the ’70s”

  1. 2000 Man

    There’s a few things on there I’m going to look for. I have to admit that by 1980 I had actually heard LA Woman a couple of times. Free, Roxy Music, The New York Dolls and Mott the Hoople were really pretty popular in Cleveland. I know the 70’s were the golden days of WMMS, but those were all albums I was pretty familiar with.

    I found out about Tucky Buzzard when I became a Stones fanboy. Can’t say I agree with TP on that one. I have to look for Stackridge, I wonder if I can find them. I remember the Sadistic Mika Band because of the name, but I never did run across anything by them. Isn’t that a great name?

    Thanks for the article. I think it will make for some fun searching.

  2. BigSteve

    It’s hard to imagine a time when people had to be told to check out Roxy Music.

    I had discovered that Pink Fairies album on my own, because of Larry Wallis’ appearance playing the immortal Police Car on the Live Stiffs album. It’s pretty cool in a Hawkwindy kind of way, but not as awesome as Police Car.

    It’s nice to see Matthew Fisher’s solo albums get some love. The one they mention, Journey’s End, is now available on CD as a twofer with his similarly excellent album from that era, I’ll Be There. Highly recommended.

    It’s also cool to see an ad buried in the article for the Suburbs. Now there’s a great lost ‘new wave’ band! They’re due for a Critical Upgrade, but they’d be hard to condense into a handful of tracks.

  3. Mr. Moderator

    Yeah, I’m always surprised that LA Woman is on their list. I’d heard that constantly in high school. Roxy Music was also fairly well known on Philadelphia FM radio in the late-70s, but I’d never heard a lick of the first 3 albums on the radio.

    2000 Man, I’ve got the Stackridge album. Judging by your tastes, I’d be shocked – shocked – if you like it even a little. It’s about the most fey, British, humorous (I think intentionally) album ever made. It’s like a Graham Chapman Monty Python skit put to vinyl. I’ll try to burn some songs and put them up here someday. They’re really funny, maybe intentionally. (The Great 48 will go to the mats for this band; he’s told me it’s intentional.) A couple of months ago I posted a video of them performing live. You may find it by a search.

    I think dbuskirk burned me the Sadistic Mika Band album a year or two ago (or was that just another Japanese band with Flower in the name – they sounded a bit like a proto-Boston???). I’ll have to dig out their album. It wasn’t all that I’d hoped for.

    I’ve never heard nor seen the Tucky Buzzard album. I’ve also never heard nor seen the Matthew Fisher album. About a month ago I was digging through a used bin and I saw an album by him, but it wasn’t THE album I’d been reading about since 1980, so I didn’t drop the $3. I’ll have to check them out.

    Like BigSteve, I got a kick seeing the old ads.

  4. If you google sadistic mika band little hits, you’ll find a song from that album. It’s pretty good. Album is definitely spotty.

  5. 2000 Man

    that George Martin mention on the Stackridge kinda scared me, but I liked the name. Maybe I’ll look casually for that one. I remember that in the late 70’s – early 80’s Ray Manzarek would always say The Doors were selling more albums than when they were funct. Didn’t LA Woman even come with the cellphane cover until the 80’s? That had to cost extra, so I’m sure they were selling pretty well.

    I’ve got Neverneverland by The Pink Fairies. It’s got the first punk song, Do It on it (at least according to The Pink Fairies it’s the first punk song). I knew two major metalheads in the 80’s from where I worked and they both loved The Pink Fairies and that’s why I bought the one I did. It’s good, but I really don’t remember the last time I listened to it. Roxy Music’s first one didn’t get much airplay here, but the next ones were pretty constant. Editions of You, Do the Strand, Mother of Pearl, The Thrill of it All and Prairie Rose were pretty popular. I think Betty Korvan was the DJ on MMS that played them all the time, and she was after dinner on weeknights, so we listened to her a lot. I miss those days. Granted, WMMS ignored a great local punk scene, but they did provide a better than average soundtrack for a misspent youth.

  6. I had heard about the Pink Fairies, Kings of Oblivion, and finally got a vinyl reissue. It was well worth the wait. For hard rock, the songwriting is highly impressive.

    Highly recommended.

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