I’ve written about it before – I was such a rabid teenage college radio junkie, totally ecstatic about the amazing amount of crazy music that I was hearing for the first time (1980-82), that I would spend hours actually writing down every song that the DJs would back-announce, and then “rate” them. This process gave me an insight into what records to purchase the next time I was in Berkeley, CA, a total record store mecca at the time (Rasputin’s, Universal, Rather Ripped and Leopold’s!), visiting my grandparents. I think I actually drew stars next to the songs – 5 stars was a must-purchase (and that’s how I bought my X “White Girl” 45, only I had missed the name of the band, and I’d really wanted THE VKTMS’ “100% White Girl” instead), 1 star was among the worst songs I’d heard to date. I only remember giving one song the dreaded single star, and I’m pretty sure it was something I heard on the Maximum Rock And Roll radio show – a song called “It’s Your Birthday” by XMAS EVE. Then again, I was 14 years old, and not quite ready for strange, rough, American post-punk jangle (and why this hardcore-only show was playing it, not sure). I’m guessing the song was from a demo tape or something, because there’s no record of it anywhere and it didn’t make XMAS EVE’s one and only 45.
The band were from El Sobrante, CA – I town I actually called home in the early 70s as an exceptionally young man (4 years old to be exact). Later, members went on to the bands YO and EL SOB. I have only heard the song I’m posting for you today, and it’s fantastic. It came out several years ago on an out-of-print compilation called HOMEWORK #5. It’s from 1982, and it exists in a time of rampant experimentation within standard rock and roll forms. It might sound pretty pedestrian to you, but I hear elements of WIRE and THE MINUTEMEN, as well as a tuff & arty presaging of what we later called “college rock” as made popular by acts like R.E.M.. Great track. Anyone know what the others sound like?
Play or Download XMAS EVE – “My House” (from 1982 single)