Thursday, June 28, 2007

XMAS EVE – ONE OF THE AMERICAN UNDERGROUND’S LOST CHILDREN

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)

3 comments:

John VKTM said...

I certainly remember XMAS Eve. Greg Baker the drummer had played with our friends The Tools and the rest of the band was real cool. Thanks for posting this. Nice to revisit.

dm said...

oh man o man o man

I have been looking for this for years

loved this band -- saw them open for hte fall and blurt in berkeley and maybe a couple of other shows

love & rockets said...

dear jay, just the other day i posted the complete xmas eve ep on the blog.
hope you enjoy it.

cheers,
edu

ps: glad to see you keep posting :) this is an amazing blog!