Saturday, April 25, 2015
X More Fun In the New World & Show # 557
“The New World” opens the album More Fun In The New World by the Los Angeles band X. The song attacks in a dizzying laidback rhythm that has drawn comparisons to The Clash’s “London Calling”. The song bounces with the melodic bass notes of John Doe, the chiming and stop and start guitar parts by Billy Zoom, the in the pocket groove of D.J. Bonebrake and the harmonizing vocal parts of John Doe and Exene Cervenka. The song tells the story in a cinematic, poetic nature as do a majority of the songs on this album. “The New World” probes with a political message wrapped around the narrative of a bum trying to get a drink on Election Day. The song addressed the times of a then recession in the 80s in the Ronald Regan era, but with a message that still can be relatable over thirty years later.
The pace picks up a bit with the second track “We’re Having Much More Fun”, a song that tells a tale of rambunctiousness in Los Angeles and “True Love” where singer Exene rants about love and the devil. “Poor Girl” brings in a subtle rockabilly groove while blending a Bo Diddley style influence. Sung by bassist John Doe, the lyrics build a character sketch of a drunken lover who holds all the cards with lyrics such as “Poor little girl/Run away for good/I try to explain/Why she won’t say a thing” that further adds embellishments to the outlines to this songs character sketch. “Make The Music Go Bang” attacks with a punk rock fury reminiscent of the band’s earlier recordings with Billy Zoom’s crunchy sliding guitar leads and a line that sets the tone for the time and mood of the album, “Bang, bang make the music go bang/Brilliant shining and nasty”. As the album’s fifth track the band cover the song “Breathless”, a song once performed and made a classic by Jerry Lee Lewis. On this track X takes their own off the rails aggressive sound, combined with Exene Cervenka’s passionately charged vocals and apply it to this song to make it their own. This song also made an appearance to the 1983 film of the same name starring Richard Gere. Coincidently, this movie about a French girl and an American criminal in Los Angeles was a remake of a film by French filmmaker Francois Truffant. X created their own “remake” so to speak of the song “Breathless” that ends out the film and it also finds a place on More Fun In The New World. This album was the first in a series of albums where they began to expand their musical borders beyond the scope of punk and this is a shining example of it.
“I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts” is a social commentary by X, which addresses everything from war to the state of punk and radio in America at the time. One of the lines in this song references bands at the time that did not get airplay, but one’s that were and still are highly influential today, the lines “I hear the radio is finally gonna play new music/You know, the British invasion/But what about The Minutemen, Flesh Eaters, DOA, Big Boys and The Black Flag?” filter in at one point in this song adding to its rant, yet also to the musical elements of the song which displays a cleaner sound. The state of finding music was vastly different to our current Internet age where information and songs can be looked up instantly, but at the same time this song brings to mind the parallels of the past and present. While it was most definitely a different time in 1983, there were still challenges being a band and having your voice heard. The same problems exist today, but in a different social construct.
“Devil Doll” attacks with a furious punk sound ala Los Angeles and features what many feel as guitarist one of Billy Zoom’s recording highlights with the band. “Paint The Town Blue’ chronicles a domestic abuse story amongst the same energy displayed on “Devil Doll”, “Hot House” is driven by a roots rock beat, venturing into blues rock territory, while the album ends with the punk funk of “True Love Pt. 2”. This song while it has been compared to “This Is Radio Clash” type funk, seems more influenced by the nervous punk funk concoctions created by Talking Heads. This song ends the album on a very different note addressing music from the 50s lyrically and in the construct of a new wave funk musical sound. The juxtaposition of both brings the past into the present then, which was 1983. But this also can perhaps be seen as the different directions the band would take and in their own solo expeditions as musicians.
With More Fun In The New World, X released their fourth album and their final album to feature Ray Manzarek of The Doors in the producer seat. His role on the first four X album’s including this one, added to their aggressive, wax poetic sound. On the other hand, this album infuses different lyrical observations in the spirit of folk and also features an exploration of sorts out of the confines of punk rock and into perhaps what some view as a drive towards a more commercial sound. The band first started exploring other musical avenues on 1982’s Under The Black Sun. However, More Fun In The New World is just as uncompromising as Los Angeles, Wild Gift and Under The Black Sun. The album’s cover features an 80s MTV look and linear notes that are cut and paste like an old DIY punk zine. This could also be seen as a representation of what to find on More Fun In The New World. There are many textures to the cover’s 80s styled MTV animation, just like some of the songs found on More Fun In The New World. But when you pull out the record sleeve on the inside it shows the band’s punk attitude and spirit.
Saturday Night Play List:
1. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - I Stand Accused
2. Electric Prunes - You Never Had It Better (Live Stockholm 67)
3. The Mummies - She Lied
4. Redline - IRA
5. The Prehistoric Cave Strokers - Stereotypical Blues Tune
6. Sex Pistols - (I”m Not Your) Stepping Stone
7. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Do The Get Down
8. The Saints - Miss Wonderful
9. The Elwins - So Down Low
10. Tough Age - NIcolas Bragg
11. Turbo Fruits - Show Me Something Real
12. The Pagans - Dream Lover
13. Death - The Times
14. Pow Wows - Going Dark
15. The King Khan & BBQ Show - Alone Again
16. The High Drops - Had To Go
17. Bloodshot Bill - Two-Timer
18. Pokey La Farge - Actin’ A Fool
19. The Ding Dongs - Don’t Ring, Come On In
20. The Razorbacks - Can’t Blame Me For Trying
21. The Sherwoods - El Scorpion
22. The Jesters - Peter Gunn Twist
23. Bob Dylan - Some Enchanted Evening
24. The Spooky But Nice - The Embassy
25. Nirvana - You Know You’re Right (Home Demo)
26. Cardboard Brains - Caesar Drives A Fast Car
27. Igenerents — Wrong Place Wrong Time
28. XS Energy - Imaginary
29. Jared Brown - My Shapeshifter
30. Nothing At All - Busted
31. X - The New World
32. X - We’re Having Much More Fun
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 25. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.