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Regional post-revolution Rock (late 70s style)

Plastic lasts (though its discardable). You have a pile of objects (plastic records) and over time, you decide which ones to keep, which ones to toss. At first, you paid little attention to certain items. But still, they meant something to you. They maintained tangibility over their possible and neglected replay. And then you gave it another listen, many years (many, many years) later, and it sounded better. It didn’t sound bad.


The origins of these singles (45rpms) were just too close for me to be objective about the object’s sound. To really get into it. These were the creations of peers, acquaintances, the people I came across “in the scene”. And they gave me their latest release – free! They handed me their self-produced 45rpm and I said, “oh . . . thanks . . .”





The GROUND ZERO crew shared a space in the same dodgy loft building in Fort Point Channel, South Boston, where I, and a few other comrades lived. We had our own decrepit loft (leaky roofs, no heat except for the gas burners of our stove, and a Mafioso rent collector with a prosthetic hook hand). Our own decrepit (punk/reggae) band drove the upstairs neighbor nuts, a born-again-Bob-Dylan-Christian who allowed homeless people to crash in the printing studio below us.


GROUND ZERO was on the other side of the building, which for one forgotten reason or another, we occasionally visited. Without going into the the unreconciled or furtive grasping, the contacts that went nowhere along with a deep knowledge of their various back stories, at some point this 45 rpm was passed off to us/me or someone who hung around in our loft.


It’s what I can now recognize as a credible effort, something I didn’t give full due at the time, but I recall that my musical taste at the time was somewhat focused if chauvinistic.


Listening to these records helps me split the hairs of the various Rock genres of the time, the Punk/New Wave dichotomy, those who edged into the Punk scene from their already well-established garage-Rock sensibilities, those who simply were going for the big time, and those that stayed true to DIY avant-gardism. Let alone, those who wanted to destroy all music.


GROUND ZERO (1979) foists a prerequisite Punk attitude in their perhaps-all-too-obvious name; the apocalyptic subject matter is addressed on one of the EPs eponymously-titled songs. They rather cleverly have one longer, one shorter song on each side, with an over-all sound that leans (to my ears) towards “New Wave”, though the last song, “Nothing” is a punker (hard/fast) with the vocals filtered in the studio. I can hear Bowie.


But here’s what the web brought back to me (something I had forgotten): the highly involved do-it-yourself GROUND ZERO packaging that I discarded as too superfluous and bulky to carry around the world!:


The WILD STARES (1982) were another band that I barely noticed at the time, though they were friendly. Did we incongruously share a “gig” with them? Perhaps they were just the friendly type. Amazingly, they hung in there, as I found out (from 1993):


What I didn’t know was the way they were (as stated in this article) highly unloved (or even hated) in the Boston music scene. Their sound is discordant, less harmonious, but they fit the post-Punk sound of the time, best exemplified by the success of Mission of Burma (both recorded on the Boston label of note: Ace of Hearts ), or later Proletariat


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Taken on July 19, 2011