Iâ€™ve written about it before â€“ 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 â€œrateâ€ 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 (Rasputinâ€™s, Universal, Rather Ripped and Leopoldâ€™s!), visiting my grandparents. I think I actually drew stars next to the songs â€“ 5 stars was a must-purchase (and thatâ€™s how I bought my X â€œWhite Girlâ€ 45, only I had missed the name of the band, and Iâ€™d really wanted THE VKTMSâ€™ â€œ100% White Girlâ€ instead), 1 star was among the worst songs Iâ€™d heard to date. I only remember giving one song the dreaded single star, and Iâ€™m pretty sure it was something I heard on the Maximum Rock And Roll radio show â€“ a song called â€œItâ€™s Your Birthdayâ€ 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). Iâ€™m guessing the song was from a demo tape or something, because thereâ€™s no record of it anywhere and it didnâ€™t make XMAS EVEâ€™s one and only 45.
The band were from El Sobrante, CA â€“ 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 Iâ€™m posting for you today, and itâ€™s fantastic. It came out several years ago on an out-of-print compilation called HOMEWORK #5. Itâ€™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 â€œcollege rockâ€ as made popular by acts like R.E.M.. Great track. Anyone know what the others sound like?
Play or Download XMAS EVE â€“ â€œMy Houseâ€ (from 1982 single)