Aug 25, 2006

From the vaults of obscurity comes this unearthed treasure. Magnolia Thunderpussy were a bunch of L.A. teenagers that were tight with Black Flag and Flea back in the mid-1980s. SST label head Greg Ginn was interested in putting out a record by the group but for some reason it never happened. By 1986 the band was kaput. Bassist David Jones decided to “unleash the fury” from the vault in 2004. Split between eleven studio tracks and a live beach show the next day, Starin Down the Sun shows the band’s dexterity. Guitarist Chris Hundley alternates between jazzy passages and full-on shredding. Pat Palma’s drums are maniacal but precise at the same time. Bassist Jones holds all the songs together with some fluid bass lines throughout. Lead singer Dale Nixon’s vocals show a remarkable maturity at age seventeen. I bet you’re thinking you’ve heard this singer’s name before? Although the CD’s liner notes could choke an elephant with all the name-dropping quotes, there’s no mention of the “Dale Nixon factor.” Greg Ginn used this alias on Black Flag’s My War record after Chuck Dukowski bolted. This moniker has since been copped anytime an enterprising musician had wanted to guest on another musician’s record and had been told “no way” by the fat cats at a major label. Brian Baker and Dave Grohl have later borrowed this alias along the way. So there’s your punk cred history for Magnolia Thunderpussy. But the music is what’s important here, my friends. Some of the songs like, “Outside Inside,” explore some free-flowing jazz, while “Walls” offers up some Black Flag anger with some rage-filled vocals from Mr. Nixon. The title track reminds me of Angry Samoans without Metal Mike’s angst. Like a bizarre mash-up of All, The Minutemen, and Black Flag, Magnolia Thunderpussy is an important link from the LA scene. If you see David Jones on the streets—bow down and offer praise for the release of this cool-as-shit CD.

 –koepenick (Mar Vista)

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