TWISTED ROOTS: Self-titled: CD

The late ‘70s/early ‘80s was an interesting time for the first wave of Hollywood punkers, fraught with more than its share of growing pains. Some of the scene’s staunchest cheerleaders, disgusted by the wave of violent jocks coming from the beaches and high schools (some no doubt inspired to tear shit up by Penelope Spheeris’ execrable Slash-Records-promo-cum-exploitation-flick, The Decline of Western Civilization), began looking elsewhere for their kicks, like roots music, new romantic or, in this case, art school. The culprits here are a Germ, a Screamer, an Ozihare, a future Black Flagger and a future Celebrity Skin. Showcased here are their efforts from their first year (give or take) of existence, a cross between punk rock and demented circus music. While most fans of their more “traditional” sounding previous bands might be put off by their left-of-center take on punk, it nonetheless is a potent reminder of how wildly divergent the punk sound could be back before all the lines in the sand were drawn and people decided that it was much easier to copy what the other guy was doing rather than consciously stick out like a sore thumb.

 –jimmy (Dionysus)