X: Wild Gift: LP

A re-issue of Los Angeles’s X’s second full-length from 1981. The packaging’s gorgeous. The vinyl’s nice and thick. The mastering’s booming. If you’re new to X, here are the crib notes. The first four full lengths—Los Angeles, Wild Gift, Under the Big Black Sun, and More Fun in the New World—are well worth your time and are as good as any mid-paced punk during X’s early tenure. It gets pretty dicey after that. (Ain’t Love Grand was produced by a pop metal dude. Not a great idea. And Billy Zoom had one foot out the door, saying that he’d quit if the band didn’t get more popular. That didn’t happen. Billy left the band for many years in 1986.) In Wild Gift, X mastered the alchemy of twisting crooked country roots into the then-still-new punk blast, planting male and female vocals into that soil, fertilized it with poetry, and it bloomed like a rose garden. X’s early catalog is beautiful, it’s thorny, it was carefully cultivated, and since it’s been properly tended, has lasted decades and is set for a long preservation. As well it should. Highly recommended. (PS: On the back cover, Billy Zoom is sitting on an AllState scooter. Those were the American-sold Vespas that Sears had on their mailorder for only a couple of years. Stylish.)

 –todd (Porterhouse)