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L.A. SOUND

Ten Years After--The Rise of a New Generation : * * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty :

November 08, 1987|RICHARD CROMELIN

Can this really be the Circle Jerks' sixth album? Have the Droogs actually been at it for 15 years?

As independent recording activity on the L.A. rock scene approaches its second decade, we're starting to get cross-breeding not just of styles, but of generations--a phenomenon evident in the city's latest crop of records.

When local bands starting releasing their own records back in the late-'70s dawn of the grass-roots scene, all the bands were new. Now, the old guard--the Jerks, Droogs, Fibonaccis--are assuming the role of veterans, and while they benefit from the well-established followings that come with that status, they also face the veterans' struggle to keep things fresh.

Bands like Blood on the Saddle, Divine Horsemen and Leaving Trains are a step younger and in the prime of life. On their new LPs, they exhibit a bracing sense of consolidating their strengths and coming into their own.

FOR THE RECORD - Imperfections
Los Angeles Times Sunday November 15, 1987 Home Edition Calendar Page 119 Calendar Desk 1 inches; 28 words Type of Material: Correction
Although the picture of the band the Leaving Trains ran in L.A. Sound last week, many may have noticed that the review of the band's new LP was left out--by accident. Look for it in next month's L.A. Sound.

And a whole new generation is popping up--both entirely new entries like To Damascus and Waldo the Dog Faced Boy, and fresh formats for familiar faces (Opal).

The albums and EPs issued in the past couple of months reflect the diversity that results of this blend. If one sound seems to be making a move, it's the inventive neo-psychedelia of Opal, To Damascus and Waldo.

Here's a look at the latest L.A. sounds.

Solo Spoilers

DEAN STEFAN. "Trial and Error." Rubber Tree. CHRIS HICKEY. "Looking for Anything." CNC. Stefan and Hickey were co-leaders of the Santa Barbara band the Spoilers--and if these two solo debuts are any indication, there must have been more there than met the eye. The thin, compressed sound of Stefan's LP gives it a homemade, demo-record quality, but there's a little Lou Reed and Jonathan Richman in "Pretend," some Beach Boys sentiments (not sound) in "Drivin' Music" and a hint of Merseybeat melancholy in "Token of Love." There's also a Buddy Holly chromosome swimming around somewhere in here. * * *

Its austere, acoustic format makes Hickey's LP--also homemade--a little more demanding. He solemnly sings knotty lyrics about politics, art, family, death, justice--little things like that. The record's intimacy is its key virtue, and if the music is sometimes too deadpan it has just enough warmth and variety. * * *

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