text by Adam Lehrer
For the first of Friday Autre playlists, I thought it most appropriate to highlight the quintessential Los Angeles-based punk rock bands of the late 1970s (and some '80s). Perhaps this is a cliché move, but Autre is of course a Los Angeles art magazine. The Hollywood punk bands were decidedly art leaning without exactly aspiring towards art. That is the Los Angeles art attitude; a sort of nonchalance that allows for the word to spin out of control and occasionally achieve the transcendental. In another cliché move, X's 'Los Angeles' kicks off the playlist, but c'mon, it''s X. Los Angeles's closeted junkie punk hero, Darby Crash, comes in next with the Germs' 'Communist Eyes.' Many people argue that the LA punk scene was way weirder and more punk than that of New York, and it's easy to see why. Prior to Lydia Lunch, James Chance, and the noise freaks of Brian Eno's No New York compilation, the earliest New York punk bands all had a musicality and professionalism running through the music that the LA bands largely did not (save for X, maybe). The Ramones mastered the few chords they were using, Television was downright groovy at times, and David Byrne is a musical genius. The LA bands devolve to art noise all the time. Take the Germs, who had as much influence on hardcore punk as they would noise rock bands of the 1990s like Harry Pussy and Sightings.
I purposefully left hardcore bands, save for the Middle Class who were on the edge, as they are for another playlist. Also, I love the Screamers and Angry Samoans but there are no good tracks of theirs on Spotify. Musically, there isn't a lot holding the LA bands together other than that they all listened to their own particular favorite types of music and filtered them through lack of musicianship and chaos. Enjoy!
Adam Lehrer is a writer, journalist, and art and fashion critic based in New York City. On top of being Autre’s fashion and art correspondent, he is also a regular contributor to Forbes Magazine. His unique interests in punk, hip hop, skateboarding and subculture have given him a distinctive, discerning eye and voice in the world of culture, et al. Oh, and he also loves The Sopranos. Follow him on Instagram: @adam102287
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