Thursday, February 05, 2015

New Spent Idols album!

20 years ago, I published a rave review of The Spent Idols' "Throw It Away" 7". It was one of the first reviews I ever wrote, and The Spent Idols would quickly become a defining band in my musical identity. This was a time when there so much out there under the umbrella of "punk rock". Being young and eager to learn, I bought all kinds of records covering just about every sub-category of the mid-'90s punk scene. But getting into The Spent Idols set me on a permanent path towards the roots of punk music and the sounds of 1977. I proceeded to get heavily into The Clash and Sex Pistols, and I started checking out newer '77 inspired bands like The Stitches and U.S. Bombs. And the rest, as they say, is history. What an honor it is, two decades later, to still be writing about The Spent Idols!

San Diego, California's Spent Idols formed in 1992 out of the ashes of the hardcore band Spent Idol (1979-81). Lead singer Mike Spent made the slight name change to go with a new lineup and a new sound rooted in original '77 punk. The band was very active circa 1994-1996, with numerous releases on various formats. Although the group initially split in 1997, they have reformed periodically over the years. A co-release between Rawkunroll Records out of Venezuela and Spent City Records, the brand-new Land Of The Lost is the first Spent Idols album in 18 years. Angelo from Rawkunroll is The Spent Idols' #1 fan, and he went to great lengths to make this project a reality. Limited to a pressing of 310 CDs, this compilation is an absolute treat for diehard fans. It functions in two parts - with one side containing unreleased studio recordings and the other featuring mono/lo-fi tracks from rehearsal tapes and cassette masters. And what I love is that both sides are equally essential to the collection as a whole. The title track, with its mix of '77 and old school SoCal punk sounds, rates up there with all the classic Spent Idols songs. And speaking of classic Spent Idols songs, the 2003 studio version of the band's anthem "The Living Dead" is absolutely indispensable. But I'd say the odds and ends on Side Two are going to be what most people will enjoy the most. It's great fun to hear the band tear into iconic punk songs like "I Wanna Be Your Dog", "Baby Baby", and "Love Cums In Spurts". An alternate take on "Emotional Wreck" comes off like a long-lost Vibrators song, and the Little Richard re-do "Can't Help It" has me fondly remembering a time when the band's For Your Ears Only cassette ruled my tape deck.

While not actually a "live" album, Land of the Lost was assembled in the spirit of Iggy & The Stooges' Metallic K.O. and Sid Vicious's Sid Sings. Those two albums largely informed Mike Spent's idea of what punk rock was supposed to sound like. And so we have Land of the Lost - which proves that you don't need "professional" production to capture the essence of The Spent Idols. This is punk rock the way it should be: raw, imperfect, and 100 percent from the heart. Well before it was fashionable to revive the sounds of the Pistols, Dead Boys, and Johnny Thunders, The Spent Idols were doing it. Longtime fans will absolutely love this 17-track collection, and now a whole new generation of punk rockers can experience this great, unheralded band. The album is out now in Venezuela, and an American release party is scheduled for March 20th at the Til-Two Club in San Diego. For more information, check out this press release from Rawkunroll!



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