They used to top critics polls, Los Lobos. Mystified me then, mystifies me now.
Close behind, boringness-wise.
Actually bought this group's live album - look, things were desperate in '85!
Groups often ruined (beyond even the dismal intent / outlook) by the Eighties production, drum sound
Some cultural context via real-time coverage - intro to Barney Hoskyns's May 85 piece in NME on Lone Justice
"Eight years on and it's official — we are no longer bored with the USA.
In fact, so bored are we with the remorseless turnover of homegrown piffle that the dearly-loathed land is almost the only thing to get steamed up about anymore. (I mean, tell me, am I really supposed to be excited by Working Week?)
True, certain esteemed cultural spokespersons [he means Biba Kopf, Don Watson - the New Flesh Sick Noise supporters] deem all this new yankee trad-ism to be regressive in the extreme, a way of copping out of confrontation with present realities, and they have a point.
But then R.E.M. and the Long Ryders write better tunes than Sonic Youth, so it's hardly surprising that people are more eager to swallow their version of America.
Perhaps there is the danger of an overly romantic view of these bands — these Bangles and Blasters and Beat Farmers — as though they had consciously set out to wage sonic war on the FM giants. Or as though covering some obscure relic by a Seattle garage band of the '60s were some kind of revolutionary statement. Finding genuine innovators in a pack of psychedelic country punks is a tricky business, and one has to agree with the Village Voice reviewer who observed that Jason And The Scorchers, for all their "reckless country soul", probably just want to be the next Rolling Stones.
And yet the awakening of young Americans to their musical legacy, the legacy of blues and country and "punk rock", is throwing up some remarkable raw talent — voices, players, songwriters grabbing hole of a few scrawny roots and taking a stand. These are kids raised on Zep and Aerosmith, people who probably first heard the names George Jones and Gram Parsons in an Elvis Costello interview. (In turn their records may get a British release on F-Beat subsidiary Zippo and the circle will be complete.)
With a fine irony, it is Los Angeles, bastion of everything most vile and unspeakable in American rock, which has nurtured the successive schools of revival. From hardcore beach punk to Sunset Strip power pop, from synthesizer noowave to the Paisley Underground, and from Hollywood rockabilly to suburban cowpunk, the smogopolis has been through as many in-crowd scenes as London. For seven years its garage-bound peasants have been revolting against the Bel-Air rockocracy."
In all honesty I would vastly rather listen to the sounds being made by the Bel-Air rockocracy in the mid-Eighties than this sorry lot of faux-shitkickers.
Probably even back then, in 85-86, I'd have preferred the soft-rock lot - did buy, like so many others, "Boys of Summer" [and the Eagles were country-rock 15 years before LJustice et al] and I succumbed deliciously to Fleetwood Mac's Tango In the Night (and retroactively bought Mirage and the Stevie Nicks solo albums along with the Obvious Towering Masterworks Rumours and Tusk and self-titled).
The one band / song of all the roots-punk that really shook my tree - Blood On the Saddle, "Wish I Was A Single Girl Again"
Oh and I did like The Gun Club....
Melody Maker was even more gung-ho and totally on top of this (Original Wave of) New Americana action in 84-85 than NME was - this is before me and Stubbs et al joined - and the paper continued to give it time and space long into the Arsequake/Blissrock era with the likes of Green On Red, Thin White Rope, etc - thanks to editor in chief Allan Jones love of all things dust-blown and Wild Bunch-y.
TWR I recall had a certain majesty and/or blasting power
Seem to recall quite liking a Giant Sand album or maybe it was a solo thing by Howe Gelb....
To me though Meat Puppets II and Up On The Sun dealt with this area so much more sublimely - kosmik shit-kicker