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Los Angeles [Original recording remastered, Extra tracks]

X Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 4.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Oct 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
  • Label: Slash/Rhino
  • ASIN: B00005NTQ5
  • Other Editions: Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,740 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. "Your Phone's Off The Hook, But You're Not"
2. Johny Hit And Run Paulene
3. Soul Kitchen
4. Nausea
5. Sugarlight
6. Los Angeles
7. Sex And Dying In High Society
8. The Unheard Music
9. The World's A Mess; It's In My Kiss
10. I'm Coming Over
11. Adult Books
12. Delta 88
13. Cyrano de Berger's Back
14. Los Angeles

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars X marks the spot... 29 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
The two cliches about X are that they were Los Angele's best punk band, and that their sound was heavily based on rockabilly. X's first album, though, is a hell of a long way removed from the Cramps or the Gun Club. "Los Angeles" has a lot less twangy guitar and roots rock moves than the other two X reissues out at the moment, and oddly enough makes mincemeat out of both of them. The punk thing is a bit (actually quite a bit) more convincing, but at heart this is a hard rock album with a surprising amount of bluesy grit lurking among the cranked up tempos and fuzz guitar. Next to "Wild Gift" and "Under The Big Black Sun" it sounds a little crude, but given the subject matter and the sound, crude works brilliantly. Producer Ray Manzarek smears organ and synth fills over some of the rawer edges, but the songs are good enough that this is just the icing on the cake. Manzarek's embellishments are more appealing than Cowpunk posturing any day of the week, and it's interesting to hear the guy playing stuff a bit more abrasive than the jazzy noodling from his Door's work.
Another plus point is the contrast between the vocalists: John Doe's warm, slightly hoarse, delivery provides a perfect foil for Exene Cervenka's shrill wailing. They don't even come close to harmonising, but they still work perfectly together.
This is a million miles from most early 'Eighties American punk, and completely devoid of any of the pop flourishes that pushed the bulk of that over the edge into New Wave whiffle. Its lean and pared down sound is sparse enough to avoid sounding dated. This is the kind of album that would have fitted nicely into the 'nineties grunge boom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars X-traordinary album! 19 Jan 2011
Format:Audio CD
An album that was very hard for me to find in shops, it is definitely worth buying off of Amazon considering you'll get it significantly cheaper than from a music shop in the high street. Although I had to return this item due to a friend tipping off to me that he bought me this for Xmas, I still recommend buying it.

This punk band are far less known compared to The Ramones or Sex Pistols, and the fact that Ray Manzarek of The Doors helped in producing the album (And even playing guest organ) makes it all the better.

Apart from the title song (Los Angeles), the best song off of this album has either got to be "Johny Hit & Run Paulene" or "The World's A Mess, It's In My Kiss". Both these tracks show Chuck Berry style influence, and are very catchy songs. In fact, a lot of the songs are catchy, and every track has something unique about it. The track "Nausea" contains a beat that sounds like it's gonna get faster and faster and faster, and encourages you to headbang with it.

The album also contains demo tracks and a special "Dangerhouse Version" of the Los Angeles track.

There is only one word to rate this album, and it's X-traordinary. A must have for a true punk fanatic.

Graham
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unknown Pleasure. 29 April 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
For years I written X of a light punk band.
As a fan of The Germs I'd always enjoyed
faster hardcore punk. I now realise I've caused
myself to miss out on this gem of an album.
The lyrics are catchy but theres nothing wrong there.
Mr Zoom guitar style is great to listen to.
Would recommend for fans of The Gun Club and
other garage band greats.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Los Angeles Is Still Burning 19 Mar 2004
By Thomas Magnum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
X's debut album, Los Angeles, was released in 1980 and was produced by Ray Manzarek of The Doors. X emerged out of the burgeoning L.A. punk rock scene of the late 70's. Unlike most of their contemporaries who were more raw style than substance, X consisted of gifted musicians. They fused the raw power & frenzied emotion of punk with strands of rockabilly and country twang. The quartet of Exene Cervenka on vocals, John Doe on bass, Billy Zoom on guitar and DJ Bonebrake on drums were supplemented by Mr. Manzarek on keyboards. The nine songs are quick bursts of power and precision. The opening track's spurned lover fury of "The Phone's Off The Hook, But Your Not", the date rape victim of "Johnny Hit & Run Pauline", the feverish remake of The Doors' "Soul Kitchen", the banality of rich people's existence in "Sex & Dying In High Society" (which was used a theme in Bret Easton Ellis' book Less Than Zero) and the majesty of the title track, the album's finest moment. The reissue is augmented beautifully by five tracks. X was a band never destined for mainstream success, but nearly a quarter of a century later, this album as with much of their music, still sounds fresh and vital.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sunny California this is not 5 Oct 2001
By Stanley Alderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is quite possibly one of the darkest albums of all time. The Sex Pistols were just angry, The Clash championed the working class, but X took the punk sound and told stories of heroin, rape, and other abnormalities that took place in the L.A. underground. This is not the Los Angeles that the news media brought to the masses. The stories they told were not received from some second hand news source, they were first hand witnesses to man's inhumanity to man. "Los Angeles," "The World's a Mess, Its In my Kiss," "Sex and Dying in High Society," and "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline" are the stand out tracks. As with "Wild Gift" the remastered version stands taller when matched up to the previously released version. If you ever doubt that the world is a cruel place, listen to this. The picture you see with their words provides a description that is only a notch below an eyewitness account.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the most talented & versatile punk band arrives! 18 Mar 2002
By 33-year old wallflower - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
While the punk rock movement may have virtually overhauled the British music industry, in America, it made a relatively small impact on its popular music. Except for maybe the Talking Heads, who later smoothed out its rough edges, the slicker offspring of punk called new wave was what the Americans seemed to find more palatable. As a result bands like California's X had to settle for a mostly regional following who appreciated influential music when they heard it. 1980's LOS ANGELES was when X first committed their frenzied live act into a studio setting.
Former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek (also a California native) had some success post-Doors as a producer & was charged with helping X develop an identity in the studio. While as time went on, X would go for a much cleaner sound & approach, Manzarek pretty much let the band just play live on LOS ANGELES (with the occasional overdub like Ray Manzarek's organ). The result was an audio snapshot of the punk scene in California that showed so much potential to reach national acclaim, but that didn't happen but posthumously.
From the start, it was clear that X was probably the most talented & accomplished of the California punk bands & this is proven with the vocal harmonies between bassist John Doe & vocalist Exene Cervenka that no other punk band could claim. Songs like the sped-up cover of The Doors' "Soul Kitchen" (probably a tribute to their illustrious producer), "Sugarlight", "Sex & Dying In High Society", "The Unheard Music" & the epic closer "The World's A Mess; It's In My Kiss" show the prominent set-up of Exene (or Doe) singing solo with the other later chiming in on the chorus & occasionally on the verses. This turned out to be the folk influence coming to the fore & this was just one of many things X had on their fellow punk rockers.
But while those songs had a certain dark cuteness (but not cloyingly so) to them, the other songs on LOS ANGELES are considerably darker & more brutal in their sonic assault. "Your Phone's Off The Hook, But You're Not" (how a break-up song should sound, angry & pummeling), "Johnny Hit & Run Paulene" (a frightening tale of date rape), "Nausea" & the title track leave the listener breathless with their deafening volume & run-for-your-life tempo. These songs also foreshadow the riot-grrl movement by about a decade with Exene's occasionally venomous delivery.
Thanks to the good people at Rhino Records, X's classic albums have been remastered to give them a modern polish, but not sacrifice their volume & even a few bonus tracks. LOS ANGELES' bonuses come from the late 1970s when X was just beginning to build a live reputation. Songs like "I'm Coming Over" & "Adult Books" appear in very rough early versions that would later be revisited for 1981's WILD GIFT album. "Delta 88" is a demo that wouldn't appear for the first time until their 1997 anthology BEYOND & BACK, while "Cyrano De Berger's Back" would first be recorded by obscure punkers The Flesh Eaters before X gave it a go on 1987's SEE HOW WE ARE. "Los Angeles" first appeared on an EP called YES L.A. in 1979 before it got the more "professional" airing it did on LOS ANGELES.
It's a shame that a band like X, who had so much drive to make it on a bigger level, would only have a cult following beyond their loyal California fan base. But albums like LOS ANGELES have since been getting their due as proof that America did have one foot in the punk explosion of the late 1970s-early 1980s, even if its impact was rather limited. Now that X has virtually been around for more than 25 years (they've been on an extended hiatus for years), they could best be called the longest-lasting punk band in history & an album like LOS ANGELES is probably the high-water mark in a career that only has a little to show for it, all of it magnificent.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poverty and Spit 27 Sep 2001
By "gnesmith@hiwaay.net" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I'll be honest. The only reason I bought this album is because Brett Easton Ellis talked about X all the time in "Less Than Zero." After listening to the record, I understand why. Both are about the decadence of Los Angeles and the nihilism of its youth.Both are about the corruption of money and the emptiness of sex.In short, both are about realizing how miniscule you are in this world and how insignificant you are to everybody else. Now, on that happy note, "Los Angeles" is not only a true punk classic, but it's also pretty good old-fashion rock n'roll. Fleetwood Mac would sound this way if they didn't have enough money to produce their albums. In fact, it might be good to compare Exene Cervenka and Stevie Nicks. Both claim to be poets, both are unusual, attractive, and slightly off key - in the case of Exene way off key, but both can maintain their own. I could compare John Doe and Lindsey Buckingham, but why bother? The point is that both are the sound of California but on opposite poles: Fleetwood Mac's the rich and X's the poor. This is very apparent on X's "The Unheard Music." Boy, does this song rock! It has guitar crunches, a slow melodic dark sound reminiscent of The Doors and a Beach Boy in the sun type of break that is anything but hopeful."Nausea" is the best song on the album because it encapsulates the whole feel of isolation in a big city and a life among the "poverty and spit." The title track shows a woman in flight from her own derangement, her incipient indifference. The other stand out song is "Your Phone's Off the Hook, But You're Not." It's a deliciously evil hillbilly rocker that has Exene singing atonally about her sister and some guy who doesn't "have to answer" her or "call her" back. In fact, the overall theme of this album is the evil of humanity. When in "Sex and Dying in High Society" John Does talks about a girl telling her maid to burn her on her "virgin back" with a curling iron because "pain is better than any kind of love," you get the sense that love and death in "high society" is so shallow and impotent that the impression of feeling is better than feeling nothing at all. This is an exceptional album exposing the fakery of the California Sun. It's a Fleetwood Mac album without the clichés and meretricious display of musicality. It's real, and it may be hard to swallow.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars X-TACY! (sorry, that was lame) 15 May 2006
By Shotgun Method - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Imagine a hybrid of The Sex Pistols, Fleetwood Mac, and Chuck Berry and you'd have something close to X's genius sound. Wheareas other West Coast outfits like Black Flag and Circle Jerks made a career out of playing harder, louder, and faster X placed more emphasis on tight musicianship and tunefulness, while still remaining very much a punk band. Their 1980 debut Los Angeles is perhaps their best, darkest album (classic cover to boot!).

From the moment that Exene Cervenka and bassist John Doe start applying their distinctive and slightly off-key harmonies, you can tell from the get-go it's an X song. Both vocalists tell seamy tales of California's underground and the ennui and nihilism of the rich, ranging from date rape (Johnny Hit & Run Pauline) to crashing in a punk dive (Nausea). Exene would have an even greater role in later releases, but on this album the songs are split largely 50/50 between the two vocalists.

Meanwhile, Billy Zoom's guitar blasts out pitch-perfect surf rock riffs and DJ Bonebrake's tight rhythms hold the whole thing together. Ex-Doors member and producer Ray Manzarek contributes some color with some great overdubbed organ lines, but otherwise this album is raw and searing, just as it should be. Your Phone's Off The Hook (But You're Not), The World's A Mess It's In My Kiss, Sex & Dying In High Society and the title track are barnstorming, venomous, and humorous all at once, while The Unheard Music is a slower-burning track with a more poetic and haunting delivery thrown in for variety.

Apart from a somewhat mediocre cover of The Doors' Soul Kitchen and a short album length (the original album is under 30 minutes, and the extra tracks are mostly demos that don't add much to the album), Los Angeles is an excellent release and essential to any discerning punker. Wild Gift and Under The Big Black Sun are also vital X albums, if a bit more polished and civilized than this one.
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