Houston Music

Plastic Idols : Singles, Demos & Live: Houston Punk '78-'80

From 1978 to 1984, Houston's Plastic Idols managed to sustain themselves through numerous lineup changes and the ongoing rapid evolution of underground music. Local label Hot Box Review's compilation Singles, Demos & Live: Houston Punk '78-'80 shows the Idols traversing an astonishing amount of territory, from angular post-punk jams ("I.U.D.") to angst-­ridden punk ("You're Gonna Die"), and even predating the Minneapolis noise of the Replacements and Hüsker Dü on "Doesn't Matter to Me" and "Dangerous Drama," respectively. Opener "I.U.D." — and later, "No One There" — sound like Gang of Four trying to play Dead Boys and succeeding, while the searing "Sophistication" features electronic feedback that makes sure you damn well know this isn't just another bunch of Sex Pistols fans. The Idols even give the New York Dolls a serious run for their money on "I'm Already Dead." Even today, very few punk bands have been able to successfully utilize an organ the way the Idols do on "Einstein Experience" or "Uncircumcised Twin." Featuring album art by Houston stalwart J.R. Delgado, a tape transfer by former band member and Sugar Hill co-owner Dan Workman and extensive liner notes, this disc makes all but three of these tracks available for the first time anywhere. It's necessary, and not only for students of Houston's music history. It's simply necessary.

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Chris Henderson