Tuesday, June 08, 2021

The Screamers - Strength Through Intimidation

 Subtitled "the 1978 Gexa X Demos", this record consists of good quality recordings of this truly seminal and unique punk band that never released anything during the group's short tenure. With a weird mix of vocals/synth/electric piano and drums, the guitar-less punk band had snarling vocals on top of 60’s influenced (like most 70's punk bands, they did a 60's tune, in their case it was an updated "The Beat Goes On") noise combined with touches of new wave/Devo synth twitches, bleeps'n'boops, live'n'powerful'n'propulsive techno-type beats, punk aggression and lots of other wackiness. 

I remember seeing them once back in the day but was not overly impressed due to my love of guitars - I really wish that I could see that show again today - I believe that I would feel very differently about it now. But, singer Tomato du Plenty is legendary as a frontman and the band was the breeding ground for the likes of Tommy Gear, Paul Roessler and KK Barrett (not to mention a teenage El Duce, in an early, Oregon-based configuration!). Their live act ensured them headlining status in LA and they were also successful while touring as far away as NYC.

Though keyboard-driven, the sound is highly aggressive'n'abusive, with plenty of nods to guitar-based punk rock - it's pretty fascinating that they created a hard-edged, high-energy sound within their self-imposed limitations. It's truly is a pretty unique sound that to this day is different than most anyone else has accomplished, as most keyboard-based combos are more atmospheric and/or techno.

This is a great document of what could easily have been yet another legendary but lost band. Anyone who digs the early punk scene should certainly own this!