HOME | DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE | THE HEDONIST JIVE |
Thursday, June 26, 2003
THREE CHEERS FOR THE LOST 1990s “OLDIES” SCENE!....Anyone out there remember a San Francisco Bay Area 1950s teen-sound combo called THE BRENTWOODS, who were active just over a half-decade ago? Their profile was so low, despite an impressive pedigree (Darin and Karen, ex-SUPERCHARGER + an ex-TRASHWOMEN & more), that even those of us who were living here pretty much missed them (I had to order their wildly underpressed LP “Fun In South City” directly from the band, who lived about 8 miles from my house). I just digitized their entire 1994-98 ouvre minus one single I could never find, and the whole package is quite a hoot. Comprised of five 45s and an LP, the Brentwoods' work is not for the audiophile nor for the easily annoyed. Their m.o. was flat-out, full-contact dance party rock, with a heavy tilt toward a mongrelized farfisa-drenched garage punk/good-time oldies mix, all recorded more or less live and on cheap equipment to boot. Lots of screams, yelps and hollers, and you certainly have to love the chutzpah of a band that puts its woefully inept female singer (who sounds like she might be about 15) front and center, and then encourages her to yell herself raw.
The band had an inexplicable attachment to their hometown of South San Francisco, a blue-collar suburb with a decaying bowling alley from which the band took their name. A good two thirds of the songs have references that only an upper Peninsula maven could figure out, including many that mention the cryptic “Buri Buri”, which I believe is a So. SF neighborhood & which The Brentwoods have made into a teen dance of their own. Listening to each stomping, screaming 90 second track, it’s clear there’s really not a lot to figure out here – The Brentwoods were an oldies band, they thoroughly enjoyed going to parties, and they planned to take the USA by storm with dances like “The Bug” and “The Doofus Stomp”. Another key draw here are the frequent vague jabs made at thin-skinned ex-Supercharger guitarist Greg Lowry and his then-band the RIP OFFS. The LP’s cover art alone is one long cartoon about how the Brentwoods and their fans could easily beat up the Rip Offs (cleverly cloaked as “The Riff-Raffs” here) in a street fight. If you loved the calculated no-talent genius of SUPERCHARGER, and it would be hard not to, you just might be able to handle this. Now the trick is getting Radio X (Darin’s label) to get back in business, put it together and push it out to the kids. Good luck!