X Marks The Spot

Los Angeles… Sultry, sterile, intolerant of pedestrians – a city that has been making fortunes and shattering illusions since Raymond Chandler was waving a rattle.

In the late 1970s, however, a different kind of disillusionment had set in. Those nasty youngsters they call punks had descended from the dusty hills of Hollywood, and among them prowled this posse of misfits who would eventually daub their mark of punk’s wall of fame in letters a hundred feet high. Well, just one letter really – a simple and ominous ‘X’.

From the beginning, X had a knack for subtly infusing their pop-laced punk with a twist of then-unfashionable rockabilly, though it’s strange that one of their slightly less subtle nods to the drape suit era should now find them haunting SBB’s humble pages.

Adult Books, one of X’s first in a long line of wry, observational songs of modern romance, is a dazzling fusion of punk and doo-wop overlaid with a scratchy skank rhythm and John Doe’s funk-tinged bass. Although it follows a rolling 4/4 doo-wop beat, I’ve always felt that overall Adult Books has more of a reggae chop to it, possibly making it the only time LA’s finest cast a nod in that direction.

Branching out even further from their punkabilly beginnings, X eventually came to embrace country, folk and roots rock, even going so far as to show their funky side on 1983’s True Love Pt II. Very nice it is too:

And who would have thought we’d have a second LA punk appearance on Letterman to share with y’all (the first being this one):

(Dread Zed)

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