THE PLIMSOULS – One Night In America / Beach Town Confidential

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”At a time when rock music was shifting gears, the Plimsouls threw British Invasion into the new wave mix and permanently altered the genre. Fun was the operative word, and bar bands everywhere joined the fray. But the Plimsouls were exceptional because they boasted the talents of singer/songwriter Peter Case.

The band formed in Los Angeles in 1978 and merged roots, retro and guitar rock with a ramshackle punk aesthetic. Case had already collaborated with Jack Lee and Paul Collins in the Nerves, who had some success in 1976 with the single “Hangin’ on the Telephone,” later recorded by Blondie. In 1978, Case met L.A. locals guitarist Eddie Munoz, drummer Lou Ramirez and bassist Dave Pahoa. After one EP, Zero Hour in 1980, and an album in 1981 that contained some stellar power-pop in songs like “Zero Hour” and “Hush, Hush,” it looked like the band were a new wave one-off until a single from the soundtrack to Valley Girl, “A Million Miles Away,” lifted them from new wave obscurity and cemented their reputation. The song remains a timeless classic. An album for Geffen, Everywhere At Once, followed in 1983 with a re-recorded version of the song, but ultimately, the liaison with the label was not a lasting one; the Plimsouls broke up shortly after its release. A testament to their strength as a live band was captured on One Night in America and released in 1988.” [Denise Sullivan]

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“LA’s short-lived but glorious run of The Plimsouls is documented by this loud and proud, high energy concert recording, made in 1981 and left in a bag in guitarist Eddie Munoz’s closet. It runs through 13 songs, mainly from the band’s Planet Records’ debut album, four covers and an early version of The Plimsoul’s signature “A Million Miles Away.”

“One Night In America” captures the band’s unique mix of progressive punk and power pop in a tight, sometimes messy, energetic performance. Featuring classic tunes such as ‘A Million Miles Away’ and ‘How Long Will It Take’, the band also included a few covers such as The Kinks’ ‘Come On Now’ and The Outsiders’ ‘Time Won’t Let Me’, here in all their raw, live glory.”

 

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“Beach Town Confidential” captures a stunning live performance by power-pop purveyors The Plimsouls at the band’s pinnacle, during the summer of 1983. Recorded at the now-defunct Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, Calif., the incendiary 17-song set finds the foursome charging through a particularly inspired set of hook-filled originals and some smartly-chosen covers.

Led by the passionately soulful vocals of Peter Case and the slashing, melodic guitar work of Eddie Munoz (complemented by a tight rhythm section in bassist Dave Pahoa and drummer Lou Ramirez), “Beach City Confidential” offers the best sound of any Plimsouls live recording that has surfaced to date. (It was produced and mixed by Case from the 24-track masters.) In addition, the set list provides a fine overview of the band’s best-known originals from their two full-length albums (including the alternative radio biggie “A Million Miles Away,” “Zero Hour,” “Now” and “Oldest Story in the World”), alongside some rarities (such as the smoldering surf instrumental “Hobo,” which was originally released as a B-side).

As powerful as the originals are here – and the readings of “Oldest Story in the World” and “How Long Will it Take” positively smolder – the band’s choice of covers is where Beach City Confidential really shines. Many of these have never appeared on any Plimsouls release until now; Moby Grape’s “Fall On You” and the Creation’s “Making Time” are particularly well-suited to the Plimsouls’ sound, and the band amps ‘em up a bit, throws ‘em into overdrive and makes them their own. Versions of the Everly Brothers’ “Price of Love” (with guest vocals by the Williams Brothers) and the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Jumpin’ in the Night” (with Keith Streng of the Fleshtones sitting in on guitar) are also quite fine, and showcase the Plimsouls’ love of ‘60s pop and classic power pop,respectively.” [Goldmine]

 

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