February 14, 2015
Anybody remember when cassettes took up half the space at music stores? At 23, I must be around the youngest to have that memory. Music buying was different back then. Yes, cassettes are making a comeback, but show me a store that has more than two racks of them. It’s just a completely different experience. Finding out about music was also different. The internet wasn’t so big, and there were only so many outlets for discovery. Random urges were enough to pick up an album without Googling everything about it first. That’s why the new release by The Coneheads is so intriguing to me. It’s a collection of two cassette-only releases by a punk band from Indiana. That’s all I know about them. That’s all you can find on the internet. I assume they took their name from the movie, but I’m not sure. What I am sure of, though, is the album absolutely rips.
Listening to The Coneheads takes me back to those cassette-heavy times. I was really young, so the memories have a fuzzy, can’t-quite-place-it feel to them. That’s also how I feel about L.P.1. (full title: L.P.1. aka “14 Year Old High School PC-Fascist Hype Lords Rip Off Devo for the Sake of Extorting $$$ from Helpless Impressionable Midwestern Internet Peoplepunks L.P.”). It doesn’t sound current, but you can’t really put another time to it. It has a vague early 80’s feel – they have a song called “1982” – but there weren’t any bands that sounded like this in 1982. Devo is a good starting point, but the music is much more manic. It’s “Whip It” on warp speed. Vocally, songs switch between a low, robotic monotone and a high-pitched alien wail. It sounds like Beldar Conehead fronting a punkier, more aggressive Devo. It’s the sound of something that didn’t happen in the past, but you can’t help placing it there. The effect of it all is feeling like you’re listening to a timeless punk record.
As far as timeless punk records go, this one doesn’t have much to say. There are no political statements, no social critiques. There’s nothing illuminating. That’s just fine. Over 15 songs and 18 minutes, L.P.1. blisters through with infectious, off-kilter energy. Propulsive bass and drums drive the songs forward. Buzzsaw guitars hack away with six-second solos. It’s all there in the forty-five-second opener “Out of Conetrol”. Later, “Waste of Space” starts off a great middle section. It begins bass-heavy and throws in warbly vocals and organ. Follow-ups “1982” and “Big City Baby” are standouts. “I Used to be a Cheesepuff” is a throwaway laugh track that never goes stale. They do a cover of the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”, which, if we’re keeping the Devo comparison, is their “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. L.P.1. flat-out delivers. I could learn a million things about the band, or none at all, and still love the album the same. Although I am kind of sad to know they’re from Indiana – I was hoping to get a “We come from France” moment out of them.