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Twenty-five years ago, as outcast Amerika began to grapple with the reality of the Ramones and Anglo punk, there were a handful of folks who had no such problems. That’s because these pre-punk musicians had been quietly creating their own revolution–one which both foreshadowed and had little need for the musical elements of the “punk-rock” explosion. One of the best examples of this pre-punk (r)evolution was MX-80 Sound, from Bloomington, Indiana. Bruce Anderson (guitar), Rich Stim (vocals, sax, guitar, organ), Dale Sophiea (bass), Dave Mahoney (drums), and Jeff Armour (drums) forged a wildly original approach to making music, drawing from a wide range of oddball sources: Captain Beefheart, film scores, free jazz, early heavy metal, surf sounds, Roxy Music, and the Stooges, to name a few.

MX-80 Sound released their debut EP, BIG HITS, in 1976. Its cultural impact was minimal at the time, but the music was like little else in 1976 (kindred spirits did exist in other unlikely places, like Pere Ubu in Ohio and Debris in Oklahoma, but these bands had very little to do with one another). The following year, MX-80 played one of their occasional gigs at the Monroe County Public Library in Bloomington. That show, promoted by the local Gulcher Records label, saw the avant-rock quintet opening (!) for garage-smut-teen proto-punks the Gizmos. The performance was broadcast live on Indiana University’s WQAX radio. Now a quarter century later, the revived Gulcher Records gives us 1977 LIVE AT THE LIBRARY 1978, an amazing compact disc of MX-80’s entire set from that night, including three bonus tunes from the group’s farewell Bloomington gig a year later.

In some ways, these recordings are a bit of a revelation. As intense as the MX-80 studio recordings from that period sound, this live CD is even more raw and energized. Of course, it’s still within the context of MX-80’s deadpan delivery, so as Bruce Anderson’s amp roar subsides between songs, Rich Stim’s comments casually mock the proceedings.

LIVE AT THE LIBRARY features twenty songs, including nine which have never been released. There are great versions of MX-80 faves like “Tidal Wave,” “Train To Loveland,” “Fascination,” “Kid Stuff,” “Afterbirth/ Aftermath,” “Summer 77,” and “Civilized/Demeyes.” But wait’ll you hear the unreleased stuff–the stuttering, jagged “Felonious Funk”; their tribute to Iggy called “Pop For Pop”; “Partners In A Crime”; Magic Band meets Roxy Music in “Red Stones And Gold”; “Weight Of Love”; “Don’t Come Knockin'”; a rare example of MX-80 group improv called “Donuts And
Coffee”; the nightmarish “Kill That Dog”; and the spoofy roots-rock-reggae of “Natty Rothschild.”

-Eddie Flowers,

MX-80 Sound-LIVE AT THE LIBARY 1977-1978 (2003)



  1. I’d love to hear this, but the link points back to the main page of the blog

  2. no kidding!

  3. Woops, fixed.How I usually do this is I upload a bunch of albums while making the entries all at once, and usually by the time I’m done I rush.Sometimes I miss a cut and paste. D’oh!

  4. cheers mate!

  5. Thanks! You rock!

  6. thank you so much, love it.

  7. Stellar up!! Got all the singles and LPs from the day. Nice addy. Never caught 'em live so this'll do. ~stu

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