I bought my copy of Darker Skratcher at the Wherehouse records franchise in the Panorama City mall in 1980. It was in the “punk” section and sure enough it had a cut on it by 45 Grave that I had heard on Rodney on the Roq a few times and which I’m sure was the reason I bought it. The remainder of the tracks were a glimpse into a mysterious suburban/subterranean music scene that became a huge influence on myself and all of my friends. It was a musical approach that could incorporate free improvisation, musique concrete, obscure pop culture references and pure noise into its “punk”. Sounded like home to me. Each of the groups on Darker Skratcher warrant their own posts, so I’ll refrain from the details for now and defer to the sage Mr. Lumbleau over at Mutant Sounds :
A seminal artifact of the L.A. Free Music Society’s salad days and one that, unlike most extant L.A.F.M.S. compilations, spends most of it’s time highlighting the less well recognized quirk pop perfection dimension of the L.A.F.M.S.’ collective praxis; to wit, it’s a compendium essential enough for me to be willing to bear the karmic burden of sharing a recording containing work by a certain Boyd Rice*. All that aside though, what self respecting freaky fringe music acolyte could be without this watershed document? From The Rick Potts Band’s suavely ludicrous bontempi pop to BPeople’s angular art fracture and from 45 Grave’s delightfully dejected sounding novelty song kitsch to Human Hands’ ferocious post punk juggernaut (one of their finest moments ever), it’s a testament to the sundry modes of ass-backward brilliance collectively deployed by this genre disrupting (and genre defining) art geek mafia.
*fwiw I share his misgivings about Mr Rice, but this track (the opening cut from DS) is just too great not to post.