“Freeware” compilation of LA Post-Punk and Indie-Wave music, 1977-1987

My friend Sean Bonner just pointed me to a wonderful music history project, put together by Brian Stefans: at lapostpunk.blogspot.com, an MP3 compilation of post-punk and experimental pop music in the Los Angeles area from the mid-seventies through the mid-eighties.

I kind of think of this as a portrait of the city at the time more than a collection of tracks that will change the world (though more than a handful I think are unfairly neglected). I’m wondering if someone like Rhino Records would want to do a Nuggets-type collection from the period? They already have one of Los Angeles from 1965-1968 called Where The Action Is.

Incredibly comprehensive. What a labor of love. There's a Volume one, and a Volume two.


  1. Perhaps I’m running on fumes today, but it took me about five minutes to find the download link. Just in case there is anyone suffering from the same lack of mental alacrity, the actual download link for each comp is the disk number right above the track listing. 

    A doy.

  2. This is great. I’ve never heard of most of these bands, 99% fall into the “obscure” category – however, I’m wondering why Oingo Boingo and Sparks are included. Both bands had major pop hits and their albums are more than easily available (as opposed to, say the Suburban Lawns whose catalog is non-available)

    Outer Circle (named after a large roundabout) morphed in The Fontanelles. Of all the bands here, the most striking and original were Kommunity FK, who played quite a bit in the Sunset Blvd/Silverlake area. Imagine Depeche Mode slowed down and spliced with The Cure and Suicide – the Human Hands album is also worth tracking down. viva obscuro!

  3. I was raised in Cali and I was really surprised to find out how obscure Oingo Boingo was outside of the state – I regularly had conversations with people in the mid-west back in the 90’s who were pretty savvy and they’d never been exposed to the band other than the theme from Weird Science. Since the boom of 80’s nostalgia started, they’re everywhere, but not so much in the 80’s or early 90’s.

    1. Are you sure your were born and raised in “Cali”? – the only people I’ve ever heard use the word “CALI” are from way outside California. The same way SanFranciscans hate “Frisco” most California natives hate “Cali”

      BUT you’re right about Oingo Boingo and non-native Californians. Only after Danny Elfman’s movie soundtrack work did others become aware of Boingo. I’ve lived in Cali (oops, California) all my life and only knew of Oingo Boingo through their crazy, annual Halloween shows around LA

      1. Heh! Actually, I was raised out in Riverside, Rubidoux, and then Sacramento (also known as NorCal or “the 916”), so consider it an effort to be inclusive.

        1. 916!? I’ve *never* heard it called *anything* but “Sac!” You obviously aren’t from there at all!!! :)

          He he.

          Hey, man… let’s go make a rope swing on the river :)

          1. Riverside, I’ve heard of it!  Born and raised in Hemet here, but non-natives always call it “Hem” or “et”, that’s how we can tell they’re outsiders.

      2. Another Cali native, here, who says it and knows innumerable natives who do as well.

        I also live in the Bay, and although you’re right about the “Frisco” thing, it’s much less so than it was before 2000. When we got the mass influx of dotcommunists, we just got sick of correcting people. You hear it all the time now, and most natives just roll their eyes and go about their day. Hell… I’ve even seen it used “local” mags.

    2. Clearly you were talking to the squares and not in Minneapolis where Cities 97 has been playing all kinds of non-commercial music since the early ’80’s.  None the less, the only other bands on these comps I’ve ever heard of are Bad Religion, Kommunity FX, Christian Death and Wall of Voodoo.  Great, now I can’t get Mexican Radio out of my head.

  4. “Most California natives”? What you mean “most”? I say Cali, and I was born in Frisco.  But on  point, I have a vinyl from 415 records with a dozen tracks from San Frantic bands in the day.

  5. Great post, Xeni. On the blog they make passing mention of No Mag, which was the first music fanzine I had ever encountered (toward the end of the game in ’84). huge influence on my sense of aesthetic and taste in music!

    Luckily, there are a few issues preserved online. If you were in *cali* in the early to mid 80’s, and were part of the punk/new wave scene, you may remember it, and even if you don’t some of the images and bands will be really nostalgic for you:




  6. One does not simply

    Make a mid-seventies-mid-eighties post-punk-experimental-pop portrait of Los Angeles.

  7. Excellent tip.  I haven’t heard of a good chunk of these bands.  This scene produced so many gems during that time period.

    Another fantastic LA-centric punk/new wave/post-punk/whatever compilation to check out is “Keats Rides a Harley” (1981).  Most of the bands were from the LA scene and have a similar sound to the bands on the comp that was linked (although, maybe a bit more of an art punk/DIY bent).  Released by the guys in the Urinals/100 Flowers, too.  The New Alliance comps also featured some great songs by lesser known LA acts.


  8. Oh, my. This is probably my favorite era in music, but a lot of these are unfamiliar to me, too. You’ve made me very happy today!

  9. This is awesome!  Thanks for the link.

    I’m becoming more convinced that despite its general crappiness, the 1970s were the last true “golden age” of music innovation.

    (Maybe it was *because* of the 1970s’ general crappiness that so much was happening musically).

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