Saluting San Francisco's Subterranean

Posted by Billyjam, August 14, 2012 03:35pm | Post a Comment

Flipper at Amoeba San Francisco, Feb 2008

The 1980's was a good decade for Bay Area indie rock music - especially the first half of the decade with labels like legendary small but influential San Francisco record label Subterranean Records who gave the world one of the greatest albums from one of the greatest bands of all time: Flipper's Generic Album which will forever have a welcome place on my record shelf. In recent years when the legendary SF band got back together again and played at Amoeba San Francisco in February 2008  (see video above) they played "That's The Way of The World" and "(I Saw You) Shine" off the influential 1982 album.

Other artists that were released by Subterranean back in the day included the Inflatable Boy Clams (their song "I'm Sorry" - a 7" was a mainstay on KALX and KUSF radio for years) and Polkacide (the polka punk beer fanatics who recorded such songs as "In Heaven There Is No Beer"). The label, that can be found nowadays online here, mainly released music by San Francisco Bay Area artists, Subterranean Records was formed by Steve Tupper in 1979 and immediately became central to the burgeoning wonderful post punk era in San Francisco music - a great time both in the clubs and in recording studios.

Artists and releases by Subterranean include the Pop O Pies, Minimal Man, Frighwig, Chrome, Helios Creed, Wilma, The Lewd, Longshoremen, The Muskrats, No Alternative, Housecoat Project, and Code of Honor. Flipper had four releases on the label. Penelope Houston and the Dead Kennedys even released stuff on Subterranean. And, besides the Dry Lungs compilations, one of my favorites (still in print) is the Red Dot compilation LP on white vinyl which served up a great mix of 1981 San Francisco avant-garde/experimental/noise groups including the Wounds, Minimal Man, the Fried Abortions, and Animal Things.

Below is another Flipper video, as well as one from Polkacide who got back together a few years ago, and also  video footage from six years from an Oakland gig of Helios Creed/Chrome. Helios Creed being the individual and guitarist from the pioneering band Chrome, who paved the way for such later acts as the Butthole Surfers, KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails. Ya gotta love the Bay Area and its rich musical legacy!


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