L7’s Smell the Magic: 30th Anniversary Edition is out tomorrow, September 18th. Now watch Donita Sparks with the Lucha VaVOOM dancers performing “Fast and Frightening”
Thu, Sep 17, 2020 at 8:30 AM
A multitude of rock music scenes populated the expanse of Los Angeles in1989: hardcore punk, industrial goth, roots rock, and Sunset Strip hair metal to name a few. L7 fit into none of them. Guitarist-vocalists Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner, bassist-vocalist Jennifer Finch, and newly added drummer Dee Plakas were creating their own unique blend of punk and hard hooky rock, with humor and cultural commentary along for the ride.
But making a mark on the LA underground rock scene was more challenging than it seemed.
Originating out of art punk circles in 1985, L7 played countless poetry readings, drag shows, art happenings and punk rock dive bars. They were nothing short of perseverant.
Having already released one album, eponymously titled, L7, the band was touring up the West Coast when they began to meet like minded artists affiliated with Sub Pop Records. The band managed to score a phone number for the imprint, and convinced label founders Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman to come see them live.
That show would take place a couple of weeks later in 1989 at an arts center in Seattle. The stage was finagled out of folding tables, and friends recruited to work a smoke machine (members of the group Cat Butt) decided to drop acid before attending to their duties. This led to a thick fog filling the entire venue and the band’s performance could hardly even be seen. L7 were convinced they blew it. Instead, they got signed: Sub Pop may not have been able to see them, yet, but they could hear them and asked if L7 would do a recording for their monthly Singles Club.
Later in the year, the band went into the label’s go-to studio in Seattle, Reciprocal Recording and in one day recorded “Shove,” “Packin’ a Rod,” and “Fast and Frightening.”
Released in January, the single’s A-side “Shove” would kick off the 1990’s with a bang and L7 would have an underground hit on their hands.
The band was then given the go ahead to record a full EP. The buzz from their Sub Pop’s Singles Club release was almost immediately palpable.
A few months after “Shove,” L7 continued with recording the EP—later expanded into a full-length album with three cover songs (“Packin’ a Rod,” “Just Like Me,” and “American Society”). They recorded again with Reciprocal’s producer, Jack Endino, and later Michael James and Ramones-producer Daniel Rey in Los Angeles.
This 30th-anniversary edition of the ‘90s underground rock classic Smell the Magic includes all 9 songs from the album, remastered and available together on vinyl for the first time ever! Originally released in 1990, Smell the Magic is a landmark of ’90s feminist rock.
Thu, Sep 17, 2020 at 8:30 AM
Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 6:58 AM