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LAWNDALE (Buy CDs by this artist)
Beyond Barbecue (SST) 1986
Sasquatch Rock (SST) 1987

As part of an effort to change its image and expand its scope beyond the confines of punk, SST signed this surf-guitar quartet from Lawndale (the Southern California town where the label is based) and released two albums of winning twang. Staking a claim on '60s West Coast beach instrumentals, Lawndale plays original compositions (plus occasional offbeat borrowings, like "Interstellar Caravan," credited to Pink Floyd and Duke Ellington) with unaffected enthusiasm and spunk. The only indication of the band's '80s orientation is song titles like "The Story of Vanna White," "The Days of Pup & Taco," "March of the Melted Army Men" and "Sasquatch Rock."

The second album has a less-specific period feel and exchanges Mosrite clarity for ambitious clutter (adding fuzzbox, harmonica and even a fleeting "Robert Plant vocal" on "Take Five," which quotes "Whole Lotta Love"), but both promise a refreshing dip into delightful, if well-charted, waters.

[Ira Robbins]