Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.



Los Angeles' 45 Grave were the leaders of the 1981 death-rock explosion that also birthed, among others, Christian Death and (Dance With Me-era) TSOL. The group was a breath of fresh graveyard air and, unlike many serious gloomsters, always kept tongue firmly in cinematic cheek. Playing with punky venom and a slick metallic sound (the goth-horror edge made it an absolutely prescient mix), the fearsome foursome (later a quintet) was led by Phoenix-bred guitarist Paul B. Cutler and his vampiric inamorata, vocalist Mary "Dinah Cancer" Sims, rounded out by ex-Germs drummer Don Bolles and bassist Rob Graves (Ritter), also a member of the Bags and Gun Club.
If Christian Death trumped 45 Grave when it came to releasing a debut album (Only Theatre of Pain having surfaced a little while earlier) then there's no question that Sleep In Safety is easily the equal, if not better than the other band's initial effort. It doesn't hurt at all that Cancer is a much better singer than the chronically groaning Rozz Williams, for one thing, while the clear sense of humour 45 Grave never denied ensured that the band never entered the realms of relentlessly ridiculous self-parody. How could they, given how entertainingly off they already were with songs like "Riboflavin," in praise of the nutritious forms of blood the healthy vampire needs
The legendary "Black Cross"/"Wax" single and three cuts on the seminal Hell Comes to Your House compilation inaugurated 45 Grave's career in 1981, establishing the blend of Cutler's crisp, offbeat riffing and Cancer's artless, icy shrieks. By the time their first album shambled in, Paul Roessler had joined, adding his effervescent keyboards into the macabre brew. The consistently creepy Sleep In Safety contains most of the band's best songs: multi-textured creations like "Insurance from God," "Dream Hits" and "Phantoms" (an '82 single), the catchy "Evil," a delightfully unexpected Ventures-like instrumental "Surf Bat", the giddy "45 Grave" theme song and a fist-waving anthem "Partytime," redone the following year as the B-side to a snazzy version of Alice Cooper's "School's Out".
Fusing everyone's varying punk/trash/art backgrounds into a Goth rock overlay and then never letting themselves be suckered into actually going and digging up bodies, the members recruited Craig Leon for effective production work and the well-recorded Sleep In Safety scored underground hit after hit. There's no question that the band's legendary "Partytime" is the high point, a stop-start, quiet/loud horror of a Goth landmark that lets Cancer sneak in a bit of pretty creepiness before everyone fires up into a classic rock chug with a great shout-along chorus that Joan Jett would be proud of. What really works best is how the music is the most truly dark part of the band, Graves' bass playing and Culter's post-Banshees guitar parts hitting all the right notes. In turn, Cancer isn't so much a dark priestess of gloom as a commanding figure who has to be listened to. The hilarious part of the band comes to the fore from the start, thanks to the introductory message about the creators of the album being skilled insurance agents. This later CD reissue includes the 12” single version of "Partytime" and "School's Out."

Taken from the 1993 remastered reissue to glorious MP3 @ 320kbps

Track List

                1. Insurance From God
                2. Evil
                3. Partytime
                4. Violent World
                5. Slice O' Life
                6. Phantoms
                7. Dream Hits II
                8. Bad Love
                9. Surf Bat
                10. Riboflavin
                11. Procession
                12. 45 Grave
                13. School's Out
                14. Partytime (Single Version)

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