Crime/Mirrors 

San Francisco's Still Doomed/ Another Nail in the Remodeled Coffin

It's hard to shake your roots, even when your roots shake you. In punk rock, it's even more impressive when a band is so counter to its surroundings that even its own "scene" turns up its nose. These two reissues recall two cases of such.

San Francisco's Crime -- unlike the ugly/beautiful Los Angeles party scene or the safety-pinned Bay Area punks -- seemed to possess no genetic entanglements with West Coast hippie history. Thus, the band's pushy but pun-laden look -- state-issued cop uniforms and slicked-back black hair -- inspired outright derision from SF scenesters, which only proves Crime got it right in the nihilistic ire-raising department. The musical cues, meanwhile, were culled from Raw Power-era Stooges, all rusty-blade blues and rockabilly sneer. Sloppy, but streamlining toward something like "new wave," though the band didn't survive to see it. Doomed includes solid-sounding 1978-79 demos (remastered and released stateside for the first time), plus killer unreleased versions of two songs from the band's first seven-inch.

Cleveland's Mirrors, meanwhile, were at least accepted by their scene, an art-damaged scrum led by Pere Ubu. The mood here is Rust Belt riffs penned by Baudelaire and painted by Leger -- though similarly cranky with warbled vocals and clipped rhythms, Mirrors songs tend to snap and pop like sheet metal. It all goes to prove there are always antis, even among the antis.

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