• Plugz
  • Electrify Me (Plugz) 1979  (Enigma) 1990 
  • Better Luck (Fatima) 1981  (Enigma) 1990 
  • Snake Farm
  • What Kind of Dreams Are These (Fr. New Rose) 1989 

Featuring guitarist/singer Tito Larriva (later in the Cruzados) and drummer Chalo Quintana (most recently of the Havalinas), this early LA new wave band play sharp and punky rock’n’roll with a strong sense of pop structure on the varied Electrify Me. The title track is mildly reggaefied; there’s also a pre-Los Lobos cover (in Spanish) of “La Bamba” and some folky detours, but the band never strays too far from an essentially unadventurous core.

The more mainstream Better Luck ups the Plugz’s folk and country sides for a blend of Rank and File (another ex-punk outfit whom they predated) and Tom Petty, displaying a promising rock talent enervated to the point of tedium. (The Plugz subsequently contributed three very divergent songs to the Repo Man soundtrack.)

Years after the Plugz folded, bassist Barry McBride resurfaced as a guitarist leading an atmospheric cowboy band of no fixed lineup. Snake Farm’s album is crisp and taut, resonant Southwestern rock played with unadorned skill and conviction. Given eloquent instrumental support — Dave Alvin and Billy Bremner each make one-song cameos — McBride’s vocals and playing are quite effective, but his often ungainly lyrics need help.

[Terry Rompers]

See also: Cruzados, Havalinas