Angry Samoans - The Unboxed Set (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Angry Samoans

The Unboxed Set (1995)

Triple X Records

The Unboxed Set contained one of the greatest punk rock records ever made in its entirety. That would be Angry Samoans' Back From Samoa. If the rest of the collection were made up of armpit fart sounds, it would still have been a damn fine release. Fortunately, there was lots of other good stuff too, but let's go back to the beginning...

Angry Samoans were formed in the LA area by rock writer "Metal" Mike Saunders way back in 1978. Saunders was already a veteran musician by this point, unlike most of very young punk and hardcore upstarts of that era. The sound was a mix of garage rock and hardcore punk. The band put out three classic LP's and one excellent EP in the 80's. In 1995 Triple X did the punk world a great service by compiling all of those releases on a single compact disc. The title was a jab at the bloated, multiple CD box sets that were all the rage at the time. While vinyl snobs would still want to hunt down the individual records, The Unboxed Set was a gift for most punk fans.

The collection was arranged chronologically, so 1980's Inside My Brain was up first. This was originally released as a six song EP, but later had five songs added and was sold as an LP. It contained what was arguably the Angry Samoans' best known song, "Get Off the Air". That song was highly critical of, and very insulting to influential DJ Rodney on the ROQ. While it gained the band a level of infamy, it also got them banned from some of LA's most prominent clubs for a couple of years. The bonus tracks included a couple of live cuts and a demo version of "My Old Man's a Fatso". This was probably Angry Samoans' second best known song, and was later famously covered by The Queers.

Next up was the previously mentioned 1982 masterpiece Back From Samoa. Rarely had 14 songs in 17 minutes sounded so good. Even the cover art was classic. This was Angry Samoans at their most vicious. The songs were short, fast and venomous. "Lights Out" was a great track about following the in-crowd, even if it meant poking your own eyes out. "My Old Man's a Fatso" (here in its shorter, faster form), told the ageless tale of father/son conflict. "Time Has Come Today" was an almost unrecognizable cover of The Chamber Brothers 60's hit. "Homo-Sexual" was a song completely free of a modern sensibility or any trace of political correctness. On "They Saved Hitler's Cock", well, the name pretty much said it all. "Ballad of Jerry Curlan" was the epic at just over three minutes. It was pretty much an extended Tourette's attack, and was essential, like every other track.

On the 1986 EP Yesterday Started Tomorrow, Angry Samoans slowed things down a bit and took a more psychedelic approach. The songs were longer, slower and gloomier. While all of the six tracks were solid, their twisted cover of Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love" was the highlight. Last up was 1988's STP Not LSD. On this album the band returned to their garage rock roots, while still incorporating psychedelic elements. The title track would have you involuntarily singing along in no time.
"Death of Beewak", "Egyptomania" and "Attack of the Mushroom People" were great examples of the band at their most weird and wonderful. "Garbage Pit" was another highlight. The album closed with the one-two punch of "(I'll Drink to This) Love Song" and "Lost Highway". Both songs were a subtle nod to vintage country.

Fast forward twenty years. Angry Samoans are still playing, and this compilation is a classic in its own right. It's 43 mostly excellent tracks in 75 minutes. While the band was influential, they tend to get overlooked among the first wave LA groups. If you're not familiar with Angry Samoans, you owe it to yourself to seek this out. No respectable record/CD collection is complete without a copy of The Unboxed Set.