November 19th, 2009 by Paul Curran
“Submind/Noise In My Head” 45
(Rent’s Due 001, 1981)
This stunningly great 7″ is a mystery of mysteries.
When I happen across unfamiliar records with Tim Yo covers* in the MRR library, they usually turn out to be something good, or at least interesting. But this one is by far my favorite “discovery.” The Tenants played slow- to mid-tempo punk/post-punk that is both dark and melodic (think Wipers, Zounds, or more recently The Estranged). With its driving rhythms, the jangly, layered guitars and clever vocals (both in execution and lyrically), I’m surprised this record isn’t more well known and loved.
I can’t find any info on the band itself. They were from San Francisco, but I haven’t met anyone here who ever saw them. There was another band called the Tenants around the same time — from Canada maybe? — I saw their LP in Amoeba and got excited until I figured out they weren’t the same. The only other tidbit I know is that “Noise In My Head” appeared on a comp tape that Calvin Johnson put out with the same title a few years ago. Maybe ol’ CJ could fill in some details for me…
*Tim Yohannan, MRR’s founder, used to modify some of his record covers by adding his own artwork — usually, it seems, for bands he particularly liked, or when the original cover art was just too boring. (Note that every record in the collection has the green tape, so that’s not a special for this cover.) The back cover on this Tim Yo mod features a clipping from the San Francisco Chronicle‘s article on the eviction of the International Hotel in 1977 — not far from the Mabuhay Gardens, aka the Fab Mab. You can read more about that event here. The front cover has a photo of the band that could’ve been from any number of local music rags at the time: Another Room, etc.
Of course, anybody with any info on this band or record should leave a comment here. Cheers!