100 Flowers


100 Flowers Fascist Groove Thang / FGT RMX 7″

Of course I have heard of 100 FLOWERS, the latter-day mutation of the URINALS, but I’ve never spent time with their stuff. This single—which consists solely of a HEAVEN 17 cover and remix of same—does not make me want to go back and explore their catalogue. Try as I might to respect my elders, I just cannot muster any enthusiasm for this one, which sounds like the outro music to some ’80s teen comedy. Sorry, dudes—tried, can’t.

100 Flowers Drawing Fire LP

When the URINALS wanted to expand their horizons beyond ramshackle, one-chord punk and simultaneously got fed up with hardcore’s increasing dominance in the LA scene, they changed their name to 100 FLOWERS and put out a handful of angular, art-minded post-punk records in the early 80s. This new reissue combines the five tracks from the band’s Drawing Fire 12″ from 1984 with 1982’s Presence of Mind EP and a couple of compilation contributions, all packaged in a beautiful Independent Project Press letterpress sleeve just as the original 12″ had been. There was definitely a certain econo approach in common with what they had done as the URINALS, but as 100 FLOWERS, the band’s songs took on a tightly-wound tension and structural complexity that was worlds away from the chaotic bash of “Ack Ack Ack Ack” and much more in step with what MISSION OF BURMA were doing around the same time (the combination of sharp, stabbing guitar and desperate vocals in “Bunkers” has Vs. written all over it), or how WIRE had similarly evolved by their second and third LPs. The thinking person’s punk music! A must-buy if the works of Happy Squid Records aren’t already fully represented in your collection.

100 Flowers Drawing Fire 12″

This new 100 FLOWERS release combines their usual rhythmic post-punk stylistic devices with a somewhat rawer production. They’ve always used guitars in an awkward, interesting way, but here there’s more overall rumble and punch that I would have anticipated. Pretty good.

100 Flowers Presence of Mind EP

I read that the URINALS decided to change their name so they could get gigs, but apparently it also signaled a change of musical direction. Only the speedy “Dyslexia” reminds one at all of the old URINALS on this EP: the others are examples of their slower neo-psychedelic approach. Personally, I’d prefer the return of the greatest garage band in the world, but then what do I know?