Whatever Happened to GOGOGO Airheart?

On the page, San Diego's Gogogo Airheart, in the eyes of revisionist history, are one to leave in the dustbin, a band that has grown more pretentious and forgettable with time. It's a shame though. Methinks they were just stuck in the middle, misunderstood, ahead of their days. The Airheart were wedged between the More Than Music post-rock legion and the dawn of the disco-punk flashpot. And while both of those poles haven't aged all that well (show me your Radio 4 records kids), Gogogo Airheart's ExitheUXA has become a swirling mess of rickety psychedelia and wiry punk trips played up like a teenage Amon Duul, occasionally dubbed-out and blown-out, scattered and shuffled, wonderfully dotted with hash marks where the quartet were truly pushing the envelope.

I imagine at the time they were slighted as being a West Coast copy of Make-Up, as singer Micheal Vermillion's screeching, warbled pants and chants closely resembled Ian Svenonious' wails. And by trying their best at modernizing the Public Image Limited, it was inherent that some of their rhythms would resemble the same beat being employed by lesser bands of the time like the Rapture and Moving Units -- it was something everyone was doing, a reason Gang of Four records were in vogue more than ever, and a simple trend that evaporated quicker than a Southern California rainstorm. ExitheUXA didn't dwell on those punctuations (except for maybe the record's most populous offering, "When the Flesh Hits")or pronounce themselves as a dance band, even if you could seizure your way through the crowd to what they did on the stage. The album was more obtuse, idiosyncratic, veering through some very heavy guitar jams ("Last Goodbye") before coming up for air with atonal no waving.

Let's face it, not much of the GSL/Troubleman/Hydrahead graduating class made a record worth keeping in this new decade. Being removed that long, it's easy to look back and laugh at the awful music we paid money to hear. Gogogo Airheart were different. They were attacking from different corners and listening to a much wider swath of older, obscuro records (and reggae!, check out "Witch Hunt"). I can even see their influence slightly in one of my favorite Columbus bands -- El Jesus De Magico -- a group that could harsh on a groove endlessly, appear to improv into the ether, but bring it all back as if it was in the stones all along. Seek this record out, by any means.

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