Danny & the Parkins Sisters

The Slightly Fabulous Danny & the Parkins Sisters

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Much has been written about the scrappy D.I.Y. post-punk/art-punk scene that blossomed in New York City in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, but relatively little time has been spent in retrospective analysis of its San Francisco counterpart. Bay Area agitators Danny Vinik and Debra and Beverly Parkins, better known as Danny & the Parkins Sisters, rubbed shoulders with the likes of Flipper and the Dead Kennedys at the time (in fact, DK drummer D.H. Peligro plays on the trio's "We Are Indians"), but never came close to gaining a comparable amount of attention. Nevertheless, the band's short, strange story has at last been preserved for posterity by this collection, which includes the eight-track mini-LP Danny & the Parkins Sisters released in 1982 as well as a generous batch of demos and live recordings. On both the original album cuts and the demo tracks, the trio offers all the hallmarks of lo-fi art-punk -- dirty, scratchy guitar riffs, homemade-sounding keyboard lines, slaphappy, rattletrap percussion, and singing that's more focused on a message and an attitude than the niceties of accurate pitch. It's the kind of thing that could very easily have come from the contemporaneous Soho loft scene in New York. The songs themselves are appropriately arch sociopolitical commentaries that take satirical swipes at everything from nuclear power to TV culture. When Vinik and the sisters get into a sort of mauled madrigal on "ES&R," or get into an extremely DNA-esque vibe with the spastic vocals, splattered guitars, and atonal keyboards of "On My Block," it makes for some undeniably intriguing listening. On the live cuts, however, which mostly rely only on some modest strumming to support the vocals, things begin to peter out a bit.

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