L7 – Wargasm – The Slash Years – box set review

L7 – Wargasm – The Slash Years

Cherry Red

3CD – DL

Out now

‘L7 originally formed in Los Angeles in 1985 when Suzi Gardner (guitar, vocals) and Donita Sparks (guitar, vocals)
joined forces with Jennifer Finch (bass, vocals). An all female band in a traditionally male-dominated, often sexist rock arena,
L7 were happy to court controversy through spirited, occasionally infamous live performances, whilst playing songs often
infused with humour as much as bite and bile.’ So says the press release for the new 3CD retrospective release of the three albums they released on the Slash label. Fighting Boredom’s Adrian Bloxham has been rediscovering their wonderful noise, read what he thinks below.

This is the story of L7 after the epitaph and sub pop albums. They signed to Slash and released their first album for them in 1992. I saw them on that tour and played their music at the nights we djed in Coventry. They were a fuzzed out festival of grunge, hard as nails, nasty as hell and ready to kick ass. Search out their performance on the Word on YouTube. Check out the stories about their Reading Festival performance and the response to the mud throwing. I was stood in the crowd watching, it really did go dead silent when she threw that tampon. But alongside the image there was the music and politics, their Rock For Choice gave a much needed voice for female issues. The music is heavy enough to chew on and emotional enough to get you through a rough time. Perfect teenage music. Bricks are Heavy is a female album. It’s kind of accepted that this was the grunge album, but more than that it’s a female album. 

The sight of them playing live was a scary proposition, three  wild women , painted with stripes at least one time I saw them stripped to bikini tops and shorts with a bleached blonde  effortlessly cool woman in black next to them with a thousand yard stood statue still. In the male heavy alternative scene they were a breath of tattooed fresh air. Hungry for Stink is heavier and even angrier if you can imagine that. Still nasty and still as hard as nails. Barely held back violence is the feeling you get when you stick it on. The fuzz is still there and the songs are bloody ace.

The Beauty Process has moved on a bit, it’s still hard and nasty but it’s more focused in on a needle point, a more concentrated dose of L7. Another one not to miss. But L7 were more than just another band. They stood for us and all our teenage anger, frustration and anger. No one else told me to write a shitlist or in their name warned against the brain numbing normality that awaits the square. They knew the world was a shit place that they could try and make a little better and they did it with style. This is well worth a shot, L7 baby, hard as nails.

L7’s website is l7theband.com. They are on Facebook, have a Bandcamp page and Tweet as @L7officialhq

All words by Adrian Bloxham.

Adrian Bloxham

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