GLIDE MAGAZINE– Positive 4/5 album review
Beach Town Confidential: Live At The Golden Bear 1983
By Doug Collette
The casual listener might be surprised to learn Live at the Golden Bear 1983 is the third live Plimsouls album to be release in recent years. One listen to Beach Town Confidential from start to finish, however, will explain why the demand is there: this is blood and guts rock transcending fashion (both the punk and new wave of its era), the likes of which will always stand the test of time.
To an even greater degree perhaps than 2010’s Live: Beg Borrow & Steal, The Plimsouls play and sing here like their lives depend on it–plus they absolutely relish that sensation. Comparisons between a young John Lennon and Peter Case are not off the mark: especially when the group is piledriving its way through one of the frontman’s originals, like “Zero Hour” or “Oldest Story in the World.” Case’s singing demonstrates a deep-seated need to not just be heard, but understood. And he enjoys no end belting it out!
The presence of The Williams Brothers, among other guests during this 50-plus minute long set, add harmony vocals on “Who’s Gonna Break the Ice?” but their singing does nothing to undermine the urgency of the performance. Likewise, The Fleshtones’ Keith Streng on “Jumpin’ in the Night,” this otherwise vain attempt to conclude the show, following immediately with another original, “Now,” only ratchets up the intensity of the atmosphere in the club back to fever pitch.
Beach Town Confidential has much in common with its predecessors, including 1988’s One Night in America, most especially the economical brevity of the tracks that proceed in rapid-fire succession as the album progresses. The presence of roots-rock covers, effectively juxtaposed to contrast with the ‘Souls own material, recurs here in the form of “You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover.” A welcome surprise indeed–and proof positive great rock bands find kindred spirits in other such compelling ensembles–is the inclusion of Moby Grape’s “Fall On You:” no mention is made of the source of the song, but suffice to say it maintains the momentum.
Peter Case must experience a great source of pride in prepping and producing such a release (along with former Plimsouls manager Danny Holloway). It maintains the impeccable credibility of his body of work, with this great band and solo under his own name.
Beach Town Confidential – The Plimsouls
by Mark Deming
For over 20 years, the lively but fidelity-challenged One Night in America was the only readily available evidence of the Plimsouls’ status as one of America’s best live bands during the 1980s, but it’s our good fortune that Peter Case has taken to rummaging through his closet. In 2010, he unearthed Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal, which documented a hot Halloween night show at the Whiskey in 1981, and now Beach Town Confidential allows us to relive a 1983 Plimsouls gig at the Golden Bear club in Huntington Beach, California. While Everywhere at Once (released earlier the same year) dominates the set list, Plimsouls obsessives will be pleased to know some genuine rarities show up on Beach Town Confidential, including “Who’s Gonna Break the Ice?” (a solo version by Case appeared on the soundtrack to the faulty teen comedy The Wild Life) and “Hobo” (a surf-ish instrumental that surfaced as a bonus track on the CD reissue of Everywhere at Once), and the band tears through a fistful of well-chosen covers, including Moby Grape’s “Fall on You,” the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Jumpin’ in the Night” (with Keith Streng of the Fleshtones joining the ‘Souls on guitar), and the Creation’s “Making Time.” The audio is crisp and captures the rowdy ambience of the packed house, but the real thrill of this album is hearing the Plimsouls at the top of their game. The band is ferociously tight and hits the songs hard without robbing them of their melodic grace, and Case’s vocals are pure rock & roll fervor. And how many bands of this era could come up with songs as undeniable as “A Million Miles Away,” “How Long Will It Take?,” and “Shaky City”? You could argue that Beach Town Confidential doesn’t tell us much about the Plimsouls that we don’t already know, and that may be true, but few bands merged melody, force, and sheer belief as well as these guys did on a good night, and they were having a very good one when these tapes rolled. A thrill for longtime fans and a revelation for anyone who pegged the Plimsouls as just another L.A. power pop band.
The Plimsouls: Beach Town Confidential
By Alan Brown
Although recorded a mere 12 months before Peter Case dissolved the Plimsouls and went solo, Beach Town Confidential presents a band at their peak, not one close to imploding. This set at Huntington Beach’s Golden Bear in 1983 is a melodic white-hot power-pop ball of energy that blows away any previous Plimsouls live recording you may have heard, including One Night In America or even 1981’s “close-fisted power-pop tour-de-force” at the Whisky-A-Go-Go on All Hallows Eve. As well as audience favorites “Zero Hour” and “A Million Miles Away”, the album offers six unreleased numbers, including cover versions of the Everlys’ “Price of Love” that has guests the Williams Brothers on lead vocals and Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge A Book”, plus the only live recordings of original songs “Magic Touch” and the spooky surf-meets-power-pop instrumental “Hobo”. Recommended! http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/154488-the-plimsouls-beach-town-confidential/
LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS – Positive 4 star album review
CD review: The Plimsouls, ‘Beach Town Confidential’ — 4 stars
By Sam Gnerre
This live recording taken from an August 1983 show at Huntington Beach’s now-demolished Golden Bear is the latest in a series of the Alive label’s fine reissues chronicling singer/songwriter Peter Case’s early pre-solo career, from the Nerves to the short-lived Breakaways and finally the Plimsouls.
It’s hard to imagine the Plimsouls ever sounding better live than the band sounds on this recording, which is superior to the band’s two earlier live albums. The mix is remarkable, a crystal-clear blend of rippling, crackling guitars and pounding drums behind Case’s sure-footed and crisply rendered vocals. Factor in the band’s ability to create an exhilarating hybrid of rock ‘n’ roll, power pop and blue-eyed soul drawn from its own originals and astutely chosen covers, an enthusiastic club crowd and a nonstop pace, and “Beach Town Confidential” becomes essential.
The band’s hit “A Million Miles Away” is here with guitars blazing, but some lesser-known tracks may also set your hair on fire, most notably a wild version of East L.A. legends Thee Midniters’ classic 1966 raver “Jump, Jive and Harmonize.”
Among the other covers are rip-snorting takes on the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Jumping in the Night” and the Creation’s mod classic “Makin’ Time.” Several of the band’s own songs also punch through the speakers more strongly than did the original studio versions, including a dynamic “Now” that balances melodic verses with its jet-propelled chorus, and a stunning “How Long Will It Take” that puts together everything the Plimsouls were capable of in a single 2 1/2-minute blitz. “Beach Town Confidential” is a rarity, a live recording that captures a band at the peak of its powers and demonstrates clearly to the listener why it was special. And the Plimsouls at its peak was special indeed.
Case and former Nerves bandmate and power-pop master Paul Collins will be touring together this spring, including a March 7 date at The Echo in Echo Park.
BLURT MAGAZINE (national music monthly and online site) – Positive 8/10 album preview
Live at the Golden Bear 1983
With Live at the Golden Bear 1983, the Plimsouls catalog now contains as many live albums as studio LPs. This entry takes place in the months prior to the release of the L.A. quartet’s final (in its original incarnation) record Everywhere at Once, and includes material from that LP – “Oldest Story in the World,” “How Long Will It Take?,” “Magic Touch,” the instrumental “Hobo.” (EAO cuts “Shaky City” and “A Million Miles Away” had been set staples since 1981.) Of course, the band’s prior classics still stand tall, including “Now,” “In This Town” and, of course, “Zero Hour.” The album also includes “Who’s Gonna Break the Ice?,” an otherwise unrecorded, and quite excellent, new song.
The band also adds a passel of new covers to its repertoire, hitting on the Creation (“Making Time”), the Everly Brothers (“Price of Love,” sung by guests the Williams Brothers), the Flamin Groovies (“Jumpin’ in the Night,” with Fleshtones guitarist Keith Streng) and Bo Diddley (“You Can’t Judge a Book”). The group’s raucous version of Thee Midniters’ “Jump Jive and Harmonize” remains as well. The presence of that many covers might cause one to wonder about the band’s confidence in its own material, but give that singer Peter Case digs into other people’s songs with the same eagerness as his own, they might as well all be Plimsouls songs anyhow.
So the question is: what makes this live record a necessary purchase, given the release of Live! Beg Borrow & Steal and One Night in America? No real reason, except that it’s just an ass-kicking performance. [Boy howdy to that: speaking as one who saw the Plimsouls and interviewed them on this same ’83 tour, this was a band to be reckoned with. – Archival Ed.]
Throughout, the band blazes away with all the fire and fervor of a group of dudes who looooove their job, and with first-rate material and an energy level nearly off the charts, Live at the Golden Bear 1983 is as essential as any other item in the Plimsouls’ catalog.
DOWNLOAD: “Jumpin’ in the Night,” “Who’s Gonna Break the Ice?,” “Now” MICHAEL TOLAND
SOUND + VISION MAGAZINE (national music monthly) – Positive album preview
This Week in Music, Feb. 7, 2012
By Brett Milano
The Plimsouls: Beach Town Confidential
Lovers of first-class power pop should welcome all the Plimsouls they can get, and this newly released 1983 show beats their studio releases for sweat and swagger. Along with their sole hit “A Million Miles Away” and the shoulda-been-a-hit “Zero Hour,” there are ace covers from Everly Brothers to Flamin’ Groovies.
STYLE WEEKLY (Richmond, VA weekly) – Positive review with album art
The Plimsouls, “Beach Town Confidential: Live at the Golden Bear 1983” (Alive Records)
Some people recall the Plimsouls as the band featured in “Valley Girl,” others as an early vehicle for untiring troubadour Peter Case, and still others as simply a fantastic ’80s group that was a much-needed antidote to the hair metal and synth pop plaguing the musical times. But you need a soul check if you don’t feel revved up by this live set of the band pleasing the crowd at a now-legendary Huntington Beach, Calif., nightspot. Coming off as both good timey and edgy, the group rips through many of the British Invasion- and roots rock-tinged power-pop standouts that made minor classics of their 1980 EP “Zero Hour,” an eponymous ’81 debut long player, and its follow-up, ’83’s “Everywhere at Once.” If anything, these blistering live cuts make it sound as if the studio concoctions came up short in showcasing the Plimsouls’ considerable force. For good measure, they wear their influences proudly via energized covers of songs by ’60s favorites such as the Creation and Moby Grape. Enjoy this fine reissue as ’80s nostalgia or just as a fabulous live record by a top-notch act performing band at its peak.— Brian Greene
SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN (Sante Fe, NM daily) – Positive review with album art
TERRELL’S TUNE-UP: Timeless Plimsouls
A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Feb. 17, 2012
Two years after their last live album, the mighty Plimsouls are back with an even more powerful concert CD. Not bad for a group that broke up almost 30 years ago.
Even if you didn’t know anything about The Plimsouls, you would have a hard time believing that Beach Town Confidential was recorded just a couple of months ago, not in 1983.
Now what should you know about The Plimsouls?
They rose from the fires of the frenzied L.A. punk/New Wave scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Led by Peter Case, who had been in a punk group called The Nerves, and fortified by Eddie Muñoz on guitar, Dave Pahoa on bass, and drummer Louie Ramirez, they forged a sound that featured the guitar frenzy of their punk peers but sweetened it with irresistible melodic hooks. You could hear echoes of rock’s founding fathers, mid-’60s folk-rock, and sweaty soul.
The Plimsouls only released a couple of studio albums in their heyday, including their major-label debut, the over-produced but — hey, it was the ’80s — still worthy Everywhere at Once, which yielded the closest thing the band had to a hit, “A Million Miles Away.” They broke up in the mid-’80s when Case decided to pursue a solo career as an acoustic troubadour, which was a return to his roots as a street busker in San Francisco’s North Beach area.
But about every 10 years or so he reunites with the other Plimsouls for a few shows, most recently in 2006. (In 1996, they actually did a fresh studio album, the undeservedly out-of-print Kool Trash, which every true Plimsouls fan should demand to have re-released.)
There are a lot of similarities between Beach Town Confidential and Live! Beg, Borrow, Steal, the Plimsouls’ live record recorded in 1981 and released in 2010. Many of the songs are the same — “Zero Hour,” “Shaky City,” and, of course, “A Million Miles Away.”
Both have covers of Thee Midnighters’ “Jump, Jive, and Harmonize,” and both have desperately horny versions of their own classic “Now” (“Right now! I need your love tonight! I can’t wait any longer!”). Both contain a Bo Diddley song (a splendid “You Can’t Judge a Book” on Beach Town). And both have guest appearances by The Fleshtones’ Keith Streng. (On Beg, Borrow, Steal, all the Fleshtones joined The Plimsouls for a couple of songs. On Beach Town, Streng plays guitar on “Jumpin’ in the Night,” a Flamin’ Groovies tune.)
But the more recent album includes a lot of songs we haven’t heard before on live Plimsoul albums.
“Jumpin’” is just one of the rarities here. Another is “Who’s Gonna Break the Ice,” which — like the best Plimsouls songs — is as catchy as it is urgent. There is even a little-known Everly Brothers song called “The Price of Love.” Like the Everly Brothers, the Plimsouls play this as a bluesy stomp with prominent harmonica. Case pals Andrew and David Williams sing lead on this one, their brotherly harmonies evoking the Everlys.
Beach Town Confidential has the only live recordings of Plimsouls tunes “Magic Touch” and “Oldest Story in The World” — hearty rockers both — and “Hobo,” an instrumental Case dedicates to “all the surfers in the house.” (The show was at Huntington Beach. There probably were quite a few there.)
I think my favorite Plimsouls surprise here, though, is a punchy version of a Moby Grape song, “Fall on You.” All I can say is “Grape job!”
Case is about to embark on a tour with former Nerves bandmate Paul Collins. (They’re playing in Arizona and Texas, but seem to have forgotten about that state in the middle.) I’m hoping the response to Beach Town Confidential will be so great that he will do another Plimsouls reunion — and record a new Plimsouls album — in the near future.
ELECTROBLOGS (online music blog) – News feature with album art
THE PLIMSOULS- MODERN ROCK SINCE 1978, NEW RELEASE & TOUR
Posted by Christopher Levine
The Plimsouls have been around the block. With the chart topper “A Million Miles Away” they became a household name in the 1980’s, and the core members are still going strong. Not only are they releasing a live album with never-before heard live tracks, but Peter Case and Paul Collins are taking the show on the road.
First, the album. “Beach Town Confidential”, which was recorded at The Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, CA on August 13, 1983, will be out February 7th. (And yes, fellow vinylheads there will be a version on wax too.) 16 tracks are included, and while it screams 1983-in a good way- it by no means sounds dated.
Case and Collins are melding their various projects into a tour as well, including not just Plimsouls material- but stuff by The Nerves and The Breakaways, as well as material by The Beat.
Coming to a town near you, here are the posted dates so far:
March 01 Iron Road Studios, Vancouver BC, CAN
March 02 The Funhouse, Seattle WA
March 03 The Star Theatre, Portland OR
March 05 Red Devil Lounge, San Francisco CA
March 07 The Echo, Los Angeles CA
March 08 Bar Pink, San Diego CA
March 09 Pappy and Harriet’s, Pioneertown TBA CA
March 11 Club Congress, Tucson AZ
March 13 Rhythm Room, Phoenix AZ
March 16 TBA SXSW Official Showcase, Austin TX
March 17 Alejandro Escovedo’s Taco Party at Maria’s Taco Express Austin TX mid-afternoon
March 17 Freddie Steady’s 12th Annual Frontier A Go Go And Rock & Roll Hootenanny, Austin TX 5:30 PM
March 18 The Blue Door, Oklahoma City OK (acoustic duo)
March 19 The Record Bar, Kansas City MO
March 20 The Outland, Springfield MO
March 22 The New Amsterdam, St. Paul MN
March 24 Shank Hall, Milwaukee WI (w/ Chuck Prophet)
March 25 Empty Bottle, Chicago IL
March 27 Ace of Cups, Columbus OH
March 28 Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland OH
March 30 Stage on Herr, Harrisburg PA
March 31 Bridge Street Live, Collinsville CT
April 13 WXPN “Free At Noon” Concert Series, Philadelphia PA
April 18 Hi-Tone, Memphis TN
April 19 The High Watt, Nashville TN
April 20 JJ Bohemia’s Chattanooga TN
April 21 The Star Bar, Atlanta GA
April 22 Jack of the Woods, Asheville NC
Times change, but good songs never go out of style. Check ’em out.
BROKEN HEARTED TOY (online music site) – Positive album review with Chicago show preview
CD Review: The Plimsouls – Beach Town Confidential
Beach Town Confidential is a real find for fans of The Plimsouls. Recorded back in 1983 at Huntington Beach’s renowned Golden Bear club, the 17 tracks showcase the legendary power pop band performing its most potent originals, as well as some intriguing covers. Six of the songs have never seen the light of day before.
The previously unreleased material includes the catchy “Who’s Gonna Break The Ice?” which was written by singer-guitarist Peter Case. The concert also saw The Plimsouls’ romping through The Creation’s UK single, “Making Time,” The Flamin’ Groovies’ “Jumpin’ In The Night,” and Moby Grape’s “Fall On You.” There’s also a rousing take on The Everly Brothers’ “Price Of Love,” and Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge A Book” is given a revved-up British Invasion arrangement.
The Plimsouls engage in some audience participation in the middle of playing the vintage garage rock tune, “Jump Jive And Harmonize,” by Thee Midniters, but otherwise, they don’t embellish or launch into extensive jamming. Still, it’s great to hear gems like “Shaky City,” the surf instrumental, “Hobo,” “Magic Touch,” and of course, “A Million Miles Away,” in a live setting
Note: Former Plimsouls frontman Peter Case and Paul Collins, formerly of The Beat, (both musicians were part of The Nerves) will be performing at The Empty Bottle in Chicago, on March 19th.
DAGGER ZINE (online music site) – Positive album review with album art
BEACH TOWN CONFIDENTIAL: LIVE AT THE GOLDEN BEAR 1983- (ALIVE RECORDS)-Maybe there should be a warning on Beach Town Confidential. This glimpse into a gleefully capable Plimsouls could cause listeners to bust the screen door open and do some dancing in the street. Caught in ’83 at a club in Huntington Beach, California, the set, which features six songs that were previously unreleased, practically drips with the sweat you know was pouring off the fans whose whistles and shouts speckle the background. Peter Case, Eddie Munoz, Dave Pahoa and Louie Ramirez pound out the glistening chords; the snap-crackle riffs, and the crisp and thudding beats that celebrate everything bright and fun about Power/Garage Pop, Stones love, Merseybeat progressions, and Punk abandon. If you’re just reading this ‘zine for the first time, or you don’t know from anything referenced above, maybe you’ve heard of the Flamin Groovies? Perhaps not incidentally, the Plimsouls (joined by the Fleshtones’ Keith Streng on guitar) follow cries for an encore with the latter’s “Jumpin’ in the Night.” One encore stretches into six. And the music just gets fiercer. Yeah, it’s one of those “Damn, I wish I’d been there!” shows. You know what I’m going to say next, right? Yeah. Beach Town Confidential is, without doubt, the next best thing. EXCEPT… there’s another amazing thing: Peter Case is reuniting with Paul Collins (they were both in the Nerves) for a tour, this March. Incredibly fun rock ‘n’ roll could be headed to your town; soon. www.alive-totalenergy.com MARY LEARY
REVERBERATIONS (online music blog) – Positive 8.7/10 album review
Plimsouls – Beach Town Confidential (Alive Records)
Peter Case of the Plimsouls never cared much for the power-pop label. And while the Plimsouls were contemporaries with bands lumped into the punk category the band never self-identified as punk. Of course among their late Seventies/early Eighties peers in the Los Angeles scene there were bands as diverse as X, the Zeros, the Dils, the Germs, and the Alley Cats – all of whom were categorized as punk, only begging the question: what is punk anyway? And its corollary: who cares?
After a decade that spewed forth everything from prog-rock to Malibu singer-songwriters to disco, all the above were rock ‘n’ roll bands. Their shared commitment was to high-energy performance and direct, concise songs. And if energy and succinct songs were the criteria, few bands did it better than the Plimsouls. Their sub-genre inspirations ranged from Merseybeat to rhythm ‘n’ blues to freak-beat. I suppose they got the power-pop label laid on them because they had raw drive (power) and they didn’t sound like unskilled, unschooled half-asses (pop). So, there you go.
They had all the classic elements necessary for rock stardom (songs, looks, etc.), except the Seventies shifted that celestial alignment (see prog-rock, Malibu, disco …) forever. The dream of a universal rock language, the one that cemented the popularity and the legacies of everyone from the Beatle and Stones to the Kinks and the Who had already collapsed into a tower of FM-babble by the time that Big Star, the Flamin’ Groovies and the New York Dolls had all (relatively speaking) flopped.
But the Plimsouls ignored the memo. In their short, sweet life they recorded a stripped down ep (Zero Hour), and two full-length albums – 1981’s self-titled record and Everywhere at Once from 1983. All of them are good, and they have moments of greatness. But generally, fans were of the opinion that they didn’t quite capture everything that made the Plimsouls a great live act. As if to prove this point, since their disbanding in 1983/4 we’ve seen the release of three live Plimsouls recordings, equaling (exceeding, given that their first record was an ep) their studio output (omitting 1998’s reunion release Kool Trash, which is pretty darn good). Two shows featuring recordings from 1981, One Night Alive in America and Live, Beg, Borrow and Steal did a fine job of establishing the Plimsoul’s live authority. Beach Town Confidential, a 1983 show recorded at the Golden Bear Club in Huntington, California, newly released on Alive Records, is even better.
These live tracks are from the 13th of August in 1983. The April release of the film Valley Girl had included the Plimsoul’s “A Million Miles Away” from Everywhere at Once, and the band was probably as popular as they had ever been as a consequence. Yet this performance was close to the end of the band’s road. You’d never know it from these performances; they crackle with a defiant energy that asserts not only the band’s claim to a stardom they were denied, but also a claim to the power of rock itself as a cultural force.
Whether or not this music is “power-pop” is beside the point, but if a case could be made for that as an ideal, the renditions here of songs like “Zero Hour,” “Magic Touch,” “Now,” “How Long Will it Take?” and of course “A Million Miles Away” make that case better than anything by more popular contemporaries like the Knack or the Romantics. This isn’t smarmy or condescending like the former, or skinny-tie packaged like the latter. This is rockin’ music with great pop song values that transcends the finite specifics of era or genre.
Peter Case sings with the foursquare authority of an American John Lennon. The rhythm section, drummer Louie Ramirez and bass player David Pahoa, is solid enough to drive AC/DC, but too supple and swinging to be limited to that. Lead guitarist Eddie Munoz moves from folk-rock jangle to Dave Davies-like assertion to sharp blues licks seamlessly and always in touch with the intent of the songs.
I get a special kick out of their selection of covers for this set. “Jump, Jive and Harmonize” is the only carryover from either of their previous live releases, homage to Thee Midnighters and the band’s Chicano roots. The band’s sensibility is exemplified by two songs with very different expressions of 1967 – Moby Grape’s “Fall on You” and Creation’s “Making Time.” The first is high-octane Cali-rock, bordering on country, while the latter is pounding British rock with a hint of psychedelia. The Plimsouls play them both like they own them. The Fleshtones’ Keith Streng, contemporary and East Coast fellow traveler, joins the band for a spirited romp through the Flamin’ Groovies “Jumpin’ in the Night,” while their pals the Williams Brothers lend their voices to the Everly’s “Price of Love.” The final cover, and the set closer is Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge a Book,” a tune that innumerable rock bands have had their way with.
Arguably, Beach Town Confidential is as compelling a representation of the Plimsouls power (pop or otherwise) as anything released under their name, and it’s indispensible to anyone who considers themselves a fan.
HYPERBOLIUM (online music site) – Positive album review with album art and related links
The Plimsouls: Beach Town Confidential – Live at the Golden Bear 1983
The Plimsouls touring “Everywhere at Once” live in 1983
Fan’s of Peter Case’s early work with the Nerves and Plimsouls have been richly rewarded over the past few years. The Nerves’ original EP was issued in enhanced CD form as One Way Ticket, a rare 1977 Nerves live set was released as Live at the Pirate’s Cove, a transitional project with Paul Collins as The Breakaways was released as Walking Out on Love, and a blistering 1981 Plimsouls live set was released as Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal. The latter fleshed out the Plimsouls early ‘80s live set that was first essayed in 1988 on One Night in America. The group’s posthumous release catalog is now further expanded with this punchy stereo mix (from the original 24-track recording) of a 1983 show at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, California.
By ‘83, the Plimsouls were a band with a catalog that included an EP and two full albums, all of which are drawn upon for a set list that reaches back to the EP’s “Zero Hour” and “How Long Will it Take?,” and “Now” and “In This Town” from their self-titled debut album. The core of the set draws from their then-current 1983 release for Geffen, Everywhere at Once, including the only released live recordings of “Hobo,” “Oldest Story in the World” and “Magic Touch.” Even more intriguing is the only known Plimsouls recording of the Peter Case original “Who’s Gonna Break the Ice,” a tune that was likely to have been the band’s next single. The set is filled out with a delectable selection of covers that includes The Creation’s “Making Time,” Moby Grape’s “Fall on You,” Thee Midniters “Jump, Jive and Harmonize” the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Jumpin’ in the Night,” Bo Diddley’s “You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” and the Everly Brothers’ “Price of Love,” the latter with the Williams Brothers on lead vocals.
Case was in great voice and seems particularly enthused about the cover songs. But who wouldn’t be jazzed by the opportunity to sing favorite songs in front of this band? The Plimsouls had long since honed themselves into a superb live unit, transcending the major label gloss of their then-current album with hard-charging rhythms equally powered by David Pahoa’s bass lines, Lou Ramirez’s hard-pounded drums and cymbals, and the buzz of dual electric guitars. This set hasn’t the unbridled enthusiasm of their earlier live albums, but it more than makes up for it in energy and craft. Alive delivers the CD in a digipack with a six-panel booklet that includes vintage pictures, credits and an historical quote from Greg Shaw. [©2012 hyperbolium dot com]
TIME OUT CHICAGO (Chicago Weekly) – Positive album review with album art and related link
Albums of the week:
The Plimsouls Beach Town Confidential
Peter Case is a king of power-pop. The Nerves are legend thanks to two perfect songs. They flamed out fast. His next band, the Plimsouls, built a rep on live shows. But unless you’re nearing 50, there was no evidence of this power until Alive Records started digging up live tapes for reissue. This full gig comes from 1983. On albums, the Plims sounded plastic, but here the band rips and roars like the Replacements (Case even looks like Westerberg on the cover). Well, with more sugar and less alcohol.
WHEN YOU MOTOR AWAY (online music blog) – Positive album review and three related videos.
Review: The Plimsouls “Beach Town Confidential”
I’m generally not the world’s biggest fan of live records. But this recently uncovered live recording of The Plimsouls from 1983, being released Tuesday, Feb 7, documents a great band at the top of its game. In fact, it now stands for me as their definitive work, an amazingly perfect recording.
Beach Town Confidential takes you right there to The Golden Bear music club in the surfer party town of Huntington Beach in LA, to see local heroes the Plimsouls. I’m sure the weather was perfect, the girls beautiful, the beer cold and free flowing. You can feel the energy surging as the set progresses, palpable excitement in the air, temperature rising.
Here is some footage from a live performance in Pasadena also in 1983, of the Plimsouls performing “Inch by Inch” and their big hit “A Million Miles Away”:
Many of you may only know the Plimsouls from “A Million Miles Away”, a perfect power pop song, but they had plenty of arguably equally great songs, many captured on Beach Town Confidential – “Magic Touch”, “Zero Hour”, “Oldest Story in the World”, “Shaky City”, “In This Town”, and my personal favorite “How Long Will It Take?”.
The Plimsouls, and their gifted songwriter and leader Peter Case, came out of the fertile LA punk scene. They brought that spirit and energy to a much broader range, drawing from the very best of the preceding 25 years of music – The Beatles, The Byrds, 60s garage, surf rock, and R&B. Their reach is reflected in the covers here: Bo Diddley (“You Can’t Judge a Book”), Moby Grape (“Fall on You”), and one of my all times faves The Flamin Groovies’ “Jumpin in the Night”.
This release is so fresh and alive, hard to imagine it was nearly 30 years ago. It fits in remarkably well with a lot of the new stuff by very young bands that we write about here. If you don’t know the Plimsouls but love power pop, you must check this out. And this is an absolute must have for even the casual Plimsouls fan.
Here’s a second live clip of the Plimsouls from 1983, this time doing “Shaky City”, a song included on this new live disc, and “I’ll Get Lucky”:
Peter Case and Paul Collins (Case’s former partner in The Nerves, his band before the Plimsouls), are touring the country with a full rock band starting in March, playing songs from the Plimsouls, Nerves, The Beat and others. Not to be missed.
I’ll leave you with two more from that same 1983 Pasadena show, “Oldest Story in the World” and “Everywhere at Once”:
More info about Beach Town Confidential and the upcoming Peter Case tour dates here: http://www.ymlp.com/zWCSL2.http://whenyoumotoraway.blogspot.com/2012/01/review-plimsouls-beach-town.html
BLOG CRITICS (online music blog) – Positive album review and album art
Music Review: The Plimsouls – Beach Town Confidential
I love the introduction to this live album: “Introducing the hardest working band in show-business, The Plimsouls!” Their newly-released CD is titled Beach Town Confidential, and documents a performance at a venue called the Golden Bear in 1983. If there was ever a time to see this legendary band live, it would have been in ‘83. The performance smokes — and it just makes me sad that I was not there, because this is an album of straight-ahead rock ‘n roll that is just about perfect.
The Plimsouls were critical darlings from the start, which can sometimes be the kiss of death. But why they never caught on with the public at large still baffles me. They had the classic four-piece lineup; Peter Case (vocals, guitar, and some fine harmonica), David Pahoe (bass), Eddie Munoz (guitar), and Lou Ramirez (drums). They wrote what (to me at least) were timeless songs as well. The Plimsouls are best-known for “A Million Miles Away,” but they wrote so many other killer tracks that (for whatever reason) did not get the same exposure.
“Who’s Gonna Break The Ice?” is one example. On one hand, it is a basic 4/4 rock song about how to “get a chick.” On the other hand, though, there are all kinds of really cool rock references, especially towards surf music. I hear a tune like this and the first thing I want to do is play it for my friends. It’s like, “Can you believe that we never heard this before?”
The surf influence becomes even stronger during the guitar solo of “Fall On You.” They had many other touchstones going as well though. Although The Plimsouls were a much “poppier” band than their contemporaries The Replacements, both shared an obvious love of the music of Big Star. To this day I cannot figure out why that type of music never really caught on, but nearly 30 years later, I guess it is a bit of a moot point.
One ingredient of The Plimsouls’ music that makes it so special is the harmonica of Peter Case. He used it sparingly, so that it never became a gimmick. When he did bring it out, though, it always added a wonderful element to the music. I cannot even think of anyone besides ’60s-era Brits who wanted to emulate old blues guys, who ever included harmonica solos in their music (besides Dylan, of course). My point is that on the couple of occasions that Case does give us a “harp” solo, they are not mere affectations.
A very telling point of where this band was at in 1983 is the placement of “A Million Miles Away.” It is the tenth tune, played about three-quarters of the way through their set — and the audience’s reaction is as if it is just another great song. Today, that song would be what everybody plunked down their hard-earned cash to hear, and most likely would have been the closer.
While that little point may seem moot, it actually says a lot about the band, and its fans in 1983. The Plimsouls should have gone further than the dreaded “college-rock” genre they wound up in. Their recognition as a truly great American group happened long after they had split up.
Beach Town Confidential captures The Plimsouls in their prime. Listen to a song like “Now” and tell me that this was a band that wasn’t criminally ignored. This is a fantastic performance by a group who never really got their due. I’m preaching to the choir by telling Plimsouls and Peter Case fans that this is a “must.” But for fans of Alex Chilton, Rockpile, and even early (first two albums) Joe Jackson, Beach Town Confidential is an album you need to hear.
Beach Town Confidential is set for release February 7, 2012.
MIDNIGHT TO SIX (online music blog) – Positive album review and album art.
The Plimsouls – Beach Town Confidential (Alive Records)
This is the second archival live Plimsouls set from Alive Records, following 2010 2s Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal. If you’re worried that having two live albums from the same band might be redundant, rest assured that both albums are worth owning, with just five songs in common from the setlist. Beach Town Confidential has the better sound of the two, with a thick and meaty bottom end that might even make you forget that it’s a live recording. It comes from a 1983 date in Huntington Beach’s Golden Bear club, and you can hear just how good the band had become at working a crowd into a frenzy with their hard-driving rock ‘n’roll. They play their big hit A Million Miles Away , which is a great song, but I’m just as enthralled with Who’s Gonna Break The Ice? , which sounds like Cheap Trick trading in stadiums for small clubs, and their thumping covers of The Creation’s Making Time and Price Of Love , originally by The Everly Brothers (a big influence). This is fun and catchy music, made with classic pop song-craft and live-wire energy. Perhaps the best compliment I can give the album is that it makes me wish I was there, beer in hand, to see it in person.
THE SPACELAB TV (online music site) – Positive album review and tour news.
The Plimsouls – Modern Rock Since 1978, New Release Beach Town Confidential and Tour
By: Christopher Levine, author of “Eclectiblogs-Weekly Meanderings for Music Head Consumption” available on paperback at Lulu.com
February 4, 2012
The Plimsouls have been around the block. With the chart topper “A Million Miles Away” they became a household name in the 1980’s, and the core members are still going strong. Not only are they releasing a live album with never-before heard live tracks, but Peter Case and Paul Collins are taking the show on the road.
First, the album. Beach Town Confidential, which was recorded at The Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, CA on August 13, 1983, will be out February 7th. (And yes, fellow vinylheads there will be a version on wax too.) 16 tracks are included, and while it screams 1983-in a good way- it by no means sounds dated. Case and Collins are melding their various projects into a tour as well, including not just Plimsouls material- but stuff by The Nerves and The Breakaways, as well as material by The Beat.