True West – Hollywood Holiday Revisited CD (Atavistic)

True West always lurked a bit in the background during the early ’80s heyday of the Paisley Underground scene, though guitar fiends gravitated to their twin leads and rural Television vibe. This expando reissue/remaster of the band’s album and a half (“Hollywood Holiday” EP, “Drifters” LP and unreleased Verlaine-produced demos) reveals an angst-ridden act that in retrospect sounds a lot closer to post-punk than garage, with thick, tribal drum patterns and distant howls in the mix. The songwriting is hit and miss, too often showcasing a sparkling hook wrapped in droning verses, but the title track and cover of “Lucifer Sam” are efficient, sinister gems. With Drifters, the band moved farther from the retro realm into artsy guitar pop, rangy yet precise. The package includes reminiscences from guitarist Russ Tolman and a history from Bay Area psych scholar Jud Cost.