Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Song of the Week: "Superfund," by the Lower Echelon

The San Gabriel Valley Superfund site is a group of reservoirs and aquifers contaminated with degreasers, solvents, compounds, and other cancer-causing chemicals. We've been talking about it on Pacific Swell for several Mondays. This week the Environmental Protection Agency ordered Northrop Grumman to spend 20 million dollars to install wells and filters for contaminated water at the Puente part of the site, in the City of Industry. 

Dedicated to the EPA, this week's song is "Superfund," by The Lower Echelon.  

It's a great mental degreaser, and it's non-cancerous (in my limited exposure so far; not tested by the FDA or on lab rats). 

The Lower Echelon is a band I happened upon by accident in some google search action. They seem to be active around northeast LA in the last couple of years (Mr. T's Bowl in Highland Park on Figueroa, Universal Bar & Grill, Tangier), so they're a home slice of post-punk incendiaryness. 

I can't even pretend that I can hear all the lyrics in either the MySpace version or either live version of this song. But it starts with, "here we go and we come around/here we go again and we come around for seconds/dig it up with a greasy sieve," I think. You can hear them repeating, "on fire, on fire." Later on, he sings, "here we go to the superfund site, all dressed up and open for business," and "it's going off, it's going off, it's burning up, it's burning up, look in our eyes, we radiate, we radiate."

But live music is great, and lyrics aren't always the most important part of the song (sorry, poets). If you skateboarded in the suburbs in the early 1980s (ahem), or have stood around in a basement with a red cup of something watching people thrash around on stage with energy neck-and-neck with talent heading into the final turn, or have ever felt a crazy mix of energy and emotions that added up mostly to anti-construction, use your imagination to map those experiences onto a Superfund site, and that's what this song is like. 


Listen to all of the Songs of the Week. (Nominations accepted.)