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X Surprise-Release ‘Alphabetland,’ Their First New Album in 27 Years

LP is now available digitally with a wider release in the works

X have surprise-released their first new album in 27 years, 'Alphabetland.'

Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Los Angeles’ premier punk band, X, are surprise-releasing Alphabetland, their first new album in 27 years, today via Bandcamp.

Although the group issued their last LP, Hey Zeus!, in 1993, the recording marks the first new music by the ensemble’s original members since 1985’s Ain’t Love Grand!

“When your heart is broken, you think every song is about that,” vocalist-bassist John Doe said in a statement. “These songs were written in the last 18 months and it blows my mind how timely they are. We all want our family, friends and fans to hear our records as soon as it’s finished. This time we could do that. Thanks to Fat Possum and our audience.”

The band began recording the LP in November 2018 for a session that featured five songs produced by Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck). One of the tracks was a redo of “Delta 88 Nightmare,” which they put out last year. They reconnected with Schnapf for another session in January 2020, where they captured seven more songs.

Label Fat Possum is currently exploring ways to give a wider release to the album, which features artwork by Pee-wee’s Playhouse set designer Wayne White. The band’s plans to tour in support of the album are on hold while cities deal with stay-at-home restrictions.

X formed in Los Angeles in 1977 and put out their landmark debut album, Los Angeles, three years later. Although the group never broke up, it played live only sporadically throughout most of the Nineties until reuniting with guitarist Billy Zoom in 1998, touring more regularly beginning in the early 2000s.

In interviews, the band members have expressed mixed emotions about making a new album. All of them except for Zoom said they would want to make a new one in a 2017 Rolling Stone profile of the group.

“Families are complicated,” Doe said at the time, carefully choosing his words. “There’s certain … Yeah, I’m not gonna go there.”

“It wouldn’t work,” Zoom said. “The chemistry wouldn’t be right. [Some band members] are in different places and stubborn, and I don’t want to go into detail, but it wouldn’t sound like an X record.” The band has yet to explain the change of heart.

Prior to “Delta 88 Nightmare,” the band’s last record of new recordings came out in 2009, Merry Xmas From X, a single that featured their renditions of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and “Jingle Bells.”

Alphabetland Tracklist

1. “Alphabetland”
2. “Free”
3. “Water & Wine”
4. “Strange Life”
5. “I Gotta Fever”
6. “Delta 88 Nightmare”
7. “Star Chambered”
8. “Angel on the Road”
9. “Cyrano DeBerger’s Back”
10. “Goodbye Year, Goodbye”
11. “All the Time in the World”