Steve M.'s house was the party house. Through Steve and his sister J., a wildly diverse collection of disenfranchised suburban teens and twentysomethings had gathered there, some from "broken" homes, some runaways, some kicked out—others just looking for a good place to party. This was our pre-River's Edge River's Edge, and though we never covered up a murder, we did just about everything else. I lost my virginity under the big tree in Steve's backyard. There were empty Budweiser cans and overflowing ashtrays all over the house, and for a while there was an "orgy room" set up in the attic (which was only moderately successful.) I once hid in a closet in Steve's house to escape an ass kicking from a bikeless biker (for some reason, a breed so prevalent in N.J.) whose girlfriend I had slept with; I'd seen what he had done to a guy who owed him 10 bucks and I wasn't having any of it.
The inner sanctum of the house was Steve's bedroom on the second floor. There he held court, and though the door was often locked and I wasn't always allowed in, I did eventually spend a lot of time in there, talking to Steve, who as we spoke would dole out samplings of the main feature of his room: a staggering collection of several thousand LPs lining the walls, mostly acquired at garage sales and flea markets. I was exposed to records like Ataraxia - The Unexplained, several years before I came to WFMU and found out who Mort Garson was.
One of the most dazzling chips off of Steve's monolithic collection was this 12" single by Mag & The Suspects, released by the very major London label in 1981, and clearly the label's singular stab at Rough Trade-style arty post-punk. Both sides are absolutely killer, one an erotic recitation over minimalist thump, the other a deceptively carnivalesque commentary on how TV alienates us from global suffering. This single should be at least as revered as The Normal's one-off classic "T.V.O.D./Warm Leatherette". Right now, you can't imagine yourself humming the phrases "burning corpses are missing" or "soon, it's gonna get in, real hard" over and over, but just you wait, wait and listen.
Mag & co. released only these two songs in several formats and have virtually no Web presence. Any biographical or "where are they now?"-style information on the band would be greatly appreciated (though to me, the record screams L.A., and would sit comfortably amongst the Posh Boy discography.) I have never seen this record since; these mp3s are ripped from a cassette dub of Steve's vinyl.