13 February 2015

WHAT IS MUSIC?


I've touched on my time in Oklahoma several times in the virtual pages of this e-publication, but it's really difficult to explain how formative those few years were for me. I lived in Norman (about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City) from mid 1990 to January 1994 and many of the bands I was introduced to during my time there are still favorites today. I pull out Violent Religion at least once a month (and tend to jam it a few times in a row when I do) nearly 25 years after its release, I still contend that CONCEPT OF NONSENSE are one of the more under appreciated hardcore bands of the era, and the SONS are no doubt one of the coolest and most unique sounding bands I've ever heard. Perhaps some of the bands don't really hold up to first time listeners who never saw them live but I saw every band I could, from TALL TALES to SUBSANITY and, to an 18 year old who had simply never had the opportunity to see live punk...it was fukkn incredible. This 1992 comp tape from Sound Noise Music concentrates on the weirder end of the punk spectrum...the freaks and mutants and casualties leftover from 1980s hardcore (yes, Oklahoma had that too) and the nasty skinhead explosion that dominated the final years of the decade, and this was the end of the spectrum that I wanted. I didn't yet know that I loved hardcore because, quite simply, I hadn't really heard it yet, so ILLEGITIMATE SONS OF JACKIE O were the fastest and most intense thing on the planet as far as I was concerned (three of their tracks appear on this comp, including a burner called "You're Ignorant" that might be my favorite track of theirs). SONS frontman Dan Riffe is also behind this tape's VAN GOGH'S EAR offerings, and I'm pretty sure he's playing guitar on this incarnation of UNSOCIETY (Chad's band between CONCEPT and BROTHER INFERIOR), who I don't remember sounding this Oi!, but that might be because I also didn't really know what Oi! sounded like. And speaking of Chad, we've got THE KIDS WHO NEVER LEARNED HOW TO COLOR INSIDE OF THE LINES (whose songs were always too long, but who were always a blast live) and THE SENSUAL UNDERGROUND BAND (Sensual Underground was Chad's house, Tulsa's coolest DIY venue, and his record label/propaganda machine). FACELESS UNITY are screaming US hardcore that could have come from anywhere...but should have existed ten years before this tape was released. The highlights of the comp for my ears are the weird shit - there were no rules in Oklahoma, and no one had to sound like anything to be cool (because, unless you were THE LIPS, essentially no one was cool except BLEMISH, but they just thought they were cool), so of course there were a lot of cool bands as a result. First time I was terrified at a show was GLUE in a basement, their pal was collecting money at the door and ran up to the mic wielding a knife screaming "motherfukkr if you don't give me a dollar I'm gonna fuckkn cut you!! one fukkn dollar you piece of shit!!" and the band just laughed, playing on at full volume while the audience crept outside. The GLUE tracks here might not match up to either of their proper releases, but "In The Basement/Party At Perry's" is a total killer and the drums on "Blue Cloud" are textbook awesome. Straight noise freakout from FOREHEAD DAWG, honest poetic weirdness from LONG PIG, and eleven minutes of psychedelic jamming from TATTERED REMNANTS. Think about how warped your adult tastes would be if your first exposures to live underground music were frat bar bands trying to hop on the grunge bandwagon and mutant rock like this...and then look at the virtual pages of this e-rag it will make a lot more sense.



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