Wednesday, February 23, 2011

C86, Records, Scenes

NME's C86 mixtape focused my no-wave fascinated punk mind not on its bands so much, though I love(d) The Pastels and The Wedding Present, as on the garage-rock revival scene in the US that I discovered while looking for music like this in the US. Well, discovered is not the best word: I was always a fan of garage rock, I was just a little too young to know much about the revival scene.  I never appreciated the resulting madchester/baggy thing (though it didn't arrive until later). It lacked what I liked about the punk, hardcore and, eventually, garage scenes.

My fondness for bands so clearly looking back to find inspiration in the music I loved as a kid drove my record-collecting habit. Finding the records I wanted required traveling to different cities to find and explore record stores.  When Ebay arrived in the mid90s, it was untrustworthy new, too expensive later on. Nothing beats visiting record stores and finding what you've been looking for.  I suppose I began finding excuses to travel to find records.  For example, I visited my brother in Kansas City, MO, as often as I could to see him and visit, the now closed, Music Exchange, which was one of my favorite record stores in the country.  Now, my records sit in a storage facility while I travel to, well, travel.

I think I first heard C86 a couple of years after it came out.  Although it's hard to remember if I heard the tape before seeing some of the bands on MTV.  I certainly didn't hear them on the radio.  But now I'm thinking about how I collect records and inspiration.

I so clearly heard The Who, for example, inspiring punk.  I so clearly understood the motivation in the hardcore scene that it seemed natural for me to join in, though I never fully embraced straight-edge culture.  I was still young enough when I heard this tape, that I had to go digging for the inspiration for the bands.  I wanted to know where the music came from, especially bands like The Pastels.  This led to thinking more about production than I had before. It's probably why I buy so many records: I'm always looking for the source of the sound.  It's the same sort of search I'm doing in my literary work, I guess.

I know I'm not alone in this.  It was a pleasant moment this afternoon when I read Music Ruined My Life's post on The Soup Dragon's "Whole Wide World" and C86.  I appreciate there are many useful ways to narrate how I got from the late 80s to where I am today--and that it would be a shame not to see how music has affected my journey.

And I've been arguing about scenes and inclusion lately with folks in Seoul.  It's always been weird for me. My mind and heart is always focused on music in general, with scenes that usually have nothing to do with each other. You could find me at the symphony, hip hop, jazz, or hardcore shows in a single week not too long ago. No matter what I collect, I'm at heart a punk who loves hardcore and a dedicated fan of garage punk and rock. The two scenes don't often mix and both require the sort of dedication that limits participation of others that I don't always like, but it's the only two in which I feel comfortably at home.

That said, the garage scene often becomes over-focused on fashion over substance and is every five years or so over-run with new-but-hipster fans who think it's a fad and pretend to adore it while posing for photos and playing dress up with their friends.  That's the mode it's currently in both here and the US.  Fortunately, there's always the hardcore scene where it's not too hard to find folks who simply refuse to tolerate the budding capitalists that attempt to destroy whatever they touch for profit.

I'm loving the antifa scene, currently.  It's been growing on me for awhile.  I have to admit, it's completely social and political and little to do with the actual music.  But this is for another post.

Here's some C86 info and the track listing:
Side one
Primal Scream - "Velocity Girl"
The Mighty Lemon Drops - "Happy Head"
The Soup Dragons - "Pleasantly Surprised"
The Wolfhounds - "Feeling So Strange Again"
The Bodines - "Therese"
Mighty Mighty - "Law"
Stump - "Buffalo"
Bogshed - "Run to the Temple"
A Witness - "Sharpened Sticks"
The Pastels - "Breaking Lines"
Age of Chance - "From Now On, This Will Be Your God"

Side two
The Shop Assistants - "It's Up to You"
Close Lobsters - "Firestation Towers"
Miaow - "Sport Most Royal"
Half Man Half Biscuit - "I Hate Nerys Hughes (From The Heart)"
The Servants - "Transparent"
The Mackenzies - "Big Jim (There's no pubs in Heaven)"
Big Flame - "New Way (Quick Wash And Brush Up With Liberation Theology)"
Fuzzbox - "Console Me"
McCarthy - "Celestial City"
The Shrubs - "Bullfighter's Bones"
The Wedding Present - "This Boy Can Wait"

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