All Your Ears Can Hear (Underground Music in Victoria, BC 1978-1984): By Jason Flower, Kev Smith, Rick Long, 79 pgs. By Ty

Nov 26, 2007

When punk rock sprung out from under its slimy rock in the late ‘70s, its influence was far reaching. Even in a secluded Island town in Canada, the punks would have their say.

This is a colossal undertaking, to say the least. The authors have pretty much turned up anything and everything that could be considered “underground music” in the city of Victoria in those early, formative years of punk rock and the DIY aesthetic. The result is breathtaking. Flipping though the book, the first thing that grabs you is the pictures. So many photos, flyers, and setlists litter the pages. The energy jumping out at you conveys the urgency and fun that were cornerstones to the underground music scene. Then you notice that there are words smattered about around these amazing pictures. Everything is laid out band by band, with first and secondhand stories and memories. You truly feel what it was like to be a part of the action.

This in itself would make for a great document of the early punk rock scene in Victoria, but it’s not over yet. Far from it. Included with the book are two CDs featuring over seventy-nine minutes of (predominately unreleased) music from all of the bands included in the book! There are tracks from some of the bands that people from elsewhere may have heard of such as Nomeansno, Dayglo Abortions, and The Neos. There are some that are well known in collector circles and by punk rock know-it-alls such as the Infamous Scientists, Red Tide, Jerk Ward, and House of Commons, and there are many that have never really seen the light of day until now.

I have been a part of the Victoria punk rock scene for a long time now, and I’ve always taken great pride in my city and the bands that it has produced. The funny thing is that after having read this book, I’ve realized that I’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to local punk rock history. The book and music does not only cater to someone who is from here at all. I would recommend it to anyone into punk history. –Ty Stranglehold (75 Front St., Victoria, BC, CanadaV9A 3Y3,