Iran hasn’t been successful in winning the war on its black-market trading or Internet downloads, but it has pretty much outlawed music as a whole, so it is not surprising for one to assume that a country whose fundamentalist religious leaders have called Shakira “devil music,” would have no punk scene whatsoever. Ten-year-old Tian An Men Records has disproved these assumptions, however. This label has been dedicated to pressing truly underground punk music from around the world (Kosovo, Madagascar, soon Iraq) for years, and they’ve put out yet another gem. This 12″ comp has music that is so underground that the only place to play, practice, or record this stuff would be in the bedroom. Ah, the true essence of punk: 100 percent DIY. Ranging from garage to pop to satanic-sounding punk tunes, the music is all over the place, but in no way a turn off. Rest assured, when you get this not only are you buying a piece of history (THE FIRST EVER IRANIAN PUNK RELEASE), but you’ll get a kick out of the originality and ingenuity of the bands (most of whom are probably using ancient equipment their fathers and mothers had purchased before the religious upheaval of the ‘70s!). I also found it interesting that the guy behind Tian An Men is a French Red Cross relief worker who has worked in Kurdistan, Iran, and Afghanistan—among other countries—and the many cities he’s lived in are where he’s encountered the punks whose music he’s helped share with the rest of the world.
–mrz (Tian An Men 89)