VARIOUS ARTISTS: We’re Loud – 90s Cassette Punk Unknowns: LP

Oct 28, 2015

If you collect the one memorable song from all of your friends’ bands over the years, could you compile a really good album? I’ve often wondered where the good bands that made demos and never got noticed existed. It seems obvious there would be some even, if you consider the deluge of people who got into punk for the wrong reasons in the ‘90s during the great punk avalanche. One of the stars in the sky has to have a planet like Earth circling it. The same must be true of the boxes of blank tapes littering Goodwills and parent’s basements around the world. Punk demos, as you know, often go unnoticed due to a.) wrong place, wrong time b.) geographical restraints or c.) the band members get interested in other things and lose track of them. (And a lot of them suck, but let’s focus on the academic aspect of this just as a lark.) Boombox or four-track recordings were easy to produce back then, so why not record? It must have been easier before everyone decided to be so “professional.” But what to do with them? There was no real internet in the ‘90s, so bands had to tour or do mail trades. And then people lose interest in doing bands when no one pays much attention to them. Some will say it was a better time, but it’s my belief that the underground must continue to evolve and adapt. At least I hope so. But either way, here starts the Killed by Death/Bloodstains-style compilations of regional cassette bands. This is your time to become a historian, people. To resurrect the dead. It’s a call to dig out cassettes from every pocket and find the next overlooked punk phenomenon. It’s a call to record your band on an old 4-track and pretend it’s old. Or whatever you feel like. Cassettes are easier to fake than singles but harder to navigate.

I’m sure there are other cassette comps I’m not aware of, but if this is a flagship record it’s an inspiration. The styles of bands range from dirty three-chord punk to fuzzy songs with power pop sensibilities. The first song on side B “Look into My Eyes Sweet, Sweet Satan” by Les Fleurs Du Mal caused me to backtrack. It could be a lost power pop classic. The Van Buren Wheels’ “C’mon & Be Mine” is another three-chord stand out. There are plenty of wild, loud punk singles here, too. It’s very dense. I hope it spawns a long series of people being turned on and pulling demos from the fire.   –Billups Allen (Slovenly)

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