Various Artists

History of Portland Punk, Vol. 1

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Though few outside the region knew it, Vancouver had by far the best punk/underground/garage/new wave scene of 1979-1981, and their Northwest neighbors in Seattle and Portland, though smaller, weren't far behind. The evidence for the latter is two rare, long-out-of-print compilations released by Wipers guitarist/leader Greg Sage on his old Trap Records label, 1979's first-rate one-fine-night live document, Portland Punk Live at the Earth, 10-29-79, and 1981's Trap Sampler. Now Sage has finally reissued them together on this CD, with some rare old singles tacked on. And here it is again, that great spirit of fun and defiance in that last pre-slam dancing era, of artistic, absurd, and crazy folks who had a blast. The records still sound wonderfully fresh. The six Wipers rarities are, of course, a big treat. This stuff is not as mind-blowing as later works, such as Youth of America and Over the Edge, but it's great fun and sweaty, banging rock. And on it comes, from the main other bands, Neoboys, Napalm Beach, Stiphnoyds, and Sado-Nation. Likewise, the sole tracks of Lotek, Smegma, Rubbers, Cleavers, and Bop Zombies. As most of these are in the baby Wipers' rarefied league, there's no point in skipping tracks. Each has that innocent, poppy, heavy, nutty, charming churn and distinctive take on things that was so exhilarating back when all the individual scenes developed organically and naturally, and all played for the acknowledgment of the other bands and the brave, cool folks who'd all joined the illicit party together. So we say, never mind the decade-later, overrated era, this is where it all started in the post-Raiders/Wailers/Sonics second Northwest uprising, and it's without the later grunge scene's dubious metalisms, too. Discover.

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