12 Personally Pivotal Albums

Almost all punk bands couldn’t get signed to major labels. Punk bands couldn’t fill massive halls. Punk bands exuded confidence that didn’t always match up to the quality of musicianship; not the sort of music purveyors of Steely Dan albums cares to truck in. So, without the aid of predatory music services, bands cut out the middleman and ordered their own product to distribute and advertise out of their kitchenettes. Seven inches were the perfect vehicle to send out, sell on tour, but mostly to quickly get a band’s music out as urgently as possible, staying in line with punk ethos. Onto Gr’ups: I was a huge fan of the band Blatz. I loved the energy the cute vocals of Annie Lalania the punctuated snot-nosed and very punk rock vocals of Jesse Luscious, and of course, the very pointed (sometimes severe) lyrics and vocals of Anna Joy Springer. When Blatz broke up o was slightly devastated, just graduating high school, feeling freedom like I’d never known, sure my fate was leading me toward the Bay Area, CA; where I could transition with little pushback, maybe even some acceptance, and enjoy all the pop, post hardcore and crust punk bands that got me through high school. When the Gr’ups first seven inch was released, and I knew they had reformed and it was matured and the lyrics were literate and fun and it was Blatz with a more serious tone, I fell instantly in love with the music. Almond Tree is still one of my favorite songs to this day (up there with everything Kamala and the Karnivores ever released). Gr’ups weren’t prolific but their two seven inches were grouped on one record (the record of this post which is a test pressing). I don’t own the sevens but I have this, I have it all on my computer in my iTunes, one step removed from the digitized destruction of the cache of music that really reached inside you, music you could form the shell of an identity around, to fill in later with experience and wisdom. When I toured in 1993, the band I was in , Hate Farm, tried to get onto the bill with Gr’ups. We really didn’t play with many interesting bands on that extremely ill-fated tour. I’ve always regretted that we couldn’t stay in Spokane one more day. The folks in that town were so nice, and the show the next night in Boulder was cancelled. Every movement on that tour was cursed, so I should be happy that I got away with my life, if not souvenir seven inches by one of my favorite bands. I would have lost them anyway. I can’t lose that time of truly caring about music.

FFO Jack Acid, Blatz, X

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