Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Various Artists - International Pop Underground Convention

Various Artists – International Pop Underground Convention
K, 1991
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007
Price: $12

This is a document of what was probably the greatest music festival of all time. Well, in my pop kid head that's what it would have been. The whole legend of this festival/ “Convention” is recounted in Michael Azzerad's Our Band Could Be Your Life, and is full of awesome little anecdotes about things like Ian MacKaye working as a ticket taker and detailing the anti-corporate community-minded mindset of the International Pop Underground. All of this was spearheaded by Beat Happening's Calvin Johnson and goddammit, I wish I could have been there. But I was five years old when this happened, so I'll live with just having this record. Everything here is noisy and sloppy and thoroughly badass...well as badass as indie-pop can be. Ok, it's not all indie-pop. Fugazi is on this! As are Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, the Melvins, Unwound, and L7. There's a nice offering of awesome indie-pop jams, naturally, including entries from the Pastels, the Spinnanes, Rose Melberg, and naturally, Beat Happening. The Pastels' “Speedway Star” sounds exactly like the kind of live performance I'd like to play. The jangly guitars, off-key vocals, and lots of under-mixed vocals. It's all quite DIY to the max, fighting the “corporate ogre” Johnson describes in the liner notes. Sadly, a lot of this is hit or miss for me and it mostly just makes me wish I was there because I'm sure that had a lot to do with it. A bunch of hip, fey twentysomethings in cardigans rocking out. The Spinnanes “Jad Fair Drives Women Wild” rules though. RULES. There are just too many screamy, shambling bands that sound exactly alike on this record and it gets old after a while.


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