Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vancouver Independence

Being a middle-school punk ('84 not '76) in Vancouver, both this and the Vancouver Complication were something of Holee Grails of compilation albums to find at the many used record shops around town. I double-scored one Saturday afternoon at the lamentably-long-gone Track Records (a 7-11 now takes the space if I have the address right) by getting both this and D.O.A.'s "Something Better Change" for $11 each - which was still hefty for me at the time. I asked why so cheap and Grant replied that the vinyl was perfect, but the ring-wear on the jackets left them all but worthless, collector-wise. 
Ring-wear, schming-wear. Aesthetically scuffed but eminently playable, I jammed them in with my other grabs from Zulu (every week, nabbing on average 6-7 old punk albums at $7 apiece. I'm starting a petition to get those old days back) and got myself the hell back home... be horribly disappointed. At least by the V.I. LP. I got four punk tracks and ten other cuts of utter shite, not worth perusing again, not worth the incalculably-small amount of wear on the cartridge needle incurred from letting it bore through those microscopic ravines of displeasure on it's circular trek to my misery.

So, 17-plus years later, yesterday, I pull the thing from the shelf for the third time (the Subs tracks were already classics in my head, but I had to memorize the No Exit's before shuffling the disc away forever, so I actually officially played it two times) and flap it on the Ion digital, and find myself like loving every damn track, or at least liking it or them more.
How does this happen? Hell, I'm not complaining.

Everybody knows about the Subhumans and bassist Gerry Hannah's imprisonment as part of the "Squamish Five" and their legendary punk status both here and around and all the awesome songs so we have "Behind the Smile", but a slightly different version than the later recording that was included on the "Terminal City Ricochet" movie soundtrack, and "Out of Line".

The Metros are on here with their more new-wavey "Don't Like It At All" and "In with the Crowd", and a nice bio of the band by Wolf Roxon can be read about here after scrolling a bit.

The enigmatic Si Monkey and their electro-experimental "The Conquest of Daytime" and "Get Rigid", and very little information about this outfit is Googleable. Any Vancouverites got some history for me?

And the loveable No Exit, getting under the skin with "No Excuse" and "Nothing New";

Doors-y neo-psychedelia from the Droogs' "Nuremburg '34" & "J.K.O.";

New wave and 2nd-wave ska coming from the B-Sides' "Spy vs Spy" and "Underground Radio Stars";

What I can only describe as sci-fi-influenced punk out of M.E.C.'s "What Would You Say?";

and I dunno what the Singing Cowboys are about, but "Midnight Cowboy" is a very cool instrumental.

Now, Vancouver still has a vibrant music-scene. It has slid away from the punk stronghold that held sway for most of the 90's and early 00's and into indie-rock territory with about ten new bands forming every month where ten bands disbanded and made room in the city's casualty-ridden play-space scene, so why haven't we had more compilations put out to showcase this?

I dunno.

Listen up.

Download here:
Vancouver Independence


Victor Franko said...

Nice. Thanks, from one middle school punk to another.

Anonymous said...

Hey! I've just learnt that Julie Belmas, also a part of Direct Action (known in the media as "Squamish Five" or "Vancouver Five"), was a member of the original No Exit and actually the writer of "Nothing New". Cool! I thought you may like the info.

Anarchy and punk!

Anonymous said...

By the way, the link takes to the Vancouver Complication download not Vancouver Independence. Bummer, I was excited to discover those bands.

Darcy Jansen said...

Thanks for the heads up on that one. I must have put it up by mistake after Megauploads went down and had to re-up everything.
Correct file is back in place!

Anonymous said...

Great. Thanks!

Rico said...

Managed to see Si Money at the White Elephant pub in Gastown back in the day (pretty sure that was the name of the place) but I can't really offer much info on the band other than despite the fact that the lead singer sounds afro-american he was neither ... No Exit I think played at the SUB Ballroom but I was too young to get in there ...