subcity // mixtape // varied
Where were you in 95? You probably were either: wearing baggy spliffy jeans listening to Bonkers vol.1, playing red rover in the playground, slamming pogs, crushing on Jordan Catalano from My So Called Life, or just an erectile stirring in your dad’s pocket. Subcity Radio was just starting out too, broadcasting out of a flat in the West End, trying to provide according to the Station Manager at the time Richard Wilkinson “Decent music radio for anyone who doesn't enjoy listening to the usual chart fodder.� Shit has changed since those 1 month only broadcast license days of the mid to late-90s, now its all hyperreal timeshifted streaming until the Internet dies. The format of distribution might have changed but we haven’t changed the logo, we also kept the non-profit freeform ethic, and the station’s focus on niche music. We asked the station’s dreamiest pin ups to submit their teenage rites of passage. Whether it songs they were listening to when they were 16, or just songs about teenager shit like masturbating, booze, making out, girls, boys etc.
01/03/2011 // Worst Chips Ever
Worst Chips Ever // The Portal To The Counterulture
“Punk was the portal to the counterculture. That’s where I belong. That’s where I live. That’s how I got there�. Ian Mackaye is right. He's always fucking right of course, inspirationally, magnetically right. So unutterably correct that I often like to think, just by way of atheistic bet hedging, “What would Mackaye do?� before I ignore Mackaye and do something totally unethical.
Ian Mackaye's bands changed my life. More specifically, the record label that Ian Mackaye founded changed my life. Even more specifically, hardcore, the subcultural ferment that gave rise to all those things, changed my life. If you are currently between the ages of 13 and 19, you are not a teenager, at least not in the sense that I ever understood the term. Instant access to all knowledge ever, free music and socially networked micro-scenes are just yummy, I know. But it's all just there, innit? The postmodern freeplay of signs and meanings, the subversion of the mainstream Mojo humping rock canon with outsider modes, that shit is basically spoon fed to you moptop kiddos these days. Have you seen Altered Zones? Fuck me.
25 year old pensioners like me remember what it was like before all that blah. Mine is the last generation to remember what life was like both before and after the internet. I wasn't a precocious kid but people thought I was. I was just lucky to have a Dad who had a seriously killer record collection. When I asked him if he had been a Mod or a Rocker during the 60's he simply looked at me, all cockeyed and funny like, and said: “Nah son. I was a freak�. Being a freak meant Beefheart and Bunuel and John Fahey and Can. When punk happened he was all over it like a recently divorced woman is Tina Turners later work. Loved it. Real kick up the arse he said.
But Dad carried the scars of the mid twentieth century idealist. Thatchero/Blairism was an abomination that tired him out and now and again he would come over all defeatist. When I told him about this band I had just read about in the NME (uh huh) called Fugazi who refused to sell their records in shops that stocked them for extortionate prices, who only played benefit shows for worthy causes in and around their hometown, who used the same amps and guitars that they had when they were 15, who released everything one hundred percent independently on their own label which they ran themselves, who barely broke even and ploughed all their money back into the collective, who booked tours all by themselves with no promotion, who refused to be put on the front cover of any magazine under corporate ownership, who refused to be interviewed in any other publication alongside adverts for tobacco and alcohol... he just stared at me, blankly. “But all bands sell out in the end.�
Except, of course some bands don’t. Ever. Because you don’t need to. It might well be now easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism, but it doesn’t fucking have to be. I had discovered hardcore. D.I.Y. It didn’t stop me from doing all sorts of ridiculous shit during my teens, questionable, to say the very least, predilections in other areas of musical interest most amusingly. But this is the stuff that still moves me the most from those years, the stuff that opened up another world. Every subsequent musical, personal and political life-changer since I discovered these records has been coloured by them. Free jazz, drone, noise, psyche, dub, avant garde composition, rave... my love of all these things and the reason I play them on my show in all their strident, underground, I'll-opt-out-thanks-very- much glory, is because hardcore led me to them.
- Daniel Baker (Worst Chips Ever)