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Other Mixes By shunn789

CD | Mixed Genre
CD | Mixed Genre
CD | Theme - Narrative
CD | Theme - Narrative

Never Anything to Do in This Town: Some Chicago Punk

Artist Song Buy
Skafish  Disgracing the Family Name   buy on itunes
Strike Under  Elephant's Graveyard  buy on itunes
Subverts  Radiation Nation  buy on itunes
The Effigies  Haunted Town   buy on itunes
Naked Raygun  Libido (live)  buy on itunes
Da  The Killer (live)  buy on itunes
Silver Abuse  Bomb Shelter (live)  buy on itunes
Strike Under  Fucking Uniforms (live)  buy on itunes
Subverts  March Forth (live)  buy on itunes
The Effigies  Quota (live)  buy on itunes
Da  Dark Rooms  buy on itunes
Silver Abuse  Plastic Rows  buy on itunes
The Mentally Ill  American Dream  buy on itunes
Articles of Faith  Bad Attitude   buy on itunes
Big Black  Texas (live)  buy on itunes
Anti-Bodies  Gun Control  buy on itunes
Negative Element  Police Beat (on Me)   buy on itunes
Savage Beliefs  Big Big Sky  buy on itunes
Toothpaste  Palestine  buy on itunes
Out of Order  Survival of the Fittest   buy on itunes
Naked Raygun  Only in America   buy on itunes
Rights of the Accused  Innocence  buy on itunes
Gross National Product  Death Farce  buy on itunes
Nadsat Rebel  Nosferatu  buy on itunes
Articles of Faith  In Your Suit (live)  buy on itunes
Seismic Waves  Lip Synch to the Go-Gos  buy on itunes
The Effigies  Rather See None   buy on itunes
Naked Raygun  Rat Patrol   buy on itunes
Big Black  Kerosene   buy on itunes
Screeching Weasel  Say No! to Authority   buy on itunes


I knew next to nothing about the Chicago punk scene when I went to see a screening in 2008 of a documentary called You Weren't There. For longtime Chicagoans it was a trip down Memory Lane, but for me it was a prod to learn more about the great (and not so great) music I heard in the film.

Punk was late coming to Chicago, insular as the city's music scene was, and from the start it was inclusive of misfits of all sorts -- maybe more so than in some cities. Early bands like Tutu & the Pirates (who sadly never released a recording) and the long-lived Skafish combined performance art with anarchic energy, performing for diverse crowds at the legendary club La Mere Vipere. When Vipere burned down in 1978 -- some say at the hands of the police, others that the cops just stood around watching -- clubs like O'Banion's and Oz took up the torch.

Oz in particular, originally a gay bar, lived a troubled life. Owner Dem Hopkins didn't advertise, didn't hang out a sign, and didn't card minors, and the club was forced by police harassment to move to two subsequent locations. It was also where important Chicago bands like Naked Raygun and the Effigies played their first shows, and there was room for goth-y acts like Da that weren't really punk but weren't really new wave either. (Visiting bands like Black Flag also played Oz, and that's where Hüsker Dü infamously splattered their audience with blue paint.) The third and final space was the location for three nights of live recording in March 1981 that would become the infamous Busted at Oz record. The gigs were played secretly, with engineer Timothy Powell trying to keep his mobile recording truck inconspicuous to the cops. In fact, two months later, the police did shut Oz down for good.

The scene continued to evolve, with bands swapping members left and right, and the usual schisms and feuds. (The Effigies' John Kezdy and Articles of Faith's Vic Bondi sound like they still hate each other, and Big Black's Steve Albini seems to have alienated just about everybody.) Unlike other cities, Chicago never had a huge presence on the national radar, and even the so-called Big Four -- Naked Raygun, Effigies, Big Black and Articles of Faith -- were less well known outside the region than the big acts from New York, D.C., L.A. and elsewhere. But it also seems to have taken longer for the mohawks and metal studs to show up here, and when that happened some of the best bands began lamenting the homogenization of the scene. In the end, the Windy City deserves to be remembered for more than just having given the world relative latecomers Screeching Weasel.

When I started this project, I had only one of these tracks already in my collection. I purchased what I could, but most of what's here came from scouring the web for out-of-print recordings. If you're interested in learning more about Chicago punk, a great place to start is
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