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SOFT RIOT

The CalculatorsThis is a continuation of a little story, a narrative told in music from the previous installment of the White Lodge, number 003 to be exact. This is collection of tracks that as a whole aim to document the stylistic “shift” in music of artists coming out of the haze of the hardcore/punk/indie maelstrom of the early to mid 90s happening mainly in the US. This shift all being from a amber-hazed viewpoint of a contemporary version of myself recollecting how I viewed it all when it was actually happening: the bands I picked up on and the threads I started to observe being developed.

As much as we had a lot of venom and the impulse to trash about the in hardcore/punk arena, a lot of us also had a keen interest in the more artistic side of music of times earlier: the austerity, the presentation, the angle… whether it be icily cool cold wave, stylish new romanticism, funky new wave, gothic theatrics or skronky late 70s post-punk — these styles were starting to be mined up again after a good number of years in the mainstream faux grit of “grunge” and metal through an updated lens of the time: the mid to late 90s. This particular mix has been sequenced in a loose chronological order, encompassing a time period starting in 1995 and ending sometime in 2000. From 2000 onward the post-punk and synth revival thing sort of exploded and bands hatched and made flight like a cloud of buzzing locusts. I’ve even managed to allow myself to be a bit cheeky and stick one of my old bands on here, as I felt like we were rolling along the same tracks as some of the artists (and had played alongside a few of them to).

The details of what sort of movement this was are hazy and documented in a patchy manner, but here’s the segments I’ve strung together to form some sort of synopsis. Some of you might even identify or remember these and have a bit of a chuckle :

White belts / Spock rock / Kids prowling the classifieds for Roland Juno synthesizers (the popular choice at the time) / Band websites starting with “http://www.geocities.com/~sunsetstrip” / Mail order of records from Bottlenekk Distribution / Tours down the I-5 / The hip kids outside Koo’s Cafe in Santa Ana / Finding all your early Human League records at the thrift store for $1 ‘cos no one wants them anymore / Alienation from the Ebullition Records die-hards / Getting slammed on HC message boards ‘cos so-and-so was wearing eyeliner from so-and-so band (that isn’t hardcore!) / black “highwater” Wrangler trousers / the word “scenester” being used before the word “hipster” came along / many of your friends being vegan-vegetarian / Booking tours on the telephone / fake British accents / when shows were happening more at legion halls and art spaces than in clubs or bars / buying copies of Skyscraper Magazine for $2 / Stuffing veggie burritos in your mouth at Pokez / Discussions about that die-cast Locust belt buckle / House shows in Olympia / Watching people break “their edge” and going hard in the other direction /

[audio:WL04_DyeYourHairBlackWave.mp3]
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1. ANTIOCH ARROW | David 1995
2. SATISFACT | Escapism For The Future 1996
3. LONG HIND LEGS | Open Wide 1996
4. SIX FINGER SATELLITE | Paralyzed By Normal Life 1996
5. BRAINIAC | Flash Ram 1996
6. THE VSS | Lunar Weight 1997
7. THE NEED | Vaselina 1997
8. GOGOGO AIRHEART | Red-Dial, Redial 1997
9. THE AUDIENCE | Love A Doorframe 1997
10. THE CALCULATORS | Dead Is Dead 1998
11. CAMERA OBSCURA | We Talked Midi 1998
12. EX-DEAD TEENAGER | When In Rome 1998
13. THE RAPTURE | The Chair That Squeaks 1998
14. I AM SPOONBENDER | What Does The Water Think? 1998
15. BEAUTIFUL SKIN | Sex Is A Triangle For The Perfect Square 1999
16. TRANS AM | Futureworld 1999
17. THE FAINT | Victim Convenience 1999
18. OUT HUD | Homonid Hump 1999
19. RADIO BERLIN | Sibling 1999
20. ANTARCTICA | Absence 1999
21. GLASS CANDY AND THE SHATTERED THEATRE | Metal Gods 2000
22. LOVE LIFE | In Memory Of Me 2000
23. MILEMARKER | Tundra 2000
24. THE VOGUE | Brass And Satin 2000