Compared to other citys its size, the St Louis punk/indie scene has released ridiculously few 45s over the years. “Oh yeah?!” you’ll say, & name like fifteen records. “Yeah,” I’ll say, & name like thirty more off the top of my head (give me a few minutes & I’ll name a hundred), & then point out that that’s still not nearly as many as, say, Cincinnati OH or Omaha NE. I don’t know what our deal is. I also don’t know what our obsession is, considering how relatively few 45s we release, with so many of them being 7″ eps with tons of short songs on them, but that I’m kinda into. I’ve released at least two of the stupid things myself (see a previous, totally self-ego-stoking Rebellious Jukebox for more info), & when somebody releases one, I’m first in line to buy it.
The grand-ish daddy of the idea belonged to a bunch of high school, or just out, kids in the Wild West days of the early 90’s. An uneasy alliance had formed between the South City punk kids & the West County punk kids, centered around the all ages Mecca Bastille’s in distant suburbia (located in the Barn at Lucerne, as the recorded message listing upcoming shows always proudly proclaimed, even though city kids had no idea what that meant). Bastille’s was one of the few easy to book spots in those dark times for unknown bands & unproven promoters. Payment was fair, crowds were big, the room sounded pretty decent, & Jim the owner never came across as a creepo. Compare that to most any other all ages spaces in St Louis since then. This fertile ground spawned a ton of bands, four of which came together to release Compliments Of The Chef. The record contains no less than THREE songs that St Louis punks of a certain age might consider anthems.
Caffeine start off the record with an anti-cop screed, then hit with the fist-pumper shout along Everyone’s A Headcase. Is it LOUD ENOUGH, LOUD ENOUGH, LOUD ENOUGH?! The one guy went on to be in the 90 Day Men (with that other guy from that other West County punk band I wrote about a few Rebellious Jukeboxes ago).
Sea Of Heds were (probably?) the youngest band on here, & sound it. Their earnestness makes up for the clumsy chord changes & the out-of-breath singing, though, & I honestly mean that. Sincerity goes a long way with me, especially in dark times.
Haymarket were a loud fast crust-lined attack live, & even if some of their power was missed in this recording, their five songs still blur & punch hard, with the fist-pumping shout along Hole Boy (HOLE BOY!!!) being the pick to hit.
The Meat Sisters were the hardest working band in the scene, with members going on to numerous noted bands afterward, & their two songs are rock solid, a political ranter followed by St. Louis County (the third of the three anthems, if you’re keeping score), a snide broadside against the very area that was allowing them shows & a chance to find their feet. Can’t argue with a word of it, though, then or now.
In the now times, when something at least resembling punk rock seems to be fucking everywhere you look, it’s somehow harder to find a scene. Encapsulated Records is trying to do its part to stake out their space with the release of Quarter Hour Of Power, a fourteen band/fourteen song 7″. Maybe it’s me (it’s TOTALLY me), but even though it’s tons better recorded & the bands are much better musicians, there’s a little bit of spark lacking, compared to the wide eyed innocence of the Compliments crew. Oh well. I still like the record & I like having it. I’m not gonna wax nostalgic over fourteen bands, though, so here’s seven words on each…
Bruiser Queen-perfect opening toss-off song for toss-off record
Horror Section-quick wrist chug/clean vocal pop punk
Breakmouth Annie-always great, always under-rated, always killing it
The Haddonfields-were there “whoa-whoas?” probably, I don’t remember
Sink the Bismark-radio ready pop punk ready for radio
Suicide Dive-I have no idea who this is
Chalked Up-I wanted the vocals even MORE growly
Hell Night-noodle noodle chug chug howl howl howl
Braddock-total pro punk, in a good way
Sweat Shoppe-is this Ultraman? ha ha, just kidding
Better Days-every song an invitation to circle pit
Not Waving But Drowning-fast, angry, I thought they broke up
Fister-nice piss-take on their own sludge strengths
Antithought-fuck off? that’s not nice to say
Compliments Of The Chef
Quarter Hour Of Power