The Wipers – D-7

thewipers

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain was famous for promoting the bands he loved while growing up in the coastal town of Aberdeen, WA (just drove through there a few days ago). It’s safe to say that quite a few people wouldn’t have heard of The Raincoats or Vaselines without the prompting of Mr. Cobain. For me, the best band that he introduced me to was The Wipers based out of Portland, OR. Nirvana covered two songs by The Wipers – Return of the Rat and D-7. Both songs appear on the band’s 1980 debut, Is This Real?. Both songs are insanely strong (as is the entire album), but I prefer D-7 just a tad. The song seemingly features the template Nirvana would use to take over the world just 11 years later – dirty guitars, pop-like melodies, and pure emotion. The Wipers were Greg Sage on vocals & guitar, Dave Koupal on bass, and Sam Henry on drums (Henry would later go onto play with pre Dead Moon and Pierced Arrows band, The Rats). I love Nirvana’s version, but I REALLY love The Wipers version. The song just smokes – a guitar riff that won’t quit, and emotion bleeding out of Sage’s vocals. Seven dimensional space refers to a place without any notion of distance. Sage’s lyrics take this idea and add appropriate vague statements that heighten the dread: “Standing on the stairs / Cold, cold morning / Ghostly image of fear / Mayday mayday / Gonna leave this region / They’ll take me with them / Dimension seven”.  An unheralded masterpiece that deserves a wider audience.

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Pierced Arrows – This is the Day

piercedarrows

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

This past weekend I finally had a chance to see Pierced Arrows in Portland, OR at a co-headlining show with The Sonics. Featuring Fred & Toody Cole, it exceeded my wildest expectations. The friend I went with was familiar with The Sonics (who hasn’t heard the best version of Louie Louie ever laid to wax?), but wasn’t too familiar with Pierced Arrows. The best I could come up with was “a punk rock version of Neil Young w/ male + female vocals. Also, they are peers of Neil Young”. Something like that, and certainly doesn’t do the band justice. Singer / guitarist Fred Cole has led many bands, the most famous being Dead Moon. He also led Portland punk stalwarts The Rats, the early 70’s hard rock band Zipper, and became famous with his first band in the late 60’s – The Lollipop Shoppe / The Weeds (band name was changed from The Weeds). Pierced Arrows were formed when Dead Moon ground to a halt in 2006, after being active since 1987. Featuring Fred Cole on guitar & vocals, Toody Cole on bass & vocals, and Kelly Halliburton on drums, they are a slightly less shambolic unit than Dead Moon were and feature some of my favorite songs the Cole’s & company have laid to tape. This is the Day features emotionally bare vocals from both of the Coles as well as an infectious punk rock chorus. It encapsulates everything that makes the band so great. Starting anew, putting past mistakes to rest – lyrically, it is universally resonant. Thankfully they played it when I got to see them live, and they absolutely nailed it. It is a performance that will stay with me forever. The song can be found on the band’s 2010 record, Descending Shadows. It’s a great entry point for the wonderful world of the Coles, and you’ll find yourself collecting every one of the records these great musicians have been involved with.