Visual Purple Visual Purple cassette
Canton, Michigan, 1996: three fifth-grade boys (we’re talking ten/eleven-year-olds!) buzzed on the likes of NIRVANA, R.E.M., and the KINKS form a jangly, lo-fi garage pop band called VISUAL PURPLE, play a handful of shows of the D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony/school talent show variety, and get one of their dads to record their original songs to four-track; things were all over before anyone hit teenagehood. I was also a fifth-grade alternatween in 1996, so the wild backstory immediately drew me in (and with no small amount of awe, as the “bands” I was starting with my friends at the same time only ever existed as concepts), but VISUAL PURPLE wasn’t some sort of kiddie-punk novelty act, and the six songs on this cassette could have just as likely been the handiwork any number of indie rockers of legal drinking age who were putting out fuzzed-out, ramshackle home recordings on labels like Siltbreeze and Shrimper at the height of the Clinton era—GUIDED BY VOICES, STRAPPING FIELDHANDS, SEBADOH, etc. Think of a Midwestern counterpart to Australia’s contemporaneous teen scenesters NOISE ADDICT (for the two or three people out there who will pick up on that reference), except even younger and (thankfully) minus any songs about Evan Dando. The kids were alright!