Subculture Live ’86 cassette

Here’s a little time capsule action from Sorry State. Formed in North Carolina in the early ’80s, SUBCULTURE is one of those bands that weren’t heard by a wide audience during their run, but those who were familiar with the group get a wide-eyed look when you mention them. I’ve read at least one article on the web where someone calls them “the best punk band in the world” of their era. I don’t know about all that, but they were a cool group and pretty original. They played hardcore, but with more depth and variety in sound than many bands of the time, to the point where it’s difficult to make a wholesale comparison. The music is speedy and thrashy, but with an unusual sense of vulnerability. This cassette captures a boombox recording of a show they played in 1986 in all its glory—there’s an audible crowd, the tape is chewed beyond recognition in spots, and the guitarist tells his girlfriend he loves her several times between songs. Big ups to Debbie. At one point the singer kicks into a lengthy rap in which he name-drops Henry Rollins and calls himself “the magic man.” There are previously unreleased songs in this set, and apparently, even the band was surprised to hear them, as they had no recollection of writing or playing them. All in all, it’s fun stuff. Puke N Vomit did a bang-up job on the reissue of their sole LP I Heard A Scream a couple of years back, and this tape is a nice companion piece to it.