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wipers – over the edge (1983)


the landscape of late 20th century american rock music is littered with bands underappreciated in their time yet widely influential. from the velvet underground, the 13th floor elevators, big star to mission of burma, the replacements, esg, galaxie 500…the list is endless (though perhaps isn’t if one takes into account the infinity of the universe)

wipers* were another such outfit, hailing from portland oregon, flourishing creatively in a thriving but very much underground  DIY  ‘movement’ of artists and bands forming and reacting against the restrictive cultural and political statutes and attitudes of the 80’s Reagan era; a counter counter culture if you will, advancing notions of inclusiveness, genre experimentation, independence, activism and self realization that seemed radical at the time.

for a more authoritative overview of that period of american rock music seek out ‘our band could be your life’ by michael azzerad, published back in 2001. it is the definitive account of the rise of that scene and its eventual crossover or absorption by the mainstream music industry. Azzerad focuses on profiles of 13 bands from Black Flag to sonic Youth who became hugely influential if not commercially successful between the late 1970’s and the explosion of Nirvana, REM, The Smashing Pumpkins etc by the early 1990’s.

*wipers would have made a nice early 80's double bill with cult New Zealand psych-garage band the clean if only for a VIZ style pun related to bodily fluids, purification by rock and roll and so and so forth. i will now hang my head in shame.