Contrary to popular belief, Seattle’s music scene was not all about heavy, sludgy, so called “grunge” music. In fact, they had a pretty vibrant garage rock, punk, and Power Pop scene. In fact, one of the forerunners of modern power pop, The Fastbacks, had become something of a Seattle institution well before Nirvana appeared. But the scene dates back well before then, back to the late 70s and early 80s. One particular band, Wenis, disappeared without notice in the early part of the decade, leaving behind only memories of the handful of people who knew their name. Frontman Al Bloch would move on to other projects, and this recently discovered collection of recordings serves as the only extant document of the high school band. As would be expected, the recordings are rough but a charm shines through; my particular favorite is “Wait It Out,” a promising song that would appear again a decade later when the aforementioned Fastbacks–led by Al’s brother Kurt––would record it and release it as a single in 1994. While these recordings might not have much widespread appeal, they’re definitely interesting and enjoyable in terms of a historical document from an overlooked corner of a fertile musical scene.
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