Friday, June 4, 2010

I have nothing against Portland. It's a great city, really. There's a reason we refer to it as West Missoula: it represents a horizon for our own growth. It's green, politically charged and maintains a sense of community. There's also another reason why we call it West Missoula. You can't walk down the street without seeing some Missoula transplant or go to some show without feeling like you encounter some pocket of a Jay's time-warp. It's nothing personal against Portland; it's just that its status as a metropolitan center and its location seems to siphon away Missoula's music scene.
Squalora is a prime example. There's no fault in moving on to bigger and better, but it stings when memory is more exciting than the actual. Missoula tries; it does, but I dread when bands start to grow and take full shape. It leads to the question, “When are they leaving?” Larger issues are at play here, but when you find a place you like to call home and the music keeps jumping ship, a little bit of bitter begins to take hold.
Enough of the lament.

Squalora harkens back to the old days of hardcore. Think Born Against, Capitalist Casualties, Citizens Arrest, Infest, Antischism, Dirt, Resist, Mankind?, etc. Ok maybe some aren't that old, but the torch they continue to carry is one that we should all hope isn't extinguished. While pop-punk and garage-punk are easily nike-ified and swooshed into the “Do It” slogan, the angst and rebellion expressed in hardcore is something that continually defies pop-culture's co-optation. Sure that's a little na├»ve, but it's hard to imagine Squalora popping up on Guitar Hero or selling soda. Formerly Ass-End Offend, and, momentarily, Nazgul (not to mention parts of Venal IV and the Anti-Difrancos, among others), Squalora has been shredding ears in one form or another since 1999. With a litany of releases on Poison Candy Records, Wantage USA and Repetitively Futile Records, they froth with the DIY spirit of resistance. The frustration and general pissed nature of the music keeps you on your toes and, like Assuck, cries for you to wield a machete and storm the capital.

The brewing, fermenting bitterness that swells and cries for release in small towns breeds a unique type of anger. In a larger city, there is always someone else already creating an outlet, there are groups of people where you can lose yourself in the collective. In a small town, there is usually no option for release. You either flee or meet the bullshit head on. Squalora chose the latter. So Portland, you can keep your 2 million plus because there's something special that small city angst creates, and we'll continue to proudly identify with our exports.


Anonymous said...

It has been TOO LONG! Can't wait to see these guys again in Montana. Did not think over a year would go by without them coming out to melt our faces off

Lady Lady said...

nice post. thanks for expressing the portland export frusteration out loud.

It'll be great to have them home!