Local Anesthetic (Smooch Records) 2008. So this one has been seriously making the rounds on a lot of other sites which is good. Smooch Records is definitely working the promotional angle (as they should be). The early punk/HC scene in Denver has largely been over-looked historically and I think this CD is going to go a long way towards setting the record straight. Since, these other reviews largely cover the background story on Local Anesthetic, I am going to avoid repetition and only touch lightly upon it. It’s a damn interesting story and barring reading the liner notes on the CD itself, most other reviews on the interwebs will suffice.
So basically, the famous industrial label Wax Trax was founded not in Chicago but in Denver, Colorado. Wax Trax co-founders Jim Nash and Duane Davis opened their little shop shortly before the punk rock zeitgeist in a little storefront on 13th Ave in the Capital Hill/Cheeseman Park area of Denver. Then, Jim relocated to Chicago and opened another Wax Trax. This Wax Trax became its own label and its first release was the immortal Immediate Action by local Chicago heroes, Strike Under. We all know what then happened with Wax Trax.
But maybe we don’t know what happened with the little baby Wax Trax in Denver? See, it survived and persevered. Duane started up his own label too. It was called Local Anesthetic and it was Denver’s own answer to Dischord and Touch and Go. Within a few years, the Local Anesthetic history was complete and in this time, they released a buncha really cool singles that spanned the gamut from proto-punk to art noise to hardcore to proto-grunge.
So yeah…that’s the scoop in a nutshell. And what does Stumble plan to add to this lively discussion? Well, my own patented brand of
bullshit introspection wrought from personal experience, of course. See…I am an ex-Denverite. Now, this may seem crazy to you coastal folks out there, but there is nowhere in the US of A that I would rather live in than Denver. I absolutely fuckin’ LOVE the place. And I say this with no irony whatsoever.
In fact, the inception of this site was sparked by my moving back to Saint Louis and I have always maintained that the minute I got back to Denver, this site will be kaput. I’ll have other things to do and if you want to find me, I’ll probably be at the Mayan watching a movie or at The Brewery Bar on Kalamath eating Green Chili by the quart. Or maybe I’ll be at the Cherry Cricket eating frings and drinking Carlsberg on tap. Shit maybe I’ll be at the Bluebird checking out a show or down at the Starz Film Centre. Maybe I’ll be just be up in the mountains. Good luck finding me there. Or maybe I’ll be at Wax Trax. One thing, I won’t be doing is sitting in front of a computer working on Last Days anymore.
And yes Denver is geographically in the middle of nowhere. I know this. Its six hours from Albuquerque. Twelve hours from KC. Seven hours from Salt Lake City. You get the picture. And that just adds to the place’s charm. The arts in Denver are supported by a small but very passionate group of people. The same type of people that started up Local Anesthetic.
Now, with regards to the impact Denver made on punk/wave music back in the day, you just couldn’t get better educated than listening to this CD. It makes a hell of a companion to Bold Beginnings, the Louisville CD from a year or two ago. I mean, there’s nothing as revelatory for me as No Fun on Local Anesthetic but that is largely due to the fact that I had heard the Frantix before. Had I not, I would be throwing full Stumble fanboy love at the band like I did Tara Key’s early proto-punk group. If you haven’t, from some weird act of fate, heard The Frantix before, well shit buddy…you’re in for a fucking shock. The title track off their first 7inch My Dad’s a Fuckin’ Alcoholic has gotta be in competition with Wonderful Subdivision for the first true grunge song ever recorded. The fact that some of these dudes went on to form the Fluid just supports the case.
How about White Trash and Bum Kon? You ever hear of them? Probably if you frequent the other blogs out there you have. Regardless, these bands were as fucking cool as any other hardcore noisemongers making the rounds back then. It’s hard to understand in this era of easy blog-action but I am telling ya, these were super fucking obscure back in the day.
Like Bold Beginnings, Local Anesthetic is proof positive that this shit was nationwide. The great thing about hardcore especially back then was that it was a local, DIY thingamabob. I mean if NOTA was plugging away in Tulsa, Drunks With Guns were chugging away in St Louis and Jerrys Kidz were blasting skate parks in Albuquerque…well then you know Denver had some serious shit going on too.