The End of Silence
The Rollins Band
Purchased in 1992 at Wherehouse Records in Tulare, California. I was dating one of the other sales associates, a kid named Jim. We had the same hair – shoulder-length strawberry blonde pageboys. He was young, a couple of years younger than I was, and in that in-between phase where he hadn’t quite shed his boyishness for manhood. In our baggy work vests, kneeling in front of a rack of videocassettes, we were indistinguishable.
Jim was a skater, in the way that well-off suburban boys are when they want to feel rebellious. He didn’t give a damn about anyone or anything, and he couldn’t wait to get out of his whitebread town and get tattoos on his pale, freckled skin, and he hated his parents, and he…”Jim? I left a Pop Tart out for you, honey.”
Jim introduced me to skate punk that year, bands I’d never heard of before – Nomeansno, Swervedriver, Superchunk, Fugazi, so many others – and it changed my musical life. I’d been a metalhead for years, and I was resistant to any other musical genre. The few weeks of dating Jim opened up a whole new world of possibilities. I veered hard toward alternative just as the grunge wave broke, early enough that I could tell customers, with smugness in my voice, that I’d been listening to Soundgarden since before they were cool.
We didn’t last long as a couple, if we ever were one to begin with. He seemed to be too concerned with his image to stay with someone as non-indie as I was, and I grew tired of being his “establishment” lay. I never was his girlfriend. I never met his parents, and he never met mine. We just casually stopped being together.
Weeks later, I’d learn that he hadn’t seen things quite that way. More on that when we get to the letter “M”.
One of the albums – vinyl albums – that we’d lie on his bed and listen to was ‘Hard Volume’. I bought ‘The End of Silence’ on CD a few months later, because I didn’t want to track down the older disc. I didn’t care about being that indie.
Wasted time spent thinking about you
You know I’ve come to hate myself
Smashing my hands against the wall
Trying to forget the foolish way I felt
You’re so kind when it serves you well
- Almost Real
Why it Won
This is one of the few recordings we’ll see this month that doesn’t see start-to-finish play. I start at ‘Tearing’, listen to ‘You Didn’t Need’ and ‘Almost Real’, and end with ‘Obscene’. I never listen to the songs before or after those four. This subset forms the perfect breakup EP. Like most of Rollins’ work, you can’t sing along to it when you’re driving down the road unless you want to rupture a vessel in your throat. But if you’re feeling the need for a rage-fueled, hyperarticulate angstfest, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Electric – The Cult - This tape was playing in my cousin’s dad’s car the first time I ever tasted alcohol. Listening to the CD takes me right back to Buena Park, 1985.