Friday 45 – Wipers, Youth of America

This isn’t a single, really, but it is an incredible song. The title track of Wipers’ second album clocks in at 10 intense minutes, driven through out by a simple, krautrock-like two-note baseline. The track certainly owes something to Neu! and their ilk, but comes cloaked in the fuzz and rage of the US punk scene.

Wipers never really got much recognition at the time, and although their reputation has grown over time, they’re still a bit of a cult act. The band didn’t fit in with the hardcore punk scene – their songs were too long and too varied to appeal to that audience.

But the Portland, Oregon band was a massive influence on the more creative hardcore punks that diverted away from three chord thrash as the 80s wore on. Bands such as the Melvins and Dinosaur Jr cited them as influences, and they were a really big influence on Nirvana.

Kurt Cobain listed their first three records – Is This Real?, Youth of America and Over the Edge – among his top 50 albums of all time. The band also covered a couple of songs from Is This Real?: Return of the Rat and D-7.

There are a lot more melodic, immediate songs I could have chosen from Wipers, not to mention much, much shorter, but Youth of America really is the band at its creative peak. It’s not the easiest listen, but it’s pretty damn exciting.

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