Burning Pools,
The TVD First Date

“When I was 12 years old and listening to the last bands on the long tail of hair metal on cassette, my brother and I had a nanny whose boyfriend played in a hardcore band. I did not know what that was, but he correctly saw a potential convert in me and brought over a crate of LPs and seven-inches of bands I’d never heard of — Gorilla Biscuits, Cro-Mags, Quicksand, Minor Threat. Immediately I didn’t want to listen to Use Your Illusion II anymore and wanted more of this.”

“We went to ReConstruction Records on East 6th St. and I’m pretty sure I bought Bad Religion’s “Atomic Garden” 7” ‘cause I liked their name it had the artwork etched into the B-side of the record. After that I took the subway downtown to ReCon every Saturday, desperately not wanting any of the people who hung out there to find out that I was a private school kid from the Upper West Side. Years later came the slow reveal that they were all private school kids from New Jersey and Long Island.

The shop was volunteer-run and I started working there on weekends. Every Saturday I would buy a few seven inches and maybe an LP based on whatever people were listening to at the shop. The era of punk just before Green Day hit was in retrospect a very strange time for indie music in that we were very elitist (major label records were verboten, but not The Clash or XRaySpex—anything that was old and/or British was exempt) but also very accepting and big-tent musically; the punk community was too small an ecosystem to not include everything independent under its banner.

I bought Superchunk’s On the Mouth, Operation Ivy’s Energy, Agnostic Front’s Victim In Pain, and Fugazi’s In On the Kill Taker at ReCon (that last one on street-date). We played the hell out of all those at the shop and it really felt like variations on the same genre to us. We listened to Bikini Kill and people argued about whether it was good or not (it is.) I don’t remember when exactly I bought Jawbreaker’s Bivouac on LP but I don’t think I listened to anything else for three months. I dubbed it onto cassette so I could listen to it on my Walkman on the way to school.

I pored over the lyrics and credits to these like they were stats on baseball cards. The labels were like little teams; Revelation, Alternative Tentacles, KillRockStars, Dischord, local ones like Gern Blandsten. I’d check out all the other bands on a label if I liked one, and then bands would come and play New York on a bill with four other bands and I’d get into those. Thinking about it now, it amazes me how much harder it was to get one’s hands on actual music than it is now, but I sought out new music far more than I do now when it’s all five seconds away.

ReCon closed in (I think) the fall of ’93—I don’t think it was open for more than a year and a half but in my mind it’s like a whole historic era. My tastes have expanded considerably since then, and most of the tenets of nineties punk elitism seem ridiculous now, but for me there isn’t an experience in music that matches buying a record ‘cause some kid two years older who you think is just-the-coolest talked it up, putting it on, and finding out that you like it.”
Max Bernstein

“Bang Bang,” the debut single from Burning Pools—the new project from former Smashing Pumpkins bassist Ginger Pooley—is in stores now.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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