As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as The Endtables.
Punk’s window was quickly closing toward the end of the 70s, despite a hard fought victory over the excess and vanity of disco and dance. Yet many youthful punksters were growing older, trading in their sado-masochistic uniforms for trysts in the world of art and no wave — even punk needed a reactionary scene in which those jaded with the exploits of The Ramones and the Sex Pistols could vent their vitriol. When cities like Toronto begin harboring their own punk scene, the torch has been passed.
No one told The Endtables, but news of New York punk’s demise would take its time making its way to Louisville. The Midwest exists on a schedule all its own; punk being seen by many as just a leisure exercise of youthful rebellion in the face of mounting chores. But the greatest minds of the time, stuck in the hamlets and hovels of the Tri-State area (Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky) were immersing their collective geniuses in punk, devouring the staples and regurgitating the filth of the East Coast with a mixture of the region’s own bile. It was all a morality play and The Endtables were front and center for a short time to those who dared to direct their gaze at the mirror punks provided.
Perhaps it’s the current political and social climate but now seems like the perfect time for Drag City to dust off and compile The Endtables’ few recordings and present them in a complete package for people looking for a purpose in music and finding little within the current industrial chains of carefully churned out indie and pop. Promoting androgyny and rebellion, The Endtables combined the riff-happy malice of 70s punk with the sort of catchy wisdom harnessed by the likes of The Ramones and The Stooges with an unapologetic façade. One can only imagine the reaction of those unaware of Steve Rigot’s penchant for women’s apparel squeezing out equally ambiguous lyrics about the malaise, disease, and decay of daily life while being packed by quick, tight melodies. The Endtables spoke to those who were hoping to get out of their one horse town and discover that what made them angry in their neck of the woods was waiting to greet them no matter their locale, as is the way of the world. It is then that punk’s scope — and The Endtables — can truly be appreciated. It only took 30 years but all good things come to those who are willing to fight for it.