Friday, July 22, 2016

Spoken Word Classics: Wordcore 7" Series

Seeing trends within the Philippine cultural landscape come and go has been something I've been doing ever since I found myself assuming an observer role. One such trend that caught my attention only quite recently is the sudden surge in popularity of the art form known as spoken word over this side of the globe. In fact, I witnessed that said surge firsthand when I went to a spoken word gig that also served as the closing event of a nondescript cafe and found myself rather surprised at the hundreds of people mostly younger than me who were in attendance that night. Fast forward to the present and the relatively young spoken word scene here shows no signs of stopping at all. There used to be a time however when not that many people knew about spoken word, so much so that the nascent scene formed sometime between the late 1990's to mid-2000's did not draw as much of a sizable crowd as now. With that in mind, I decided to do a series of features simply called "Spoken Word Classics" wherein I get to pull some spoken word pieces from history's vaults hoping that all the young 'uns who suddenly found themselves either wholeheartedly appreciating the art form itself or even performing in front of an audience can have a bit of an idea as to how the whole thing got itself the popularity it had long deserved.

Kill Rock Stars might be more known to fans of old-school indie music as having put out some of the most notable albums from the riot grrrl movement but the said record label actually started out via its 10-volume Wordcore series of 7" releases, a rather early effort to document the growing spoken word movement in the decade that was the 1990's. I actually took the trouble of buying ALL 10 Wordcore volumes online via Discogs and KRS' very own webstore so that I could finally bring them to light and let it be heard more by those who suddenly found themselves right in the thick of spoken word gaining an increasingly large fan base.

Solid proof right here of having tracked down and bought the entire 10-volume Wordcore series.

Each spoken word piece in the entire series has been uploaded to YouTube for posterity but just in case they suddenly get taken down for whatever reason, backup versions have been uploaded to Mega and are provided as well below. Footnotes have also been provided for additional information on some of the artists involved (click ↩ to go back). Not gonna attempt though to make a short blurb about each piece as I believe it should be left for the listener to interpret what message or thought each performer is trying to convey.

So without further ado, presenting Kill Rock Stars' Wordcore series:

Wordcore Volume 1: Slim Moon[1] / Kathleen Hanna[2] - "Mean" b/w "Rock Star

Slim Moon  - "Mean"

Kathleen Hanna - "Rock Star"
Wordcore Volume 2: Stacey Levine / Peter Toliver - "Sweethearts" b/w "Wad/Load"

Stacey Levine - "Sweethearts"

Peter Toliver - "Wad/Load"

Wordcore Volume 2

Wordcore Volume 3: Jean Smith[3] - "Carboni Angel"


"Charcoal Ladder"

Wordcore Volume 3

Wordcore Volume 4: Penny Arcade - "A Cunt Is a Useful Thing!"

"A Cunt Is a Useful Thing!"

"The Government Doesn't Want People to Fuck!"

Wordcore Volume 4

Wordcore Volume 5: Juliana Luecking - "She's Good People"

"Sistahood and Guppie"

"Trust Stevie"

"Perfect Lesbian Bar"

"Playing Doctor"

"Cleaver. Cleavage."

"Umbrella for Two"

Wordcore Volume 5

Wordcore Volume 6: Peter Plate - "History Comes Around Like Snipers on a Rooftop"

"Incantation for Memory"

"The Future: Last Juror"

Wordcore Volume 6

Wordcore Volume 7: Exene Cervenka[4] - s/t


"Woman of the Year"


Wordcore Volume 8: Emily XYZ - "Jimmy Page Loves Lori Maddox / Sinatra Walks Out"

"Jimmy Page Loves Lori Maddox"

"Sinatra Walks Out"

Wordcore Volume 8

Wordcore Volume 9: Nicole Panter - "The Story Lady"

"A Fragment of My Unfinished Hollywood Novel..."

"Eating for Two."


"Fuck You Punk Rock / 77."

"The Baby."
Wordcore Volume 10: Billy Childish - "Hangman Communication"

"Crimes of the Future"

"Hangman Communication"

Wordcore Volume 10

Here's to hoping all the recent spoken word enthusiasts (most of them some years younger than me) would come across this post right here and get to explore some gems from back in the day. More to come in the next few weeks.

1 Kill Rock Stars record label founder.

2 Known for her work as the vocalist of seminal riot grrrl band Bikini Kill and dance-punk band Le Tigre. Currently fronting The Julie Ruin which is basically a continuation of her two previous bands and then some.

3 One-half of indie rock duo Mecca Normal

4 More popularly known as one of the two vocalists of 1970's punk band X (whose few hits include "Johnny Hit and Run Paulene" and "Los Angeles").

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