Friday, September 25, 2009

Channel 3 : Indian Summer

While many of the bands on B.Y.O Records' 1984 compilation Something to Believe In stuck to the loud, fast fundamentals of hardcore, other bands, like Channel 3, revealed cracks in the punk underground's foundation. Songs like the Nils' heartbreakingly beautiful "Scratches and Needles" and Channel 3's soaring, sorrowful, "Indian Summer" showed a great restlessness with the strictures of hardcore. So it came to pass that 1984, the year of Reagen's dispiriting landslide re-election, marked the splintering of the hardcore underground and it's network of bands, fanzines, labels. People grew out their hair and tastes shifted towards speed-metal or jangly-pop. Such changes happen to every wave of punk but the ideas of punk rock are a contagion and not dependent on any one person carrying them; those ideas simply mutate and spread elsewhere.

Channel 3's "Indian Summer" did succeed in harnessing the angry energy of punk rock to different ends. While Black Flag dug into British sludge-metal to re-invent themselves, Channel 3 dug into California folk-rock, like their contemporaries the Red Rockers (as well as R.E.M. and the whole of L.A.'s Paisley Underground) did. The resulting sound is the mid-way point between the Clash's "Gates of the West" and Big Country's "Field of Fire". Lyrically, Magrann combines the eighties angst touchstones of nuclear fear and adolescent alienation ("I just wanna know how to the Indian summer") quite deftly. Magrann puts those words to a stirring melody, with ringing (occasionally bag-pipish) guitars and some heartfelt Springteen-isms. It''s not only a neglected classic but also one good answer to the question, "What happens to punks when they grow up?"

Chanel 3 - Indian Summer (Something to Believe In version)

Download Indian Summer 7"


  1. Hearing this song now makes me want to go back in time and kick the 16 year old me in the ass for being an idiot (I had dismissed CH3 from my listening pleasure for being "too melodic").

  2. reagan, wally george, mtv...getting another dose of '84 brings it all back...hearing this ch 3 iteration always makes me go back and listen to the stepmothers which is isn't a bad thing...really nice posts on this period of punk rock; you've got skills.

  3. I LOVE the 'middle era' of CH3, and I especially love this single version of Indian Summer.

  4. CPB
    Sadly the sixteen year old me loved this song so much he scrawled the title on his desk only to have a friend say, "Why'd you write that? That's the worst U2 song"

    The Stepmothers "Where is the Dream" is great. I was never able to find the album back in the day, I shall have to go and listen to that discography CD.
    Thanks for the fine comment, I'm always glad when the words stand out.

    Yeah, of this brief mid-period "I.S." is my favourite track but "Airborne" and "Waiting for the Sun to Go Down" are so close....

  5. Great song! Holy shit I looove CH3!

    Speaking of great songs, if you haven't heard it, you gotta check out The Stepmothers track "(I Dream I'm) Innocent". Goddamn! It may only be available on the CD version of the You Were Never My Age CD but it's well worth tracking down. There's no way you don't love that song!

    Hey Jeffen. just to let you know it's Ian "Umpire" here. Keep up the good work!

  6. It's interesting when I think of the three comps that helped shape my early taste in punk ('American Youth Report', 'There is No Future' and 'Rodney on the Roq') and CH 3 are on ALL of them - it's a damn cool track record.

    Hey that's a great Stepmothers' song (another Roq band). It's also the 2nd comment about them here - I'll have to post something soon.

    Awesome to hear from you Ian, thanks for reading (And commenting!)


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