• VSS
  • Response EP7 (Gravity No. 25) 1995 
  • The Flesh Inside EP7 (Strict) 1995 
  • 21:51 (GSL) 1996 
  • Nervous Circuits (Honey Bear) 1997 
  • VSS/Rye Coalition
  • EP7 (Super 8) 1997 

The entire post-scene (post-rock, -Rodan, -emo, -you name it) has never seen a creature the likes of the VSS. As with all sure-to-be “legendary” bands of the ’90s, this Berkeley (via Denver) band of sonic butchers spent its entire existence in obscurity. But the quartet’s importance will undoubtedly escalate as future high schoolers and dropouts check out other people’s copies of its releases.

Nervous Circuits and the singles collection 21:51 combine savvy and fury into new levels of autonomy. Gang of Four Version 2.0? Not quite, but there are definite similarities. In fact, the UK art school scene (the Fall, Mekons) of the mid-to-late ’70s could have been the foundation for what the VSS put on display. But rather than being strictly a product of the ’70s, VSS turns that on its head. A force of primal urgency, the band’s nasty brand of noise, as if tribal war beats were being slugged out on a swarming hornets’ nest, leaves no time for a passive listening experience.

[Henry H. Owings]