Depending on whom you ask, the early Wipers recordings either innovated punk, invented what came to be popularly known as “grunge”, or initiated the blueprint for DIY postpunk. A listen to the1993 release Silver Sail puts the Wipers legacy in an entirely new context.
It’s 1993 and “grunge” has exploded from the basement to the shopping mall, being pipelined into the mainstream corporate consumer culture. Sage and his Wipers watch as their inﬂuence is diluted from passionate teenage revolt to soft drink commercial. Rather than scramble to cash in, Sage ignores the outside world and digs deeper into his singular and solitary sense of self and again creates an album ahead of trends and outside of time.
Written and recorded while Sage lived in Arizona, the desert informs Silver Sail’s dry, desolate and ghostly feel. The down-tempo pieces are positively haunted by it. Stand-out tracks such as “Y I Came”, and the albums centerpiece, the epic and lumbering “The Prisoner” countervail the heavy guitar sounds of 1993 and exhibit traits of the then burgeoning slow-core scene.
Side Two is all plodding surf rock, eerie soundtracks and jangly punk echoing an Athens, GA sound through the ﬁlter of Northwestern gloom and 90’s detachment.