It’s time to grow towards the sun again. It’s time for Change. Closer Still is the debut LP from Change, the Pacific Northwest Straight Edge band made up of Aram Arslanian, Chris Williams, Jeff Caffey, Mike Jurek and Matt Bertell. The record is 13 songs of urgent hardcore influenced by Youth of Today, Uniform Choice, INSTED, Sportswear, Turning Point and Embrace. However, the song writing pulls inspiration from across genres keeping the record from painting itself in a corner musically. Lyrically, Closer Still was written over a year and at its core is about coping with loss, anxiety and depression and trying to make the changes needed to find a better path. The songs focus on growth, both personal and social, and encourage embracing who we are while also working on becoming the best version of ourselves. Written and recorded by Aram Arslanian, Dave Mitchell, Carl McBeath and Alex Schollen, the LP was tracked and mixed by Jesse Gander at Rain City Records, with lead vocals recorded Avrinder Dhillon at Ziyen Studios and mastering by Alan Douches at West West Side Music. The record features art by Eric Himle and the packaging was designed by Evan Wivell with help from Jon A Gaasland.
The compilation "We are the flowers in the red zone" contains recordings of bands from East Germany, Hungary and Poland and is marked as a “vol.1”. The second part of the sampler was supposed to contain recordings from other countries of the Eastern Bloc, but this never happened. The bands included in this first compilation are ANDREA’S AUSLAUF, WARTBURGS FÜR WALTER and the combined forces of NAMENLOS and KEIN TALENT from East Germany (recorded live on their illegal tour in Poland 1987, organised by QQRYQ). The Hungarian scene was represented by DIE TROTTEL and BIZTONSAGI TANACS, while Poland offered recordings of the bands DEZERTER, TRYBUNA BRUDU, and A.P.S.F. (i.e. ANTI-POLISH SCIENCE FICTION).
The vinyl reissue of the compilation contains the full version of the recordings (some of the tapes were cut off), and two booklets: the first with liner notes from Pietia and an interview with him from the book "Warschauer Punk Pact" by Alexander Pehlemann, tour stories about Polish shows from the German bands Namenlos and Wartburgs Für Walter, and reprints of East German reports from “QQRYQ” zine along with archival photos.
Booklet # 2 is a faithful reproduction of the "Inside" # 1 zine from East Berlin, which was printed in Warsaw and smuggled across borders, where the entire edition was confiscated by the police and many years later exactly one and only one copy was found in the files of the Stasi.
On the occasion of the anniversary of the fall of the Eastern Bloc, this is a great opportunity to recall how the cooperation inside the "Happy Eastern Bloc" looked like as we present raw punk recordings created behind the Iron Curtain from this important period.