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(2-LP set) In 1978, the city of Portland, OR erupted with a radical form of artistic expression some refer to as ”punk” or ”new wave.” Restless teenage crowds were gathering in quiet alleys and meeting halls, anxious to shake off their cultural ties, and at the heart of this legendary movement was the powerful all-girl punk group the Neo Boys.
Though an active band for just five years (1978-82), teenage sisters KT (bass) and Kim Kincaid (vocals), together with Pat Baum (drums) and guitarists Jennifer Labianco and Megan Hengtes forged a place for women in the growing punk rock scene, and redefined gender roles in the 80’s movement of rock and roll with Neo Boys.
With their bleached hair, melodic bass lines, surfy guitar strums and straight-forward poetic lyrics, they were a stand-out in the rising new wave/punk scene. Neo Boys regularly shared bills with Greg Sage and The Wipers, opened for Nico, played their first show with Television and participated in founding Portland’s first all-ages collective DIY performance space, Clockwork Joe’s.
Yet somehow this incredible legacy was nearly lost in the annals of history. Calvin Johnson, a Neo Boys fan since hearing their first single thirty years ago, worked with the band members to track down the missing tapes of their recordings through a rabbit hole of Northwest basements and closets. The result is Sooner or Later, a comprehensive double LP collection of Neo Boys recordings from 1977-1982.
Included are their long out-of-print 1980 7” EP (released on Greg Sage’s Trap Records), and the 1982 self-released EP Crumbling Myths. Sooner or Later also contains studio recordings, early demos and live sessions that have never before been available to the public.
Sooner or Later is divided between the Neo Boys’ early, raw punk era and their more accomplished ’80s era during which they recorded Crumbling Myths (which was originally meant to be an album but was cut down to a seven song EP at the last moment). Time Keeps Time, a bouncy bass-heavy track, made popular again by Grass Widow’s cover on their Milo Minute 7”, demonstrates the Neo Boys timeless appeal.
And Kim Kincaid’s soft, not-too-sweet vocals in Nothing To Fear, which makes two appearances on the collection, speaks to the power of the band’s ideals, and the importance of pursuing your artistic vision, even in the face of adversity. The Neo Boys were an outspoken feminist fixture in the development of the NW underground music scene, and this legacy is cemented with the release of their complete recordings, Sooner or Later.
Garage, Grunge, Indie, Lo-Fi, Punk, Rock