Review Rewind: Federation X-Federation X LP

1,405. that’s how many local recordings have been reviewed in What’s Up! over the last 15 years. Some good, some not so good, all offering something to the local scene and in these pages. A review was and will always be a band’s chance to get some press and show folks what they are doing. If a band lives around here, or on a local label, we review it and have never turned anyone away if they met one of those qualifications. Among the recordings reviewed, a few really stood out for one reason or another – it might have been how good it was or the impact it had on the scene or the statement at that time. This issue, we re-reviewed 15 of our favorite records over the last 15 years (and included a blurb from the original review) and talked not just about the music, but why the recording is important in the music scene’s history. Every one of these recordings should be on your iTunes, find ‘em, listen to ‘em, love ‘em. We do.



December 1999: “It is loud, it is raw, it is definitely dirty and even more so, it definitely rocks. From the opening chords of four-wheel drive, I knew it was in for a treat.” –Brian Slodysko

It’s hard to drop the needle on Federation X’s self-titled debut LP and not fall into a beautiful and blissful stupor. The pure and controlled explosion of sound that erupts into my headphones, even now…after all these years…brings me right goddamn back. Back to a time when I called Bellingham home. Back to a time when the 3B was a ten-minute walk from my apartment. Back to a time when my only goal in life was to be in band as good as Federation X.

The sound of Bill, Ben, and Beau in a room together is something that has never left me. I’m 34 now. This record came out when I was 21. And just the other day, I was thinking to myself that I wanted to start a power trio, and that I wanted it to sound like Fed X.

I got it bad. Fed X gave it to me. And I still can’t shake it.

I think for those of us who care or suffer for these kinds of things, all beautiful and important art is worth chasing. Even when it never leaves you. Even when it’s impossible to lose. Even when you still have the records and the memories…it’s still worth pursuing. I guess the chase is as good as the catch.

And over a decade after I bought this record, I’m still trying to learn its secrets. Still trying to shield my eyes, stare up into the mountain, and figure out how in the hell they got to the top.

-Kegan Simons