What a great cover design. Totally meaningless, seemingly unconnected to anything, but bold and striking enough to make me ponder at length about how and why some bird-headed warriors on horseback are representative of Federation X, this record, the songs on this record, or something related to one or more of those things. Nice bit of screen-printing, too, which has left a faint odour of fresh ink that remains to this day.
Federation X I knew nothing about at the time of purchasing this. I decided to do so at the same time as getting a bunch of stuff from the Wäntage USA label, some years ago. I was overwhelmed by how great everything they released seemed to be. They were very quietly spearheading an early wave of now-more-popular American hard indie rock music, with a collection of bands that took the sludgy riffs of Melvins, mixed in Black Sabbath, peppered the results with a wry sense of humour and conspired to Rock Very Hard Indeed. Fist-pumping heavy music that it was safe to like without the need for irony or shame. For a time, I was electronical pen-pals with Josh, the guy behind Wäntage, and still drop by to say a virtual hi from time to time.
I’m often tempted to drop everything and hop on a plane to visit the Totalfest event that Josh runs annually; everything I read suggests it’s not only an amazing hoedown of bands Rocking Very Hard Indeed, but that it’s also a real community kind of festival, with beer, swimming, BBQs and good vibes. Perhaps if I did end up there one day it’d turn out to be just a hundred people watching a band in a room. Who knows. I like the idea I’ve built up of it, though.
Totalfest, and Wäntage USA itself, are based in Missoula, Montana. This interests me because as a mid-teenager I was a huge David Lynch fan, and heard him mention this place in many documentaries as the location where he grew up. If David Lynch is from there, and a cool record label is from there, it must be a great place, surely? No? Regardless, here’s what it looks like from the sky. Check out those mountains! And see how Route 90 snakes across the top of some of them!