Wipers - Is This Real? (Cover Artwork)


Wipers: Is This Real?Is This Real? (1980)
Sub Pop Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: RipperWalkRipperWalk
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Just a few years after the Ramones and the Clash made their mark, a little town in Oregon called Portland, was home to a band who was doing the same thing, but few people have ever even heard of them. In 1980 the Wipers were the kings of Northwest punk, and as Kurt Cobain once said, "If it were.

Just a few years after the Ramones and the Clash made their mark, a little town in Oregon called Portland, was home to a band who was doing the same thing, but few people have ever even heard of them.

In 1980 the Wipers were the kings of Northwest punk, and as Kurt Cobain once said, "If it weren't for the Wipers, there wouldn't have been grunge."

Greg Sage, a legend in the northwest subcultures, was the vocals and the guitar of the Wipers. Mixing dark and spooky lyrics with fast-paced guitars and great bass hooks, the Wipers took over Portland and helped inspire a countless number of other bands who will never say who inspired them.

The Wipers were popular in the same way that the Pixies were or even the Velvet Underground. They sold very few albums, but went on to inspire a myriad number of bands.

Is This Real was the album that shot the Wipers into their own little popular culture, and is the album that is looked back on as being a masterpiece. Songs like Alien Boy and Return of the Rat have been covered by punk and grunge bands for decades.

The whole album feels dark.

Depressing lyrics at every corner and guitars that slowly build up and fade away and then scream all the way until the end. Greg is a poet in his own way. In Alien Boy we finally get to hear Greg's lyrical talent.

"Got no rights. No rights at all. They just feed off the sun. They hurt what they don't understandâ?¦He's an alien boy."

D-7, a very perfect slow song with an amazing blast of energy towards the end is easily one of the album's highlights. Many of the songs on Is This Real of great build-ups. Songs like Mystery and Up Front start with a looming bass line and the drums echo in just as the guitar dances its way through. By the time the chorus comes in you feel like the song has already accomplished everything.

There are also songs like Return of the Rat and Is This Real, which are some of the faster songs that the Wipers became known for, and demonstrated Greg's vocals more than his lyrics. Greg was able to shout his way through his songs without worrying if the crowd understood or not.

Eventually they did.

Released on Sub Pop records years before Soundgarden and Nirvana, the Wipers created the sound of the Northwest, which ended up inspiring grunge. Whether or not you appreciate or even care about grunge bands, it is hard to deny the talent of Greg Sage and the Wipers and the fact that they were doing all of this before anybody had even heard of bands like Nirvana. And "that's a good thing" to quote Martha Stewart.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
devildog1507 (November 13, 2003)

Wipers rule...also look out for Youth of America and Over the edge...

rightcliqificus (September 8, 2003)

oh yeah, and the wipers do in fact rock. they are very good, if you dig that sort of punk rock.

rightcliqificus (September 8, 2003)

Too bad sub-pop records didn't exist in 1980. This record was originally released on park avenue records. It was re-released on sub-pop in 1993. Not that its a huge deal, but it might be worthwhile to set that straight. In 1980, Subpop was barely a name. It might've been a fanzine at that point, but i think it was a little later than that.. like 83 when that started. And they released some mix tapes of some stuff local bands were doing with the fanzines, but they weren't signed bands. they didn't have a studio or an office or anything. The first actual release on Sub Pop Records was Green River's "Dry As A Bone" in 1987. Before that they were just tapes copied on boomboxes.. no "real" distribution or anything.. some of this info can be easily found on the internet, but i thought i might share that for those who may or may not be interested.

eyeball_kid (September 7, 2003)

Will have to check this out. The Melvins' cover of Youth of America is class.

Anonymous (September 6, 2003)

I think the "Portland being a small town" comment was sarcastic because nobody really recognizes the city and/or bands that come from there.

Anonymous (September 6, 2003)

Great album, nice to see our local bands getting some props around here. Portland is hardly a small town though, it's something like the 23rd-25th biggest city in the nation, bigger than Atlanta et al...You better recognize.

Anonymous (September 6, 2003)

Finally a decent review atypical of the material usually presented on this website!

Anonymous (September 5, 2003)

great stuff, pick up the box set, it's cheap.


RyanTMurphy (September 5, 2003)

If anyone's interested in buying a vintage Wipers 7inch single, email me at princeorangecrush@hotmail.com.

Anonymous (September 5, 2003)

damn, i never thought i'd see this reviewed either. good shit. good review, too.

Anonymous (September 5, 2003)

Pure beauty. Simply an amazing record.

Anonymous (September 5, 2003)

never thought id see a wipers review anywhere. they kind of hit or miss, but with a quantity of material so large thats to be expected of anything.


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