Following Crust’s opening salvo, the inaugural Love & Napalm 7-inch solidified Trance’s early aesthetic. Saturday’s Trance reunion brings together three of the four bands from that psyche-churning compilation. Although Houston’s Pain Teens had already established their own Anomie label, Trance’s Touch & Go distribution extended the range of their taboo-smashing noise rock.
“It really raised our profile,” says guitarist/producer Scott Ayers. “We started selling more records and doing better tours.”
Proximity, meanwhile, played a major role in drawing local skull-cracking freak-rock trio Ed Hall to Trance.
“We had been on Boner Records with Tom Flynn, and he had been nothing but great, but we thought it would be easier to have our label in our hometown,” explains Ed Hall/Pong bassist Larry Strub.
As the label’s nine-year run unfolded, Trance expanded its focus to encompass shoegazer pop bliss from Sixteen Deluxe, retro-futuristic post-rock from Windsor for the Derby, and heartbreaking folk from psychedelic pioneer Roky Erickson. Even then, the spirit of Love & Napalm never ebbed.
“I think Trance bands were known for being over-the-top when a lot of people in the business were striving for that kind of reputation,” says Strub. “We all had pretty intense live shows and were mostly on the noisy end of the spectrum, so it was memorable when you saw us painted up, glowing and tribal, jumping around like maniacs, or the Crust guys flopping cow tongues at people.
“Trance was a wild tribe, and people expected to leave our shows exhausted.” – Greg Beets