Friday, February 27, 2015

DISUNDERSTOOD ZINE READING - Tape - 2013


 DISUNDERSTOOD is a zine that my friend Sara Double Ears started in 2002. Initially, she was going to call it "Misunderstood", but I happened to be in the room and said something like "What? Seriously?? It should be called DIS-understood!!" The basic premise of the zine is that she attends punk shows with her notebook in hand and writes down what she thinks the bands are singing about. Since she is a part of the DIY punk community, she can usually be found in houses, storefronts, generator shows and warehouses where the PA is always less that adequate. When you throw in the fact that most of the singers are screaming unintelligibly, it is near impossible to discern what anyone is saying. This is why she wrote down that TRAGEDY was singing about gardening and SEXY sang about eating aspertame together.
  I love the first issue of DISUNDERSTOOD. I might be the biggest fan, which is why I begged Sara to work on issue two for the next ten years. When I saw that it may never happen. I asked if I could just do it myself. Sara happily handed over her unused files of misheard lyrics from the intervening ten years and I got to work, carrying my own notebook to shows all over the US and throughout Europe. Issue two went to print in 2012 with everything from OUTLOOK singing about being a dog to HYSTERICS singing about sledding to TRAGEDY eating shit and bacon.
   I've been self-publishing zines since the mid-1990's and I've never even vaguely entertained the idea of trying to read anything in front of people, mostly because it feels awkward, I don't like the sound of my own voice and being in front of people without the comforting blanket of a loud punk band turns my anxiety level up to 1000. In the fall of 2013, I found myself in Providence, RI for a month. My friend, Mike was setting up a show at (now defunct) Building 16 in Olneyville. For some weird reason, I asked if I could kick off the show with a zine reading from the second issue of DISUNDERSTOOD....the feeling came out of nowhere. He said yeah and I practiced once in my room.
   The reading felt okay. I was a lot less anxious than I thought I'd be, but I still sweated profusely and later threw up behind the building. The audience was really nice. It was cool to hear what people thought was funny and what fell flat. Who knew that one of the bigger laughs would come from the statement, "My band played a show with TRAGEDY in Scotland."? I had no idea that my new friend, Erik was recording the set, but he sent it over to me a couple of days ago. Here ya go...


Both issues of the zine are long out of print. Sara and I are currently collaborating on the third issue. When it is printed, you'll be able to buy it here.
Many thanks to Erik-Dardan Ymeraga for recording the show and sending over the files. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

KARP - "Live At Yo Yo A Go Go" - Tape - 1994


Today's tape and write-up is brought to you by Alex Turner.

This show happened in 1994. 21 years ago, RANCID and KARP played together at an indie rock fest in Olympia. What the fuck? KARP is Olympia's best band. Enjoy.

DOWNLOAD

(ed. note: Sorry if it's misleading that I used the cover of their demo tape for the art.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

FERAL CHILDREN - Tape - 2006


   This tape showed up in a box of stuff sent from the east coast a few months ago and it sat in that box until today. Last week, I was in the home town of FERAL CHILDREN, saw this tape for sale in a record store and thought "Oh yeah, I should dig that tape out when I get home."
   This tape was written, performed and recorded by my friend, Mikey in a house named Little Pancakes. Once, I was there and ate some homemade pizzas after painting a bunch of blue shit on my face. These days, I'm pretty sure some freak-o's still live there. I've walked by and thought I should just knock on the door and hang out, but I never have.
  FERAL CHILDREN sounds rudimentary and wonky...on the verge of collapse and decay. Industrial at times, but never machine-like. Some conventional song structures at times, but like, alternate-reality conventional. Truthfully, I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about right now..I went outside for a while and wanted to kill every motherfucker on the street, so I came home, closed my door, listened to this and it made me feel better,,,like there's other people in the world who just can't take it sometimes and sit in their house and make weird music because it keeps them from randomly punching strangers. Or maybe I'm just projecting.

Friday, February 20, 2015

S.B.S.M. - "Bitter Ends" - Tape - 2014


   There's this thing that happens when you live in town long enough where everyone just assumes that you know everyone. This isn't true. I started hearing about S.B.S.M. around town. When I asked some friends about the band, they would just say "Oh, you know them...it's (these people) and they played that show at (venue I've never heard of) with (that one band everyone cares about but somehow I've never heard of them)" Well, it turns out that I work with a member of S.B.S.M. Oops.
   When I finally tracked down S.B.S.M., they were playing in a tiny basement in West Oakland. Their loud, cacophonous mess of sound was almost overwhelming in a way I haven't felt locally in a long time. The thing that really drew me to them, besides the fact that I was into their music, is that even though it's completely obvious that the three people in this band are very serious about what they do, they don't let that stop them from laughing it off when their broken equipment shorts out mid-song. One of them will use that as an opportunity to explain the song or tell you about an upcoming protest or talk about why they're playing that particular benefit show while the other members change out cables, tear apart wires and try to figure out what the fuck went wrong. And this is all so refreshing for me because I feel like we have entered a stage of punk (and this is just my perspective) where so many bands are trying to be perfect recreations of bygone eras or they're afraid to go out on limbs or they're trying to pose just right for that Instagram photo or whatever the fuck it is that people do. Many bands don't discuss their politics anymore or don't have any politics to speak of whatsoever, but when the whole fucking world is falling apart and there are rape apologists (and rapists) in your audience and cops are killing all the brown people they can possibly get away with and you feel like you're just gonna explode because you can't fucking take it anymore...just fucking talk about it!! Or just take your place in line (or the barstool) next to all the other soulless hardcore bands.


   The other reason I like them is that when they play the last part of ":Godzilla" live, it sounds like 30 bombs going off in a haunted castle nestled in a nightmare world.



They're recording a new tape soon. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

RANCID - "Live at YoYo A Go Go" - Tape - 1994


   In the mid-90's, I went on tour with my band through Florida and the south. On the tour, we played a generator show in the Everglades next to a rotting cow carcass, we played a VFW hall and we played in some living rooms. One night, we were in Cocoa Beach, FL with a night off and heard that RANCID was playing an hour away in Orlando. At this point in time, none of the members of my band paid any attention to major media (or any media for that matter) and we had the idea of driving to the show to see if we could jump on to the bill. Our guitarist, Joey had slept on Tim Armstrong's couch in Berkeley and was pretty good friends with his neighbors in SCREW 32, so we thought it would be easy to play a short set before them. Little did we know that in the intervening years, Tim's roommates would come home to find RANCID shooting a video complete with a camera crew and deli trays in their living room. That video was played on MTV, the band found their way to magazine covers and were now touring in a completely different style than we were. I doubt they had to jump start their van every time they tried to move it or fixed the alternator belt with a shoestring or chewing gum.
   So, when we got to Orlando, the security guards fittingly laughed in our faces when we asked to talk to the band about playing a short set at the show. We dutifully paid our 10 bucks like everyone else and went in to watch the bands. The LUNACHICKS made some speech about how it took a lot of hard work to get to where they were on that big stage. I laughed my ass off at them. Thinking about it now, I can imagine that it was a lot more frustrating for them to get to that point than RANCID, being four women playing punk and metal in the late 80's and early 90's. I'm sure it was also frustrating to think about how Dino, GG Allin's drummer, thought that he had a psychic connection to them and regularly masturbated to pictures of them...but I digress.
   RANCID was good. I also laughed at them. A lot. "And Out Come The Wolves" had just been released so they played a lot of songs from that one.
    We drove back to Cocoa Beach. I took off all of my clothes and walked in to the ocean.

  This tape (that's not it pictured above) was sent over by Alex Turner. It's from the year before I saw them when they played at Yoyo a Go Go in Olympia, WA back in 1994. We're both pretty sure that it was recorded off the board. Alex believes that the details are this: Somebody recorded it, Tobi Vail owned the tape for years, gave it to someone else in Olympia and then it made its way to milk crate at Punkall. Alex brought it back to Oakland and digitized it for you to enjoy. The sound quality is not bad, but a little assy at points.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

ALEX TURNER - Top Ten of 2014

I'm only going to list one thing this year...

  • Black Lives Matter

all the punk shit seems infinity less important

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

MIKE TAYLOR - Top Ten of 2014

   Mike Taylor is an artist, writer and musician living in NYC. I wish he was more present in my life, but this is how we live. Here is a tiny picture of him and his top ten list.


Oh! Mary Robison I just discovered Mary Robison this year. This book was originally a set of 3x5 cards she would make notes on to work her way out of writer's block.  It reads like that- staccato, abbreviated, curt. But her way with minimalism is martial art...the most solid single kick to the chest.

George Saunders I read both Tenth of December  and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline this year. I don't want to say too much about people who use the short story as their main mode of expression, because it's enough to just say that. I'm more into Saunders' use of the theme park as potential site for everything to fall apart.

Dan Talbot "Small Hallucinations" tape., Wasp Video Roadhouse I know Dan as a painter from Providence days, but when I went to see Russian Tsarlag recently, he was there playing these songs live. Really weird stuff...almost like The Shaggs, in that he plays really long, through composed phrases under pretty catchy  lyrical arrangements. I didn't even know he played music! Bonus points for thorough confidence for a man in a new context.

Survival Knife "Loose Power" lp/live, Glacial Pace Justin Trosper, from Unwound. His new band. Like Jimmy Page as Black Flag's second guitarist. Lifers. I love it. I bought the record at the show, that's fun. I saw them at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar, which is the lamest possible place for a show. It's like watching Tiffany on her tour of shopping malls, but it's Brooklyn, so everyone there is 100% positive they're fucking a model that night. The band made it worth it though. Adult rock, but for decent adults.

Matt Thurber "Art Comics" Matt spends more time drawing than online, which sets him apart from most contemporary cartoonists.

Patrick Kyle "New Comics" Patrick blew up in the comics world this year, which is like having the shortest possible set of stilts, if you don't know. He's best known for his "Distance Mover" series, but this comic is his best written and best drawn by miles.

Black Rainbow-LP Not just because they're friends, but it's really good!

Rat Columns- live at Death by Audio Recorded, they sound like Love and Rockets, live, it's like if Wire were from Berkeley circa 1992.

Maher Shalal Hash Baz- Live at Issue Project Room I wasn't aware of this band at all, but when Jacob and Sakiko invited me to go see them, I went. Turns out the nucleus of the band, Tori Kudo, is a star in a slightly different constellation than I rotate in. I want to remember it as a 13 piece band, but that's not as important as you checking them out. The music is written as songs, but played without rehearsal by a rotating roster of musicians. It's everything good about basement punk shows: the possibility of the crash, the intensity, the noise. It's political and loving and true only to itself.

Wayne White- "Invisible Ruler" at Joshua Liner Gallery I went to several openings that night, but this was the only one that was full of people smiling. Wayne was there, surrounded by fans of all ages waiting to pump his arm. he seemed really happy. The work, if you don't know it, ranges from the abject cartoon sculptures he designed for Pee Wee's Playhouse, to text blasts imposed over photoreal landscapes saying things like, "I Wanna See The Manager". Zero pretension.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

CLYDE PETERSEN - Top Ten of 2014

Clyde Petersen makes films, talks shit, met my grandma, plays music as YOUR HEART BREAKS and once tolerated me yelling about an apple for a long time.


1. Chopping off my tits. Fucking awesome. Now I look like David Hasselhoff.


 2. This animator who made a Nintendo Power Glove into a blue tooth animation controller.

 3. I got a huge fucking grant from the Dale Chihuly foundation and all I did was talk about loving perverts at the panel interview. I was like, I love John Waters, Paul Rubens and George Quaintance.


 4. I built a giant cardboard castle for the city of Seattle. Then I gave it away on Craigslist to a person who said they ran a shelter at home for rabbits and guinea pigs and that they “would just LOVE it”.


 5. I convinced the Henry Art Gallery to pay me to put on a huge concert on the water with 15 bands. It was free to the public and hundreds of people showed up. We rented all the canoes so no frat boys could use them, and we didn’t even get permits.


 6. I found out about Glow in the Dark Spray paint.


 7. Eastbound and Down. A television show I binge watched after I crashed my bike on the trolley tracks and tore my shoulder. Lots of drugs and hours with some dude named Kenny Powers. This show is so fucked up. I don’t think its for everyone, but it was a good distraction.


 8. Getting together a real rocking new version of Your Heart Breaks. We even have Saxophone Solos. We’re making a new album in May.



 9. I didn’t meet my doing it quota for 3 times a day, but I sure fucking tried.

 10. Resolving for 2015 to never wake up before noon if possible. No alarm clocks. Embracing the night owl.

Friday, January 16, 2015

MARS DIXON - Top Ten of 2014

   Mars is one of my favorite humans. Every time I see him, he's somehow more amazing. Mars plays guitar in AYE NAKO, wears flower-print denim better than anyone, is totally fucking hilarious and loves dogs.


I didn't put things in an order. I just wrote them in this order.


I heard Sammus late in the year...like on Christmas Day having some alone time listening to my podcasts. Listening to Another M reminds me of this sort of heroic melancholy I used to feel while playing Metroid as a kid. I always felt gloomed out about Samus’ story and how she was all alone exploring and fighting all these monsters. Most chiptune music I’ve heard hasn’t really been my thing, but these beats are so tight. They say:
“Another M is a seven-track EP that retells the story of intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran from the classic Nintendo game Metroid as she is imagined by producer, rapper, and feminist warrior Sammus. Using the vehicle of self-produced hip hop beats inspired by the game’s soundtrack in combination with heartfelt lyrics and delivery, Sammus takes listeners on a journey from Samus’ lonely childhood with the Chozo race to her epic battle against the evil Mother Brain.”
On the same day I found Sammus, I also started researching how to make my own chiptunes and am trying to find my copy of Metroid for Gameboy in my closet.
ßLK G33K$ R ©oøL! 8)




Earlier this year, I got invited to a basement show at a house I’ve never been to in Brooklyn. I missed most of the show because I’m anxious as hell and it keeps me from leaving the house on time. I was just climbing down the dark stairs which were barely lit up by Malportado Kids’ projections on the wall behind them as they were playing. I didn't know much about them at that point but right away I knew I was where I was supposed to be. Since then we’ve played a few shows with Downtown Boys and have become band friends. I told Victoria, the vocalist in both bands, how I aspire to be as poignant and unmistakably passionate as her with the things I say in between songs but she pointed out me that my style of stage banter/song explaining is just as meaningful so that's cool. <3 o:p="">

(photo by joe mccann)


 3. The reanimation of my personal love for and deep obsession over video games:  I was born with a NES controller in my hand. Betwixt the year after moving out of my mom’s house til my birthday this past summer, I stopped playing video games pretty much completely, an era of unnecessary self-deprivation. All those years, I would dream video game dreams and sometimes they started off where I’d just be playing the game like normal but then somehow get sucked into the TV and become the character I was playing. I’m so glad to be back where I belong. This has always been my favorite form of escapism. Keeping up with these newfangled ways of communicating via social media, I came up with the hashtag #limpwristedgaming hoping it catches on soon. My gaymer name is xn0txhumanx btw. Much thanks to all my friends who got together and surprised me with a PS3 for my birthday!


Back in March, I went to the release show for his comedy album Waiting For 2042 at Union Hall with the friend who, years ago, told me he was one of the so very few stand up comedians that was actually funny. Janeane Garofalo, Ted Leo and one or two others opened for him. The album title refers to the year white people in America will be the minority according to statistics. Heh heh.

5. Limp Wrist at Chicago’s Fed Up Fest
It was supposed to be a surprise! To keep the bros out, it had been unannounced til a few hours before they played. I found out the night before though. It’s been a while since I went so nuts at a show that my glasses fell off, since my shirt got so soppin’ wet I had to take that shit off and put it in a plastic bag (that I ended up forgetting about for a day -- PU!) and then the new shirt quickly became uselessly soaked too. This was one of my favorite weekends this year.

6. Kendrick Lamar -  i

There were some rough ass weeks in November and December that only felt manageable partly by watching this video and listening to this song on repeat, and singing along to the chorus: “I love myself/One day at a time/Sun gon’ shine”. I struggle to tell people I love them. It’s quite unfathomable to tell myself. This is a 'fake it til you make it' situation.

7. My highlights of hilarious things I’ve posted on Tumblr that helped me get through the year:








They were on my list the last time I made a top 10. Still my favorite band. We played a few shows with them this year, most recently, at Glasslands with Mary Timony’s Ex Hex. It feels cool to be inspired by friends. According to Spotify, all the songs on this EP were in my top 10 list of songs I listened to the most this year.

9. Friends & Community
Growing up in the racist-ass, small-minded town of Horseshit, Arkansas, I would have never thought I’d find myself surrounded by people who actually like and care about me. I purged a lot from my real life contact list. The “friends” who had no respect for me as a black person because they are having a such a great life being colorblind and willfully ignorant. So grateful to have friends who came and visited me while I was recovering from surgery or wrote me letters/emails/texts. So grateful to have friends who hear me when I say I’m not doing ok as I am constantly traumatized by the brutality of police, white vigilantes and the state. So grateful to have cool black friends in my life to relate to and I keep making more like every month.

10. Old stomping grounds (I hate that phrase) - visited Arkansas and the Bay Area
I hadn't really spent time in my hometown in like 6 years til this past summer. It's only ever been painful and exhausting to return but I felt like I needed to. I took some pretty amazing footage of my mother in different environments and some of me exploring one of my elementary schools that had been closed and boarded up. Months later, I'm still trying to wrap my head around it all -- What happened? How do I feel about my family?


It had been 4 years since I brought my goofy ass to the Bay. I don't know what took so long. I missed it so much despite how much things have changed there. I loved seeing and hanging out with old friends. The times I walked around alone, I'd find myself totally captivated by the hills, the water and the cloudless sky. That shit is so pretty. Carolyn, you're a turd. I love you!

(Failed panoramic of my mother at one of the many lakes we visited that day.)

(Grumpy on my birthday in my mom's bathroom.)

(Taken by Julia Booze. We met a puppy at Lake Merritt.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CARLOS GONZALEZ - Top Ten of 2014

    Carlos is a mysterious figure. I once referred to him as my favorite musical performer and I wasn't even sure if he knew how to play an instrument. You can find Carlos performing under the name RUSSIAN TSARLAG or drawing comics like Test Tube and Lost Canyon. Contact him through russiantsarlag.tumblr.com and see what he has to offer. Here is his top ten....


Life is rough, ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Reading a good book can ease the burn and in some special cases it can even help you savor the burn. For me it also helps me slow down my thoughts and get out of my own head, which is good. My head is a cesspool where people are mud wrestling giant snakes and alligators and the wrestling turns into a strange coupling that is lubricated by pus.

Get me outta there, great authors of human history! None of these books are 'new' and they are not rated in any order, these are just ten great books I read this year. I hope it proves helpful or perhaps mildly interesting. So without any further ado....

'Dirty Snow' by Georges Simenon
this one is pretty bleak but incredibly compelling. A euro-noir tale in the style of Jim Thompson where you look through the eyes of a young sociopath in war torn France. Pretty brutal, but perfectly told.

'Crime and Punishment' by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Most classics are 'classic' for a reason and this book has earned that status a million times over. As grim as a lot of the subjects are, I forget how much dark humor he puts in his novels. Don't let this one collect dust and credibility on yr book shelf. Read this shit!

'The Woman in the Dunes' by Kobo Abe
A Japanese classic about an entomologist who gets stuck in a strange
town in the depths of a sand dune where people are constantly shoveling sand to keep their community alive. Truly weird and truly great.

'Outer Dark' by Cormac Mccarthy
I have yet to read a bad Cormac Mccarthy book. This is one of his earlier novels set in the south about a poor brother and sister who have a child together. They split up and you follow them both through the backroads and woods as she searches for the child and he just rambles doing odd jobs. I'm not going to ruin endings but the ending to this book is INSANE.

'The Lime Works' by Thomas Bernhard
An incredibly original book that mostly dwells in the insane inner monolog of an old man who just killed his wife in a huge abandoned lime works where he lives and has been planning and failing to write a massive book on the human sense of hearing. Great premise and a great execution.

'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte
They are classics for a reason! I was supposed to read this book in high school like so many others but the lazy rebel in me just wouldn't let it happen. Well, I finally read this Gothic romance classic (yes, I'll say it again.) and it was a distinct pleasure. I've yet to read another love story with as multi-faceted characters as Heathcliff and Catherine, and I am always a sucker for books set in mansions that are in disrepair or in the bleak English country side and this has both.

'Molloy' by Samuel Beckett
A stream of conscious style narrative about a decript old man with a
bad leg and a detective that goes into the woods with his son to track
him down. This book is incredibly funny and evocative. The first in a three part series.

'Buddenbrooks' by Thomas Mann
This book covers four generations of merchant family in Germany in the 19th century. Might sound boring but it's anything but. Weddings, funerals, divorces, vacations, births, and revelations all well told. Taking the wide angle and also zooming in to witness some deep human disappointment in the parlors and salons of the wealthy.

'Black Dahlia' by James Ellroy
A delicious neo-noir that uses the real life murder of the 'black dahlia' as a springboard for a dark, nasty, detective story that keeps lifting the veil to reveal more human depravity then you're likely to find at your local bikini bar. Using the city of Los Angeles as vital and fascinating a character as any in the book.

'The Stand' by Stephen King
I'm technically still reading this, so maybe it's a cheat but I'm almost done and it's so good I had to throw it in here. Stephen King might get a lot of shit because A. He one of the most famous writers in the world and B. You can buy his books at supermarkets and they're accused of being plain spoken 'entertainment' instead of 'art'. But most of the 'art' that hits me the hardest is often of the 'low' comic book/b-movie variety so I never have any qualms about opening one of his books. They're good and this one is so so good. A massive story about a super flu that wipes out 99% of the US population. The people that are left have collective dreams about a 100 year old woman playing a guitar on her porch in Nebraska and about a very evil dude in denim and cowboy boots with red eyes and no face. The old woman's people gather in Boulder, CO and the evil dude's people gather in Las Vegas and other western states. Eventually they have a 'stand' off.
Super fun, and compelling. Don't be intimidated by the size, it so readable and dynamic that you'll tear right through it.

Well that's it. I hope 2015 is a great year for all. I hope to be exposed to more powerful stories and with any luck a little bit of that power will rub off on my own stories. 
Thanks Greg!