Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SEXY - Demo - Tape - 2001


    Tapes like these are the reason I started the blog. Trying to track down these nearly ephemeral documents of a scream in dark warehouses and shitty basements is what this thing is about. I don't own this tape, but I thought that trying to get a copy of it would be a task that could be easily accomplished in a few days. Nope. The first post of this blog is dated June 23rd, 2011 and now it's nearly 5 years later. I asked the people who played the music, the people who loved the band, the people who hated the band, the punks who lived with them and I scoured Bay Area yard sales, free boxes and record stores (and their free boxes). Nothing.
    Baby Ian (we can just call him Ian now, right?) pulled a box of old stuff out of storage and came up with his copy of the demo...and here we are. I haven't heard this thing since 2001 or so and I forgot how goofy it is. If you're just hearing SEXY for the first time (and I'm sorry if you're just now hearing them) I would suggest starting with their first album (it's right here) because it's a completely perfect snapshot in time of an insane band at their absolute best. It contains all of the drunken abandon, the hooks and the trainwreck-style tempos. This first demo shows the band still trying to find their footing and swimming in drunken goofiness. A few of the songs that were later re-recorded for the LP are downright sllloooooowwww (check out "Purple Mini Van"). Half of the songs on here just got fucking dropped and were never heard from again. Maybe you'll enjoy it.


Technical notes: I'm sure you've come to expect a fair amount of tape hiss on this blog and I will tell you that there is a FAIR AMOUNT of tape hiss on this download. Ian sent over the tracks and I tried to mess with them to lower the hiss and it just sounded worse...so here we are....warts and all. You can even hear some of the tape it was recorded over. History isn't pretty and that's why we all need to keep moving forward. 
Thanks Ian. 
Thanks SEXY.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

INTREPID HEARTS - Demo - Tape - 2016


    Recently, a personal mission landed me in Minneapolis for a few days and I arrived with high hopes and too many plans. As someone who desperately needs a vacation, this was a stupid idea and I should've just sat in Powderhorn Park for 4 days straight. Instead, I fruitlessly tried to track down some long lost friends and rope unsuspecting fools into my dumbass ideas. Some old friends had time for porch hangs and others kindly offered up comfy sleeping spaces, but largely I was on my own to try and remember how to relax. I never really did. I walked all over the goddamn city until my legs ached. I saw the PRINCE memorial at 1st Ave N, went to the library, became familiar with the Greyhound station, went to karaoke at the Seward, looked at the old Medusa club, walked out to Extreme Noise, saw a gigantic rideable cock in a sex shop and read for hours in Hard Times.
   Then, I drove across the country with one of my best friends. When I got home, I found this tape in my mailbox and looking at the return address, I realized that I walked by this band's house (or one of them) at least twice in the past week. I could've just picked it up while waltzing by. It also would've been nice to have these songs blasting in my head while walking down the streets that inspired them, but I was happy with the S MPLS weirdo tapes I got instead (more on that in the future).
    I think I only know one member of this band and she (Britt) has appeared a few times on the blog in the bands B ARTHUR and BABE QUEST. Even though the BABE QUEST song "The Wait" can not be trifled with in any capacity, INTREPID HEARTS may be my favorite band that Britt has ever been in. I keep having a lot of thoughts about the songs and everything I think feels like a backhanded compliment, but it's genuine in my head!! Like, this band has cool "hot licks"!! Ya'll listen to metal, right? I truly like POISON (I know that's not metal) and I wanna say that the members of INTREPID HEARTS like POISON. Maybe they like THIN LIZZY. What the fuck ever. I don't know what they like. It's hook filled melodic punk that is truly tight as fuck. The vocals have the perfect amount of bite and rasp. I'm gonna go ahead and compare them to my ex-bandmate/current roommate Ivy (ALLERGIC TO BULLSHIT / MIAMI / BLACK RAINBOW) because Ivy's voice is great and Britt knows that because I once heard her tell Ivy that. There is no cowering in the shadows though because we're all just people doing our thing out there in the world and Britt has been doing her thing for a long time and it shows. This band sounds like they've been doing their thing for a long time too, but this is their first tape, as far as I know. It's a truly great tape. You should write to them and try to get one off of them because it has a lyric sheet and a lot more plastic than an ephemeral download.


Thanks to Cobs for mailing me a tape. I'll knock on the door next time.
Oh, the other thing that felt backhanded is that the verse part of the first song sounds like it was ripped off from "The Descent" by BOB MOULD, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with that and I'm sure it was unintentional and, like, Bob Mould doesn't own the rights to those chords or anything. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

SNUGGLE - Lost LP Demos 2008?


Today's post is brought to you by frequent contributor and friend of the blog, Alex Turner.

   SNUGGLE is one of those bands, the bands you love that nobody else gets. I've seen them play in the basement of the FBK so many perfect times, the best times, the worst times, the drunkest times. Mad Dog 20/20 and shotgunning Sparks is what happened. A long time ago, SNUGGLE thought they might get paid to play a show or maybe they were surprised by getting paid? Regardless, they spent all that money on Mad Dog. I'm sure they got paid a few times on tour and didn't buy all their friends booze with the money, but that's the way it goes. They recorded this and lost it. like really fucking lost it. They had to re-record it because everybody they had given a copy to had also lost it. A real time and a place band. The 2000's in the basement of the FBK was SNUGGLE's time and I'm not sure why I have a copy of this lost recording, but if you'd like you can too.

     Rumor has it that Robert 'found' this at a coffee shop in Philly a year after it was considered a lost cause. I dunno. I guess this is like the demos for the LP that finally came out eventually on 1234 GO, Don't buy that, just download this.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

JACOB THE TERRIBLE - "Sings Songs of It's Complicated" - 7" EP - 2014


    When I wrote about JACOB THE TERRIBLE's demo, I said just about everything I could possibly say about the band. By the band's account (not mine), that demo sounds like dog shit, but I like to go back to it to listen to the timeless and now-classic songs that didn't make the cut for the jump to vinyl. So first off, I'll tell you what you're missing with the vinyl. Oh, you wanted to sing along to "Twin Elephants" in a well-produced, studio-recorded fashion in the privacy of your own bedroom? Nope. Sorry. You'll just have to imagine the chunky guitar and pounding drums as you scream out "The world can be so fucked!! But there's only so much shit you can shit....ON A FACE!!!"  You're also missing the gripping story of waking up in the morning to face another day of working at the Hello Kitty factory. Look, every JACOB THE TERRIBLE song is a perfect fucking snowflake but you can only cram so much music onto a 7" record before it starts to sound like a 9th generation Misfits dub from 1982.
   I'm gonna assume you didn't click over to the demo since I said the band said it sounds like dog shit. JACOB THE TERRIBLE is a band from Providence and Worcester. THE TERRIBLES are a pre-existing band. Jacob is a pre-existing human. They all got together to make full rock versions of Jacob's pre-existing songs, which had previously existed in more minimal forms. They ended up being one of the most charismatic bands I've ever seen. Any band can write a good song (JTT has many) but not many can engage you in their live performance in ways that feel real and inviting to nearly everyone in attendance. They also write good songs. Some are anthems in ways that I didn't perceive when I was first hearing them. Nary a week passes when I'm not singing "Things mean things! From Milwaukee to Osaka, does the postman know the joy he brings?"...usually in the post office. As I said in a print review, Jacob manages to fit ten pounds of words into five pound word-capacity songs. In other's hands, this might sound clunky and awkward, but Jacob lets it flow out of his lungs with an ease that sounds nearly effortless. I love the way he bends the word cigar to make it rhyme with roar. The song title "What I Love About You (I Hate About Myself)" is an easy comforting genius line and the song can fit that description as well.
   Okay, I'm done babbling. The record is great. I like all of these people who wrote it. It's not leaving my head anytime soon. I'm gonna go over to the bass player's house and screen print in his living room while listening to this to annoy him. You should order this record so that you can play it on your turntable while gazing into the beautiful Mike Taylor-penned art. I'm not sure where to order it though because the record label's site is down. Maybe try here or maybe here or just send some cash in an envelope to Corleone Records at P.O. Box 65, Providence, RI 02901 and hope for the best. I know that I could go back and erase that stuff I just typed, but I just got a text that said that the record is SOLD OUT, so don't send money anywhere for anything ever, okay? Okay. Enjoy this digital file instead.


Thanks to Jacob for the digital files
Thanks to THE TERRIBLES for not being terrible.
 

Monday, March 7, 2016

HEX - Demo - Tape - 2007


Today's post is brought to you by Erik Ruin, who previously contributed a top ten list to the blog a few years ago. I think this tape is incredible, but wanted a different perspective on it, so I asked Erik for his take. Many, many thanks to the members of HEX for sending over the digital files when my machinery was having issues. 

   Heavy music on non-traditional instruments has a seriously mixed track record. It can tend toward simple novelty- (think APOCALYPTICA or even worse) but it can also lay bare nuanced dynamics and complex compositional structures that are often obscured to those- like me- who have trouble looking beyond the standard genre tropes (wailing guitars,machismo, long hair, etc.). It’s into this latter camp I’d put viola/tuba/drums trio HEX, alongside luminaries like Portland’s DISEMBALLERINA and Providence’s BELLOWS.

  According to violist Jackie Beckey- “Andie, Aaron and I were all hanging out around this time and interested in creating heavy music on nontraditional instruments. I'd been experimenting with this for awhile and was hoping to start a project with someone who shared this vision. Aaron--a fellow classically trained orchy dork punk on tuba--was the obvious choice for a bandmate. We were both interested in creating heavy music influenced by non-western music, such as African drumming. Aaron and I were also into geeking out about poly-rhythms, exploring tonality by amplifying acoustic instruments and using instruments with incredible amounts of sustain to play heavy music.”

   The first and last songs of this tape begin with lengthy tuba drones rich in texture and atmosphere. From there it gets more rocking, with Jackie alternating between heavily reverbed pizzicato plucking (kind of a trademark of hers) and sawing riffs. At times, it reminds me of stoner rock transcendalists like SLEEP or even 70’s Swedes PARSON SOUND (a direction Jackie and Andie would take further with their project MYRRH) but it also breaks out into galloping sections that are not too dissimilar to their Minneapolis contemporaries COUNTY Z (ed. note: there is so much CZ on this blog and you should definitely seek it out) and ROTTEN LIVING. The cover sports paper-cut artwork by “Dragon-face” Dan Nelson, virtually de rigeurin the scene at the time (see also DOGS, THIEVES, DANGER BOY & THE ROAD VULTURES, etcetcetc….)

   HEX was relatively short-lived, beginning and ending in 2007. As far as I know, this is their only recording. They did go on a two-month tour, which Jackie remembers as “the best tour I've ever been on. Luke Holden toured with us the entire way and performed at every show as the hilarious "Body McFartin" human fart machine opening act. Because we kind of didn't fit into any specific musical genre, we played a lot of weird shows--opened up for a D-beat band in Dallas, performed with the art-punk band TEENAGE WAISTBAND in Providence, and performing during an intermission for a psychedelic play in Kansas City.”

    They so impressed my friend Dan Schleifer at their Providence show that he formed his own tuba-drone metal band, the aforementioned BELLOWS (who also ruled and are also sadly broken up)

    All the members of HEX have gone on to do a bunch of stuff– Jackie formed the more melodic yet still driving BRUTE HEART and is now mainly focused on soundtrack work. Tuba player Aaron moved to Pittsburgh where he’s playing in two great bands- tuba with brassy LUNGS FACE FEET  and bass with heavy weirdos COME HOLY SPIRIT(alongside Gina Favano of the much-missed JOHN DENVER'S AIRPLANE). Andie went on to play drums in the brilliant MOTHER OF FIRE, then in a variety of scrappy punk bands and is a brilliant painter.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

VX GAS ATTACK - Tape - 2014


   For the last week or two, I've been combing through stacks of tapes to digitize for the blog and coming up with stuff that I'm not particularly excited about. What I've noticed though is that almost every time I've been looking, this tape has actually been the one playing on the tape deck. In fact, it hasn't been more than one foot away from my stereo since their singer August placed it in my hands on a 2 AM 24th street a few months ago.
    I previously saw August singing for WALLS a few years ago and I honestly thought he was singing about different kinds of knots. More recently, I saw him losing his shit as he co-fronted PIG HEART TRANSPLANT to a largely vacant room. VX GAS ATTACK is a different beast altogether. Throughout the ten songs on this tape, the band is unrelenting. No breakdowns. No "mosh parts". Plenty of nearly cheesy divebombs and guitar solos that cross the border of ridiculous (note: I'm 100% fully in support of this). August is completely unhinged in a way that actually sounds dangerous. You know how there's those people who say that if they didn't find music, they might've just killed people instead? That's what this sounds like to me. Plus, it sticks in my head.



I picture this band using BC Rich guitars exclusively.
Members of  PHT, WALLS, PLEASURE CROSS, LORDS OF LIGHT and more. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

YOUNG RUINS - Demo - Tape - 2014

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    A few years ago, my old band played a show in Brooklyn at Death By Audio that was well attended and featured good bands, but was (by my account) kind of boring. One of my favorite memories though was looking up from the drums during our last song and seeing my friend Mike Taylor pogo-ing like a madman. He was one of four people who seemed to not have their feet nailed to the floor. Mike has put so much of his energy and time into visual art in the last 20(+) years that I often forget that he, like most people in this world, is a multi-faceted individual with a plethora of interests...including energetic punk. I don't know why it surprised me to see him up front mouthing the words to our cover of "Kids Of The Black Hole", but it did...and it made me so happy.
    Fast forward another year and I got this tape in the mail. On it, Mike plays guitar and sings. A dude named Roy plays bass. Gina Marie, who I just met last week in Berkeley, plays drums. In a review in print, I said something like "I don't know what post-hardcore is, but this is probably post-hardcore." I also said that it sounds suspiciously like present day New York. Coming from someone who has never lived there and actually kinda doesn't like the place, you can take that however you want. It just sounds dark and desperate in all the ways that I love. It sounds like walking down the street and being plagued by all of the thoughts that make you want to kill. The kind of music that makes you say "Fuck you" every time you pass a cop or some shit in a suit...not because you're some young reactionary punk, but because you're pushing 40 and have been dealing with it for your whole goddamn life..being too aware of the power imbalances, the gender inequalities, all of the people who have been killed by pigs, the racism of capitalism, etc, etc and feeling like there's nothing you could ever possibly do to change anything....or am I projecting again?


You can order this tape from them if you follow the link.
They recorded an LP and might've broken up. I bet it's great. You should put it out.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

COUNTY Z//SHEP AND ME - Split - Tape - 2003?


   If you're familiar with this blog, you're probably familiar with COUNTY Z, because I've given you plenty of opportunities to check them out. SHEP AND ME is also no stranger to this page. As I've said before, COUNTY Z is one of my top 5 all-time favorite bands in the history of music and these two songs don't appear on other things they released. I don't know anything about it, but it's so good to my ears.
  SHEP AND ME is Matthew Himes playing outsider sounds and otherworldly folk that comes out of a world that is his own creation. Everything I've ever heard by him has been nothing short of brilliant. I'm not exactly sure if SHEP AND ME is still an active project, but Matt has been tirelessly releasing analog (and some digital) documents of the outsider world through his label, Lighten Up Sounds. Pick up anything he has available and you're guaranteed to be intrigued.
   This tape was released by Snob House, but I don't have a cover for it. Apparently, there was a surly dog drawn on it, so you can just imagine that for yourself. COUNTY Z broke up and then 2/3's of the band started playing with Matt as ROTTEN LIVING. Then, they broke up and MOTHER OF FIRE started. Then they broke up and the world is a black hole of despair.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

THE LAZER//SCENT OF HUMAN HISTORY - Split - CD - 2002


   What the fuck is up? I've been thinking about the ghosts that you see when you walk down the street and you can only look at your neighborhood through a lens of what used to be there. I'm trying to stop doing that, but it's hard when everything changes so quickly.
    One of the last times that I talked about my friend Jamie's bands, I did not use any filters and I didn't think too closely about what I was putting out into the world. Without going into detail, I was visited by different kinds of ghosts and put into sudden serious conversations with people I never thought I would encounter in my life. I don't plan on revisiting these conversations anytime in the near future and sometimes, it's better to let ghosts rest. That is why this entry will be noticeably vague and feel devoid of some kinds of obvious info.
   Both of these bands were from Long Island during the early '00's. Both of them played shows in Chattanooga when I lived there. One of them I liked. The other...not so much. When THE LAZER came into town, it was the first time I met Jamie after being his pen pal for about a year or so. I took him out for pizza even though I could barely afford it. He complained about the pizza because he is from New York and this is what New Yorkers do, but when I went to see him, he returned the favor because that's what friends do.
   THE LAZER broke up and some of the members soon started the freight train known as BENT OUTTA SHAPE. SCENT OF HUMAN HISTORY soon became extinct and did other things too. I can't tell you what those things are, but you can find more info about this release here.



Monday, January 25, 2016

THE DEGENERATES - Tape - 1982


   I'm late to the game on these Texan miscreants, even though I've known one of them for almost 20 years. Where did this tape come from? Why can't I find any information on it? THE DEGENERATES were a Houston punk band who released a 7" in 1981 that you'd be lucky to find for under $100. None of the songs from this tape are on that record.
   They have songs about race, war, feeling trapped by your own feelings of rage and more. This shit is good. Imagine having these songs running through your head while you're running down a 1981 alley and being chased by huge Texan rednecks who want to beat your ass for just wearing some chains on your leather jacket. Perfect and classic.


I don't know what the other guys ended up doing (sorry), but their drummer Wade went on to play in 50 MILLION, CORDUROY, J CHURCH, HICKOIDS, THE REACTION and many more. He currently plays in the SF band, APOGEE SOUND CLUB.