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.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

YOUNG RUINS - Demo - Tape - 2014

    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


   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


   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. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

C SECTION 8 / ELECTRIC NIGHTS - Split - Tape - 2005(?)

   Sometimes, I put on tapes like this, thinking "I'm not sure if I'm really into this" and then find later that I just listened to it six times in a row. I mean, that's exactly what happened. It's a great tape. What do I know about it? Almost nothing. I think I saw C SECTION 8 perform once in a crumbling house on Rampart Street in a pre-Katrina New Orleans, but I could be wrong. It also could have been HARRY FROM HAWAII...or DOGERELLA DECIDED UPON...or HUMAN HAIR HAT. No one ever really talked about the names of the bands when I went to those shows, but it was always weirdly fucking mind-blowing. Like the time that a member of one of those bands was playing a table full of pedals and was dressed up in a homemade metal mask. The mask was attached to contact mics and he was hitting it with drumsticks while manipulating the sound into a cacophonous nightmare. He was also making small yelps, which I thought was part of the performance, but I found out later that he hadn't shaved down the metal inside so every time he hit the mask, it was cutting into his face and making him bleed! But was that C SECTION 8?? I don't know!! I don't think so.
   As far as ELECTRIC NIGHTS, I have even less information, meaning I have NO information. I did some searching, both online and off, and came up empty handed/headed. There's no trace of this release on the label's old paper order forms/catalogs and nothing online that I can find. Oh well. It's not important.
   The important part is that both sides of this is filled with (I'm assuming) blips and drones from busted ass analog and barely digital machines. Tape manipulations and wonky beats will lull you into a different head space. I don't know. I just like it. I've always liked this shit. Don't worry. I'll post more punk tapes soon, but you'll come back to this later and love it because all the hardcore kids will be playing noise by the end of 2016 anyway. Mark my words. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

RAW WAR - 2 Demos - Tape - 2010

    Sometimes a band exists in your region and you just never see them. Some people work too much. Some people just don't feel like going out to every show. Some people don't go to "those" shows. In my case, my best friend had cancer and I forgot how to interact with the world.
   Because of this, I know almost nothing about RAW WAR and these tapes came into my possession years after they broke up. I can enjoy them now and you can too. "Outfit" is carried almost entirely by one riff (until close to the end), but when the drum roll leads you to the bass line, you realize how sorely you've been missing that riff in your life (if you were, in fact, out of the loop like me). "Poster" has a call-and-response style vocal chant that always gets caught up in my head like an alternate universe "Steak Knife" (ANGRY SAMOANS). Everything about this band sounds so perfectly fucked...guitars on ten on a shitty amp...pounding dilapidated drum set....multiple singers who sound like they would kill you but kinda be bored while doing it. I don't know. Like I said, I was at home and didn't know how to live.
   This download contains both of their tapes. One has an alien on the cover and one does not. I'm not sure which one came first, but they mostly have the same songs on them...just different versions and recordings. It's all great.