Tuesday, June 13, 2017


   Sometimes, the tape is just there and you have no information. You listen to the tape over and over and over, but still wonder if the people listed on the cover actually made the music presented on the  cassette that you hold in your hands. I still don't know. When you're a teenager, music comes around pretty often that blows your mind wide open. As you get older, it still happens but not as often. I sat on a beach once, well into my thirties, and watched people involved with this project play music that truly melted my mind in a way that I hadn't felt in ages. This tape isn't in that realm, but it hints at the possibilities contained within the players presented here....if it's really them.


Friday, March 17, 2017

BEER GARDEN - Complete Discography - 2002-2003

   Today's post is brought to you by Gaylen, who sang for the raging Brooklyn punk band, BEER GARDEN back in 2002. She sent over the tracks for their first demo to be posted for the birthday (today) of their late guitarist Dan. I decided to include their CD and a comp track as well to round out the discography. Thanks to Gaylen, Ella, Bobby and Dan for making all of this music. Here's Gaybob to tell you the rest. 

   Last year I called Dan on his birthday. the same number he's had since I met him in 7th grade. He was my brother's friend so I instantly hated him by association, but he was so fucking funny that it quickly dissipated. Dan was honest and brutal in his humor. We threw him a benefit show when we found about the ALS diagnosis, and it was like a NYC punk high school dropout reunion. People I hadn't seen in years came out of nowhere. Dan brought people together across social circles and music scenes. He got on the mic at one point,

“I went to the doctor today. He told me.... I'm still alive”. 

   That's Dan. Raw, honest, funny, and not giving a shit about how you might feel about it. He didn't want anyone to feel bad for him, to talk about him or memorialize his life like he was already dead. We were kids from Brooklyn before Brooklyn was hip. We would talk on the phone, long shit talking sessions, on landlines, the age before cellphones. We'd meet up in the “city”, sit on park benches, by the river, wherever we could find to go with no money. Drink on stoops and sneak into parties. My nostalgia for this time, this long gone city, is so intertwined with Dan, our friendship and our band, Beer Garden.

Dan, taken by drummer Bobby before leaving on the Lazer / Beer Garden tour.

    Beer Garden was based out of the backyard of ABC no Rio, where we hung out, nearly every Saturday, drinking, fighting, dancing and being wild teenagers. We had all been in a few bands before, but didn't have a rigid concept of what a band should be. It was still exciting. Our shows often erupted into impromptu dance parties, Dan free styling over Ella's bass lines. After the shows, outside, Dan would sing acapella, and his voice blew everyone away. We went out on tour with The Lazer after being a band for about a year. We were so ignorant of people and bands around the country. I remember being in awe that there were other fuckups and weirdos, like us, and sharing that with Dan. He listened to music constantly on that tour...to stay sane.

   Thanks to Rudi for saving this recording, our first demo. The lyrics feel embarrassing, but I think the guitar playing is classic Dan. Straight forward and solid. A lot of people turn up really loud when they play and drown everything out. Dan never did that. We usually didn't have equipment for shows so the sound was always reliant on what we could borrow but his playing was so solid. He had said he wanted to be remembered as a guitar player. So here it is.There's so more to say but it all comes out wrong. Dan was out getting tattooed when I called on his birthday. I left him a message. It's still hard to believe I can't call him this year.

Happy birthday Dan. We miss you.

Includes their demo, "Coming After You" CD and a compilation track. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

SPECTOR PROTECTOR - Demo - Tape - 2002

    Imagine, if you will, a San Francisco between booms. The year is 2002. Friends are squatting buildings on Market Street. Punks Against War pulled a float down Mission Street to protest the war while SHOTWELL played on the flatbed trailer. Phil'z was still a corner store that sold beer and vegetables and was not a world renowned, one-cup-at-a-time coffee tastemaker. Right around the corner from Phil'z, near the corner of 24th and Shotwell, SPECTOR PROTECTOR was writing their first songs in the drafty backroom of a first floor flat. Our paths crossed a little bit, but they were part of the scene of synth, darkwave and goth that I only flirted with on the periphery. Sometimes, my band would play on the streets or in record stores with their contemporaries (THE VANISHING, VERONICA LIPGLOSS & EVIL EYES, PHANTOM LIMBS), but that's about as close as we got, besides sleeping on their couch and talking over coffee in the morning.

   On this first tape, SPECTOR PROTECTOR plays minimal bedroom synth, punctuated by light guitars and some singing. The effects are chill and throbbing. The same could not always be said for their live performances....they were more chaotic and decidedly unchill. Download and enjoy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

PEDRO SAYS HI - "The Creep Over" - Tape - 2011

Once I was terrorized by everything
But now I don't fear anything

   The last time I wrote about PEDRO SAYS HI, this tape had been recorded but didn't exist. I wasn't sure if it ever would exist, but now it's been out for a few years. I basically said everything I could say about the band in that previous post, besides that I feel a weird eternal bond with this band and the people associated with it through trauma and just plain weird-ass living. 
    We still don't talk about the hard parts of this band or the all of the terrible shit that happened (in print anyway) because what we do is actually secret and well, it's still fucking hard. You can never tell the whole story because sometimes, it's not your story to tell. I can say that I will always feel privileged to have spent any amount of time playing music with this stellar group of fine human beings. 

I saw Hell
And it was beautiful
So just breathe in the fumes
And suck on the doom
And learn to enjoy 
This eternal pain

    Leah (our guitarist) recorded this tape in 2011 in Chattanooga, 4 years after the demise of the band and 7 hours away from where we originally lived. Crab Jackson (vocals / guitar) couldn't put vocals on it until much later and it didn't get mixed and released until 2014. Let's Pretend  was bold enough to release a tape by a band who had broken up 7 years prior and had no plans of ever reforming (follow that link to buy a tape). Thanks to the 40-75 people who ever saw us and the 15-20 people who cared about it. We're gonna come back and murder you all. 

Open your mind and let the pain crawl in
Open your mouth and watch the fun dissipate
Open your eyes you'll see your friends walking away
Open your heart and let the pain crawl in


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

SHITTY DARKNESS - Demo - CD-R - 2011

    These stupid little CD-R's are not built to last and I found this one rolling around in the bottom of a filing cabinet, all scratched up but still playing perfectly. SHITTY DARKNESS barely caused a blip during a brief tenure in their hometown of Athens, GA, serving as a pit stop between the bands CARRIE NATIONS and WADE BOGGS. Ian wrote these songs after (and during) the demise of CARRIE NATIONS and brought them to his new band PILLOWFORT, which maybe kinda morphed into SHITTY DARKNESS. They recorded this demo and then (I think) Ian broke the band up, only to have all (or most) of these songs reappear as WADE BOGGS songs a short time later.
   But if we get past hazy facts and just get into emotion, these songs are sooo catchy in their raw pop presentation. It reminds me of why I (and you) was up front at CARRIE NATIONS shows, screaming the words on the verge of tears. Put these songs on your stupid digital device, walk to the top of the tallest hill in your town while listening and see if you're not walking faster and feeling like a wet hundred dollar bill once "Senior Citizen" hits your ears. (If you don't have hills in your town, just walk downtown and glare at people until someone tells you to go away. If you don't have a downtown, walk into the field and scream these songs until your voice goes hoarse, even if you don't know the words). After all that, walk yourself over to Athens, GA and ask Ian what songs he's writing now. If he comes up empty handed, tell him the world needs his music now and always. (it's true, Ian.)

If you need more music by this guy (you do), he was also one of the responsible parties for WELCOME HOME, NEMO.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

PATSY - "Alrite Ladies and Bitches, It's..." - Demo - Tape - 2014

   There is a certain power in the simple punk riff when executed correctly, but it's up to the listener to decide what constitutes "correct", "simple" or even "punk". For me, I think of KLEENEX's "Hitch-Hike", DRILLER KILLERS "Malibu is Burning" or even BEAT HAPPENING's "Bewitched". Those are snapshots of my ideal of perfection. Simplicity. No overthinking. Direct and damaging, while maybe not intending it that way.
   PATSY, from New Orleans, gives me that same feeling when they hit the first notes of "Tuley 'Tude High". The tiny yelp just as the drums kick it clinch it for me. It's fun and fucked and dizzying, the way you (I) always want punk to be but so rarely is. I'm stoked on it, but not surprised since the same people responsible for these songs are also (partially) responsible for MYSTIC INANE, FOREIGN BODIES, DISPLEASURE, SPECIAL INTEREST and a lot more.
    Every song sounds like a total pogo bounce, fun-ass party. A great escape for these grim times.

They put out a couple of 7"s. They're really good too. 
Their Bandcamp page. (I truly did not know that they cover the above KLEENEX song until I found this link. Whoa....)

Monday, January 2, 2017

J CHURCH - "Four Track Demos" - Tape - 2011

    Years ago, I posted a link on the blog to this tape on another site, but now it's not available, so I'm reposting it here. This is a collection of Lance Hahn's (r.i.p.) four track demos for J CHURCH songs that he was making before he passed away. J CHURCH was probably one of the most prolific pop-punk bands of all time, Just a cursory glance at their Discogs page tells me that they might have released 18 albums and over 50 ep's. I can't even begin to explain the impact that Lance and J CHURCH made on the world of DIY punk that will last until the end of time. I only hung out with the guy a few times and I still think about him when I walk the streets of my neighborhood, where he lived in the 90's. Every single time it rains and I'm on Mission Street, I get "November" stuck in my head...for days. That is an impact.
    This tape has some fully formed songs, some sketches of ideas, some instrumentals and some misfires. I read somewhere that Lance treated his four track like a notebook; a place to write down his ideas as they came to him and that's how I approach this tape. It's perfect in its imperfection. If you've never heard J CHURCH, maybe you should start somewhere else, but this is also a warm, inviting place to be.

More information about this tape here
You can still order a physical copy of the tape here. .

Monday, December 5, 2016

THE TERRIBLES - "In Congrefs" - CD - 2008

   As a vague testament to how shitty 2016 has been, I've only posted three things in the past three months and they've all been about dead friends. This one is no different. (FYI: No one in THE TERRIBLES is dead).
    I'm sure you've already read the terrible news about the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland. I don't know if I can offer anything that hasn't already been said, but the outpouring of support from people in our community has been incredible. Most of the media and local government continues to get it so, so wrong...incredibly, frustratingly wrong and insensitive. What We Do Is Secret, but that statement hasn't actually been true for at least 20 years now, but people still can't seem to understand what the fuck we're doing (and yes, a lot what we do still is secret, actually).
   If you'd like to read articles about what is happening here, I would suggest these following things, because they're all good and these people took more time than I did to collect their thoughts.

 From KQED
 From East Bay Express
 From Huffington Post
 From We Are Your Voice

   The article from KQED really hit home with me because this is a tragedy that could affect just about anyone who reads this blog. Let's do some quick math. There's been 550 posts on this blog. Let's say that's probably 500 different bands (estimate). Let's say that there's an estimated three to four people in each band and that equals roughly 2000 people. I'm willing to bet that nearly ALL of those 500 bands have played shows in venues (I use that term lightly) that are non-traditional and don't have the best exits or wiring. That's 2000 people who put themselves in danger just to have a good time or find their community or feel less alone in an increasingly harsh world. But also, many of these people put themselves in danger just by leaving the house every day. This danger exists because of expensive housing, shitty paychecks, no paychecks for seriously marginalized people, because some of us enjoy putting ourselves in danger and many other reasons.
   Ugh...I don't know what I'm trying to say. Fuck it. I hate it. I hate that this happened at all. I hate what the media is going to make it into and I hate what it's going to do to so many spaces across the globe that people hold so dear to their hearts. Our gathering spaces aren't equipped with fire exits, bouncers or good wiring. Our ideal spaces provide us with love, acceptance and open arms in a world that wishes that many of us would just go away.
   Take care of each other out there. It's not getting better right now.

This TERRIBLES CD is really good. I've written about them many times and you can go find it somewhere else on the blog. 
There's a phone number embedded in the 4th song  and it's one of my favorite songs by them. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

WET SPOTS - Tape - 2013

This one is intended as a companion piece to this post

     Barker was starting to wind up WET SPOTS around the same time that our band together was winding down and it was maybe more his speed. While our band seemed to act more and more serious, WET SPOTS liked to joke the fuck around and write seriously catchy songs. Barker wrote the guitar riffs and sang while Oscar and Janelle rounded out the rhythm section on bass and drums respectively. The results are seven excellent songs that help you remember that Barker had an unfuckwithable ear for melody.
    I remember when they were going to record these songs, I ran into Barker and he was excited because Darin from SUPERCHARGER was turning the knobs for them. I was excited too and we privately geeked the fuck out about it for a minute because we were both garage rock nerds at different points in our lives. I didn't even know the guy was still around, but the tape sounds fuckin' great, so he still knows what he's doing.
   When WET SPOTS went to play a few shows in Hawaii, I got super jealous, because I've always wanted to play there. Upon their return, I asked Barker how it went and he played it a little too cool..."Ahhh, it was fine. We played a show or two. The people were pretty nice." I ran into Janelle later and she gushed about it. "It was fucking fun! We hung out in the ocean a ton. Barker jumped off of a cliff!" Then, she showed me a ton of photos and every one of them looked like the best time ever!
    Download this stuff and play it loud. Enjoy Janelle's pounding drums, Oscar's smooth ass bass lines and a voice that should sound raspier knowing the amount of whiskey that has passed by those vocal cords.


Barker in Hawaii. Photo by Janelle. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

THE URGENTS - Demo - Tape - 2013

Today's post is brought to you by Chloe.

Breaking the Clocks, Burning the Bridges: A hagiography of that fucking Hesh Paul The Urgents, Demo Tape, Recorded December 23rd, 2013, at the OMC 4th Floor on Lean 

  Heartbreak rose with the sun on Friday. Paul Woods has died, but he left us with his music. Music was the thing Paul cared about most. He could have done almost anything with his life but chose music. Most people don’t know this about Paul because he was such a goof ball, but he was really smart. Paul had a degree in Philosophy from UC Santa Cruz. Sometimes when I was worried about something or other, I would go lay on his bed, tell him about it. He would pull a book off his shelf: Foucault lectures on Psychiatry, books about DMT effects on the brain. Those books helped me through more than a few hard times. In fact one time when I was very nervous about my second date with a super-hot Marxist, I asked Paul for a book to bring on the picnic that would make me look smart. He handed me Les Chants de Maldoror packaged with an encouraging speech. I walked away feeling confident. He could make you feel really good.

   The Urgents was Argeniz on bass (Maquina Muerte), Ryan Texas on drums (Death Drive, Trenches), and Paul and I on guitar. Paul wrote all the songs before compiling the group. He even typed up the lyric sheets on his little typewriter, so I could sing along. We practiced together for a few months, played one show in front of a “Dump Yer Landlord” banner, and recorded these songs. This album was not destined to come out great, but when you listen to it you will notice that it is great. First, because it was all Paul, and this was his passion. Every piece of equipment was his, all the sound engineering and mastering was his doing, the riffs were his and the solos were also his. The Urgents was his ode to punk; a community that let him be him. The other reason it is great is because it is true. At the time of this album, Paul and I were co-defendants in a graffiti case deriving from a FTP march and were squatting at the infamous RCA/Hot Mess. The songs are all about our lived experiences, the love and heartbreak of those years. Watch The Smoke is about that moment where you go for it, hard, don’t look back even though you may lose it all, you pause to revel in the simple beauty of the smoke. The Urgents is about the real estate lawyer who evicted us from the RCA. His name was Bruce Reeves and one time in court Paul very calmly referred to him as Ruce Breeves without laughing. That kid was wearing a bolo tie and a ten gallon hat. The judge asked them to exchange emails and Mr. Breeves looked up at Paul and asked, “liveXfast at riseup.net: is that right?” His grinned a big grin to bear that gap of his missing front tooth (lost to a bite of crusty pizza) and replied, “Yes, that is right Your Honor.” It was glorious. Ruce Breeves had a stroke and shut down his office after handling that case. No doubt a product of being casual taunted by a long haired hesher in a cowboy hat. I Had a Future is about how Paul was going to be a Marine Biologist after high school and did a year of school for it, but dropped out because he just wanted to play music and hang out. “I had a future//man it was so bleak//had to run away.” He was really proud of this song because it captured how having a future just meant fucking people over. “Traded in my future//for a chance to live again.” Blurry Visions is about feeling alone: in your head and in an crowd.

    Say what you will about Paul because he wasn’t a saint (“God never takes the angels early”). But he was a warm and loyal friend. I will miss his hugs, the way he held you really tight in his thick crusty vest was the ultimate comfort. Paul was unlike most people in one key respect: you would never hear him say he hated somebody. He avoided all out character denunciations and looked for the good bits in the messes of all of us. He laughed with you about himself and his flaws or you and your flaws, a big loud laugh. The last couple years have been really hard. A lot of people came together and then fell apart. Every time we lose a Basil, or a Barker, or a Paul or a Chris Chitty, or a Monique I hope we can use it as a moment to reflect on the ways we treat each other while still living. The living times go by really fast unless we have each other to break the clocks. The black flag will be flying at half mast for a while. Goodnight you fucking Hesher Paul.

To contribute to his memorial fund, please click here.