Remember that one time when I said something like "oh hey, here's a recording of SHOTWELL live on the radio in Davis or something, but I only have four songs....so, deal with it"? Sorry about that. Here is the full recording of 15 songs, complete with classic Jimmy banter, a Judi Bari spoken piece, radio DJ jokes and more! It was recorded on the KZSU station at Stanford University (nowhere near Davis) in 1998 and shows the band being pretty fucking tight, no matter how much Jimmy tries to throw them off. The lineup on this one is Jimmy (guitar/vox), Carl (bass/vox) and Iggy (drums). Enjoy it and have a happy new year!!!
Dean (formerly in the mighty LOS RABBIS) and Morgan (from SHARP KNIFE) had previously played together in a band called FUCK YEA! AVOCADO. After the demise of that band, Morgan moved up to Portland from the Bay Area but kept in touch with SF homies. Their friend, Jon Paul was having a rough time in his hometown of Tulsa, so Morgan and Dean concocted a plan to get him out to the West Coast and start a band for a month in Portland. It was successful (??) and Dean and JP moved into Morgan';s house in PDX for a few weeks with the intention of writing a bunch of songs, maybe recording them and playing a few shows. Dean played guitar, Morgan played bass, Jon Paul played drums (which should be redundant...if you know of this maniac, of course he played drums because he is one of the best drummers in current punk history) and everyone sang. They threw together enough songs to hop on a house show with KUNG FU USA. They only played three other shows (after one of them, they lost control of their van and their brakes while careening down MLK and came to a stop only after running into a giant bush down the street from their house) and then Jon Paul recorded this demo in the basement of the house (called the Danger Zone). On the last song, they squeezed 20 maniacs into the basement to sing back-ups.
After this, Dean left for Oberlin, OH to go to school and played in RTA. Later, he moved back to the Bay Area and played in the band DAVID COPPERFUCK. These days, he lives in NYC and runs the label True Panther Sounds, which put out the phenomenal BROKEN STRINGS LP and alot of other stuff that people may like if they're into...well, I will stop myself here...just click above....you're a human being and you can make your own decisions. Morgan and Jon Paul stuck around Portland for a little while and worked on songs that would soon become the first batch of stuff for their band TULSA. Then, they went back to Tulsa later and made that happen. These days, Morgan is living in the hills of North Carolina and playing drums in the ever-awesome DARK RIDES. He also plays in a band (with me!) called BLACK RAINBOW. Jon Paul is still a maniac on the drums (and otherwise), lives in either Brooklyn or Tulsa and plays in the experience known as HONKY HORN & BAD MOUTH.
STAMPEDE tried to play one last time at a generator show out at Ocean Beach in SF for Morgan's 21st birthday, but the cops came before a note could even be played.
One last thing that has nothing to do with the music, really. They recorded this on a 4 track in the basement next to where Jon Paul slept every night. There was also a black widow's nest under the stairs. One night, a spider bit JP on his asshole and it swelled up to golf ball size. He had to go steal pants that were 3 sizes too big for him to wear while riding the bus home from Portland.
Thanks to Morgan for all the info and for being a tight friend all these years.
The record pictured above is probably one of the most important records (to me) that I will ever put on this blog. This record is responsible for vastly altering my ideas of music and changing the way I've thought about it since hearing this for the first time. It's just as important to me, musically, as THE MINUTEMEN'S "Double Nickels on the Dime", seeing the CRAMPS when I was 12, hearing the HICKEY LP for the first time, meeting my friend Harry and experiencing my first live IMPRACTICAL COCKPIT show. I came across it at Sunburst Records in Huntsville, AL when I was absentmindedly flipping through the new releases (which is weird since this thing came out in 83, but recorded in the mid-70's) one day in 1996. All of a sudden, this freak (pictured above) was staring me in the eyes and I didn't know what to think of it. I mean, how do you pass up a record with scrawled handwriting all over the cover, accompanied by THAT guy with band aids all over his face? Well, I couldn't pass it up. I bought it immediately without knowing anything about it and I remember Jay (the store owner) looking at it and saying "What the fuck is this, man?"
When I first put it on, I was a little disappointed. This was just like...lounge music or something. I had some bummed out visions of those people who buy "Exotica" records and think they're reallywild.I almost picked up the needle off of the record, but then it started to get weird. It started to delve into a cacophony of horns and weirdness that was approaching free jazz and straight up noise. The arrangements would flow out into a mess that sounded unstructured, out of tune and completely out of focus...but then it would all come back together in one big swell that sometimes worked, sometimes didn't, but I fucking loved it. This record grew on me over the years and started to inform the way I approached music and helped me to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the true freaks of the music world.
But who ARE these people? That's the question that took me a few years to figure out (I didn't use the internet until 2001, plus no one I knew used it in the 90's anyway). It was next to impossible to find out any info about them in books or zines. The closest thing I found was a tiny blurb in the book Incredibly Strange Music but even that hardly said anything worth noting. After a while, I found out that this was from my very own home state of Alabama! The liner notes say that some of these songs were recorded in a stage production and a musical. After more digging, I found out that the group that played on this Fred Lane LP (the group consists of 21 people) had worked previously on another LP called"Raudeluna's 'Pataphysical Revue", which was recorded live at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1975. It was basically a variety show that consisted of deranged swing standards, noisy improvisations, hardware store noise, a "Concerto for Active Frogs" and more.They needed an M.C. for the night, so they chose their friend Tim Reed, who renamed himself Fred Lane. The record sounds crazy, fucked up and beautiful and I love that it happened in front of a live audience at a school in Alabama. Between the noisy improv, pre-recorded applause, and door prizes (4 used tires), most of the audience walked out.
Before this even, a core group of folks from this band were hosting group paintings and jam sessions at their house where prior experience wasn't necessary. This was the beginnings of this whole scene of people and improv musicians that continues to thrive to this day. Around this time, the guitarist Davey Williams met and started a longtime collaboration with LaDonna Smith (both on this Fred Lane LP) that continues to this day (incidentally, I saw them perform a performance art piece in Montevallo, AL when I was 12 or 13 that was a pivotal moment in my life that helped me to realize that "something else" was out there beyond mainstream music, beyond suburbs and beyond what I had ever even thought about. It meant a lot to me.).
Anyway, let me get back to the point here. Apparently, this record ("From the One That Cut You") was literally inspired by a crude note scrawled on brown paper, wrapped around a bowie knife, found in a secret compartment in a 1952 Dodge panel truck when some friends (the owners) came by a house in order to repaint it, in order to elude capture by the naval police. The note, a sort of love/threat/confession inspired Tim (Fred Lane) to write the song, the stage show and create the character who performs the song...all from three sentences written by someone named Fuear. (This info comes straight from an article by Joe Tepperman) The note read " I hope the paine is gone. This is the one that cut you? P.S. Don't wear about Jimmy I will take kear of him the same way I took kear of YOU".
There was a third album called "Radio Car Jerome" that came out in 1986 and a lot of people seem to love it, but I found it to be too structured and a little hokey. It didn't have the fucked up spark of the previous LP and a lot of the improv was gone. There was also an idea for a fourth LP called "Icepick to the Moon" but it never got past the idea stage and maybe that's for the best. A guy named Skizz Cyzyk has been working on a documentary about Fred Lane for 10 fucking years now and I wish it would come out already. I wrote to him once, asking questions about it and he never wrote me back. If you want to read more stuff about Fred Lane, Say Day Bew Records or the early Alabama improv scene, be sure to click over to the Raudelunas site. Be careful though because it can lead you down a wormhole of misinformation and internet time-suck. Apparently, this crew of folks loves embellishment and Dada-ist wordplay.
Also, I could talk about this record and Alabama for another 3 pages, but I will spare you. If you want to talk more about it, get in touch and I will bore you to tears.
This 2009 demo comes from Montreal, Quebec and features straightforward punk music with female vocals that sound urgent, yet lackadaisical, hungover, and beautifully out of tune. The guitar tone sounds informed by listening to too much of THE DICKS and "STP not LSD"-era ANGRY SAMOANS. I'm pretty sure that they're not a band anymore since their guitarist, Nathan now lives across the bay from me in Oakland and plays in DISPLEASURE.
BITCHIN' started as a 4-piece in Gainesville, FL sometime around the turn of the century and they quickly went into the studio to record these six songs that later appeared on two 7 inches. On a bad night, BITCHIN' was still better than most live bands at that time, but on a good night, they were untouchable. Singer/guitarist Sam was (and still is) a guitar wizard whose passion for performing was palpable and infectious. Watching her sing whole songs and play complicated guitar shit with her eyes closed the whole time would give me chills. The rest of the band were no slouches either. I had been friends with Caroline for a couple of years and didn't really know that she could play bass, but here she was ruling it and making me envious of her solid style. Their drummer Todd was so laid back that I thought that there was no way that he could actually be good, but he definitely proved me wrong by bashing the shit out of the drums and throwing in some beats that I had never even thought about. I never saw them play with Kobi (their 2nd guitarist on this tape), but I don't think she played with them for very long and had quit shortly after this tape was recorded. All six of these songs are fukkin' great with my favorites being "Utilizing" and their anthem, which brings back pleasant memories of punks clamoring around the mic and raising their fists while screaming "Little babayyyyyAAYYYYYYYY!!"
BITCHIN' playing in a garage at the Chattanooga Punk Fest in 2000. Photo by Brontez.
OH..I just remembered this....(you can just skip down to the "download" portion of this entry if you want to skip the fuckin' nostalgia trip). One of the best times I ever saw BITCHIN' was in Gainesville at 4 or 5 am. Earlier in the night, there had been a huge LEATHERFACE show and at the end of their set, Frankie Stubbs announced on stage that BITCHIN' and some other bands were going to be playing a house show across town. That's all fine and everything except the house show was in a room the size of my bedroom and he just told a couple hundred people about it. Anyhow, the street in front of the house filled up with people drinking and milling around waiting for the show. Luckily, most of the houses on the block were inhabited by punks and someone had the bright idea to block off each end of the street with cars so that no one could get through. I remember a ton of punks drinking in the streets, wandering into open houses, being handed food and beers and seeing a cop drive by looking totally helpless and then shrugging and leaving. The first band didn't start until at least 4 am. Some friends and I tried to get into the house to see BITCHIN' but it was impossible. It was insanely packed wall-to-wall, so we went around the side of the house and there happened to be a window right behind the drums. I remember the window being steamed up from all the sweat and condensation. Todd opened it up and we all cheered. A bunch of us sang and danced in the yard for the whole show and I remember that a lot of people came outside to join us because they said we looked like we were having more fun than the people inside. I don't know who else played and I didn't care. BITCHIN' completely ruled the night and negated the need for any more bands to play. I stumbled back to a house and passed out as the sun was coming up. It was a great show.
If you can find their LP on No Idea Records, get that shit. You won't regret it.
BITCHIN' and ONION FLAVORED RINGS broken down outside of Yeehaw Junction, FL. Photo by me.
This tape is from the collection of Erick Lyle, who would like to add that this is one of hie favorite demos of all time.
Sam was also in RUMBLESEAT and currently plays in the band CASSETTE, who are something closer to alt-country but are no less powerful than her earlier, punker days. I saw Sam play CASSETTE songs solo in a little room once and no less than 5 people were crying. It was intense.
Todd currently lives in Brooklyn, working on video editing and making people completely stoked by just being in the same room with him. Here is a link to some stuff he is working on.
Caroline is currently selling off handmade and home-printed "merch" from her former band FORGETTERS to benefit Jakmel Ekspresyon in Haiti. "What is Jakmel Ekspresyon?" you ask? Well, it is a community based arts center in Haiti that is explicitly queer and trans friendly. They have been working to rebuild a new space since the earthquake in 2010 ruined their old one and they could really use your help. I have heard many great stories about them from my friend, Ivy, who is currently in Jacmel and working with them on these rebuilding projects. If you would like to buy some of Caroline's art to benefit this, you can do it RIGHT HERE. While you're there, be sure to check out Caroline's other art on her page. It is totally worth your time.
If buying band merch isn't your thing and you want to just donate money directly to Jakmel Ekspesyon, you can do that on their IndieGoGo Page. If you want to learn more about their community based arts center, click on over to their official site and their working group. Wait...you have more money to donate? Cool, then you should throw that towards the International Folklore Exchange Project, which also benefits Haiti, a community in real need of your help.
This tape has been kickin' around on my shelf for years and I can't remember how I got it because I never saw this band...I mean they were my friends...They probably just gave it to me one day and I don't remember. That's not the important part. The important part is that these songs rule and you will want to hear them if you have even the slightest interest in scrappy southern hardcore and great, energetic punk. Some of the songs fly by at 100 mph with a trade off of female/male vocals that may remind you of PINK COLLAR JOBS. That would be an astute observation since one of the singer/guitarists used to be in that band. They recorded this demo in the dank-ass basement at 38 Mulberry in Woodfin, NC, possibly amid a pile of empty 40 bottles and dog shit. This band existed roughly from 2000-2002 and got to see the world changing dramatically around them as towers were falling and bombs started dropping. I'm not just saying this for effect...it actually sounds like they were informed by the world falling apart around them.
Lynn was probably playing in 5 other bands at the same time as this band and went on to play in NASTY PONIES. Blair is currently working on his brain-bending and phenomenal artwork as he always has. He was doing that before I ever met him...which was about 18 years ago. You can (and should) check out his stuff right here. Their drummer, Jason was and still is (?) playing in the long-running southern hardcore/crust band KAKISTOCRACY. I'm not sure what is up with their bass player, Kyanne, but she was always doing interesting and cool things, so I'm sure that hasn't changed.
All Pics from the Boiling Point in Charlotte,NC. Taken by Thunder Bolt.
Josh Baker, of the bands CHASED AND SMASHED and GOD HATES COMPUTERS, made this compilation as a gift for friends on X-mess of '98. Hearing the bands FEAR, BLATZ, THE QUEERS, THE AVENGERS, DEAD KENNEDYS and BORN AGAINST won't be anything too new or exciting for many punks, but Josh was working on a theme here, which will be glaringly obvious and funny when you download it. The big surprise for me on this tape is ALBERTO Y LOST TRIOS PARANOIAS, who have been flying just under my radar for my entire life. How had I never heard of them? They were a comedy rock band, which usually isn't my thing, but the few songs I have heard by them now are so great that it somehow transcends the label placed on them and skyrockets them into a different category altogether...like, uh, a really good comedy rock band that has a working knowledge of punk rock. Anyhow, their song "Fuck You" is great. Also of note is the band 4Q, a precursor to THE CURSE. The sound quality on this comp is so-so. Side two (starting with FEAR's "I Don't Care About You") is abysmally and almost comically unlistenable, as far as the tape hiss and volume levels are concerned. But just like that sausage log, SWAMI SATCHIDANANDA record, salmon-colored sweater, rusty tin can and Newt Gingrich autobiography that you unwrapped this morning while feigning a smile to your Grandma Bob...it's the thought that counts. Just act like this comp is that box of chocolates sitting on the counter at the holiday party: take all the good pieces out, put them away somewhere special for yourself and leave all that crap (like orange chocolate and chalky mint and inaudible live AVENGERS) to be mulled over by someone more desperate than you.
Fuck you and I don't care if your holiday is happy.
I never heard this tape until I picked it up at a record/yard sale in Oakland a few weeks ago (gotta love Bay Area yard sales), but now I am kicking myself for missing out on this shit while they were actually a band. CARNAL KNOWLEDGE played raw, pissed off hardcore with gang vocals and elements of youth-crew shit. I think the only time they ever played outside of NY (and I could be terribly wrong here) was when a certain band flew them out to the Bay Area to play at Gilman in 2008. Soon after, they broke up and the members went on to do other worthwhile bands, such as ZOMBIE DOGS, LIVID, and OPT OUT. This tape is a sore reminder that I need to seek out and pay attention to the vital, exciting bands that are banging out crucial punk as it is happening and not after the fact. Thanks for the lesson, CARNAL KNOWLEDGE.
This is the final installment of a week-long series of bands that only have women in them, but not the last band on here that that will meet that criteria, of course. If you're reading this as a guy who mostly listens to music made by men, or as a guy who argues with women on the internet (or in public or anywhere) about how they need to "chill out" when they bring up the topic of sexual assault, please go back and listen to the last seven bands I posted. If you're a guy who has a hard time closing your mouth and listening to women when they are trying to discuss serious topics, go back and read the lyrics of these bands. Please learn to talk about subjects like assault, rape, feminism, and the fuckin' patriarchy without being condescending, without talking over people, without lashing out and without resorting to violence and belittlement. I grew up in Alabama, internalizing negative views of women left and right from the moment I was born. It takes a lot of work to learn how to overcome this bullshit and treat all people as equals, but if I can do it, you can too. There is a reason that women are still singing about these issues in 2011 and you can either be the reason for that or you can help to be part of the solution.
If you want to get in touch to talk about any of this stuff (respectfully or otherwise), I'm open to it.
HARUM SCARUM were an anarcho-punk/hardcore band from Portland, OR who were tough as shit and super fuckin' punk. They recorded this demo in their basement in 1999 and many of these songs appeared a year later on their LP "Mental Health". These versions are rougher around the edges and a little less confident, but still brilliant and fierce. Not only was this band all female (keeping with this week's theme), but they were also openly queer, supporters of Aileen Wuornos, hardcore feminists and anti-capitalists. After putting out this tape, they went on to put out 3 LP's, a couple of 7"s and a live tape (coming here one day soon) before breaking up and making this world a little harder to live in.
This tape has already been featured up the hill at Terminal Escape, but when a band is this good, you have to share it more than once. HUE & CRY yelled and thrashed around San Francisco for a short time in 2004 and went on a tour of the East Coast and Midwest before calling it quits.That's it...that's all I know. It's excellent, all female punk that is both intelligent and raging. What else do you want?
Arwen, their bassist, is currently working on a documentary about Ursula K Le Guin. Their drummer, Chloe went on to sing in ATTAKE in NYC and their guitarist, Clara moved even further away to Spain and continues to rock in one way or another.
Much like 2/3's of this band's former project, SWORD OF THE ANCIENT, I'm at a loss for words when it comes to describing their sound. A more fucked up and DIY RAINCOATS? True freedom? Some of their songs, with a guitar/violin/drums approach, sound as if they are helping to lay the groundwork for bands like RED HERRING and THE NEW BLOODS, but BEASTHEAD is more open-ended and wild-sounding. Impossible to tame, perhaps. I was confused, bewildered, enthralled and entertained when I saw them play to 15 people in a coffeeshop in Pensacola FL years ago. Now, knowing these songs, I wish I could turn back time to see them again.
Their violinist, Jesse now plays drums in Asheville's COMMON VISIONS. Amy, on guitar, now plays in VILLAGE OF SPACES. Kristen, their drummer, is very possibly doing yoga or just hanging out somewhere totally beautiful in Hawaii right now.
I played a show with PINK NIGHTMARE at the Linden St House (RIP) at the beginning of 2011 without knowing anything about them. I was happy when I found out that they were a fucking fierce hardcore band that shared members with the unstoppable FOREIGN OBJECTS and the sorely-missed RED THREAD. They played a short, fast set to an enthusiastic crowd and spent the rest of the night hanging out, drinking and being fuckin’ East Coast loudmouths. It was great!
Soon after, I left town for a few months and rented my room to their guitarist, Terry. When I returned home, she had left this tape sitting on top of my stereo and I didn’t know what the fuck it was because I couldn’t read the writing on the cover and there wasn’t any other info with it. I listened to it a few times and loved it but had no idea that it was PINK NIGHTMARE until one day when I finally figured out what the scrawl on the cover said. It turns out that Terry had some left over from their West Coast tour but didn’t have the proper covers. Unfortunately, the band is on hiatus (broken up?) since their bass player, Kristen lives in SF now (good for us, bad for them) and the rest of them live in Massachusetts.When I asked Terry if she wanted to add anything about their band she said "We were a cursed band who got hit by cars and shit."
Just download this and bask in the raw punk glory. If you want to get a copy of their 7" (and why wouldn't you?), you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm still upset that I never got to see THE CURSE. My band was on tour and we were running late getting to our show in Eugene, OR, due to breakdowns, mishaps and just plain ol' inertia. THE CURSE was at that show, playing for as long as they could to keep the show going until we made it there. They didn't have enough material though and the residents of the house cut them off and said the show was over. Then, we showed up 10 minutes later and they wouldn't let us play. It was frustrating after overcoming so many obstacles for 12 hours to get there, so THE CURSE'S drummer, Erin suggested that we drive to her house in Portland and get drunk, which we did, CURSE-less but happy.
THE CURSE got together in 1998 (maybe 1997) as a 4 piece, rising from the ashes of bands like PIMP SLAP and THINGS I HATE. They put their first demo tape and then their 2nd guitarist, Sarah ran off to greener pastures. They continued on as a 3 piece and put out this ruling 13 song tape. They are punk as hell in the yelling-three-chord-fuck-you-basement-punk kind of way and cover topics ranging from assault to self-esteem to reproductive rights to losing hope to (my favorite) yelling "Fuck You" about the things they hate. After releasing this tape, their singer/guitarist Molly had a back injury that put the band out of commission for about a year. They did a few tours of the West Coast (lots of small towns) and put out 4 tapes, one of which came out years after they broke up. The band went their separate ways in March 2003. This was Terrie's (bass player/singer) first real band and now she plays in WARCRY. Their drummer/singer, Erin "Whupass" Yanke went on to play in the amazing CHASED AND SMASHED and now plays drums in SOCIAL GRACES and LIGHT BRIGADE.
MEN'S RECOVERY PROJECT once sang that "Email is A Men's Room". In this day and age, it can also feel like music blogs are exactly the same thing. The bandwidth is littered with dudes discussing other dude's accomplishments endlessly and bragging about that $500 7" that they snagged for the steal of $150 (I'm not implying that women can't also be sniveling record collectors who drool over first pressings of rare shit....I'm just trying to make a point here). I'm not pointing fingers. I am also guilty of filling up a whole week of material on my blog with bands that only feature men - men whose accomplishments are both inspirational and worth talking about to me. For the next week though, I am only going to post bands that are made up entirely of women whose music has been both inspirational and fucking amazing.
TESSERACT was a way-too-short lived Bay Area band that growled out vicious, angry, plodding, beautiful DIY crust / metal in the basements of West Oakland back in 2010. They put out this tape just before embarking on a short tour up to the Pacific Northwest, which included a stop at the beautiful and amazing Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture (If you ever get a chance to go here, do it!). I only saw them play twice (in West AND East Oakland) and both times, they were nothing short of awe-inspiring. Anyone can blast out some noise and call it music, but it takes a special band to create a mood and actually make you feel something real in this dead, cold world.
TESSERACT dissolved after their guitarist, Savanna was whisked away to the wilds of Olympia, WA. Their drummer, Carey plays in the unfuckwithable SONGS FOR MOMS and does some amazing work with Girl's Rock Camp. Bassist, Kyle plays with East Bay rulers, DISPLEASURE and you should go ahead and get their brand new tape. I don't know what singer/guitarist Darci is up to these days, but to keep it interesting, let's just say that she's doing some insanely illegal shit that I can't even tell you about.
A few nights ago, I was at a punk show in Oakland and I got into an annoying conversation with yet another person who grew up in California that can not possibly fucking fathom that there are punk bands in other US states...especially southern ones. It's fucking 2011! LADY GAGA is wearing a fucking GISM patch in one of her videos! Of course some fucking people in Alabama learned how to play D-Beat by now and have produced ruling punk bands as well as set up DIY all-ages venues and written countless zines. Of course I didn't say all this because I am a nice guy. I calmly explained that, yes, there are literally hundreds of punk bands throughout the southeastern US and many of them are the best shit I have ever heard in my life. She just couldn't believe it and thought it was so novel. This wasn't my grandmother. This was a living, breathing punk rocker in 2011. I get in these conversations frequently and it blows my mind.
THE VOMIT SPOTS are one of those many bands who were an early inspiration to me and proved that punk was alive and well in Alabama. They put out this debut 7" in 1987, which was a time when Alabama didn't have any places for punk bands to play. So, the bands would play in the middle of a field, miles away from anything. People would travel in buggies down dirt roads (Alabama didn't have paved roads yet...or cars) to watch the bands. Punks would charge their mohawks with cow shit since hair products hadn't made their way from the big cities yet. Then, large crews of racist skinhead KKK members would come and kill everyone at the show. Shit was really dangerous then.
THE VOMIT SPOTS played in big, crumbling brick warehouses to crazed mutants wearing smeared black eyeliner with fucked up hair. They charged their 'hawks with super glue and sometimes wore spandex bike shorts. It was a time that felt really crazy and free...like you could do anything you wanted in this crazy fucked up state that you happened to be born in. And then, large crews of racist skinhead KKK members would come and try to kill everyone at the show. I'm not gonna lie. I've been shot at by skinheads with shotguns. It was somehow threatening to be non-racist and punk. Shit was really dangerous then.
This 7" was not my first introduction to this band (see link above for that), but it still holds a special place in my heart. It's more punk and urgent than their tape. In my perfect punk world, "Stupid Punk Rocker" would be on every mixtape and this single would be classified as "KBD OOP". Instead, they are just some dumb band from Mobile,AL that no one cares about besides me and 20 other people. Fuck you.
THE SHAFFERS were one of the first punk bands from the Chattanooga / Dalton,GA area that I ever heard. Their bass player, Mike Pack hitchhiked down to Birmingham (where I lived....or very close to there..at the time) in 1994 to see PROPAGANDHI at Tuxedo Junction and he gave one of my friends a tape of his band. They were great. They were playing a style of fucking fast DIY hardcore that was still tuneful and upbeat. I wanted to play music like this. I wanted to know these people. I wanted them to be my friends. I couldn't believe that they lived only a couple of short hours away from me. Less than a year later, I was living in Huntsville,AL and I went to see a bad horror-punk / ska band called THE INDEPENDENTS (yep, still the same band) play an insanely boring show downtown. There was a little skinny guy wearing a leather jacket at that show that I had never seen around town. He looked to be a few years older than me and wasn't talking to anyone, but looked wholly approachable and gave off a certain unexplainable charm. I introduced myself to him and he told me his name was Eric Nelson. He had hitchhiked here from Chattanooga for this show. "THIS show?!" I asked incredulously. He explained that THE INDEPENDENTS were old friends that he hadn't seen in a while. I ended up hanging out with him all night and I picked his brain about bands from his town. He let it slip that he played guitar in THE SHAFFERS and learning that was like finding a missing piece of a puzzle that you didn't even realize that you were working on.
After that, I kept trying to get THE SHAFFERS to come to Huntsville to play a show, since they were only 2 hours away. I learned early on that the Chattanooga punks, while playing brilliant punk rock and being some of the finest people I have ever met in my life, were highly unorganized. If you set up a show for them, there was a 50% chance they wouldn't show up, either because the vehicle broke down or someone got drunk and disappeared or they forgot. When any of their bands did show up, it was highly likely that they would have brought 2 other bands crammed into a minivan and they would insist that the other bands had to play too...which was fine since everyone's set only lasted 15 minutes or less and they all used the same equipment. Long story short: I never got THE SHAFFERS to come to Alabama, so I went to them.
Going to Chattanooga for the first time really opened my eyes to a whole new world of punk and I really feel like I found what I had been looking for for years. I got to see THE SHAFFERS, Eric and Mike's other band THE JACK PALANCE BAND, THE DRILLER KILLERS, THE ACCIDENTAL HONKIES and many, many more. I liked it so much that I moved there a few years later and THE SHAFFERS are directly responsible for that.
SHAFFERS live...maybe in Georgia. Photo by Josie.
This tape was recorded live at Collin's (a bar? a house? I don't know!) and shows THE SHAFFERS at their fastest and tightest. It sounds like four people who grew up on a steady diet of early DRI, COC, SCREECHING WEASEL'S "Punk House" 7" and THE MISFITS. Michelle's rapid fire vocals are completely on-point and fierce. Each song blazes by in a fury and they manage to blast out 16 songs in about the same amount of minutes. So fucking good. This is the band that cemented Eric and Mike's musical marriage and they continue to play music together today in HIDDEN SPOTS. They're like my generation's Mike Watt and D Boon. Also, let us not forget their drummer, Nathan (a.k.a. the sensual wizard) who looked like a haze of long hair, weed smoke and big smiles behind the set. His drumming inspires me to this day.
The quality, of course, has always been sub-par on this recording, but I tried to fuck with it a little bit and I think it has improved. Just act like you're sitting around a Chattanooga punk house with dog shit on the floor and this is blasting out of the worst quality stereo that you just scored from the dumpster behind the thrift store.
Also, there are no song titles because there is no list with the tape, but just act like some of them are called "Tommy is a Weirdo" and "I Need You Now", because that is true.
I bought this 7" in 1994 at a record store in Alabama just because it looked cool. It came packaged in a printed manila envelope and didn't have much information with it. I got it home to realize that they were a jangly, noisy, loose indie-rock band with a totally budget sounding recording. I was sold, even though it featured Calvin Johnson (I always loved BEAT HAPPENING but was really not into his other projects) sharing vocals with Doug Martsch from BUILT TO SPILL (full disclosure: I didn't know that he was in BTS until today). I liked it so much that I bought two of their LP's over the next couple of years (and then resold them for more than I bought them), but those records never grabbed me as tightly as this one 7". There's just something about this record that I really love, even the weird dance number on the B side.
My only real knowledge of this band came from the 90's tape compilation "Technical Difficulties From Day One", which featured their awesome song "Sarah and her Stuck Up Friends". I loved its lo-fi indie rock charm and the loose, open jangly feel of that song. Besides that info, I am at a loss.
My friend, Erick put out the aforementioned comp, briefly lived in the same town as this band and loaned this tape to me for digitization, so here is what he had to say about it: "David Jukes was and is a legendary figure in Little Rock indie music. Word was that he was in a new wave band that had made MTV in the 80's. Here, he is joined by Little Rock's MTV band of the 90's, HO-HUM for demos of his sweet, understated, idiosyncratic, personal and catchy-as-hell songs. MAGIC CROPDUSTERS went on to make a couple of slicker, but still upbeat and catchy indie-rock CD's a'la PAVEMENT in the early 00's, but I'll always love this best."
Back in 2000, 2 of the Region's best bands got together and went into a studio in Huntsville, AL to record songs to be released on a split 7". Each band recorded two songs and I seem to remember that they were both in and out of the studio in a matter of a few hours. JPB recorded "Last Year" and another that I don't know the title of. The former is about losing a close person in your life and the latter is about fighting oppression. Both are great songs.
On their side, JARVIS shits out one of my favorite songs that, unfortunately, only exists on this tape. There's something about the song "Random" that has always given me chills. It's a great fucking song and it exhibits Harry's (guitar/vox) love for playing 1-4 note guitar solos. The other song, "Changes pt 3", is another in a long series of Ryan's (bass/vox) super short songs about changes (duh) in life. Also great.
For whatever reason, the bands didn't like how the recording came out and these songs never saw the light of day, except for during live shows (and in the case of "Random", not often enough for me). The JPB side comes from the collection of Erick Lyle. The JARVIS side is mine. For some reason, the tape that JARVIS gave me is really tinny sounding and always has been. If anyone has a better digital copy of it, I would really appreciate it. Enjoy.
THE BREAKUPS formed in the late 90's in Gainesville, FL when Scott and Timmy (both formerly of LOS CANADIANS) got together to flesh out the wealth of acoustic songs that they had written together. Their drummer, Iggy would hop freight trains up from Miami (where he was staying at the time) for band practice. Between the three of them, the music sounds like a gentle fight between their musical influences: Scott probably desperately wanted to play power-pop while Timmy's bass lines soar off into the stratosphere, stretching the boundaries of each song. All the while, Iggy's steady, breakneck drumming kept it firmly planted in the warm confines of punk. Two of these songs appeared on the Fuck The Curse compilation back in 2000 and the other ones were only passed around through mixtapes and trades. Their song "Battle of the Hopeless Crushes" will sound familiar to fans of Region Rock, since it was also played a few years later by Iggy's band, THE HORRIBLE ODDS. It may sound familiar to others since JAPANTHER covered it and it is being touted throughout the internet as the single for their new LP with absolutely no mention that they had nothing to do with writing that song. What's up with that shit?! Anyhow, this tape is excellent.
CHEATER LINES was originally formed under the confusing moniker of AL-DD/C, because the band was essentially ADD/C backing up the truly manical Chicagoan banjo player AL SCORCH. They changed the name to CHEATER LINES which, according to Cole (ADD/C's drummer), was Grady's (bass player) term for pieces of tape affixed to the neck of a banjo or upright bass that would correspond to the note and take the place of a fret. These four guys were joined by Allison on fiddle and they embarked on a short tour with Ron Cobra at the wheel, playing a mix of Al's old time/country tunes and a reworking of ADD/C's bouncy Region Rock. This CD is the only document of that time. This recording also includes alternate and earlier versions of ADD/C songs that would later appear on their albums. Ruling.
I knew ARCTIC FLOWERS would rule before I ever heard them because my friend (Spiky) Mikey (Napkin) played drums for them and he doesn't fuck around when it comes to playing music (unless, of course, he is fucking around). It seemed like most other people at the time were really excited that a guy from SIGNAL LOST was in the band (full disclosure: I didn't hear SIGNAL LOST until this year).
ARCTIC FLOWERS started practicing sometime in 2009 without a singer, writing songs and trying to figure out who could front their band. I think I remember them telling me that they asked Alex to sing for their band after seeing her front an AVENGERS cover band at a house show in Portland. They clicked and threw out this demo pretty soon afterwards. This demo is strong, well-produced (the joys of having your own studio) and sounds like a band that has already been playing together for years. Their take on UK anarcho-punk sounds fresh and precise. "Technicolor Haze" sounds bleak and goth in a way that makes me want to pull out my nonexistent BAUHAUS and JOY DIVISION records. These four songs aren't much different from the recordings that later appeared on their self-released 7" and their LP, but I find myself coming back to listen to this demo over and over. Highly recommended!
It's tapes like these that made me start this blog in the first place. This one was already falling apart and the sound quality was already shit when I bought it from the band in 1997. I set up a show for ALL IS LOST when they came to Alabama with SHARKS KILL and I remember that I set up the show because the latter band was former members of a band that I loved called PUNKY ROCKIT (we will cover this band in the near future). Both bands were from Portland, OR and I remember being mostly excited about SHARKS KILL, but at the end of the night, I was more sold on ALL IS LOST. At the time, I would've called them "emo", but now I know that they were just playing something closer to melodic indie punk. My friend, Harry was pretty excited that half of the band used to be in FIFTEEN (on the albums "Buzz" and "Surprise", I believe, for those of you who care). I was surprised and delighted to find that they sounded absolutely nothing like FIFTEEN and that they incorporated non-cheesy synchronized band moves to entertain the 15 or so people in attendance at their show. Plus they were really nice, even though they seemed genuinely weirded out and scared about being in the state of Alabama.
I was bummed out to get this tape home and find that it was so poorly dubbed that I had to turn it up all the way just to enjoy it. BUT, the songs were really fucking good and I still listen to it on road trips sometimes when I'm alone, so I don't have to subject people to the tinny sound and tape hiss. "Nothin' But Taillights" has a lazy day feel to it and has hooks galore! Their cover of the old-ass song "Buttercup" by THE FOUNDATIONS is seriously, without a doubt, one of my most favorite punk cover songs of all time by anyone ever in the goddamn history of music. This crappy little tape has seen a long life and I plan on giving it many more listens until it breaks in half.
Whenever I ask long term Portland residents about this band, no one seems to know about them or what happened to them. My only contact with them was this one dinky show back in the '90's and then they disappeared from my radar. If you know anything more about them, feel free to share some info. If you happen to have better copies of these recordings, please give them to me!
So, this is different. Instead of trotting out a long forgotten tape or singing the praises of yet another Region Rock classic, I bring you the brand new album by Athens, GA's own WADE BOGGS! It just came out this week and I am excited to be bringing it to your ears. The band decided to do an experiment and not fuck around with record labels, pressings, even artwork....so I bring you just the music.
After the demise of CARRIE NATIONS, Ian (one singer/guitarist) forged ahead with the band PILLOWFORT, which morphed into SHITTY DARKNESS, which sort-of morphed into WADE BOGGS....or something like that..I can't keep up. What I'm trying to say is that Ian's got a bunch of music oozing out of his pores and he has been trying to find ways to give it all to the world in the forms mentioned above, as well as with HOT NEW MEXICANS and WELCOME HOME NEMO.
(Sidenote: I hate it when people write about bands and only discuss the people in the band who have visibly made the most obvious musical accomplishments. That being said, I don't really know the other guys in WADE BOGGS and I don't know what bands they have been in. I can say that I have seen this band and they rock the fuck out in a way that lets me know that they each put their hearts into what they do, which is way more important than the resume one has built up over the years.)
These fifteen songs are excellent and filled with pop hooks. I'm still letting it settle and I'm still forming my thoughts about it, but I can tell you that songs like "The New Catch" and "Sailor's Lament" instantly made me want to listen to this album all day. Stop reading this and just download it right now! Produced by lil' Patrick Jennings.
Before I start talking about the content of this tape, let me tell you how this piece of plastic came into my possession. I was talking to my friend, Erick on the phone one night and I just knew that he had some good , old tapes somewhere in hiding. I asked him to send me a selection from the vaults...errrr.....boxes of tapes. He was hesitant at first (I know I would feel nervous about sending away a box of prized possessions), but a large box of tapes showed up at my p.o. box a couple of weeks later and I'm pretty fuckin' stoked about it. I could post one of his tapes every day for a month and still have some left over. So, for the next couple of months (or more), I will be posting a selection from his collection every few days and include notes from him about the tapes, if they seem to provide some sort of insight into the music. This is the first one, chosen at semi-random from the box.
BLACK FORK was an East Bay punk band formed in 1994 by four fuckin' bright-haired weirdos. They were known for a totally ruling, harsh guitar sound, energetic live shows that actually sorta scared me as a teenager and Robin's insane, screamy-but-tuneful vocals. A little known thing about BLACK FORK is that Jim Nastic was not always their drummer. My friend, Ivy Jeanne was their original drummer and played on this demo. Erick had this to say, "Jim Nastic is one of the best hardcore drummers in our lifetime, but I always loved Ivy's lurchy, dirty beats on this and how the FORK was more punk than hardcore in this period."
This demo was originally a split with an Emeryville rapper named MCG, but his music has unfortunately been lost to the ages. The track listing and cover have suffered the same fate, so you just get 12 ripping, vicious, yet title-less punk songs by the one and only BLACK FORK. Enjoy and check back for more old shit from the box.
If you pay even a cursory glance to the music that I share on here, this record will seem out of place next to the region rock, pop-punk and scrappy gems that usually populate this page. You may think, "Hmm, ...Is this a manic power-violence band that has songs about medical equipment and surgical procedures?" Yes, it is. I love the shit out of IRON LUNG and I listen to a lot of their records on a pretty regular basis. They have been churning out completely brilliant, precise, insane hardcore/power-violence for over 10 years with no end in sight, which must be difficult since one of these dudes lives in Washington and the other lives 3 blocks away from me here in California.
On this record, IRON LUNG teamed up with HATRED SURGE (who, at this time, was a one man grind project) and wrote eight crushing songs together rather than doing a split 7". The result is phenomenal. HATRED SURGE adds a crazy fucked bass sound to IRON LUNG'S already stellar, distorted onslaught and the result is some over-the-top, next-level shitz. Songs like "Eraser" and "Cold Ward" make me feel like riding my bike downtown and cutting the heads off of cops with a sword.
About the cover: It's crazy. It's 3 layers of covers and the outlying ones are made of a thinner paper so that you can see the layer underneath. The top layer is a clear-ish paper that looks like vellum. I asked my partner, Anandi if she thought it was vellum. She replied "Are you asking me if I think IRON LUNG used the skin of a baby lamb to produce a record cover? No, I don't think they did." The second layer is a slightly thicker layer and all of them work together to make some beautiful art. Get into it.
I helped to put out this CD in 1997 on the Nation Of Kids (hence "N.O.K.") label out of Huntsville,AL. It started off as a split CD between the band I was in, JOEY TAMPON AND THE TOXIC SHOCKS, and our friends, PINK COLLAR JOBS, from North Carolina. CD's were still a new novelty to us at the time and we weren't used to having so much time to work with, so there was a lot of it left over after our collection of songs. So, we decided to fill up the extra space with a sampler of current punk bands from the Huntsville area so that they could get more exposure when we took the CD on tour with us.
TOXIC SHOCKS playing an 8 year old's birthday party in St Mary's GA. 1995. No shit! Picture by Harry.
JOEY TAMPON AND THE TOXIC SHOCKS was a horribly moniker-ed band that I played in for 2-3 years with my friends Joey and Neil (both formerly of CHEESE ASS CHRIST). We had put out one 7" and toured extensively around the southeastern US at this point. Joey was getting kinda bored with the band at this time and it really shows on the recording. I mean, he wasn't a good guitarist or singer by any stretch of the imagination, but he usually made up for his lack of talent with an extra helping of vitriol, charisma, sarcasm and for lack of a better word, oomph. On this recording, it just wasn't really there. The first eight songs were recorded in a small little box of a studio, 20 miles from the town where we lived. (as a sidenote, I think this was the time that I was driving out to the studio to record and my car broke down, so I ditched it and hitchhiked the rest of the way...still made it on time.) The guy recording us did a really good job of making my bass drum sound like a cardboard box. The last three songs by us were recorded on a reel-to-reel four track in my bedroom on the corner of Dement and Ward in Huntsville. I guess it's easy for one to get upset or embarrassed about their old band, so just take a listen and judge for yourself. I still think our 7" is better. Soon after this CD came out, Joey told me "I don't have anything important to say anymore. I'm just gonna start a surf band." Then, we broke up.
TOXIC SHOCKS playing a generator show on a boat launch in the Everglades. 1995. Photo by Kristiana.
PINK COLLAR JOBS at the Jesus Saves Space in Boone NC. 1996. Photo by me.
PINK COLLAR JOBS, on the other hand, was on top of their game and kind of the polar opposite of us. Their songs covered political issues, feminism and monetary excess. They were our favorite band at that time and we were completely honored to put something out with them. They re-recorded most of the songs from their demo tape for this release and included a newer song as well, called "Society's Disease or Yours?". Joey was bummed that they didn't re-record the other remaining songs from their demo, so he included them on the CD. I'm not even sure if he asked them if it was okay.Oh well, they're great songs and this is the only more widely available stuff they put out besides their split 7" with RUSTWEILER. You should track that down as well so that you can see why PCJ was one of the best underrated bands of the 90's.
PCJ playing at Gorin's in Huntsville. 1997. Photo by Ramesh.
The compilation part of the CD starts off with a ridiculous intro by Joey and then kicks into two great songs by 565 BURNOUTS, who were also one of my favorites at that time. The songs were taken straight from their demo tape, which you can find right here, along with more info about them.
Next up is THE PEEPS, Huntsville's most loved (but unfortunately, not only) ska-punk band. They were around for a good number of years, but I only ever really liked their demo tape (which I don't have...if anyone wants to donate that for download, it would be appreciated). A LOT of people in Huntsville liked this band a whole bunch. If you don't believe me, someone actually made a full length documentary about them, which I have never seen and have no links for, Even though, I didn't like them much, they were always a fun live band and I played drums for them at two shows. Members went on to be in PROPERTY (see below), PINE HILL HAINTS, AGAINST ME! and ,uh, SOUL CRACKERS.
Following THE PEEPS is PROPERTY, who might have been the towns longest running punk band at the time besides RANDOM CONFLICT (see below). I think PROPERTY formed when most of the members were in high school and one of them was still in middle school. They always told me that they were just about to put out a record, but they never did. Besides this CD, they only appeared on some tapes and a comp 7". I think they were probably too busy chain-smoking and skating to get it together to release a record of their own. I loved them when they were around.
I've already told you about SHITBOY FROM OUTERSPACE before. This recording is from after their singer Joey (Tampon) either quit or got kicked out of the band and Jason (guitarist) became the sole songwriter. At this point, it seemed like he was just trying to push people's buttons with "edgy" topics. Thus, you get songs like "I Wanna Be Japanese" and "Brooke's Got DSL", which is not about the internet...and that' all I'm gonna say about that.
Next up is THE JAWAS with a song off of their 2nd 7". I'm not really sure what else I could possibly tell you about this band, since I already wrote a whole entry about them..I can tell you that even though we were putting together this CD at the same studio where they recorded their record, we still got their song for this comp straight off of their record instead of using their master tapes. Why? I don't fuckin' know. You can even hear that someone bumped into the record player within the first 30 seconds of the song. A huge disservice to a great band.
Following them is THE SLACKERS, who were defunct by this time, but these two songs were still laying around. THE SLACKERS were punk as fuck and one of my favorite live bands when they were having a good night. Both of these songs are great and you should expect to hear more about them on this blog in the near future. RANDOM CONFLICT closes out the comp with their song "10%". They were actually the longest running band in town at this point. They started in 1987 as a crossover metal band (If anyone doesn't want their first 7" from '87, I will give it a good home) and went through a lot of different phases, but kept their boots firmly planted in hardcore punk the whole time. This song catches them in a pretty solid hardcore/street punk phase and they usually put on a good live show. The crazy thing is that they ARE STILL A BAND and play shows all the time. Just for fun, here is a video of them playing their hit "Cyanide Nazi Race" at an insane gig at the Armory in Huntsville in 1990.