Monday, July 30, 2012

7-11'S - Demo - Tape - 1997

   I was just reminded of this demo the other day when my friend, Chad put up a Youtube video of it. The story behind this band is a hazy one and one that I don't know too well. I imagine that it was a one day project between 3 friends when there was a four track and some instruments laying around. Carey, who also played in THE DRILLER KILLERS, took care of the guitar duties and complained about how much she hated Jerry Garcia. Eric (also from THE DRILLER KILLERS as well as JACK PALANCE BAND and now in DARK RIDES) sang, played the drums and the trumpet. Michelle, formerly of THE SHAFFERS, played bass and drank hot sauce.
    They were called the 7-11's because they liked 7-11 and sang about it. It's as simple as that. It's sort of dumb, but I've  had these songs stuck in my head since 1997. Sometimes, dumb works in the best way. Love it or hate it, it's only 3 songs and the whole thing lasts less than 4 minutes...about the same amount of time it would take you to lace up some knee-high steel toe boots and kick a skinhead in the face.
   I think this band only played two shows. One of them was at Bandito Burrito in Huntsville, AL where Michelle kicked off their three song set by downing a 4 ounce bottle of El Yucateco Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero in one gulp. The next 4 minutes were very uncomfortable. I don't want to even think about what happened to her bowels in the following 24 hours.

Download THE 7-11's
File updated May 2015

Sunday, July 29, 2012

OFVITARNIR - "Stephen Hawking/Steven Tyler" - CD - 2011

   Last night, I went to see a few films at The Roxie that were loosely based on post-punk. The last movie they showed was a surprise screening of "Rock In Reykjavik", which is a all-encompassing overview of the scene in Iceland circa 1980 or so. It was so cool and sort of alien to see this scene flourishing in the early 80's while still being so remote and cut off from the much of the punk world. My only complaint is that there was no indication of the band names anywhere in the film during their performances. I know for a fact that I witnessed a teenage Bjork singing beautifully while fronting her band TAPPI TIKARRASS, but who were those prepubescent mohawked kids that could barely play their instruments and waxed so poetically about huffing gas and glue? Who was that band all cramped together playing power-pop in a basement that was so cold that they were wearing parkas and you could see their breath? Who was that fucking group that had nausea inducing strobe lights blasting the audience as they cut the heads off of live chickens and threw their carcasses into the crowd?! I don't know! What I do know is that it was a pretty cool time capsule to watch and it was almost quaint how the punks politely sat in their seats and raised their fists while a punk band played. It all felt so distant, so remote and like a history I will never truly know.
   Do you know how hard it is to press a record in Iceland? Well, first off, you can't get it pressed in the country because there are no pressing plants, so you have to ship it out to England or the US or somewhere else. You also have to fill out some annoying customs forms and then pay an exhorbitant amount of money on postage. So much money, in fact, that the postage costs more than actually pressing the record. By the time you finally get the record, you have to charge your friends and fans an outrageous amount of money to buy the thing. So, out of necessity, Icelandic bands still put out a fair amount of CD's, CD-R's and cassette tapes, which brings us to OFVITARNIR.
    OFVITARNIR is a young indie-punk band out of Reykjavik that plays mid-tempo, somewhat downcast melodic rock and features some of the nicest people I could ever hope to meet from that town. They draw inspiration from American indie-punk, Danish garage rock and their own long history of Icelandic punk. One of my favorite songs on here is "O O O O", a melodic, laid-back garage rock song with a distant backing vocal that reminds me of PJ BONNEMAN in the best way. Members of this band also run a label out of Reykjavik called PBP (I'm not even gonna attempt to actually spell the name on this US keyboard) that puts out cassettes and CD's by local bands. They also set up punk shows and keep up the struggle to find viable all-ages venues in their town. If you're ever in Iceland, be sure to hit them up for the good record store and cheap pizza. Here is a link to their record label.

  I just wanted to add that I visited Reykjavik in May and stayed with 2/3's of this band in their small apartment with their nice cats. That country, while I saw a small fraction of it, is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in my life. Expensive, but insanely beautiful. I highly recommend going to visit if you ever get a chance.
...and no, I didn't see Bjork.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

JAMES F. BECK - "Forbidden Fruit" - Year??

   You might remember when I posted Jim Beck's cover album of "A Slippery Subject" a couple of weeks ago. Well, Jim got in touch and said he was happy that more people got to hear it. He also included a link to his lesser-known tribute to THE BANANAS debut album "Forbidden Fruit", which I've never heard until now. Like the other release, it accentuates the paranoia and malaise behind their lyrics while managing to stand on its own. Take a listen for yourself.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

MRR RADIO #1303 - 7/1/12

   I forgot to mention this a few weeks ago when it happened, but here is a late link to the MRR radio show I did recently with Hal, Merm, Rob and Ron. This one was a special one...It was the 10 year anniversary of Maximum Rock n Roll Radio being on the internet and the 35 year anniversary of the radio show. 35 years! Someone told me that MRR was the first radio show to broadcast on the internet, thus giving birth to podcasts and internet radio, but I'm not sure if that is true. Thoughts, anyone?

Friday, July 20, 2012

LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS - Demo - Tape - 2012

   I have to admit that I didn't have high expectations for a band called LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear 3 inspired, spastic, fucked up, sloppy, feedback-drenched, weirdo punk songs. Each song is reeling and spiraling, always on the verge of collapsing on itself, but held together loosely by a scraping guitar and a truly damaged, manic singer. It's dirty, fucked up and wrong. I love every second of it.
   Three songs may seem short for a demo, but I think this is perfect. If you'd like to get your own physical copy of this, send a lot of money to the band...I'm sure that something between $4 and $50 will work. Their address is 21 W Garfield, Belleville, IL. 62220. Belleville, Illinois? Is there anything going on there? What is in the water? Lumpy, can I play a show at your house?

"The world's an abortion!
The future is a lobotomy!!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CHEAP VENTILATORS - Demo - Tape - 2009

   You know how when you live with a band and they practice in the basement, you always have all of their songs stuck in your head all the time whether you like it or not? That's how my life was living in Bloomington with Bobb, the guitarist of CHEAP VENTILATORS and drummer/vocalist of JERK ALERT. In this case, I lived with his old band, JERK ALERT. They would practice once or twice a week in our cramped, cold, moldy basement while me and my other roommates would be upstairs cooking dinner and mouthing the words to "Don't Stand Next To My Ride" seemingly against our will. When they set up their first show, they made a mistake with the dates and booked it at the same time that their bass player would be out of the country. No problem. I knew the songs so well by that point that I stepped in to play bass for them at that show after one practice.
    Depending on which side of the fence you stand on (and this fence is usually imagined by people who have never lived there), Bloomington, Indiana is either a utopian paradise populated by free-thinking acoustic punkers singing about their feelings on every street corner or some rotten shitpile where you can't go to a simple fucking punk show without being bombarded by the most banal goddamn folk punk you've ever imagined. In my reality of living there, I went to fun punk shows in basements that rarely, if ever, featured teenage boys strumming acoustic guitars while sheepishly staring at the ground. My roommate Bobb had been there long before me setting up fun rock n roll and punk shows and he's still there today playing music and running a record label. When he wasn't playing his M.O.T.O. and REIGNING SOUND LP's at top volume, he was in the basement writing new songs or cooking the most delicious food ever (he is also a chef).
   I was happy to get this tape from him in the mail and unlike the JERK ALERT LP, I didn't already know every song on it. In fact, I didn't know any songs on it. Bobb moved from the drums to guitar and took on the vocals in this band, delivering song after song of rock n roll bliss. They take cues from M.O.T.O., THE OBLIVIANS and just plain good garage rock...the kind you imagine being played in smoky bars, cramped basements and dirty living rooms swamped with beer cans. Arkansas transplant, Donovan bangs the shit out of the drums with a huge smile on his face. You might remember him from the early live version of FULL SUN...but only if you lived in Bloomington, probably. The trio is rounded out by Alex, who sometimes hung out at our house in B Town, but he is a quiet guy and I don't have any embarrassing stories about him...good work, Alex.
   I don;t think this tape is available anymore, but you should check out Bobb's record label, Eradicator Records and order some great Midwestern (and beyond) punk.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

SOCIAL CIRCKLE - Demo - Tape - 2006

   Sometimes, I get my hands on a badass tape and then I realize that I've never seen the band and I have no frame of reference for what this band meant to the people in their scene. That's fine. I realize that I could just leave it at that and give you the download link. No one would lose any sleep over it, but that's not really how I like to do things. I got in touch with my good friend, Terry to see if she could dig up some info and she was happy to talk about these dudes for a bit. You may know Terry from her completely awesome band, FOREIGN OBJECTS or you may remember her writing from this blog when she schooled us all on RED THREAD. Either way, the rest is all written by her.

   I feel like once, long, ago, there was a time when a new band didn't pop up every least around here ("here" being Boston). It's hard to remember but I swear it happened. Summer of 2005. when the now-long-gone (at least as a show space/record store) Regeneration was getting ready to start doing shows upstairs, three new Boston bands played their first show together in the basement. It had been a while since a bunch of new bands had started, so having three play one show was exciting. One of the new bands was called SOCIAL CIRCKLE (POISON CONTROL and CONVERSIONS were the others.) I'll never know what the deal with that extra "K" was, but SOCIAL CIRCKLE ripped through their set with a bunch of fast sloppy songs...punk with a Southern California edge that teetered on the punk/hardcore line, clean guitar tones and snotty vocals. Their original line-up (which changed after the first EP I believe) was a lanky, weird bunch. Boston has always been notorious for having fairly divided scenes. Hardcore kids are hardcore kids and the punks are punks. But, when SOCIAL CIRCKLE came to be, there was suddenly this band that toed the line; a band that both hardcore kids and punks liked. Spikes and flip-flops. The gap was a little smaller and, dare I say, it closed up when the band played. With lyrics about people who make you want to throw up, not wanting to go to work and fucked up cops, they became an instant Boston favorite. Everyone can relate to that. Similar to what I said in the write up about RED THREAD, there was something charming about a lot of Boston bands at this time, something about the way they played and the things they talked about that made people flip out, made people feel like friends and made their shows a sweaty mess. Something about the way everyone came together to see them play. It was a thing and we were making it happen.

"Standing on the corner,
 Blue shirt, red face
 No such thing as law and order,
 You're just a big disgrace!"

 Need I say more?

Thanks to Barker Gee for loaning out the tape.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

TENEMENT - Tape - 2009

    The one and only time I ever played a show in Appleton, WI, my band showed up to the house to find some half drunk punks that had little interest in talking to us (even though we were standing in their living room looking confused and trying to introduce ourselves) and an overturned oven range with bloody handprints on it. I asked, "What's up with the stove?" and the punks turned silently to walk out on the porch and ignore us some more. My bandmates dealt with the situation by leaving to find food. I dealt with it by buying a lot of beer and trying to befriend the drunk punks unsuccessfully. Eventually, I struck up a conversation (finally!) with the one and only sober person there; a young punk drinking soda and wearing a BOLD hoodie. He made fun of me for getting drunk. I made fun of him for drinking a three liter of soda. We hit it off pretty well. He revealed that the bloody overturned oven and the broken windows around the house were caused by the ex-drummer of his band. Apparently, they woke him up a few days earlier to leave for tour. Unbeknownst to the rest of his band, he was still drunk and possibly blacked out from the previous night's festivities. The whole band got in the van, started the engine and as they were about to leave, the drummer jumped out. He ran inside the house, started fighting the oven and breaking out windows with his fists. Then, he passed out wasted in a bloody heap...or something like beer started working by this time in the conversation. The young straight-edge punk's name was Jesse and he said that his band's name was TENEMENT. Even though he told me this story about their wasted drummer, some part of my brain categorized them in my mind as a sXe hardcore band, probably because of Jesse's BOLD hoodie and his overbearing straight-edgeness, which for the record, I found endearing and entertaining. Jesse was the only local I hung out with all night, even after we tried to talk to the first band about their rampant misogyny  and after I busted my head open on my bass and blood was trickling down my face as we played.
   It wasn't until I got this tape in the mail that I ever even heard TENEMENT. I was completely surprised and delighted to hear their take on the long tradition of Midwestern punk that was laid out for them so many years ago by the likes of HUSKER DU, THE REPLACEMENTS and many others, but they added a BLACK FLAG-like intensity to it. Their songs take some unexpected twists and turns (in the present more so than on this tape), but retain some insane pop sensibilities. The last time I saw them play a show, they were the most energetic band I had seen in months. They played a short, sweet set of killer songs interspersed with noisy, between song feedback improv that gave me a feeling that was close (but not the same) to seeing HICKEY for the first time. It was great.
   This tape collects seven early ragers that found their way onto their early EP's as well as a cover of the SS DECONTROL song, "Glue", which may be unreleased...I'm not sure. I don't have a lot of their records...just piles and piles of unlabeled tapes. Turn it up loud and kill an oven.

Updated 3/2020

TENEMENT is touring the US in Aug/Sept. You can find the dates at

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

ADULTS - "Vol. I" - Tape - 2011

    This entry will be kinda short since I already wrote about this band last week. Previously, I sang the praises of their Vol. II tape, but now we are going back in time to the Vol. I edition. This one finds the band a little scrappier and possibly more manic, but still keeping the energy of a lost DICKIES or JAY REATARD demo. I don't like it as much as the Vol II tape, but saying that is kinda like saying, "I don't like 'Rocket To Russia' as much as I like 'Leave Home.'"  Do you know what I mean? They're both still great. The band expertly blazes through six songs in just about eight minutes. As before, you can get your own tape from the band by writing to

Re-uploaded 2014

   A few days from now will mark my four year anniversary of moving back to the Bay Area and I have not regretted my move one bit. Last night, I went to the Marin County Fair, rode some rides, ate some gross food, walked through some fun houses and saw JOAN fuckin' JETT play an awesome show. Tonight, I will go to the Hemlock in SF and see ADULTS play a show with LIBYANS from Boston. If you live here, please join me. What else are you doing on a Tuesday?

Monday, July 2, 2012

JAMES F BECK - "A Slippery Subject" - CD-R - 2004

    James F Beck is a singer/songwriter from the middle of Indiana who is tall and lanky. I lived in his basement for a short time and he spent most of his days in his room writing and recording heartbroken songs on his beat-up guitar. He also played in an under-appreciated local indie-rock band called LEG, who were nothing short of amazing every time I saw them. Jim always seemed to be putting out self-released CD-R's, which he sold for almost nothing at the local record store or gave away to anyone who asked. If nothing else, he was prolific and focused.
   At some point, he released this cover album of the BANANAS LP, "A Slippery Subject". I was kind of skeptical at first, but after listening to it a few times, I realized the genius behind it. Sure, it's 12 cover songs, but Jim made each song his own by lending a melancholic vibe to the whole thing that really accentuates exactly how depressing and doomed this album really is! Listen to "Disappear" or "Slippery Subject" for proof.  I barely even think of this as a cover album anymore.  It transcends all of that and manages to stand on it's own.
   I've been carrying this one around for years and putting it on during the low points in life and some of the high ones too. It still holds up after all these years, but the CD-R is getting a little worn, so I thought I would put it here for eternity.
  In the intervening years, Jim moved out to Vermont and started a family. I'm having a hard time finding any other info about his music, but you can find one of his other albums here and a little bit of info here. Expect to see the long out of print LEG 7" here in the near future.