Saturday, March 31, 2012

THE HUMBLEBEES - "The Face Of My Heart" - Tape - 2006

   THE HUMBLEBEES were a very short-lived band from Worcester, MA. They probably weren't the most short-lived band from that magical town, but I'm sure there aren't many more who wrote, rehearsed AND recorded their demo in three hours. Does it sound like a demo that was written, rehearsed and recorded in three hours? Well, yes...but there is also something about it that makes it sound like a long lost demo from 1984, rather than a long lost demo from 2006. They kept it short and so will I. I like this. You might like it too. Get some mold on the face of your heart.


   Band members: Mike Leslie from the almighty TERRIBLES played guitar and sang. Erick Lyle from ONION FLAVORED RINGS (and much more) played bass and sang. Jim, who I may not know but I'm sure has much to offer, played drums. This tape is from the collection of Erick Lyle.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

YOUNG LIONS - Demography - CD-R - 2006

   I remember reading about SUPERCHUNK in some mainstream bullshit rock magazine when I was 14 or 15 and thinking that they sounded like a really fuckin' cool band. The article described them as being this group of college kids that ran their own label, booked their own tours, kept it real and played loose, desperate, manic, jangly, sorta-punk music. I had this exact idea in my head of what they sounded like and I couldn't wait to hear them. I went out and bought the cassette of "No Pocky For Kitty" and threw it in the tape deck of my mom's minivan. It was good, but not really what I expected at all. It grew on me over time (I love it now), but I always expected them to be more punk than they were.
    I never saw YOUNG LIONS during their time as a band. Hell, I never even heard of them until Erick Lyle sent me a big box of music to put on my blog. This CD was kicking around in the bottom of the box, kind of neglected in the shadows of the heavy hitters in the Region-Rock or early Bay Area punk genres. I put it on a few days ago and got really into it. To me, they sound like what I wanted SUPERCHUNK to sound like all those years ago....loose, jangly, punk, kinda desperate and noodly in all the right ways. To be clear, I don't think they sound like SUPERCHUNK, but they sound like what my young teenage mind thought that band should sound like, if that makes any sense.
   "Demography" collects the band's demos from 2005 and 2006...16 songs in all. That's about all I know about this band. Oh, they're from Reno and they're great. That's it.

Link updated Feb 2017

Saturday, March 24, 2012

RVIVR - Demo - Tape - 2008

  In 2008, I went to see RVIVR, not knowing anything about them besides that Matt from LATTERMAN was in the band. I never liked LATTERMAN at all (sorry Matt) so I didn't really have high hopes for this new band. I was pleasantly surprised to hear energetic "crust-pop" with female and male vocals sharing the microphone. I feel pretty lucky to have seen them at that time, when they were still in the formative stages and figuring out what they wanted to do. I mean, I still go to see them now too, but I usually don't have the energy to wrestle with 200 other people to catch a glimpse of my friends playing music in a basement or a warehouse. Often, I feel like I'm running after a train that just left the station, if that makes any sense.
     This demo is the first thing they ever put out and was only available for a West Coast tour in an edition of 50, or something like that. It only has three songs that were all re-recorded later for their first 7"s. For a demo, it's pretty fuckin' great and shows the band's early confidence in songwriting that has only gotten stronger over time....and here comes the weirdest comparison I've had in quite a while. "Can't Stand It" really reminds me of KISS in the weirdest way (If you want a glimpse into my mind, synch up the chorus of the RVIVR song with video [no sound] of KISS at 1:50). None of this makes sense. You're just here to download the demo anyway, so get on with it and get out of here. Get out of my house!!
Download RVIVR
Re-uploaded Jan 2016

Thursday, March 22, 2012

AIRFIX KITS - Demo - CDR - 2008

   Years ago, I went on a totally failed trip to New Orleans that was supposed to be this fun, get-out-of-town-for-my-birthday-and-forget-everything kind of deal. Instead, I blacked out in a bar, hanging out with a lot of crusty kids that I barely knew while a couple of bands played. I passed out before anything truly fun happened. Things could have been worse. I could have gotten shot again. The highlights of that trip were seeing the MELVINS and getting to go to my all-time favorite record store, Domino Sound. While at the store, I bought a 7" by NO HOPE FOR THE KIDS and the "Blunt Instrument" LP by a band I had heard of called GIANT HAYSTACKS. I knew that I would like the NHFTK record, but the GIANT HAYSTACKS LP totally took me by surprise. I just kept flipping it over and over on my turntable for days, letting the bleak, sparse, MISSION OF BURMA and GANG OF FOUR-inspired songs seep into my subconscious. Their song "Catatonic State" is so good that I found myself wanting to listen to it again before it had even finished playing through the first time. That LP just has a perfect flow to it and sounds so wonderful to my jaded ears.
   A couple of years later, I was planning to move back to the Bay Area and I had a lot of things on my mind. One of those things that lurked around the forefront of my mind (and I'm not shitting you here) was that I would finally get to see GIANT HAYSTACKS play a show and I could sing along to the genius song "Young Shavers" live! Well, imagine my disappointment when I showed up in SF and was informed that GIANT HAYSTACKS had been broken up for almost a year already. Lucky for me, the guitarist and bass player (both named Allan, but one of them has one less "L" in his name) had wasted no time in starting a new band called AIRFIX KITS that, from all accounts, seemed to pick up where GIANT HAYSTACKS left off. I was wondering how I could find out about this band and then I found out that they were playing at the record store just down the street from my house. Boom! I was surprised that none of my friends showed up to see them. In fact, hardly anyone was there at all, but AIRFIX KITS tore through a flawless set that still had elements of their former, bleak, stark sound that I loved and mixed that with a little touch of the mod sound. I was sold. After their set, I told Allan about how much I liked GIANT HAYSTACKS and how stoked I was on their new band. From the look on his face, I could tell that he appreciated the compliments but I was slowly and steadily treading into fanboy territory, so I backed off, unlocked my bike and coasted towards home. Halfway there, I realized that I forgot to get their demo.  Oops! Just in case you also forgot to pick it up at the show, here it is for you.

   Once again, I am in the same boat. AIRFIX KITS has broken up and for some insanely stupid reason, I missed their last show. Let's hope that an Allan or two is working on something new. The Bay Area needs it.

This CD-R is from the collection of Erick Lyle.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

JARVIS - 2nd Demo - Tape - 1999

   Remember last October when I talked about how my favorite JARVIS tape was the one with the worst sound quality (no, I don't expect you to remember that, but here is the link to it)? Well, here is that tape. There is something buried beneath the shitty sound quality and the wild mix that makes me believe (in some crevasse of my brain) that this is the very best thing that this band ever did. Many will disagree with me and that's fine, but i have listened to this recording at least one billion times. I fucking love it.
   I'll just go ahead and tell you that I'm not gonna talk specifics about the band much at all because I already did that in the link above and here..
    This tape contains my favorite version of (well, everything) "I Wanna Go" and I think the band is totally "feelin' it" super hard on this recording. On "Changes", you may think "Hey, when did a woman join this band?", but that's just Ryan doing both vocal tracks. It kinda blows my mind still. "Self Effacement" never appeared on anything else and wasn't played live too much, but it's one of my all-time favorites. If you wanna see me get overly fuckin' nerdy about a poorly recorded demo tape that only a handful of people might care about, check this shit out: About 10 seconds into "Changes Pt 2", it sounds like Bob (the drummer) fucks up by trying to change tempos for a split second. He didn't fuck up. (Bear with me here for a moment) There is a really early POTENTIAL JOHNS song that has the exact same fuck up in it (a real one, I assume) and Bob was emulating that exact same flub but doing it intentionally in his own bands' song. What the fuck? At the time, I thought it was genius. Okay, I still do.
   Whatever....you might hate this and the sound quality. I don't care. Some people listen to Fifteen Counts of Arson. Others listen to In On The Kill Taker. I don't. I listen to this tape.

Download JARVIS
Updated June 2015

Monday, March 19, 2012

PINHEAD GUNPOWDER - Live on KALX 3/9/96 - Tape - 1996

   I've been carrying this tape around for years and I've probably listened to it more than any of their albums. Therefore, it is thrashed and the sound quality is shit...but never fear!! I just found it elsewhere online ( at Rad Party, to be exact) and I am sharing that higher quality recording here.
    (It feels impossible to write about this band without mentioning GREEN DAY, so here you go) Many of you already know the drill with this band: four friends got together in 1991 or so and formed this band. There was a lineup change sometime in the mid-90's and this band still exists, more or less, to this day. One guy named Billie (singer/guitarist) was already playing in a band called GREEN DAY, who are a pop-punk band out of Berkeley. I think they're still around, but I haven't seen them play any shows in a number of years, so I can't confirm it right now. Their other singer/guitarist Jason White also started playing in GREEN DAY, even though no one outside of the band ever wanted to believe it. Their bass player, Bill Schneider used to play in MONSULA and went on to be GREEN DAY'S tour manager (why anyone would need a tour manager to play house shows in the Midwest is beyond me). Their drummer, Aaron Cometbus has been writing a zine since 1981 and playing drums pretty consistently as well. He was also GREEN DAY's roadie.
    I first heard PINHEAD GUNPOWDER in 1994 on the "Very Small World" double LP comp with the song "Losers of the Year" and I was instantly enamored with it. I probably put that song on every mix tape I made for the next 5 years. I followed their albums pretty loosely and somehow stumbled across this tape...I think Aaron might've given it to me or I dubbed it off of him...I can't remember anymore. It's not important. It's a good live performance though.
   Say what you will about GREEN DAY, their excess, their Broadway musicals, all the trappings of stardom, or how it is weird that a huge rockstar is still allowed to be in this fairly DIY band that plays warehouses  but I don't hold anything against them...and here is why: A few years ago, my dear partner, Anandi was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a terrible time, to say the very least. As punks, I wondered what could possibly be done to help out financially. As usual, we (myself, Gaybob, Anandi and Eggplant) decided to set up a benefit show to help out with medical bills and the cost of living, but how the hell could we get hundreds of people to come see our dumb bands? We couldn't. We needed a headliner..a band that would sell out Gilman. One of our early, funny ideas was to get LUDICRA and GRASS WIDOW on the same show, but we soon dropped it in favor of getting PINHEAD GUNPOWDER (GRASS WIDOW still played...we never got around to asking LUDICRA). We joked that PINHEAD GUNPOWDER owed it to Anandi by singing about her without her consent. So, we called them up (actually, I think Anandi did) and asked them to play the show. They couldn't do it when we had scheduled because the whole band was going to be in China on tour with GREEN DAY. We set the benefit show up for a month later and the band did it, no questions asked. They didn't want any money and they didn't pull any rock star weirdness. It felt like we were pulling off some crazy bullshit, getting some people who had just been on the fucking Grammys a week earlier to play Gilman. Also, they were great and we made a fuck-ton of money for the benefit. I could have done without the psycho-#1-GREEN DAY fans who showed up, claimed their spots in front of the stage for the entire show and wouldn't move or dance until Billie Joe hit the stage, but what can you do? It was a great show and every band ruled it. Unlike every other Internet outlet that covered this show, I will tell you the other bands that played. The lineup was DIRTY MARQUEEFLEABAGMUTOID MEN and the aforementioned GRASS WIDOW. All of the bands were great and did their best to make it a memorable night. I can't thank every person enough. Gilman sold out that night and gave Anandi a huge cut of the money for expenses. The sad thing was is that all of that money was used pretty quickly on medications, but they were needed and appreciated.  Thanks everyone for your help and enjoy this tape that has nothing to do with that show.


Funny side story: I was told to run to the Gilman office as soon as PG finished their set that night to get the money. As soon as they hit the last note, I started running across the room. I ran full speed into someone else running towards the front door to leave. We both caught each other from falling and we both started apologizing at the same time. I looked up and it was Mike Dirnt from GREEN DAY. Then we both continued running towards our respective doors.

ALSO, if you want the 2 color screen printed poster that I made for that show, I have 11 or 12 left. Write to remoteoutpostsATgmailDOTcom for availability and price. I am not selling them for dirt cheap like I sell everything else, but it's also not expensive. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

SWEET BABY JESUS - "Never Mind the Bassets, Here's..." - Tape - 1987

   I had no intention of uploading this tape to the internet because I have almost no interest in this band, but then my friend, Erin Yanke said that I HAVE to put it online. Generally, I trust Erin so here it is. SWEET BABY JESUS was arguably one of the first East Bay pop-punk bands (I say "arguably" because what the fuck do I know? I'm from Alabama....Anyhow, MR T EXPERIENCE was a band before them), starting way back in 1986, before GREEN DAY, before SAMIAM....hell, even before Gilman. They blasted out syrupy sweet songs about girls, girls and even more girls. Who were all these girls? How did they feel about these geeks singing all these songs about them? I can't answer any of these questions. All I can do is offer you this 20 song tape that they recorded with Kevin Army back in 1987. Because of this tape, they ended up putting out an LP on Ruby Records, a subsidiary of major label, Slash Records. They also changed their name to SWEET BABY and sold a pitiful amount of their LP's. The part that the punks want to hear is that they went on tour in 1989 in support of this record with Aaron Cometbus on drums and then broke up soon afterwards.
    Members of this band went on to be in SAMIAM, THE BOMB BASSETS, and many many more. One of them (Richie Bucher) went on to draw the album cover for GREEN DAY'S major label debut "Dookie".


Being that this is a tape from 1987, I want you to know that the sound quality is atrocious. It gets a little better around track 15, but not too much better. Also, as much as I would have you believe I don't like this band, "She's From Salinas" has been happily stuck in my head since the dawn of time and "Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby (I Love You)" is kind of unbelievable.
From the collection of Erick Lyle.

Here is a 48 minute (!!) live video of them playing in Florida in '89.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tapes and more tapes!!

If you live in the Bay Area and have extra shelves for tapes, get in touch!!
Mostly unlabeled

Please stay tuned for more music...a lot more music...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Slowing It Down

   I'm gonna be slowing down the posts to around one a week for a while because I am trying to work on other creative projects. I'm currently trying to write two zines as well as work on two records while working full time and preparing for a long European tour. Doing this blog is fun. I like to write so much about all of these bands but sometimes I don't have the motivation to work on other writing projects as much. So, I'm taking a little break. In the future, I will be going through a fellow archivist's tapes (she has piles upon piles of treasures) as well as continuing on with my ever-growing mounds of cassettes (I am building a house out of them right now). In the meantime, check out Terminal EscapeRegion Rock and MoreDo Ya Hear WeTurned Word and Lighten Up Sounds for some downloadable and physical music. All are highly recommended.

ONION FLAVORED RINGS - "Live on KALX" - Tape - 2003

   San Francisco's ONION FLAVORED RINGS churned out extremely catchy, jangly pop-punk for the better part of 10 years before calling it quits...actually I don't know if they called it quits, but their bass player lives in LA, their drummer lives in Brooklyn and their guitarist is getting ready to move to Portland, so I'm making an educated guess. Back in 2003, Berkeley radio station KALX invited them on the air for this hour long set, which is funny because I have never seen them play longer than 20-30 minutes. They throw out all the stops by including their Leslie Gore cover, the alternate version of "I Kill Butterflies" (called "I Heart Butterflies") and lots of between song stories. Throughout the broadcast, you can hear more people joining them in the studio, including our friend Ivy, most of the band SEXY and even people working at the station. It's pretty funny and a good performance by the band.
   UPDATE 3/18/12: I realized that the tape is running too fast...so did Steve Funyun, the singer of OFR. Steve took the time to fix the recording and slow it down to the correct speed. He even added the lyrics to a lot of the songs because he's a great guy. The download is now the same recording at the correct speed. Thanks Steve!

If you want more info about the band (and hear their first demo), it is right here.
This tape is from the collection of Erick Lyle.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

DOOR KEYS - "Tour EP" - CD-R - 2006

  
   We've talked a little about THE DOOR KEYS in the past, but I have only posted a collection of odds and ends. This is a tour EP that they put out in 2006 that collects some songs that were intended to be re-recorded and released on their next album. That never happened. Well, the songs got recorded again in Chattanooga but the album never got a proper release, which is too bad. The DOOR KEYS were playing a style of even, understated basement pop. The song "70's" is a great example of how they would craft a seemingly simple pop hook and have it rattle around your brain for days. Chris' wavering, vibrato vocals intermingle with Daun's strong, upfront voice that reminds me of the power of X. I don't think they sound like X, but they have that same intent and purpose.
   If you'd like to get the album version of these songs, you can download them over at Basement Pop on the "Southern Belles" LP. There is also a lot of other great pop, punk and indie-rock that can be found on their site...and it is all from Indiana...and it's all free (but you can also pay them if you want).


     Happy International Women's Day, everyone! Now, if I can just talk to the men for a second, that would be cool. I'll give the women a second to click away from this website so we can be alone.....hmmm, hmmm...Okay, we're alone, now, right? Just us dudes....Dudes, stop being such haters to women. They want to walk down the street at night (or during the day or anytime) without being subjected to your brutal catcalls, your leering stares and your remarks about their appearance. While helping women to learn how to protect themselves from attacks is beneficial, what we really need to be doing is to change our whole way of thinking. Why are women learning self-defense? Because there are creeps everywhere who think it is okay to attack women (I understand that women learn self-defense because it is empowering and a useful tool in the world but just bear with me while I am on this tangent). What needs to be happening is that we need to pull back from a culture of violence that we have intertwined ourselves in. Women should not be having to learn to protect themselves from us. WE should be working with other men to unlearn all of the bullshit that has been crammed into our heads since birth. This includes practicing good consent, calling your friends on their shit when they start saying sketchy stuff in the company of dudes (any guy knows that this happens in the company of other men. I am guilty of it and it sucks), and just learning to be respectful of boundaries. 
   Dudes, you know how sometimes you say "edgy" sexist stuff around your friends or in public to get a laugh? It's not funny. You look like an idiot and you out yourself as a dumbass supporter of the patriarchy. I know this may sound really "PC" to you, but just think about it for a minute. I got into punk because I didn't feel at home in this mainstream world. In school, I got called a "fag" constantly, was harassed by football players daily and did not have many friends. I felt like a total freak and wanted nothing to do with anything I saw on TV or in magazines. When I found punk, it opened a new world to me, full of freaks and weirdos just living their fucking crazy lives. It wasn't utopia, but I've always seen it as a rejection of mainstream values and an alternative to the world at large. To me, part of that rejection is that everyone is equal. I don't want this world (meaning punk, which I have now devoted 23 years of my life to) to mirror mainstream society, although I realize that it does in many ways. I'm rambling...the point is, please stop being a sexist dude and learn to respect the people around you. This also means respecting the rights of trans-women (and dudes!). I run into a LOT of people who make fun of transgender folks and it is mostly out of ignorance. Do yourself a favor and please read up on trans issues to educate yourselves (you can start here). It's not weird...sometimes people just don't feel at home with the gender they were assigned at birth. Sometimes, I don't wanna be a guy, but here I am. 
    Sorry this is so rambling, but it's just flowing out of me. Bottom line: Educate yourselves, stop telling sexist jokes, do not sexually assault anyone (if you have, never do it again and learn to be a better person) and be a supportive guy. You can still party, shotgun PBR, yell "WOOOOOO!!", hang out with your dudes and manage to not be a sexist jerk. It's possible. Let's all work on it to make this world a better place. No one else is going to do that for us.
   Feel free to leave comments or write to me: remoteoutpostsATgmailDOTcom

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

DIRTY MARQUEE - Demo - Tape - 2009

   When I first moved back to SF in 2008, I lived in an office building downtown that, in many ways, was ideal but also kind of lonely. I soon moved into a big house in Glen Park with a bunch of wonderful people, but I hardly ever stayed there. You see, I hated the neighborhood, I thought my room sucked and I just never felt "at home" there, even though I had great roommates. Within the 9 or 10 months that I lived there, I probably slept in the house less than 10 times.
    Tony hung out at our house a lot and played guitars with my roommate Gaybob. They were starting to amass a pretty good bundle of songs and decided to start a band. I had played with Tony briefly in one of the many lineups of SHOTWELL and he asked how I felt about playing drums for their band. I kinda felt too scattered in my life to actually be in a band at the time, but decided to do it anyway. We asked our other roommate, Sarah to play bass and started practicing later that week. Nothing too noteworthy happened in those early days, besides the time I borrowed a drum set that was covered in mold and it made Sarah really sick (Sorry Sarah).
   We played our first show at Thrillhouse Records and then Sarah decided to move to Athens, GA. We recorded this demo at Tony's house in the Mission, with the help of our friends Josh and Carly (she now works for Metallica). We waited around that day for Sarah to show up, but she never did. We were kinda bummed at the time, but I don't hold it against her (when someone takes away your dog while you are packing up your room to move across the country within 8 hours, maybe you don't have time to record a demo with a band you played in for 5 minutes. That's valid.) So, we recorded the basic tracks without her. While Tony and Gaybob did their vocals, I got drunk in Tony's living room and learned all the bass lines for the songs. On the one or two that I had trouble with, Tony played it.
  The next week, we went to the Pacific Northwest with ONION FLAVORED RINGS with their bass player Paul filling in for us. The morning of our show in Portland, we walked by the house we were gonna play at and there was a funny sight in the front yard. Tony took a picture of it, drew it and then we photocopied the covers at the Multnomah County Library in NE Portland. Needless to say, the residents of the house were confused to see a demo cover of something in their front yard (pictured above).
   When we got home, we got our friend, Mars to play bass for us. We continued on until September of 2011 with a couple more changes on the bass (thanks Jeanette and Cinque!). We put out a 4 song EP that you can get from Squirmy Records and our final six song tape that you can still get from Remote Outposts Analog


Playing at a goat farm in Jacksonville, OR.
p.s. This demo is so slow!! We played this a lot faster later on.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

THE SHAFFERS - "Live at 20 Below" - Tape - 1993?

   Jerry, a friend of Remote Outposts and fellow audio (and video) archivist over at Blood Transmission, sent me this (almost) 20 year old tape of one of THE SHAFFERS early shows at 20 Below in East Ridge, TN. I've already written pretty extensively about the band here and here, so I 'm not sure what else I can possibly tell you about this band other than A) I love them dearly, B) it's next to impossible to find anything by this band that contains song titles, C) it's difficult to find anything other than live recordings and D) without them, there would probably not be such a vibrant punk scene in Chattanooga, TN today.
   Here is what Jerry has to say about this tape...
   "THE SHAFFERS were one of the two bands that got me into punk (the other is OPERATION IVY). I was in 8th grade, so it had to be '94. I was friends with a guy named Kelton and his brother was Nathan, the drummer of THE SHAFFERS. Long story short, he let me copy his tape of them playing live at an old East Ridge club called 20 Below. I never went there or even saw THE SHAFFERS (the one time I had the chance, they didn't play for some reason). I actually copied the tape over a live SPIN DOCTORS tape that I got screwed into owning by Colombia House. From what I gather, they had only been a band for a month and a half when this was recorded. Also, since this is a rip of an at least 2nd generation dub that was recorded over an already existing album, the sound isn't the greatest and there are a couple of flubs in quality."

Download THE SHAFFERS
Updated 2013

Thanks!

Monday, March 5, 2012

SHOTWELL - "Practice Space Recordings" - Tape - 1999

   This morning, there was a 4.0 earthquake in the Bay Area that made me start thinking about what it would be like if my 1907-era apartment building fell down. Inevitably, as I kept thinking about old Mission District buildings, the history of the neighborhood and all the baggage that comes along with that, I started thinking about SHOTWELL. SHOTWELL and the Mission are inseparable. I can't think about the neighborhood without coming back to songs like "San Francisco's Witherin'" and "Sinking the Ship".
   This is a short entry...only two songs in this download. I believe they were recorded in a storage space on Cesar Chavez St (just down the road from my house) after the release of their LP with MIAMI (you can find SHOTWELL'S songs from that record here.). I think the lineup on this one was Jimmy (as always, on guitar and vocals), Buzz (on bass and vocals) and Chris (on drums). These two songs, "Locked Up With Glue" and "Out", sound a little wilder and more "free" than a lot of their recorded stuff and comes closer to what a live show in the 90's sounded like. Enjoy.


This tape has has a rough life with a lot of use. Be kind.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

THE MEAN-AGERS - Discography - Tape - 2002

   THE MEAN-AGERS were a band of four snotty, bratty teenage kids who all went to Bloomington High School North in Indiana and robbed kids of their lunch money in order to pay for the gas to get to their shows. The band consisted of two girls and two guys who are possibly the most obnoxious kids I've ever met in my life. They bonded over their love of BLATZ (the beer or the band? Take your pick), huffing glue, cheap sex and skipping classes. They practiced in their singer's (Mean Amy) mom's house and accidentally set the house on fire once when their guitarist (Mean Chris) was trying to smoke banana peels. Within a couple of weeks of their first practice, they had recorded a tape of 12 songs that included such timeless hits as "Giving Head's for Teenagers", "I'm Not Good With Names, But I Dismember Faces"  and the 45 second anthem "Fuck Real Loud".
     After hearing this tape, I knew I had to see them. I begged them to play a show that I was setting up for a little known political punk band from Florida called AGAINST ME. I had never heard of the touring band (does anyone know what happened to them, by the way?) and I was pretty sure no one else had either, so I asked THE MEAN-AGERS to play since they were starting to attract a pretty good following around town. The show was insanely packed, due to their popularity and  $700 was collected for the touring band. At the end of the show, Amy and their bass player, Leah approached me and asked when they were getting paid. I told them I would probably give all the cash to the touring band (who seemed really dirty and broke), but I could give them a few bucks for gas if they needed it. Amy got this insane look in her eyes and started punching me. Leah grabbed the wad of cash and ran out of the basement. I started to chase her, but their drummer, Jeremy jumped in front of me and simply said "Don't make me eat your tongue." I said, "What the fuck does that mean?" That's the last thing I remember because Chris clubbed me in the back of the head with his guitar and I passed out.
   Almost everything I've told you so far is a lie, but it's probably what the band would want you to believe. The band did consist of four people (2 women and 2 men), the names were correct and they did write those songs, but their ages were closer to mid-20's. They were posing as a teenage punk band and they did a really good job of it. Their live set, as well as this tape, was simple, chaotic and kind of brilliant in its own way. Out of 23 songs, only 5 of them barely break the minute-long mark. At a minute and a half, the epic "Garbage Night" tells the age-old tale of finding food in the trash and Amy's vibrato scream after the breakdown still fucking blows my mind. Once you get into their zone, this shit rules.

Download THE MEAN-AGERS
Updated Aug 2013

This tape was originally put out on Friends and Relatives Records back in 2004 or so. 
Members of THE MEAN-AGERS were also in the legendary noise-punk band PUPPY VS DYSLEXIA and JERK ALERT.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

SAD LITTLE DONKEY - Tape - 2003

   After the breakup of my old band, FORCED VENGEANCE, I felt despondent and weird about my life for a myriad of reasons (mostly documented here). This band started up shortly after the breakup and we spent a lot of time practicing in a cramped basement overlooking the city of Chattanooga on Stringer's Ridge. Daniel (also of ADD/C) played guitar and sang. Harry (from JARVIS and FV) played the other guitar and contributed a great deal of vocals as well. Chrissie (from BRIS and FV) played bass. I embodied my spirit animal more than ever before (probably from being so weirdly unstable) and played the drums. We practiced a bunch and played one show before the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. On that day, I was reading the RAMONES biography on Harry's porch when I heard about planes crashing into those buildings. I decided then to hitchhike to Asheville, for some reason. If you ever want to feel like an anthropomorphic burning flag driving a tank full of Iraqis through a line of toddlers and into the White House, be sure to hitchhike on the day of a national tragedy. Long story short: I was losing my mind and the band dissolved. I left town for a while, Harry fathered a baby, Daniel bought a house and Chrissie moved to Richmond.
   I ended up out in San Francisco for a while, but soon returned to Chattanooga, living in a big drafty attic on the north side of town. I spent most of my time locked in there writing, trying not to drink myself into oblivion and going to shows at Anarchtica. I was only in town for 6 months and wanted to play music with anyone, but everything I tried to start just fell apart before it got off the ground (including a band with Eric Nelson called SKELETON HEAD, WYOMING that only managed to write one and a half songs. We played on show with only half the band present and shit out an REM cover to try and fill up a 5 minute set. The touring band said it was the best band they had played with on their tour and I felt bad for them.). My friend, Cinque came to town for a month and I proposed that we get SAD LITTLE DONKEY back together with him on bass. (sidenote: the band actually never had a name, I just called it SLD because no one else would come up with anything). So, within a month, we practiced these songs, played 2-3 shows and recorded this tape which never had any sort of proper release.
   This tape was recorded in 2003 in Daniel's room in a big, old house on the south side of town near the toxic Chattanooga Creek and (now demolished) Wheland Foundry. Three of these songs ("Luka","How the West Was Won", and "Dental Magician") later turned into ADD/C songs after Harry joined that band and they appear on their newest LP and a 7" with LANDLORD. This recording is roooough but I love how it sounds. The old mixer for the four track was so close to me that I kept hitting it with my drumstick and you can hear the reverb coils rattling near the end of the first song. It was a fun time. It was also Harry's birthday and rather than sitting around and making this recording sound better, we all went out together, got drunk and ate burritos. A few days later, Cinque and I left town with our other band ALLERGIC TO BULLSHIT and this band never played another note.

Friday, March 2, 2012

LIFE DURING WARTIME #6 - "The Troubles" - Tape - 2003

    I'm going to take a wild guess and assume that you read this blog because you are into punk music. I'm also going to assume that you have been to see punk bands in a house during your lifetime. Maybe you went to a dance party afterwards, full of boozy punks swaying along to shit they would never listen to while hanging out in their own rooms sober...like MILLI VANILLI. Now, what if you were hanging out on the porch at that party and suddenly you were surrounded by cops who were part of a terrorism task force that had been assembled to bust this suspicious Anarchist meeting that you all had organized? "But I'm just at a dance party!", you might exclaim. Exactly, but in this police state that we have come to live in, the cops can now find a myriad of reasons to get you convicted of a felony for simply drinking cheap beer and listening to crappy dance music (or even crappy [or good] punk music). Some readers may be acclimated to this kind of police harassment living in the post-9/11 world that we inhabit, but this story takes place 6 months before the World Trade Center attacks...and just because police repression is infinitely more prevalent than it was 11 years ago, that still doesn't make it acceptable.
   In this installment of LIFE DURING WARTIME audio zine (for the uninitiated, think of it as a book on tape), Erin Yanke and Moe Bowstern interview punks that were held on trumped up felony charges after simply being radicals at a party in Portland in 2001. They tell the stories of the paranoia and harassment on the part of the cops and how they (the cops) organized a joint terrorism task force that portrayed fun-loving, harmless punks as bomb-throwing, bloodthirsty anarchists. These incidents helped to organize and politicize the Portland punk scene while also increasing paranoia and distrust within the activist community. It is a great listen and the download also includes the written introduction included in the liner notes penned by Iggy Scam.
   I think this audio document is still important and relevant in light of the ongoing Occupy movements around the world. I also think it is important to remind ourselves of the perceived authority and power that police think they have over us and the ways that they fuck up our lives for no real reason. This could happen to any of us and it's helpful to try and be informed about our rights.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

THE CURSE - 1st Demo - Tape - 1998

   Remember a while back when I posted that CURSE tape? Well, here is their first tape from a year earlier when they were a four-piece band. Many of these songs appeared as different versions on their later tapes, but there are still some crucial unreleased things on here. Pretty much everything I know about this band was already said in that other post (which you can click on and read for yourself), but I think this tape is fuckin' great. See for yourself.

PASSIVE AGGRESSOR - Demo - Tape - 2009

   My buddy, Meredith has always been a big supporter of DIY punk bands. She has been known to drag me up front at shows, physically force me to dance and talk me into buying tapes from struggling bands on tour. It's not uncommon for her to yell (sometimes louder than the band's between song feedback), "YES! I LOVE IT! MAKE IT HAPPEN MORE!!!" The weird part to me, is that for all of her charm, natural charisma and penchant for being a lovable loudmouth, Meredith had never really been in any bands, barring a one-off project doing some X and STOOGES songs. She is a natural frontperson and has a way of captivating a room when she is in it.
   Of course I was happy when she told me that she was singing in this band called PASSIVE AGGRESSOR in Brooklyn and I was even happier when I saw them. They turn from slow, dirgy, JESUS LIZARD-worship to late-era BLACK FLAG to full-on hardcore attacks with Meredith's fierce, raspy voice guiding the way. Their songs wind around like a snake sliding through the grass that is coiling up for an attack. My favorite of the four tracks, "Nightmares" sounds like waking up in a cold sweat at 4 am and being short of breath. All 4 songs are great though.
   I was sad, but understanding when Meredith left the band after putting out their split 7" with PRSMS. The band forged ahead as a three-piece with their guitarist, Glenn taking on most of the vocal duties. I'm sure it was great, but I can't tell you for sure since I didn't listen to them again. No offense to the guys in the band, but I think Meredith is an outstanding frontperson and I couldn't imagine the band without her. So, I just let them slip out of my life. At least I have this demo to remind me of how great they were.
  The guys from PASSIVE AGGRESSOR started a new band called ACID PROBLEM that seems to be picking up where PA left off. Punk is calling you, Meredith and it wants you to be in another band.