Thursday, January 31, 2013

TOMMY LASORDA - "Live At The End of the World" - 2002

   Yesterday, I probably told you everything I know about TOMMY LASORDA, so today is devoted to things I don't know about them. As mentioned previously, Mike from TOMMY LASORDA got in touch and sent over a live set that was intended for an album, but never saw the light of day. So, I'm featuring it here for the first time. Here's what Mike has to say about it....

 The show on this album was the first day of what turned out to be Tommy's longest tour, five weeks all over the country. We set off in a minivan with tons of oatmeal and spaghetti which we made anywhere we could along the way. I'm pretty sure that was all we ate the entire trip. Going into the Frontier restaurant in Albuquerque to get hot water for the oats, we saw Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top getting into a limousine. (Coincidentally we would skip our show with Fleshies and Sexy in Albuquerque on a later tour to see the Top at the local amphitheater.) Later on this tour we played for a room full of neo-Nazis in St. Louis who were really, really into us. We ended up canceling our last show in northern Montana after spinning out on a snow-covered mountain pass en route. We were so freaked out that we turned right around and drove all the way back to SF in time to see the Melvins at Slim's. They were awesome.

TL in Tulsa, OK with Hammy from FLESHIES on 2nd drums. Photo provided by the band.

   This show was at a teen center called The Don in Visalia, CA on 4 April, 2002. Despite our frequent onstage pleas for a place to crash, we ended up sleeping in the van, but the guy that recorded this did give us a Danelectro distortion pedal after watching us pause in the middle of all of our songs to manually push the button on Adam's Sunn bass head. That amp was really loud but a huge pain in the butt, as evidenced by our broken amp song on here, played by Adam while I changed a fuse. We were constantly having to change fuses and the tubes were shot like, once a month it seemed. Most of the songs on here that aren't on the tape or the 7" were going to be on our LP which only ever got halfway recorded. The exception is "Lloyd", which was going to be on a split 10" with the Ovens, which also never came out.

    Five or six years ago, I started a label called Swiss Army Records just because I wanted to release a 7" from San Pedro's Can of Beans. I later ended up putting out a 7" by my instrumental band Chinese and a full-length by my quieter pop band Sorry Safari. The label unceremoniously folded before I could release the Lasorda live album (as well as Sorry Safari's second album). Adam and I created some album art for this live joint, Adam did the cover on glossy silver paper and mixed it with glitter and construction paper. The insert was going to be pictures of kids slam dancing at small town shows we had played on tour. I've been able to track down the photos of the punks but the cover art is nowhere to be found. 

Thanks to Mike and Adam for everything and without further ado....

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

TOMMY LASORDA - Demo Tape and 7" EP - 2001-2003

   You may remember a while back when I told you about the teenage punk band LOS RABBIS and all of their exploits (or some of them) in the Bay Area. Mike and Adam, who made up half of that band were also wailing away at another band called TOMMY LASORDA, where they constantly traded off instrument duties. The latter appeared to take the teenage freakout abandon of LOS RABBIS and mold it into wildly addictive pop hooks. They didn't ever have an easily classifiable sound, but they seemed to take equal parts of HICKEY, MELVINS, BEAT HAPPENING and anything else rattling around on their bedroom floors and just meld it into some kind of low-fi hodge-podge that was wholly their own.

"Planetary explorers" - Provided by the band.

   LOS RABBIS were supposed to come to Chattanooga many years ago when I lived there, but they ended up cancelling due to a family emergency (possibly?). Less than a year later, I got a call from Mike or Adam asking if there was a show that TOMMY LASORDA could jump onto that night because they would be driving though Chattanooga. Luckily, there was already a show set up for RESIN at our all-ages space, so I told them they could jump onto the show, even though I had never seen or heard TOMMY LASORDA in my life. They showed up in a busted ass minivan and loaded out their shit to play first. They played their hearts out to the 20 or so people in attendance, belting out two-minute-or-less ragged punk songs; each one better than the last. At the end of their set, they played "King Solomon's Reef" (included on demo tape), which is a complete departure from all of their other songs (to put it lightly) and blew my mind. I didn't watch the other bands that night because I knew that it wouldn't get any better than that (luckily, for the other touring band, the room soon filled up with people and weed smoke).

TOMMY LASORDA live at Rear Entry in Chattanooga. Photos by me.

    Later, after I moved out to SF, I was "working" one day at Mission Records when Adam and Mike walked in. They asked if they could borrow an extension cord. I rummaged around and found one behind the counter. I asked what they needed it for and Mike casually said that they were going to play a set at the BART station as the two of them walked out the door. Sarah T and I hurriedly locked up the gate to the store and rushed down there. Five minutes later, I saw one of the best sets I ever saw by the band in the middle of the day, as they played to drunks, freaks, commuters and addicts on the street corner. Mike started off the set by saying "Hi, we're TOMMY LASORDA and we really don't give a fuck!"

TOMMY LASORDA at 16th and Mission (a different time). Pic provided by the band.

   This download includes both the band's demo tape and 7" Ep, which was released by S.P.A.M. Records. The demo tape is chock full of classics, in my mind. The tape kicks off with "I Can't Swim", which passes itself off as a lackadaisical pop song until the screaming kicks in. Its followed by "Artful Dodger", which is a slice of catchy genius. Later in the tape, the listener is greeted by "Mr. Frogman Superhero", a song that suffers from something I like to call "The Sugar Bear Syndrome". Let me explain. When I first heard the beginning of the song "Sugar Bear" by THE BANANAS, I thought "Oh my god, this song has stupid cutesy lyrics. I almost can't listen to this". Then, the whole band kicked in and it became the best thing ever. This TL song did the same thing to me when I first heard it. Recently, I listened to the TOMMY LASORDA song 20 times in a row and loved it every time (nevermind that I was on a plane over the Grand Canyon, freaking out and on pills). The EP does not let up one bit and is just as good as the tape. "Racing My Ego" off of that record has been a mixtape staple for years. 

   As I've mentioned before, maintaining this blog has put me in touch with a lot of unexpected people. One of those unexpected people is Mike from TOMMY LASORDA / LOS RABBIS. He was nice enough to send some unreleased TOMMY LASORDA recordings (check back tomorrow!) and he got together with Adam (digitally) to answer some of my dumb questions. So, here is an interview with TOMMY LASORDA....

Remote Outposts: First off, why the name Tommy Lasorda? Really, why any band name? But specifically, is there any meaning behind the band name?

 Adam: I’ve always thought of it as just an opener, a first move, a gambit. I can not recall when we actually thought of the name or if any decision making process actually even occurred. Personally, I believe the name had something to do with the canary yellow walls of the room we dubbed our tapes in. Then, it may have went something like this: Kirk Gibson? No. Fernando Valenzuela? Naw. Sandy Koufax? Naw. Yeah. Maybe. Orel Hershiser! Yeahhhnaw. Should we just be Lenny Dykstra? Dykstra? Dykstra! Yeah. Dykstra! Probably. No. For all I know, that may have been more a’ pro pro. Hindsights 40/40-- a hot bat, many a-stolen bags, and an above average amount of base hits.

 Mike: Because Boone Logan wasn’t in the Majors yet.

 Adam: Because Tommy Lasorda was in the Majors. Because Logan Hatch didn’t exist yet.

 RO: I could never really figure out if your band was from the Bay Area or Olympia? In the long run, it really doesn’t matter, but what would you say?

 Adam: Olympia. Shortly after Y2K.

 Mike: After high school everyone went off to far-flung colleges except me. I stayed in the Bay Area and enrolled at Skyline Community College only to drop out and spend all day at the Burlingame library. When I exhausted all of their books on silent movies and lucid dreaming, I moved up to Olympia where Adam was enrolled at Evergreen. I convinced him to drop out. We shared a bedroom at a house on Edison St. near Ralph’s Thriftway, both of us paying $100 a month in rent. Tommy Lasorda started in the basement of that house. We moved back and forth between Olympia and the Bay Area a couple of times during the band’s lifespan but the germ of the band began in Olympia. Olympia was good for us because it was a scene we had absolutely nothing to do with. We played maybe four shows in town the entire time we lived there. We spent all of our free time in the basement writing songs.

 Adam: Far-flung.

 Mike: Flung far.

 RO: The band started pretty soon after the disbandment of LOS RABBIS. What made the two of you keep playing together?

Mike: That’s actually a bit of a misconception. Los Rabbis was still a seasonal concern while Tommy was around. For a few years, the four of us would get together in the summer when school got out and go on a multi-week tour. Tommy Lasorda was basically what Adam and I did while Dean and Mike were in school. This caused tension down the line because at a couple of points I felt like we shouldn’t have to put Tommy on hold so Los Rabbis could re-form. It felt like we hindered ourselves by putting everything on pause for two or three months.

 Adam: Music, like a Maui timeshare: its amazing that we made it, even if but for the few times that we did!

 RO: LOS RABBIS, to me, seemed like pure unbridled teenage anger but still had a goofy, almost nerdy edge to it. Tommy Lasorda definitely retained that edge but seemed more focused on writing unhinged pop songs. Was that intentional? Were you guys just trying to be a pop band that was informed by the MELVINS?

Adam: A few descriptions I’ve heard: Dirt Pop, Camaro Rock, and Two Man Rock Armada--there may be more. We had an interesting amp-to-speaker ratio with some decent output levels. We had some fairly oversized drum skins and cymbal radii to contend with and we just kinda took it from there -- worked within that framework. Occasionally the circuits got hot, the sticks got hotter, and at that point some might have said they were in to see a pretty good fight.

 Mike: Nothing was planned, it was just a natural progression of where our mutual musical tastes were headed. As most people probably do when they move to Olympia, we were listening to a lot of Beat Happening at the time. But also a lot of godheadSilo and the Wu-Tang Clan. The Melvins were always a constant, more as a template for what was possible than actually trying to sound like them, although we played a few shows, most notably in a Manhattan bar, where we did all Melvins sets.

 RO: I got your band on a show in Chattanooga where you won the audience over with your catchy songs. At the end, you asked if you had time to play one more and then played “King Solomon’s Reef” (from the tape), which kinda blew everyone’s minds. What’s up with that song? It’s totally different from everything else, really intricate and weird. What was the inspiration for it? (besides maybe the diner in Olympia?)

Adam: Riff obsessed demolition derby Robert Christgau has never dissected. A+

 Mike: “King Solomon’s Reef” was a test. We basically wanted to see if we could do it. The jury is still out on if we succeeded. A lot of that was written outside the basement while we walked around town, just vocally passing off riffs and fills. We woodshedded it for hours and just kept adding more parts to it. The very beginning is a direct rip-off of the song “Charlotte” by the all-girl Canadian metal band Kittie, who we were kind of obsessed with at the time.

 Adam: We wanted to be actual “merchants of the riff” “Hey..(opens coat)...would you like to see a riff collection...allow us to respectfully pull out a few licks...tell us if you see anything you like or should I say lick...oh?...(sigh)...that one’s not for sale...

 Mike: Speaking of that show in Chattanooga, there was a local guy there filming all of the bands that night and he asked us what our band name was. We said “Tommy Lasorda” but he didn’t understand us and all night he kept calling us “Time and Disorder”, which is still the greatest punk rock band name ever. That’s what Adam says at the beginning of “Punkest Girl in Town” on the 7”.

 Adam: I also say The Reef should change it up and try going with “King Solomon’s Riff” for a while.

 RO: What do you guys have against bass players? Tommy Lasorda, Chinese, Poser Posse, Rainbow Bridge, etc,etc...No bass.

 Adam: On one hand, the lack of traditional and/or orthodox lineups is to warn against the pratfalls of anti-establishment ethos and lifestyle; a visual, if you will, symbol. On the other hand it shows and proves that there is quite possibly many more and still, yet another way. Bassist wishlist: Old St. Nick, Mickey (and Minnie!) Mouse, Vaclav Havel, Don Rickles (No!), Branch Rickey.

 Mike: And Thelma Ritter.

 Adam: A symbol, if you will.

 Mike: Our next band will be ALL bass. No drums, no guitars, no performers. Just six or seven basses all lined up in a blue bedroom. Not even plugged in.

 RO: Speaking of Poser Posse, what led to the formation of that band? (for the reader, Tommy Lasorda was Mike and Adam switching off between drums and guitar. Poser Posse was Mike and Adam both playing guitars with a drummer.)

 Mike: Like Los Rabbis, Poser Posse was originally a Dean and Adam project. They started playing with Patrick at his house in Oakland and I went along once or twice before weaseling my way into the band. Dean ended up leaving to do a million more important things while the three of us ate burritos, talked about burritos, and covered The Flying Burrito Brothers.

 Adam: The name Poser Posse originated in Olympia, but truly it could have been discovered anywhere.

 RO: What is your favorite MELVINS song and why?

 Mike: Easy. “The Fool, the Meddling Idiot” off of the band’s best album, 2002’s Hostile Ambient Takeover. There are three components that make up the Melvins’ music: heavy, noisy, and pretty; and over its generous seven-and-a-half minutes “The Fool, the Meddling Idiot” covers all of these bases with utter aplomb. It is the perfect desert island selection. The song contains some crazy ass Kevin Rutmanis slide bass, a terrifyingly awesome vocal performance from Buzz, and one of Dale Crover’s greatest drum fills. Oh, and it ends with a coda that sounds like Captain Beefheart writing music for Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

RO: That is also my favorite Melvins album!

 Adam: There is one song that comes to mind, one song any Melvinaut should they, if they have not already, take some time to seek out. This one song is a b-side that begins with some talk about a “Principal’s Office” before settling into a nice, easy groove. The title and lyrics rhyme with “Banal Straighten”.

RO: I have no idea what you're talking about but it made me think about their Mott The Hoople cover, which is awesome....oh wait, I have that 7".

 Mike: Wait, is it too late to change my answer?

 RO: Guest question from Morgan Stickrod: Just to see if your views have changed over time, which La Cumbre taqueria is the best, in your opinion? The one in SF or the one in San Mateo?

 Mike: Well, the San Francisco La Cumbre has way better tortillas but the San Mateo one has a framed photograph of Los Rabbis hanging above the door, so the best one is the El Farolito in South San Francisco. 650!

 Adam: I fondly remember a wonderful summer time deluxe burrito from La Cumbre in San Mateo. It was really, really, really, really good. I was very impressed and it was far and away more better than the usual “its just as good as I remember, but even better,” burrito. Honestly, I just cannot tell you the last time I remember eating a burrito in that ol’ Baghdad by the Bay--so San Mateo, handily.

 RO: And since we are not living in the past, and I have no desire to do so....what projects are you both working on these days?

 Mike: I have spent the last year working on a book of essays about Disney movies. That should be coming out soon. My brother and I have also been working for the last couple of years on a hip-hop concept album all about, and for, our father. It was originally going to be a Father’s Day present, then birthday, then Christmas, and then the year was over and the cycle started again. The songs are about the Green Bay Packers, Steely Dan, and living in a retirement community in Santa Rosa. It’s my magnum opus.

 Adam: Work? I like a recently cleared desk. Thanks for the questions!

Check back tomorrow for more from this band.

Thanks to Morgan Stickrod for loaning out the tape to digitize (mine broke years ago) and to the MRR house for their advanced digitizing capabilities.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

MARS - Top Ten of 2012

   I met Mars as the shyest of shy solo performers in a college town in the Midwest. Since that time years ago, Mars has gone on to write tons of songs with intense pop hooks that I can't get out of my head in bands like FLEABAG and (currently) AYE NAKO. For such a shy person, Mars has a laugh that is alarmingly loud and intensely infectious. The Bay Area was lucky enough to know him for a short time but is a little bit sadder now that he lives on the east coast.


A lot of 2012 was a shit stain (excluding the following): 

 *Gender Failure: The way Rae Spoon and Ivan Coyote told their stories, which a lot of the time felt like my own stories, about growing up queer and experiencing many "gender failures" -- I can't even explain. I cried and laughed a bunch. The performance totally blew me away!

(ed. note: This video is excellent)

 *Speedy Ortiz - "Sports" Ep: I never find bands post the year 2000 that I can get into wholeheartedly. Speedy Ortiz is the rare exception. It's probably because I have a strong penchant for "alternative/indie" bands from the 90s and they sound like they could've been one. Last spring, I had the pleasure of playing the most wild ass show with them in Hadley, MA involving a dusty garage, kids spitting on each other, thrashing around, and crowdsurfing their friend who is usually wheelchair-bound. I met Sadie (the singer/guitarist) back in 2011 when we played with her old band, Quilty. She writes the kind of songs I wish I was writing. When I brought the EP home, I lied on my bed, belly down, intensely reading the lyrics as the needle on my record player wore out.

 *Frank Ocean - "Channel Orange": By autumn, I gave in after months of avoiding this one. I was flabbergasted to hear a modern mainstream artist have such powerful and thoughtful lyrics on top of interesting musical compositions and a wonderfully smooth voice. I'd like to point out that he mentions Little Rock, AR (where I'm from). Bad Religion makes me shed tears every time with the damn swelling of the bowed instruments and the passion in his voice singing about unrequited homo love.

 *that dog. at Music Hall of Williamsburg: Speaking of the 90s...Last May, that dog. played their first NYC show in 15 years. I parked it at the front of the stage to get a good look (and they were looking good!) and just geeked out and annoyingly sang along with every song. They played all the hits! Watching them banter was a kick in the butt to work on my own stage presence.

 *Big Freedia at Santos Party House: Never have I seen so many asses shake at once and nowhere else have I seen someone booty bounce wearing ass tassles while crowd surfing.

 *Alice Bag on Violence Girl tour: I got to see her twice on her book tour. Really inspiring to watch her sing/read/talk. She was traveling with a friend, who I am pretty sure was named Angie, who gave me off her own shirt, a brown-skinned vulva pin she made out of felt, lace and a zipper.

 *Jonathan Richman at Bell House: How is he so good at stage banter, playing the guitar standing with no strap and swinging it around, and writing the kind of songs that make me feel nice? It was great watching him, but it took great concentration to forget how uncomfortable I felt among the thick crowd of awkward normal straight people, especially the couple perpetually knocking into me while they made out. Ask Joe -- I ran to the bathroom several times to puke.

 *Nightmares about Satan: There was a 3-month period that destroyed me in which I had nightmares almost every night. A number of them starred the Devil herself, an attractive, well-dressed blonde woman. She was horrific, but I liked it in a way. The only sequence that had any lightheartedness went like this: Me and Joe were tied up and burning inside of a roaring fire, watching our friends get lashed and beaten by the Devil. I turn to Joe and say, "Wow! I didn't realize she was such a babe."

 *Your Heart Breaks - "Harsh Tokes and Bong Jokes": Clyde is one of my favorite musicians. These songs make me feel blue, but I like it.

 *geek denial: My love of video games and sci-fi rubbed off onto my younger brother. After I moved out, he took it to another level that we never went to together. He makes weapons and costumes for these videos where he and his friends kill zombies and shit. When I visited home last summer for the first time in years, I told him I thought it was cool that he's into larping. He barked back at me that he absolutely DOES NOT do larping. Here's a photo of one of his handmade swords:

Monday, January 28, 2013

RUDIMENTARY PENI - "Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric" - CD - 1995

   I know, I know...I usually talk about totally random tapes and CD-R's that have been stuffed in boxes for eons, but I couldn't resist posting this after borrowing it from my roommate Matt and listening to the whole thing in my room last night. To be fair, this was also stuffed in a box under some shit in Matt's room. I also know that I constantly refer to bands as "one of my favorite bands of all time". I'm telling the truth. I have about 100 favorite bands of all time, but then there's the top ten favorite bands of all time....and RUDIMENTARY PENI is most definitely in the top ten.
   I first heard of RUDIMENTARY PENI in 1995 (the year this album came out) in the van on one of the first real punk tours I ever went on. My bandmate Joey put on "Cacophony" on a long drive and it completely blew my little teenage punk mind forever. I never realized punk could be so weird, fucked up, inspired, damaged, dark, creepy and catchy all at the same time. When we got home from that tour, I started rounding up all of their vinyl that I could find and began to notice all of the fetus tattoos that adorned many of my friends. I would lay on my floor in my tiny apartment alone listening to their records for endless hours, obsessing over Nick Blinko's insanely detailed, hand-drawn record covers. I would notice something new every time I looked at it. I still do.

   One day, when I was over at my friend Harry's house, he asked if I had ever heard the album "Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric". I hadn't and he put it on. The first thing I noticed was the endless loop of a voice saying "Popus Adrianus" that runs throughout the entire album....even while the songs are playing. The songs are way more subdued than their earlier efforts, but perhaps more deranged in many ways. Some songs seem like they just started off with one line and never got any further, so Nick Blinko just repeats them over and over for waaayyy too long. Part of the reason for the album being so incredibly strange is that Blinko wrote the majority of it while being detained in a psychiatric hospital while having delusions that he was "Pope Adrian 37th".  Arguably, it is their weirdest album ever and, to many people, their worst. I actually like it a lot, although "Cacophony" and their first 7" are still my favorites. If you've never heard this band before, I would suggest to start off with almost anything else by them, but if you're feeling adventurous, go for it.

Fun Facts:

   1. The band started out in the anarcho-punk scene of the early 80's and never really broke up. The last thing they put out was a one song CD single called "The Chances" in 2009, which is only available with Blinko's last book, The Haunted Head

  2. My old band with Harry became so enamored by this CD that I recorded a passage from Blinko's book The Primal Screamer while the other two in the band chanted "Popus Adrianus" in the background. We ran the whole thing backwards and put it on the end of our only 7", released in 1997.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

ONE SHOE IN THE ROAD - "Struck Cyclists And Their Stories" - CD - 2005

   I ride a bike almost daily in the city of San Francisco and most of the time, it feels like I have to be on my guard as soon as I mount the bike. People zip around the streets here with (seemingly) little to no regard of anyone around them, even though they could kill someone with two tons of steel (or plastic) with one simple thrust of the gas pedal. On the other side of that coin, there are tons of bicyclists who cut off people in crosswalks, yell "I have the right of way" indignantly at cars when they don't and ride full speed down sidewalks crowded with people. Is there a way that we can just all live together and use the same streets without trying to kill each other? That is just a glimpse into what this recording is trying to shed some light on.
   In "One Shoe in the Road", the interviewers and editors (Don Godwin and Erin Yanke) talk with people who have been hit by cars while biking; people who are lucky enough to have made it through. The stories are graphic, difficult and traumatic (there is your trigger warning). They bring up questions and provide some answers about how we can all learn to share space in our growing cities and the things that we can do to minimize injuries (or death) to people who are just trying to get where they are going without supporting the capitalist oil industry. (p.s. I'm not actually trying to politicize every person who rides a bike. I just wanted to slip that in there.)

And since we are punks, this includes interviews and work by people from IMPRACTICAL COCKPIT, CHASED AND SMASHED, SWORD OF THE ANCIENT, BEASTHEAD, ANCESTRAL DIET, LIGHT BRIGADE and more!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

RYMODEE - "Live in Bloomington" - Tape - 2003

    If you just scroll down a couple of entries, you'll see this man's year end top ten list. You'll also see that I'm quite fond of the guy. So, yeah, it's RYMODEE from THIS BIKE IS A PIPEBOMB playing solo in Bloomington, IN at what I believe is a house show. If you can ever track down this man's solo LP, do not hesitate to pick it up, because it is excellent. While you're at it, you should also track down the recent LP by his last band ZIPPERS TO NOWHERE.
    I don't really know what else I can say about this recording.... besides that someone starts doing that annoying thing that folk punk kids do when an acoustic performer plays...which is to clap along loudly and out of time. BUT Rymo quashes it fairly quickly within the first song with his constant time changes. Also, I don't know many of the song titles, so you don't get them in this download. I asked Rymodee his thoughts on this tape and he said "It's kind of embarrassing."

Re-upped Feb 2013
This tape was released years ago by the still relevant and always-interesting Friends and Relatives Records.

EDIT: The show was at Rhino's, an all ages club in Bloomington and the audio was recorded from a camcorder. Thanks to Justin at Friends and Relatives for the info.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

VISITOR - "III" - Tape - 2012

   LOOK, IT'S MUSIC!! I know I have been pummeling you all with top ten lists, but as I stated before, I like lists a lot and there's still a few more to come (if people get them to me in time). For now, let's get back to the music. Longtime readers may remember that I posted an earlier VISITOR tape way back in 2011 that had little-to-no info. Other readers may think "I already knew about that band and didn't need your paltry download, fool." Either way, here is another mysterious tape by this down-tuned Minneapolis doom outfit, which was released by Lighten Up Sounds in late 2012. Two drummers and one guitarist play two 15 minute songs that build up from ambient sounds into massive, swelling riffs. No vocals. Perfect for working on stuff in your room, staring into the abyss from a cliff, getting sucked into a vortex, dying a slow death or, uh, getting stoned, I guess.
   Graham plays the guitar, also plays in BLOODWALL and he will cut a mono lathe of your band (or four LP drone project) over at 2208 Records. Jefferson plays the drums and also does stuff with 3 MOONS and THE SPACECHRISTS. Andie plays the other drums. He also spends time in MOTHER OF FIRE, which is a band that I like a whole lot. I would go so far to say that I am obsessed with them at the moment. Enjoy this one.

   If you would like to get the actual source recordings rather than my beautiful tape-hissy download, you can head over to Lighten Up's Bandcamp page. The tape quickly went out of print so don't try to order it.

  Also, just to let you know, Mediafire is a slowly sinking ship. I would say that if you ever thought about downloading anything on this site, now is the time to do it before all of the links disappear. I moved over to Zippyshare, which is currently confusing and frustrating. I might change to a different file sharing service again. Or maybe I'll just stop doing this altogether.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

RYMODEE - Top Ten of 2012

  I'm pretty sure that Rymodee thinks I'm gonna use this space to say something snarky about his old band once again, but I'm not. Truth be told, there was one day when I listened to the song "Johnny" by THIS BIKE IS A PIPEBOMB upwards of 40 times in a row because I thought it might be one of the saddest songs ever written (then I listened to "I'm So Depressed" by Abner Jay in the rain and that song won). He wrote a solo album (also kind of depressing in tone) that I could not stop listening to one winter. I don't mean to make the man sound like a sad sack, because he's not. I've been stuffed into s small van for weeks with the guy and did not get sick of his company. We've drank whiskey and yelled really loud. We've drank tea and had quiet conversations. We've eaten the dried out weed of a joint on the side of the road in the middle of the desert for no apparent reason. I'm really excited that he moved to my side of the country, but I still never see him. He's also on the search for a new band to play in, so if you're interested, head on up to Mendocino. If you need references, look no further than BRAINBOW, VERY VERY SNEAKY, TRIGGERMORTIS (Actually, the guitarist is some dude named "Old Dead Steve", but he looks eerily like Rymo) and the aforementioned bands. 


   i don't really consider myself current in the area of music appreciation, or any other type of appreciation, so forgive me. this is going to be slightly personal. probably the biggest thing to happen to me this year and the hardest to do was reconciling with my family. my family is pretty weird. i don't want to put too much of my life up on the internet, but maybe this is dad died about 15 years ago. my mother immediately decided to move to some small town in indiana, marry some guy 20 years older than her and stops talking to me and my sister, except for me calling her on her birthday, and christmas. after about ten years of her never calling me back, i just gave up. my sister and i have never been very close. neither of us did anything hurtful to each other, but we just aren't close like brother and sister should be. last month i got a wild hair up my ass and called my mom and told her i was sick of it and felt abandoned during a delicate time in my life, and it was probably one of the main reasons why i had become a drunk, emotionless asshole. she said she was surprised to hear from me and surprised to hear that i cared. we're not perfect now, but we call each other once or twice a week, and even sent letters to each other. this might not seem like much, but after fifteen years, it's really uplifting and emotional to have your family call you just to see what's up.

    the next thing i can think of is that i learned to say "sure, why not?". I had been living in chattanooga for three years and i really loved it. i worked with my friends, i could tour without fear of losing my job, and there was a giant crew of punks in town my age and they all played fucking fantastic music. i think at one time there were twenty bands comprised of 35-50 year old punks and i think every damn one of them was mind blowing. i also worked with penguins! i held them, played with them, fed them, painted with them, made sure their babies were safe, and i loved every minute of it. i'm getting off track, so i'll generalize by saying that i was very happy there. well, one day i was just minding my own business with jesse jane in mendocino. she had, for almost a year, tried to get me to talk to a luthier in town that was a friend of her family. i often entertained the idea, a far cry from building a giant bass out of a dozen tin cans and a handrail, but still something i thought i could grasp onto. fuck that though, right? i'm finally happy, and i'm in THREE BANDS! besides, i really hate change. i really do. most of it is really completely pointless, and most of it is completely pointless. well, one thing led to another, and i said "sure, why not?" and i up and met the dude and we hit it off pretty well and even shot the shit for a few hours (and i don't really do that). it's not something i can make happen all the time. (i'm still a grump) but whenever i catch myself about to say "no" for no good reason, i make myself say "sure, why not?".

    the third thing i can think of is that i'm a luthier apprentice living in a barn in the woods.

    #4. i found out way too late in my life that i like ANTISEEN and PENTAGRAM. i had written ANTISEEN off about 50 years ago after deciding (i can't remember why) that they were just racist rednecks and assholes. recently i found an ANTISEEN 7" at a thrift store, and since it was a sub pop single, i thought i would sell it to some dumb shit head. that dumb shit head isn't going to get my ANTISEEN record, he doesn't deserve it. if it weren't for a documentary i accidentally watched on the singer of PENTAGRAM, i wouldn't know, or even care to know, anything about them. i have never seen or heard an album. never heard anyone even talk about them. i vaguely remember seeing their patches on some metal dudes jackets. the documentary was moving (i heard it made mike wilson's mom cry) and i instantly fell in love with the music.

    #5 them DICKS reissues are pretty fucking great.

    #6 sometime this year, without even making a decision about it, i just stopped drinking like a god damn maniac every day. don't get me wrong, if you show up on the porch of the barn with some whiskey, we're going to scare off the local sasquatch population, but i just don't feel like doing it all the time any more.

     #7 that HICKEY record is real nice.

     #8 i actually recorded some solos, and it wasn't nearly as terrible an experience as i thought it might be.
     #9 ya'll heard them NIGHTMARE BOYZZZ records yet?

    #10 TBIAPB final tour. i will call it the catalyst of closures. jesus fucking christ!

Monday, January 21, 2013

MIKE STOLTZ - Top Ten of 2012

    I think Mike first entered my life playing a treble-y bass for the much missed REACTIONARY 3 and just being the nicest guy every time I saw him in Gainesville, FL. Later, he could be found destroying eardrums and confusing Midwestern audiences with TEENAGE WAISTBAND. Mike also makes 8 and 16 millimeter films. Although I realize it's problematic and untrue to say this about anyone, I feel like Mike is always smiling and in a good mood. As we get older, as punks, it's easy to get drawn into a rut of negativity and pessimism, but just about every time I run into Mike, he has something good to say. He always appears to be excited and energized about the new projects he is working on, even when his new projects land him in many people's least favorite city, Los Angeles, California.


    In the past 18 months I packed up and moved out to Southern California for grad school. I spent most of the last 12 years or so living in small towns where I could bike to anything of interest in 20 minutes or less. Now I split my time between the canyons at the edge of the high desert, suburban hell, and the gigantic parking lot that is Los Angeles. I like it so far, but I am still adjusting. One of the biggest changes is not being a part of a tight-knit DIY music scene on a day-to-day basis, so most of my top things from 2012 will reflect that.

 TOPS for 2012 
 (In no particular order) 

 1. THE WILDNESS by Wu Tsang
    This was one of my favorite movies I saw in 2012, and probably the hardest to describe. I will say that its essential viewing for anyone interested in how punks/artists/freaky people can navigate working with and within different communities, and how to take responsibility and follow through when things don't work out exactly as planned. It's totally whacked out in a great way too, with a hallucinatory neon sign that narrates much of the film, wild performance art, the filmmaker helping start a legal clinic for undocumented trans people, and really good music.

 2. Standup Comedy (?!?!)
    When I first got to an L.A. I saw a friend from Providence. I asked her what bands she was into out here because I was itching to go to a show. She told me "I don't really go see music here, I'm into standup comedy now." I was a little surprised but I trusted her judgement so I decided to go check out some for myself. Of course like any entertainment ("punk" music included) there are all kinds of lame trappings that go along with standup. So much comedy seems to be about starting a career in the entertainment industry, boring dudes working out their issues by discussing "shocking" topics, etc etc. I was lucky enough to have a few people show me the scrappier standup shows in town, free nights where comedians are working out their material, usually in the back of a restaurant or a tiny little room, where there's just a donation can near the entrance and a cooler full of beer for the taking (sound familiar?). The good comedians are the ones that talk about real shit, class issues, gender, race, sexuality, and make everyone laugh the whole time. Some of the best I got to see this year were: Kate Berlant, Ron Funches, The Lucas Brothers, Aparna Nancherla, Kyle Kinane, etc etc. Best comedy night: POWERVIOLENCE happens every Sunday at 9:30pm, $5 donation

 3. El Velador (The Night Watchman) by Natalia Almada
    Natalia Almada grew up in Sinaloa, Mexico and returns to the area to film the crypts and tombs of fallen drug cartel lords. On the surface this is a portrait of a fancy graveyard, where not much happens other than workers making sure the grounds are tended to, but she manages to transform these images into an allegory of how Mexico has changed in the last decade or so and how we are all complicit in the violence there.

 4. Space Shuttle Endeavor in LA
     Okay, it's fucked up that they had to remove hundreds of trees to move the space shuttle along Crenshaw Boulevard, and in general the space shuttle is a sort of weird mascot for the war machine, but it was also really crazy and cool to hang out on the street all day waiting for this thing that had been TO OUTER FUCKING SPACE AND BACK to roll down the road. Los Angeles is a huge city with a ton of people in it, but since I have lived here there haven't been many opportunities to gather outdoors for long periods of time. The space shuttle ran 5 hours later than expected, which meant I hung out in the parking lot of M&M Soul Food with a big ass movie camera. Across the street kids from the Lulu Washington Dance Theater did a wild choreography show with space suits and flying bodies on wires. Everyone was enjoying the sunshine, chatting up their neighbors and no one seemed to notice that the main event was behind schedule. When the sun was setting the shuttle finally rolled through and it was hard to believe it even fit down the street, it was so big it felt unreal.

     A beautiful L.A. day. Walk down the street and get some tacos, meet up with a couple of friends, get on the gold line metro, walk through a sprawling free downtown arts festival to the "old guys" stage and watch SACCHARINE TRUST tear through a set in the middle of the day. Really great to see Raul on drums for Mike Watt too, who knew their rock opera would be so good?

     This is the solo project of Lauren Likely. She was a winter roommate at a house I lived in a few years back in Providence, where she taught me how to exercise without being a jock or a gym psycho. A year later she came back for another winter and we made a movie together. She's a great visual artist, you can see her inky drawings in the pages of NUTS! as well as numerous album covers of Olympia bands. I hadn't seen her in a while so when I got this record I was excited, though not sure what to expect. The four songs here are dark loner jams, beautiful singing accompanied by only a metronome and psychedelic scraping guitar.

    RIP Sarah Kirsch. You are missed by many. I have to admit I hadn't really followed Kirsch's bands lately, The records were either hard to get ahold of or just weren't my thing musically. I am so happy I ordered this record when it came out though, its a perfect mix of recorded skits and driving punk rock, totally inspiring, and a great object all around. I especially love the Procyon Proclamation that comes in the sleeve: "We will leave behind the Nostalgia Industry's cold crippling of our imaginations. Let them wade in the rubble as we establish a new home where can begin anew. Let us shatter the overly precious images of ourselves whose reflections lull us into passivity. Let us leave it all behind, in a torrent of vitriol and fire. Leave the vultures and self-anointed cultural coroners to circle frozen corpses."
     I'm going to jam the song "Sensations Fix" off of this record now

 8. Michael Yonkers live
     I had no idea if this would be good or not, the Michael Yonkers record I jam most often is nearly 40 years old. I was expecting some sort of dad-rock but instead Yonkers got onstage wearing a t-shirt with his own name on it, and belted out a crazy set on his handmade fucked up guitar, which he ran through a bunch of digital puke filters, and belted out his songs at top volume. He even played "Microminiature Love"!

 9. the war by James Benning
   This is basically a compilation film of all the videos produced by Russian performance art group, Voina. Cop cars getting flipped, impromptu punk performances in court rooms, penis graffiti on drawbridges, etc etc. A good flick!

 10. BROWN SUGAR "Sings of Birds and Racism" LP / XYX "Teatro Negro" lp / GRASS WIDOW "Internal Logic LP / THE LOOM OF RUIN by Sam Mcpheeters / SCAM #9 by Erick Lyle.

These are all good things that came out this year that I enjoyed a lot. Check 'em out!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

MEG MARTIN - Top Ten Of 2012

   I started running into Meg as a casual acquaintance in Olympia. She was always coming and going...busy...getting shit done, which is how I like to be at home too (at least in theory). When she slowed down long enough to have a conversation, I found a caring friend, an open communicator and someone who has a thirst for knowledge, which is how I wish I could be. Also, since this is a punk blog, she plays guitar and sings with her friends in DOGJAW, who put out one of my favorite LP's of the year.


The Things That Got Me Through. 2012 - "It's A Wash".

1. HOT TEARS - Live @ Labia Majora, Olympia, WA
      Molly Fischer (SONGS FOR MOMS, FISTING CRYSTALS, generally a total bad ass activist) played a show in the Labia Majora living room in the fall and I just cried through the whole set. This has been a really hard year and she has a way of making me stop and sit with whatever I am dealing with, which is not one of my greatest skills. She performs in a different dimension and I feel so inspired by her.

 2. Recording DOGJAW – Slow To Build LP, upstairs at PUNKALL in Olympia, WA
     Playing music with Kendra and Joey enforces the most important parts of myself while simultaneously changing me on levels I do not understand. We are fucking psychics and making music with those two is like running into the ocean for the first swim of summer.

 3. Attending the National Harm Reduction Conference in Portland, OR with 3 other members of the Emma Goldman Youth and Homeless Outreach project (EGYHOP).
      I was re-inspired about the importance of political activism, radical direct service and the true change that can come with a long fight. This was my second Harm Reduction conference and I was amazed by the dedication and risks people have taken into making this world less fucked. Its kind of confusing there because there are like all these bad ass activists mixed in with like total normy researchers and social workers. I am a freak that is also a social worker so this confusing aspect of the conference is not particularly new to me, unfortunately. However it is still really funny to talk about all the sketchy (and really, really cool) things we do out of a moldy bike trailer every night without anyone telling us what to do - all while sitting on a panel in a fancy conference room of norms (to be fair there were some serious bad asses in that room too). Things are never stagnant, we are always in motion and at the conference it was clear that this is exactly where I want to be moving. I am so proud of EGYHOP.

 4. DISPARATE live @ Le Voyeur in Olympia, WA.
      DISPARATE is a relatively newer band in Olympia and I am so excited about them! The first time I saw them it was with DOGJAW and SECRET LOVER (wild band of really great people from Worcester, Mass with some serious moves). I am so inspired, excited and appreciative of the integrity I see in DISPARATE. Maria’s voice is so powerful and she just gets huge when they are performing!! I love how much space she takes up and they are fast and weird and political and one of the best new bands in Olympia for sure.

       So, I went to Fest for the first time ever in 2012. I was expecting to get in some fights with people while selling merch for RVIVR because that tends to happen sometimes.., BUT I had so much fun!! People were not actually that shitty and I saw so many cool people and a few good bands! ANYWAYS we were on bad behavior the last night because even in the best case scenario, one can only tolerate Fest for so long. For example, there was this fucked up sign hanging in one of the bars that was read “fight fest aids! whiskey shots, emergen c, ear plugs” (fest aids is like some fucked up thing people say there about getting a cold at fest). So we slapped a sharpied paper towel on top of the word AIDS that changed it to say “fight fest homophobia, racism” and then it fell down which was cool (because I mean fuck that shit) and then we ran out to go do so much dancing at the UNDERGROUND RAILROAD set and got all woo woo about the underlying darkness of those songs. Then we had to run over to catch TOYS THAT KILL in a fully packed sweaty, smoky bar and we were all in wild moods-then Joey the Joester smashed this tiny light bulb on the ground in the middle of the bar... he was a wizard among mortals that night. Why was there suddenly a tiny light bulb for him to smash?? I don’t know, but I am so glad it showed up.

 6. Queer Rock Camp 2012 showcase Olympia, WA. 
    This year was the second session of QRC and I have volunteered both years as a food coordinator of sorts and keyboard instructor. This year brought a whole new set of challenges because we doubled the number of campers and, in a lot of ways, we got overwhelmed by all that came up. I am endlessly inspired by rock camps everywhere and I was just so goddamn pleased at the showcase to have such liberated bands as SANDY THONG AND THE BUTT SLUTS, THE RESERVOIR TIPS and FINGERBANG, just to mention a few. I am also so proud and impressed with the organizing collective and their ability to dive in to such a huge project and pull it off. This is truly changing the world.

 7. Willie Mae Rock Camp 2012 Showcase.
      Molly Fischer and I were lucky enough to go to the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls last session of the summer in NYC. I helped with the keyboard class and band managed the OCEAN COOKIES! I had never band managed the teenagers before and it was really cool. I can’t believe I have the opportunity to tell these people all the things I wish someone had told me when I was in high school. It is the ultimate honor. Also WMRC does a really good job of prioritizing anti-oppression and anti-racist programming and are always looking for ways to improve their programming in those ways. They run a really good camp.

 8. Future Virgins, Zippers to Nowhere, Kimya Dawson, Dogjaw in the Sylvester Park gazebo in Olympia, WA.
    The Chattanoogans were coming through with a show in Seattle and Portland so we squeezed in a day time show in between! It was so fucking fun and I rented out the Sylvester Park gazebo (its free!!) in the middle of downtown Olympia. It was outside, I flyered the community mental health program nearby and so many street kids were there and a bunch of housed kids/folks and neighbors and punks and it felt like a real ass community event...Not to mention how good those bands are and I was in bed by 10, which rules.

 9. Realizing That Punk Saved My Life.
    OK so this one is like “duh” for most people since they were like 12 or whatever, but I think I just finally let myself own it for the first time. Over the past 5 years I have had the chance to seriously connect with my community in a way that I’ve never experienced before as the common show goer in towns I have lived in. I have played music with people for like 8 years by now but I never actually considered myself someone that plays in bands. A lot of that can be attributed to a shitty, demoralizing former relationship, but point is, I never took ownership over my freak lifestyle like I have in 2012. Like so many of us, I have depression, anxiety and many bi-polar tendencies that are majorly enhanced with the use of substances. While I still struggle with that shit on a daily basis, it is like a fucking speck in a sea of sand compared to the strength and support I feel in my life. Looking back now I see all the ways I have come into my power since moving to Olympia 5 years ago but I never truly realized how much I need my community to survive until this year. Playing music, EGYHOP, and the DIY punks have truly saved my life. So, thanks for that!

10. Re-evaluating my sobriety.
    I got trashed on Thanksgiving because I was so stressed out and I kept yelling about how 2012 was “a wash” and that how nothing matters and we are already fucked and stuff like that (age old rant). I drank/smoked weed like a handful of times this year and got legitly drunk a couple of those times too, which wouldn’t be that weird, except that I before that I had been virtually substance free (other than coffee) for 4 and a half years. 2012 was a reminder that it is important that I still don’t regularly use booze/drugs to run away from my less desirable sides. I know that I can’t handle casually drinking/getting high but it is ok that I slip sometimes to get the fuck away from my life without it taking me down--the cool part of this year is that I really don’t want and seriously don’t NEED to get fucked up to function and live an overwhelmingly meaningful life. So that’s an important reminder I was grateful to have in 2012... We are endlessly capable! Even with this. And, maybe in the end, 2012 wasn’t a total wash after all.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

SPOONBOY - Top Ten of 2012

   I could almost write the same intro for Spoonboy's list as I did for E. Conner. He also traveled with us on that school bus and I also made fun of his band. The thing is, he's still in the same band and over the years, they have become better and better. MAX LEVINE ENSEMBLE have become tighter, way more political and a band that I can get behind 100%. Spoons is a good guy. Full disclosure: back when I wasn't too fond of his music, I was subleasing a room in his house. He came home from tour and was practicing songs in the living room at 3 am. I started to storm down the stairs to yell about how I had to work at 8 and he needed to shut the fuck up. When I got there, I realized that I had the damn song stuck in my head and I just started laughing about getting so dramatic. I asked him to knock it off, but to please play that song one more time. I went back upstairs and laid down while he played the song one last time. At the end, almost in a whisper, he said "Goodnight, Greg" I whispered back "Goodnight Spoons" and fell asleep. It was perfect. I love this guy.


 For me, 2012 was about not believing in Mayan prophesies but living it like the world was gonna end anyway. i thought i'd include non-music events in my list, but when i started brainstorming i thought of more than 10 music things that were worth mentioning so i'm just sticking with that. not in any hierarchical order:

 10. SICK FIX - VEXED LP finally, finally a record that represents how fucking tight, heavy and intense this longtime dc hardcore band is. Michelle is one of the angriest and fiercest vocalists in punk for sure, but unlike many other angry front people, her anger is substantive with smart lyrics about sexual assault, child + animal abuse, gentrification, government repression, etc.

 9. AZEALIA BANKS ahhh! definitely my favorite new hip hop artist this year, she released a killer EP and mixtape and jaaammmmin videos like this one and this one and this one… (p.s. i wrote this before i heard anything about her feud with angel haze, which i won't comment on since it happened in 2013…)

 8. THE TAXPAYERS - GOD FORGIVE THESE BASTARDS LP/NOVELETTE this record definitely took the taxpayers in a jazz-influenced dog-faced hermans/crass-y direction which i like on its own but what i love is that it's an accompaniment to a short book by the same title to which the album plays like a soundtrack to some future film noir adaptation. The book is a collection of stories written by taxpayers' singer rob morton from the perspective of a recently-passed homeless man named henry turner. it weaves together themes around the darkness of drug addiction, mental illness, and abuse with ideas about forgiveness and hope in a thought provoking way. very cool.

 7. BAADER BRAINS - NEW ERA HOPE COLONY LP i loved this band for a long time pretty much just because they have the cleverest name in punk, but only got into their first LP "the complete unfinished works of the young tigers" early this year and loved everything about it. the fact they created a whole revolutionary history complete with manifestos and references to historical events is such a refreshing dose of politicized creativity in a more and more apolitical punk scene. then lucky for me, "new era hope colony" came out this year and took it to the next level with more please inform the captain style samples and political art, etc. i would have included this record no matter what, but 2012 saw the loss of the prolific sarah kirsch, RIP, whose bands just got better and better over her lifetime, with baader brains being no exception. she will be missed.

 6. ONSIND - MILDRED, MARGIE, ANNIE, CLARICE EP these guys write the smartest catchiest acoustic anthems. this ep is the musical equivalent of feminist critique for these four movies: one flew over the cuckoo's nest, fargo, misery, and silence of the lambs. check out this cuuuute video!

 5. THE AMBULARS/ MICHAEL CANTOR the ambulars and their guitarist michael cantor are two of dc's best kept secrets. (they all moved away from dc recently, but whatever). the ambulars released their first full length "dreamers asleep at the wheel" after teasing everyone by recording it for basically FOREVER but it was totally worth the wait. and mikey's beautiful low fi debut solo EP "bless all this debris" became my go-to chill out record. the songs "teenage hate" and "bless all this debris" were definitely two of my 2012 superjams.

 4. SWEARIN' - S/T LP if we're talking about albums i listened to over and over and over again this year, we're probably talking swearin'. best of 90's worship.

 3. FRANK OCEAN/ COMING OUT 2012 was a great year for queering up pop music (see also, azealia banks), and frank ocean's moving coming out letter was a big part of it. his single "thinking about you," was easily the best r&b song this year, and his contribution to jay z & kanye west's "no church in the wild" makes the song. it's also definitely worth mentioning that 2012 saw Laura Jane Grace of Against Me coming out as trans in an inspiringly public article in rolling stone, which was exciting and educational as it sparked important conversations for punks and non-punks everywhere. i don't think against me put out any records this year but whatever.

 2. RUMBLETOWNE RECORDS i didn't want to fill my whole list up with bands from the pacific northwest but basically any record rumbletown records put out this year could have been a bullet point, with records from erica freas, dogjaw, divers, and agatha. also, technically not a rumbletowne release, but in the same family, molly from songs for moms blew everyone away with her new solo project hot tears and she just released an EP that you can check out online heeere.

 1. POP MUSIC also, i didn't want to just rant about pop music on a punk blog, but i wasn't the only one who noticed that top 40 radio was kinda givin' it this year. i was particularly fixated on these singles from nick minaj, gotye, carly rae jepsen, taylor swift, and macklemore. no shame in it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

SKI - Top Ten of 2012

Frozen Teens photo by Ryan Maddox.

   Ski has been consistently playing in many of my favorite bands over the years. His current band FROZEN TEENS put out the one record I have listened to more than any other this year. We've shared tour vans, late nights and many of the same obsessions. We also share a love of the quick beat. He spends his time in Minneapolis, playing in great bands, living with his partner Stella ( I think I was there when they got together many years ago) and caring for his beautiful daughter, Ursula.


   When Greg asked me to do a top ten, my mind went blank. I listen to a lot of music and I buy a lot of new records ( Minneapolis has great record stores), and I try to keep an ongoing list in my head of a top ten just in case I ever have to make a list. So, of course, the first time I get asked to do one, I can't remember anything that came out last year! Well, here's what I could come up with in a night after my daughter went to sleep. (In no particular order)

   LEGENDARY WINGS   "Making Paper Roses" (Dirtnap Records) I didn't hear this until late in the year, but it hit that right spot. I guess this is a demo they sent to Dirtnap Records, and the DR guys liked it so much, they put it out on vinyl. Lo-fi garage pop doesn't fully explain this. Influences are form everywhere, from The Who to The Beat to the Marked Men (maybe that's just a progression?) Hope to see them live in 2013!

   My friend and bandmate, Wil Olsen, moving back to Minneapolis in the fall. Having a member of your band leave town for an unknown amount of time, not knowing if this is it for the best band you've ever played with, definitely leaves a hole in your heart. The couple months Wil was away living the life in Kansas City were rough, but he's back and we're writing and playing, and the world didn't end on Dec. 21st! Thanks be to the rock! 

   My daughter, Ursula, took her first steps. Ursula was born on May 6th, 2011 and she took her first independent steps on September 8th, 2012. Watching the look of accomplishment on her face dwarfs everything that happened last year.

 - CHRIS WOLLARD & THE SHIP THIEVES  "Canyons" (No Idea Records) Chris Wollard's first album that came out a couple years ago is one of my favorite albums of the last ten years. It makes me want to sit on a sandy beach at sundown sipping a michelada and smoking a joint. This record feels like straight bourbon in a smokey Southern bar. I love his voice, and knowing the guy for ten some years, I like to listen to where the layers of guitar take me. I listen to this record all the time. 

 Scam #9 "DAMAGED, The Story of Black Flag's Classic First Album!" Important punk history written by a punk. This is how we need to tell our stories. I like how Erick's introspective narrative touches on the local L.A. history and how we (punk culture) shook it up. Sometimes it's hard to remember and keep in perspective what punk bands went through to lay the ground work for us in 2013 today. Know your history kids! I will definitely be showing this to my daughter to teach her about our culture. Best zine I read all year. 

   Do Ya Hear We! Fest This is the first time I've been to Chattanooga since my daughter was born. This is my extended family. My friends I've met in this town are so important to me and such a huge part of making me who I am today. So, coming to a family reunion, seeing great friends from all over the country, watching my favorite bands, and being able to play to all of them, well, what wouldn't be better? (If Stella and Ursula were there, yes!) 

  BOB MOULD "Silver Age" (Merge Records) My first introduction to Bob Mould was his band Sugar and the album was "Copper Blue". I was in 9th grade and liked it, but it wasn't punk enough for me at the time, so I didn't love it. But the album kept coming in and out of my life for the next twenty years and I realized it's one of my favorite albums of all time! Last year he re-releases it, tours playing the full album, and he writes a new record that could have been the third Sugar album! This record is a rager, and seeing him play was a definite highlight of my year. 

  WILD CHILD "EP" (Fashionable Idiots Records) This is a newer Minneapolis band, and probably one of the best in town right now. Young. Angry. Uncompromising. This is their demo finally on vinyl. Seeing them destroy basement shows to killing a sold out crowd at a big club (doing a tag team set with locals Brain Tumors), makes me feel like I am an audience member in an old video from the 80's watching Black Flag or Minor Threat! I predict big things for them in 2013!! -

 Dancing with Stella to THE SPITS while they played "All I Want" Stella (my partner for 11 yrs.) and I don't get to go out much anymore, especially together (since we've had a kid), so this was a rare night. We went with some friends to downtown St. Paul to see the Spits and OFF! We both totally let loose, and when the Spits kicked in with "All I know is I wanna be with you", I grabbed Stella and we moshed everyone down!

 And then we shook it up to OFF! which brings me too... - OFF! "LP" (Vice Records) My favorite type of hardcore played by the people who were from the "golden" age of said "core". Everytime I hear this I start twitching back and forth, spasmadically dancing. And it's pissed off! Gives me hope that I can still rock the fuck out when I'm in my 50's! Hopefully I don't rant so much though.