There's probably not a week that goes by that I don't miss LIVID. Nevermind that I only saw them play live once in a warehouse in the East Bay. That's not the point. The point is that I knew they were out there playing fierce, unapologetic, angry fucking punk and that made me happy. While some bands try hard to look or act a certain way to exude a certain level of "realness", LIVID is just fucking real because it's the only way they know how to live. They don't pose. They aren't fake. They're just LIVID. What more do you want?
Way back before the turn of the century, I lived in a tiny little house one block away from the Georgia state line. I spent many of my days listening to the the tinny, north Georgia Christian radio broadcasts (only because it sounded exactly likewhat I imagined an alien transmission might sound like) and writing half assed songs to record on my tape player. I decided one day that I wanted my half assed songs to sound about 2% better so I borrowed my friend Mike Pack's 4 track recorder. When he handed it over, there was a tape inside and he said something like "I don't know what that tape is, but you can do whatever you want with it." It turned out that the tape was a JACK PALANCE BAND practice, which means I just listened to the tape over and over rather than recording my songs....come to think of it, I never did record those songs on the 4 track at all.
Most of the tape consists of parts of new songs, crude inside jokes and stuff that appeared later on their full length LP. None of it was anything too essential until I got to the end. Until this point, I had only heard JPB play their now-classic song "Heaven" live at punk shows with shitty PA's. Even though they didn't have a proper recording of it at that point, everyone in the room still sang along with the line "If I saw the God they told me about when I was a kid, I'd punch him in the face for letting his children bleed!" I was pretty ecstatic to finally have a copy of the song to play over and over in my room. For a long time, I preferred this version over the one on their LP. I like how the band sounds excited and stoked on the song, because they're getting it down for the first time. I like how the band sounds like they're putting everything they've got into what they're doing, even though they're just playing for themselves in (most likely) the dark, grimy basement of a now-defunct soup restaurant at 7th and Cherry in Chattanooga, TN.
I know it's only one song, but I'm not posting the other stuff out of respect for the band. Trust me, this is the best thing on there. Plus, this is my happening and it freaks me out.
The problem I usually have with punk bands who are inspired by goth, coldwave, dark shit or whatever you want to call it is that most of the time, they lose their urgency and spark. To me, it just ends up sounding like bad new wave from 1986, which (trust me) was terrible the first time around. Luckily, I don't have this problem with THE NEW FLESH. While their jams may make you want to sulk around your room and dance alone while feeling like shit, they also sound right at home blasting out of a boombox while you sit by some water drinking with your friends. It still sounds urgent, punk, sinister and desperate. This is exactly what I want in music. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to cut this short so I can bike across town to catch them playing a house show in SF.
Be sure to catch them on their east and west coast tours that are coming up in the next couple of months. You should probably also buy their new self-released LP, "Reality" while you're at it. You can find more info on their blog and their bandcamp page.
Features ex-members of VAASKA, DESKONOCIDOS and NEON PISS. I guess now is a good of a time as any to tell you NEON PISS broke up. More info here.
THE BABIES came out to San Francisco back in 2010 and played the basement of a seedy, beautiful bar in Chinatown. I went to see them simply because I loved the song "Somebody Else" and my friend, Naters was playing bass for them at the time. The opening bands were largely popular SF indie rock acts and the basement was packed to the gills with the kinds of people I don't usually find myself hanging out with (take that however you want), so I spent most of my time kicking it on the street out front with Naters. When THE BABIES set up to play, the basement (unfortunately for them//cool for me) had cleared out a little bit and there was room to dance. I didn't know anyone at the show, so I just stood up front and danced the whole time. It was fun. They were great, because they're good at writing simple, yet infectious pop melodies. Plus, they have a steady drummer who hits the drums like he's pounding a cop's face, even though that's probably not how he thinks about it.
I bought this tape expecting 20-something minutes of pop excellence, but that's not really how it turned out. Once I got over the disappointment, I found out that this tape is still pretty good. It's compiled mostly of warbly acoustic home recordings and some full band compositions as well. Everything on here sounds like it was recorded on half-inch tape that has been stored underwater since 1966 and then played over an AM radio broadcast from South Korea, which gives it a little bit of a VELVET UNDERGROUND "White Light/White Heat" kind of vibe. When I was digitizing this tape, I texted Naters and asked "Is this supposed to sound warbly and distant or did I just get a bad tape?" Nate simply answered "yes", which is a perfect answer. The longer story is that even though someone might be in a legitimately famous band, they still sometimes use their friends shitty ass tape duplicator that turns a perfectly good recording into something that sounds like a 4th generation dub from the bottom of your shoe box of cassettes from 2nd grade. Still, most of these songs are gems below the surface. Have fun digging into it.
I never imagined that when I went to Dresden, Germany, I would buy a tape manufactured in Columbus, Ohio and released in Paris, France by a band from Tel Aviv, Israel starring a guy from my home state of Alabama....but that happened. David grew up, I think, in Alabama and kicked around to Worcester, Rome, Tel-Aviv and a bunch of other far flung locales. Throughout all of this, he has been singing the praises of Chattanooga, TN and Region Rock. I like to imagine that he has talked Israeli punks into shotgunning beers while listening to JACK PALANCE BAND.
On this tape, you'll find eleven songs in about 14 minutes that scream about getting drunk and hating work and getting drunk again. Many of us like these things, so maybe this will interest you.
Some friends from out of town were playing a house show in Berkeley back in 2003 so I decided to make the trek up to that weird place. I had been hanging out with the band all day and there was so much tension and anger between them that I didn't even care about seeing them play the show at that point. They had reached the level where they would get in arguments at the drop of a hat about ridiculous things, like whose turn it was to sit in the front seat or whose fault it was that the van broke down. Instead of getting a ride with them to the show, I took my bike so I would have an easy out.
I have the flyer for the show somewhere, but I couldn't tell you who else played if my life depended on it. All I know is that when the 2nd band started setting up, I got fucking stoked because I recognized the two guys (Adam and Mike) from the flawlessly flawed TOMMY LASORDA. Each of them played guitar through tiny little practice amps and Patrick put towels and t-shirts over his drum heads to muffle them. They didn't have a bass player. I remember running outside to tell friends to come watch this band because I knew it would be good, even though I had never heard them. In my opinion, I was right (you can make your own decisions) and it was a great set. They even played a stellar WIPERS cover. I had to track down Mike later to get a recording from him and he gave me this tape.
The tape may or may not be live on the radio. The band implies that it's a live radio show, but who knows? There's some definite hits and misses on this tape, but I'll leave it up to you to decide which is which. One of my favorite moments is when Adam breaks a string in the middle of "Refrigerated Planes" but still plays the rest of the song and it sounds beautifully fucked up.
I'm sure I've said it before, but I've known Jason Griffin for 17-18 years and he's played drums in nothing but top quality hardcore bands the whole time. AMERICAN CHEESEBURGER is no exception. This tape finds the band at a live show on 7/27/07 at the Woodser in Brooklyn, NY. Typically, they are blazing and nothing short of awesome. Something I've also said before is that their singer James is one of my top favorite hardcore singers of all time. Once at a show in Gainesville, he was so "in the zone" that he whipped his shoes off and threw them full force over the audience to the back of the room. When they hit the last note of the set, he screamed "Where are my fuckin' shoes?", threw the mic down and flew off the stage. It was a perfect show. This tape sounds like it was just as much fun.
Download is just one 16 minute track. No song titles were included, but you can bet that there are some titles like "Earth Turkey", "Resurrect the Vampire", "If Your Face Was Georgia, My Fist Would Be Home By Now" and "The Kid From the Space Center"
Before DEAD THINGS, there was PINK COLLAR JOBS, who were a punk band of college students from Boone, NC back in the 90's. After that band dissolved, Jason and Lynn (the core songwriters) moved down to Asheville and started rounding up people for a new band. I feel like they asked me to play drums in this band, but I'm glad they got Lil' Mike instead because he is such a better drummer than me. He even went to school for drumming. Seriously, I went in his house one day and he was practicing African drumming on a fucking bongo or something. I swear, it sounded awesome and I didn't think for one second that he was a hippie or anything. The guy loved (loves) playing drums. Where was I? Oh yeah, they also got Big Mike to play the bass. He had formerly played in ASTRID OTO and CRAP FACTORY. He also had the benefit of being insanely nice, which fit in with the rest of the band and made them one of the nicest bands I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Despite their pleasantness, all of their songs sound so pissed! What were they pissed about? Rent, lack of insulation (seriously, Asheville winters are somehow the coldest ever because the houses aren't built for it), school, total bullshit, etc, etc...the usual...but they belted it out with talent and style.
If you can track down this band's album (only on CD) from a year later, do it. It is excellent. Until then, enjoy this raspy, poorly recorded 15 minutes of punk from the south.
I wrote out this long thing about San Francisco in the 90's, Willie Nelson and obsessiveness, but then I erased all of it because I want to write about now. I want to write about the things that are currently happening in our lives that are exciting and invigorating, like NO STATIK. I saw NO STATIK play an excellent house show a couple of weeks ago in a tiny little place in Santa Cruz with a bunch of other great current bands, such as REPLICA, FAMILY STONED, DIEHARD, CONQUEST FOR DEATH, ABSURDO and a local who's name escaped me. The show was perfect in the many ways that keeps me interested and excited by DIY punk: no bullshit, no pretension, no stage, short sets, an active mix of genders in the bands as well as the audience and tons of energy.
NO STATIK keeps getting better every time I see them. There's always an electricity in the air before they even hit the first chord. To me, they always seems to be the eye of the storm, feeding off of the chaos that surrounds them. The last few times I've seen them, they've transcended the trappings of hardcore and taken their energy to a new level. I can't really explain it. It's unreal. I love them. I also love that their tough-as-fuck singer, Ruby sometimes goes straight from stalking around the audience to "I'm just listening to Cyndi Lauper in my room" mode (see 2:10 of this video for an example).
Their bass player, Robert gave me this tape just after the band started and honestly, it's my least favorite thing they've done....but, like I said, they had just started out. I like going back to it now and seeing how the band has evolved and grown over time. As I type this, they are at a huge fest in Texas and playing what sounds like the best shows to me (on a bridge at 3 am and at an 11 am brunch).
I don't know what else to say...if you see any records by this band, pick it up immediately.