Thursday, January 30, 2014

MARISSA MAGIC - "The Fall" - Tape - 2014

    A little over a month ago, I was stepping onto a plane in Alabama, a little tipsy and on pills, not really sure if I'd ever see my dad alive again. About a week later, I realized that I was right. As I was trying to get comfortable inside of that soon-to-be-airborne metal tube full of normal humans, I scanned my mp3 player for anything that might make me feel sane...or sound at least as fucked up as I felt at that moment. When I reached the "M's", I already knew where I would be stopping. I put on "Infinity Bums" by MARISSA MAGIC and felt like I was listening to something that was made for that exact moment in time. Maybe the drugs kicked in. Maybe the tape helped sooth my frazzled mind. Whatever happened, I kept that release going through my brain on repeat for most of the plane trip back to San Francisco. 
   A few short weeks later, I was sitting on a couch at an Oakland punk house when Marissa plopped down next to me and handed me her new tape. At first glance, I thought she was handing me a homemade tape of THE FALL, but soon realized that I was wrong. This tape, to me, is nothing like the last one and I'm totally okay with that. When I first put it on and heard one of my favorite songs, I thought that she gave me a bunk tape, but then heard that it was really her. I'm not even gonna try to explain this one too much because I'm not sure if I can. Marissa doesn't use any traditional instruments (as far as I can tell) on this tape and mostly sticks to tape loops and layers upon layers of her voice. The deterioration and static lends to a deconstruction (or destruction?) of the typical noise tape. Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe she was just listening to the radio and shit got fucked. Either way, it leads me into a world that I know little about but am constantly intrigued by. I find it to be uncomfortable, challenging, entrancing and soothing. 

I don't know how to get this tape other than having Marissa pull it out of her pocket at a show and handing it to you. 
Marissa plays guitar in STILLSUIT, who put out an awesome LP in 2013. It quickly grew on me and I think it's one of the more interesting and intriguing LP's that have come out in the past year. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

MRR RADIO - #1385

   I did an MRR Radio show this week with my good friend Alex. We mostly stuck to playing a bunch of our favorite demos from 2013. Check it out if you feel like it. Thanks!

Friday, January 24, 2014

LEGS - Top Ten of 2013

   I should probably stop saying "This is really the last top ten list" because punks are always late. Legs was late. It's okay. Legs is cool. And Canadian. Like me, Legs does social work and has a lot more patience for fuck-ups than many other people...which means she's my kind of people. Here is her list. 

   All that has encompassed having this great van in my life. Stand by your van. Sleep in your van. Go to the Bay Area in your van ("This is Not a Step"). Take your van on 5 tours and only have the tailpipe fall off (and allegedly hit another vehicle). Go fishing, go camping, drive without a full license, drive all your wasted friends around. Drive to work alone and listen to all the CDs that make your friends cringe and make you cry inside a little. Pour 900 dollars into it and wonder why you just did that, but then you drive to work blasting the Ramones 2-CD your grandma got you for christmas, and it all makes sense.

   I know what it is now kind of, and that when it's affecting me, it's not everyone else's fault. I can recognize the things that cause it, in most ways that is, there may be some new ones, let's see what 2014 can bring! So far I've quit coffee, cut down drastically on alcohol, cut cigarettes by half.  

   Old bands reuniting (Hari Legs played a basement show at the beginning of the year, it was great), going on tour and everything being so last minute though it all works out in the end, realizing it's time to not be a band anymore, starting a new band, playing a first show.

   Vancouver is becoming notoriously hard to run any kind of DIY venue. We had one for a few months called The Black Lab/Nowhere Space. I think it was a lot more work than anyone had the resources to deal with, in my mind we bit off more than we could chew, but we made it work and for the short time we had it (three months, RIP) Some great bands played, I had my first try at building a stage, and we had barbeques and movie nights. Short successes!

   A total whirlwind, too much consumption, too much driving (my ever lasting appreciation to Jerome, Derek, Jordan and Jesse) but honestly for being the only female identifying person in the van with seven (lovely) dudely dudes, it couldn't have been a better time, or a better seven people. I wasn't afraid to communicate my shit and never felt ostracized, and everyone was tour partying, but also taking time to chill and make sure we ate and had self-care, and Knox was a great tour dog. AND we got to swim in a pool in a mansion, stay in a penthouse, play in a boxcar, play one of the best house shows ever at the Stout House in Denver, play with RATS REST, TENEMENT, SHARKPACT and a ton of other amazing people. It was great. If there's anyone wondering whether they should start a band and go on tour, you probably should at least try because it's really just the best. My dear friend Shannon made a couple of lovely compliations that you can check out if you'd like:

   I live in a house again with roommates who are rad and it feels so right I can't even explain it. Our door opens right to our little backyard and our neighbours are lovely and I don't have to get in an elevator with terrible people everyday. And my rent is way cheaper.

    This year's visit was great. I got to stay with a really good pal and make even more really good pals. We went to Lake Kushman four days in a row, to a point where we were like, I can't go to the lake today, I just can't. Which is a great can't to have. The streets were pitch black when I would walk home, and I had my bike with me this time, which made everything seem so accessible. There are a lot of productive and inspired punks who are doing great great things. The kind of things which give me hope for this future of faces lit up by screens.

   Okay this started in December so it's a bit cuspy. But we're doing this DIY version of Annie the musical and I get to be Mr. Warbucks (self made billionaire) and sing songs and stuff. It's really fun, and I really enjoy theatre.

   Honestly 2013 was pretty lacking for me, other than the things I mentioned above. Here's an interview I did with my friend James from the local band FLAGPOLERS, in March 2013. I was actually really flattered and it's kind of the questions that you ask yourself in your head when you're taking a shit or something, like for practice. Everyone does that right?

   Getting stiffer, getting grumpier, working more, partying less. All the things I said that would never happen are coming true! Except the stiffness I guess. I hope 2014 brings some posi-pumping vibes my way. All in all, getting older is still as cool as I thought it was last year.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

YOUR HEART BREAKS / STEBMO / KARL BLAU / TEAM GINA / LAKE - "Sensual Seduction / The Right Stuff" - Cassingle - 2008

 To start off this entry, I would like to point out that this is the 420th post on the blog and that ties into the reasoning for posting this today. I don't care about weed, but a lot of people do, so this is for them...I guess. Are potheads into this kind of shit? I don't give a fuck.
  What we have here is a two song cassingle of some totally ridiculous shit, which is the perfect kind of music to put on such a format. In what could possibly be one of the more bizarre DIY collaborations in recent years, members of YOUR HEART BREAKSTEAM GINASUNN O)))EARTHLAKE and KARL BLAU team up to bring you their own special versions of SNOOP DOGG's "Sensual Seduction" and NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK's "The Right Stuff".  I mean, what more can I tell you? Happy 420th post!

What's possibly even more ridiculous is that this tape was pressed onto a 7" record with spray painted (??) covers. I have one. If you want your own, click over to Off Tempo to order one.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

ALEX TURNER - Top Ten of 2013

    I thought that my list from yesterday would be the last one, Alex surprised me with this in my inbox. Alex is a good friend and, like me, is going through something we like to call "punk life crisis". I'll leave it up to you to figure out what that is. Meanwhile, you can find Alex in airport terminals, on Greyhound, hiding in his room or at one of the 25 punk fests he likes to go to. Here's Alex to tell you about the things he liked in 2013.

The Body - Christ, Redeemers + w/neurosis (portland) and @ this is not a step (berkeley)  
     I saw the body play a fest, a big rock show, and I think one regular punk show this year. They have blown me away everytime i've seen them, and each album is better than the last. I hear rumor of a kids album? I'm sure it'll be the best kids album of the decade.

 •Do Ya Hear We?/Shark Pact Tour (oakland, l.a., flagstaff, kansas city, carbondale, chattanooga)
     I went to chaos in tejas, it was fun, but not the kind of punk I feel at home in. So while hung over in a park in austin I texted jeff to see if I could jump in the van for a week with shark pact and go to do ya hear we. I had a great time, stayed up for 40 hours at one point. saw great bands, ate good food, shot gunned a beer outside a small town police station, tried to sleep in the middle of a porch party, tried to sleep while really stoned people listened to paranoid at least 5 times, it was super fun and good to be back with the punk I know and love.

 •Foxboro Hot Tubs @ Eli's Mile High Club (oakland, ca) 
   I finally saw green day! or their alter ego, whatever. I blacked out and don't think they played a single song I knew or cared about. I had so much fun.

   •No Statik - On a pedestrian bridge @ 3am (ausitn, tx) + Unity and Fragmentation + Everywhere You Aren't Looking  Remix tape 
   I'm kinda obsessed with this band, I saw them play in at least 5 different cities this year (olympia, seattle, portland, berkeley, and austin). they played the best punk show of the year (on a bridge in austin in the middle of the night), they put out a great 12" and a remix tape that is an actually interesting re-inventing of the songs. I feel like I could go on an on, but i'll just say that they are really good at what they do.

 •Modern Times Cafe, coffee (minneapolis, mn) 
   Coffee is important to me. the fact that it is impossible to get your coffee cup even half empty at this busy cafe is a testament to the fact that they understand how important coffee is. plus the coffee is really good, and cheap. if i lived in minneapolis I'd be here all the time.

 •Neo Boys - Sooner Or Later 
   often some old band gets a big retrospective and most of the songs you never heard are terrible, or forgettable at best. the neo boys just went from having a 7" and a 12" to having a double lp, and it's all great. i'm glad somebody did all this digging around and put it out.

 •Rat$ @ mohawk (austin, tx)
    I love fred and toody. After this show I said that they could get on stage and make fart noises, and I'd prolly be pretty happy. This was way better than fart noises.

 •Stillsuit - lp
    The best active band in oakland? They quietly do everything right, except when they play, it's loud, noisy, and makes the fucked up world outside tolerable for 20 minutes.

 •Tacoma County Fair (tacoma, wa) 
   The best party of the year, full of games and old friends. thanks 5d.

 •This Is Not A Step / Neon Piss last show (berkeley, ca) 
   So I went to a lot of fest this summer, by the time this one came around I was kinda exhausted. I pretty much skipped the first day, but the two days I went to where full of great bands (the body, no statik, los crudos, talk is poison, hysterics, and replica). Neon piss played for the last time at this fest, which was sad, but it was a nice send off at a show filled with friends and love.

 honorable mention... 
Criminal Damage - Call of Death lp 
Dark Rides - Walk The Floors lp 
Future Virgins - Late Republic lp 
Giant Henry - Big Baby lp
Unwound - Kid Is Gone box set 
No, Sir I Won't - The Door 12" 
Radioactivity - lp
Rat's Rest - demo

Monday, January 20, 2014

GREG HARVESTER - Top Ten of 2013

Cape Cod. Photo by either Pars or Wars.

   It seems like a cliche to talk about how the past year sucked. We do it every year, but this era was terribly fraught with sadness for me. More friends died, others moved on, some important unions halted and my dad passed away just before the new year. I've already spent the better part of 2014 packed away in my room, staring at the walls or at movies....but the past couple of days felt pretty good and I hope things continue to get better. I really struggled to find ten things to talk about for this list because feeling good wasn't happening a lot in 2013, but here ya no particular order...(P.S. I'll also have a top ten list of 2013 records in next month's MRR).

  I generally prefer to surround myself with a bunch of grumpy ass folks when I go on tour, but being the roadie for FUNERAL CONE on their West Coast tour was a breath of fresh air. Rather than pouring out of the van after long drives and running to hide in some dark corner while guzzling pure grain alcohol, the band would run around to meet seemingly every person at the punk house and seem genuinely interested in hanging out with people. Also, it appeared like there wasn't any stressful situation that fazed them...even when I got them to sleep on a freezing wooden boxcar or when we slept in a sketchy suburban squat in Victoria, BC. I had fun the whole time, from long drives to ferry rides to encountering the cross streets of Woodcock and Kitchen-Dick to huddling up in a stupid-ass rental van and acting like I could possibly sleep. FUNERAL CONE rules.

   Not only was I into this show because I think DEEP TEENS are a great band, but because they organized the show to be a huge event rather than just a normal show. Okay.....full disclosure: I missed every opening act because I was doing other stuff in the city and decided to go this last minute....BUT, I was not disappointed by a single second of the DEEP TEENS set. The set started with a drag performance in front of a curtain. At the culmination of that act, the curtain was pulled down to reveal the members of the band ready to start their set. While they played their eerie, dark songs, deadpan models stared straight into a camera ten feet away from them and it was projected onto a screen behind the band. The effect was alluring, jarring, unsettling and exciting. As the band wound down, the performers in front of the camera launched into a performance that blew my mind in such a way that I can't even describe it. I appreciated the show for changing the landscape of what a performance usually is, for being outwardly queer and freaky with brutal clarity, for completely crushing all of my expectations and for reawakening some part of my psyche that feels more comfortable with personal gender fluidity. Plus, they set up the show at the Lab in the Redstone Building, which has a long history of labor struggles, queer activism, plain ol' activism and is full of labor murals. I wish more performances had this much thought behind them.

   I loooove THE BODY. They play music that sounds like how awful my year felt. I think I saw them play three times this year: at Gilman in Berkeley, at Machines With Magnets in Pawtucket, RI and at a tiny little house in Santa Cruz. My favorite might have been the one in Rhode Island where they had two drummers and WORK/DEATH opening for them. At some point during that show, I realized that the band had been getting louder and louder throughout their set and it had reached a point where it felt like everything in the world was rattling into a cataclysmic oblivion. At the end of their set, they played a loop of "Suicide Is Painless" for about 15 minutes. The Santa Cruz show was really fun too because it was funny to see the band cram their huge amps into a tiny little room along with 50 stoned, moshing maniacs. I can't wait for their children's album to come out this year.

There's no video that can give you the live experience of seeing THE BODY, but this one's not bad. 

   So, every time I see this band, it's usually better than the last. I was worried about this one meeting those expectations since their singer, Ruby had broken her foot and was hobbling around on crutches while wearing one of those big black cushioned boots. I should know better. As soon as she hit the stage, the crutches were nowhere to be seen and she was fucking killing it along with the rest of the band. NO STATIK is ruthless. They are their own world. Yeah, sure I cringed when Ruby was running around the stage and I had my phone ready to call the paramedics if needed, but fuck, it ruled.

Starting at 1:40, I would like to remind you again that she was on crutches all day and night.

   My friend Mike Leslie and I went on a 40 mile bike ride through Rhode Island one day in October and it was insanely beautiful. Sure, I almost bailed on the idea after ten miles, but it's only because I was dehydrated (2 bottles of water and a Del's frozen lemonade and I was fine). Most of the path we biked on was surrounded by the last bits of fall colors and I wished I could just live in that moment for a few more months.

I mean, look at that shit.

    Spotted Race (a.k.a. Lumpy Rex) is a tape label that's responsible for some of the most deranged, lo-fi and ridiculous punk coming out of the Midwest these days. In some ways, it reminds me of the old Gulcher Records label from Indiana. The packaging for all of their releases is hand drawn by Lumpy and everything is fucking dirt cheap, the way punk oughta be. Home to great bands like LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS, VIOLATIONS, TRAUMA HARNESS and CAL AND THE CALORIES.

   I ran down to Santa Cruz with my roommate Matt and friends to see this awesome show in a tiny little apartment. There were actually like 4 other bands that played, but the bands listed above are the only ones I saw. The apartment was hot and sweaty. Everyone was slick and greasy, but having a lot of fun. After dancing with a bunch of maniacs to flawless back-to-back sets by DIEHARDREPLICA and NO STATIK, I didn't think that anything could top it...but then Spain's ABSURDO jumped on the already packed show and just destroyed the little apartment. After that, we skipped out on the rest of the show because of other commitments. I drove the crew back to San Francisco and was still so pumped from the hardcore show that I biked over to a bar to see BLACK PUS. That was also really cool, but the atmosphere just sucked after being in a rad house with a bunch of sweaty punks all day.

     I've been a fan and friend of all parties involved for years now. Eli and Maralie (from HUMAN BEAST) first caught my attention with their Arkansas punk (and more) band SOOPHIE NUN SQUAD and then won my heart over with TEM EYOS KI (Linked video is one of my favorite live recordings of a band completely in their element). Carlos (from RUSSIAN TSARLAG) blew my mind by orchestrating performances that ranged from rolling around in the gravel to taping raw meat to his chest to talking into a microphone in a basement for 24 hours. I used to tell people that RUSSIAN TSARCASM (the former name) was my favorite band, even though I had never actually seen Carlos play one note of "music".
   Anyhow, the rest of the show itself bored the hell out of me, but seeing these two bands made the night completely worth it. RUSSIAN TSARLAG's performance has matured in many ways. Rather than just beating you over the head (sometimes literally) with a raw egg or something, Carlos eased into his performance and set a tone that was slow and deliberate. He's now singing along to pre-recorded music and playing beautiful, gloomy songs on the guitar to a backdrop of warbly VHS tapes. It was almost poppy, in a way. It made me uncomfortable in the best way. It was real and honest. It's also a little indescribable. And yes, some raw egg got on some people who were sitting a little to close.
   HUMANBEAST changed the tone very abruptly. I'll just put it out there: I don't really give a fuck about dance music, but HUMANBEAST is more than dance music. They're dark, primal, sexual and deviant in a way that feels really genuine. Plus, Maralie has one of the best singing voices ever, so she could just be singing her shopping list and I'd pay attention. I love the way the two of them take over a room. Even though Eli is playing a couple of tables full of synth and pedals, he doesn't stay still. During this performance, he danced just as much as Maralie..or could be found climbing up a ladder on the edge of the room. The two of them played around with bondage and power dynamics in a way that seemed to make the stuffy SF crowd blush a little bit. I loved it.

   I didn't ride on a plane until I was about 22. Just thinking about them gave me a panic attack, but I like traveling. I want to go to faraway places. I want to be able to go see friends on the other side of the country (or world) without spending an eternity getting there. This year, I've finally been able to ride on planes (and even enjoy it) without wanting to puke out all of my insides while waiting in the terminal. That's because of heavy drugs. Thanks, drugs.

   Other people broke the rules, so I will too. This show happened on January 4th, 2014. It was practically still 2013! I have very mixed feelings about reunions, nostalgia and giant ballrooms, but also, DEAD MOON is my favorite band of all time, so I had to go. Fred and Toody Cole have been playing consistently ever since DEAD MOON broke up, so it didn't feel like they were doing something too out of the ordinary. As soon as Andrew hit the first drum cracks of "Diamonds in the Rough", everything felt right. It sounded like they had never stopped playing. I was out of my mind and stoked. I was not around friends and everyone around me seemed to stand like statues while pointing digital devices at the band. I pushed my way through the crowd, but then just ended up in the balcony, finding friends and dancing to all of our favorite songs. There were 1500 people there! Where were all those people when DEAD MOON was a band?! I never saw them play to over 150 people. Whatever. They sounded great. I had a great time. I hope they get back together. I wouldn't even be bummed if they put out a new LP. 

I took that picture.

Honorable mentions (a.k.a. right up there with everything else): Mineragua in a glass bottle, going out to Provincetown (and Wellfleet) finally with excellent company, IRON LUNG live, joint birthday party at Pinball Wizard, Twins Pizza, biking up to Twin Peaks in SF, STILLSUIT, "Pick My Nips" (the drinking game...not as nasty as it sounds), RV Cave and seeing TOTAL CONTROL

Sunday, January 19, 2014

SKI - Top Ten of 2013

Photo by Adam DeGross

  Ski rules! He's one of my favorite current drummers (in FROZEN TEENS), a cool dad and a total sweetheart. Many days, I wish I could live in the same town with him, but he lives in a frozen tundra that would kill my southern ass. Here he is with his top ten of 2013....

    2013 was a year of transition for me. I started going to school for Sound Arts (haven’t been to school since graduating high school in 1997!), I finally decided that I NEED to get out of food service, I grew a beard in September (pictured above), I became a part time karaoke dj (?), and I listened to the least amount of new punk (or punk in general) since I got into the stuff. I’m trying to get a hold of the cynic side that tends to come safety pinned to the punk vest you might say. 2013 was the year I gave contemporary popular music a chance (most of it still doesn’t pass the bullshit detector). But there were some gems, some of which I left off this list cause who wants to read my views on Daft Punk or Pearl Jam? There’s enough press about them anyway. Here’s my 2013 Top Ten Albums in first letter alphabetical order:

 • COLIN STETSON - New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light 
     This is probably my favorite record of the year, and it’s not so much that I’m really into the music, but that I love the “art” of it. Stetson plays alto, tenor, and bass saxophones and records his songs in one take with no pedals. It’s all acoustic. It’s mind blowing. He really pushes the limits on what one can do with harmonics on an acoustic instrument. There are some overdubbed vocals by a guy named Justin Vernon, which doesn’t take anything away from the magic of Stetson’s sax, but adds a nice layer. Stetson has a mic around his neck and “sings” while circular breathing and playing harmonies AND percussion with his fingers! I could get into the recording nerd stuff about mic placement and technique, but I’ll spare ya. Also, the music is really good.

 • DARK RIDES - Walk The Floors 
     This record rules! Power pop, check. Punk earnestness, check. Catchy melodies, check. I love that friends of mine who made my favorite music ten years ago are still doing it, and as we age, the lyrical content does too. I don’t really relate personally that much with really young bands anymore. I’m in my 30s and I’m a father. But I appreciate the rage! Uh, listen to Dark Rides!

• DAVID BOWIE - The Next Day
    I’ve never really been a Bowie “fan”. I grew up with his music, and I’ve always liked it, but I never really bought his records or really gave them a good listen until last year. I’m a fan now. If this record came out in the late 70s or 80s, it would be labeled under “Classic Bowie”. It reminds me of his Berlin recordings.

DISHPIT - Smash The Plate! 
     This is the debut 45 from the newer Minneapolis band Dishpit! They take their influences from Dead Kennedy’s, Crucifucks, and Hickey (but not limited too or intentionally). Dishpit conjours memories of when we had The House and The Perot House in Fargo and bands would come through, play for us and hang out and we’d get into crazy amounts of trouble. We’d also learn about new bad ass ways to live and have fun. Dishpit are pissed and they want to rock yer ass off! Gary is one of the funnest singer/guitarists to watch too!

FUTURE VIRGINS - Late Republic 
     Remember what I said about Dark Rides? Same applies here. This record shows the Future Virgins maturing in sound and complexity. It’s beautiful. It’s about love. They’re still one of my favorite bands of all time. Playing with them twice this last summer would also be Top Ten list worthy.

• HAIM - Days Are Gone
     This is where I have the biggest conflict with my punk cynic. I shouldn’t like this. I should dismiss it. Yet, I can’t stop listening to it. The songs are constantly stuck in my head. My friend told me to “just give in” and accept it. Why do I feel guilty about liking music? The core of this band are three sisters from the valley in CA who grew up playing percussion. This album is layered with that influence. Danielle Haim’s voice is strong and confident. The harmonies provided by the two other sisters are perfect. This record is pop, but from the 80s or early 90s style. I don’t get the feeling that it’s supposed to be ironic. Este Haim’s bass face is also terrifically amazing! And yes, I “discovered” this band watching SNL. So what?

    When visiting my girlfriend’s parents in Iowa, her step-father (who’s got the biggest record collection I’ve ever seen) said “Hey, check this band out, I think you’ll dig it.” When the guitar kicked in on the opening song “Howl”, I knew he was right. Imagine Johnny Marr playing with a soul band. This band is from Chicago and that’s about all I know about them. I saw them live recently and was blown away. It was a shame there were only about fifty people there, cause the amount of talent these ladies and gentlemen have should pack a 250+ room! The sticker on the album claims that they are “post-punk soul”. That’s a pretty good description and I’m glad they said it so I didn’t have to stoop to that level. Check ‘em out.

     I first met Nato when his band The Modern Machines played Gainesville on their first tour a long time ago in a pre 9/11 era and he’s been in and out of my life ever since (the way touring friends can be) and now he lives in Minneapolis. This is his crowning achievement! I’ve liked all his bands and projects, but I don’t think they’ve ever been sonically captured the way they should have until now. This record is heavily rooted in Americana like Springsteen and Petty and power pop via Paul Collins. It’s soooo good! They do a really good rendition of the Bent Outta Shape song “Rudes and Cheaps” to boot. Also, Nato is one of the most entertaining front persons in a band in that underground world out there.

    This is Nature Boys second full length (it’s not actually titled II, I made that up) and it’s more of the crazy surf-ish, heavy, melodic Kansas City punk that can’t be stopped! This record is a bit darker than their debut (Suzanne sounds so evil on “Dr. Claw!) and it contains the songs from their Rabies 45 that came out in 2012. I think everyone should be into this band and if you haven’t heard them yet, do yourself a favor and pay attention!

• SWINGIN’ UTTERS - Poorly Formed 
     I was really into Swingin’ Utters when I was younger and kind of lost track of them after 5 Lessons Learned but still always go back to some of those early albums. They recently came out with a couple new records in the last few years and I gave them a listen (the internet makes checking these things out really easy) and really liked it. They’ve gotten away from the spikey hair and boots ’n braces type stuff and are really more focused on melody and dynamics than I feel they have ever been. Plus, a major thing happened since I used to listen to them: The Marked Men. I feel like fast, tight, sizzle punk has changed since that Texas band came around. Listening to this new Utters record through Marked Men filters puts a fresh and different perspective on it. I don’t know if that makes sense or if the Swingin’ Utters have even ever heard of the Marked Men, but in my mind it produces acceptable sensations.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

MIKE LESLIE - Top Ten of 2013

   Mike Leslie is one of my favorite artists, a fine skater and one of the better friends I have in this world. If you can ever get him to drive with you in a pickup truck for more than 20 minutes, he might give you some of the best advice you've had in a long time. He also has a big shark tattoo on his chest. Like E. Conner, Mike could not find a lot of joy in 2013, so he submitted all the great yellow things he liked this year...


It's rare I get so excited about a record before it comes out, and this was one of those moments. Radioactivity is the musical continuation of Jeff Burke of The Marked Men. It's very catchy, pop punk, but doesn't carry any of that genre's baggage somehow. Like The Marked Men, the artwork is an after thought, with no insert of lyrics or anything else for that matter. But if you are like me, you can just text funny versions of the lyrics to your friends when you are bored. The record cover is yellow, and I can't stop listening to it!

This record is kind of the same thing as the Radioactivity record. Jeff Burke in Japan, forming a band. Two tracks, 45 RPM. I think one song is about someone dropping out of song writing and how that is sad, and the other song is about liking someone and them not liking you back. All played on a danelectro guitar. The record cover is also yellow, and so is the record itself. Lo and behold, no lyrics or anything else inside...

Burlington's Final Frontiers make it here again! Two best friends, one voice, rotating rhythm section. Stand outs this time: "Nothing Wrong with Toronto," and "Bullshit Boulevard." The tape J card doesn't have much info, is a black and white photo copy, but don't worry, the case is neon yellow! I will see them live in four hours from writing this! PS: I went on tour for a week as their bass player after the show!

Members of: Witches with Dicks, Libyans, Surrender, Subclinix, Brain Killer.... Etc. That is all in the past/alternate present. This record is great, my favorite format: 12" 45 RPM. No Sir I won't is hardcore somehow, but with the catchiness of Crass. Songs are very wordy (hard to sing live) and of  a political nature. The cover art is great, a black and white door, extensive lyrics and what not. And the insert and vinyl are YELLOW! The whole thing is beautiful.


Al Scorch
Joe DeGeorge
Lars Paulson
  I lived in Worcester pretty much my entire 32 years up until June this year, when I migrated a whopping 39 miles south, to Providence, RI. One of the things I left behind, was George's Coney Island Hot Dogs founded in 1918. Good food, rumor has it you can get a "freaky" which is all the toppings on top of potato chips inside a hot dog bun. But I've always been too reserved to ask, and I also eat meat now. Anyways, there is a bar attached that I have never set foot in. It closes at 8, and since I don't drink, there has never been a reason to go there. Well, December 14th brought snow and new reasons. Sally, of Secret Lover had a birthday this night, and invited some folks to play Coney Island's first punk show. I approached the door separating the regular side, from the bar, and hesitated before stepping on uncharted tile. The adult side! So much has changed for me. Many Moxies were consumed, and I ate a hot dog, a hamburger, then another hot dog. A hamburger on hot dog bread in my stomach...
  Styk: Jamie Buckmaster of Terribles fame, (and my default brother)'s glam band headlined. Flashy, catchy playing next to an ATM. The bartender at Coney plays bass, all the workers took photos of him in gold lame'.
   Al Scorch: Tore through standards and originals and impressed everyone as usual. He took requests, and Matt didn't break any plates over his head this time.
   Joe DeGeorge: Took a break from singing about clams, harry potter, and covering Bach to play saxophone over prerecorded soft rock. It was sexy, smooth, easy! Also: Sexy.
    Lars Paulson: The bassist of Secret Lover, sang disco songs over a prerecorded track and I think may have rapped at some point. The night ended with the first big snow of the year, and the minivan crawled down 146 to my new home.


This is the skate park closest to my house! I've been skating since it opened maybe 7 years ago? It is well built, by Breaking Ground, and even though everything is under three feet tall, per order of the state they kept the design interesting and fun. Rumors went around that it was going to be torn down, but low and behold, just in time for Christmas, the city threw money at it to expand. If you were crashing into kids on scooters before, now you have more space to narrowly run into them.

Friday, January 17, 2014

E. CONNER - Top Ten of 2013

   E. Conner is back for her second year in a row to bring you her top ten of 2013....but she didn't exactly do a top ten. Proving both that all rules are meant to be broken and E cannot be tamed by anyone's expectations, she submitted a top 8....and that's okay..but I still called it a top ten because I like how it sounds. Enough babbling....

Antifascist Film Night
Antifascist Film Night was an event I organized that was hosted by the irreverent Black Hole Cinema in West Oakland, Amerikkka. I had been peripherally thinking a lot about politically mobilized subcultural scenes in (recent) history and the interplay of cultural signifiers with fascism at the time and had just watched Antifa:Chasseurs de Skins with Trash and John (finally translated into English and available for free practically everywhere ever online, streaming and downloadable).
I, of course, have a lot to say about the movie itself: The necessity of violence to remove oppression in, like, the most localized sense, the importance of fashion in combating (literally, like, mobilized militarization) fascism, and the relevance of shared cultural space and good as fuck oi!
 Still, the event itself is what mattered most.
 I had been disappointed in a recent local "political punk" festival for supporting nary a viable relevant political workshop and instead focusing on vegan recipes and self indulgent nostalgia. Yeah... I talked A LOT OF SHIT. (That's not to say that fest wasn't with out value to some people but this is my mother fucking top ten and I'll be whatever kind of asshole I want to.)
ANYWAY instead of letting shit pass without addressing more interesting pertinent realities I organized this movie showing to hopefully incite some collective critical thought in an engaged participatory environment.
 My good friend and recent transplant to the Bay Area (via DC) Beck Levy offered to make the beautiful posters and it was all off to a good start. Tooth guided me through the hoops of organizing a film showing and surprising amount of people (a lot of whom I'd never met) showed up to talk about weird stuff.

when i was like, 22 i stole a small bottle from the health food store in Indiana. HONEYSUCKLE: helps you put memories of the past into perspective if you are feeling homesick or overly nostalgic.
Like, what's a baby have to be sad about?
 How many fucking reunion shows are we supposed to go to?
 What have those old alcoholics got hiding in their wrinkles and shitty tattoos that makes them relevant? Authenticity is a fucking joke.
 Someone tried to re-release an old album of "the band i never talk about". At first I thought "hey that would be a funny way to pay rent". Then realized how terrible it would be to subject anyone of any age or experience to something that, looking back, was so stupid.
 Riot Grrrl was just another feelings scam.
 You don't have to learn anything from anyone.

The second I found my dad's stash I was struck with injustice. Injustice became victory. Then tragedy. That followed was years of confusion and no fun. Mow it's cool to let someone convince me to do a bump of coke offa their middle finger and jump in the gross drainage channel at the marina. Or leave work early because my crush friended me on facebook and that made me throw up almost immediately. I rode down to the water and ate mushrooms and found an apple tree in the middle of a landfill and ate the apple. I woke up in the middle of the night and grabbed what i thought was a water bottle and gluged back a mouthful of nail polish remover. I smelled it for a week after even though i had brushed my teeth like a million times. We passed poppers around the fire and took our shirts off because weather doesn't matter anymore and we just felt really really warm.

Once when I was like, 14 my dad tried to give me makeup advice. Which is stupid because I'm pretty sure he's never worn makeup EVER. Anyway, blush is awesome. It's the makeup of crazy people. That and eyebrows. Which were really more of a 2012 thing. 2013 was all about the cheeks. Glowing and luminous or sometimes just fucking garish. Blush comes in like, all the colors. Blush is the make up of heightened emotion. Excitement, embarrassment, & fear. The only make up that could possibly be better would be synthetic sweat and they haven't invented that yet.


I feel like the summer started when I gave Nell an ACAB tattoo on my stoop in 8th grade graffiti bubble letters. Then Ben gave me custody of his machine and I gave him a led zepplin, L(o)(o)K (the o's are eyeballs) and a "cussing skull" tattoos all in one night. I did a lot more on others. Including: some woo woo astrology stuff, Nirvana logos, matching twin peaks, tear drops, Clarice Lispector quotes, and more. Let me help you make more mistakes. Let me do a thing on your skin.

There's not a lot to say about this. Someone made me feel crazy by lying to me for months. So, I thought I was crazy. When I found out I wasn't crazy I made them reimburse me for my (sliding scale therapy and medication costs). Some people probably think this is crazy. But it was only $102 and I spent it on groceries and plants for my room. But only because it wasn't quite enough to buy a star with.

I read so much stuff. Stuff about Abject and Affective Labor, Women and Murder, Foucault and Deleuze, Rape and Machines, Sex and Horror, Novels and poetry. All these people I know wrote so much cool stuff. So many amazing zines came out. I printed out so much crap on the printer at work. I downloaded an ass ton of ebooks. I'm not going to tell you about anything specifically because it doesn't matter: Turns out I'm still a crazy idiot.

No, it's not true. But I fucking wish it was. I'm tired of hearing smart cool people complain about how stupid people treat them like shit. Dump your shitty boyfriend and get a dog. Spend the winter making up conspiracy theories and experimenting with sports wear. Start rumors about yourself being a virgin and make yourself appear frighteningly intimidating (as if you weren't already... you crazy idiot you). Troll Grindr with a fake profile starring a picture of Stone Cold Steve Austin and talk to gay dudes seeking butch tops about puppy play and flowers in the middle of the night under a bunch of blankets. Start approximately 5 or 6 okcupid profiles with sincere intentions and then turn them into sources of humor/gender revenge. I don't care what you do, just stop complaining about your shitty dates.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

KYLE KING - Top Ten of 2013

   Kyle King: besides being my roommate AND co-worker, I've spent countless hours sitting next to him in dingy vans as we rumbled across both North America and Europe in our now-defunct band, NEON PISS. He's now playing guitar in COLD BEAT and, as you'll soon see, reading a lot. 

   2013, best seen in the rear-view. In a year that careened from the depths of abject fatalism to the rocky heights of social aloofness, there was shockingly much down time; thusly, I read. I read in a handful of airports in different countries, on several trains, inside a cold warehouse, et cetera - typical jet set.
   Naturally, I did other things with my time. I moved to San Francisco, stared at a myriad of glowing screens, and rediscovered a fondness for walking that I’d lost while living in Oakland. Music was a constant companion, as always, but the content of the following carried me from night into day and back again and thereby warranted a “year-end list.” Read at your own risk.
Honorable mentions go out to the books that keep me reading, the short and pulpy ones that infuse easy joy between interminable slogs of bleak foreign fiction. Simenon, PKD, the Vintage Crime/Black Lizard collection (Maj Sjöwall’s The Locked Roomespecially), Denis Johnson, et al.

Ten Fiction Books I Legitimately Enjoyed in 2013 (in no certain order)

1. The Hour of the Star– Clarice Lispector

Many thanks to E.R. Conner for directing my mind, at some point, towards Lispector. An excellent way to start a year while living under a staircase. (Hopefully, there is more Lispector to come now that I’ve escaped.)

2. A Fan’s Notes – Frederick Exley

Brutal clarity. Enough direct interaction with people whose stories don’t read so picaresque makes me approach anyone’s pseudo-fictional memoir of trips to-and-from the mental hospital with caution. Thankfully, Exley didn’t romanticize his degeneracy, he simply lived it, and lived it continuously. Hilarious, beautiful, and painful all at once.

3. The Elementary Particles– Michele Houllebecq

Having avoided this book due to the author’s reputation and the subsequent ado over its publication, I finally came around to it this year as it lay on a sale table at Moe’s in Berkeley. Complaints of misogyny via the poor characterization of female characters unfortunately ring true, yet the detached tone of narration – even regarding the two brothers at the story’s core – is one of misanthropy. With a current of speculative fiction running through this book (cloning, transhumanism, dystopian sexual deviance), Houllebecq throws the gauntlet at modernity with a sense of dark humor. Classically French, know what I mean?

4. Institute Zagreb 1986/The Air of Conquerors – S.T. Lore

Following an instinct towards the Ballardian brand of surreality, I came across this bewildering split novel courtesy of D.X. Stewart ( The forced blur of consciousness that is air travel suited this book well, as the delusions of old age forge “detective fiction” unlike any I’d read thus far. It’s something of an inexplicable book that I’m looking forward to reading again.
“It was reassuring for her to view this landscape, to know that all that exists will return to molten form, whether it is a column of stone wrapped in molten metal or the figure of human beings themselves – all our landscapes will bloom and evolve along with dying stars. Just look around.”

5. Sátántangó– Lazslo Krasznahorkai

Like his collaborator Bela Tarr, Krasznahorkai uses minutiae as a tool, digging further and further into nuance, exploring every thought of each character. Notably referred to by Susan Sontag as “the contemporary Hungarian master of the apocalypse,” I was again ensnared as I perused the new releases at Green Apple, then found myself hugely affected by the fever-dream internality of his writing in this book. Binging on Krasznahorkai isn’t recommended, but the pieces in Music & Literaturemagazine were an excellent follow-up after Sátántangóhad me in search of more.

6. Astragal– Albertine Sarrazin

Something is lost in escaping – perhaps that’s the most transcendent part of each escape, the shedding of the bonds (literal or figurative).Disassembling oneself to fit neatly through the cracks in the door reveals a different escape plan entirely.After looking for a copy of this book for a couple of years – Sarrazin had been billed as a “female Genet” – New Directions put it back in print and I snagged it as soon as I saw a copy.Reading this book near simultaneously to watching Bresson’s A Man Escaped realigned my entire perspective of the world of crime/criminal fiction, as, like the best of them, Astragal meditates on “freedom” and its im/possibilities.

7. The Stars My Destination– Alfred Bester

Precipitating the “new wave of science fiction” and cyber-punk entirely, Bester made an absolute classic that I had the pleasure of reading this year and plan to read again in 2014. Teleportation, synesthesia, and hardly a sympathetic character to be found make this an essential read for a bright future.

8/9. The Face of Another/Inter Ice Age 4– Kōbō Abe

I read these two books by Abe – likely most famous outside of Japan for Woman in the Dunes– one after another, drawn in by his rigorously scientific style of speculative fiction. Not unlike The Elementary Particles, both novels deal with a kind of corruptive singularity theory; as technology enables human beings to do more, they become increasingly removed from humanity in thought and deed. As each story progresses, the plot becomes almost maddeningly claustrophobic as characters lose all mooring in what had previously appeared to be a rational universe. Psychedelic and portentous all at once.

10. Speedboat – Renata Adler

This was the last book I read in 2013, started in the back of a MUNI bus and finished on a couch in Big Sur. A fitting book to close out on. In Sátántangó, the mulling over of detail and every thought was like a slow rumble, a building collapsing from within, ice cracking underfoot. Adler does the same, but her prose hums along persistently, cyclically buzzing with a manic energy that crafts vignettes and takes each scene apart, bit by bit, with razor-edged finesse. Hers are the notes of a journalist, written in short hand on the backs of blank checks, and though discontinuity abounds, she draws some sort of narrative along, spellbindingly. Glad to have seen NYRB put this back into print, as well as her second novel, Pitch Dark, which I plan to dig up in 2014.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

NO STATIK - "Earhammer Soundsystem" - Tape - 2013

   I decided to take a break from the barrage of top ten lists today and just share a completely badass tape with you. If you're even a casual reader of this blog, my thoughts on NO STATIK are probably no secret to you. In short, I think they are one of the best contemporary hardcore bands that you could possibly have the pleasure of experiencing. I'm aware than many readers don't visit this corner of the internet to get their hardcore fix, but please do yourself a favor today and push the download button at the bottom.
    This tape is the band's 2012 LP "Everywhere You Aren't Looking" remixed and completely fucked with by the band and their engineer, Greg Wilkinson. It starts off innocently enough with the band ripping through their song "Regrettably" , but you quickly know something is different as the guitars start to change tone or just drop out of the mix altogether. From there on out, it just gets weirder and more fucked up to the point where some of the songs don't even resemble their former selves. They incorporate elements of techno, noise and loop effects to tear their songs apart and put them back together anew. I'm still on the fence, but this might be my favorite NO STATIK release to date.
    The download doesn't split up the songs at all because, as you'll see, it's pointless to try. Track one is side A. Side B of the tape is 20 minutes of mostly blank space with a hidden track placed ten minutes in. I was confused if I should leave it as is or edit it down. Luckily for you, I decided to crop it down so that track 2 is just the nutso song featuring mouth drums on side blank space.

Is this tape still available? Fuck if I know. Iron Lung Records had some for about 5-6 seconds, but they're gone now. Go ahead and write to the band. If you ask nicely and send them some cash, they might be able to help you out.

Monday, January 13, 2014

ERIN YANKE - Top Ten of 2013

    Erin Yanke lives in Portland, plays drums in SOCIAL GRACES, works at KBOO, used to write the entire demos column for Maximum Rock n Roll and has given me better life advice that most other people. Here's the ten things that kept her going this year.

Spray Paint – S/T LP and Rodeo Songs - SS Records

   I knew of Spray Paint from their singles, but the records and getting the absolute treasure of seeing them live in 2012 TWICE gave me high expectations for their first full length record. They scoffed at my expectations, while blowing me away. And THEN did it again! I gush... but they are worth it. PLEASE listen to and love this band. Everything good about punk – freedom to create loud catchy and weird music that resonates deeply.

Neo Boys - Sooner Or Later - K Records 

   The first all female punk band in Portland. Before this record, there were only about 8 songs out in the world that they wrote, now there's a double album! They were a fantastic band, they are fantastic people who are still so dedicated to women's equity and freedom and fun! I love them. I love that this record is finally out.

 Una Bestia Incontrolable - Observant com el mon es Destrueix – La Vida Es Un Mus 

   I love when bands take hardcore and push the limits. Who knows if anyone else is attracted to the drone, the bird noises, the depth, and the wait that's going on here, but I certainly am. There are other things to love about this record, but I'll stop there.

  UV Race - Greatest hits volume 2 

    Maybe this record only exists Digitally, because it's actually 7”s complied. But damn geniuses living on the other side of the world make it hard to keep up with the releases, and I'm not so quick on picking up records these days, blah blah blah. “Garbage In My Heart” was my go-to bad mood song this year, and “Speed Freak” was my go-to late night dance hit song of the year.

 Las Otras – Las Otras 12” - Discos Sense Nom

   Yes, it makes me riled up and makes my anger and frustration cathartic and fun! Feminist, political, smart, interesting, critical, a fantastic modern band critiquing our world. And great people on top of it! So good!

Long Knife – Wilderness – Feral Ward

   Best Poison Idea record in a long fucking time! And yet, so much more than local boys/local hero worship. There is one song where the vocals go all backwards and fucked up, and that's when I went from fan to total fan. This is a soundtrack to my experiences on late night public transportation, waiting rooms and holding cells, the heroin burger king, etc. This record makes me feel sane and grounded.

  Gas Rag – Human Rights – Beach Impediment 

   I think the first 10 times Cissie played this on the radio show this year, I asked her what it was. Classic no frills no fuss hardcore. Thrash part thrash part mosh part thrash part. Thank you!

 Flesh World – Flesh World – La Vida Es Un Mus

   I heard tales of this in the summer, and I'm glad it came out in the stormiest Portland month. It's dark and energetic, catchy and coy.

 Love Triangle – Clever Clever – Static Shock

  Thank you Greg Harvester for pointing this one out to me! Scratches the same itches as Jay Reatard with more bounce, more zest or the Marked Men with more snot. I listened to this over and over at work one day and was asked who this band was a lot! Pretty good job making the hippies and the activists take notice!

 The worst news this year was the fact that Richie Ramone put out a record called “Entitled”. Do you believe that shit? Fuck that guy.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

MEGAN MARCH - Top Ten of 2013

  Besides having a tremendous head of hair, Megan March is also an outstanding drummer and has been a good friend for a long time. She doesn't remember this, but once she taught me how to tune a set of drums....a skill I promptly forgot...and a skill she claims to not possess. Tuned or not, she still makes them sound good and, more importantly, she hits really hard. She does a lot more than just hit drums, but this is what this is all there. You can find her playing in STREET EATERS and WILD ASSUMPTIONS. (P.S. I'm honored that I showed up on this list among such other skilled wizards)

   My top ten this year is about drummers I saw play live in 2013. Of course this is in no real order other than alphabetical - just 10 really great talented drummers that I enjoyed gawking at while their bands played. We don't need a media machine's idea of a rock idol because our friends and community are so bad ass. Plus, everybody seems to overlook all the busy work most drummers are doing, so this is a small homage to all the creative, rudiment driven, stick breaking wild asses that kept the beat in 2013. Some of these bands broke up this year, or decided to go into hiding. I can guarantee you I've forgotten a few, so this is by no means an end all list of good punk drummers!!

 1. Adrien Tenney - SPOKENEST


 3. Greg Harvester - NEON PISS (RIP)

 4. Jamie - STILLSUIT


6. Justine and Hozoji - LOZEN

7. Lillian Marring - GRASS WIDOW (RIP?) and WET DRAG

 8. Rich Gutierrez - SOURPATCH (RIP) and PERMANENT RUIN


 10. Susie - QUAALUDES

Thursday, January 9, 2014

MIKE TAYLOR - Top Ten of 2013

    Mike Taylor is another person on this list who I wish I saw more. He is an artist living in Brooklyn, NY, most notable for his zine, Late Era Clash, and completely unknown for his current band, Young Ruins. His solo show No/Future opens at Booklyn Artist Alliance on January 18th. 

1.) Broken Water, live at Death by Audio, 5/13.
I was late arriving to this boat, but here I am now. Recorded, Broken Water sound just like, you know, S-----Y---- to me.  Live, however, they are genuinely weird. When your ears or eyes correct a small gap in input, as in making moving film of stills or actual music digital sound waves…my mind did a similar thing as I watched Broken Water. The musical landscape is so cluttered with imposters that it sometimes takes a moment to recognize realness; it is often initially perceived as an imperfect facsimile. Japanther and Extra Feeler also played this show; it was a solid bill.

2.) Paul McCarthy all over Manhattan, fall, 2013.
I hate it as much as anyone when New Yorkers start that best city in the world shit, but I admit that it feels fortunate when one of the biggest cultural events of the year is Paul McCarthy taking over the Park Ave. Armory to stage a multimedia psychosexual Disney nightmare. As the centerpiece to his two simultaneous, completely different shows at Hauser and Wirth’s two Manhattan locations,  WS at the Armory was Mannerist  restaging of New York City at its most debased: a wrecked home within a Technicolor forest, full of ugly gnomes and beautiful Princesses throwing up all over one another.

3.) Humanbeast/ Russian Tsarlag, live at The HO_se, 7/13
This show was one of the most disgusting, humid pits I’ve been in for years. But I stayed and enjoyed it.  Maralie and Eli of Humanbeast have been playing all sorts of music in the underground so consistently, it’s a pleasure to see them show up, plug in, and casually slay. They don’t have to try anymore, but they do. For you. Carlos Gonzales, of Russian Tsarlag, is America’s premier talent. I’m sure I don’t have to elaborate on that point for the readers of this particular site.

4.) Witchhat/Dungeon Broads, 6/13, The Observatory, Chicago
I miss Witchhat already. They were one of the few bands that imagined Nirvana as a band that “actually mattered” (Nirvana was a fine rock band, but I personally reject the narrative that places them at the fulcrum of a cultural shift), and in doing so, made awesome Nirvanish rock music that swings afield of pop and further towards the genuinely ugly. At this show, they played a battle set with Dungeon Broads, which maybe is the ideal way to experience both bands.

5.) Neuron, by Robert Russett, at the New York Film Festival. This film was made in 1972, but was recently restored by the Academy Film Archive. Mike Stoltz invited a bunch of us out to the Lincoln Center to see the Views from the Avant Garde program at the NYFF, where we were treated to a wide swath of varying degrees of difficult viewing. Neuron, however, threatened to send people out of the theater. True psychedelia, all analog, nothing kind about it. Another hidden master in whose wake we’re still swimming.

6.) Lord Dog Bird, live at Silent Barn

7.) Lord Dog Bird, The Trinity Knot LP
For the recent incarnation of Lord Dog Bird, Colin has traded the guitar drone for organ. I first heard these songs live at Silent Barn and was wholly unprepared. I’ve known Colin since he fronted The Don Martin 3 in, what, 1995, 96? He has always, always been just enough ahead of the listener’s expectations. His new songs always land like buckshot; I remember thinking at each interval in the last 20-odd years, “OK, finally he has recorded some songs that just aren’t for me”, and without fail, the songs formerly in question become the new gold standard. I’m not sure if the record buying public is in agreement, but artists don’t seem to be making great livings off writing heart wrenching songs about truth.

8.) Total Control, live at 285 Kent
The first band ever from Australia was AC/DC. This is the second. Pretty good, for a bunch of 13 year old male models.

I’ll zero in on Why Did I Ever, a short novel comprised of 536 short chapters that began as index cards she used to write her way out of a severe spell of writer’s block in the 90s. Her most recent novel is One DOA, One on the Way. I haven’t read it yet. I just found Why Did I Ever this year, and it’s as terse and sad as all those Raymond Carver stories you already like, but the narrator has a heart, and a preference for things turning out OK. It’s easy to love minimal fiction, but it’s surprising when there is blood flowing between the wry observations and sad surprises.

10.) Mickey Z. /Michael Deforge/Patrick Kyle as a casual comics juggernaut. “Rain Comic”, “Butler Comic”, “Pixar’s Cars”, “Batman”, “Basketball”. As much as I am a fan of each of these artists individually, as a team they seem to highlight how everyone else just tries too hard. You can’t try to be funny and you can’t try to be weird. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

SHELLSHAG - Top Ten of 2013

    SHELLSHAG (Shell on guitar and Shag on drums) is a band that has been around for what feels like a lifetime now. I've seen them play their fucked up, beautiful songs flawlessly to absolutely no one in rooms while acting like they were selling out Madison Square Gardens. I've admired their ability to persevere through rough times, including the late 90's Mission punk scene when it seemed like no one would make it out alive. I've also danced and cried along with rooms full of beautiful freaks while they have played hit after amazing hit. SHELLSHAG is timeless, freaky, amazing and I'm proud as hell to know that they are my friends. Huge sighs. 


1. blowing our show at do ya hear we 
2. making out with other people
3. unpacking everything we own after 10 years
4. watching old movies we made in the 90's
5. booking a few shows with bookers
6. driving during a panic attack
7. top ten lists
 8. being in the middle of friends fighting
 9. fighting with a one man band in Greenville NC
10. touring "without" Justin Boemer, Josh Wolpert or Greg Rice Harvester

 1. Playing with Underground Railroad to Candyland
2. Recording green vapors with Screaming Females
3. Scum of the Earth (int)
4. Seeing Terry Johnson
5. releasing shellshag forever
6. hand making shellshag noize toys
7. Playing with Ted Leo
8. Playing Hawaii with some of the greatest people on earth
9. Awesome Fest
10. The Amputees