Sunday, April 27, 2014

IMMORTAL MICE MEN - 4 Songs - Tape - Year???

   Okay, are you ready to get a little weird with me? I was browsing through my stacks of tapes and came across this mix tape from 2001 made by my friend, Amy, which is comprised solely of under-appreciated Midwestern bands from years past. Included are timeless tracks by THE GIZMOS, DOW JONES AND THE INDUSTRIALS, PROBLEMATICS, THE JETSONS and many more classics that are all worth tracking down. Then, I remembered that there are four songs by a band called THE IMMORTAL MICE MEN. I vaguely recall Amy telling me about buying that band's LP at a yard sale (??) in the middle of nowhere in southern Indiana. She dubbed her four favorite songs from the LP onto my tape. The band played urgent, anxious, goofy, shambolic synth-y new wave with a drum machine. The band's only LP was self-released sometime in the late 70's/early 80's. I wasn't going to upload these songs because I was sure that the band's material was all over the internet and probably picked over by the Killed By Death crowd. Turns out that when I started looking around, I could barely find anything at all! I found a youtube video of the band's full LP, which was posted almost four years ago and only has 150 views (as of this writing). The record isn't listed anywhere on Discogs, but a later record by Alan Nelson (the man responsible for IMMORTAL MICE MEN) can be found here. Also, Alan Nelson's youtube page is a treasure trove of 70's/80's weirdness. So, yeah....that's where my search ended. There's not much more info out there that I could find.

   I love these four songs and found some other gems on the full record. I might just be more familiar with these songs, but I think they're the best ones out of all of them (although "Dancing is For Assholes" is great and not on this tape). The download starts out with "Tease and Flirt", which sounds so budget, so fucked, so goofy and so compelling that I can't believe it's not a KBD classic. All of the songs are in that same vein. They're heavily synth based and driving. Kinda new wavey, but still urgent and punk-sounding. I'm pretty sure it's all home recorded. It sounds paranoid and claustrophobic, but also doesn't take itself too seriously/ (side note: the last song on here is called "Useless Chatter", which I have been using as a tag on this blog since day one...meant as a nod towards this song.)
   I highly recommend downloading this one and putting it on at your next dumb party...or listening to it on headphones on the bus to make yourself feel even crazier than you already are. Oh, and if you have a copy of this LP sitting in your garage or attic, I will gladly take it off of your hands.

If you know any info about this record, feel free to talk about it in the comments. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

YEAR ONE - Demo - Tape - 2009

   When I started this blog, I feel like I made more of an effort of talking about gender politics and making sure that I always included bands with women or trans folks or poc in them. That's still on my mind when I upload stuff to this blog, but I don't talk about it as much and I've certainly posted multiple bands in a row that consisted of only white cis dudes. As time goes by, I see scenes splitting more and more into different genres of punk. I wish that all the queer bands would play with the hardcore bands and all the pop-punk bands would play with the POC bands, but I also understand exactly why CRABAPPLE and STOIC VIOLENCE might not wanna split a bill.
   Hardcore has never really been a progressive scene, but I feel like lately, it's just like holding a mirror up to the rest of society. I can go almost anywhere to see shitty bros being dickheads to everyone and not giving a fuck about the ways in which they flaunt their privilege, but if I go to a hardcore show, they're wearing leather jackets. There's been a slew of videos posted online in the last few days from New York's Alright (some punk fest). I watched a few of them and then wondered "Were there any women involved in this fest at all?" I looked at the lineup and found LA MISMA and VARIX (both great!), but not much else. This isn't the fault of the bands. Many of them are great (LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS, LIFE CHAIN, etc), but it just feels so predictable....I guess this is why I'm not a big fan of hardcore, even though there's a ton of exciting bands who fall into that genre. In the end, I don't really care that much....the hardcore scene can do what it wants, when it wants without me.

   What does this too much coffee//not enough food rant have to do with YEAR ONE? Absolutely nothing!! YEAR ONE was a too-short-lived band from San Francisco. They shared a practice space with me and played a bunch of shows on the streets, in houses, by the bay and (sometimes) in a bar. Mason, their guitarist, has an approach to playing that seems deceptively simple, but is always insanely catchy. You may already know this if you've heard her play in LIVID or SLEEPWALK. Arwen sings tunefully and direct in a way that recalls a more timid Dangerhouse Records roster. You may recognize her voice if you listened to HUE & CRY...or if she chastised you for turning in your record reviews late for MRR magazine in the early 00's when she was the head coordinator. Heather and Darren rounded out the rhythm section and both of them played harder than needed all of the time, which made them great. I feel like they broke up before they even started, but this happens a lot. Download this tape as well as their track on the Noise Ordinance compilation and you'll have their entire discography.


Thanks to Caitlin for digging up this tape.
Thanks to Alex for digitizing it. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

THE MORONS - Discography - Tape - 2012

   I meant to upload some old MORONS tapes ages ago, but I held off because Once Tender Records was planning on putting out a complete discography. Now, I realized it's been out for a couple of years, so here's the whole thing.
   THE MORONS were from Chatsworth and Dalton, GA: two towns in north Georgia that have bred a stunning array of truly unforgettable people in my life. THE MORONS formed (probably) out of utter boredom and a love of substance abuse. I've never really seen a band live up to their name more than THE MORONS. From huffing copious amounts of gold spraypaint to throwing themselves down flights of stairs to their special game of "Sneaky P" to many other things that I don't feel that I can share here without clearing it with them first, THE MORONS were one of the most real bands I've ever seen. I know that punk celebrates (or "should celebrate" as far as I care) the idea of "no idols" and strives to blur the lines between audience and band, but THE MORONS were truly the same on or off the stage (or "stage"). You know that dude you were just shotgunning a beer with by the dumpster? Now, he's that dude shotgunning a beer behind the drumset, for better or worse.
   Anyway, THE MORONS came from trailer parks and shitty situations and put it all in their songs. They got drunk and then wrote classic songs about being drunk. When they said "smoke some crack and go for a beer run", they had probably just done that. They didn't waste space or deal in hyperbole. If you're from a certain time and era (like me), they wrote one of the best songs of all time, which was about living with the spirit of rock n roll inside of you, which no one could ever steal. THE MORONS were utter morons, but they were also musical geniuses.
    Here's most of everything they ever recorded, culled from self-released tapes, unreleased studio recordings and their EP's. If you want a tape of your own, follow that link above and write to Chad at Once Tender.

MORONS in Dalton, GA. Photo by me.

This one's for Big Shank.

     ADDENDUM 8/8/19: I re-uploaded this because I've been listening to THE MORONS a lot lately and I also wanted to add this note. I went to the Chattanooga punk fest known as Do Ya Hear We last year to see some very dear friends and play in some very dear bands. I had a great time. At some point in the weekend, a member of THE MORONS took me aside to talk about what I had written above. Where I saw nothing but complete praise and adulation, he saw a mockery. He saw his youth frozen in time, played out as a joke. He saw me ending the piece calling him and his bandmates morons, not geniuses...and he is right. Imagine going to read something about about your old band and the author just calls you a Moron and leaves it at that. We talked it out. We hugged and let it go, but I just wanted to add this. THE MORONS were what they were and they represented what we all were at that time and it was beautiful. The people in this band went on to grow up and become enthusiastic dads, animal-lovers, great friends, supportive husbands and even a ship captain. They still write music that is a celebration of life and love that is rooted in anything other than moronic pursuits and I salute them for that. THE MORONS made an impact to me and a whole huge scene of people because they wrote what they lived and it was real. A lot of bands try to claim that but very few actually follow through. So let's just say they were musical geniuses and leave it that, okay? 

Monday, April 21, 2014

NO MORE ART - Demo - Tape - 2012

   NO MORE ART is from Hamburg, Germany and plays straightforward melodic punk in the vein of Dangerhouse Records and some certain Scandinavian bands from a few years back. I feel like there are a lot of bands playing this style of punk, but they are doing it really badly because too many people think it's easy to just bash out three chords while screaming over it. I mean, it is easy, but it's harder to make people still wanna listen to it in a year. I reviewed this demo for MRR a couple of years ago and still listen to it regularly because it's super catchy, their singer Milo has a really strong voice and the whole band has a good ear for melody. I wish that my band could have played with them in Hamburg instead of the technical doomcore band that we ended up with, but so is life. 

Check out the members' other completely different bands: RHONDA and BORN//DEAD

Sunday, April 20, 2014

TREMARCHE//MOTEL MATTRESS - Tour Split - Tape - 2013

   TREMARCHE and MOTEL MATTRESS are two bands from the great state of Massachusetts. The former is from Worcester and the latter is from Boston. TREMARCHE lives in my favorite house in Worcester: Distant Castle. That's about the point where my familiarity with these bands end. I've never seen either band and had never heard either one until receiving this tape, although I briefly met one of the dudes in TREMARCHE and he was super friendly. I was out of my mind while wearing a dress and bird mask. 
  MOTEL MATTRESS plays one, long seven minute, proggy, vocal-less super jam that dissolves into tape loops at the end. There's some hints of USAISAMONSTER or KING CRIMSON in there somewhere or maybe I'm way off the mark. Maybe they're just a jazz fusion band. Either way, if you had given me a tape by them ten years ago, I might have smashed it into bits with a hammer and let monster trucks run over it in the street, but now I'm really into it. Now, I want a 21 minute loop of it, which just means I'll let it play three times in a row and be happy as hell. 
  On the flip, TREMARCHE throws out three hardcore blasts in less time than it took MM to play their one song. "Hardcore" might be too simple of a term for this band. There's a lot more going on. There's some noodly bits. There's some parts that sound like they might have been really into FUGAZI when they were 16 or 17, but actually haven't put on "Repeater" since they turned 19. There's some parts that show that they live in a heavily creative environment and it would just be too easy to write a simple verse//chorus song. Basically, I don't know how to easily tell you what they're playing, but I can tell you that I like it. 

Also, I was surprised when I looked up these two bands online and saw the "official" cover of their split. Even though both bands live about 990 miles from my old home of Chattanooga, TN, the cover features a nice photo of Parkway Towers, which is an abandoned building on the south side of downtown Chattanooga. I once tried to squat that building with two friends of mine. We spent a couple of nights there, but the building was too fucked up to safely and comfortably spend a winter. That was in 1998. The building is still abandoned, as far as I know. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

PEDRO SAYS HI - "Live At Sweet Hickory" - Video - 2007

   PEDRO SAY HI was the solo "pop" project of my good friend, Zak who usually concentrated on noise projects and the long running juggernaut known as PUPPY VS DYSLEXIA. He decided that he wanted to flesh out his simple pop songs into a full band, while making it noisier and a little more chaotic. He recruited his PUPPY-bandmate, Leah to play 2nd guitar (who is the only person I've ever seen play in a punk band using finger picks exclusively), Benny on bass (who played in GOURMET SCUM and later had the most wonderful child named....Pedro) and he got me to play drums. We were pretty short-lived due to other commitments, self-destruction and things that I just can't talk about. I wish that the band had recorded, but Zak didn't want to for his own reasons, which is fine. 
   These videos were filmed by Dave Walter back in 2007 at a very, very sweaty and humid show at Sweet Hickory (an art gallery/record store) in Bloomington, IN, where we lived. The performance is loose, to say the least. We even threw out an ELO cover, which I had never heard in my life and Zak asked me to never listen to I still haven't. 
   Time marched on. Some truly unspeakable events happened. We got back together to play a show in Chattanooga in 2011, as well as record a demo tape. We got the basic tracks down for all of the songs, but Zak was never fully satisfied with how his voice sounded, so the tape has slipped into hiding and I haven't heard a note of it since recording it. 
   That's how things go and that's fine. Enjoy these shoddy live videos of songs about cannibalism, secret societies, feral humans, licking blood off the floors and mental breakdowns. I hope to be in the same room with these fine humans again one day soon, because I love the shit out of them.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


SPAWN SACS - A Garage - 2000 - Chattanooga, TN - Photo by Blaire Newhard

PETER STUBB - Father Abraham's - 2000 - Chattanooga, TN - Photo by Blaire Newhard

TALIBANTHRAX - In Front of the 309 House - 2001 - Pensacola, FL - Photo by Abe Obvior

STUN GUNS - Fairgrounds Gazebo - 1996 - Huntsville, AL - Photo by Greg Harvester

D.V.D.A.N.C. - Oh My! - 1999 - Asheville, NC - Photo by Sweetmeat

DUDE PARTY (1st show. Daniel's dad on harmonica) - Rear Entry - 2000 - Chattanooga, TN - Photo by Brontez Purnell

Hundreds of packages of beef jerky found on the side of the interstate while hitchhiking in northern Alabama - 2001 - Photo by Greg Harvester

Friday, April 11, 2014

SCRAPEGROPE - Demo - Tape - 2007

   Today's entry is brought to you by my good friend, E Conner, who will tell you all about her old band, SCRAPEGROPE.....

  I met Jail in the Indianapolis bus station when Erin and I picked up her and Vanessa to drive down to Ida for Idapalooza... oh shit.... like 8 years ago. Fuck that's a long time ago. The trip was weird and mostly remembered for overhearing a lot of sex, people not being that nice, and Jail and I dicking around a tent drinking whiskey during a tornado. A few months later she moved into my house in Bloomington (The Well Well Well) and we started this band. I played drums and she played a circuit bent Casio. We practiced in the weird basement hole in the ground and sometimes in the living room of The Well Well Well. This tape was recorded in the living room of The Well Well Well by Brad on his computer. It was originally put out by Upper Dave and was released as a split with EVIL WIKKID WARRIOR, which was (is?) John Benson's band that he started with his daughter. We only played a couple of shows, mostly in the living room of The Well Well Well and mostly no one went. We played one show in Chicago and it was a very weird trip...marked by digging change out of a fountain in a mall so that we could buy a beer before getting on the Megabus and playing with David Diarrhea and Lee Revas' (of RIND) old opera fern project. Jail and I also collaborated on a short play called "You Too Sylvia" which was also performed in the living room of The Well Well Well. (there's a theme here) Bennie, Chloe, and Claire (off stage vocals) were also in the play. Jail does a solo glitchy jabber operatic noise dance project called FORCED INTO FEMININITY. Once she did drunken book reviews for an old issue of my fanzine and she is one of the smartest coolest people I've ever known and I love her.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

MINUTEMEN - "Double Nickels On The Dime" - 2xLP - 1984

   I was never a fan of new, popular music on the radio. Even as a little kid, I kinda liked Michael Jackson and Van Halen, but still thought it was boring. In the 4th grade, due to having a cool older sister, my favorite bands were VIOLENT FEMMES, THE CURE and METALLICA. In the 6th grade, I stumbled across an amazing mix tape that contained my first exposure to THE STOOGES, VELVET UNDERGROUND and a little band from southern California called THE MINUTEMEN. When my prepubescent brain first heard the opening warbly chords of "This Ain't No Picnic" something clicked. The hair on my neck stood up. Hearing D Boon's voice scream out a mantra against shitty jobs in a voice that wasn't shaped by mass media or sales charts was truly inspiring. I had never heard punk before, even though it had been sitting there and waiting for me for my entire life. I tracked down "Double Nickels on the Dime" and dubbed a tape of it on a shitty stereo...well, I dubbed as much of it as I could onto one tape. I listened to that tape hundreds and hundreds of times before I ever tracked down my own copy of the record. Their ideas, commitment, politics and drive has inspired me more than any other punk band in history. There's not really much I can tell you about this record that hasn't been said before (ad nauseam), but I'm bringing it up for a reason.

   Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide. When I first heard NIRVANA on the radio, it was a little bit of a magical feeling because the airwaves were populated by music that was, in my opinion, horrible, trite bullshit. It wasn't a life changer for me though. I was already listening to the MINUTEMEN every fucking day. I had already taught myself "Blitzkrieg Bop" on guitar. But, to hear the opening chords of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on the radio was welcome after hearing BEL BIV DEVOE. That feeling was soon squashed after every single radio station in the world, as well as MTV, played that fucking song into the fucking ground. Seriously. Sometimes, DJ's would just play that song on the radio for an hour straight. It sucked. "Bleach" was a mediocre album. "Nevermind" was pretty good, but "Drain You" should have been the hit. "In Utero" owed too much to THE MELVINS (uncredited) and had some seriously weak songs. BUT, I always appreciated how real the people in NIRVANA seemed to be. It seemed like they were just some doofuses who got thrown into the limelight and didn't know how to handle it. I like that they publicly fucked with Axl Rose. I fucking love that they told people to not buy their albums if they were fucked up rapists. I've always been utterly confused about the amount of praise that they've gotten, but I also completely understand why. 
    I found out that Kurt Cobain killed himself on the night of my junior prom. I thought it was sad because he had a lot of potential to do interesting things and use his fame for cool shit. There won't be another rock star like him, which is fine. Would he even enjoy this future we've found ourselves in?