Monday, March 31, 2014
Yesterday, I went to my friend Danielle's birthday party where she had made a simple request of all the guests: Show up with two mix tapes. One for her and one to trade with someone at the party. I showed up with a cup of coffee because I've been working so much that I didn't have time to make one...much less two. I felt guilty as people showed up with cool tapes to trade and I left the party within the hour...to go back to work.
I love mix tapes. I've already written about it at length on this blog. I like the way it tells it's own story and introduces you to the mind of whoever made it. Today, I'm sick in bed and wish I had the energy to even walk over to the stereo and flip records over. Instead, I moved some MP3 files around and put them in a folder for you to enjoy.
On the mix, you'll find some unreleased songs, some (should've been) hits and more. Sixteen songs in all. Have fun with it. I'm going to just lay here motionless and hope that I feel better tomorrow.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
You know how some bands form and then it seems like everything they do is immediately all over the internet? Like, there are times when you couldn't look at some internet sites without seeing a pic of that dude from TENEMENT ringing those bells or all of GAG in their dirty white pants. Don't get me wrong. It's not their fault and those bands are pretty fantastic, but over-saturation is real. There are other bands who act as a slow burn; building up on solid releases and quietly doing everything that they do in just the right way. Bands who immediately come to mind are STILLSUIT, THE TERRIBLES and DEFECT DEFECT.
They mailed me this tape when they wanted me to set up a show for them in southern Indiana on their first US tour. This was after they has already toured the northwest and played Alaska. Even though I thought parts of the tape were a little weak ("In My World"), I was sure that the band would be stellar live and they didn't prove me wrong. Besides that, they're sweethearts. Years have passed. Times have changed. We've slept in each other's houses many times. DEFECT DEFECT is still a band, still DIY as fuck and still putting out great, solid songs whenever they manage to record them. Even though they're not 100% active all the time, they've managed to tour Japan, Europe, South America and Mexico...maybe more. I can't keep up with them.
Check out this tape to see where it all started and if your band makes it up to Portland, always ask to play with them (or SOCIAL GRACES).
A few years ago, I couldn't make a mix tape without putting "We've Already Lost" on it.
Also, this tape has grown on me over the years and I like it a lot more now.
Also, this tape has grown on me over the years and I like it a lot more now.
Monday, March 24, 2014
JACOB THE TERRIBLE (photo by Dawn Riddle)
Here's a link to the MRR radio show that Matt (reviewer/shitworker/guitarist of THE NEW FLESH/baker of sourdough bread) and I recorded this week. We played lots of newer records and demo tapes. Take a listen when you have some time.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
I live in the same state as SPOKENEST, but I couldn't feel further away from them. When I was out of the country and told people that I lived in California, many people wanted to talk to me about Los Angeles...about Hollywood Boulevard and the sunny, warm beaches. I can't tell you a thing about them. I can talk to you about Mission-style burritos or the redwood forests or foggy towns by the ocean, but once we get south of Santa Cruz, I'm clueless and lost. Increasingly, more of my friends in the Bay Area have positive things to say about Southern California and I believe them, but my experiences there have led me into strip malls, endless traffic (I once watched the entirety of Top Gun in LA traffic), bands with homophobic lyrics,racist drug dealers, playing shows to almost no one in record stores, losing myself on pills in Mexico and watching people do heroin in a shitty Hollywood apartment. I want to go to Tom Of Finland's house, see the Tarpits, play a show in that boxing ring and see the other things that make Southern California so great.
I don't think Southern California is bad though. Connecticut and Omaha are bad. Southern California is not. SPOKENEST comes from the Los Angeles area and will prove to you that there's good things happening there. They put out a great self-released 12" last year and followed it up with this tape from this past December. The band is a two-piece with a man and woman splitting the duties of vocals, guitar and drums. They recall the essence of scrappy DIY punk, like THE BANANAS (but waayy less drunk), post-punk and whatever style of punk one would call STREET EATERS, but SPOKENEST doesn't fully subscribe to any of those sub-genres....which is one of my favorite styles of punk. Enjoy their four song tape and go order one for yourself because you can't actually get a screen-printed cover and the physical lyric sheet in a download, fool.
Friday, March 21, 2014
LP's and 12" Records
This year sucked. These records made it better.
This record is a fucking beast. The 1st LP is just downright brutal and the 2nd LP is an album-length industrial noise track that is creepy as fuck. Both records are meant to be played together simultaneously and that’s where the whole thing becomes fucking mind-blowing. IRON LUNG has really outdone themselves with this record. I listen to it on headphones while walking through my neighborhood and it makes me wanna throw posers through windows. Plus, the LP art is outstanding.
Every year, I get more and more bored with the quality of melodic, poppy punk that is coming out, but then a record like this one comes along and I’m sold once again. With members who have been in bands like JACK PALANCE BAND, TULSA, FUTURE VIRGINS, FORCED VENGEANCE and HIDDEN SPOTS, it’s really hard to go wrong. “Walk The Floors” is crammed with hooks blasting out of every song. The split female/male vocals are soaring throughout the entire record. The whole thing is just fucking perfect.
I’m still torn if this is the dumbest record of the year or the smartest. I’m usually not a fan of dumb, glue-sniffing punk at all, but this record is fucking stupidly flawless. WKSJ? plays simple, ultra-catchy, three chord pogo-punk and lays down the law for punks everywhere. Lines like “I stud my fucking glue bag” and “Don’t let them tell you how to dress, let me tell you how to dress. Wear studs” are now immortal to me. So, stop thinking that it’s punk to look like a sexy lumberjack with a rattail and stud your face. Plus, their singer is a UFO investigator, a cryptozoologist and an expert on pre-Colonial Native American habitation in Massachusetts. Mindfuck….
THE LOVE TRIANGLE – “Clever, Clever” LP
My friend, Doug clued me into this LP pretty late in the year and I haven’t been able to get the fucking thing out of my head. This band’s EP’s are really good, but this LP is phenomenal. Catchy, poppy songs with quick 4/4 drumming and a clean, chunky guitar that is equal parts MINUTEMEN tone and not giving a fuck. The album flows perfectly and repeated listens are mandatory. “Hollywood Sleaze” has been stuck in my head for a month straight with no signs of leaving anytime soon.
As always, NO STATIK kills it, both live and on vinyl. Their usual side-long song was a lot less weird than their past efforts, but still more “out there” than most other hardcore bands. The other songs on the record are just brutal and blazing. There are no other bands like NO STATIK and I love them so much. I’m excited about everything they’ve done and I look forward to everything they have to offer in the future.
2013 really sucked for me and I told a friend that THE BODY is the only band that understands how awful I feel; how much I hate many of the things around me. This record sounds like isolation, pain, confusion and hate, but is still starkly beautiful and breathtaking at the same time. It sounds like what I would imagine the whole world falling apart would sound like. Perfect.
I think the thing I like most about this record is that every member of WHORE PAINT is just a bona fide shredder. I don’t even really know how to describe them besides their own self description of riff rock / no wave / crooner shred hybrid. Their LP is excellent and seeing these three ladies (who are all older than the typical punk age) destroy a Providence warehouse with an audience of wildly dancing teens and twenty-somethings made me wanna cry in the best way.
On his debut record, Tony takes all the best elements of super catchy, blown out guitar rock and condenses it down to tidy, minute long jammers. No bullshit. No filler. Simply, this record makes me really fucking happy.
Seeing these four women come from Spain to San Francisco and simply destroy made me so fucking happy. This record made me even happier. Fiercely feminist, unapologetic, energetic and ragged punk. I love it.
I love NATURE BOYS because they play raw punk rock that falls somewhere in that mysterious realm that DEAD MOON also inhabits. Part straightforward punk and part stripped down rock n roll. I love this LP just as much as their last one…if not more.
The best, noisy, most fun, manic party punk EP of the year….with hooks to back it up. Every time I listen to this, I want to see them playing live and flicking their sweat on me. I’m waiting impatiently for everything else this band will ever have to offer.
These Minneapolis dudes continue to put out nothing but solid gold. These two songs are perfect melodic punk with so many layers that something new pops out with each listen. “Footsteps” has been firmly planted in my head for the better part of this year and I can’t wait for new recordings to surface.
REPLICA is awesome because they sound like a bad mood on fire. They’re making some of the best, most engaging, most enraging and genuine hardcore in the Bay Area right now and I feel lucky to be around to see them. Best people. Best band.
Jeff Grant continues moving forward with his home recording project and continues to put out piles of insanely catchy power-poppy punk songs. His music occupies that same brain space of the MARKED MEN (or side projects), but less anxious and he gives his songs room to breathe. This one took a minute to grow on me, but when it did, I realized its genius and realized it would be stuck in my head for a long, long time.
This one is kind of a no brainer. Martin’s voice has been following me through my love affair with hardcore since my teenage years and the other members of this band have spent time in more great bands than you will ever be in. NEEDLES is fucking fierce as shit, committed to DIY and exactly what I want out of hardcore. This record is perfect.
I shouldn’t really have to say anything more than “This is songs by Jeff Burke from the MARKED MEN”. The most brilliantly perfect, precise and wonderful melodic punk that you’ll ever hope to find.
This band sent a demo in to MRR a few years ago and their songs have been stuck in my head ever since. They’re a little like Spain’s answer to FROZEN TEENS, but they have their own voice as well. Gritty, guitar-driven, ramshackle punk that will stick in your head for years. Four perfect songs.
This record was mailed directly to me and I have no idea why, but I’m glad it was. Amidst a sea of posers, SWIFTUMZ plays beautifully executed, dreamy sounding, guitar-driven indie-pop that rises above the crap. These two songs are flawless.
See the entry for RADIOACTIVITY.
This EP takes elements of post-punk and that ever-present dark punk shit and slaps ‘em together to make some truly memorable shit. I want more.
Tapes (in five words or less)
TIMES BEACH – Perfect indie-punk
FINAL FRONTIERS – Perfect pop about bullshit boulevards.
NEGATION – Post-punk, no wave brilliance.
TRAUMA HARNESS – Halloween Tape – Spooky punk without being hokey.
CAL AND THE CALORIES – Slimy punk rock with attitude
PUPPY VS DYSLEXIA – BOREDOMS worship done right.
HOUNDED WOUNDS / MUTANT VIDEO – The sounds inside my brain
BLACK PANTIES – Just one big bad mood.
NO STATIK – Remix tape – The perfect hardcore band.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
NERVOSAS - The Hemlock - 2014 - San Francisco, CA - Photo by Greg Harvester
VILLAGE OF SPACES - Ohmega Salvage - 2014 - Berkeley, CA - Photo by Greg Harvester
ONE REASON - Rhino's - 2005 - Bloomington, IN - Photo by Ben Rains
DIRTY MARQUEE - Bancroft Tower - 2011 - Worcester, MA - Photo by Mike Leslie
THE PEEPS - Bandito Burrito South - 1994 - Huntsville, AL - Photo by Blair Menace
NEON PISS - Dead Rat Beach - 2011 - Oakland, CA - Photo by Alex Turner
THE FUN GIRLS FROM MOUNT PILOT - Heart Of Huntsville Mall - 1995 - Huntsville, AL - Photo by Blair Menace
Sunday, March 16, 2014
The first time I saw ZEITGEIST, I was having a pretty bad time and the last time I saw them was no exception. To be honest, I was having a Really Bad Time, but I knew that seeing them would probably make me feel better, even though they were playing in a shitty bar that I swore I would never step foot back into. When you're on tour though, it's hard to have much control over where your band is gonna play and maybe you're not aware that the venue you're playing at provides a platform for the absolute worst aspects of punk to bloom, unchallenged by outside forces. So, I went because ZEITGEIST still plays a good game even though they were dealt a shitty hand. Did I have to get really drunk to even think about walking in to that place? Well, yeah. Blacked out? Possibly.
From what I remember, ZEITGEIST played their hearts out to a room half-full of walking shit stains (including myself) on a crappy weekday night. I bought this tape from them because I like their demo tape and I like their 12" record even more. On this tape, the band is progressing further into more of a melodic sound. They've always been melodic, but their singer Tilley is adding even more tunefulness to her screaming. There's a slight Mia Zapata and Kathleen Hanna influence creeping in, but only slightly. To type that out feels wrong, but I'm just gonna say it anyway. The tape is good. It's punk. The "ooooo"s on "Witch Girl really sold me on this tape though. Well, the whole song, but that part in particular. If I had moved to Pittsburgh instead of San Francisco (which almost happened), I would go see this band all the time.
Photo by Jake Reinhart.
I fucked up and the last song plays first. Don't let that stop you from enjoying.
Friday, March 14, 2014
BLOODWALL - "I Have Seen The Loc Ness Monster In A Hole Where Two White Walls Collide" - CD-R - 2010
I posted a tape by BLOODWALL back on Christmas when I was in a really, really bad mood. I feel better now and BLOODWALL still sounds good. I've been working on more and more art stuff in my room lately and I find this it helps if I listen to music that is either fucked up and noisy or just doesn't have any words (or all of that). BLOODWALL satiates that need for the latter. This release is a little more complicated than the last one I posted, incorporating cello, guitar, drums, bass and more...all played by Graham, who is the one man behind this musical project. I like it a lot. That's all.
Find more by Graham on his Soundcloud page
Get him to produce your own mono lathe-cut record right here.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Before I get into the story behind this record, let me get into the story behind the story. You see, I know next to nothing about this record and, to be honest, I don't even really like it that much, but I actually had a few requests to put this one online, so here it is. I emailed the drummer, Scottzy, a while back to ask him a few questions and he said I should give him a call. Rather than blindly ask him stuff about a band I know nothing about, I asked an old friend named Jason (who is a legitimate fan of this band) to interview some ex-members. Jason was happy to do it, but time passed, I freaked out and quit all social media for a bit...and then I lost contact with Jason. Shit happens. So, I'm sorry if you're into this band and this isn't the info you wanted. Jason, if you see this and got around to writing up anything, feel free to send it to remoteoutpostsATgmail.com, and I will repost this whooole damn thing.
So here's what I know..or think I know...Some SF Mission gangbanger kids worked in a kitchen with some SF Mission punks. They probably bonded over the menial drudgery of soul-sucking wage slavery, cheap drugs and burritos from Taqueria Cancun. I don't fucking know. What I do know is that they eventually ended up playing music together and putting out a 4 song 12" EP on Probe Records. What does it sound like when members of HICKEY and THE FAGGZ get together with some neighborhood rapper kids and collaborate on a record? Well, why you don't you click on that download link and hear for yourself.
I just think it sounds like Judgement Night
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The one time that I saw VACCUUM, it kinda went like this:
Show up at venue
Pay money to get in
Walk up to the front to see VACCUUM already playing.
Watch them play for about 45 more seconds
When the song ended, their singer Robert said, "Thanks! Goodnight!"
Walk out of the venue and go home.
I never saw them again and then they broke up.
Luckily, they left behind this demo tape and a smattering of fucked up remixes to remember them by. VACCUUM plays noisy raw-punk in the vein of those fucking shoestring heads who like to makes their amps sound like a headache on Monday morning, but I don't think any of these folks ever used their shoestrings for anything other than their intended purpose. They shit out 9 songs that sound like hate and more hate. Since you didn't ask, my favorite song on here is their theme. Features members of NO STATIK, PEDESTRIANS, MORPHEME, RITUAL CONTROL and many, many more.
Truthfully, I prefer this tape and their collaboration EP with PIG HEART TRANSPLANT, but this is still pretty great.
Not to be confused with the old band from Holland, VACUUM, who only had one "C" in their name. Totally different...different spelling. You know, like when VANILLA ICE tried to explain how "Ice Ice Baby" was nothing like "Under Pressure".(go to 1:50)
Sunday, March 2, 2014
MONOTONIX - Uncle Fester's - 2008 - Bloomington, IN - Photo by Greg Harvester
BEFORE THE FALL - Casa Fantasma - 2002 - Berkeley, CA - Photo by Greg Harvester
HELEN GILLET - My Bedroom - 2004 - New Orleans, LA- Photo by Greg Harvester
NAIL - A VFW Hall - 1994 - Birmingham, AL - Photo by Greg Harvester
D.V.D.A.N.C. - Oh My! - 1999 - Asheville, NC - Photo by ???
THE JAG OFFS - In a Back Yard - 1998 - San Pedro, CA - Photo by Greg Harvester
One of My Favorite Crowd Shots - Billy Joe's House - 1999 - Soddy-Daisy, TN - Photo by Greg Harvester (I think ASTRID OTO was playing at the time)
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Minneapolis is really different from a lot of other places in the US. Today, their current temperature is 1 degree F. Tonight, it'll be negative 15. I never visit during these times, but when I see some of my friends before or after winter, they're very matter-of-fact. Short, simple answers. Busy, but happy to see you. The kind of psyche that has lived through 25-35 incredibly harsh winters. A lot of my favorite music has come from Minneapolis and most of that music can be very dark and cold. DISHPIT is neither of these things.
My band played with DISHPIT in a dark, smokey warehouse in Minneapolis a couple of years ago. I was talking to a group of friends out front as the band was kicking into their first song. The friends were tersely discussing whether or not they should leave because they just felt tired and kind of bored. Then, one of them heard DISHPIT and smiled for the first time all night. He said "DISHPIT is playing!" and all of them ran inside. I followed and watched all of them as they danced and smiled more than I had ever seen any of them smile in my life. If you have that kind of effect on that level of detachment, you must be doing something right.
DISHPIT, plain and simple, plays punk rock with lyrics about hopping trains, crustlords, stealing, shitty jobs and any self-respecting punks's favorite board game, Scrabble. They have some definite influences of 90's pop-punk and early 00's region rock but seen through the eyes of younger traveling punks. Their singer Gary really pulls the whole thing together with his rapid-fire, sort-of bratty approach to melodic punk. It might make your jaded heart sing once more.
They also put out a 7", which you can order here. Might as well order the "Punks Win" comp too. It's really good.