Sunday, June 28, 2015

BIG BLEACH / BAGHEAD - "It's The Big Bag Split" - Tape - 2015

   Stardate: 1998. The location was Maxie, MS. The whole town consists of a mobile home, a house, a church and a graveyard. Some drunks lived in the trailer and didn't seem to give a shit about anything. The house was inhabited by three or four punks who invited touring bands to play in their living room. The other neighbors were dead or only around during church services. Even though the only punks in town lived in that house, the shows were always good and people flocked to them from around the state of Mississippi. Some bands that played there were THE GRUMPIES (Starkville, MS), ONE REASON (Cleveland, MS I think they played their first show ever in Maxie), SUDDENLY SUBHAN (Starkville), LES TURDZ (Biloxi), FYP (San Pedro, CA), OPERATION CLIFF CLAVIN (Bloomington, IN) and many, many more. The people who lived in that house were dedicated to making a scene happen in their town, even if they were 4 of the 9 people who lived in the town. Some of the best shows I ever played in my life were in that house...even the show where someone smacked me in the face with a full beer while I played drums, giving me my first black eye.
   At one of these shows, I was breaking down my drumset on the front porch while making small talk with a member of the (kind of bad) funk/punk band from Hattiesburg, a town 30 miles north with a population of almost 46,000. At the time, all I knew about Hattiesburg is that it was a town that had a really stupid speed trap on the interstate where police had pulled me over at least three times and searched our tour vehicles, looking for any remnants of the pounds of illegal drugs we were sure to have. I asked the dude, "Where do you guys have shows in Hattiesburg?" He said, "Aw man, we don't have nothing like this in Hattiesburg! They've got it made down here." I looked down the street to the graveyard and the empty streets as the crows cawed and the crickets chirped. "Yeah, this is excellent, but surely you've something going shows, bar shows, local bands....something?!" "Naw man. We like to jam out down here. It's all set up."
   I didn't really feel like it was my place to explain DIY to the guy, so we both walked back in as another rowdy band started their set. Fast forward seventeen fucking years and this tape is sitting in my post office box. It's really the first time I've heard of or even thought of Hattiesburg since then, even though I've lived more than half of my life in the south. BIG BLEACH and BAGHEAD are two bands from that town. Both bands are basically all of the same people, but sound different from each other. BIG BLEACH is fun, straightforward punk with female vocals. It sounds like exactly what you want to hear in a moldy ass living room. (I wish the vocals were louder). BAGHEAD is uglier, rawer sounding hardcore punk with male vocals that is lurchy and mean. I'm sure that there's been a rich history of punk and hardcore in the south Mississippi scene between that bad funk / punk band and these two bands, but if you're looking for that history here, you're in the wrong place. Big shout out to BAGHEAD and BIG BLEACH for making (and sending) these tapes, putting on house shows in their town and keeping it real.

BAGHEAD has another demo too. Follow that link to get it.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

SEXY - "Por Vida" - LP - 2004

   One night, I walked over to a show in north Chattanooga at a house with a falling in kitchen (one night, that kitchen's floor fell in during a show, but not this one). I showed up because PANTY RAID was playing, but they were with these two total fuuuuucking goofballs who immediately decided that we were friends and, yes, we were all going to get wasted together. It was a dark period in my life when I lived on a weird, filthy houseboat (no shame. that boat saved my life) anchored in the stinky ass Tennessee River. I was ready to get drunk and die at the drop of a hat. So were these two guys, so we got along great. It wasn't until I saw them tuning up that I even realized that they were in a band playing that night. I thought, "These guys can barely stand. Will they be able to play?" This situation is not uncommon in Chattanooga, but is usually best executed by locals. The touring bands almost always fail and pull off one of the worst sets of their tour. SEXY did not fail. Joined by Baby Ian on bass, they played the best set of the night. The floors were so unstable that their mic stands were bouncing all over the place, but Ashley and Chris (my two new friends) just followed as best they could while wildly pounding out some of the catchiest songs I had heard in years. I didn't buy their demo tape and I still regret it.
    When I moved out to the Bay Area a year later, I hung out with these two fools when I could, at shows, on the street, getting booted out of breweries, on the waterfront, etc, I trekked up to Pacific Heights (aka Specific Whites) to see them play in a cool teen's parent's house (whassup Chloe Puke) and everything seemed wrong. They played two songs and looked at each other...."This sucks. Why do we sound so bad?" Chris pulled a huge jug of wine out of his bag and started chugging it. He passed it to Ashley, who followed suit. As they kept playing, they sounded better and better until they were (as usual) completely annihilating the show.On the bike ride home from the show, I watched Chris get sideswiped by a city bus. He sat on the ground for a second and said "Aw man..." before getting back on his bike and continuing on with us.
   I kept watching them everywhere I could: in shitty bars, in humid Florida warehouses, on the street and in the women's bathroom at Gilman. Once, I yelled "NOOOOOOOOO!!" at them for the entirety of their true-to-form cover of THE BAND'S "Up On Cripple Creek". They almost always seemed to harness that sweet spot of perfect abandon. almost-too-drunk and true freedom when it was all at it's breaking point.
   When I heard they recorded an LP, I wanted to hear it immediately, but I was skeptical. Could this band actually harness the sound of ridiculous, unhinged, drunken abandon? Yeah, they did. This record sounds exactly like SEXY live. Better, even...and to actually read the lyrics made you understand that this band was pretty funny...and fucking sad. Metaphors are few on this LP. They  talk about writing songs on the bus, smoking crack while watching the ships roll in, breaking down in Kettleman City (a shithole if there ever was one), shotgunning 50 beers in the shower to dull the pain, etc. This record also came into my life at a perfect time...when I felt terrible...when I felt okay about listening to songs about pain and heartbreak without thinking too terribly much about how my actions caused serious pain and repercussions to the people around me...when I didn't think too much about how you can write an unforgettable, classic song about someone, but that someone is actually someone, you know? They're a living, breathing human being that has to endure idiots like me blabbing on about this wonderful shit, while they're like "Great...that dude gets to be validated for the rest of his life for being a drunken guy who broke my heart and stole my SMOKING POPES record." That is a simple over-analyzation of a bigger thing, but you get where I'm coming from, right? I love this record. I always will, but I think too much.

There's Craig D's face. He wasn't in the band. 

The song is called "Thank  You Dead and Gone" because the wood block and percussion used on that song was found in the trash outside of DEAD AND GONE's practice space. 
Yes, this is a record...not a tape. It was a request. 
The original press of this LP has a pressing flaw and it has skips in it. The band kept giving me copies of it when I kept telling them that my copy skipped a lot. At one point, I had 8 copies of this record. Thrillhouse Records repressed the LP and made new plates so it doesn't skip. You can still order it from them.
If I wasn't clear, this is one of the best records of the last 15 years. If you've never heard this record and like melodic punk on this blog, this is essential. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

WORK//DEATH - Interstitial - Tape - 2012

   WORK/DEATH is an entity that has been sitting on the back burner of Remote Outposts for quite some time now...not because it's any less important or sonically pleasing than other tapes on this blog, but because I just don't know how to talk about it. I don't really know how to tell you why this might be relevant to your life or even life-changing, but I really, truly think it is.
   I remember one night, Pars and I were trying to explain the importance of WORK/DEATH to a friend, which is always an exercise in futility, because if people don't like something, they just don't like it...and that's fine. If you were to combine both of our explanations into one big glob, it would go something like this: WORK/DEATH is noise, but it's more than noise. It's calculated. It's intentional. It's no fucking joke and there is no fucking around. Also, to some extent, it's the modern day equivalent of classical music for our era.
   I didn't really "get" WORK/DEATH until I saw it live. Scott, the core member of W/D, stepped up to his mess of pedals, keyboards, homemade gear and wires to start his set without fanfare. Watching him compose for the next 25 minutes, creating a wall of noise that completely enveloped every inch of the room, floored me. Many times when I see people create noise music live,  I'm bored to goddamn tears and I can't wait for the idiot with the fucking pedals to stop wasting my time. That feeling doesn't even begin to surface with WORK/DEATH.
   This tape may not be the best start for your journey with WORK/DEATH, if this is your first time hearing them, but this is what I'm giving you. I got this one delivered to me in a stack of tapes from Providence, RI. When I opened up this tape for the first time, a toenail fell out. It seemed fitting, somehow.

Scott told me in an email that he believes that part of the process of listening to music is engaging and interacting with the physical object. I agree. His tapes are sometimes difficult to track down, but maybe you can send some money to Three Songs Of Lenin at P.O. Box 29680, Providence, RI 02909 and see what you get. 
You can also order one of his LP's right here
I'm still upset that I didn't get to see him play in a 19th century mill or completely annihilate a piano in a Rhode Island alleyway. .

Monday, June 1, 2015

THE WHIP - Live - Tape - 2002

Today's post is brought to you by Alex Turner

   THE WHIP was a band from Olympia. It's what happened after KARP. Joe Preston, Jared Warren and Scott Jernigan. They didn't play that many shows, but they did put out a 7", which is great and K Records might still have a few copies of it (?) (ed note - Wantage has copies of it here). These two shows have only 5 songs. I think the ReBar show was their first show? I recorded both of these on a handheld tape recorder and don't even remember being at the Backstage show. Whatever. Enjoy.