Monday, December 5, 2016

TERRIBLES - "In Congrefs" - CD - 2008

   As a vague testament to how shitty 2016 has been, I've only posted three things in the past three months and they've all been about dead friends. This one is no different. (FYI: No one in TERRIBLES is dead).
    I'm sure you've already read the terrible news about the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland. I don't know if I can offer anything that hasn't already been said, but the outpouring of support from people in our community has been incredible. Most of the media and local government continues to get it so, so wrong...incredibly, frustratingly wrong and insensitive. What We Do Is Secret, but that statement hasn't actually been true for at least 20 years now, but people still can't seem to understand what the fuck we're doing (and yes, a lot what we do still is secret, actually).
   If you'd like to read articles about what is happening here, I would suggest these following things, because they're all good and these people took more time than I did to collect their thoughts.

 From KQED
 From East Bay Express
 From Huffington Post
 From We Are Your Voice

   The article from KQED really hit home with me because this is a tragedy that could affect just about anyone who reads this blog. Let's do some quick math. There's been 550 posts on this blog. Let's say that's probably 500 different bands (estimate). Let's say that there's an estimated three to four people in each band and that equals roughly 2000 people. I'm willing to bet that nearly ALL of those 500 bands have played shows in venues (I use that term lightly) that are non-traditional and don't have the best exits or wiring. That's 2000 people who put themselves in danger just to have a good time or find their community or feel less alone in an increasingly harsh world. But also, many of these people put themselves in danger just by leaving the house every day. This danger exists because of expensive housing, shitty paychecks, no paychecks for seriously marginalized people, because some of us enjoy putting ourselves in danger and many other reasons.
   Ugh...I don't know what I'm trying to say. Fuck it. I hate it. I hate that this happened at all. I hate what the media is going to make it into and I hate what it's going to do to so many spaces across the globe that people hold so dear to their hearts. Our gathering spaces aren't equipped with fire exits, bouncers or good wiring. Our ideal spaces provide us with love, acceptance and open arms in a world that wishes that many of us would just go away.
   Take care of each other out there. It's not getting better right now.

This TERRIBLES CD is really good. I've written about them many times and you can go find it somewhere else on the blog. 
There's a phone number embedded in the 4th song  and it's one of my favorite songs by them. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

WET SPOTS - Tape - 2013

This one is intended as a companion piece to this post

     Barker was starting to wind up WET SPOTS around the same time that our band together was winding down and it was maybe more his speed. While our band seemed to act more and more serious, WET SPOTS liked to joke the fuck around and write seriously catchy songs. Barker wrote the guitar riffs and sang while Oscar and Janelle rounded out the rhythm section on bass and drums respectively. The results are seven excellent songs that help you remember that Barker had an unfuckwithable ear for melody.
    I remember when they were going to record these songs, I ran into Barker and he was excited because Darin from SUPERCHARGER was turning the knobs for them. I was excited too and we privately geeked the fuck out about it for a minute because we were both garage rock nerds at different points in our lives. I didn't even know the guy was still around, but the tape sounds fuckin' great, so he still knows what he's doing.
   When WET SPOTS went to play a few shows in Hawaii, I got super jealous, because I've always wanted to play there. Upon their return, I asked Barker how it went and he played it a little too cool..."Ahhh, it was fine. We played a show or two. The people were pretty nice." I ran into Janelle later and she gushed about it. "It was fucking fun! We hung out in the ocean a ton. Barker jumped off of a cliff!" Then, she showed me a ton of photos and every one of them looked like the best time ever!
    Download this stuff and play it loud. Enjoy Janelle's pounding drums, Oscar's smooth ass bass lines and a voice that should sound raspier knowing the amount of whiskey that has passed by those vocal cords.


Barker in Hawaii. Photo by Janelle. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

THE URGENTS - Demo - Tape - 2013

Today's post is brought to you by Chloe.

Breaking the Clocks, Burning the Bridges: A hagiography of that fucking Hesh Paul The Urgents, Demo Tape, Recorded December 23rd, 2013, at the OMC 4th Floor on Lean 

  Heartbreak rose with the sun on Friday. Paul Woods has died, but he left us with his music. Music was the thing Paul cared about most. He could have done almost anything with his life but chose music. Most people don’t know this about Paul because he was such a goof ball, but he was really smart. Paul had a degree in Philosophy from UC Santa Cruz. Sometimes when I was worried about something or other, I would go lay on his bed, tell him about it. He would pull a book off his shelf: Foucault lectures on Psychiatry, books about DMT effects on the brain. Those books helped me through more than a few hard times. In fact one time when I was very nervous about my second date with a super-hot Marxist, I asked Paul for a book to bring on the picnic that would make me look smart. He handed me Les Chants de Maldoror packaged with an encouraging speech. I walked away feeling confident. He could make you feel really good.

   The Urgents was Argeniz on bass (Maquina Muerte), Ryan Texas on drums (Death Drive, Trenches), and Paul and I on guitar. Paul wrote all the songs before compiling the group. He even typed up the lyric sheets on his little typewriter, so I could sing along. We practiced together for a few months, played one show in front of a “Dump Yer Landlord” banner, and recorded these songs. This album was not destined to come out great, but when you listen to it you will notice that it is great. First, because it was all Paul, and this was his passion. Every piece of equipment was his, all the sound engineering and mastering was his doing, the riffs were his and the solos were also his. The Urgents was his ode to punk; a community that let him be him. The other reason it is great is because it is true. At the time of this album, Paul and I were co-defendants in a graffiti case deriving from a FTP march and were squatting at the infamous RCA/Hot Mess. The songs are all about our lived experiences, the love and heartbreak of those years. Watch The Smoke is about that moment where you go for it, hard, don’t look back even though you may lose it all, you pause to revel in the simple beauty of the smoke. The Urgents is about the real estate lawyer who evicted us from the RCA. His name was Bruce Reeves and one time in court Paul very calmly referred to him as Ruce Breeves without laughing. That kid was wearing a bolo tie and a ten gallon hat. The judge asked them to exchange emails and Mr. Breeves looked up at Paul and asked, “liveXfast at is that right?” His grinned a big grin to bear that gap of his missing front tooth (lost to a bite of crusty pizza) and replied, “Yes, that is right Your Honor.” It was glorious. Ruce Breeves had a stroke and shut down his office after handling that case. No doubt a product of being casual taunted by a long haired hesher in a cowboy hat. I Had a Future is about how Paul was going to be a Marine Biologist after high school and did a year of school for it, but dropped out because he just wanted to play music and hang out. “I had a future//man it was so bleak//had to run away.” He was really proud of this song because it captured how having a future just meant fucking people over. “Traded in my future//for a chance to live again.” Blurry Visions is about feeling alone: in your head and in an crowd.

    Say what you will about Paul because he wasn’t a saint (“God never takes the angels early”). But he was a warm and loyal friend. I will miss his hugs, the way he held you really tight in his thick crusty vest was the ultimate comfort. Paul was unlike most people in one key respect: you would never hear him say he hated somebody. He avoided all out character denunciations and looked for the good bits in the messes of all of us. He laughed with you about himself and his flaws or you and your flaws, a big loud laugh. The last couple years have been really hard. A lot of people came together and then fell apart. Every time we lose a Basil, or a Barker, or a Paul or a Chris Chitty, or a Monique I hope we can use it as a moment to reflect on the ways we treat each other while still living. The living times go by really fast unless we have each other to break the clocks. The black flag will be flying at half mast for a while. Goodnight you fucking Hesher Paul.

To contribute to his memorial fund, please click here.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


   This one has been a tough one to get around to writing and going into it right now, I'm not even exactly sure what I'm going to say. Our friend Barker Gee took his own life in Conway, Arkansas on June 21st this year and I'm still waiting for him to pop out of the bushes with that big dumb grin on his face and say "haw haw!! GOTCHA!"....and just walk off smoking a cigarette like nothing happened. To say that it's devastating to our community of friends is the understatement of the year. I hate it so much.
   I have too many stories to share about Barker. They're all darkness and light. Some of them are side splittingly funny. Others are so crushingly sad that if I think about them too much, I can't do anything but cry. He had a spark that is rare for the people you meet in this life. (I've now been sitting here staring at the screen for 20 minutes with my fingers on the keyboard thinking about everything....every interaction...and I just don't know what to say, still.)
   Once, our old band NEON PISS was driving up to Portland to play a show. I was driving and Barker was in the back seat asking if he could smoke in the car again (no). The mix tape I made was playing when "Tabletop Hop" by THE YOUNG MEN came on. Barker yelled "Whoa! You put this on your tape??!!? Hell yeah!" When the guitar solo - his guitar solo - came on, he yelled "Turn it all the way up!!" I did and he played air guitar to it. The whole thing was so ridiculous and endearing and we all just laughed like idiots.
   THE YOUNG MEN was Barker, Jamie, Ren and Skip. They started after BENT OUTTA SHAPE split up and (predictably) did not get the respect they deserved following the foot print that BENT left behind. Barker put this tape out years after the band split up and it's a bunch of stuff they never got around to releasing. The tape includes 10 songs from "The Chris Pierce Sessions", 3 songs I know very little about and their 4 song demo. "Alabam'" from the demo is easily my favorite song about my home state written by someone who never lived there.
   HUFF STUFF MAGAZINE was a short lived Oakland band featuring Barker on guitar and vocals, Stevo on bass and Brad on drums. One time, Barker called me and asked if I had ever listened to their demo tape. I said "Yeah....once." He said "Well, listen to it a few more times. We need you to play drums for us at Thrillhouse tonight." I did listen to it some more but  then I showed up too late and missed the entire show. I heard that they just grabbed someone from the audience to play. Regardless, through the repeated listening, I realized that the tape is excellent. You can still order their LP here. At a recent memorial for Barker, I noticed that almost every time I paid attention to what was on the stereo, it was the HUFF STUFF record.
    At some point while NP was still a band, Barker took off to New York to get clean. While he was there, he started playing some music with Aaron Cometbus and was supposed to get some dude from FUGAZI in the band too. I don't think that ever happened, but he sent me an email one day telling me about what he was up to on the East Coast. He sent me an mp3 of his new band and said "Don't ever let anyone hear this!!" Sorry Barker. Someone already put this song online anyway.
   I'm including the NEON PISS LP. 45. demo tape and weird "rarities" CD that we sold at our last show because I realized you can't download it for free on our Bandcamp page. I don't know how to log into that page anymore, so here's everything for free. Also included is the rough mix of "Siege Mentality" off of our LP. I threw this one in because Barker whispers "There is no God"during a break in the song towards the end. On the LP, it got mixed really far down, but on this mix, it's pretty prominent. It's one of my favorite things on the LP because it was an off the cuff thing that Barker decided to throw in without really talking to us about it. There's also a practice space recording of a later song that never got fully worked out that Barker wrote. (haha! I just remembered that this song is already included in the rarities CD. Ooops!)

From John No's piece about this video in the memorial zine edited by Janelle Hessig: 
"Barker cracked an egg into the pan as the camera rolled and it had TWO YOLKS - Which is always freaky but of course it happens from time to time....then he cracked the second egg and it had two yolks AGAIN! This time, we were like "Holy shit!" and started laughing pretty hard so his cigarette fell into the pan. He left it in there, kept cooking the eggs and lit another cigarette and then put that one out into the pan. Barker ate most of it and promptly puked."

Barker at Kurt Cobain's house. Photo by me.

Alex Turner for finding the things I don't have.
Caitlin Kelly for repressing the YM tape for the memorial and being a perfect angel.
Barker Gee for being such a singular, weird, engaging and loving human freak in this world. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

WOTZIT - Demo - Tape - 2016

    Believe or not, sometimes I don't have a story or the reference points or the "members of" list or anything to go on. Every once in a while, I just get a tape that makes me stop what I'm doing and pay attention. This is that tape. Sometimes, I just think "What if Fred Frith played guitar in a punk band?" and this is what I think about. This is the band's second tape. They're from Tokyo.

Find other stuff by the band here 

Friday, September 23, 2016

MICHELLE HILL - Demo - CDR - 2006

   I used to live in a punk house in Chattanooga, TN where we had a house rule that the first person to wake up every day had to either play BLACK FLAG's "Nervous Breakdown" at top volume or EXCESSIVE DEFIANCE's classic EP "Yo Dicknose, Eat A Dick Straight Up, Yo" on the wrong speed. At the age of 23, this was (usually) kind of funny and not a bad way to start your day....whether it was 6 am or noon. Years later, I lived in a not-exactly-punk house in the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco and there was a period where my roommate Gaybob seemed like she had her own house rule of waking up every day and blasting this Michelle Hill CD in the kitchen while making coffee.  Sure, I liked these songs too, but by that time, I was 33 years old and really liked sleeping. I would get woken up by Michelle belting their voice into my head, usually accompanied by Bob's, and get SO annoyed. I have a hard time telling people how to live their lives, even when it impacts my, I would lay there and just listen to it....and find that I really liked the songs a lot and the CD was pretty I could usually just fall back to sleep. After a while, my other roommates were following suit and this was the usual soundtrack to our kitchen at any given time.
   Up until one week ago, that was the only times I had ever heard these songs, but I get to hear Michelle's voice pounded into my head all the fucking time now (albeit in a different context) because we're in a band together.
    Michelle recorded these songs at their house back in 2005 or 2006 and put it out on this CD-R in an edition of 30. Michelle apologizes for playing a banjo on one song. The songs are mostly led by an acoustic guitar and layers of their strong ass vocals. There are songs about loneliness and risque odes to inanimate objects. Two extra songs recorded in 2008 were sent over to be added to the download. "366 Days of Night" was written on a leap year and Michelle said that when they played it in a backyard in Olympia, WA, a dog howled along during the howling part. "Sexy Guitar Love Song" has to be heard to be believed and contains some of my favorite lines of all of these songs.

Michelle currently sings for SILENT ERA and has also played in TULSA, HONKY HORN & BAD MOUTH, SLEEPWALK and THE SLITS (touring guitarist)...and is also one of my best friends.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


   This is not the first appearance of YOUR HEART BREAKS on the blog. For more info, you could look here or here or even here (kind of). This was my first introduction to the band though and I would blast it through my headphones while walking around in the cold of the small Midwestern college town where I used to live in 2004. I didn't know Clyde (the main songwriter and core member) that well then, but I agreed to quit my job and roadie for his other band for a month anyway. Sometimes I look back on that trip as a mistake, but most of the time I know that it wasn't because it solidified our friendship in many ways that might not have happened otherwise.
   On the tour, I would sit behind the merch table while oogles talked to me about their dog or people handed me a beer or a college student would hand me a check for a few hundred dollars. I would sell their band's music and sometimes people would pick up this YHB CD. I'd sit there and try to sell them on it while they looked at me skeptically. "Yeah, it's this broken hearted queer pop, it's not, it's not on Plan-It-X records....yeah, I know that Rymodee from THIS BIKE IS A PIPEBOMB is listed as a member but he only plays the harmonica on one song for about 45 seconds...but, anyway, YOUR HEART BREAKS is this really cool...huh? Yeah, I know Rymodee and his band..yeah, they're really, I don't want a CD-r of your folk punk bedroom project...yeah, I've toured with, anyway, this CD is like this cool pop band and....oh, yeah, there's a beer store right down the street. No, I don't have any extra beer for you but a tall can is only like $1.50 over there...okay, thanks, bye."
    Most of the time, kids would buy this YHB CD after seeing that Rymodee played harmonica on it and after I explained that he only played for a minimal amount of time. I would sit there and hope that they would get past that. I liked to imagine that we were coming into some of these small towns like Goldsboro, NC (where the band was asked to not use "curse words" at their show)  and passing along this nugget of queerness into a deeply religious military town. Like, maybe they listened to the words and discovered some new shit about themselves and didn't feel so alone. Maybe they started their own queer pop band and helped marines come out to each other while realizing that it's not really a bad thing to be gay around a bunch of really fit men. Maybe it helped them realize that they needed to get the fuck out of that town and never look back. Or maybe they just filed it away in a pile and never listened to it again.
   I like these songs a lot. I'm pretty sure it's the only time anyone has sang anything about the band NEW BAD THINGS.

YOUR HEART BREAKS is still a very active band and only gets better. 
Clyde made an amazing movie called Torrey Pines and he'll be touring the US with it this fall and winter. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

IT GETS WEIRDER - Tape - Compilation - 2015

   Olympia, Washington. Love it or hate it. For whatever reason, it's a small town that brings up a lot of different emotions for people, but I've rarely met anyone who feels indifferent about the place. I myself have been on both sides of the wall at different points in my life. Once, I went there for a week just to lay on a couch while it rained.
    It's gotten a lot of attention in the past because of K Records or BIKINI KILL or whatever-the-fuck and now they're maybe getting a lot of attention because of G.L.O.S.S. or K Records or whatever the fuck. I've come around to liking the place again (and I have for years now) but I'm not about to pack my bags and move on up. I think it gets a bad rap, but imagine fighting to live your life in new and interesting ways while being somewhere small enough to see real, actual results. I'm not saying it's easy by any stretch of the imagination. I'm mostly telling you this convoluted shit to bring light to the fact of all of the hard work that my friend Meg and a lot of other hard workers do in Olympia. They helped to open the Interfaith Works Overnight Emergency Shelter, which is a shelter for people living on the streets of Olympia. I can't get into the details of the whole thing because I don't really know them. What I can tell you is that I went to a party at the shelter while a hardcore fest was happening 2 blocks away and all of the interactions I had there were so genuine, real and positive that I had to walk around the corner at least 5 times and just fucking cry. I know it's not like that all the time and I know it's a lot of hard work and I just wanted to point that out. Going back over to the fest felt like a step down, even though I would literally kill someone to relive that CCTV/BIG ZIT/VEXX show again.
   Also, I like eating tater tots at the Reef...a diner downtown that has burned down like 2 or 3 times.

   Oh yeah, there's music here. This tape was compiled by Sadie (G.L.O.S.S./DYKE DRAMA) and Joey (a true genius/madman who is responsible for most of the sick recordings you like from Oly) to showcase the myriad of punk shit coming out of the basements and dives of this small town. I love that this tape is truly all over the map of's not just hardcore or pop-punk, but those things are there too. I think my favorite discovery from this tape is DEFACEMAN, who I'd never heard before...just true fucked, chaotic, messy, brilliant beauty. I want to hear everything by them now. Other heavy hitters featured here are VEXX, GAG, G.L.O.S.S., BROKEN WATER, CC DUST and NASTI. The entire tape is worth your time though and provides a perfect glimpse at all the new shit going on there...or at least what was happening in 2015. Some of these bands have broken up already. Get into it.

I don't think this tape is available anymore. 
I took a long break from the blog for many reasons and one of them was archiving makes me feel weird now. That's all I'm gonna say about it, but I'll keep doing it for the time being.
If anyone in the Bay Area wants to give or sell me a functional cassette console, please get in touch. I had 4 break in one week.
Thanks to Alex Turner for digitizing this one. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

MUGWORT - Demo - Tape - 2011

    Mugwort, the plant, is said to further one's psychic abilities, enhance your dreams and repel negative energies. If used in excess, it can prove to be toxic that it has been used in herbal abortions. MUGWORT, the band, could probably also enhance your dreams and repel a lot of negative energy in your mind. I can't comment on their psychic energies or fetus-destroying abilities.
   I was at a basement show in Oakland last week where 2/3rd's of MUGWORT were playing in a new band (their name escaped me) that built off of the player's long histories in other bands like SHITSTORM and THE GOOD GOOD...bands that never seemed to fully get the recognition they deserved (whatever the fuck "recognition" means in your mind...they didn't get it), but succeeded in throwing out loads of incredible music and playing shows that will always stick with me.
   MUGWORT enjoyed a brief stint in the Bay Area queer punk scene, playing tons of shows in their SF house near 21st and Capp. I'm sure they played other places too, but I only ever saw them there. Wu banged out insistent lines on their bass while Sara worked around the melodies and just invented her own cool style. Peter drums in a way that is so inspiring to me...somehow effortlessly playing this wild style that is "missed" notes, propulsive cymbals and almost intentionally playing off the rhythms but still holding it all together. They all sing. It's an incredible tape. It's been by my stereo for years now.

They also have a Bandcamp, but it's missing two songs from the tape. I don't know why.
You can also enjoy some of their songs set to video too. 
Maybe I'll remember the name of that new band so I can go see them more. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SEXY - Demo - Tape - 2001

    Tapes like these are the reason I started the blog. Trying to track down these nearly ephemeral documents of a scream in dark warehouses and shitty basements is what this thing is about. I don't own this tape, but I thought that trying to get a copy of it would be a task that could be easily accomplished in a few days. Nope. The first post of this blog is dated June 23rd, 2011 and now it's nearly 5 years later. I asked the people who played the music, the people who loved the band, the people who hated the band, the punks who lived with them and I scoured Bay Area yard sales, free boxes and record stores (and their free boxes). Nothing.
    Baby Ian (we can just call him Ian now, right?) pulled a box of old stuff out of storage and came up with his copy of the demo...and here we are. I haven't heard this thing since 2001 or so and I forgot how goofy it is. If you're just hearing SEXY for the first time (and I'm sorry if you're just now hearing them) I would suggest starting with their first album (it's right here) because it's a completely perfect snapshot in time of an insane band at their absolute best. It contains all of the drunken abandon, the hooks and the trainwreck-style tempos. This first demo shows the band still trying to find their footing and swimming in drunken goofiness. A few of the songs that were later re-recorded for the LP are downright sllloooooowwww (check out "Purple Mini Van"). Half of the songs on here just got fucking dropped and were never heard from again. Maybe you'll enjoy it.

Technical notes: I'm sure you've come to expect a fair amount of tape hiss on this blog and I will tell you that there is a FAIR AMOUNT of tape hiss on this download. Ian sent over the tracks and I tried to mess with them to lower the hiss and it just sounded here we are....warts and all. You can even hear some of the tape it was recorded over. History isn't pretty and that's why we all need to keep moving forward. 
Thanks Ian. 
Thanks SEXY.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

INTREPID HEARTS - Demo - Tape - 2016

    Recently, a personal mission landed me in Minneapolis for a few days and I arrived with high hopes and too many plans. As someone who desperately needs a vacation, this was a stupid idea and I should've just sat in Powderhorn Park for 4 days straight. Instead, I fruitlessly tried to track down some long lost friends and rope unsuspecting fools into my dumbass ideas. Some old friends had time for porch hangs and others kindly offered up comfy sleeping spaces, but largely I was on my own to try and remember how to relax. I never really did. I walked all over the goddamn city until my legs ached. I saw the PRINCE memorial at 1st Ave N, went to the library, became familiar with the Greyhound station, went to karaoke at the Seward, looked at the old Medusa club, walked out to Extreme Noise, saw a gigantic rideable cock in a sex shop and read for hours in Hard Times.
   Then, I drove across the country with one of my best friends. When I got home, I found this tape in my mailbox and looking at the return address, I realized that I walked by this band's house (or one of them) at least twice in the past week. I could've just picked it up while waltzing by. It also would've been nice to have these songs blasting in my head while walking down the streets that inspired them, but I was happy with the S MPLS weirdo tapes I got instead (more on that in the future).
    I think I only know one member of this band and she (Britt) has appeared a few times on the blog in the bands B ARTHUR and BABE QUEST. Even though the BABE QUEST song "The Wait" can not be trifled with in any capacity, INTREPID HEARTS may be my favorite band that Britt has ever been in. I keep having a lot of thoughts about the songs and everything I think feels like a backhanded compliment, but it's genuine in my head!! Like, this band has cool "hot licks"!! Ya'll listen to metal, right? I truly like POISON (I know that's not metal) and I wanna say that the members of INTREPID HEARTS like POISON. Maybe they like THIN LIZZY. What the fuck ever. I don't know what they like. It's hook filled melodic punk that is truly tight as fuck. The vocals have the perfect amount of bite and rasp. I'm gonna go ahead and compare them to my ex-bandmate/current roommate Ivy (ALLERGIC TO BULLSHIT / MIAMI / BLACK RAINBOW) because Ivy's voice is great and Britt knows that because I once heard her tell Ivy that. There is no cowering in the shadows though because we're all just people doing our thing out there in the world and Britt has been doing her thing for a long time and it shows. This band sounds like they've been doing their thing for a long time too, but this is their first tape, as far as I know. It's a truly great tape. You should write to them and try to get one off of them because it has a lyric sheet and a lot more plastic than an ephemeral download.

Thanks to Cobs for mailing me a tape. I'll knock on the door next time.
Oh, the other thing that felt backhanded is that the verse part of the first song sounds like it was ripped off from "The Descent" by BOB MOULD, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with that and I'm sure it was unintentional and, like, Bob Mould doesn't own the rights to those chords or anything. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

SNUGGLE - Lost LP Demos 2008?

Today's post is brought to you by frequent contributor and friend of the blog, Alex Turner.

   SNUGGLE is one of those bands, the bands you love that nobody else gets. I've seen them play in the basement of the FBK so many perfect times, the best times, the worst times, the drunkest times. Mad Dog 20/20 and shotgunning Sparks is what happened. A long time ago, SNUGGLE thought they might get paid to play a show or maybe they were surprised by getting paid? Regardless, they spent all that money on Mad Dog. I'm sure they got paid a few times on tour and didn't buy all their friends booze with the money, but that's the way it goes. They recorded this and lost it. like really fucking lost it. They had to re-record it because everybody they had given a copy to had also lost it. A real time and a place band. The 2000's in the basement of the FBK was SNUGGLE's time and I'm not sure why I have a copy of this lost recording, but if you'd like you can too.

     Rumor has it that Robert 'found' this at a coffee shop in Philly a year after it was considered a lost cause. I dunno. I guess this is like the demos for the LP that finally came out eventually on 1234 GO, Don't buy that, just download this.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

JACOB THE TERRIBLE - "Sings Songs of It's Complicated" - 7" EP - 2014

    When I wrote about JACOB THE TERRIBLE's demo, I said just about everything I could possibly say about the band. By the band's account (not mine), that demo sounds like dog shit, but I like to go back to it to listen to the timeless and now-classic songs that didn't make the cut for the jump to vinyl. So first off, I'll tell you what you're missing with the vinyl. Oh, you wanted to sing along to "Twin Elephants" in a well-produced, studio-recorded fashion in the privacy of your own bedroom? Nope. Sorry. You'll just have to imagine the chunky guitar and pounding drums as you scream out "The world can be so fucked!! But there's only so much shit you can shit....ON A FACE!!!"  You're also missing the gripping story of waking up in the morning to face another day of working at the Hello Kitty factory. Look, every JACOB THE TERRIBLE song is a perfect fucking snowflake but you can only cram so much music onto a 7" record before it starts to sound like a 9th generation Misfits dub from 1982.
   I'm gonna assume you didn't click over to the demo since I said the band said it sounds like dog shit. JACOB THE TERRIBLE is a band from Providence and Worcester. THE TERRIBLES are a pre-existing band. Jacob is a pre-existing human. They all got together to make full rock versions of Jacob's pre-existing songs, which had previously existed in more minimal forms. They ended up being one of the most charismatic bands I've ever seen. Any band can write a good song (JTT has many) but not many can engage you in their live performance in ways that feel real and inviting to nearly everyone in attendance. They also write good songs. Some are anthems in ways that I didn't perceive when I was first hearing them. Nary a week passes when I'm not singing "Things mean things! From Milwaukee to Osaka, does the postman know the joy he brings?"...usually in the post office. As I said in a print review, Jacob manages to fit ten pounds of words into five pound word-capacity songs. In other's hands, this might sound clunky and awkward, but Jacob lets it flow out of his lungs with an ease that sounds nearly effortless. I love the way he bends the word cigar to make it rhyme with roar. The song title "What I Love About You (I Hate About Myself)" is an easy comforting genius line and the song can fit that description as well.
   Okay, I'm done babbling. The record is great. I like all of these people who wrote it. It's not leaving my head anytime soon. I'm gonna go over to the bass player's house and screen print in his living room while listening to this to annoy him. You should order this record so that you can play it on your turntable while gazing into the beautiful Mike Taylor-penned art. I'm not sure where to order it though because the record label's site is down. Maybe try here or maybe here or just send some cash in an envelope to Corleone Records at P.O. Box 65, Providence, RI 02901 and hope for the best. I know that I could go back and erase that stuff I just typed, but I just got a text that said that the record is SOLD OUT, so don't send money anywhere for anything ever, okay? Okay. Enjoy this digital file instead.

Thanks to Jacob for the digital files
Thanks to THE TERRIBLES for not being terrible.

Monday, March 7, 2016

HEX - Demo - Tape - 2007

Today's post is brought to you by Erik Ruin, who previously contributed a top ten list to the blog a few years ago. I think this tape is incredible, but wanted a different perspective on it, so I asked Erik for his take. Many, many thanks to the members of HEX for sending over the digital files when my machinery was having issues. 

   Heavy music on non-traditional instruments has a seriously mixed track record. It can tend toward simple novelty- (think APOCALYPTICA or even worse) but it can also lay bare nuanced dynamics and complex compositional structures that are often obscured to those- like me- who have trouble looking beyond the standard genre tropes (wailing guitars,machismo, long hair, etc.). It’s into this latter camp I’d put viola/tuba/drums trio HEX, alongside luminaries like Portland’s DISEMBALLERINA and Providence’s BELLOWS.

  According to violist Jackie Beckey- “Andie, Aaron and I were all hanging out around this time and interested in creating heavy music on nontraditional instruments. I'd been experimenting with this for awhile and was hoping to start a project with someone who shared this vision. Aaron--a fellow classically trained orchy dork punk on tuba--was the obvious choice for a bandmate. We were both interested in creating heavy music influenced by non-western music, such as African drumming. Aaron and I were also into geeking out about poly-rhythms, exploring tonality by amplifying acoustic instruments and using instruments with incredible amounts of sustain to play heavy music.”

   The first and last songs of this tape begin with lengthy tuba drones rich in texture and atmosphere. From there it gets more rocking, with Jackie alternating between heavily reverbed pizzicato plucking (kind of a trademark of hers) and sawing riffs. At times, it reminds me of stoner rock transcendalists like SLEEP or even 70’s Swedes PARSON SOUND (a direction Jackie and Andie would take further with their project MYRRH) but it also breaks out into galloping sections that are not too dissimilar to their Minneapolis contemporaries COUNTY Z (ed. note: there is so much CZ on this blog and you should definitely seek it out) and ROTTEN LIVING. The cover sports paper-cut artwork by “Dragon-face” Dan Nelson, virtually de rigeurin the scene at the time (see also DOGS, THIEVES, DANGER BOY & THE ROAD VULTURES, etcetcetc….)

   HEX was relatively short-lived, beginning and ending in 2007. As far as I know, this is their only recording. They did go on a two-month tour, which Jackie remembers as “the best tour I've ever been on. Luke Holden toured with us the entire way and performed at every show as the hilarious "Body McFartin" human fart machine opening act. Because we kind of didn't fit into any specific musical genre, we played a lot of weird shows--opened up for a D-beat band in Dallas, performed with the art-punk band TEENAGE WAISTBAND in Providence, and performing during an intermission for a psychedelic play in Kansas City.”

    They so impressed my friend Dan Schleifer at their Providence show that he formed his own tuba-drone metal band, the aforementioned BELLOWS (who also ruled and are also sadly broken up)

    All the members of HEX have gone on to do a bunch of stuff– Jackie formed the more melodic yet still driving BRUTE HEART and is now mainly focused on soundtrack work. Tuba player Aaron moved to Pittsburgh where he’s playing in two great bands- tuba with brassy LUNGS FACE FEET  and bass with heavy weirdos COME HOLY SPIRIT(alongside Gina Favano of the much-missed JOHN DENVER'S AIRPLANE). Andie went on to play drums in the brilliant MOTHER OF FIRE, then in a variety of scrappy punk bands and is a brilliant painter.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

VX GAS ATTACK - Tape - 2014

   For the last week or two, I've been combing through stacks of tapes to digitize for the blog and coming up with stuff that I'm not particularly excited about. What I've noticed though is that almost every time I've been looking, this tape has actually been the one playing on the tape deck. In fact, it hasn't been more than one foot away from my stereo since their singer August placed it in my hands on a 2 AM 24th street a few months ago.
    I previously saw August singing for WALLS a few years ago and I honestly thought he was singing about different kinds of knots. More recently, I saw him losing his shit as he co-fronted PIG HEART TRANSPLANT to a largely vacant room. VX GAS ATTACK is a different beast altogether. Throughout the ten songs on this tape, the band is unrelenting. No breakdowns. No "mosh parts". Plenty of nearly cheesy divebombs and guitar solos that cross the border of ridiculous (note: I'm 100% fully in support of this). August is completely unhinged in a way that actually sounds dangerous. You know how there's those people who say that if they didn't find music, they might've just killed people instead? That's what this sounds like to me. Plus, it sticks in my head.

I picture this band using BC Rich guitars exclusively.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

YOUNG RUINS - Demo - Tape - 2014

    A few years ago, my old band played a show in Brooklyn at Death By Audio that was well attended and featured good bands, but was (by my account) kind of boring. One of my favorite memories though was looking up from the drums during our last song and seeing my friend Mike Taylor pogo-ing like a madman. He was one of four people who seemed to not have their feet nailed to the floor. Mike has put so much of his energy and time into visual art in the last 20(+) years that I often forget that he, like most people in this world, is a multi-faceted individual with a plethora of interests...including energetic punk. I don't know why it surprised me to see him up front mouthing the words to our cover of "Kids Of The Black Hole", but it did...and it made me so happy.
    Fast forward another year and I got this tape in the mail. On it, Mike plays guitar and sings. A dude named Roy plays bass. Gina Marie, who I just met last week in Berkeley, plays drums. In a review in print, I said something like "I don't know what post-hardcore is, but this is probably post-hardcore." I also said that it sounds suspiciously like present day New York. Coming from someone who has never lived there and actually kinda doesn't like the place, you can take that however you want. It just sounds dark and desperate in all the ways that I love. It sounds like walking down the street and being plagued by all of the thoughts that make you want to kill. The kind of music that makes you say "Fuck you" every time you pass a cop or some shit in a suit...not because you're some young reactionary punk, but because you're pushing 40 and have been dealing with it for your whole goddamn life..being too aware of the power imbalances, the gender inequalities, all of the people who have been killed by pigs, the racism of capitalism, etc, etc and feeling like there's nothing you could ever possibly do to change anything....or am I projecting again?

You can order this tape from them if you follow the link.
They recorded an LP and might've broken up. I bet it's great. You should put it out.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

COUNTY Z//SHEP AND ME - Split - Tape - 2003?

   If you're familiar with this blog, you're probably familiar with COUNTY Z, because I've given you plenty of opportunities to check them out. SHEP AND ME is also no stranger to this page. As I've said before, COUNTY Z is one of my top 5 all-time favorite bands in the history of music and these two songs don't appear on other things they released. I don't know anything about it, but it's so good to my ears.
  SHEP AND ME is Matthew Himes playing outsider sounds and otherworldly folk that comes out of a world that is his own creation. Everything I've ever heard by him has been nothing short of brilliant. I'm not exactly sure if SHEP AND ME is still an active project, but Matt has been tirelessly releasing analog (and some digital) documents of the outsider world through his label, Lighten Up Sounds. Pick up anything he has available and you're guaranteed to be intrigued.
   This tape was released by Snob House, but I don't have a cover for it. Apparently, there was a surly dog drawn on it, so you can just imagine that for yourself. COUNTY Z broke up and then 2/3's of the band started playing with Matt as ROTTEN LIVING. Then, they broke up and MOTHER OF FIRE started. Then they broke up and the world is a black hole of despair.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


   What the fuck is up? I've been thinking about the ghosts that you see when you walk down the street and you can only look at your neighborhood through a lens of what used to be there. I'm trying to stop doing that, but it's hard when everything changes so quickly.
    One of the last times that I talked about my friend Jamie's bands, I did not use any filters and I didn't think too closely about what I was putting out into the world. Without going into detail, I was visited by different kinds of ghosts and put into sudden serious conversations with people I never thought I would encounter in my life. I don't plan on revisiting these conversations anytime in the near future and sometimes, it's better to let ghosts rest. That is why this entry will be noticeably vague and feel devoid of some kinds of obvious info.
   Both of these bands were from Long Island during the early '00's. Both of them played shows in Chattanooga when I lived there. One of them I liked. The other...not so much. When THE LAZER came into town, it was the first time I met Jamie after being his pen pal for about a year or so. I took him out for pizza even though I could barely afford it. He complained about the pizza because he is from New York and this is what New Yorkers do, but when I went to see him, he returned the favor because that's what friends do.
   THE LAZER broke up and some of the members soon started the freight train known as BENT OUTTA SHAPE. SCENT OF HUMAN HISTORY soon became extinct and did other things too. I can't tell you what those things are, but you can find more info about this release here.

Monday, January 25, 2016


   I'm late to the game on these Texan miscreants, even though I've known one of them for almost 20 years. Where did this tape come from? Why can't I find any information on it? THE DEGENERATES were a Houston punk band who released a 7" in 1981 that you'd be lucky to find for under $100. None of the songs from this tape are on that record.
   They have songs about race, war, feeling trapped by your own feelings of rage and more. This shit is good. Imagine having these songs running through your head while you're running down a 1981 alley and being chased by huge Texan rednecks who want to beat your ass for just wearing some chains on your leather jacket. Perfect and classic.

I don't know what the other guys ended up doing (sorry), but their drummer Wade went on to play in 50 MILLION, CORDUROY, J CHURCH, HICKOIDS, THE REACTION and many more. He currently plays in the SF band, APOGEE SOUND CLUB. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

C SECTION 8 / ELECTRIC NIGHTS - Split - Tape - 2005(?)

   Sometimes, I put on tapes like this, thinking "I'm not sure if I'm really into this" and then find later that I just listened to it six times in a row. I mean, that's exactly what happened. It's a great tape. What do I know about it? Almost nothing. I think I saw C SECTION 8 perform once in a crumbling house on Rampart Street in a pre-Katrina New Orleans, but I could be wrong. It also could have been HARRY FROM HAWAII...or DOGERELLA DECIDED UPON...or HUMAN HAIR HAT. No one ever really talked about the names of the bands when I went to those shows, but it was always weirdly fucking mind-blowing. Like the time that a member of one of those bands was playing a table full of pedals and was dressed up in a homemade metal mask. The mask was attached to contact mics and he was hitting it with drumsticks while manipulating the sound into a cacophonous nightmare. He was also making small yelps, which I thought was part of the performance, but I found out later that he hadn't shaved down the metal inside so every time he hit the mask, it was cutting into his face and making him bleed! But was that C SECTION 8?? I don't know!! I don't think so.
   As far as ELECTRIC NIGHTS, I have even less information, meaning I have NO information. I did some searching, both online and off, and came up empty handed/headed. There's no trace of this release on the label's old paper order forms/catalogs and nothing online that I can find. Oh well. It's not important.
   The important part is that both sides of this is filled with (I'm assuming) blips and drones from busted ass analog and barely digital machines. Tape manipulations and wonky beats will lull you into a different head space. I don't know. I just like it. I've always liked this shit. Don't worry. I'll post more punk tapes soon, but you'll come back to this later and love it because all the hardcore kids will be playing noise by the end of 2016 anyway. Mark my words. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

RAW WAR - 2 Demos - Tape - 2010

    Sometimes a band exists in your region and you just never see them. Some people work too much. Some people just don't feel like going out to every show. Some people don't go to "those" shows. In my case, my best friend had cancer and I forgot how to interact with the world.
   Because of this, I know almost nothing about RAW WAR and these tapes came into my possession years after they broke up. I can enjoy them now and you can too. "Outfit" is carried almost entirely by one riff (until close to the end), but when the drum roll leads you to the bass line, you realize how sorely you've been missing that riff in your life (if you were, in fact, out of the loop like me). "Poster" has a call-and-response style vocal chant that always gets caught up in my head like an alternate universe "Steak Knife" (ANGRY SAMOANS). Everything about this band sounds so perfectly on ten on a shitty amp...pounding dilapidated drum set....multiple singers who sound like they would kill you but kinda be bored while doing it. I don't know. Like I said, I was at home and didn't know how to live.
   This download contains both of their tapes. One has an alien on the cover and one does not. I'm not sure which one came first, but they mostly have the same songs on them...just different versions and recordings. It's all great.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


   Rioting. It is important. It is crucial. Some say it's the unbeatable high. Many want a riot of their own. Where do you find your anger? What makes you flip the switch from simply walking down the street to punching a pig in the fucking face like that crudely drawn human above? What drives you to jump onto the hood of a police car and smash feet first through the windshield, like I once saw someone do on Mission Street? I can't answer those questions for you. It's up to you.
   A few months ago, my friend Jacob handed me this tape in the kitchen of his big, drafty warehouse in an undisclosed area of Rhode Island. He only explained that this tape is intended for rioting. It should put you in the mood to destroy. The whole concept was Mikey T's idea, but maybe ML was the one who was doing the most bugging to make it happen...but then Jacob made it happen. I know that none of those statements made a question, but just act like they did. I can't answer those questions for you. It's up to you.
   Back in San Francisco, my band got booked on a punk show in an art gallery by the ocean. I was borrowing a car and I drove it out. I put this tape in and listened to it LOUD with the windows down. By the time I arrived at the show, I felt crazy and wanted to destroy that entire area of town. I wanted to rip the art off the walls, punch my friends in the face and then walk away from the whole scene in slow motion while an entire city block exploded behind me. I didn't do that though because my friends are great and I really like that part of town. What I'm trying to say is, use this tape wisely and appropriately. Do not trifle with it. Listen responsibly.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

VARIOUS ARTISTS - "We Will All Be Well" - Tape - 2006

   My friend Monica was attending all kinds of shows in the Bay Area (and beyond) ten years ago and she usually had some kind of recording device in tow. That recording device was often a thrifted (or lifted) handheld cassette player that might have been better off lounging away in a dumpster, but Monica dutifully dragged it around and captured some moments in backyards, dark basements, toxic beaches, bars, rock clubs, living rooms and the places in between.
   She made this compilation of some of the moments and mailed it out to friends in an edition of 15. It came in a screened cloth bag with typed out track listings and a feather. I've had this tape for ten years now and have been thinking about sharing it on here since the beginning of the blog, but most of the sound quality is abysmal. Sometimes, the tape hiss is just as loud, if not louder, than the songs themselves, but I think there are special moments on here that deserve to be shared. It's up to you to decide which moments are special, if any.
    If you listen to this on headphones, it would be a good idea to keep your hand near a volume control. Some of the songs are almost inaudible, mostly tape hiss and come out of one speaker. Some are clear, LOUD recordings. Some of the bands were never heard from again. The compilation is all over the map. Some (not all) of the bands included within are THE BOOKS, SEXUAL RITES, LIL RUNT,  MIRAH, NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL, ONE REASON, J.R.R. TALLCAN, DAVID DONDERO and about 20 more. Enjoy or don't.

Friday, January 8, 2016

ERIN YANKE - Top Ten of 2015

This year, I'm keeping the top tens to a real minimum. There will only be a few. Erin Yanke is up first. This is her 4th year in a row on the top tens for the blog! Erin spends her time managing the station at KBOO, playing drums in the seasonal punk band REMNANTS, looking after Knuckles (the cat), randomly working the counter at Mississippi Records and reading more books than you (debatable), among many other things. Here goes....

Shopping – Why Choose (Fat Cat)  and Consumer Complaints
   WOW. This really blew my mind on first exposure, and continues to delight and amaze me. Danceable and smart, anticapitalist postpunk that doesn’t hold back on creativity. Whenever I play it at the record store someone buys the copy straight off the turntable. This is powerful art. Lively. Great. (ed. note: astute readers will note that Consumer Complaints came out in 2013,but, as Erin noted to me, it didn't get an American release until 2015)

Lebenden Toten - Stagnation Fragmentation – (Whisper in Darkness)
   This cassette only release will eventually be their new record.. I'm glad we got a sneak peak because its Amazing! They bring the noise and static and franticness and pulsing pace and paranoia and the cold edge of electronics in water. They are a Portland treasure!

Spray PaintPunters on a Barge (Homeless) and Dopers (Monofonus Press)
   I love this band, and love how prolific they are! Two high quality full length records. A few years back I said they were everything good about punk, and now they’ve gone deeper. They’ve slowed down a little bit, added a bunch more instruments, but still manage to be unpredictable while keeping it rockin!

 G.L.O.S.S. (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit) – (Total Negativity)
   This made me so incredibly happy. To live in such a harsh world that wants the best people dead, and to hear the art that hate can be turned into, it just makes me proud of G.L.O.S.S. as a band and as people, and even a little bit proud of humans in general. This is perfect, so ragin and so alive. Such a gift to the world.

Dead Moon – Live at Satyricon (Voodoo Doughnut Recordings) 
   The best band ever in the history of the world reminds us of their amazing live energy in the days when fewer folks cared. It’s also funny to me that Going South didn’t start out the set, but that’s total nerdcore from a super fan. Pure Love.

CCTV – CCTV ep (Lumpy)
    Treble heavy, frantic, and fun. The vocals are distanced and yet present, engaging and suspicious, laying just above the musical whirlpool. Plus the record has the personal touch that I love.What does CCTV stand for on your record?

Vexx – Give and Take (Katorga Works)
    I like this record mostly because it reminds me of their amazing live shows, the honesty and raw (really raw, not just a lot of distortion and effects style) possibility that Mary Jane brings to all moments. Live she is incredible, as is the band who rage along. But this record gives me time to slow down a little and take in what they are saying and doing, not just be swept up in it. Walking in the Rain is standout.

 Flesh World - The Wild Animals In My Life (Iron Lung) 
   I save this record for certain moods, when you want to really sit and listen and go somewhere else. This record opens portals. Lots of fuzz and feedback to lull you, but underneath there are noise moments and other sharp barbs to keep you on your toes as the mind wanders to new worlds. This record is a soundtrack to longing: personal, political, artistic.

Andy Human and the Reptoids – Andy Human and the Reptoids (SS Records)
    The band that, when I’d DJ parties, or play on the radio, got the most head swivels the most “who’s THAT?!!” asked with excitement and curiosity. AHatR sure know how to get past the “I’ve heard it all” fortress and break into it with a 70’s Ohio sense of creativity, urgency, fun, and experimentation without sounding like anyone of those bands, and without sounding like retro hack. Modern sounds for modern times.

 Susan Vaslev - Music from Enchanted Forest (Wyrd War) 
   You may have gotten a taste from last year’s comp WHISPERS THROUGH THE BLACK VEIL, but here’s more of the soundtrack to the fantasy amusement park! Not only a great record, but this calls to the higher purpose of making records, documenting our unique corners of the world and bringing them into new worlds.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

JOSE BOVE - Demo - Tape - 2008

   JOSE BOVE came to the small Midwestern college town that I found myself in and aurally destroyed an art gallery...or so I thought. They might have come there. I was convinced that I attended that show, but the more I search my brain, the more I can't remember being there. It probably happened, but I wasn't there. I story, dawg.
   JOSE BOVE was (is?) a sonic fuck-pile of a band. They consisted of two drummers facing each other and other people playing noise/generally fucking up the vibe. They're the sound inside your head when you're on a train jetting through a tube underwater after 5 cups of coffee and you want to kill all the screen starers in your immediate vicinity.
   Information on the band is hard to come by. This tape exists and I know they also released a 7" with hand screened covers. Beyond that, I can't help you. You're on your own now.

   The band is named after a French farmer / activist, who (among many other things) helped to dismantle  a McDonalds in Millau in 1999. I call attention to this act because of the recent near-fetishization of fast food among punks. Some people cry "but I'm broke." Whatever. It's possible to be actually broke (like your pocket hasn't seen money in months) and still not eat that shit. Give me a fucking break. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

COUNTY Z / IMPRACTICAL COCKPIT - Split Cassingle - 2002

  Since the previous entry was so sprawling and featured 100 songs, I decided to keep this one short and sweet. These two bands are two of my absolute favorites of the late 90's and early 00's. They played beautiful and ugly music. It was produced by purely lovable dirtbags. I feel comfortable calling them that because one of the members recently told me "We were such fucking dirtbags." The shitty punk historians of the future won't write about COUNTY Z and IMPRACTICAL COCKPIT in their $100 coffee table art cubes (books won't exist). The noisers who write the history will only make a scant mention of them. That is fine. They probably don't give a fuck. All of these people are still active in art and music, creating work that is incredible and essential.

I think this tape was created for one of their joint tours. Two songs. Less than two minutes of music.