Sunday, August 24, 2014
I got this tape sometime last year without truly realizing the band was from the neighboring city of Oakland. Their location may be the least important thing about this band. Anyway, I listened to their tape, liked it and wanted to see them, but with a little bit of digging, I found that they had already broken up. My fucking loss.
NEW HAPPINESS plays a dark style of post-punk that is so post that it's maybe not even actually punk. Like, maybe they just decided to start a band after listening to a bunch of SKINNY PUPPY one day. What the fuck do I know? It's a little goth sounding with some crazy metal percussion that sounds like synthesizers sometimes..but is actually just a bunch of metal junk. Sometimes, the vocals are a little too over the top for me, but that's just me. Maybe you like over the top.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Ten days ago, I posted a tape on the blog and said something like "I'm back from my break!", but then insisted on a self-imposed computer vacation. Partially, I imposed this break because I went on "vacation", but also because the world is too much to handle some days. On my trip away from my home, I was joined by some old and new friends. We spent a lot of time casually talking shit and gossiping in the car. We followed that up with intense discussions of unjust police brutality in Ferguson, MO, unjust (and never-ending) invasions of Iraq to combat against ISIS, kids (and everyone else) being fucking bombed in Palestine and even more cops killing innocent people in St Louis. We usually followed that up with long stints of looking out the car window at beautiful mountains while listening to heartbreaking music.
While traveling, we all separately (and together) had a great time, but these issues stayed in the back of our minds. At one point, I watched someone accidentally fall from over 15 feet up and immediately go unconscious. I was surrounded by drunk punks on all sides and was immediately ready to put my meager medic training to good use. Luckily, the woman with the face tattoos who I had just met was a nurse. Another woman was a medic. My travel partner from the needle exchange was on the phone with 911. CPR was being administered. Everyone else was collecting all the dogs, opening up the gates, giving people space...no one panicked. It was intense, but everyone (by everyone, I mean over 150 drunk punks and dirtbags) did exactly the right thing and the paramedics were wheeling the person out within 10 minutes. They're gonna live. Trust me, if shit ever goes down, I want to be surrounded by smart punks like that and not a bunch of fucking norms.
In the midst of all of this, a friend of a friend in the community had just taken their own life. I didn't know them, but it had directly affected nearly everyone around me. I found myself vacationing in their town while everyone was in various states of crisis, disbelief, shock or self-care (or self-harm). I spent my time reading on the sidewalk, laying in the park, giving all of my anti-anxiety meds to people in shock and hanging out at the punk show. I didn't know what else to do.
In a meager attempt to make a long story short, I have been finding it hard to just simply and casually write about a punk band's demo when there is just such an overwhelming amount of fucked up shit happening in the world (to put it into the simplest terms possible). Concurrently, I still want to actively put positive energy into the world or I will crumble up into a depressed, unwashed, slimy ball of a useless human being and never leave the four walls of my tiny room ever again. So, here's your fucking demo....
4RVR 21 played the basement punk show that I went to in Olympia, WA. In the beautiful spirit of everything punk, they had formed their band less than a week before the show, wrote three songs, learned a cover song AND recorded a demo. This demo is being posted online within a week of the band forming. Purportedly, the show I attended was rumored to be the only show that the band will ever play, but time will tell the truth. During their set, their singer Jeff made some sort of off-hand comment about insurrectionary anarchists having their rent paid by their parents, which later led to him being angrily confronted and pulled into a lengthy discussion with the anarchists about the things he said. I think it's important to back up the things that you say and I'm sure that I'm missing some nuances of Olympia life, but....I thought about Gaza, Ferguson, the cops, Iraq, ISIS, people getting concussions, people taking their own lives, children getting bombed, the ever tightening grip of the all-encompassing police state that we find ourselves living in and I thought to myself, "You have nothing better to do than get unreasonably upset over an off hand comment made to 20 people in a basement?"
Members of SHARKPACT, OUTLOOK, THE CHAIN, (legendary band) SOCKS N SANDALS and many more.
Thanks to Alex, Ken, Shannon and Millie for making me leave town. Thanks to Mary, Claire, Punkall, 5D, Tammy, Hayes, Cinder, Goddammit Pat, The Quack, Erin, Marat, Katie B, Spikey Mikey Warm Napkin, Chop Kong, B-Man, Lucy and so many more for keeping it really, truly real.
Monday, August 11, 2014
I had to take a break from the blog for a minute to move my hundreds and hundreds of tapes to a different location (in addition to all of my other belongings), but this remote cave on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea seems like a good fit for me. Back to the music.
During the break, I got a few submissions and some good new tapes, so maybe I'll throw those out over the next few weeks. Maybe I'll just dig up another forgotten band from 85 years ago. I don't really know. Today, I'm bringing you a submission from my friend, Alex Turner, who you may have seen working behind the merch table at a SHARKPACT show or you may have seen him setting up the lighting for the recent BEYONCE shit-show in SF. Here he is to tell you what little information is known about the legendary, short-lived band SOCKS & SANDALS.
SOCKS & SANDALS was a mysterious group with obvious 90210 influences. Little is known about this (self-described) very influential Olympia band. The members have split up between Olympia and New Orleans. They can be seen playing in THE CHAIN, CHIN UP MERIWETHER, RVIVR, SHARKPACT and ROCK BOTTOM GIRLS.
Friday, July 18, 2014
Travis and I hosted this week's MRR Radio, playing a ton of newer records and tapes. Take a listen if you feel like it. I think we did a pretty good job.
Also, there won't be any new posts until mid-August because I'm away from my room for a while and then I'm moving into a new house. Stay realer than real.
Monday, July 7, 2014
This double CD-R comp of killer and not-so-killer punk songs from movies was compiled by notorious local punk Eric Yee and given away for free at a movie night he hosted at Thrillhouse Records in San Francisco. If memory serves me correctly, he showed Tjenare Kungen (sooo good), Sir Drone (if you haven't seen this, just stop everything and change your life for the next hour) and Desperate Teenage Lovedolls ("Hey, thanks for killing my mom!"). Within this comp, you'll find fictional bands, some well-knowns and some obscure foreign burners. Thanks to Eric, Eggplant and Thrillhouse. Enjoy!
Large file. 230 MB
If you're a freak about punks in movies or just want an amazing book about that subject, track down Destroy All Movies....one of my favorites.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
This tape is a companion piece to the DICK VAN DYKES post from yesterday because it was recorded on the same day in the same place with most of the same people. THE HIGHLANDS was our friend, Ryan's home recording project where he played short, fast, catchy songs that rarely, if ever, lasted over 45 seconds. He would include tapes of these recordings with his zine, 5 Minutes of Your Time. We (D.V.D.) encouraged Ryan to play shows with a live band, even though his set would last 5 minutes or less. When we recorded the D.V.D. songs, we got Ryan to play some of his songs with Chrissie and I accompanying him on bass and drums, respectively. It's a little rough, but I like the songs a lot. We even got him to record his epic two-and-a-half minute super pop jam, "Changes Pt 3", which has Bob playing drums and me on bass. If I can track down the original home recordings, I will post those one day, even though you have to turn those up all the way just to hear it.
7 songs. About 7 minutes of your time.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
THE DICK VAN DYKES started abruptly in the north Alabama bedroom of a teenage boy who went by the name of Bob. Bob started showing up at punk shows when he was nine years old, sporting a 3 foot mohawk and a dress shirt that had the names of punk bands scrawled all over it in Sharpie. Bob was kind of a jerk then, but we all wanted to be his friend and soon, we were.
By the time this band formed, Bob was 14 or 15. The other members were Blair Menace and myself. We were both in our 20's and being around Bob made us feel ancient. We just formed a band on the spot and wrote all the songs in about 5 minutes, with subjects ranging from receiving postcards about tackling cacti n the desert to the band BLACK DICE to the comedy duo of Don Knotts and Tim Conway. It was bad. We recorded it and went our separate ways.
Later, I kinda lost my shit and moved away from Chattanooga and into Bob's mom's windowless basement in Huntsville, AL. Our good friend, Chrissie had also kinda lost her shit and moved home to her dad's place in Pulaski, Tennessee, 45 miles away. One night, I drank too much coffee and lost my shit a little more and decided to walk to Pulaski to hang out with Chrissie. When I got there, 8 hours later, my feet were bleeding and I didn't make any sense. Soon, we were both back in Huntsville and Chrissie was in our newly revived band. We decided to spend a little longer writing the songs this time and were happier with the results. Bob was (and still is) the fastest drummer I've ever played with, which was awesome because I only want to play hardcore if it sounds out of control. Oh yeah, we were a hardcore band once Chrissie joined us and began talking about AUS ROTTEN and DS-13. She played bass and sang, I played guitar and tried to yell.
We never thought we'd play outside of Bob's basement, but we did eventually. We even went on a very short, ill-advised tour in a primer grey, early 80's clunker car that was bought at a police auction. At one of the shows, someone who lived at the house decided that they didn't want a show there, so they locked all the doors and left. The promoter simply broke in and had the show anyway. We recorded this tape back in Chattanooga at Rear Entry (a practice space in the Highland Park neighborhood) with our friend, Ryan. It was recorded live on 2 tracks, mostly in one take and very sloppily. Some songs are good. Some are bad. You can decide which is which. I will point out that our cover of the HIGHLANDS "Changes Pt 1" is just awful. If you don't know who the HIGHLANDS are (and I'm betting that you don't), please check back tomorrow.
Photo above is by Brontez, live in Huntsville, AL at Stokes St Warehouse. We really were not trying to pose for this pic. It just happened.
Top drawing by Janelle Hessig
Cellphone hatred pic by Chrissie.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Sometimes you drink coffee...sometimes you don't....maybe you get that feeling in your head that you want to listen to something short, fast and loud. No pretense. No bullshit. You might wish that every song would be over in less than a minute because your attention span starts wandering after 40 seconds. Maybe you want to hear a singer who sounds just as pissed as you feel every day when you walk down the street and you see another fucking condo being built where your friend's beautiful warehouse used to stand (and then you get more pissed as you think about how you and your friends are just as complicit in the act of gentrification in your neighborhood anyway). Maybe you want to rip your teeth out and throw them at people wearing Google Glass. Maybe you wanna press a cop's fucking nose directly into your asshole as you shit out a giant turd into his stupid fucking nostrils. Maybe you just wanna listen to hardcore. Here it is. 3 songs in less than 3 minutes.
This tape was put out by Lumpy Rex, I think. The tape is gone, but if you're dumb enough to buy a flexi, you can get a one by this band from Spotted Race.
You can hear the songs from the flexi here. It rules.
"I got a grudge against society, so I started stealing everything"
Saturday, June 21, 2014
I pulled up in front of the punk house last night and I could hear that THE BLUES was already playing in the garage. I locked up my bike and wandered in, but the room was so packed that I couldn't even stand in there, so I stood out back and shot the shit while THE BLUES wailed away. I overheard some bro-dawg say "Yeah, I don't know what's going on in there. It's like, just noise or something, but there's all these people, like, staring at them and just looking around like they're thinking really hard about it. I had to leave."
When their set was over, I told their guitarist, Marissa that I couldn't get in the room and she said "Yeah, I looked up from my guitar and was surprised that we hadn't cleared the room yet." Max, the saxophone player added "Yeah. That's what happens usually."
THE BLUES play something between noise and no wave and free jazz and skronky weird vibes, incorporating only the sounds of guitar and sax. I described it once as "like the financial district of San Francisco at rush hour" and "If you played this on a boombox in a crowded subway, someone might beat you up." I stand by that and I mean it as a compliment. The band has already put out a second release, which is an art zine (you can download it from them or maybe they'll give you a physical copy if you see them) and they have interesting future releases planned, which I will not give away.
Keep up with THE BLUES on their website, which I described as "janky" and my friend Caitlin made fun of me. "How can a website be janky? You just click on things and it works right? That's not janky"
Members of THE BLUES also play in WET DRAG, STILLSUIT, UZI RASH, LAND ACTION and moreeeeeee.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
I really like synth-based punk when it's done well...like COUNT VERTIGO, LOST SOUNDS or some other shit like that. I like stuff that sounds unhinged and punk. Sometimes, synth bands go down a goth path (and I like goth too), but bands tend to lose something when they go down that path and turn into SKINNY PUPPY. MODERN DELUSION manages to sound like a lost Killed By Death style band from 1982..but also pretty modern and urgent. That's all I got. They're good. They're from Croatia. They play a CRIME cover. You can probably order their tape if you want to pay one million dollars in postage.
Usually, I like to just post free downloads, but when it's a current band, I think that you should support them any way you can. If you'd like to order a tape directly from the band, please go here.