Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Superchunk - Hit Self Destruct EP (1993)

This gem of an EP includes the catchy single 'Cadmium' along with an acoustic version of 'Throwing Things' and their rendition of the Verlaine's 'Lying In State'.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dead Moon - Echoes Of The Past

The tale of Dead Moon is a story within a story. The band itself helped set the standard for bands of this region: the sly sense of humor, ethos, and raw energy that bands from the Pacific Northwest are reknown for. From 1987 til 2006, Fred Cole, his wife Toody Cole, and Andrew Loomis consistently churned out an amalgamation of punk, garage rock, and country music that was beyond reproach. Dead Moon is often discussed with great reverence by many, even if they aren't familiar with the band's bounty of material. Their reputation precedes them.

Within the tale of Dead Moon is that of Fred Cole. Fred began playing in bands at the age of 13, starting The Lords in 1964. By the age of 15, Cole was being touted as "the white Stevie Wonder". Cole started and played in a beavy of bands between 1964 and the conception of Dead Moon in 1987 including (to name a few): Deep Soul Cole, The Weeds, The Lollipop Shoppe, Zipper, King Bee, The Rats, The Desperate Edge, and The Western Front.

44 years. 44 years of playing in bands, touring and recording. It simply boggles the mind. I could only dream of such perseverence!

While Dead Moon eventually called it a day (fear not, as both Fred and Toody have since started a new project called Pierced Arrows), their legacy is an enduring one that will only grow and develop with time. It would be incredibly difficult to make any attempt to designate one specific record to encapsulate their genius. With that in mind, I have decided to share the band's self-compiled 'best of' collection (released by Sub Pop in 2006).

You can buy other available Dead Moon merchandise (including the DVD 'Unknown Passage') here.

Echoes Of the Past - Disc One: http://sharebee.com/a69ff10c
Echoes Of the Past - Disc Two: http://sharebee.com/91cefca9

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Vast Majority - I Wanna Be A Number 7"

Vast Majority formed in 1979 after vocalist Scott Telles had been hyping his own fictional outfit called Shit Snotnose and the Scabsuckers. The band was eventually flyerbooked and decided to get together and write a few songs.

I Wanna Be A Number reflects this haste and lack of experience. To be truthful this record has some of the worst drumming and bass playing that comes to mind. And yet there is a quality to this record that keeps me coming back for more. The catchy vocal hooks perhaps? The melody that I keep humming 20 minutes after I listen to the song? Even I am unsure what brings me back each time.

After being featured in Killed By Death 8.5, this rough and tumble single now fetches for a pretty penny. Thankfully all you need to do is check out the link below for this punk rock gem.


J.F.A. - Blatant Localism EP

J.F.A. represent an embrace toward the innocence and strength of youth and the purity of a life before bills and 9 to 5 jobs get in the way. Founded in 1981, this foursome of skatepunks from Phoenix AZ played their first show opening for Black Flag. They very quickly generated not only a strong local and regional following (due to their geographic proximity to southern California) but also a strong national following due to their being consistently covered by Thrasher Magazine that would continue throughout the decade. Their songs focused on the toils of daily life, ageist marginalization, and the frustrations that arise from such generalizations.

Their debut EP, Blatant Localism, is a classic within most hardcore circles, with its surprisingly quality recording, lightning-quick pace, and catchy melodies. Check it out at the link below.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dove - s/t

The band Floor was introduced to my circle of friends via their No Idea Records self-titled debut in 2002.

By this point, Floor had been around for a decade, only rising to a newfound level of national prominence shortly before the band's eventual demise around 2004. During Floor's final days, drummer Henry Wilson had started a new project, named Dove (Dove being the name of Floor's then unreleased full-length LP recorded in the mid-90's, eventually to be released in 2004 on No Idea Records). Additionally, Dove and Floor appeared together on a split 7" EP. Wilson provided guitars and vocals for this new project.

Shortly after the break up of Floor, however, Dove quickly came out with a self-titled (and self-released) LP. The record continues the general direction of Floor's self-titled LP, with similar tone, tempo, and vocal stylings. If I were more of a cynic, I would probably refer to this record as 'Floor-lite' but I do think the band is able to create a unique identity for itself via this record. The track 'Goes Without Saying' is a great example of this identity, with its galloping pace and sudden mid-song bust.

As best I can tell, this band disappeared somewhat shortly after the release of this record (their former website www.wallofdove.com is now a site that sells Dove beauty products). At the very least we can enjoy these 14 tracks. Enjoy!


Connecticut Gems Vol 4: China Pig

I must admit that I didn't know much about China Pig until roughly 3 weeks ago. This CD was suggested to me by a friend at the WESU radio station, who was familiar with my penchant for local punk bands of yore. I can tell you that this record, recorded at Studio 45 in Hartford and released in 1994 on Bloomfield CT's own MUDD Industries, combined aspects of AmRep heaviness with a more ambient, Constellation Records-esque atmospheric vibe. I wish I knew more about this band, so if you happen to have more information on this band, please feel free to get in touch. In the meantime, enjoy their record, Tip-Toe Through The Hatching Chamber.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Brian's favorite music videos, Part 1

So if you have paid careful attention to this blog, you might recall that one of my initial posts was regarding an incredible video by That Dog. While I still maintain that video is one of the better things I have ever seen, a recent discussion had me thinking about my favorite music videos of all time. Since, arguably, that format is somewhat dead or at least dormant in lieu of MTV's refusal to play actual videos, deeming a particular video as my favorite "of all time" shouldn't be too damning due to lack of competition.

At any rate, here are my top 2 (for the time being).

First and foremost: Sonic Youth, 'Dirty Boots' from the album Goo (Geffen, 1990). The plot of this video is fairly predictable and yet there's something about it that solidifies it as my favorite video of all time. Let me paint the picture for you:

A young man attends a local "underground punk" show in his town. Whilst playing pool, the young man happens to notice the arrival of a young woman, roughly his age, wearing a leather jacket, Doc Martins, and a t-shirt by a young, upstart band of the time (that band, of course, being Nirvana...specifically, the "Fudge Packin', Crack Smokin', Satan Worshipin' Mother Fucker" t-shirt [white shirt, red print] sold on the Bleach tour...be still my beating heart!).
As the show progresses and Sonic Youth happens to bust into one of the finest singles off their newest record at the time, the two exchange glances whilst pogo-ing and continue to watch the band. Then, during a lull in the song, they catch the stares of the other from across the room (see 3:41 through 4:01 in the video for the BEST NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION EVER PORTRAYED THROUGH FILM) and decide to run onstage. They embrace, exchange a kiss that will be felt throughout the ages, and are rapidly forced to dive offstage by 1990's bouncer stereotypes (note that the dude has proper form in that he turns to his backside while jumping, whereas the young woman makes the unfortunate decision to jump FEET FIRST into the apathetic indie crowd [maybe she's more punk than we give her credit for, no?]), and the song/video comes to a rapid end.
We will forget about the weird subplot regarding the 2 "punks" in the other leather jackets who can't seem to get along the whole night until Steve Shelley miraculously throws a drum stick into the crowd, thus saving everyone's evening. It's not really important. What IS important, however, is that this video encapsulates a large amount of most of my personal fantasies to tape. It's mind-boggling, really.
I feel as though I was victim of some weird time-travelling scheme where someone from the past came into the future, found out all the things that I wished had happened to me in my adolescence, and put them to film in a 1990 music video (all of course while I was 8 years old and thereby unaware of my desire for such things). I must say, I feel slightly used.
In the meantime, you can enjoy this pleasantly dated romp through times past over and over again. See the video below for an inside look into my twisted psyche:

My second favorite video: Nine Inch Nails' 'The Perfect Drug' from the Lost Highway soundtrack. Whereas the Sonic Youth video was predictable and quaint, this video makes nearly no sense at all (much like the actual film, Lost Highway), and yet I am strangely drawn to it. To extrapolate further:

Let it be known that I generally LOVE Nine Inch Nails. Don't give me that punker-than-thou bullshit. Did you live in a cave with your hands over your ears for most of the 90's or something? My personal revelations removed, Nine Inch Nails videos ( in the 90's at least) were creepy. Not even creepy, but downright scary. Reznor and company simply didn't screw around. Did you ever see the original video for 'Hurt'?? I mean, its just atomic bomb blasts and dead animal bodies decomposing on fast-forward...pretty messed up if you ask me. And yet, somehow, the video for 'The Perfect Drug' surpasses that level of creepiness. Overcast skies, foreboding castles, and Trent Reznor in a sketchy goatee make for, ultimately, one scary video. The fact that 'The Perfect Drug' is, in my opinion, one of Nine Inch Nails' best songs, also helps this video's awesomeness factor. However, since it was seen by many as a mere soundtrack video, it was left to rot in the annals of YouTube, hoping that someone would stumble upon it. Thankfully, I have helped circumvent the process and thereby request that you do yourself the favor of watching the video below, if only to remind yourself of how incredible this song/video actually was/is:

Monday, September 1, 2008

obligatory Jay Reatard entry

Before becoming the darling of the indie world, Jay Reatard was a pissed off 16 year old, fronting his namesake band, The Reatards. Notorious for their confrontational and destructive live shows, The Reatards' blistering brand of rock and roll carried a heavy KBD influence. They were also a rather prolific band, writing and releasing a slew of albums before their eventual break up. While the recording quality on these recordings can vary, I personally find their album Grown Up, Fucked Up to embody many of the band's finer qualities. Gritty and rough around the edges, this record escapes the confines of much of the over-produced punk rock that was coming out toward the end of the 90's. Be sure to check out the track 'Saturday Night Suicide', it will melt your face off.


Blank Stare - s/t EP

About 5 seconds into Blank Stare's 'White Corpse', the bassline bends, drops out, and then the entire band presents the musical equivalent to a punch in the face. This musical pummelling continues for the next 3 minutes and 44 seconds, the running length of this far-too-short EP from one of Boston's best kept secrets.

I found recently that even those who have developed an unfortunate cynical attitude toward hardcore and punk can, at the very least, still appreciate a damn good band when they hear one. And for my assorted lot of hard-to-impress elder statesmen, Blank Stare is one of those bands. Unrelenting in their approach, impeccably tight in their execution, and lyrics so incredibly pissed off you'll wonder how these guys don't just walk around throwing haymakers at the nearest passer-by. Their scathing yet self-referential politics are at the very least intriguing, at the very best ingenious.

Word on the street is that this band might not be around for much longer (you can stay tuned to their blog for updates) so if you happen to hear about Blank Stare coming around to your area and/or you don't live incredibly far from the Boston area, I highly recommend you make the trip.

You can buy this record here
or listen to it here: http://sharebee.com/9dc2ae6b

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Even more end of summer fun: Atomic Rooster

In a similar vein to the below piece regarding Grand Funk Railroad, I bring you this awesome/incredible/hilarious video of Atomic Rooster playing on the UK's The Top Of The Pops. Awkward dancing abounds!

End of summer fun with Grand Funk Railroad

If the splendid yet sometimes awkward transformation from 1960's acid soaked rock into the hard rock/heavy metal sound of the early 1970's could be trapped in a bottle and unfairly condensed into an easy-to-digest 1 album summary, I think Grand Funk Railroad's On Time would suffice nicely. This grainy footage from a live show in 1969/1970 exemplifies just how perplexed the audience was at the time, unsure of how to react (it's quite funny, actually...see about 0:46 into the clip below) to Grand Funk's thumping basslines, sped up tempo, and bluesy riffage.

As many around me are sure to know, Grand Funk has been a large part of my personal summertime playlist. A live version of the track 'Are You Ready?' from the aforementioned On Time LP is posted below. Throw your misconceptions out the window and open your mind. It'll pay off in the end, trust me.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fang - Landshark

Bay area punk band Fang came to prominence in the early 1980's with their debut LP, Landshark, an edgy LP that dealt with the ever-growing self-aware nature of the punk/hardcore scene of the day (specifically seen in the classic track 'The Money Will Roll Right In'). This LP was released shortly after their contribution on the Not So Quiet On The Western Front compilation LP was released.

In 1989, singer Sam McBride was sentenced to six years in prison for murdering his girlfriend, Dixie Lee Carney. While that factoid certainly won't win him any humanitarian awards, it is difficult to deny the influence that Fang's dirgy tone, speed, and ruthless attitude had on the punk and hardcore scene of the late 1980's/early 1990's (both Nirvana and Mudhoney would cover 'The Money Will Roll Right In' live on multiple occasions, Mudhoney eventually deciding to properly record the cover as a b-side).


Big Black - Kerosene

"I was born in this town. Lived here my whole life. Probably come to die in this town. Lived here my whole life."

While I would argue that these lyrics are almost too relative for most, the sheer 'I don't give a fuck' nature of Albini's prose, combined with the maniacal-yet-mechanical nature of the song itself cannot be challenged. Many would agree that the concept of suburban hostility is somewhat cliche in the grand scheme of all things 'punk', but I dare say that Big Black set the bar rather high with this specific track off of 1986's Atomizer.

This song encapsulates an anger and frustration that many punk and/or hardcore songwriters wish they could obtain. Albini's distinct ability to bottle up frustration, anger, and cynicism is ever present and unparalleled. Even funnier, people still try to pull this shtick off when they can simply put on the A side of Atomizer and cease dabbling with inferior imitations.

Check it out for yourself and make your own decision:


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Flower Travellin' Band - Satori

For the love of whatever you hold dear, do not deny it. Let it take over you. Let it become you. Live it. Embrace it.


Goatsnake - Flower Of Disease

With all of my talk about things related to Scott 'Wino' Weinrich, I find it hard to believe that we have yet to discuss Goatsnake. Strangely enough, Goatsnake is made up of members of some rather often overlooked, yet incredibly talented bands, creating one uber-talented band that reigns supreme over many.

Goatsnake rose from the ashes of The Obsessed, as the band's rhythm section began jamming with the likes of legendary metal mastermind Greg Anderson (of Thorr's Hammer, Burning Witch, and SunnO))) fame). The trio finished their lineup with the addition of Pete Stahl (who had previously played alongside a young Dave Grohl in the D.C. hardcore band Scream). The band was able to record some tracks and tour a bit before becoming overwhelmed by Anderson's other projects and fading into obscurity. Eventually, in 2000, Goatsnake (with a new rhythm section) headed back into the studio to record what would become their greatest effort, 2000's Flower Of Disease.

This album (the band's second, released on Anderson's Southern Lord label) would perfectly encapsulate the band's sound, one that was both classic and yet contemporary...a sound that, in my opinion, is second to none. See for yourself via the link below. Be sure to check out the standout track, 'El Coyote', a track so chocked full of boogie rock that you might just not know what to do with yourself. Enjoy!


Holy Neglected July, Batman!

Okay, okay, so I realize it's been nearly a month since I've posted anything on here. I should point out that I've been out and about having some summertime fun and therefore unable to upload some raging tunes for y'all.

Ultimately, that's no excuse. Therefore, I've broken out some big guns to post for what remains of July to make up for lost time. Hopefully you will share my enthusiasm for these tracks and we can all happily enjoy what remains of our sticky summer weeks.....

So by now we are well aware of my tendencies toward all things "grunge" related. We know of my weird obsession with Nirvana, the Melvins, and other related bands. We also might know that recently I finished my Soundgarden vinyl collection (all LPs and 12" EPs) and that I recently picked up a fresh, mint copy of C/Z records' 1985 compilation, Deep Six. For those not familiar with this compilation, it is considered the very first evidence of what would be later considered "grunge" music. This compilation contains tracks from six different bands (Green River, Malfunkshun, the Melvins, Skin Yard, Soundgarden, and the U-Men), that would collectively encapsulate what would later become known as the 'Seattle sound'. This comp has some excellent cuts on it, including Malfunkshun's highly underrated track, 'With Yo' Heart(Not Yo' Hands' and some excellent early material by Soundgarden.

If you think you are too "punk" or so musically advanced that you are beyond this compilation, I strongly suggest that you pull your head from out of your ass and try again. If there is one thing that the mid 1980's Seattle music scene did, it allowed for various musical genres that seemed unrelatable to co-exist. A wondrous cornucopia of sounds and influences that, ultimately (for better or for worse), would captivate the pop-culture world.

Without further ado, I give you C/Z Records' Deep Six compilation:


Friday, June 27, 2008

Connecticut Gems Vol 3: Vatican Commandos

There are some that are only aware of the Vatican Commandos for the pop-culture factoid that a young man by the name of Richard Hall (later to rise to fame as Moby) performed with them for a brief time. Formed in 1982, The Vatican Commandos released an excellent series of EPs in their brief tenure as a band (1982-1985), notably appearing on the excellent compilation Connecticut Fun. Hit Squad For God, their debut EP, was a fresh and solid piece of hardcore, something that wouldn't have been expected from the posh shoreline town of Madison, Connecticut. On this release, the band plows through 6 cuts of pissed off suburban hardcore. And while the topics aren't exactly unfamiliar, the Vatican Commandos are a fine example of the development of punk rock within the sometimes difficult and alienating confines of the wonderous nutmeg state. Check out the record below and no longer be limited to soundbite-esque factoids!


For Against - December

Hailing from Lincoln, Nebraska, many would be surprised by For Against's sound, as their proto-shoegaze tendencies would have most thinking that they were from the UK. And while their influences are rather apparent, it does not take away from the solid songwriting that December, their second full length, displays. Upbeat tempos, intermixed with somber lyrics and haunting melodies, this album seems to borrow characteristics from many ideologically related artists at the time. As a result, you get a band that appears to be incredibly multi-faceted, a band that cannot be pigeon-holed by the definitions of a mere genre. And while some could argue that the album's overall sound is somewhat dated, I think listening to a record with such an unmistakable sound is not only enjoyable, but rather refreshing. This record is carried out so well that it makes the timewarp an incredibly enjoyable experience. A quality release overall, be sure to check it out!


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Anyone out there?

In case anyone is reading this and wondering why I've been slacking the past few weeks, my internet access has been temporarily limited. This issue should be resolved tomorrow, and I'll post a bunch of stuff up at that time in celebration! Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Adverts - Crossing The Red Sea

The Adverts were one of the first British punk bands of the late 70's, quickly establishing themselves as a staple at London's first punk rock haven, The Roxy. After releasing a series of acclaimed singles, the band released their first full length, Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts, which included the singles 'Safety In Numbers' and 'No Time To Be 21'. These singles and this full length helped establish The Adverts as one of the first commercially successful punk bands of all time. Singer/guitarist T.V. Smith proves himself to be an incredible songwriter, crafting songs that have endured more than 20 years and the sentiments of those songs remain relevant today. My favorite track on this record is 'Bombsite Boy', ("I don't believe you have to be an idiot to get somewhere these days. I don't believe you have to sell your soul and do what everyone says. I'm happy where I am.")


Friday, May 30, 2008

Leaf Hound - Growers Of Mushroom

Time to balance out the punx with a sweet slab of hazy, cotton-mouthed 70's rock. So not only is the band called Leaf Hound and their only proper album entitled Growers Of Mushroom, but the album itself is incredible! I once read a review of this record, calling it "the best album Led Zeppelin never made" and its pretty accurate. Also fun to note is that members of this band went on to take part in other choice 70's rock powerhouses such as Atomic Rooster and Foghat. Check out the link below and make Leaf Hound a vital component to your goodtime summer vibes!

Leaf Hound - Growers Of Mushroom

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jesus Lizard - Liar

Do you really need me to give you some list of reasons and/or a stupid story to convince you to listen to this record?

Good, I didn't think so.

Enjoy one of the best albums made in the last 20 years.


Connecticut Gems Vol 2: Diallo

Diallo was an incredible hardcore band from Windsor Connecticut. They came together sometime in late 2000/early 2001, quickly recording a demo that would eventually become their first EP, 2001's Diagram Of A Scam. Diallo specialized in produced ear-splitting, politically charged hardcore. They also happened to be some of the nicest people I've had the pleasure of meeting/playing with. For a few years at the beginning of the decade, Diallo were constantly playing, releasing records, and organizing/promoting shows with impeccable consistency in the Hartford area (long before the current configuation of shows/houses/spaces/friendly faces that occupy Hartford's city limits). The impact and influence of their efforts were lost on most of us while they were happening...of course they were mostly taken for granted (I am as guilty as anyone), as most things of this sort are while they are currently happening under our collective nose. However, if you look back on what they did, when they did it, and how they did it, it would be naive to deny their influencial stamp on the state of Connecticut's current punk/hardcore community.

If you happened to miss them when they were around, or if you've since misplaced your copy, below is a link for the aforementioned Diagram Of A Scam EP.


Diallo -Diagram Of A Scam

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Mice - the elusive Canterbury Bells LP

The Mice were an absolutely incredible power pop band from the Cleveland area, putting out their first self-released single, "Can You Walk On The Water Baby?", in 1984. Soon afterward, the Fox brothers, Bill and Tommy, along with bassist Ken Hall, had their first proper relase with 1985's flawless For Almost Ever EP. The EP featured an excellent selection of songs, starting with "Downtown", a documentation of the frustration that mounts from living in middle American suburbia ("Day after day there's nothing happening/she stares out the window waiting for the world to spin"). The anthemic "Not Proud Of The USA" (I dare you to find a song that starts out with a greater hook!) further depicts songwriter Bill Fox's developing political alienation between himself and those around him ("When I was a boy I was told to believe that America was all there was, just because").

After the release of For Almost Ever the band quickly got back to writing new songs, soon releasing 1986's Scooter LP. The LP did show a growth and development in their sound, as many of the band's rougher punk edges had been smoothed away by vocal harmonies, catchy hooks and acoustic overdubs (see "Little Rage", "Bye Bye Kitty Cat", and especially "Ancient Mystery" for such examples). The songs' lyrics remained focused on Bill Fox's brilliant coming-of-age storytelling, allowing listeners to easily identify with many, if not all of, Bill's anecdotal life lessons.

After a brief midwest tour, Bill Fox decided to leave the band, effectively ending the band itself. The band, however, had already begun to record tracks for what would have been their second full length LP, which was to be titled Canterbury Bells. In 2004, Scat Records decided to reissue the band's first two professional records on a CD compilation (entitled, appropriately, For Almost Ever Scooter). The compilation was also supposed to inclue the tracks from Canterbury Bells as well as some live tracks, but the band decided to not include the extra material at the last minute.

I have been frantically attempting to track down this unreleased material for quite some time. It was only last week that Bill at I Rock Cleveland was kind enough to send me the 10 unreleased tracks from Canterbury Bells! "Music Here" has become my favorite of the tracks included in this album that (very unfortunately) never was.

Please check out the Scat Records website to purchase the For Almost Ever Scooter CD. Enjoy!


Archers Of Loaf - Harnessed In Slums

While the remainder of their 1995 effort Vee Vee is quite consistant, the single "Harnessed In Slums" remains the standout track on this LP. A college radio hit upon the album's release, "Harnessed In Slums" has a driving tempo, an infectious chorus, and overall just a 'feel good' vibe to it that makes it perfect for recent springtime weather.

I must admit that while this song/album (along with That Dog) is rather new to me, they are perfect examples of the sort of music that I stereotypically prefer. Since I've enjoyed these 2 most recent recommendations so much, I emplore you to please send me any suggestions of similar songs/bands/etc that might provide me with equal amounts of happiness and excitement.

In the meantime, enjoy the "Harnessed In Slums" single at the link below!


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Up(load) the Punx

So a couple of my friends who strongly prefer punk music lovingly critiqued my blog the other day in passing because it didn't involve or contain enough music to soothe their specific tastes (I maintained that the Zero Boys and Wipers entries were examples of such, but they didn't seem to agree). It is with them in mind that I have uploaded a few gems, in the hopes that this soothes the jangled nerves of the punk collective who have felt slighted thus far by my often confusing musical palate.

The first of such is the first and third volumes of the Bored With The USA series. Similar to Killed By Death in its intent, the series collects early singes and demonstrational recordings by early U.S. punk bands. Volume 1 has a much more classic feel, with tracks from The Plastmatics, The Bags, Weirdos, Misfits, Crime and the Avengers all appearing on the compilation, while Volume 3 has a bit more of an obscure vibe with bands like the Manic Depressives, Swingers Resort, and the Maids.

I'm aware that, to some within the punk/hardcore community, the revival of late 70's/early 80's punk is met with great disdain and scorn...or at the very least a not-so-subtle roll of the eyes. It always seemed to me that punk and hardcore bands of any era wear their influences on their collective sleeve anyway, so what's the harm? Appreciate the present (and future, for that matter) by celebrating the past, I say. I suppose, however, that my rather eclectic and vague taste makes it easier for me to say that (not that I claim to have either a great taste in music or an all-encompassing one, please let me make that abundantly clear).

At any rate, enjoy these compliations via the links below. I'll try and upload some more strictly punk stuff in the coming weeks, just for sake of balance. All joking aside, I sincerely appreciated my friends' input, as it was some of the first evidence to me that people actually read this thing. Thanks!

Bored With The USA - Volume 1 - DOWNLOAD HERE!
Bored With The USA - Volume 3 - DOWNLOAD HERE!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Listen to Bubble Puppy

I stumbled upon their 1969 effort A Gathering of Promises and was instantly blown away. Incredibly catchy psych-rock with a steady tempo and excellent songwriting. "Hot Smoke And Sasafras" has instantly become my new favorite song.

Many thanks to my good friend Will at Burning Minds for providing me with this record.


The Chronicles of Wino, Vol 2: Saint Vitus

I have chosen to continue my tribute to Scott 'Wino' Weinrich, this time focusing on Saint Vitus. While Weinrich was not Saint Vitus' first singer (he joined the group in 1986 after original singer Scott Reagers left), however it is the band he is most reknown for. That being said, Saint Vitus continues to be a terribly underappreciated band (their first 6 records were never even released on CD format and remain, to this day, out of print). Being on SST records and going on tour with Black Flag during the early 80's, Saint Vitus often times suffered from being seen as almost a novelty in the eyes of self-respecting punks everywhere. Unfortunately many failed to see past Saint Vitus' sound and image to fully understand their approach, which carried along with it enough DIY ethics to match the band with labelmates Minutemen and the aforementioned Black Flag.

Nonetheless, Saint Vitus' plodding pace, fuzzed-out sound, and lyrical imagery provided the base for countless bands to come. Their influence is unquestionable. It's for that exact reason, however, that Saint Vitus is more commonly seen as a reference point, a sly factoid, rather than a celebrated band with an impressive overall catalogue.

It was Wino's debut with Saint Vitus, 1987's Born Too Late that also happened to be the peak of the band overall creatively. With lyrics like "Everytime I walk down the street, people laugh and point at me" and "They say my songs are much too slow, but they don't know the things I know" (both taken from the album's title track) accurately depict the solemn tone of the album, where Wino's lyrics are as heavy-handed as the band's musical approach. Wino's writing was arguably at its peak as well. While his other bands had and would have more hooks and a more catchy tempo, his lyrical demeanor was incredibly strong.

Due to the difficulty of obtaining the band's material, I've uploaded their SST-released 'best of' compilation. It includes material from their first 3 records (pre-Wino) as well as Wino's material. Be sure to check out "Clear Windowpane" and "Born Too Late", both appearing on the previously mentioned "Born Too Late" LP. Stop living in the spoils of blissful ignorance!


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Flipper - Generic

I'm not sure how or why something can be called both dumb and incredible in the same breath, but Flipper's Generic (or Generic Flipper or just Flipper if you prefer) is such an example. You've probably at least heard of this band before, so now check out their finest work at the link below. "Sex Bomb" is 8 minutes of pure glory.

Download here!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Connecticut Gems Vol 1: Miracle Legion

If you were a product of a upbringing similar to myself, you probably watched a fair amount of television. There's also a good chance that you were witness to the birth and coming-of-age of a young cable network known as Nickelodeon. Along with that comes wondrous memories of the network's original programming, harking back to the days of shows like You Can't Do That On Television and later output like Ren & Stimpy, etc etc etc.

And while this remains a music blog and not 'Brian's House of Nostalgia', I bring up the topic of this cable network to touch on one particular item. A song that, at the time, seemed too quirky and boring to arouse the attention of my young, ignorant ears. However, for whatever reason, that song stayed with me for years. And judging from my conversations with fellow members of my generation, the track stuck with many others as well. Of course I am referring to the theme from The Adventures of Pete & Pete, entitled "Hey Sandy".

The band responsible for this 56 second burst of indie rock is one of those questions that your wise-ass friend thinks only they know the answer to. As though you forgot the band name, Polaris, so prominently seen on the kick drum during the opening credits' sonic climax (see the video below at about 38 seconds in). But oh, dear friend, you are incorrect. Polaris was merely the pseudonym for New Haven's own indie rock darlings, Miracle Legion.

Miracle Legion began in 1984 and established themselves as a New Haven mainstay, quickly releasing their first EP, 1984's A Simple Thing on the local Incas Records label. After then releasing a series of albums through Rough Trade (1987's Glad featuring an appearance by none other than Pere Ubu), the band was signed to Morgan Creek in the early 1990's. It was shortly after this move, however, that legal problems with the label began, keeping the band (and more so the band's name) in limbo. Also, at about the same time, two fans of the band were starting production on a new show for Nickelodeon and wanted the band to perform original music for the show. Stories vary, but supposedly original guitarist Ray Neal, discouraged by the whole ordeal with Morgan Creek, declined the offer (another story states that Neal was merely spending a semester abroad and was unavailable to record at the time). The remainder of the band decided to press on and record under the pseudonym Polaris for the sake of the show. Neal eventually returned the band and they released their final full length album Portrait Of A Damaged Family in 1996.

Miracle Legion's material was fairly consistent over the course of their existence, bearing great similarity to their famous 56 second clip (the actual track "Hey Sandy" clocks in at about 2:36). REM worship notwithstanding, Miracle Legion played indie rock that contained both a strong pop sensibility as well as a strong melancholy side as well. While you might be more inclined to relive some memories by replaying the video for the theme from The Adventures of Pete & Pete over and over, I have also included Miracle Legion's excellent 1984 EP, The Backyard (their first on Rough Trade) for your listening enjoyment as well.

Download here!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Retainers - She Likes To Get Attention 7"

Lo-fi is a bit of an understatement when referring to Minneapolis' own Retainers. Fuzzed-out rock n' roll that is both horribly abrasive and wonderfully catchy at the same time. Check out one of their more recent releases, the 'She Likes To Get Attention' single, at the link below. If you dig it, please check out their other equally incredible tracks on their Myspace page.

Download here!

the Zero Boys - Vicious Circle

The Zero Boys' "Vicious Circle" LP remains one of my favorite hardcore albums of all time. Infectiously catchy hardcore with a driving pace that never lets up, I guarantee that if you played this record for some friends who had never heard the band and asked when this was released, few, if any, would correctly guess that this record was actually more than 25 years old (unless you played the rather obvious track 'Livin' In The 80's'). The recording quality on this album is quite stunning, something that is not incredibly common with hardcore records of the time (or since, for that matter). Singer Paul Mahern's very distinctive and clear vocals, along with excellent lyrics, help transform these songs into memorable classics. "Anthemic hardcore" is a term all too easily passed around nowadays, but I truly believe such a label accurately sums up "Vicious Circle". The ominious, near-dizzying introduction to the opening track is a fitting how-do-you-do for a record that is unrelenting in its sonic assault to your senses. If you are not familiar with this record, check out the link below and enjoy!

Download here!

Friday, April 11, 2008

the Wipers - debut 7"

While Zeno Records' collected reissue of the Wipers' first 3 albums was quite thorough and had a wealth of non-ablum tracks (various B-sides, the "Alien Boy" EP, demos, etc), one glaring omission was the band's debut 7", which was later included in its entirety on the "Bored With The USA" compilation series (Volume 3). While a bit rough around the edges, these excellent songs provided a glimpse of the direction that frontman Greg Sage would take the band over the next few years.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Chronicles of Wino, Vol 1: Spirit Caravan

I owe Scott 'Wino' Weinrich a drink. Not in the sense that alot of metalhead dudebros would think, handing him some lukewarm Bud Light, giving him the cliche 'hail satan' metal salute, yelling something like "FUCKING METAL!!!" and then scampering off to relay the story to anyone willing to listen. If possible, I'd want to hand him four fingers of Bulleit bourbon (no water, no ice), shake the man's hand and simply say "Thanks" and walk away. I mean, after all, its the very least I could do for the person who was single-handedly responsible for rekindling my faith and interest in achingly slow, crushing (dare I say) "stoner" rock.

Spirit Caravan specifically recaptured my interest in a genre that, for a time, seemed somewhat stagnant. Of course, I fully acknowledge a certain level of redundancy that goes into this musical personality, along with the terribly obvious Black Sabbath mimickry and the weed references that try so hard that they sting you like a bad joke made by a teacher of yours in high school. These things never bothered me. But a few years back I began to find that my anticipation for a given band's new record was always met with some level of disappointment. Dead Meadow's 'Feathers' (2005) and Neurosis' 'The Eye of Every Storm' (2004) were two such disappointments. Of course my own limited knowledge of some of the variety of bands in the genre didn't help and soon enough, I found that my interest had waned to the point where these bands seemed like all but a distant memory.

Years later, a friend of mine let me borrow his copy of Spirit Caravan's Dreamwheel EP (1999) and I was blown away. I was in my car when I first put it on and nearly pulled over just to take in exactly what was pouring out of my speakers. I was so enthralled, in fact, that when I got to my destination, I put the CD in my friend's stereo and made him listen to it before any further conversation was had. We both simply sat there and smiled.

And while I learned that Spirit Caravan had, by that point, ceased to exist, the discovery of this one band completely redirected my interest almost immediately. Plodding riffs, an amazing voice, and intelligable, everyman-esque lyrics help make Spirit Caravan one of my favorite bands of all time. There's something incredibly interesting about Wino's songwriting in how he can write undeniably heavy, crushing songs without making them completely alienating. They're beautiful in that sense. This beauty encapsulates the very reason why Spirit Caravan is my favorite of all his projects thus far.

If you are unfamiliar with Spirit Caravan, I would strongly recommend tracking down the 2004 compilation album The Last Embrace, which contains 19 tracks from their first two full length albums, some unreleased tracks, and all of their singles. The one glaring omission from this collection, however, is the aforementioned Dreamwheel EP. You can download that via the link below. Also, be sure to check out the Youtube audio track posted below. The track is entitled Sea Legs, from their first full length album, Jug Fulla Sun.

Download the Dreamwheel EP here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

That Dog "Never Say Never"

I often feel that by this point in my life I have purposely (and sometimes not-so-purposely) crafted a nice, tidy little image for myself. You know, generalizations that can be made about my personal preferences that are equal parts fact and inside-joke-extremes.

Welcome to Brian and the wonderful world of the mid-90's.

This primarily stems for my fascination with Nirvana as a kid. The memorization of trivia, dates, records, songs, bands that influenced them, and other facts associated (directly or indirectly) with this band was, at one point, the basis of my very existence. This eventually waned after middle school, however it had left its mark on me. Years later, as I read Michael Azerrad's 'Our Band Could Be Your Life', I was able to make the connection between my middle school obsession and my current deep-rooted interest in the development of punk/indie rock into the vernacular of popular culture. Suddenly, that particular circle seemed complete. It all made perfect sense!

And thus my nerdy interest in all things from that time period began to make itself apparent. Suddenly I found and purchased every Soundgarden album on vinyl (even their lackluster final whimper, 'Down On The Upside'), scoured eBay for various Superchunk singles, and made the joyous discovery that my copy of Shonen Knife's Sup Pop Singles Club record had a slight defect, yet still played flawlessly.

I'm glossing over a fair amount of the back story to mask the true extent of my madness, but let's just say that I am usually particularly thorough when I enter what I will call 'a phase of great interest'. And it's for that very reason that I was surprised to find out about this hidden gem of a band known as 'that dog.' only last week!

that dog. was an LA group tinged with many of the post-punk, pseudo-grunge characteristics that both blessed and plagued the mid to late 1990's. A sound that is so dated and identifiable that it makes you smile and cringe in the same motion. that dog. had enough inside connections within 'the biz' to make you wonder if they truly had to work a day in their lives (lead singer/guitarist Anna Waronker's father Lenny was a well-known producer for Warner Bros and her brother happened to play with Beck and REM at about the same time; sisters Rachel and Petra Haden's father, Charlie, is a well-known free jazz bassist). However those those privileges can be overlooked since it just so happened that this band wrote some damn catchy songs!

Bubblegum pop with a bit of grit and distortion might not be the key to your heart, but it sure as hell works for me. Take a peek at this video from their final album, 1997's 'Retreat From The Sun'. The song is "Never Say Never".

Monday, February 18, 2008

2/16 Direct Control, Social Circkle, Wasted Time - Ratscellar, Boston MA

Photo borrowed from Al Quint

This past Saturday we drove up to Boston MA to the Ratscellar, one of the newer show spots in Boston. DIY/basement venues in Boston have always had an unfortunately short shelf-life. Constantly changing rental leases, police presence, and other factors often force the greater Boston DIY community to be ever-vigilant and ever-developing, always seeking out a new safe haven. That all being said, the Ratscellar is a very interesting spot. Nestled in Boston's murky depths, saying anything more specific would not help the venue keep its location secret, the Ratscellar appears to have one advantage unlike most of its other previous counterparts: neighbors. There are few, if any, houses within a reasonable distance from the space itself, which greatly limits the amount of noise complaints that this space can gather over the weeks/months.

The space itself has been rennovated by those who live there, and they've really done a great job. The entry way appears to have been lofted, allowing for all furniture to be out of the way. The basement, which is absolutely huge, has been cleared away of all random junk. The first room at the bottom of the stairs is quite vast allowing for ample space for distros, merch/zine tables. The second room contains the stage/PA and has a rather elegant lighting system for a the type of space that it is. Most basement showspaces would be content with simply a lamp on floor. It is obvious that those who live there have put a great deal of thought into making a space a long-lasting one.

While all the bands were great (Wasted Time and Social Circkle were my favorites of the evening), I found that the show was less about specific sets and more about my personal stance on shows in general. My apathy toward driving 2 hours to a show in a room full of (mostly) strangers can be understood by some, but ultimately this was a mindset that I do not particularly care to have. More importantly, it is/was a not a mindset that is usually characteristic of me, which was all the more frustrating. That all being said, this show was a glorious opportunity to debunk any developing misconceptions I might have had about my own personal stance on attending shows such as these (and without meticulous advanced planning, no less!). There's nothing quite like sipping on some Private Stock in a room full of sweaty, screaming punks to help set things straight. The Ratscellar quickly became another personal reason why Boston has and always will feel like home.