Friday, May 30, 2008
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
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 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!
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
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
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.
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!