Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mudhoney - Something So Clear demo - Reflex Flexi Disk

OK, so it's not quite a 7". I figured I'd get this ripped though. I got this out of a Reflex magazine, they generally did these flexi-disks as an insert. Being into all things Mudhoney, I grabbed this one. Can't say the magazine was memorable in any way, and I'm sure I never bought another one. It was a cool gimmick though.

It's a much rougher cut of the song "Something So Clear" which had come out a few months prior on Mudhoney's best album, "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge". It's fuzzier, gritter and, well, muddier sounding, though the paper thin vinyl may have something to do with that, too. It's also missing a cool little guitar bit that appeared on the final version.

I admit this one is a bit lame. Taking the easy way out after a long holiday weekend and a long workday. Still, I thought this little flexi-disk thing was worth documenting. Also had an interesting reminder of 1991 over the weekend, so maybe I subconsciously grabbed this because of that. I mail ordered that Mudhoney CD in the summer of 1991 as I had no chance to get to a store. I was working 6, and often 7 full days a week in a tiny restaurant kitchen in Rockport, pulling doubles on the weekends. It was a hot summer, made worse by working within arms' reach of a steam-jacketed kettle, 2 convection ovens and a convection steamer. A 6 burner range was about 5-6' away, too. My particular spot in the kitchen hit 105 regularly. My biggest challenge was not sweating into the food, and I would joke that everything I worked on would be a little extra seasoned on the hot days. At least the other full-time prep cook was great to work with. She disappeared off to school at the end of the summer, while I stayed on to close the place down for the season. I went to a post-Thanksgiving party in Rockport this weekend and she was there, first time I'd seen her since then. It was fun to re-live the horror, and she brought a pie made with the old restaurants' recipe. Minus the sweat, of course.

Some more AmRep by request tomorrow.

A: Something So Clear (demo)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Soul Side - Bass/103

Comcast went down for a while last night right in the middle of working on this post, so a later than usual update today.

More DC post-hardcore. I swear I don't have that much of this stuff. I've got to mix the collection up a bit or something before picking. This was an early addition to the collection. I was really into Fugazi in 1990 or so, having seen them that March at The Channel. That was a great show, and I figured I'd see who else was on Dischord. You could mail order stuff direct from them really cheap. A 7" was $3 including postage, CDs and LPs were $7-8. So I sent out for this, figuring $3 isn't much, and maybe I'll find some new cool band.

For some reason, I remember being disappointed with this, and I don't think I listened to it too many times after I got it. Which is too bad, really. It's certainly better than I remember it being. Most of this band went on to form Girls Against Boys, and the other member started Seven League Boots, who played a Bad Brains style of reggae influenced punk. I'm almost certain that I saw them somewhere, though the details escape me.

A: Bass
B: 103, Other Side

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Spinal Tap - From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack "This Is Spinal Tap"

"It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black."
Nigel Tufnel

1. Hell Hole (From Smell the Glove, 1982)
2. Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight (From Intravenous De Milo, 1974)
3. Heavy Duty (From Bent For The Rent, 1976)
4. Rock And Roll Creation (From Rock And Roll Creation, 1977)
5. America (Previously Unreleased)
6. Cups And Cakes (Single, 1965)
7. Big Bottom (From Brainhammer, 1973)
8. Sex Farm (From Shark Sandwich, 1980)
9. Stonehenge (From The Sun Never Sweats, 1975)
10 Gimme Some Money (Single, 1965)
11. (Listen To The) Flower People (From Spinal Tap Sings: Listen To The Flower People And Other Favorites, 1967)

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Another DC post-hardcore act. Lots of starts and stops, sharp buzzing guitar, rumbling bass...the usual, with one exception; there's a woman singing. Which is unusual in this time and place. She 's Ian MacKaye's sister, Amanda. And she looks just like him, though with more hair.

Unlike her brother, whose intense and emotional vocal delivery helped define what a hardcore and post-hardcore (for lack of a better term, I suppose) band should sound like, her vocal performance is just flat. Everything sounds the same; a steady stream words pouring out rapidfire, with little change in pitch or tone. It's unfortunate, as the songs themselves aren't bad, albeit a bit depressing, and the band is solid enough. Demoralized is the best track here, and it's the one with a little more variation and emotion in her performance.

The distorted bass sound in the intro to the first track wasn't me, I swear. It's just like that. Not sure why. I played it 3 times to make sure it wasn't something I was doing. It's nicely packaged, coming with a poster of the band, and the Max Ehrmann poem that they named themselves after. This was in the ex-GF box. I remember playing it after she got it, though I'm not sure where that was. I think I found this more interesting then than I do now.

A: Walking In My Sleep
B: Birthday, Demoralized

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Gories - Give Me Some Money

Ah, Black Friday. The day when retail America gets down on their knees, cups their hands, and extends them, beggar-like, toward the American public, hoping and praying that the people of this nation will press enough of their hard-earned money into those cupped hands to pay the bills.

In that spirit, I've dispensed with randomness, and chosen "Give Me Some Money" by The Gories. This is another Sub Pop Singles Club offering, from October of 1991. The song, of course, is a cover of the fictitious 1965 British Invasion classic, originally performed by Spinal Tap.

The Gories were a true DIY garage band out of Detroit, they learned to play together just a few years earlier. They went on to record a couple of fun albums around the time of this release. I've got "I Know You Be Houserockin'" which is a compilation of their first two LPs. They definitely stuck to lo-fi bluesy 60's-sounding garage rock. They disbanded in 1993. Mick Collins is still out there, playing in The Dirtbombs.

You can hear them trying to figure out parts of the song by trial and error with the tape rolling before they get started. It's pretty obvious that they just came up with the idea of doing this song and went for it in one take. There's even a note to Sub Pop printed on the back of the single, explaining that none of them own a copy of the soundtrack, so they don't even know who to ask for permission to release this.You also know they don't have a soundtrack, because they get the title wrong, it's really "Gimme Some Money", (And yes, I do own the soundtrack...) but that's just being nitpicky.

It's a fun listen, because it's a really fun song to begin with, probably my favorite one that Guest, Shearer and Co. wrote for the film. It gets that early Kinks/Stones sound just right. You have to give the Gories some credit to think of doing this. Not enough bands are covering songs that appeared in fake documentaries. They may well be the first. The B-side is a rollicking, heavily distorted, feedback laden Bo Diddley cover.

A: Give Me Some Money
B: You Don't Love Me
Looks like this link was messed up. Fixed it 12/2.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Smells Like Smoked Sausages EP

This was a Sub Pop Singles Club release, a double 7", for February and March of 1992. If you can't tell by the title, former Sub Pop band Nirvana had broken it big at this point. There 8 bands on this release, and I remember really liking this one.

If you were a badass noise rock band from the Midwest in the early 90's, chances are you were on either Touch & Go or Amphetamine Reptile Records. The bands on this double 7" are all on loan from Amphetamine Reptile (AmRep). It's a bit of a departure from your standard Sub Pop fare. It's definitely more aggressive and harsh sounding stuff.

So what are these bands doing on the label that defined Seattle? I had to look this up, because there had to be something to it. AmRep started in Washington before moving on to Minneapolis, and Steve Turner and Mark Arm's pre-Mudhoney super-trashy Thrown Ups were the second band to appear on the label. I'm guessing there were still plenty of people connected to both of these labels who saw this as a great opportunity, especially since Sub Pop was riding Nirvana's coat-tails at the moment.

I had a bitch of a time working with this one. I had forgotten that these were completely mislabeled, (the sequence below is going by the labels, the discs themselves are all over the place) and no matter how much I cleaned the vinyl, there was a ton of crackle. Also, there's no leader on the grooves when you play these, the needle just skids over into the song unless you guide it by hand. Bad day at Sub Pop QC. The bubblgeum pink vinyl looks cool though.

Some highlights:
  • Tar's track is pretty good. Very Chicago-noise. They worked with Albini and you can tell.
  • Cows (a band you either love or hate, it seems, more of their stuff will be coming...) does a Noise-Rock Lead Belly cover that would become far more famous just a year or two later under the title "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" 
  • Helmet brings their distinctive metallic riffs to the Melvins' one-minute sludgefest "Oven". I like this version a lot.
  • Cristina's vocals on Boss Hog's track are a bit of welcome relief after 6 chest-thumping guys. Still pretty noisy. Jon Spencer's old band.
Hey, this is my first request. Thanks Thom! Also, no post for Thanksgiving, but the 2 X 7" should tide you all over. Have a great holiday.

A1: Tar - "Deep Throw" / Cows - "My Girl"
B1: Helmet - "Oven" /  Surgery - "Our Demise"
A2: Vertigo - "Dynamite Cigar" / Helios Creed - "Hideous Greed"
B2: Boss Hog - "Fire Of Love" / God Bullies - "Bullet"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Belt Buckle EP

A one-off side project with Northampton's own Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Folk Implosion, etc) Bob Fay (who joined Sebadoh right after this) and Eric Matthews, (Cardinal, solo act) this little 33RPM 7" EP was cut as a favor to a Sebadoh fan who was trying to get his small label, Sonic Bubblegum, up and running in Brighton, MA.

This has Lou Barlow's stamp all over it. Very Sebadoh-esque, just a bit weirder and angrier than your average Lou B Sebadoh material. Back when Lou was in Dinosaur Jr, his lyrical contribution to the band was mostly bloodcurdling angry screams. The sensitive and quieter side of Lou came out with Sebadoh, and early on, he seemed willing to let Eric Gaffney play the role of the band's screaming psychotic. Belt Buckle seems to be an outlet for the pissed-off Lou that got left behind. Thankfully, he doesn't revert back to his old screaming ways. Instead, he writes these twisted and humorously dark little songs. Standout tracks are "Judas Suicide" and "Mary Hair". Pretty sure I picked this up at Main St. Records shortly after it was released.

A: Judas Suicide, Pocket Skylab Love
B: Mary Hair, Girl Who Reads

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rocket From the Crypt - Normal Carpet Ride

A Sub Pop Singles Club issue from June 1992. I remember opening this one up. I had just moved to Amherst, presumably for good, and was turning 21 within days. Unfortunately, I had no turntable, having left my mom's behind. And I had no job or money. So this single had to wait a while. I moved in with a roommate who had a turntable that fall.

This is one of many early singles for RFTC, arriving before their first full-length release. These guys were smart, and used the quick-turnaround nature of the 7" to constantly get new material out and build a fan base before they recorded a full-length album. They went on to have a solid career, and were known for great, energetic live performances. They still have a loyal following, and a live album of their final show was released just a couple of years ago. John Reis is still pretty active, now playing in Hot Snakes.

I never really got into them. Having to shelve this until I got access to a turntable probably killed some enthusiasm, (come to think of it, that's probably true of the Codeine single as well) and by the time I got one, I had a backlog of other stuff to listen to. I don't think they caught on as much on the east coast, either. Listening to it again, I can see why people were fans. Normal Carpet Ride is just a kick-ass rock song. Slumber Queen and Where Are the Fuckers are solid, too. Flip The Bird ventures into screechy noise rock territory, but it's the last song on a 3-song B-side. Anything goes at that point. Another band in this series with a one-man horn section, though they put it to good use, and it doesn't seem so out of place.

A: Normal Carpet Ride
B: Where Are The Fuckers, Slumber Queen, Flip The Bird

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Monekywrench - Clean As A Broke-Dick Dog

Introducing LP Sunday, the first in an occasional series. Writing about the Monkeywrench earlier gave me the idea to do this.

Why break my own rules? It's called The Daily 7, not The Occasional 12, right? Well, because I can, and I've got maybe 25-30 LPs that are at least reasonably hard to find in digital format, and I'd like to get around to converting these, too. And LPs are a bitch to convert. You've got play a 45 minute record, split the tracks up by hand, and so on. So I'll work on those on the weekends while (if) I have some extra time to do that, and stick to singles during the week.

On to the record of the day, Clean As a Broke-Dick Dog. I'm pretty sure I mail-ordered this directly from Sub Pop, knowing that the odds of this reaching the stores in the Pioneer Valley were pretty small. This was a must-have as far as I was concerned, and I wasn't about to take any chances. Mudhoney/Gas Huffer/Big Boys side project? Sign me up! It's beautifully packaged, with an homage to old blues/jazz artists with the blue duotone cover and the lengthy, ridiculous essay on the back that explains the relationship between the blues and punk (with a Darby Crash reference! I love it when these things come full circle!) before moving on to extol the virtues of The Monkeywrench. It's perfect. I compared the cover art to an old Coltrane album I have, and even both of the essays fonts are identical. It's on fairly heavy, nicely marbled blue vinyl that makes it look like a bowling ball. Sticking with the old record theme, the label is black with silver ink.

What's inside the cover isn't exactly perfect, but it's close enough. Mudhoney, my favorite garage-slop-grunge act of the early 90's, gets the blues. That's pretty much it. Straight up garagey rock n' roll with some added slide guitar, harmonicas, and so on. It's a solid album, with some standout tracks. "Call My Body Home" is probably the best song about insect infestation ever recorded. "Bottle Up And Go" is as cool as its title sounds, and there's a great little slide-guitar hook to it. They do a great job covering the unlikely pair of Buffy Sainte Marie's folkey "Codine", and Redd Kross's "Notes & Chords Mean Nothing To Me". They nail them both, adding a lot of depth to what started out as two pretty stripped-down songs.

I never did check up on these guys after I got this. I just figured it was a one-off side project. I'm just now finding out that they cut 2 more albums, seems like they do this every 7 or 8 years, which is pretty cool, and probably a lot of fun for them. I should go track those albums down. Amazing how much I've lost touch with this stuff. There was a musical void in my life starting in the late 90's that lasted until recently. At first, I lost track of what was current, and then I just lost touch with everything. I didn't even know that Sub Pop did a Singles Club parts 2 & 3 until I started on this little vinyl project. School, kids, jobs, more school...it all sort of distracted me. Now I've got a decade of music to catch up on, and I'm already trying to catch up with the stuff I already own. But that's cool, it's a good problem to have, really. I've got something new to listen to every day.

1. Call My Body Home
2. Angelhead
3. Cold Cold World
4. Codine
5. From You
6. Doubled Over Again
7. Great Down Here
8. Look Back
9. Bottle Up & Go
10. The Story as I Was Told
11. Notes & Chords Mean Nothing To Me
12. Stop This World
13. I'm Blown

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Butthole Surfers - Hurdy Gurdy Man

Just as my youngest son's choice of yesterday's 7" summarized him in a way, my oldest son's choice of this single is indicative of his personality too. This news will terrify my wife if she ever heard this, so I won't announce that around the house. It's not the music, of course; the boy has a knack for cutting through all extraneous crap and getting to the heart of the matter. Somehow, he chose the first 7" record I bought. I'm not sure there'd be any reason for this exercise if I hadn't bought this thing, as it started me down the path of buying these little records. How or why he picked this after flipping through them all, I'll never know. It's not like the cover art (experiments in early photoshop) is all that appealing. Then again, it's possible that he chose it because it has the word "butthole" written on it. I think that's the last time I ask the kids to get involved.

As I mentioned earlier, Sub-Pop started to change the 7" landscape among the indie labels around this time, and this single was a clear sign that the others were feeling the pressure. I remember this being remarkably well-publicized for a single release by a small label (Rough Trade), and it was supposedly a limited release, on "Mellow-Yellow vinyl", because Donovan, who wrote/performed the original Hurdy Gurdy Man, also...aw fuck it. If I have to explain... So, being a sucker for that kind of thing, I went right out and bought one, immediately. Of course, I loved these guys, and have fond memories of driving to high school each morning with my friend Marc blasting his Locust Abortion Technician cassette the whole way there. So I would have eventually gotten my hands on this. After all, these did wind up on the CD release of their next full length album, Pioughed, but you're better off with just the single, really.

As for the music, it's a great cover. They do what you want a good band to do with a cover song; put their stamp on it, but keep the original recognizable. They take Donovan's warbly voice and totally overdo it with Gibby's effects, which mocks the original to some degree, but still works as a good vocal performance in the world of the Surfers' music. I've always liked Paul Leary's razor sharp psychedelic guitar work. He's what really makes this song go. For these guys at this time, this was remarkably accessible, radio friendly, even. Unlike the B-side. Oh boy. Like Locust Abortion Technician, this is not to be listened to right before bed. Jesus. Trust me on this one.

A: Hurdy Gurdy Man
B: Barking Dogs

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lunachicks - Cookie Moshter

I let my kids pick out the next two, enforcing a sense of randomness on this whole enterprise. I'm afraid that if left to my own devices, I'd do all of the really good ones first, and lose interest in converting the crappy stuff, and then I'd be forced to abandon this whole blog thing by Christmas. As for the boys, they can read, but these albums have no meaning to them. No context whatsoever. They've only just realized that these are kind of like CDs, except that they go on that other machine next to dad's desk. Of course, my youngest picked this out. Because..."It has cookies. And a cool guitar." This sums up his worldview pretty much perfectly, I think.

This is another 7" from the ex-gf box o' Riot Grrrl singles. Y'know, the Riot Grrrl thing had a lot of bands that flat out could not play. (I have their records! I promise!) And I don't say that to be mean, or sexist, or any of that. Riot Grrrl was just another incarnation of the whole punk DIY thing, only with an added gender requirement. Any time you have a DIY movement, you'll have people who are really, really enthusiastic, but they just aren't very good at doing it themselves. There's this initial phase where enthusiasm gets confused with talent, but then, eventually, talent wins out, even if that's not how the DIY thing is supposed to work.

So, what I like about this band; as graduates from a performing arts HS in New York, they knew what they were doing. They could play. And while they could do the political/gender stuff as well as any other band from that scene, they were more than happy to just rock out for 2 minutes, too. And that's pretty much what this single is. Two 2-minute long songs with minimal lyrical content; the B side is a 5-word song. And both will leave you blistered.

Cookie Moshter (Monster) is great in that the bass player, Squid, does a top-notch impression of the Sesame Street character, and, at its core, it's a song about subtraction. A less scalding version would be more than appropriate for the show.

Fun fact: One member of this band went on to be in an all-girl Led Zeppelin cover band, Lez Zeppelin. Just one step closer to my prediction 20 years ago that there would be an all girl AC-DC cover band named "Hell's Belles" someday.

A: Cookie Moshter
B: Complication

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Holez / The Monkeywrench - Germs split single

OK, this wasn't selected at random. I couldn't resist the temptation of following Courtney Love with, well, Courtney Love. This is the first of many split singles, with different bands on each side. This one features a couple of grunge era/punk rock supergroups. The Holez is Courtney Love's Hole with Pat Smear (who also recorded/toured with Nirvana around this time) of the Germs added to the lineup. The Monkeywrench is Mark Arm and Steve Turner of Mudhoney, along with Tim Kerr (Big Boys, Poison 13) Thom Price from Seattle legends Gas Huffer and Martin Bland (Lubricated Goat) on drums.

Both bands are playing Germs covers, so having the actual Germs guitarist on hand for one song seems like a good idea, and they copped the Germs album art with the black cover/blue circle. I was pretty excited when I saw this (in Main St Records, Northampton, apparently, the price tag is still on it) it had all the makings of something great. Interesting lineups, and some fun early, messy US punk that you could really do something with.

It's not bad, but it didn't meet my outrageously high expectations. I guess there's something about the Germs that only the Germs should do their material. How do you take on Darby Crash's vocals? Should you? Hearing Courtney Love sing "I'm Dar-by Craaash!" on "Circle One" just seems...wrong. Her voice is really flat, too. Say what you want about the unintelligible vocal stylings of Mr. Crash, but he brought some serious psychotic energy to everything he did. Musically, it's perfectly fine, nothing special though. The original is one of the Germs' best, too. Oh, what might have been.

"Shut Down" isn't one of the Germs' best. The original is a sloppy, rambling directionless nine minute long punk song (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one), and The Monkeywrench do a nice job tightening up the music from the original with Tim Kerr adding a bluesy slide guitar to it, but unlike Courtney Love, Mark Arm goes over the top with his Crash vocal impression. It ends abruptly, as if they ran out of tape. At least that kept it under nine minutes. I did say that I like the experimental nature of the 7" record, and I live by that, but that means you've got to die by it sometimes too. The Monkeywrench cut one really fun LP, "Clean As a Broke Dick Dog", which I also have on vinyl. I'll have to rip that some time.

This was apparently released in late 1995, despite being recorded in 1992, and these songs appeared on a Germs tribute album. This is probably one of the last things I purchased in this collection.

A: The Holez - "Circle One"
B: The Monkeywrench - "Shut Down"


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Courtney Love - Uncrushworthy

Note that this is the 2-piece band with Lois Maffeo and Patrick Maley, not the Mrs. Cobain.

I dug a hand into the trunk and came up with this little gem today, taking us from one coast to the other, from hardcore to acoustic indie pop. Unlike the fun revolutionary wannabes in Nation of Ulysses, Lois Maffeo really is a sort of revolutionary, credited with influencing the Pacific NW scene (and the Riot Grrrl movement) of the late 80’s/early 90’s with her music and radio show in Olympia, Washington. She also bucked the trends of the time, crafting these catchy acoustic pop songs when it seems like everyone in Washington was plugging vintage Fenders into Marshall stacks. She's got a great voice, and writes these sweet sounding songs about love and all of the awkwardness that can accompany it. Maffeo recorded a lot in the 90’s simply as “Lois” and then sort of faded away, but she’s apparently still active in the Olympia scene as a writer.

This is not the type of thing I was buying in 1990. I was buying the noisy stuff the guys in Seattle were making. I got this from an old girlfriend. We were together when I was buying all of those other records, and she’d tag along and pick out something a bit more, well, girly. This, for example, or some Bratmobile, Bikini Kill, that kind of thing (these will all show up here later…you’ll see).

Anyway, a decade after we split up, she emailed asking for my address. A few days later a box showed up on the doorstep, and the 7” records she bought way back when were all inside, with a note saying that I would appreciate these more than her. I took the records from the box and put them in the trunk with my old stuff, ending their long, roundabout journey. The last time I saw these, I was pulling them out of my collection, placing them into another box (probably the same one they were mailed to me in, come to think of it...) so that she could take them with her on her way out the door.

I was glad to see these again. Some of these are great, (this one in particular) and I figured they’d have a nice home here, and that the music on them would eventually see the light of day again. And so the idea for this little project was born. It only took a few years to get it going.

Coincidence! Lois is actually like Nation of Ulysses in that she is also connected to Brendan Canty, releasing a critically acclaimed album with him (The Union Themes) in 2000.

A:  Uncrushworthy, Sunny Day
B: Motorcycle Boy, 2nd Most Beautiful Girl In the World


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Nation Of Ulysses EP

Revolutionary Punk Rock 7" Checklist:
  • Soviet style iconography of working woman with wrench? Check.
  • Multi-page political manifesto? Check.
  • Snarling DC-hardcore guitar drone? Check.
  • Trumpet? A trumpet? Who brought a fucking trumpet?

Welcome to The Nation of Ulysses. Population: "As few as five, possibly hundreds." according to the extensive liner notes, which look like espionage dossiers, complete with photos of spies and out-of-whack typewriter text. It's wildly fun to pick through these.  The notes also contain their political manifesto...
"…while never forgetting the need for constant purging, ‘as the Nation shall resemble a self-cleaning oven.’"
and band member biographies...
“…James (Canty) replied ‘We’re sort of an epic Joycean assembly with bold futuristic leanings’ before delivering solid punches to the jaws of the entire audience.” 
You just know they had a great time writing this.

The music, well, that's wildly fun in that there's a ton of energy in it. What is it? It's barely controlled DC hardcore-esque chaos with the occasional oddly placed trumpet bleat in between the feedback howls. They definitely have some of that Dischord sound to them, at least when the trumpet isn’t playing. They make an attempt at some free-form jazz while someone mumbles “That’s the soundtrack to revolution”  into the mic before they launch into the opening track.

So, why do I own this? The 20-year old me would have eaten this up. The music? It's fun, and sloppy. If you're looking for great music, Fugazi did this sound a whole lot better, and without an oddly-fitting one-man horn section. But the over the top politics and humor of this band just can’t be beat. I would have appreciated that then just as much as I do now. The songs on this EP were later included on the wonderfully titled "13-Point Program To Destroy America." I can’t believe I forgot about these guys.

Funny what some research turns up. Drummer James Canty (brother of Fugazi’s Brendan Canty) now plays guitar for Ted Leo & the Pharmacists. I wonder if he describes them as Joycean. At the very least, he's got a lot more punches to deliver now.

A: Sound of Young America
B: Channel One Ulysses, Car Bomb


Monday, November 15, 2010

Codeine - Realize

Sub Pop sort of changed the landscape for the 7”, at least for me. They used to be these ephemeral little things, quickly recorded, distributed, and forgotten. They were for 15 year old girls and DJs. Then Sub Pop came along with the “Singles Club”, announced limited releases, put them on colored vinyl, grabbed some decent bands from other labels to do guest recordings, and then packaged them up nicely, making them instant collectibles. I was a huge fan. I signed up in 1991, about when enrollment peaked, and stuck with it through 1993, though I dropped out before the bitter end.  Coughing up $35 bucks seemed like too much trouble at the time, there were a few duds in there, and I was constantly moving.  But The Singles Club got me buying 7” records. Not just the collectibles, but the throw-aways too. I like that bands experiment a lot more in this format, and you find stuff that wouldn’t normally get released on a full-length album. 

This is the July 1992 Sub Pop Singles Club release. Codeine is credited with being the first “slowcore” band, which makes their name quite appropriate.  This is some sloooow, and too much of it will certainly make you sleepy. Slow was about the last thing I was looking for in 1992. Slow was OK, as long as “heavy” went with it, but this is slow accompanied only by “sad”. I think this got played two or three times at most, and then put away until yesterday, when I randomly pulled it off the shelf (that’s the selection process for this endeavor, by the way, though there will be exceptions for requests and holidays). Listening again after 18 years though, it’s pretty good, and I’m glad to have listened to it again. “Realize” is methodical and deliberate, but it works. Despite the slowness, there’s some energy and life in the guitars and vocals. The B-side, “Broken Hearted Wine” feels more plodding, and the nasal vocals make it more whine than wine.

Good news for the day; my old Harmon Kardon turntable is back in action. Thanks to John for the loaner!

A: Realize
B: Broken Hearted Wine


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - In The Ghetto

The Bad Seeds' first release, this 7" features Nick Cave covering late period Vegas-style Elvis. It doesn't quite work. Not for me, anyway. Cave writes too well to be singing this simplistic late 60's social-consciousness crap. The B-side, "The Moon Is In The Gutter" is more compelling. It's moody and dark, and it builds to a nice crescendo. Just what you'd expect from Nick Cave.

Why do I have this? I have no idea. I might have borrowed it from an old Northampton roommate, right before he asked me to move out, (Seems like something that he would have had) and I ended up with it, either out of spite or forgetfulness, but I'm not really sure. I've managed to keep most of my vinyl in great shape, and this record has taken a beating, so I'm pretty sure someone else owned it before me. I'd like to think the best of my 20 years ago self, so I'll say I ended up with this by some sort of accident.

A: In The Ghetto
B: The Moon Is In the Gutter


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Single #1, Egg Hunt - Me And You

After some technical difficulties and some delays, I've started ripping vinyl to digital format. I figured the easiest and most interesting way to share this was via a blog with a download link. Hopefully, this will work...

Anyway, this single, Egg Hunt. It's an Ian MacKaye side project with another Minor Threat guy, Jeff Nelson. This was recorded in the mid-80's, after the end of Minor Threat and Embrace. A definite change from both of those bands, this hints at what's to come with Fugazi. Slower and more melodic than anything Minor Threat ever did. The B-side, "We All Fall Down" is apparently a reject Embrace tune. It's perfectly fine, fits in that sort of preachy Ian MacKaye thing, but it's not nearly as good as side A.

So, why did I buy this? I was at UMass in 1990-1991 or so, hanging out with a friend of a friend who was DJing at WMUA at ludicrous hours. 2 AM shift, that kind of thing. Being the insomniac that I am, I volunteered to hang out in the studio with him, just to keep the boredom to a minimum, and to keep him from falling asleep on the console. I'd rifle through the stacks, and we'd chat about music. An actual 2 AM conversation- "Hey, did you hear that Nirvana signed with Geffen for $750K? What's that all about?"

Me And You was the first thing he played on his first show, I guess at some attempt to commune with his nearly non-existent audience. I guess I figured I'd follow suit. I was (am) a huge fan of Fugazi and Minor Threat, but had never heard this, and immediately scraped together the $3 to buy it.

A: Me And You
B: We All Fall Down