Monday, February 28, 2011

Mecca Normal / Kreviss Split 7"

Sub Pop Singles Club, April 1992

Already had one Mecca Normal album in here earlier. I can honestly say that I was not expecting to own another album of theirs, but this came with the Sub Pop subscription, so there you go. It's about what you'd expect, some odd vocals over one guitar.

Kreviss was this massive band, a 9-piece out of Vancouver. Eight girls, one guy. Two drummers, a vocalist, and six others playing various guitars and whatnot. It's pretty good, and I remembered this one immediately even though it's been nearly 20 years since I last played it. They sound kind of like Velocity Girl with much screechier vocals. Not sure why you need 6 guitarists/bassists for this, but whatever works. They released this and another single or two, but that's it.

A: Mecca Normal - You Heard It All, Broken Flowers
B: Kreviss - Going To Hell

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sonic Youth - Teenage Riot 12" Single

OK, there's really no reason to rip this, as all of these tracks are on Daydream Nation. I guess I could make the excuse that this is some radio edit version (it is; missing Kim Gordon's "Spirit Desire" opening, and another 2 minutes from somewhere) and justify it that way. Truth is, I'm trying to stick to doing something other than a 7" for Sundays, but I ran out of time this week to do a full length LP.

I think I've exhausted my Sonic Youth tales. At least the interesting ones. The thing to note about this album is that I see this as the beginning of them becoming a much more mainstream act. "Teenage Riot", especially this stripped down 4 minute version, is practically a pop song, and it's a million miles away from "Kill Yr Idols". Whether you think that was a smart move by them, or was selling out is up to you. I find Daydream Nation to be their best album. No clue where I bought this.

A: Teenage Riot (edit)
B: Silver Rocket, Kissability

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Big Damn Crazy Weight - Might As Well

October 1992 Sub Pop Singles Club

Another Singles club pick that I don't remember playing.

It's very early-90's to me. If you had to create a fictitious early 90's band in a movie, they'd sound like this. There's a chimey guitar harmonics intro to "Might As Well", some heavy sounding starts and stops, indifferent sounding Cobain styled vocals, it's all in there. "Off That Cow" continues the theme with a very Nirvana-esque riff.

A: Might As Well
B: Off That Cow

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dead Moon - Dirty Noise

Sub Pop Singles Club, March '93.

Fred Cole was probably the oldest guy to record one of these for Sub Pop, he was 45 at the time. You can tell that Cole had been playing in garage bands for 30 years already when he recorded this, it sounds like something that could have been on one of those Nuggets compilations. And yes, he's got a song from 1966 on that, too.

A: Dirty Noise
B: Dark Deception

Thursday, February 24, 2011


A Sonic Youth Side project featuring just Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon.

"Electric Pen" sounds a lot like a typical Sonic Youth album from the era, minus the drums, and maybe with a few more clanging guitars in the background. The only issue I have with it is that I've never been a big fan of Kim Gordon's vocals.

"Gum" is a bit stranger. More experimental. Kim doesn't sing so much as whisper over some noise. It's reminiscent of their Ciccone Youth song "G-Force"

No recollection of where or when I got this. I was really into Sonic Youth in the late 80's/early 90's, so I can see why I picked it up.

An Amherst memory; I was walking through the center of town, killing time, and saw a bunch of college-age guys playing touch football on the green. There was a woman playing with them, and as I got closer, I realized it was Kim Gordon, going out for a pass in huge white boots. She was really into it.

A: Electric Pen
B: Gum

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cows - Plowed

Ah yes, more Cows. This is the 2-song 7". I know there's a 12" version with more tracks out there.

They outdo themselves on this one. Starting with the scratchy vinyl sample of someone saying "Hello baby" over and over, "Plowed" then rips into quite the hellacious hi-speed guitar riff.

"In The Mouth" is some sort of trashy noise-rock blues-esque thing with horns. It's a big fun mess of a song.

The vocals on these tracks seem much stronger than the ones on Slap Back. Two more years to work on them probably helped.

A: Plowed
B: In The Mouth

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Come - Car

Post #100! On pace to wrap up the 7" and most of the 12" I want to rip just before baseball season starts. That's been one of the goals throughout, so I'm glad I've been able to maintain the pace. I'll figure out what to do with this blog after that.

Thalia Zedek was already known in the MA scene by the time this band got going. Come features these long, twisting and winding songs, with Zedek's hoarse vocals layered in between two big-sounding guitars (played by Zedek and Chris Brokaw). This is good stuff. I didn't latch onto this when I got it, but have gained a lot of appreciation for it over the years since.

Note: Chris Brokaw was also the drummer for Codeine.

A: Car
B: Last Mistake

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gas Huffer - Hot Cakes!

Solid Seattle Sub Pop band, one that followed Mudhoney's lead in terms of their sound. It's an enjoyable listen, but nothing that will blow you away.  Tom Price went on to join part-time side project The Monkeywrench with two of the Mudhoney guys.

Not sure where I picked this up, it's not a Singles Club single. My guess is that I picked it up after the kung fu battle split single they did with Mudhoney, curious to hear some of their other stuff.

I got a kick out of the B-side artwork, so I thought I'd throw that up too.

A: Hot Cakes!
B: Beer Drinkin' Cave Men From Mars

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Various Artists - 4 old 7" on a 12"

The hardcore compilation album is some sort of relic from the 80's that doesn't really fit into this modern world of digital music, which is too bad really. Every city had at least one of these that defined it's hardcore sound. My second-hand, battered, copied from vinyl cassette of "This is Boston, Not L.A." got played to death.

This is Dischord's first 7" all compiled on one album. It's 34 songs in 35 minutes. It was a bitch to cut all the tracks up, but it was worth it.

So what's on this thing? Early DC hardcore, and lots of it. Teen Idles was Ian MacKaye's first band (He played bass), which lasted for a few months before he went on to form Minor Threat. He saved up the money to get that single made, and that started the Dischord label, which is a pretty cool thing in my book. The guy with the microphone for S.O.A (State of Alert) is Henry Garfield. He'd quit his job scooping ice cream (which funded his single), move to L.A., lift a lot of weights, get a lot of ink, and change his name to Henry Rollins. G.I. is a pretty legendary band, and the only one who lasted for more than a few months on this album. They had a 10 year run, and changed their sound over time as most of the hardcore band that lasted did. Youth Brigade remained fairly obscure.

Some highlights:
  • Teen Idles taking shots at the Grateful Dead on "Deadhead"
  • Rollins', er, Garfield's unmistakable bark carries S.O.A. Any punk era song with "Riot" in the title has to kick ass. It's some sort of rule.
  • G.I.'s 18 seconds of "I'm James Dean! I'm James Dean!". G.I. comes across as the band with the best sense of humor here. "Rock n' Roll Bullshit" and "Asshole" are hilarious.
  • Youth Brigade sounds the most like English punks, kind of a Sham 69 thing going on. "Barbed Wire" is sufficiently menacing.
I got this mail order from Dischord, probably in 1989. This version is out of print, but Dischord has put out a few different versions of this, usually adding some early Minor Threat.

I'm not going to list 34 songs. Just download it already.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Skewbald/Grand Union

Yet another side-project for Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson at a time when they thought Minor Threat was all done. It sounds like an even more pissed-off Minor Threat, if that's even possible to conceive of. This Minor Threat break-up was short lived, so this little project disbanded quickly, leaving behind some unreleased tapes. Recorded in 1981, it stayed on some shelf until it was released in 1990.

As for the name, there was a disagreement over whether the new band should be called Grand Union (grocery chain), or Skewbald (coloring pattern on a horse). Since they disbanded without ever releasing anything while together, it really didn't matter anyway. The songs aren't even titled, but people have given them the names below simply because you've got to call them something.

Once of the cooler pieces of vinyl in the collection. It's completely transparent. No label even, as that stuff is just etched right into the clear vinyl. And there's only one side. I'm borrowing someone else's photo below.Yet another Dischord mail order purchase.

A: Sorry/Change For The Same, You're Not Fooling Me

Friday, February 18, 2011

Eye For An Eye - Omega Drone

Early 90's Boston area hardcore act. It's not straight up speed, it sort of sways back and forth between racing and lumbering, and there's some metal-esque guitar riffs thrown in, too. Solid enough for what it is, and kind of an interesting hybrid between two styles of music that were rarely seen as compatible. I mostly see it as a cool relic from the Boston scene at the time. Other local bands like Bullet LaVolta seemed to be playing around with this plodding hardcore/metal mix at this time, too.

Grabbed at a merch table from a show somewhere, and I vaguely remember seeing them on stage, (the guitarist looked like he was in middle school) but I can't remember much else about this show for some reason.

A: Signs of the Pride, Eye for an Eye, Eye-tro
B: All Stars, Omega Drone

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Calamity Jane - Miss Hell

I think I'm starting to get near the end of the box of stuff from the ex. This one kind of bums me out, to be honest. I bought this as a gift for her at the end of the summer of 1991. I wouldn't have even known that, or cared that I bought it for her and that she returned it, (it's not as good as the other Calamity Jane single anyway) but when I pulled the record from the sleeve to play it, a card flew out, and I found myself staring at my own handwriting from 20 years ago.

There's something about getting a card back from someone that stings a bit, even though you know they're just going to throw it away at some point. A little taste of rejection many years after the fact.

A: Miss Hell
B: My Spit

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Green Magnet School - Singed

This has nothing to do with today's record, but some of you may wonder, "What does this guy do for a living?"  Well, I manage the scheduling and production of virtual tours. It's not that exciting, really, unless you're in the trenches, where you can come across some odd people and see some pretty strange shit. Cade Overton used to work in my production crew, but after moving to Texas, we decided to use his outstanding skills behind the camera and turn him into our roving photographer to fill in areas where we need extra coverage. He writes a great behind-the-scenes expose of the life of the roving photographer in his blog this week after we sent him on an extended assignment in San Francisco. It's over there on the right, the "Final Broadcast" blog. Take a moment to read it. It's funny as hell.

On to the business at hand:

Dec 1991 Sub-Pop Singles Club.

Another MA band that Sub Pop signed. These guys from nearby Framingham weren't making stripped-down alt-country like the Scuds though. They were going for some sort of Am Rep noise-rock kind of sound, but were stretching it out way beyond the usual 2-3 minutes or so.

I liked this one enough back in the day, I know I played it a few times. Never did track down their LP though, which was apparently pretty good.

A: Singed
B: Slipper

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fugazi - 3 Songs

I saw these guys a few times. Kings of the $5 all ages show. Most memorable was a St. Patrick's Day show at The Channel in 1990 or 1991. They were on that day. I wondered if my friend Ben would be there, and sure enough, I could see his head way above the crazy, swirling crowd down in the recessed pit below the stage. He's a tall guy. A power outage shut the show down early, but for a good hour or so, it was fantastic.

Picked this up in Boston, 1990 or so. Didn't really need to rip this, as these all appeared on the CD release of Repeater.

A: Song Number One
B: Joe Number One, Break-in

Monday, February 14, 2011

Big Black - Heartbeat

Nothing says "Happy Valentine's Day!" like a heart on a meathook, accompanied by some noisy music.

Earlier, I mentioned that I find Wire to be a difficult band to cover. Lots of bands do it, but few do it well. The music is simple, but the richness and fullness of their sound is not. Of course, when you have a studio engineer in the band, it's a little easier to pull off.  These guys nail it, even improving the original in their own way.

Both B-sides show Big Black in all their post-Atomizer glory. Noisy, harsh, and in the case of "Things To Do Today", disturbing.

The back cover is half red, and half blue, and in tiny print has two phrases, "No lovey-dovey shit!" (appropriate for today, right?) and "Dilute! Dilute! OK!" from the insane ramblings found on the old Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap, if you had hippie enough parents and remember that stuff. I can smell it now.

A: Heartbeat
B: Things To Do Today, I Can't Believe

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lydia Lunch - Honeymoon In Red

Another pleasant LP Sunday.

Yesterday was my eleventh wedding anniversary. So, eleven years ago, I was enjoying my honeymoon on this day. It started off great as I was partying in Brazil with a whole lot of friends from home. The whole thing took a sour turn after our friends left, as Inga had a relative hanging around the family house in Brazil for an extra week who always took the last cup of coffee and wanted to tell me depressing stories of arson and insurance fraud first thing in the morning while I stood there coffee-less and in my underwear. I alternated between despair and seething rage for quite a few days over this development.

As for this album, it was a collaboration between Lydia Lunch and Nick Cave's Birthday Party, but there was some sort of falling out between everyone. Nick Cave and others appear uncredited, OK, Cave is credited as "A drunk cowboy junkie" and stuff like that, but never by name. Sounds like things got nasty. The tapes sat around for 5 years until Thurston Moore somehow got involved, added a few guitar tracks, mixed and released it.

It's a strange album. Hard to make out a lot of the vocals, but it seems to also vacillate between depsair and rage. "Done Dun" And "Dead In The Head" are the tracks with Cave, and he's a welcome relief from Roland Howard, who sounds awfully whiny. Other than Howard's vocals, it's pretty cool. Very early-80's experimental/no wave, with lots of scratchy and squawky guitar sounds flying at you from all over.

A: Come Fall, So Your Heart, Dead River, Three Kings
B: Done Dun, Still Burning, Fields Of Fire, Dead In The Head

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Seaweed - Bill

Another Sub Pop single, but this was not from the singles club. No clue where I got this. I think I might have picked this up after a solid review of this band somewhere. I remember liking this one quite a bit. The B-side sounds like something Moving Targets might have recorded.

The poor use of early layout software makes me cringe. There's a huge screwup with the font there, (note the double-lettering) someone bolded a truetype font style. I had to fix a lot of crap like that in the 90's.

A: Bill
B: Pumpkin

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pain Teens - Death Row Eyes

May 1992 Sub Pop single.

Not bad, but a bit derivative. It's pretty clear from the opening guitar sounds on the first track that these guys are into the Butthole Surfers. Very Paul-Leary-esque sound. A bit too much, really.

As for the B-Side, it's also a Surfers' staple; take the audio from a strange or disturbing call into a radio talk-show, and build a song around it.

They're not terrible, (like Wednesday's pick...) it just feels like someone did this kind of thing already.

A: Death Row Eyes
B: The Smell

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Volcano Suns - Blue Rib

One of my favorite bands from Boston. From anywhere, really. I got into them right around 1987, as a cook at the Grog (I was a dishwasher) mentioned them to me. Apparently the record-exec judges walked out on them at the WBCN Rock n' Roll rumble the year before. This was at the height of big hair, so that was instant credibility. The Rumble redeemed themselves a couple of years later with sludge-rock gods The Bags winning. Get your hands on a copy of The Bags' Rock Starved if you can.

Anyway, the Suns' Mission of Burma connection (Peter Prescott played drums in both, and sings in the Suns) helped pushed me into buying Farced via mail order from SST and I was hooked. Just a thunderously loud band. The drums, the shouted vocals, everything. Loud. 

This was near the end of the line for the Suns. "Blue Rib" is from Career in Rock, their final LP (recorded by Steve Albini. It's all inter-related here). I have most of the LPs in vinyl, but also bought them on CD later, so I'm not about to rip them. No clue where I got this, though I'm pretty sure I bought this right when it came out. It's on flawless bright red vinyl. No pops, skips...nothing. If only all of these 7" were this good. The most pristine recording I've had so far. Just clean loud noise.

Prescott is back behind the drums with Mission of Burma again after a stint as frontman/guitarist for Kustomized, and bassist Bob Weston now plays with Albini in Shellac (and also works as studio engineer with Albini). Weston also fills in for Martin Swope in the re-formed Burma lineup. They played a Volcano Suns reunion show some time ago, which I missed, sadly. I'd probably spend the show standing there like Dorothy on the album cover, but it'd still be fun to see it.

A: Blue Rib
B: Openings

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bewitched - Hey White Homey

February 1993 Sub Pop Singles Club release. This is probably the second time I've ever listened to it. There's a reason for that. The song "Hey White Homey" is as cringe-inducing as its title. Troll Doll is far more listenable, though still far from great.

Bob Bert was Sonic Youth's drummer up through the Halloween album. Then he left to do stuff like this. OK, maybe I'm being a bit harsh. Bewitched was a side project in between other post-SY bands, which included noise-rock legends Pussy Galore and Boss Hog (both Jon Spencer acts), that's a pretty good musical legacy, so I guess he redeems himself there. But is this bad.

A: Hey White Homey
B: Troll Doll

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hole - Retard Girl

Another early Hole single. Very politically incorrect and very noisy, too.

I think my ex-GF was living in Greenough at UMass and we walked into town to buy this single (not this exact one, I had to replace the Hole singles from her collection...) at Al Bum's, along with a few others. We had no clue what this was going to sound like. Her roommate had a turntable, which worked out well. 

A: Retard Girl
B: The Phone Bill Song, Johnnies In The Bathroom

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sister Ray - The King

Among the first batch of Singles Club stuff I managed to find in Newbury Comics. I'd heard about the Singles Club, and was surprised to find some for sale. Throw in that these guys obviously named themselves for the VU  song, and it seemed like a no-brainer.

I have to say, it didn't disappoint. The King sounds a bit like some Hate Your Friends era Lemonheads, which was fine with me. Legends in Ohio, they didn't seem to catch on much beyond there.

A: The King
B: Push Me

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bikini Kill 12" EP

Not quite an LP Sunday, but it is a 12" piece of vinyl.

Lots of the Ex's stuff this week, which got me to thinking. I was sort of wondering where these songs went, I couldn't remember if there was a 7" with some of this stuff on it or not, but I knew I had it on vinyl at some point. Somehow I manged to hang on to this. It didn't leave and get shipped back to me later like all of the other Riot Grrrl stuff, I had it in the trunk of vinyl stuff the whole time without even realizing it. I found it while looking for another LP that I want to rip. (That will be up next week)

Definitely more raw than their later singles, but it's loaded with the same energy and anger. I'm pretty sure this a very early Riot Grrrl 12", so it sort of set the standard. I certainly got a kick out of hearing "Carnival" ("I'll win that Motley Crue mirror if it fucking kills me!") for the first time in nearly 20 years.

With "Feels Blind" they came up with a heavy, emotional song that's not just a lot of angry noise, definitely one of their best. "Thurston Hearts The Who" on the other hand is totally experimental sounding with people reading negative reviews of Bikini Kill over music. Recorded by Ian MacKaye.

A: Double Dare, Liar, Carnival
B: Suck My Left One, Feels Blind, Thurston Hearts The Who

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wolverton Brothers - My Assassin

January, 1993 Singles Club release.

I think this is the first time I've ever listened to this, and the cardboardy-lint stuff that I had to scrape off the vinyl agrees with me.

I moved from Amherst to Northampton around this time and was living between two places for a while. My guess is that this arrived, got packed immediately and I never really looked at it again. It's offbeat enough that I would have remembered it. It's kind of hard to classify, and the two songs don't sound too much alike except for these great ringing guitar sounds.

My Assassin is almost 80's artsy synth-pop from an alternate universe. Max Gomez Love is a Nick Cave-esque number with shimmery guitars and over the top vocals.

Another band in this collection that is still together. They seem to stick close to Cincinnati these days, and have been labeled an alt-country act at times, which is just amazing after listening to these two songs.

A: My Assassin
B: Max Gomez Love

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fifth Column - Donna

Named for Spanish Civil War insurgents, which is pretty damn cool. Toronto's Fifth Column was very much involved with the whole Riot Grrrl scene, writing for zines and so on, but somehow managed to avoid getting the label themselves. Maybe it's because they're Canadian. They're more on the experimental side of post-punk according to a google search or two, but this single sounds very Riot Grrrl-y to me. They apparently started a whole movement of gay punk bands in Canada. Solid musicians, with none of that weak rhythm section stuff that I've complained about.

A: Donna
B: All Women Are Bitches

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Velvet Monkeys - Rock The Nation

I think this was one of the last Sub Pop Singles club releases I tracked down in a store before they started arriving in the mail.

The Velvet Monkeys go for arena-rock styled bombast, starting the "Rock The Nation" with the drummer wailing on a cowbell and everything. The B-side is a slower, chaotic cover of the Beatles. Another band that lots of people cover, but few can pull it off. It's an interesting cover, in a good way.

These guys are still playing. 30 years now. That's amazing.

A: Rock The Nation
B: Why Don't We Do It In The Road?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sonic Youth - 100%

Another favorite band of that time. I managed to see them quite a bit back in the day, at least 5 or 6 times, always a good live show. Driving to Central Park to see them with Sun Ra on July 4, (1991?) was something.

The ride out of Manhattan on the 4th was harrowing, with streets closed seemingly at random, making the place a maze of one-ways, barricades, traffic cops, and lots and lots of cars. It took hours to leave. My beat up old Honda had a leaky gas tank at this point, and people throwing fireworks under my car while I was stuck in traffic made it a little more interesting than it needed to be.

No clue where I got this one. I think I was a little disappointed in their efforts around this time, because they didn't live up to Daydream Nation, but looking back, that's a tough album to match.

A: 100%
B: Creme Brulee

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bratmobile - Kiss And Ride

Some more original Riot Grrrl stuff from the ex-girlfriend. Bratmobile was one of the better known acts from that scene, but I can't say I enjoy them. They can't hold a beat, and the monotone vocals wear thin pretty quickly.

A: Kiss And Ride
B: No You Don't, Queenie