Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We Were Still Sleeping So They Started Shooting

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This is a compilation LP that I picked up from Ajax Records a bunch of years ago (well, 1997, obviously). No doubt I took a flyer on this because Tim was pushing it for cheap and I probably had a $5 credit slip or something, so I tacked it onto one of my orders. Tim might've had a crummy fanzine and a mostly crappy record label, but he ran a heck of a mail order business, that's for sure.

"After The Divine Diving Insekt" isn't a bad collection, either, if you like little self-recorded bedroom pop songs and things of that nature. Like Blackbean & Placenta and a few other labels from around that time, this is about as D.I.Y. as it gets. My copy came with a record jacket that was recycled from an old New York Philharmonic album sleeve, spray-painted gold with stickers applied to the front and back. Sure, it might seem like an indie label cliche now that everybody's done it, but at one time it was a dumb idea that no one had ever thought of before. You know, like the first emo kid to figure out that a number 75 clasp envelope makes a perfect 7" record sleeve, some shit's so retarded that it was actually kinda genius once.

Most of the bands on this comp are from Florida (Gainesville, mostly) with a few exceptions, including The Philistines Jr., who're from Connecticut. I was never much of a fan of The Philistines Jr. and passed up plenty of opportunities to see them play and buy their records, but their song here is nicely hypnotic ("First came the Russians/And then came the Germans/Back came the Russians"), and I actually like it a lot. Peter Katis, of course, is better known these days as the producer for Interpol, The National, and Tokyo Police Club-- among others-- but back then he was just some guy in a couple of bands with his brother, putting out records that had really ugly sleeves.

I found this to be a pretty good record to have playing in the background while doing household chores and stuff, or as the last thing to listen to before going to sleep. Of course, lots of people wash dishes to Les Savy Fav, too, so that's probably not saying much.

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The Philistines Jr. -

"WW II (The Big One)"

Congratulations Fruit -

"TJ Touchstone"

The Horrible Death Sensations -

"To Lure The Enemy's Pity by Intentionally Hurting Oneself"

Dumbwaiters -

"Guilty Gallons"

Added by request:

Furtips -


The Raymond Brake -


(all these files are now listen-only)

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Talking To Walls

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Describing a band by comparing them to a bunch of tiny little indie bands on tiny little indie labels isn't useful in every situation, so if a stranger were to walk up to me right now and ask, "What do Werewolf Police sound like?", I'd probably just say, "Like an underdeveloped Neutral Milk Hotel or Guided By Voices," and then walk away while pretending I didn't just describe a million other outfits.

At their show in Hartford last night at the Charter Oak Cultural Center (which is a church, basically), Werewolf Police were handing out homemade copies of their upcoming CD in a stapled-together paper pouch. Most of the songs are available for download on their web page, so I don't think I'm giving away too much of the store by posting my two favorite songs from the CD (which is coming out on tiny S.F. indie label Goodnow Music) here.

Werewolf Police -

"Birds They Chirp"

"Talking to Walls"

(these files are now listen-only)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Guess I'm Really Screwed

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Connecticut was home to a whole bunch of killer compilations back in the 90's, including the "Chop Whip Grate Liquify" LP/CD, the "One" 7-inch on Capsule, TPOS' "Destroy All Mediocrity" triple-vinyl set, and the Frozen Monkey CD. You're probably thinking to yourself, "I've never heard of a single freakin' one of those records," but trust me, they're all great. You can also add to the list the "I Can't Do Anything With 50 Cents" 7-inch, which came out on Jeff "Spaz" Coleman's Computer Crime label (Jeff was/is the drummer in Seizure, the Injections, Fudge Daddy-O's, and Clusterfuck, among others).

There's five ripping punk tracks here, all of them good, plus a cute Crass rip-off picture sleeve, and then those little extra touches that give a record its character-- in this case, Jeff's goofy explanation about where the comp's ingenious title comes from:

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My favorite song here is Blanket Of Ash's "Too Messed Up", which I regard as the one greatest overlooked gem of the 90's Ct. punk scene and remains the only Blanket Of Ash material to ever be pressed, as far as I know. Ugly Truth's "See You Tonight" is another great pop-punk song, as well as being a notch above any of the four songs on Ugly Truth's self-titled EP that came out around '95 also (on Hatebreed's Stillborn record label, no less). The best Ugly Truth stuff, though, is on the Frozen Monkey CD compilation, which I'll get around to posting if I can ever find my copy.

Hardly any two Kitty Badass songs sounded alike, and their song here is one of their catchy, minute-long Cub-type numbers. As for the rest, I'm (rather reluctantly) leaving off the songs from Broken and Fudge Daddy-O's, since this compilation is still floating around out there-- Vital and Trash American Style still had some copies, last I knew-- so now you've got something to hunt for.

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Kitty Badass -

"Chevy Impala"

Blanket Of Ash -

"Too Messed Up"

Ugly Truth -

"See You Tonite"

(these files are now listen-only)

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Worst Record Ever Made

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This, the self-proclaimed "Worst Record Ever Put Onto Vinyl", is apparently some Anti-Seen guys goofing around at an open mike night, or so I've heard. You'll either think it's funny as shit, or that it's the worst piece of crap ever. I'm left at a loss for words myself, which has become sort of a problem lately (remember back in the early days of this blog when my posts used to be funny? Yeah, me neither), so I'll let Malcolm Tent-- the star of the upcoming documentary, "I Must Have This Record, Either That Or It's Just A Cold Or Something," and the man responsible for putting Jeff Leopard to vinyl-- to describe it in his own words:
Here, for the first time ever, is the true story of the Jeff Leopard EP. In 1985, Broken Talent undertook its "Barely Alive '85" tour of the Eastern Seaboard. While in Charlotte, NC, we had the pleasure of crashing at the Anti-Seen pad. One day we were hanging around and Jeff Clayton played me the Jeff Leopard tape. Rarely have I experienced such mirth as I experienced when I heard the sheet metal rock anthem "Large Orange". The chorus of "mother... fucker" stuck with me for years. One day about seven years later Jeff mentioned that he still had the tape, and I insisted that I put it out. He was a little bit leery (actually, very leery) but considering that he'd already mastered it for pressing, it was decided that the record MUST come out. Now it's out and I still have to chuckle at "Large Orange".

Only 300 of these records were pressed, although even fewer got out because, as the story goes, after several years the band had the remaining unsold copies destroyed. Anyone who makes it through listening to all 12 minutes of mayhem here should get some kind of medal-- although I did leave one of the "songs" off, to show that I'm not entirely cruel.

There's no track listing for this, so based upon the only two song titles that I could figure out, I made up my own track listing to mark the a-side and b-side. Hey, classy!!

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Jeff Leopard -

"Motherfuckin' Large Orange Motherfucker"

"Motherfuckin' Paranoid Motherfucker"

(these files are now listen-only)

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Giants Had To Trip The Wire

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This song has one of the most awesome, soaring hooks I've ever heard, and that's not surprising since Clint Conley of Mission of Burma wrote it. "Red Clouds" was Busted Statues' one and only record, other than some compilation tracks, but it's a pretty damn good one.

Even if you've never heard of Busted Statues before, you've probably heard of some of its members. David Kleiler, who played on this record, was also in Sorry and Volcano Suns, Corey Brennan was in Bullet Lavolta, and Bob Moses played in Kustomized with Peter Prescott. About the only other thing I know about Busted Statues is that Bob L'Heureux was nicknamed "The Grinning Skull", according to a story I once read in Forced Exposure, and once you know that, what else do you need to know?

A somewhat interesting footnote to this single is that Clint Conley later re-wrote "Red Clouds" as "What a Body Could Do", which appeared on the first Consonant CD, although Conley made mention of Busted Statues in the writing credits.

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Busted Statues -

"Red Clouds"

Consonant -

"What a Body Could Do"

(both these files are now listen-only)

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Get In Here Before This Stuff Coagulates

"Regrettably, this album cannot be recommended under any circumstances." --David Cleary, livefrommemphis.com

Jay Hinman posting "Hook or Crook" in his hilariously fake Cheater Slicks post the other week spurred me into listening to Ol' Butch's "Like Flies On Sherbert" again, and reacquainting myself with how great a record it is.

I freakin' love this record, so when I first started hearing that a lot of people can't stand it, I was thrown off a bit. I can sorta understand, though; if you only knew about Alex Chilton peripherally, through Big Star, and you unwittingly bought this record thinking it was gonna be more of the same, you probably got your head blown off by what was in the grooves and never wanted to listen to it again.

For me, though, this is the record that cemented Alex Chilton's genius status; he'd already mastered radio-ready Beatle-esque pop with Big Star, and with "Flies On Sherbert" he did the same for raunchy, gutbucket country/blues power stomp, or whatever you want to call it. It seems like folks have been trying to replicate this record for years-- from The Oblivians to The King Khan & BBQ Show to Paul Westerberg and whomever else-- and most of them have been pretty successful at it (except for Westerberg; "Dead Man Shake" really sucks), but there's nothing like the original.

I came into my Alex Chilton/Big Star worship a little late in the game, though it was before The Replacements released their "Alex Chilton" song, so I can say that at least. It took a few years of listening to a bunch of records from a bunch of bands that listed Big Star as a main influence, and reading in zine articles about how great Big Star was, before I got actually got motivated into going to the source and finding out what the deal was.

As it happened, the first Big Star record I ever bought-- probably around '86/'87 or so-- was actually a bootleg; a 7" that claimed to be a rough mix of "September Gurls", but sounded suspiciously just like the original. My only knowledge of "September Gurls" at that point was that The Replacements sometimes covered it, and I probably only remembered the song title because it was spelled funny. The bootleg was only about 5 bucks, so I bought it figuring it was a cheap way to start learning about who Big Star was.

Hearing "September Gurls" turned out to be like giving candy to a baby; pretty soon I owned a ton of Alex's records, including original Stax pressings of "Radio City" and "#1 Record" (which I later sold for $20 each-- stupid me), the "Bangkok" 45, the amazing "Dusted In Memphis" bootleg, "Singer Not The Song" as an import LP on white vinyl... and, of course, a vinyl copy of "Like Flies On Sherbert", originally released in 1979 as an edition of 500, although the copy I had was some French import or something.

One of the reasons I took an immediate liking to "Like Flies On Sherbert" was the lead-off track, "Boogie Shoes". I like goofy covers as much as anyone else (which explains why I own a bunch of stupid Me First and The Gimmie Gimmies records), and with "Boogie Shoes", Alex took a putrid AM radio memory from my 70's childhood, tore it down, and re-constructed it as an absolutely filthy, almost hard-rock number. The sheer brilliance of how Alex pulled off this stunt amazed me, and it still does.

About the only thing approaching Big Star-like pop on "Like Flies On Sherbert" is the mournful title track that ends the record, and even calling that "pop" would be a stretch. The rest of the album consists of covers of old C&W/honky-tonk artists and a handful of twisted Chilton originals, every single one of them a song that I used to catch myself singing aloud as I'd go about my day. Jim Testa once told me that there's some video footage of the recording of this album that shows the guitar amps nearly bouncing off the floor from all of the volume and distortion. Listening to "My Rival", especially with the way the opening bars could almost cut your head off, I can believe it.

Of course, Alex followed this up with a bunch of crap and then only got worse from there, although I stubbornly stuck with him through the "No Sex"/"High Priest" era, like most fans did. I even got to see Alex play at the old Grotto in New Haven, which was probably around 1988; Alex's stage presence was pretty stale, but the bass player in his band more than made up for it, jumping around and playing with his bass behind his head and so forth. Bill Callahan even made a joke about it in one of his zines, saying that The Replacements probably should've written a song called "Alex Chilton's Bass Player" instead.

I even got to meet Alex the night I saw him play, or I should say I almost knocked him out. He was walking down the street a short distance behind me as I entered the club, and after I was inside I suddenly got the idea that, Hey, I should hold the door open for Alex Chilton! So I hurriedly turned around, swung the door open to let him in, and with the door pretty much smacked Alex Chilton right in the face.

My original vinyl copy of "Like Flies On Sherbert" is long gone, of course, and I was happy enough to find a used copy on CD some years ago. The copy I bought is a bit odd, though; it wasn't until the first time I played it that I noticed that the CD itself, marked "Peabody Record Co.", doesn't match the "Last Call Records" artwork or track listing on the sleeve (Peabody is the label that released the orignal 500-copy vinyl pressing of "Like Flies On Sherbert"). No matter, since the same 5 bonus tracks are on either version, it's just that the one I have doesn't stick to the original running order.

I had a hard time limiting myself to only a few tracks to post here, as I was tempted to post nearly all of them, until I remembered that most people don't really like this record so it was probably better that I didn't.

Alex Chilton -

"Boogie Shoes"

"My Rival"

"Hook Or Crook"

"Rock Hard"

"Like Flies On Sherbert"

"She's The One That's Got It"

"Baron of Love"

(these files are now listen-only)

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fuck Your Self Esteem

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I found out earlier today that "Fuck Your Self Esteem" is one of the songs Prisonshake is including on their forthcoming "Dirty Moons" album (re-recorded, of course), which made me decide that I should get around to ripping this now.

This is one of my favorite Prisonshake singles, although they're pretty much all my favorite, just some more than others. You can still buy this one from Scat, if you want to hear the two b-sides.

Yet another one of the song titles that nearly became the name of this blog, by the way.

Prisonshake -

"Fuck Your Self Esteem"

(this file is now listen-only)

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I Remember Falling Up My Driveway

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Something sinister is happening to the guy in "Ashtray", exactly what I haven't figured out yet. On top of that the song doesn't really have a chorus, just three verses and then a neat guitar part (almost like a hardcore mosh part) where the chorus should be... and then it ends with a wicked ear-splitting guitar solo.

If there's a Pipe record out there that isn't totally the friggin' balls, then I haven't heard it. With "Warsaw" they even manage to make Joy Division listenable, which is somewhat of a first.

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Pipe -



(these files are now listen-only)

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Better Off Blending In With The Crowd

This is the best Connecticut punk 7"-er of it's time, in my opinion, although the Reducers "Out Of Step"/"No Ambition" 45 and maybe the Stratford Survivors record are the only other legitimate contenders.

I guess October Days get compared to the Wipers a lot, but it would take having listened to the Wipers more than once or twice for me to figure that one out. What I like the most about October Days in general, and this record in particular (besides the awesome sleeve, of course, which is one of my all-time favorites), is that they wrote really ambitious songs that have a bunch of different things going on in them, but they don't have a lot of show-offy bullshit. October Days understood the value of punk's aggression, and in keeping things catchy and memorable. Plus, the chorus to "West Coast" goes, "Champagne new-rich new wave punk bitch," which isn't what he really says but it sure sounds like it, at least.

I've chosen ignore the reggae aspects of "Don't Give Yourself Away", preferring instead to think of it as a close relation to the Circle Jerks' "Back Against The Wall" while marveling at that cool pre-Dr.Dre organ riff bubbling along in the background.

October Days -

"West Coast"

"Don't Give Yourself Away"

(these files are now listen-only)