Friday, March 6, 2009

You've Never Done Anything Wrong Worth Remembering

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I was obviously born a sucker for just about any rock that's loud, hooky, and anthemic, which in the past has led to some sorta questionable choices on my part (mid-period Soul Asylum ca. "Hang Time" and "Horse They Rode In On", New Sweet Breath, a two-song Matthew Sweet CD that I actually paid ten bucks for, the first Buckpets LP which I'll be getting to any minute now, that one really really bad Ryan Adams CD), and I can see that some of you were about to throw Small (nee Small 23) onto the pile, except that I can point to some pretty great 7"-ers in their defense. Dunno as much about their LPs, which isn't to say that I didn't rock the hell out of "True Zero Hook" and "Silver Gleaming Death Machine" back in the day, before trading them in for something a little more "authentically indie" and respectable-- like, I don't know, an LMNOP CD or something.

Repeated listening to the "Noodles" 45 that I ripped last year sometime, and "Toastmaster", as well as the one or two other Small 7"-ers that I still have laying around, gave me the itch to spin one of those spotty Small LPs one more time. Only thing is, I didn't have 'em anymore, so I scored a cut-out CD of "True Zero Hook" for a penny on eBay, and then promptly lost it for about six months. I mean, literally lost it-- looking everywhere for it, behind the computer desk, under the turntable... until one day it showed up where I put it in the first place: properly put away in one of my CD towers, in defiance of my usual strategy of leaving all newly purchased CDs in a messy pile on the floor until I finally give up thinking that I'm ever going to really listen to them and file them away with the shrinkwrap still intact.

So, anyway, six months later, here's Small 23's "True Zero Hook", not including the one song that sounds like what Atlas would eventually sound like ("Red Comes Up") or any of the six or seven other songs that I'm sure Wilfully Obscure will be posting eventually. And does the thing still rock like it's 1993? Heck, yes, it does!


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Small 23 -

"True Zero Hook"

"Makes Me High"

"Noodles"

"Get Used To It"

(these files are now listen-only)


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14 comments:

Sean said...

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah! The most underrated thing out of the Carolinas since pecan pie...more people loved this band than I thought possible..I can't count on both hands the number of friends who went out and bought other "iffy" Alias releases like Picasso Trigger and Throneberry based on how good Small (23) sounded. I'd go as far as to say that at the TIME, I knew of more people appreciating Small than Archers of Loaf (even if Eric Bachman played all over "Toastmaster"). Even their videos were entertaining in the best kind of low-budget way (I got an Alias VHS thing with two or three videos each from almost their whole roster at Brass City..god knows which room mate ended up with it)

I'll also stand behind you on the first Buckpets LP..I had hopes for the second coming of the Replacements with them for about five minutes, and New Sweet Breath was the first show I saw moving back to CT in '99 at Rudy's...all I'll say is that every one of their records should have been live, because they knocked me out the back wall.

Brushback said...

New Sweet Breath were sort of the oddball in that Ringing Ear lineup, being more fuzzy-around-the-edges pedal-happy indie rock, instead of pop punk like Bender and Sinkhole and stuff like that. I'm not sure if their records hold up too well anymore, plus I stopped caring about them after I heard that they ripped off Chris Pierce for $500 when their van broke down on tour and they never paid him back.

The Buckpets still kinda suck, I just really liked that first album for about a month or two when it first came out.

Sean said...

Yeah, I heard about the vantastrophe..I used to be penpals with Chris when he was in Suburban Lawn and six other Maine bands...we were supposed to tag team seeing Swiz in Newport, but I was young and couldn't find Rhode Island and ended up in Hazardville, MA wondering what wrong turn I made. That "Aloha" from Doc Hopper has held up pretty well!

The Buckpets flamed out rather quick...they remind me of a Goo Goo Dolls trajectory, going from an American version of pub rock to penning Bon Jovi-lite ballads.

Small 23 never wrote a Bon Jovi-lite ballad, not even "Could You Be On My Side" from Chin Music...incidentally one of the best use of sports references in music this side of the Wedding Present's "George Best". Now I'M on a hunt for my hiding in plain sight copy of "Silver Gleaming Death Machine".

Sean said...

I might be getting my Chris Pierce history askew...he MIGHT have been in a band from Maine called Suburban Lawn, but he was DEFINITELY in a band from Maine called "Nothin' Much".

I'm still on the hunt for the "Free T-Shirts For Spain" 10" from Small...it might be the one release from them I haven't heard. This post also reminded me they were on that "Chairman Of The Board" comp. on Grass Records doing some Sinatra cover.

Brushback said...

That "Chairman of the Board" comp has a TON of good bands on it (Prisonshake, Treepeople, Vindictives, Cherubs, Poole, Screeching Weasel, Jawbox, Small) but it's mostly unlistenable.

Sean said...

See..Prisonshake is the Kevin Bacon of musical blogs!

Brushback said...

Read the sign on the way in - "No Slagging Prisonshake", bub.

Bruce said...

The Small 23 bassist had some kind of Jersey connection, though I'd be damned if I could remember it now.

BuckPets? Huzzah! I'd be just as wary to hear how "A little murder" held up in this millennium as I would THE BEST KISSERS IN THE WORLD!

Brushback said...

I thought "A Little Murder" was a good song, there were a couple of other good ones that I used to put on tapes I was making and stuff. It's been a while since I've listened to the record, I'll have to get caught up when I rip it.

I couldn't even name the bass player for Small 23 (though I'm sure it's on the back of the CD). All I know about Small is Chuck Garrison, he was in some awesome bands...

Sean said...

I will paint a target on my back and admit to having partaken of Best Kissers In The World just last month..and they didn't age any worse than the Screaming Trees...which I guess it pretty lousy. I think they definitely had two songwriters in the band..I liked the songs that sounded like Pond...anyone? Pond? Please Bruce, make it a small caliber like a .22 and a glancing shot if possible!

Chuck Garrison does have a pretty choice musical lineage..I was trading stuff with some Chapel Hill people in the 90's and ended up with some good stuff from the era when people turned towards their kitchen for inspiration...Spatula, Rubbermaid, etc.

Bruce said...

I have one Best Kissers CD that escaped numerous sortings into the pile to take to Malcolm. And yet (despite what you may have heard on other blogs)...everytime I remember I own it...I listen to the Replacements.

Brushback said...

Man, you guys listen to some fruity bands.

Sean said...

It's true, there is definitely some fruit in my musical diet...some of it is even rotten at this point in the game. I will stand fast by certain tracks, such as "Workin' On Donita" off their EP...but then again, I'm not very picky at all sometimes.

Brushback said...

The mp3 files on this post are now listen-only (non-downloadable) files. They've been moved to my Vox account (accesible through any of the above listen-only links) along with two other songs from the CD ("Off Balance" and "Recharged") which weren't included in the original post.

I'm pretty sure you can still find copies of this CD for 99 cents on either Amazon or eBay, so don't take it too hard.