Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Wanna Do My Hair In More Of A '90s Fashion

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There were a bunch of CT indie compilations that came out in the early to mid '90s, all of them featuring mainly Danbury area bands, and all of them worth hunting down: the "Chop Whip Grate Liquefy" LP/CD on MUDD, the "One" EP that Capsule put out, "Destroy All Mediocrity" on TPOS (Malcolm Tent's label), and the Frozen Monkey CD. Out of all of them, "Destroy All Mediocrity" was the most ambitious-- a three-record set (12", 10", and 7"), all on colored vinyl, plus a cassette and a zine. A CD was also included with each set, but that was only so that Malcolm could take a bunch of dollar-bin CDs (one of mine was the New Jack City soundtrack) and write nasty things on them; "Total scam", "Cheap crap", "Boycott the CD format" and so forth.

Around 500 sets of "Destroy All Mediocrity" were made, with about 4 to 6 different cover variations, depending upon who you talk to. The covers were actual carnival posters, printed at the Triangle Poster Co. in Pittsburgh, and then folded in two or three places to hold all of the records in place before being sealed inside a huge poly bag. All of this assembling was done by hand, I'm sure, and so along with the cassette and the records, a whole stack of leftover goodies from the TPOS back catalog were also tossed inside each bag-- unused 7" picture sleeves, LP center labels, J-cards from cassette demos, zines, and whatever else.

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Some of the leftover sleeves, labels, and crap that were in my copies

One result of all of these extra goodies-- most likely unforseen at the time-- was that, after spending years in a crate stacked upright with all of my other records leaning on it, the cassette (along with everything else) would press against the vinyl records and cause all kinds of bending and scuffing, to the point where none of the three "Destroy All Mediocrity" LPs that I own are anywhere near flat, with a good amount of surface noise also involved. But, you know, D.I.Y. and all that, is still a beautiful thing.

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Another one of the front cover variations

There's almost an hour and 40 minutes' worth of music included in this whole set, including the "Mop Tape" which is actually its own separate release (TPOS-50, as opposed to TPOS-100), but since the Mop Tape and the vinyl were released together on the same day, I've given all the mp3's the same tags. I ripped every damn song on the compilation except for two (sorry, no Chicken Doody Faget for you), and all of the leftover songs that I'm not posting individually, including every song on the Mop Tape, will be available for a little while as their own "Mop Files" .zip file towards the bottom of this post.

The overview that "Destroy All Mediocrity" gives of the Danbury, CT scene at the time is fairly mind-boggling; by my interpretation, a full 16 of the bands here are all from one town, which is truly impressive. Malcolm, of course, was good enough to see that a whole variety of styles and bands were included on the compilation, not just Danbury bands; for instance, there are a bunch of "Confederacy of Scum" bands on here (Anti-Seen, Cocknoose, Mad Brother Ward, and the like), as well as some crazy electronic stuff (Punch Drunk, from Philadelphia) and even a black metal side project (!!), Havohej. I'm going to focus mainly on the Danbury bands, so this is what you're getting:

Stubb - I think I gave their 7-inch a bad review, but Stubb were actually really good the one time I saw them live, and their song here might be my favorite one on the whole compilation... besides referencing A Tribe Called Quest.
Her Tears - Her Tears are almost definitely the most criminally forgotten of all the '90s Danbury bands; they released a bunch of great singles and compilation tracks, and their shoegaze-y pop sound seemed almost perfect for the SpinArt/Slumberland/Parasol type sound that was pretty big at the time, but they never really took off. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart fans, take note (actually, please go away now).
Freakbaby - Four-and-a-half-minute guitar jams aren't necessarily my idea of fun, but still, it's Freakbaby. You'll get over it, like I did.
Creature Did - I think Kevin always felt burdened by the "Nirvana" tag, not that this song helps matters much. Still, "Come In" is most definitely rocking, and would've deserved a better re-recording, though I don't think that ever happened.
HED - Most HED songs are too over-the-top for me to even keep up with-- this song sounds like what would happen if you took the first Phantom Tollbooth and Dinosaur LPs and melted them together-- but you can tell that they must've been a monster band to see live. Jim Roberto is now in Creepdust, a great '79 S.F. style p-rock outfit (à la Negative Trend), that is if they're still around.
G'nu Fuz - Folk/blues-type rock with some really inventive playing-- most of the time when I listen to their records I go, "There's no other band I like that can pull this off." The entire G'nu Fuz discography is downloadable at their web site-- and there's some really awesome stuff there.
Shyster, Shyster, and Flywheel - NOTE: This track skips! This woulda been one of my most-listened-to songs on the comp, except that NOTE (anal retentives and other uptight aitch-moes): This track skips! I've collected three sets of this compilation over the years, and the Shyster Shyster and Flywheel track skips in the same place on all three copies. I'm including it anyway, because the song is great, and the band featured Bruce Wingate and Bill Knapp and is otherwise an adjunct to my coffee table book, "Please Kill Punk Rock Before Bill Knapp Joins Another Band", which I never got to finish back in the '90s. P.S. Maybe if you ask nicely I'll e-mail you an mp3 of "Greek Diner Morning", which totally kills.
Malcolm Tent - It's his comp, so I gotta include his song. It's a pretty little instrumental, actually-- almost like that one Big Star outtake-- and somewhat different from Malcolm's "agressive acoustic punk stylings" that I'm more used to.
Leadfoot - I think they're a Danbury band, since they were also on Malcolm's "Songs To Make You Shiver" Halloween compilation. Grungy hair-wag, way more rhythmically competent than a lot of the stuff on here, I guess.
China Pig - Not their usual atmospheric post-rock output; this one has a really strong Breadwinner/Honor Role-like guitar riff.
Allawiscious Pole -A freak-folk track riddled with shards of noise and feedback, completely predicts the '00s if you know what I mean. One of my favorite tracks on the compilation. Don't bother asking me who this is, though, I really have no friggin' clue.
Bunnybrains - Legendary kitchen-sink-rock outfit, their song here sounds like it could be a Crystalized Movements track left over from "Mind Disaster" (go listen to "Communal Storybook" and see if I'm not right).
Monsterland - A really blown-out version of "Chris' Clone", and nothing like the version that's on "Loser Friendly". I've never seen this listed on the track listing for any of their demos, so I have no idea where this is from... mostly because it's not "Chris' Clone" at all, but a song called "Flesh Machine (Fuddhoney)" (dig the reference). Thanks to Greg Vegas for clearing that up.
Closet Full of Fear - Noise project from the '80s featuring some guys who would go on to be in HED and Monsterland. Pretty fun, when you think of it that way.

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The 12":

Stubb -

"El Segundo"

Her Tears -


Shyster, Shyster, and Flywheel -

"Joan, The Monkey Loves You"
(fucker skips, just so you know)

Freakbaby -

"Freak Baby vs. The Dead C"

Creature Did -

"Come In"

Bunnybrains -

"Creepin' Round Yer Winder"

Leadfoot -

"Angel Dust"

Malcolm Tent -

"Gladly, The Cross-Eyed Bear"

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The 10":

Monsterland -

"Flesh Machine (Fuddhoney)"

G'nu Fuz -

"Bunkhouse Tales"

Closet Full of Fear -


China Pig -

"Merkel Gortex"

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The 7":


"Magic Monkey"

Allawiscious Pole -

"Crawlin' Blues"

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Here's the file with the rest of the tracks, including the Mop Tape:

Destroy All Mediocrity mop

Also included with the compilation was a 16-page zine listing the entire TPOS discography (of which "Destroy All Mediocrity" was release #100) in pretty good detail, plus accounts of Malcolm's misadventures that came with releasing GG Allin and Anti-Seen records that the pressing plant was constantly rejecting and so forth. It makes for a nice brisk read (and you'll need to read it to find clues as to who Drakarr and The Warr really was), so I've made a .zip file of the scans of all 16 pages, which you can grab here:

TPOS 100 zine

There's two sample pages from the zine at the very bottom of this post, if you want to check those out first (as always, clicking on the images will give you a larger copy).

M.U.D.D.-issued poetry zine that was in one of my copies

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I also got a couple of old The Piece of Shit one-sheets;
here's one side of one of them

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Two sample pages from the zine that came with the compilation

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Wear The Same Things That I Used To Wear

I usually save plugging the name-brand stuff for those other big-time blogs, but I grabbed this one from the ever-lovin' I Rock Cleveland a few days ago, and I've been playing it in the car at least 10 times a day ever since. Crappy guitar solo, but it's got the slamming-est drum track I've heard this century. Oh, and the new Medication LP comes out on HoZac tomorrow and it's friggin' genius. Some scuzzfucker I know leaked it, so I got to listen to it early.

Sweet Apple -

(this file is now listen-only)

"Do You Remember"

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fake Best Of 2009

Genders -

"Seeing The Grey"

Sandworms -

"Born Raised and Trapped With You"

Fever B -

"Please, Operator"

"This Sea Is My Life"

Jean Claude Jam Band -

Hong Kong Take Out cassette (Spent Planet, 2009)

(the individual files are now listen-only, and the .zip file
has been taken down)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pretending It's Not Defeat

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Sonorous Gale are one of those bands where people say "I can't believe how loud they are for just two people", but actually, two-piece punk rock bands almost always tend to be loud... maybe it's to make up for there being no 3rd or 4th guy around, I don't know. I mean, Bloarzeyd are a two-piece band, and they're practically the loudest band I've ever seen. Sonorous Gale are so loud their sound could pound nails into the floor, but they're not just loud; their stuff moves, too. If you're at all into bands like Shellac, Big Business, Big Black, Bastro, Bedroom Rehab, Bloarzeyd, and so forth (lotta 'B' bands there, too bad I didn't mention Book Slave), then you oughta check these guys out. They've got a cool white-vinyl LP out, plus I guess they've recorded some new songs that are going to come out on tape (because cassettes are so much more convenient than LPs, especially if this is the '80s). Plus the drummer cracked another cymbal when they played on Saturday, which is now 2-for-2 for shows in Connecticut this year.

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Escalator is two dudes from Ripshit playing pissed-happy hardcore with some heavy Blast/Black Flag parts thrown in (yeah, another two-piece, as of a few days before the Whitney House show from what I understand). The snare kept falling over at one point and there were some other technical issues during their set, which only lended to the overall feel of disgust and disintegration, rather than taking away from anything. Escalator is some deadly stuff, but not in any "we're gonna thrash because we haven't found anything else to do" sort of way, but in a "we've got this heavy rock in our hands and we mean to hurt you with it" sort of way. (You can click on the cover art at the bottom of this post to download the entire Escalator demo, for now.)

Sonorous Gale -

"Shattered Fingers"

Escalator -

"Entitled Track/Compulsory Castration"

(these files are now listen-only)

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click to download Escalator demo

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Now You're Beaten

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Some of you are probably laughing now because I'm posting Dropkick Murphys, but back when this EP came out they were still a credible punk band, rather than the undignified shills for the Boston Red Sox pseudo-punk band for lame college wannabes to get their drunk-on to easily-dismissed joke that they are now. For that, I'll offer that this single has an unlisted cover of Iron Cross' "You're a Rebel" (it's credited off in the margins), and when "Curse of a Fallen Soul" first came out I played that one track to death. I'll even own up that I thought "Do or Die" was pretty cool-- I still crack that one open every now and then, though it's been a while-- and the last Tune Inn show that I ever went to was the Dropkick Murphys in '00. The place was so packed that I had to stand on one of the PA columns in order to take pictures, and a couple of them came out pretty good (the "whole crowd pumping fists and pointing in one direction" thing), although that roll of film is long gone now. I once had some pretty good Farmertan and Grand Passion photos from the Tune Inn, too-- wish I coulda kept 'em.

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Dropkick Murphys -

(this file is now listen-only)

"You're a Rebel"

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

You Help Me Out When I Catch On Fire

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The first time I heard Fuck was on a record that came with an issue of Cool Beans, which (by the way) also had a pretty good Snowmen song on it. I don't even remember what the Fuck song sounded like anymore, but whatever it sounded like I know I thought it was pretty amazing, and so when the first Fuck LP on Matador ("Pardon My French") came out a little while later, I bought it on sight and spun it fairly regularly. I picked up a few more Fuck albums along the way-- "Conduct" and "Those Are Not My Bongos", all of which I still have-- eventually scoring a vinyl copy of "Baby Loves a Funny Bunny", which actually, working my way backwards, was Fuck's last LP before they signed to Matador.

As it happens, the vinyl version of "Baby Loves a Funny Bunny" is a numbered German pressing, since the domestic release was CD-only as far as I know. The way this thing was mastered makes it sound fairly quiet, though that just makes you listen all that more intently to catch all of the little noises and hidden bits that are going on. As with most Fuck records, the better songs here are typically the Yo La Tengo-ish ones where the band slides into a lower gear and starts handing out notes as if they were twenties, though (if you're gonna be rockist about it and hit the skip button when that happens) there's some stuff on here that zips along at a decent clip, also. The melodies are totally fierce-- again, you gotta be paying attention-- and some of the lyrics are a riot ("when I said I was a looker, I didn't mean I was good looking-- just that I was good at looking"), not to mention "Like You", which sounds like a piss take on Nirvana.

I'll post a handful of songs as usual, but since this LP works really well as a complete listen (plus I ripped the entire record, which I rarely do), I'll also put up a .zip file of the whole thing. I'll only leave that up for a couple of weeks, though, so grab while the grabbing's good.

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Fuck -

(these files are now listen-only)


"Love Me 2"



"Like You"

"Crush a Butterfly"

...and the whole thing all at once:

Fuck - Baby Loves a Funny Bunny (Normal, 1996).zip

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Should've Been There By Now

Somewhat quietly last month, Mark Edwards released a new My Dad Is Dead CD--or, quietly to me, at least, since I didn't know about it until I got an e-mail about a week ago. Folks of a certain age will easily recognize some of the names involved here-- Brian Paulson produced, with original Prisonshake drummer Scott Pickering once again on drums-- but above all, this is a quality pack of songs. The one I've been kicking it with the most is the title track, "A New Clear Route", but you can listen to all the tracks over at the My Dad Is Dead web site and decide for yourself. You can buy the CD through the web site, too, and while you're at it, there's a whole bunch of other neat things on the site you can find if you hunt around (like a Peel Session "Hurry Up" with Doug Gillard on guitar, for instance).

My Dad Is Dead -

(this file is now listen-only)

"A New Clear Route"

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Boxy And Foxy

Tractor Flip, Danbury CT 10/07
(photo swiped from Tractor Flip myspace)

The first two records I tried to rip today both had skips in 'em, and then I started ripping a Tight Bros record but I just wasn't into it. Fuckit, Tractor Flip rock harder than Tight Bros, anyway. "Boxy & Foxy" sounds like Skynard's "Gimmie Three Steps" if you shoved it down Buck Dharma's throat and it came back out sideways.
"Sounds like: The last time you did a powerslide down a flight of stairs and liked it/ That time you noticed the rhythm of the lines on the highway as you rolled in your freshly waxed ride/ Bears decending from the hill into the town below, armed to the teeth and ready to spill your blood"

Tractor Flip -

(this file is now listen-only)

"Boxy & Foxy"

(This file was a little too quiet, I've made it louder now. B.Ö.C. to the max!)

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Symptoms Were Classic, I Threw Up

It's my opinion that M.U.D.D. is the greatest Connecticut label ever, and of all the great albums M.U.D.D. released, my favorite one is from Geezer Lake-- who weren't even a Ct. band. (It may be that this LP served as the vinyl re-release of a CD that came out on D-Tox a year earlier, adding an extra bonus track, but I wouldn't know for sure.) Amusingly enough, I bought this record in Danbury, but not at Trash American Style as you might think; I actually bought this at Volt Music, a sorta-mainstream record store that Kevin from Creature Did used to work at, which was right next to the Danbury Airport (Kevin wasn't working that day, unfortunately). Heck, I even found my original receipt, which I'd tucked inside the sleeve-- they sold Alanis Morissette and Hootie CDs, for chrissakes!

Geezer Lake were practically insane, with some heavy riffage-- much like Kepone, though a bit more freewheeling and melodic-- alongside drawn-out atmospheric parts, and some crazy Herb Alpert horns mixed in. Or, as MRR weirdly depicted them, "one part Jesus Lizard, one part Alice Donut, one part Black Sabbath, one part Charles Mingus, one part Black Flag, one part Butthole Surfers." I was able to see Geezer Lake once, in 1996 at Tuxedo Junction in Danbury, and if I'm remembering the proper show, also on the bill that night were Polvo (who I didn't like) and Babe the Blue Ox (one of the most unbearable bands I've ever seen). Geezer Lake were awesome, though; their horn player had flaked out on them, or something, so they had to play everything stripped-down as a basic rock outfit, and it was pretty much a big rock shewww.

Nice fully-silkscreened color sleeve for this, too. If you ever get a chance to buy one of these babies during your travels, heist it up.

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Geezer Lake -

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"My Ugly Body Temple"


"Where's The Safety"

"Dead Man Running"

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