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-- www.gnufuz.com-- 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 -

"Spin"

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 -

"4:52"

China Pig -

"Merkel Gortex"


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The 7":

HED -

"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 files.zip


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 images.zip


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

24 comments:

Jere said...

Great post on a hell of a comp...

caren said...

So funny you posted this, because I just stumbled upon a copy of this at Armageddon in Providence (and didn't buy it). So if you need yet another copy, it's there!

Brushback said...

Armageddon; I think I've been on their web site before, and they've got a couple of other long-forgotten '90s CT records in stock, too..

Subterranean Mailorder out in California still has some, too-- that's where I bought one of my three sets (the other two were bought at Brass City Records), although the one I bought from Subterranean was incomplete-- it was missing the 7-inch...

Anonymous said...

thnx for posting this....THe Mland song is actually called "Flesh Machine (Fuddhoney)" I think that was the official title. The quality control at TPOS wasn't too on top of it and listed the wrong track title for this. LEadfoot was indeed Danbury- Chris Mitchell (HEd/MLand) with Wendy and Famous Comedian Joe Devito! should've been stars. and I just posted a few HED songs as "videos" on Youtube... a truly great and missunderstood and forgotten band. never had their studio moment to capture their live energy.
thnx
Greg Vegas

Anonymous said...

No Bad Dreamhouse anywhere?

Anonymous said...

Also, any chance you have Smile's (pre-Monsterland) "You're So Pretty You Should Be Shot" anywhere? A true classic.

Brushback said...

^
Nah, I don't have the Smile demo.

Bad Dreamhouse I do have-- I've got a 7" that I'll maybe post sometime soon (plus I skipped over the Bad Dreamhouse track when I posted "Chop Whip Grate Liquefy").

Thanks, Mr. Vegas, for the info! I'll be correcting the mp3 tags shortly...

Anonymous said...

i think my memory is a bit hazy on LEadfoot. I think Chris Mitchell played with them at one point but he might not have been the drummer.
SMILE demo...yeah _ i guess I need to get you that DAVE. the real version- before MAlcolm's not so quality dubbing slowed the speed down so we sounded like THe MElvins...oh wait that might be cool to hear too....
yeah where is Bad Dream House?
GV

Brushback said...

Wow, the MonsterMelvins. Cool.

Okay, Bad Dreamhouse has been added to the list under "sooner than later".

ultrabunny said...

I have that comp, thanks, I'd NEVER of ripped it myself, this is quite convenient.

Brushback said...

Hey, Ultrabunny! Thanks for the Christmas card you sent!

tm said...

My vinyl is broken into pieces, thanks to countless moves and that cassette box. Someone digging through my records about a month ago pulled it out, dumbfounded by the packaging and destroyed shards....all I could think was "ahhh...Malcolm.... ...God bless utopian youth...."

Brushback said...

So I'm not the only one whose vinyl got scuffed up over the years from moving and stuff... people look at me funny when I have to buy a new copy because my old one is gouged. "SURE, you take care of your records, sure..."

'Course, it doesn't help that one of my 7"-er boxes got spread across the pavement once...

tm said...

Craig from Mudd my cousin Joel and I were looking at a pile of unsold "Chop, Whip, Grate...." comps as we were moving out of a house in the early 90s. At first rueful, we brainstormed a way to sell the rest of them.
This was the idea that I loved but that we never did...take them out of their sleeves, grind them into the driveway with our feet, flip the covers inside out, reglue, put in a pile, and spraypaint the lot of them. The key was to get a stamp that said "Uhuru Mazda" (Craig and Joel's pick for a name) and sell them all as noise records. Don't know what happened to those boxes but I always wanted one of those Uhuru Mazda records. Craig was also obsessed with filling the sleeves up with glitter...lord that would have been a glorious mess

Brushback said...

Holy shit!

bruce jett said...

Guy at Joan Jett concert at Tuxedo Junction (holding TWO cans of Foster Beer)..."Joan! The monkey loves you!!"

elisaf said...

You think 4 1/2 minutes is tough...obviously you weren't at the Freakbaby show where we played a single song for 45 minutes!

Brushback said...

Guy at Joan Jett concert at Tuxedo Junction (holding TWO cans of Foster Beer)..."Joan! The monkey loves you!!"

That wasn't someone from Creature Did, was it?

Brushback said...

You think 4 1/2 minutes is tough...obviously you weren't at the Freakbaby show where we played a single song for 45 minutes!

As long as it was a Part Time Christians cover, I think I'd be okay with it.

Jere said...

Went to Armageddon and got their copy! 11 bucks. A different cover from the two you posted. My cd was the Doobie brothers. Malcolm wrote something about it being fun to mutilate cds, and the thing was purposely broken. Mop tape=missing.

Brushback said...

I almost wish I got one without the tape, and then I would've had one set of vinyl in better shape... The whole thing is kind of a neat thing to own, in any case. It's such a cool, hefty package.

Brushback said...

All of the files on this post are now (finally) inactive...

John said...

Any chance you could repost "Flesh Machine(Fuddhoney)"? I am slowly converting all my 7" records to digital, and making comps - this is the only thing I am missing from Monsterland!

thanks!

Brushback said...

Maybe not a repost, but if you send me an e-mail, I can send you an e-mail back with the mp3 attached.