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.
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.
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.
Her Tears -
Shyster, Shyster, and Flywheel -
"Joan, The Monkey Loves You"
(fucker skips, just so you know)
"Freak Baby vs. The Dead C"
Creature Did -
"Creepin' Round Yer Winder"
Malcolm Tent -
"Gladly, The Cross-Eyed Bear"
"Flesh Machine (Fuddhoney)"
G'nu Fuz -
Closet Full of Fear -
China Pig -
Allawiscious Pole -
Here's the file with the rest of the tracks, including the Mop Tape:
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:
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
I also got a couple of old The Piece of Shit one-sheets;
here's one side of one of them
Two sample pages from the zine that came with the compilation