Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Always See Two Days Ahead Of Me

There's a slew of CT indie labels that have been delivering the goods this year; Safety Meeting, Twin Lakes, Cosmodemonic Telegraph, and Never Heard Of It have all released top-of-the-pile stuff in 2010, and you can add February Records to the list, also. If you've ever owned a Cher Doll compilation or ever lost a SpinArt sampler in the cracks between the front seats of your car, then you'll probably find February (née Tweefort) well worth looking into. Once a self-described digital-only "micro-label"-- you might remember the Women's Basketball album they released a while back-- February has since started dabbling with CDs, and have even released a vinyl 7-inch by The Tyler Trudeau Attempt.

February's most recent CD is from New Haven's Ghost of Chance, and even though the vocals at times veer a bit too close to Smashing Pumpkins to be considered safe, the CD on the whole is an impressive bit of work. I think CT Indie nailed it with their Lilys/Teenage Fanclub comparison, so I won't bother going any further. The opening track I've posted below, "Sir" (not to be confused with another fine opening track, Lotion's "Dear Sir", I guess), starts out quietly and ends quietly, but there's a fairly messy ride in between. Word is that Ghost of Chance are on one of the final bills next month at the soon-to-be-shuttered Popeye's Garage, along with The Field Recordings, so you know I'm planning on checking that one out.

You can find info on all of the February Records releases here, as well as free downloads of a lot of their stuff, including four more Ghost of Chance tracks, and a three-song EP from Birds of California (featuring Stewart from Boyracer on drums) which I think is pretty neat.

Ghost of Chance -


Monday, September 20, 2010

It Turns Out That I've Been A Jerk Forever

Here's my one lasting contribution to the 90's Connecticut indie rock scene: the Explodee/Nevertheless split 7", which came with the 5th issue of Brushback. And when I say "lasting" I mean only that I still have some copies laying around, and not "lasting" in the sense of any indelible impression this record might've made... although, to this day, I still think this record's pretty good. If nothing else, it served as a useful calling card for the style of music I most wanted Brushback to represent, that being big fuzzy indie rock with hooks.

Originally this was going to be a split between two Waterbury bands, Nevertheless and Farmertan, with the sleeve being a nod to the Hüsker Dü/Replacements rivalry-- the "New Day Rising" sunset with Farmertan written in Hüsker Dü-type lettering on one side, and Nevertheless sitting on an apartment roof, "Let It Be" style, on the other. I'd even driven around Waterbury a bunch of times, looking for the right type of roof to use for the Nevertheless photo. Farmertan took too long getting their song recorded, though, so that idea had to be scrapped. Luckily, Greg Vegas stepped forward and let me use a song from a new band of his that was just getting started, Explodee, which was fine by me because Monsterland were easily one of my favorite Connecticut bands of all time.

Explodee were a sort-of mini-supergroup, comprised of Greg Vegas (Monsterland), Bill Knapp (76% Uncertain and a bunch of other bands, now of Singing Bridges and Skipping Stones Records), and Joey Maddalena (Names For Pebbles, now of Crooked Hook and Mountain Movers). They had a home-recorded demo which they eventually figured on replacing with a better recording, so they weren't really handing it out to anybody, just using it to get shows and so forth. Greg didn't even have an extra copy of the demo to lend me; I picked which song I was going to use by sitting in his car and listening to the demo on the tape deck, and though all of the songs were good, "Novelty" fairly charged out of the speakers. Bill Knapp's drum track sounded so good that I even decided to use an extra mastering step (going to Metropolis Mastering in Chicago) in order to retain as much fidelity as possible at the pressing stage, but in the end I don't think the drums sound as good on the record as they did on the demo tape.

Nevertheless, on the other hand, had been around for a while, had broken up, and then re-formed with a slightly different lineup. The new demo they'd recorded (with Mike Deming at the semi-legendary Studio .45 in Hartford) wasn't nearly as awesome as any of the demos they'd recorded with the original line-up-- most of which I still have, by the way-- but it was still pretty good, in any case. I think it was my idea to add Brian Sinclair's phone messsage to the beginning of the song, since it wasn't on the original demo. I also took the artwork that Nevertheless gave me for the sleeve and insert and chopped it up to my own liking, though the Explodee design and insert are just as Greg had given them to me.

375 copies were pressed, but only a couple hundred saw the light of day, as the rest were ruined in a shoddy basement somewhere. I had the bright idea to use Brooklyn Dodgers baseball players as catalog numbers, so this one is numbered "Carl Furillo"; I think the next one, a pink vinyl repress of the Grand Passion single, was numbered "Erskine", or maybe "Erskine" was going to be the M.O.T.O. EP which was never finished. The "Sub Pop band passing through" on Brian Sinclair's voice message was Chixdiggit, who ended up playing a basement show at the townhouse that Damien Pratt and some of the other guys in Nevertheless had at 491 Meadow St. in Waterbury ("Local 491"). The runout groove inscriptions are actually a jab at Chixdiggit, for being Canadian; I've never been one to pass up an obscure reference for the sake of a lousy joke, obviously.

Most likely anyone who hears this record now will be one of the first people (besides myself) to have listened to this record over the last 12-13 years or so, so by all means download this to your computer and play the shit out of it, just to make me feel better.

Explodee -


Nevertheless -

"The Priesthood"

Friday, September 17, 2010

Now I Age But Don't Get Old

I've been waiting to see Iron Chic for going on two years, or since their demo came out in '08, but their set at Whitney House last Friday would've been awesome even without the wait. I think this was probably the best-sounding set I've ever heard at Whitney; Iron Chic's medium-tempo songs were perfect for the room, and I could hear pretty much everything without a problem and even pick out all the words, almost as if I were listening to the record. As a result, every song and every riff Iron Chic played that night sounded great, making their set practically flawless. If my mind even wandered a little bit, it was because I was trying to think of the last time I watched a band at Whitney House that had a lead singer who didn't play an instrument, other than a hardcore band or Glue Machine (Foreign Objects, maybe?). Not sure why that seemed important to me, but that's what I was thinking about, anyway. The new Iron Chic album, "Not Like This", is really good, by the way-- I still think "Shitty Rambo" has their best songs, and the 2008 demo is still my favorite Iron Chic release, but then I tend to run the opposite of everyone else on those things. You can find all of Iron Chic's recordings at their bandcamp site (, where for now you can download their new LP for free, although the two songs I'm posting here (from the 7" and the LP) are my own vinyl rips.

Dead Uncles have gotten really good at playing 7 or 8 song sets, just long enough to give a taste of what they're about without driving things into the ground too much. What Dead Uncles are about right now is pretty much getting better every time I see them. They played two songs in the middle of their set on Friday which were two of the best Dead Uncles songs I've ever heard; I think they're on the b-side of their new 7-inch, which is coming out right about now, in split clear/white colored vinyl, on Shock to The System (home of the newest Closet Fairies 7", make sure you pick that one up). It already looks like my "best of" list this year is going to be heavy with Connecticut releases-- Titles, Medication, Oiltanker, maybe Field Recordings, maybe a couple of Cosmodemonic Telegraph releases, are all right in there, and the new Dead Uncles EP is pretty strongly in the running, too. At the very least, the three-song Dead Uncles 7" beats the entire Hostage Calm discography all by itself.

Iron Chic -



Dead Uncles -

"Little Tragedies"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fleas Don't Die In The Fall

The I AM Festival was sort of a mixed bag for me this year; a flat tire repair threw me off by about an hour and made me miss the one band, Gone For Good, that I really wanted to see the most. I did end up sticking around for a few other bands after that (Hempsteadys, Fake Babies, Darlings), but I eventually lost my train of thought, and so I headed out to walk around New London for a few blocks before I left. The good part, though, was that I got to say hi to a bunch of folks and buy some neat stuff, including the "Fleas Don't Die In The Fall" compilation CD-R, which had just been released that day.

I think New London more than anywhere else in CT can churn out bands that have a dank, smelly, desperate edge to their tone, which is underscored on "Fleas Don't Die" right from the beginning. Ferocious Fucking Teeth is a merger between a trillion gallons of gas, Total Bolsheviks, and Brava Spectre, sporting not just one but but two drummers, and their first track here is a fairly thorough monster-- steadily building up steam before finally splitting wide open at around the :45 mark. FFT also have a tape that they put out at the end of last year called "9 Lungs" (something else that I bought on Saturday), which has a somewhat weirder version of "Don't Go" plus a cover of my favorite Shellac song, "Copper", and I almost can't wait to hear that.

I'm not totally sure where you could go to get your hands a copy of this compilation, besides from one of the bands at a show; the insert says "information about New Lo Records can be found on the internet", but it seems like they're just pulling your leg. There's some other nice stuff on here-- the Rapture Scum songs are sorta interesting, considering that I saw them at Whitney House once and they were just okay that night, and I particularly like the comp-ending Total Bolsheviks track-- plus all the artwork inside and out was hand-silkscreened by Steven Buttery, which some of you might recognize from the sleeve to the Brava Spectre 7-inch. Only 30 copies made, they'll all find a home I'm sure.

Ferocious Fucking Teeth -

"Don't Go"

Friday, September 10, 2010

That Shit Is Everywhere

Drunk Tank were a part of the earliest wave of post-Albini bands with which they're almost never spoken of (Bastards, Unsane, Bastro, etc), and by that I mean they never really caught on like all of the others, I guess. I never saw them live and didn't know too much about them outside of their records; what little I knew came from reading Conflict, where Gerard once told a story about playing the first Drunk Tank single on his radio show and getting a call from someone ranting about "second-rate Albini clones" who then came to the studio and beat him up-- I have no doubt the story was at least half-true. Also, Gerard once pointed out that Julian Mills used to wear a Detroit Tigers baseball cap because it represented "the murder capital of America". I'll bet that one's true, also. So that's it, that's the extent of my Drunk Tank knowledge.

I still have Drunk Tank's "Leadfoot"/"Scissors" 7-inch, which I bought when it first came out back in '89 (because of all the Conflict mentions, I'm sure) and liked a whole lot; I've been holding off posting it here because the kiddie-perv cover art would probably get me into Photobucket trouble. The LP cover seems okay though, so you can have this one. Eventually by the early '90s it seemed like every time you'd thumb through a box of 7"-ers, half of them would have a naked homeless guy with a gunshot wound on the cover, and like everything else it got old pretty fast. Likewise, "Pin-Up Girl" has some dumb stuff at the end of it that makes you have to turn it down, but I'm including it here anyway because it's the only song on the album with any sort of discernible riff.

Drunk Tank -

"Diesel Slug"

"Stranger Danger"

"End Bits"

"Pin-Up Girl"

"Nap Time"

"Freak of Nature"

Monday, September 6, 2010

These Cookie Crumbs Are Making Me Itch

For whatever reason, I still have the original Beastie Boys "Cooky Puss" 12-inch that was released on Ratcage (the same label that put out "Victim In Pain"), which I first bought back in the mid-80's. I used to own almost all of the early Beastie Boys stuff back then, which put all together would probably worth about 10 bucks now: "Pollywog Stew" of course, and "She's On It" (which I posted a while ago), and the "Rock Hard" 12" (which I wish I still had-- the AC/DC sample got that one deleted), and even "Hold It Now Hit It", which was their first actual 45. Not that any of their early stuff was all that crucial, but this was back when rap still represented something very New York and underground, and the number of NYHC straight edge kids (as well as people in the NYC Gerard-metal/noise rock scene) back in '85/'86 who were also into rap was very sizeable. I myself used to scour the stores that sold hip hop 12"-ers, looking for stuff like Just-Ice, Doug E. Fresh, Schoolly D, and Eric B & Rakim, and if it also meant buying some Beastie Boys records along the way, so be it.

Outside of "Cooky Puss" (which is a very localized/tri-states reference, some people might have to look it up in order to "get" it), the other tracks on this record are mostly crap. I guess that was one advantage to owning a 12" instead of a CD-- you could either tape the one song you liked, or just don't bother flipping the record over.

Beastie Boys -

"Cooky Puss"

"Bonus Batter"

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sound Lays You To Waste

Connecticut's Myty Konkeror released their first album recently, "I miss the future.", on their own Twin Lakes label. Besides the CD version, there's also a labor-intensive LP version, limited to 30, which includes an individually lathe-cut clear polycarbonate disc (made in New Zealand by Peter King) in a hand-assembled, hand-numbered jacket with a few other goodies thrown in, one being a CD-R of the album. The CD and LP offer very different listening experiences, not just in their resolution-- the CD is a lot "brighter", for instance--- but in the shape and frequencies of the sound being produced, due to the hand-made nature of the LP. The LP, of course, is actually pretty neat; I have one other similarly lathe-cut record (a Mountain Movers 7"), and they're made not of vinyl but a super-clear polycarbonate, so clear that the bands on the records where there aren't any grooves are completely see-through, just like a glass window. Playing the record is almost like dropping the needle on a sheet of ice.

A good chunk of "I miss the future." is heavy rock, but not in a typical Black Sabbath stoner metal kind of way, as you might be expecting. This record can be fairly ambitious and intricate at times, especially with songs like "Kidz and Gulls" (still available as a free download at the Twin Lakes web site if you go there now, I think) and "Whitewash", which are poppier and very similar to Built To Spill or Sebadoh, especially in the vocals. My favorite songs on the album, "sus Envy" and "Vastare", are two of the more bone-crushing ones; I'm including "Vastare" here, which I've ripped from the lathe-cut LP, for you to check out.