...the thing we do instead of the things we're supposed to do...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Double Dagger - ALT+0135

Hey fam. I don't feel missed, but I'm sure in your heart of hearts you believe my absence was the proverbial lump o' coal in your stocking this Christmas. Sadly, I've been rather busy with coming up with household budgets, P&Ls and new design work at the job and coming up with resolutions for 2009. It tends to put posting someone else's records up online on the back burner.
As a backhanded apology, here's Double Dagger's demo, "ALT+0135", originally released in 2003. Whadaya want out of me? If you've lived in Baltimore in the past 5 years, you know who these guys are. If you caught any of the recent Baltimore Round Robin tour, you probably gave these cats a strong look. All I can tell you is that they're still one of the few bands that can get me out to a club, or free college show...whatever the case may be. They've released two awesome, screamy post-punk records, as well as a number of 7"s, in the past five years, and they were my favorite band to book for shows. I put my money where my muthafuckin' mouth is, bitches!

Double Dagger - ALT+0135
(click the record to DL)

RIYL: graphic design, whoopin' & hollerin', spastic dancing

Friday, December 19, 2008

Midiron Blast Shaft Starts Fires In Your Pants

It's nearly 3 AM here on the East Coast. My neighbor ran over to us about an hour and a half ago, screaming for us to call the fire department. Turns out he had fallen asleep with a lit cigarette in his hand. He awoke a short time later, surrounded by flame, with his bed ablaze. Somehow in the ensuing confusion, I lost my cell phone and two hours of desperately-needed sleep. I own a rowhome. For those of you unfamiliar, it's like a townhouse, in that it's connected to other houses on the same block, only it's older and isn't made out of pressboard & staples.

Here's Midiron Blast Shaft. No links tonight/this morning, cuz I'm feeling busted out. Maybe addendums tomorrow/this morning from work...

Midiron Blast Shaft - Starts Fires In Your Pants
(click record cover to DL)

RIYL: AmRep, stabbing your thigh with a knife, smoke inhalation

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Medic - Greetings & Amputations

Grind yr fuckin' ears out, jerkface!!!!

Medic - Greetings & Amputations
(click record cover for DL)

RIYL: skatin', Satan, Katan

Monday, December 15, 2008

Iron & Wine - demo

I'm too depressed to really write anything. Here's the CD-R that Sam Beam gave me after he opened for Ugly Casanova about 7 years ago at the Ottobar. Is there any difference between this demo and the tracks that have appeared just about everywhere? Hell, I don't know. I think "Red Dust" & "Dead Man's Will" only appeared on the Calexico split. Maybe some better informed soul can hip me to the origins and whatnot.

Postscript: I apologize for the pixelly-azz image below. I still have no scanner, and the only shot of the demo/tour EP I could find was small as hell. C'est la vie.

Iron & Wine - demo
(click record cover for DL)

RIYL: Pitchfork's Best of 2004, banjos, yr sister

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Leatherface - Fill Your Boots

I'd love to know why the site traffic jumped from my normal gang of 20 punk rock zombies a day to over 150 folks just today. A lot of kids seem to be watching the Ben Kingsley as Ian MacKaye video I posted back in September. That's kinda cool. I'd just like to know where the hell these people magically came from. As one of my favorite writers once noted, "Comments are the lifeblood of any author, good or bad." So, let me hear from you, interwebs, if you like what you see. Or if you feel I'm only contributing to the further downfall of the music industry with my efforts herein. Either way, a roll call is in order...comment below. It's like a Xmas gift you don't have to pay for!

Speaking of Christmas presents: a co-worker of mine, who knows how into HC I am, dropped my Xmas present on me a little early today.
I haven't read a lot of it, but it's by far the best representation, book-wise, or early American hardcore out there. Get it for the old scenester kid working in the cubicle next to you, or ask Santy Claus to bring you one.

I'm sure it has something to do with its in- and out-of-print status since being release nearly 20 years ago, but people just don't seem to as hip to Fill Your Boots as I think they should be. It's never received a legit American release (unlike BYO's releases of Cherry Knowle and The Last), although it looks to be available via Amazon.uk for the bargain (?) price of 8.79 (that's pounds, sucka). It also sounds a lot more like the Leatherface I fell in love with on Mush. Finally, I totally love the sincere covers of "In The Ghetto" and "Candle In The Wind". I mean, who today would try to pull this off without their tongues firmly tucked into their cheeks?

See you Saturday for more punk rock sounds.

Leatherface - Fill Your Boots
(click record cover for DL)

RIYL: gargling with whisky, Sunderland, karaoke bars

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dag Nasty - 85-86

Were you aware that the one of the biggest trade shows for Halloween takes place a mere six weeks after Halloween? It's true, it's true. And guess who has to go to it for work? If you guessed "Ape Mummy", then skip past this to the download. Yep, I'm bummed. I really don't want to go to New York. It's cold and far and I already miss my dogs and my bed and my Wednesday night TV...even though it's Monday now and I'm still two days away from splitting town.

One good thing is that I'll have my iPod, and thus I can rock some Dag Nasty. Dance of Days has some really good dirt on how quickly DN got rid of Shawn Brown when they figured out he wouldn't have a great deal of commercial appeal. Plus, I love that Dave Smalley up and decided to move to a kibbutz, so Brian Baker decided to replace him with Peter Cortner. Totally pro, dood. Anyone else wonder why D.C. got a big hard-on for embracing that U2-styled anthemic rock sound back around 1986? Is it kinda like when bands suddenly appeared with turntables about 10 years ago? Or now, when all these kids are starting youth crew bands again. Is that what it's like? Really?

Anyway...85-86 was released as a pretty bitchin' six 7" box set, as well as obligatory LP & CD back in 1992. It's pretty well out of print, although the Dischord remasters of and Wig Out at Denko's and Can I Say share some of the tracks. Overall, it's a little on the raw side, but that's what I dig about it, especially on the Cortner tracks.

...by the way, my boss reminded me today that you are not allowed to expense out lap dances. For those of you who have yet to travel for work...well, there you go.

Dag Nasty - 85-86
(click record cover to DL)

RIYL: the Beach Boys on 78, Big Country, 3 hour train rides

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Chase - The Better Part of Six Months

So I've become most attached to checking the Feedjit feed from time to time, just see who's poking their head in here (more folks than I'd expect), what's getting downloaded (there are A TON of Sense Field fans out there - CREE-PEE!), and who's using a Mac (cue obligatory Apple backpatting). If you write, and enjoy the masturbatory sensation of watching the world come to your door, I fully and heartily endorse this widget and/or bathtime product.

Whatchu got hear is a the only full-length from The Chase, who hailed from the "south of Baltimore/north of DC" 'burbs and generally rocked shit for a few years back at the dawn of the millenium. If you have any desire to listen to screamy, pop hardcore, then this'll be right up your alleyway. These guys used to support just about every fun HC show in Baltimore back in the day. Fun side note: these P.G. County bamas are playing a reunion show in Silver Spring, MD on the 20th of December with At Best. It'll be like it's 2002 all over again!

The Chase - The Better Part of Six Months

RIYL: punks vs. mods, College Park house shows, ninjas vs. Frankenstein

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Grand Archives - demo

Another quick shot as we close out the month of November. Having booked his previous band, Carissa's Wierd, twice before their breakup, I had very high hopes for Mat Brooke's post-Band of Horses project. Chances are you're reading this in the process of completing your collection, so you've formed your own opinions of Grand Archives. I like it alright; in fact, I'd say I like the production and arrangement on these demos more than the finished product on The Grand Archives. However, kinda like Band of Horses (IMHO), the total output doesn't match the sum of the parts.

You're the judge...I'm merely the executioner.

Grand Archives - demo

RIYL: falling leaves, 40 beats per minute, ice cracking under foot

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lucero - That Much Further West (bonus disc)

Happy Franksgiving, everybody! As soon as I shit, shower & shave, I'm packing up the fam and driving north to my folks' house, for a bounty of bourbon, pork and potatoes. Hooray!

If you like toys, and you want the dope on what's new, I'd recommend stopping by Plastic Jungle, which I'll be writing for. It's pretty cool; in theory I'll be getting paid to talk about designer toys. Who says there's a recession on?!?

As part of my Lucero bounty, here is the relatively-limited bonus disc from Lucero's That Much Further West. If you preordered the CD from Insound/Tigerstyle, you got this second disc of rarities & live product. Set in the same order as Lucero's 4th record, you get 12 alternate versions that add up to pretty good times. Worth downloading for the piano-driven version of "Mine Tonight" alone. This is one that I'll throw on my iPod if I'm driving late at night.

Lucero - That Much Further West (bonus disc)

RIYL: turkey, stuffing, wine, football

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lucero - The Coldwater Sessions

There's a short list of things I never expected to do. Most of the activities I never expected to participate in involve home ownership. Today, I did two of them:

1) Pay a shitload of money for heating oil.
2) Restart a furnace that had been out of heating oil.

Party people, please buy solar, or use gas heat. Getting covered in 24 oz. of heating oil is no fun, no matter what the Hollywood stars tell you from the red carpet...

What you have here is Memphis, TN's Lucero, and the demos from their self-titled record, otherwise known as The Coldwater Sessions. Better men than I can clarify a couple of the song titles; I know a few might be off. And cheers to Gregor at Captain's Dead for the original post. This is in honor of the cold house I've had for the past week. Pour yrself a glass of Booker's and strap those headphones on REEEAAAALLL tight. Cuz, baby, it's cooooold outside...

Lucero - The Coldwater Sessions

RIYL: mid-September, porch swings, rusty chain link

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fucked Up - Daytrotter Session

So, yeah, if you like boogie rock, or hipster hardcore, or whatever the hell Vice Magazine is calling it today, you'll like this.

I, of course, like it in secret, behind closed doors with headphones on.

...beats the shit out of the Twilight soundtrack...

Fucked Up - Daytrotter Session

RIYL: Gentle Giant, Wall of Voodoo, Amon Duul II (but NOT Amon Duul I)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Liars Academy - demo

I really should be cleaning the house right now, but balls to that. Here's the demo for Baltimore's Liars Academy. Made up of ex-members of Cross My Heart and Daybreak, this quartet released a pair of LPs and and EP on Equal Vision Records before breaking up, then reuniting two years ago for a 7" and a few shows. Great adult emo from a time when we thought the Promise Ring & Saves the Day were going to conquer the world.

Liars Academy - demo

RIYL: Deep Elm releases, chest-tapping, your friends onstage

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Negative Approach - The First Year

If you're like me, you enjoy drinking someone else's beer, turning up Negative Approach and running repeatedly into a brick wall. You don't like that, you say? Well, you are missing out. There are very few things better in life than N.A. and a pilfered six-pack of Shiner Bock.

Cheers to Henry at Chunklet and Benn & Rachel at Atomic Books for a rousing Rock Band party last Friday, and for the inspiration for this post. What you have here, in a mere 28 megs of file space, is the first year's output from Grosse Point, MI's finest. What you get is the first demo, the track from the Process of Elimination 7" and the self-titled 7". 21 songs, 18 minutes. You must break something. All of this should be on Guitar Hero, or Rock Band, or some video game.

Negative Approach - The First Year

RIYL: random acts of violence, 1981, shaved heads

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sick Fix - demo

It's Sunday. I wish there was a good matinee going on this afternoon. I really feel like going to a show, finger-pointing and running around like an asshole. It must be cuz I've been listening to this demo again. Sick Fix is from D.C. You know what's awesome about these guys? Everything. Released in 2006, this is sick, fast, straightforward teenage sXe HC that have you Xing up and getting caught in a mosh. In addition to this here demo, Sick Fix has released a 7" on Nick Baran's Third Party Records. Both are pretty much must haves, eh?

Sick Fix - demo

RIYL: long-sleeved t-shirts sharpied up with band logos, being 17 & pissed

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Leatherface - Mush

I never quite got how anyone could slag off Leatherface. And yet I always read damn fools bashing them. I haven't been writing a lot, and today isn't going to bring any real change to that. Anything that could be said about Leatherface has already been said in a more eloquent and heartfelt manner than I ever could. I've had the pleasure of hearing them live twice: in 1999 and 2000. In 1999, I sat outside St. Andrews' Church in College Park, where Frankie Stubbs & co. headlined a Hot Water Music/Panthro UK United 13/Swank bill. I was dead broke, and only about 2 months into an 9 month stay at the University of Maryland. In 2000, Leatherface played the Sidebar in Baltimore. I got and stayed shitfaced drunk, Cross My Heart & Pezz opened, Leatherface lived up their reputation as a fantastic live band, and somehow I made it home, without a scratch. I'm still amazed at the humor, the sincerity and the love that's gone into ever piece of music released by Leatherface. For those folks out there who dream of punk rock that is more than just a caricature of white belts, foot-tall mohicans or eyelinered anorexics, I heartily recommend Sunderland's finest.

Mush is Leatherface's third full-length. Originally released by Roughneck Records in 1992, it received a limited U.S. release by Atlantic Records subsidiary Seed Records in 1993. Since then, Mush has gone in and out of print, with a re-issue coming in 2000 for their 2nd full U.S. tour, as well as a new re-issue coming a few years back on Fire Records out of the UK. This rip comes from the Big Rock Records release in 2000. It is a record I will hold onto for the rest of my life. Leatherface should be going on stage in a few hours in Gainesville...I'm very jealous of the few folks I know who made the trip from Baltimore.

Leatherface - Mush
(note, 1/11/09: I've pulled the link temporarily, since there have been a ton of downloads on this, so obviously cats are interested. I'll probably repost this link, with all-new text, in a couple of months. While Amazon is not very helpful if you want a physical copy of this, they do provide a nice, low-cost MP3 download alternative. So drop the $9, for crying out loud.)

RIYL: Tom Waits, singing loudly while drunk on cheap red, hope

Monday, October 27, 2008

OnGuard - This Has It's Price And That Price Has Been Paid

So when I initially heard about Red Star Records, and their mission to highlight tough-to-find demos, I thought, "Awesome! I love demos!" Then I promptly forgot about them for six months.

Imagine my surprise as I'm dicking around on punknews.org today and see that Red Star, now called Red Sound Records, has released their second record. And it's from Jay Shevchuk. At some point post-None More Black, but pre-LaGrecia/NMB reunion, Jason sat down and recorded some demo material under the name OnGuard. The verdict? It's pretty damned good, especially for a free record. I hear a lot of 90's singer-songwriter here: a dash of Fiona Apple, some Mike Ness, a little Billy Bragg. OnGuard also recorded "Give My Love to Rose" for the newly-released Johnny Cash tribute, All Aboard. I'll tell you...this is a damn sight better than the last None More Black record I spent money on. And that's a fact.

So, please visit the Red Sound Records website to pick this up...FOR FREE! It's worth your while, and the two minutes it'll take to download everything.

OnGuard - This Has It's Price And That Price Has Been Paid (demos)

RIYL: LaGrecia, free stuff, sad songs and waltzes

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mega City Four - Peel Session, 7/19/88

I had just written this moderately long screed about how you shouldn't trust hyped rock bands, and that's definitely true. But, in the end, it had nothing to do with what I wanted post today. Mega City Four is easily my all-time favorite Judge Dredd-related band. A lot of the kids here in Baltimore were/are totally fanboyish over MC4, or anything Wiz related. Two songs from this, MC4's first of two Peel Sessions, popped up on my iPod today, including "Clear Blue Sky", one of my favorite songs ever. I think this record had a different cover when it was in my dream the other night, but was definitely at the top of that stack. I can't believe this recording is 20 years old...

Mega City Four - Peel Session, 7/19/88

RIYL: white boy dreadlocks, sincerity, Ned's Atomic Dustbin

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The cutout bin dream

I just woke up from one of the craziest dreams I've had in a long time. I dreamt I was helping out at the old record store I used to work at, and Prince Charming Chaz came in with a huge stack of 7"s, CD's and LP's. The 7"s were all old Homestead, Gravity & No Idea releases. All the LP's were Dutch East India Peel Sessions releases. I don't remember much about the CDs, but, somehow, I got the entire lot for the $17 I had in my wallet. One of the 7"s had a vertical lap band with the Assuck logo on it, and was an 8-song comp with Naked Raygun on it.

Not that anyone cares, but it was a very good dream to wake up from.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crude - Immortality

This is just a super quick one for all you hardcore kids. Besides, the good Senator stole all the vitriol I had stored up for his major screed below. I rediscovered this gem while cleaning my office the other day. When Deranged released Immortality a few years back, they also released a limited run of 300 CDs with a dope acetate cover. So that's where this is from. If you like Japanese D-beat, this is right up your alley. I feel like perhaps I should say more, like how this record had a major impact on my life, but I'd be lying. I found it in a stack of promo CDs, I ripped it, and I've been playing it loudly on my iPod for the past few days. And now I have to run off, since Mrs. Ape Mummy made cookies. Let the circle pit begin!

Crude - Immortality

RIYL: glue in your hair, adding studs to your leather jacket, hard cider

Live at Chaos in Tejas, 5/17/08

Monday, October 20, 2008

Special Comment: All the Young Punks.

Thanks to Sir Ape for the chance to guest blog.

"The kids grow up faster and faster these days." That's not just an aging punk's dismissal of younger kids in the scene, its meant to be as close to a literal statement as possible. I'm old enough to remember the invention of CD's, which makes me feel like a grandpa. More than that though, it means I had to work a lot harder to dig new music when I was in high school. Everything was harder back then; finding new music (before itunes), making a fashion statement (before Hot Topic), setting up shows or tours (before email). It goes on and on. Today it takes 4 minutes to drag and drop a playlist when it used to take 4 hours to fill a blank tape with just the right mix.

The new user friendly underground has been good in many ways, but has had its drawbacks as well. Its also had some unintended consequences which are somewhere in between, and its one of those consequences which I intend to discuss here on the record.

The kids are growing up faster because they're starting much younger. When I was coming up you needed your own car just to get to the record shop or the shows, which were all few and far between and located in the inner city, and sometimes in downright shitty neighborhoods. When I started at 15 and 16, being punk wasn't easy, and it sometimes even felt dangerous. (the Loft, the Virgin House.)

Now after the incorporation of punk and the advent of the internet, there's no need to drive for an hour to pick through stacks of records. You can buy any record in the world online. There's no need to comb PP or MRR for new bands or record reviews. New bands come into your friend request folder, with reviews & mp3's posted on their page. This is not such a bad thing at all, but it has lowered the age of a 'young' punk from 15 or 16 to 11 or 12.

So what happens when kids get sold on Blink 182 and Fallout Boy from the age of about 10? You end up with bands like the Brace Face Mini Punx, who are 13 and already playing shows, and already jaded enough to be 'like so over' Against Me! (Who suck anyway.)

Now, I think myself, and most of my friends have made logical musical progressions, starting out by listening to The Misfits, Minor Threat, DK, OPIV, Black Flag, etc. and exploring other sub-genres like anarcho-punk, ska-punk, HC, et al, moving into some form of post-punk, and having an all around good ear for music, keeping an appreciation for the standards, and measuring new music against them.

What are the Standards? What wears well? What is good taste? If you read Primitive Offerings you already know what I mean.

After careful observation, I've begun to notice a new pattern emerging. With kids being plugged into music under 10 years old, and having hundreds of myspace friends and playing shows in middle school, more and more kids are having a sort of 'musical mid-life crisis' by the time they're old enough to move out of mom's house and go to college.

A crisis is serious. When you're in crisis, its not enough just have a song that you can relate to, with rhythm and melody and decent hooks. No. What you need is...


Looking around Baltimore scene, there's not a whole lot of originality. All the kids work the same jobs (at Rocket to Venus, as a sound guy, or a bike messenger). Everyone lives in the same places (Calvert Street, Hampden, communal houses), screws the same women (you know who you are), and even sell each other the same tired old used vans to tour in. There is nothing new under the sun.

So what does this mean to a jaded 22 year old (anti) hipster? It mostly means sitting around the practice space, smoking a joint, drinking untold amounts of Boh, staring at an exposed brick wall and trying to think of some new way to distinguish yourself as a musician. Which means


Let's be very clear about this... metal sucks. Speed, thrash, doom, drone, sludge, death... all of it. (Well, except Anthrax.) Ever since the beginnings in the 70's, metal and punk have been completely separate and distinct. Then a couple of things happened...

1. Rap divided popular music into two kinds; the kind with guitars and the kind without.

2. Mtv pandered to the lowest common denominator. Anyone with a leather jacket was percieved by the general public as a headbanger.

3. "Alternative" happened. And then it didn't happen anymore.

4. Mtv stopped playing music altogether, and myspace became the new Mtv. And everybody's friends on myspace.

There's more to it, but since the days of Black Sabbath and the Ramones the 'underground' or 'scene' has become less distinct and more of a mishmash of cross-pollenating styles and genres served up by nameless and two-bit bands and labels.

How many times have you, gentle reader, struggled to describe some band you saw last weekend? "Ummm they were kind of a proto-drone-sludge-noise-post- doom electro no-wave blasting degenerock?" ? (yeah. two question marks in that sentence.)

I will admit that it takes more and better musicianship to craft a metal song than a punk song. However... I am not a musician. And most consumers of music are not musicians. And we don't give a fuck how technical your song is, what your time signatures are, how long or short your compositions are, or the decibel ratio between notes and growls. Metal is fucking boring. Where punk is socially aware, metal is self-aware. Where punk is for everyone, metal still largely the province of white macho-men... just a different sort of macho man who doesn't play football. Where metal is always negative, hardcore and punk have always been a balance and contrast between the positive and negative; Hope and No Future.

But mostly, metal is so goddamn serious and punk is fun. What's a typical metal song? Grief, doom, armageddon, arcane metaphors that just sound creepy, and in growling lyrics you can't comprehend anyway.

What makes a good punk song? Your greedy landlord, that girl you like, your piece of shit car, your asshole boss... you know punkrock. I don't have to tell you.

So with more and more bands playing out who are un-genre-describable, and influenced by Motorhead and Celtic Frost I've chosen to go back. All the way back to number 3 on the bullet list above... to alternative.

If Baltimore bands are going to continue to serve me downtuned, metaphoric, hypnotic, noisy crap, I'm going to keep going back to the music I was just a little too young to fully appreciate when it came out, when i didn't have social networking to feed it to me, and when I was too naive realize what it meant when it was an 'alternative'... stuff like Steven Malkmus and the Jicks, Pavement, Archers of Loaf, Afghan Whigs, Sugar, Love Spit Love, the Breeders, Catherine Wheel, Charlatans, Replacements, Mudhoney, Buffalo Tom. etc. These bands had a good thing going before Pearl Jam sold them out.

And as far as the division between punk and metal... If a great artist can make something new out of paint of clay, then your band should be able to make something new and fun out of the same 3 chords and rhyming words. Dead Mechanical and Deep Sleep can, and if you can't then why the fuck should I come to your show? I'm gonna stay home and listen to No Alternative and the Singles soundtrack.

All your jeans were too tight.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Reactionary 3 - Euro Euro Y'all

So the full schedule for the Fest 7 got posted recently, and my jealously is in full effect...GO GET A LATE PASS...STEP! This year, I believe Baltimore is represented by two bands: Ruiner and Deep Sleep. If you're going, do yourself a favor and check out both. They fucking rule, and, contrary to what either band would have you believe, they're all swell cats. Saturday at the Venue looks really fucking sweet: D4, Coalesce, Atom & His Package, None More Black, Paint it Black, Municipal Waste...it's like it's 2002 all over again! Like I said, I'm rather jealous of anyone with the time and loose change to head down to Gainesville in a couple weeks.

In honor of the Fest, and all festing Festers, here's Gainesville's Reactionary 3. This CD was made in preparation for a European tour a couple of years ago. It's pretty fucking fast, amateur and all around awesome. There's also a Soulside cover. Highly recommended.

Reactionary 3 - Euro Euro Y'all

RIYL: Common Grounds, Minutemen, neckbeards, Nothing Nice to Say

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sense Field - Under the Radar

I'm definitely in "writing-for-the-sake-of-writing" mode. For one, I spent five minutes explaning the thought process behind this whole thing to my boss, who, as is his wont, proceeded to shit on it. Well, fuck 'im. And fuck a rock star posed picture, like you see above.

I threatened to post something about Sense Field about a month ago. The initial threat took place on a posting of the Fabric 7" on Zen and the Art of Face Punching (which is maybe the worst record I've ever downloaded...ever). Please. Let me explain something. Most of us are either young now, or were young not too long ago. There are a million musical skeletons in our collective closets. You could be Craig Finn or Ian MacKaye or some other god of rawk and you probably listened to some miserable, embarassing shit when you were 17 like E.L.O., 7 Seconds (circa '87), Madonna or the Spice Girls. Hell, Lemmy played for four years in Hawkwind. Well, I was 17 in 1994, and I listened to Sense Field. A lot of it. More of it than was good for me. And I fucking loved them.

I used to bomb around the Maryland/Pennsylvania border, back in '97, up by Conowingo Dam, blasting Building out of the shitty factory speakers of Ben Casey's Jetta. I was young, fer Crissake. I didn't know trite from a hole in my head. They were a pop band...no different from Journey to my ears. And I was stoked for their first record due out on Warner Bros. I waited 3 years for that record, which never came. The label didn't hear a single, or so I was told. And the decision was made 2 weeks before the release date! What the hell was that? A friend of a friend burnt me a CD of the promo that had leaked out. In those pre-Torrent days, this was a true coup. And the record wasn't bad? What was management at the WB thinking?

A few years later, long after the excitement of getting that burnt CD had worn off, I found a promo copy of Under the Radar in the dollar bin at the now-defunct Joe's Music Emporium on Harford Road. So the rip here comes from that. I've never felt so nerdy as to play this side-by-side with Tonight & Forever, the 2001 Nettwerk release that announced Sense Field's return to recorded media. Supposedly, T&F is a re-recorded version of UtR. I dunno...make up your own mind. It's weird to me how eminently forgettable bands who I once loved now sound...

Sense Field - Under the Radar

RIYL: the In-Flight Program sampler, alternative radio in 2002, emo as a slur

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ashes - Hiding Place 12"

Independent music is no different from the mainstream in at least one respect. There are records released that sound timeless after 25+ years (Damaged, the Faith/Void split), there are those that sound embarrassingly dated (Break Down the Walls...shit, most of the early Rev catalog), and there are those that make you shake your head and wonder exactly what the hell was going on. They are the proud products of the times...the Spice Girls, the Ray Stevens, the "One Night in Bangkok"s that you'll never be able to shake out of your head, the seemingly-disposable songs and the singers that, ten years since you last heard them, invoke a certain place and time unlike the "greatest" artists.

And while I never saw them live, D.C.'s Ashes is one of those bands for me. I don't know anyone who'd hold them up as some shining paragon of what HC was circa '93, or name them as an inspiration for some current leading light of the scene. Shortly after moving to the Baltimore suburbs someone played me a second generation tape of Hiding Place, and I really fell in love. In many respect, Hiding Place (and all of Ashes' limited output) is an impossible record to release today. Even the most amateur HC record released in 2008 has a global sensitivity that just wasn't present back in 1993. In my not-so-humble opinion, nobody's naive or sensitive or young enough to make this happen nowadays. This is emotive without turning melodramatic. It's fast enough to mosh to, yet you could still slow dance with your girlfriend to it (you know, if you weren't too self-conscious about it, and you didn't treat your significant other like a coat rack at shows). I'll let you decide for yourself, but this sticks in my brain unlike so many other records that came out around the same time.

Hiding Place was initially released by Network Sound Records back in early 1994, about a year before Ashes broke up. Guitarist Brian McTernan would later compile it with Ashes' s/t 7", demo and 2 unreleased songs on a CD entitled Wisconsin Avenue Tour. He would co-release W.A.T. with Revelation Records in 1999. Where singer Elena Ritchie disappeared to is one of the more interesting mysteries of early 90's HC. Word on the street is that she moved to Boston and started working in the film industry. A cursory Google glance reveals little. Maybe the most interesting fact about Ashes is that, between McTernan and drummer Matt Squire, they are responsible for producing a big chunk of the mainstream emo-pop currently populating the airwaves.

Ashes - Hiding Place 12"

RIYL: Farside, the Safari Club, chest tapping during a song, letters to HeartattaCk

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Fuses are Lies

The one positive thing about feeling sorry for oneself is that, when you're a music fan, you'll always have a decent tune to listen to in your headphones... The Fuses were, to me, a band out of time and place during their short-lived Baltimore heyday. Their angular, tense punk rock definitely struck a chord at the turn of the decade. But I don't recall the Fuses ever touring or playing any further afield than New York City. By the end of 2002, they had temporarily split up, with their singer moving overseas to study in England. The drummer had a series of short stays in other local HC outfits, but he was married, and was soon only seen for the occasional Buzzcocks show. The bassist gave banjo lessons. The guitarist altogether disappeared. Stories like these go back to the garage punks of the early 60's. No matter how hard you want to hold on to the glories and joys of your youth, one eventually grows up and moves on, with only a few photos left, and a ringing of the ears.

Are Lies was released by Reptilian Records and looks to be, shockingly enough to me, out-of-print. In 2005, Shit Sandwich released an LP and 7" of newly recorded Fuses material. Does it make you want to jitter? Yeah, it really does. Well worth spending money on, especially when the alternative is watching it drift away with your 401(K).

The Fuses - Are Lies

RIYL: too much amphetamine, the Proletariat, anything on KBD Records.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Unsane - The Peel Sessions

The devil told me listening to Chris Spencer's bands was good for me, and who am I to argue with fallen angels?

And, by the way, why hasn't someone come along and reissued all the Matador & AmRep Unsane releases (and, no, that greatest hits thing that Relapse released 5 years ago doesn't count in my book)? It's all brutally awesome noise rock that still sounds fresh to me. If you ever had a death wish, this is probably what would be playing when you carried it out.

Unsane - The Peel Sessions

RIYL: the L.E.S. circa '91, Tom Hazelmeyer's gun collection, Chris X's mustache

Soda Freak #1 - Boylan's Natural Cane Cola

I could make a list as long as my arm of vices and pleasures I've abandoned over the years. Weed, speed, cigs, loose women...as I've grown up, I've grown out. But there's one thing I think I'll have a hard time giving up. And that is a good soda. I'm no coffee drinker, so I generally have a soda in the morning, one in the afternoon and one at night. But sodas are a funny thing. I'm just old enough to remember when one could regularly purchase soft drinks made with real sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. I pretty much went full diet soda to avoid HFCS until my doctor mentioned that I was tumor bound with how much diet soda I drank. What was I to do?

Luckily I found Boylan's Natural Cane Soda, which is the soda equivalent of an 18-year single malt, or a pre-embargo Cuban cigar. This is some good stuff. There's a well-rounded flavor here. I detect hints of vanilla, whiskey and lime. The label notes that there's not a lot of bullshit going on here; it's just a fantastic flavor whether you were raised on Pepsi or Coke. It cost me $3.99 for a four pack, which makes this more of a treat than an everyday drink, but I feel it's well worth the price.

If you're looking to pick some up, give Trader Joe's or Safeway a look (I found it at eye level in a Safeway in Howard County). Otherwise, hit up Beverages Direct to get some delivered to your door.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Amber Inn - All Roads Lead Home

This wasn't the first record I bought that was released by Ebullition Records (that honor goes to the Downcast 12"), but it still ranks as one of my favorites. Staffed by ex-members of Sinker, Amber Inn existed during one of the great stylistic schisms in hardcore. The summer this came out, almost every kid I knew went straight edge, started listening to Floorpunch and Ten Yard Fight and called anyone who disagreed "a fake-ass faggot". Good times, right? 1998 was the year I where I went off the deep end. I drank too much, shit all over most of my friends and went batshit crazy one night on my radio show after some Xed up thugs showed up with ball bats. But Amber Inn was the band that kept me listening to the underground. It led me to Yaphet Kotto, Orchid, Sweep the Leg Johnny, the Ottobar, the Fuses, League of Death, out of the north Baltimore suburbs and into my twenties, which were roaring indeed.

This rip comes from the Amber Inn discography CD, All Roads Still Lead Home, still available from Ebullition Records. The CD is a must own for folks who still love emotive hardcore, or for people who weren't around during a time when Goleta was ground zero for a lot of great music.

Amber Inn - All Roads Lead Home LP

RIYL: Indian Summer, Navio Forge, HeartattaCk

Sunday, October 5, 2008

SCRM & the Tim Version Go Halves on a Bastard

And so we come to the end of our half-assed feature on Superchinchillarescuemission. A.D.D. Records must not have lost any money on their 4-song EP, so they grouped SCRM together with Tampa's the Tim Version on this 9-song CD. For me, the Tim Version was the revelation here...I hadn't heard them before cracking the plastic, but I kinda got a big ol' .org-core chubby for 'em. If memory serves, you can still find this 5" slab o' plastic fairly easily, although the ADD Records site says this is out-of-print. Definitely worth owning the genuine article...

As a side-note (and this is the really fun part of research): were you aware that the saying "go halves on a bastard" refers to two unmarrieds copulating for the purpose of conceiving offspring? Ha, I love a good euphemism on a Sunday night!

SCRM & the Tim Version Go Halves on a Bastard

RIYL: PUKU13, fishing, the dried-up smell of PBR

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life

I've been super psyched for the release of The Chemistry of Common Life, the 2nd full length by Toronto's Fucked Up, this coming Tuesday. Matador Records & Fucked Up are going full out to promote the record, which, whether you are patiently waiting 'til New Record Tuesday to listen to or you've had the leaked record for a month, is fucking FAN-TAS-TIC. Lots of guest stars, lots of circle pit madness...it's a great rock record. So, take the opportunity to check out these three tracks, then go spend $15 on Tuesday.

Fucked Up, "Days of Last"
Fucked Up, "Black Albino Bones"
Fucked Up, "The Chemistry of Common Life"

RIYL: Negative Approach, Pink Floyd, reading Vice Magazine

"Dance of Death" video

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Superchinchillarescuemission - s/t 10"

Quite frankly, I'm fresh out of give a fucks. I'm sitting in my office upstairs right, and Sarah Palin's voice occasionally wafts upstairs from the ongoing VP debate. I'm getting steadily more depressed every time I hear someone say they're voting Republican this year. Work is not going as well as I'd hoped when I got this promotion. I'm worn out with performing tasks that tangentally apply to what I'm theoretically supposed to be doing on a daily basis. That said, our webmaster asked me to start a toy blog. So maybe I'll get to talk about the badass Kozik & Dunny stuff I'm buying. That might be cool.

At some point in my misspent past I mislaid about 30 gigs of pictures I took between 2000 and 2003. Had this not happened, you would see quite a few pictures I took of SCRM in their last year of existence. That said, here is the 10" released by ADD Records out of Tampa back in 2002. I say 10", although I'd be remiss to not acknowledge that this is a rip of the CD. I try to lie to you, my sweet, but I cannot.

Superchinchillarescuemission - s/t 10"

RIYL: yesterday's post