Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Rock Turns to Stone

Various Artists
Vild Records, Boston MA
LP 1988

With a name like "Rock Turns to Stone", you'd think this collection of mid to late 80's New England bands would spell their Rock with a capital rock ... and you'd be right, rocker friend of mine.

While the majority of songs here are duds, the ones that click click hard as in bone rattlingly hard. Reference The Bags, not The Pixies. And not too surprisingly, almost all of the better cuts were recorded at Fort Apache (South) - historically, that makes this record important for future musicologists.

Vild Records apparently released this and a later record by Providence's Rash of Stabbings (their blase' cut on here seems calculated for major label attention) and then I can't find any further mention of Vild. Does anyone know if they had any other releases?

Stabbings, Rash Of (or just Rash) later turned up on Geffen Records and did their fair share of wasting large corporation dollars and further decreasing all credibility of Mr. David G... so we applaud them for that even as we withhold praise for their contribution to this LP.

"La La La" - The Cavedogs went onto some reknown shortly after this. I believe they had a run of releases with Capitol Records. This power punk popper has me so happy I wanted to go out and trample some flowerbeds and throw spitballs at little ol' ladies. The Cavedogs are dead (well, not literally) but long live The Cavedogs - you can get all you need to know from this tribute site plus links to some of the former members current projects. See also a recent Mp3 blog posting on the Dogs courtesy Little Hits.

"Teenage Girls" - The Dogmatics. The tragic tale of this collection, the Dogmatics fell apart after losing their bass, Paul O'Halloran in an accident. Such a loss. This is a great unheard song- sorry for the record skip near the beginning. Originally recorded in 1986. Brett Milano on the 1995 Dogmatics reunion.

"Lunch With Ed" - Dog-zilla ...Most of the (good) cuts on this comp seem to be time-warped from 1979 and totally missed the whole SST/Homestead/Caroline Axis of Love revolution and certainly spurned Mission of Burma and the other art-rockers in Boston. As a collection, the Dogmatics, the Cavedogs and the Titatnics seem to be tailormade instead for Amphetamine Reptile, total retro guitar buzz rock. But someone snuck Licensed to Ill and King of Rock onto Dogzilla's turntable and they were never the same. Here they sing of what happens when you're a fuck up -- eventually you must pay the piper and have Lunch. With. Ed! Oh, if you click on the picture of Dog-Zilla, that's not just some random girl the guy on the right is leaning on - that's Andy MacGuire and she later played with Spoon for their Telephono debut.

"High On Drugs" - The Titanics. Formerly The Flies (authors of an early Homestead fave LP), they reformed somewhat as The Titantics and became a dirty psyche band. This song has a wicket fuzzy electric sitar and pays tribute to getting high. Fuck peace and love. The only song in this collection recorded in Fort Apache North (pre-Lou Giordano) which must have been brand new at that point.

Although not in the same class as the above, one track deserves honorable mention:

"Born Rude" - The Blackjacks - a failed attempt at trying to transform glam into punk. Singer / writer Johnny Angel (also of The Thrills and other bands) now writes about the lowlifes in the City of Angels. Here's the story of why he decided to quit music.

For the music librarians who have linked to this blog, here's the listing of all the bands and songs for posterity.

When Rock Turns to Stone
Vild Records, 1988

Side 1
"Radio Daze" - The Slaves
"La La La" - The Cavedogs
"Stay" - The Matweeds
"High on Drugs" - The Titantics
"Born Rude" - The Blackjacks
"T.V. Salvation" - Neutral Nation

Side 2
"Lunch With Ed" - Dog-zilla
"Somebody's Company" - Screaming Brocolli (the original not that bar band by that name)
"Take Cover" - Condo Pygmies
"Hear My Call" - Rash of Stabbings
"Teenage Girls" - The Dogmatics
"I'm a Suck?!" - Big Huge

BONUS LINK - Your Prize for Reading to the Bottom of the Page

Fort Apache's website is worth reading just to ogle the list of awesome records recorded there

also... I wrote about the recent Bellafea show here.

Friday, June 24, 2005

More Butthole Surfer Tracks

First of all, BRAVO for putting this asshole away. I hope he gets to share a cell with the appropriate inmate. I know, I try not to get political here but this was the best news of the week.

In celebration, here are some more live, previously unknown tracks from the Butthole Surfers.

So, I was contacted by the Butthole Surfer's archivist and he wants a rip of the Columbus soundboard tape of which I posted a few tracks several weeks ago. He actually contacted me on the 20th anniversary of this show and didn't realize it until I pointed it out. We'll trade for a mix CD-R he is putting together from what I assume is a vast collection.

He sent me his 50 page listing of all the known shows available on tape. supposedly this is one of the few shows on tape that has Kramer playing bass (and trombone).

Here are some more tracks from that tape including a song which has Kramer on trombone.

If you know what the name of the song is, drop a line in the comments. I've asked the archivist if he knows and if I get an answer, I'll correct the track and repost.

4 Tracks from Butthole Surfers Show, Stache's, Columbus Ohio, 6-22-85
  • ??? (Mystery Track)
  • "Graveyard"
  • "To Parter"
  • "Tornado"
UPDATE: Tracks removed to get space on my server. If you want some of these tracks, drop me a line and an address to send them too.

Here's the set list to the best of my skills:

100 Million Dead (previously posted)
To Parter
The Shah Sleeps
Butthole Surfers
Gary Floyd
Lady Sniff
??? Mystery Track
(Space Jams)
Bar B Q Pope
Dum Dum

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Five Songs That Remind Me of Girls That Broke My Heart

(there are no MP3s in this post)

This was an outgrowth of something Eric of SiLT requested. I was kind of kidding when I told him "fuck you" or words to that effect -- I don't remember death threats but it's entirely possible. Anyway, the request for songs that I listen to a lot turned into the following:

Five Songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me That Remind Me of Girls That Broke My Heart:

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" - Unknown Artist In sixth grade, I was enamored with this song just as I was enamored with the gray-complexioned, button-nosed and extremely tiny Kris. Her long brunette hair went down back sweeping over her backside as she walked. Her nickname was "Peanut" but she didn't like that name so I never called her that. She was rumored to be the niece of a famous baseball pitcher. She was part of the popular kids clique and I was just a lowly geek without any real clique to run with outside of the AV and student newspaper crowd. I once drew a picture of her supposed Uncle ballplayer (actually traced from his baseball card) and was too shy to give it to her so I put it on the close circuit TV show that showed before classes started. I let it be known that I had drawn it for her but she never acknowledged it so maybe no one ever told her (some of my "friends" teased me about it for weeks). In my next attempt to get her attention I gave this 45RPM single to her as it was the most valuable thing I had in my possession at the time or so it seemed to me. I loved the harmonies that comprised the hook - they were obviously meant to melodically emulate the sounds of the jungle (Weem-mo-let-a, Weem-mo-let-a). When her friends were out of site, she came by and spoke to me through the batters cage that anchored the baseball diamond where I was playing catcher. She spoke to me quietly and so as not to attract the notice of her friends and others and thanked me for the gift and said it was "nice" but that she just wanted 'to be friends' - that is, if the unspoken definition of friend was someone you can never been seen talking or acknowledging their existence. I once covertly spoke with her on a field trip bus ride. She was seated alone in front of me and I was behind her. We talked about our families and I even got her to laugh. It was the closet thing to a date we would ever have (at least in my mind, I think she was just passing time). I can't remember who did this song - this might have been the version by the Tokens - but I'm not sure. I got sad when I would hear this song for years after and embarassed that I gave her the record.

"Tramp" - Bachman-Turner Overdrive - Lisa was another tiny girl but she was the opposite of Kris, a total tramp and this was already in the sixth grade. She wore hip hugger jeans, a big wide belt buckle, blue eyeshadow and Windsong perfume that mixed with her pertual smell of menthol cigarettes. We sat in the same "pod" which was the current vogue in teaching, or at least my school's interpretation of it. Mainly it was four or six desks pushed up next to each other. Some projects would be handed out to work on as a group. Lisa wasn't the smartest pea in our pod and so I subtly helped her with some of her math, careful never to make her appear a fool in front of the others. Her handwriting was still 3rd grade-ish. Still, I was intoxicated by her image (and the Windsong) and I had my first boner thinking of Lisa S. This song by BTO came off an album I stole from Two Guys (RIP) department store. Unlike my previous attempt to win love by giving her the record, I asked her if she had heard the album. Turns out she did and she liked it. We bonded over it. Again, class differences and my basic fear of hanging out with all the tough kids she had befriended precluded any other romance. I hear she is now a hairdresser and has kids and participates in fund-raisers.

"Beth" - Kiss. I really hated Kiss because of the people in my junior high who loved Kiss. They were the mean jocks and the rich stoners - they truly were the evil ones of my high school and often hung together. I looked up to the "good jocks" and liked the Vo-Tech stoners (Lisa was by this time one of them) and I even got along with the rich (non-stoner) snobs. I was against everything the rich stoners and the mean jocks were about and so if they were for Kiss then I was naturally against them. Partly in reaction/rebellion, I became a vocal and proud fan of singer-songwriters like Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, who, to me, were the anithesis of Kiss (this was before I had even heard the word punk). I even wore a Bruce t-shirt and did so proudly. It was orange and it had a large Bruce iron-on patch that my Mom pressed for me even as she was later horrified to see me wearing it to school. On Saturday nights in the Spring and Fall, the local Lutheran church sponsored a teen dance. I would go to it with some neighborhood friends and mostly sit on the chairs that lined the walls. Eventually, I screwed up my courage (egged on by my pals) to ask some girls to dance. Since I only knew how to slow dance, I had to wait my turn. If you waited too late and asked a girl to dance and it became a fast tune, you felt totally asinine jumping about. Plus slow dances meant you got to hold them. One blonde Lutheran girl (I was Catholic) had caught my eye for several weeks. She was a year younger than me but I really dug her fresh innocence and blonde hair/blue eyes. I finally convinced myself to ask her and when a slow song finally came on (it seemed like ages waiting for it), I walked quickly up to her and asked her for the dance. She said yes! Then I realized it was this song by my most hated group. I sighed, swallowed my pride and we shuffled around the floor but we weren't in sync - my version of the fox trot shuffle was different than the version she had learned (perhaps it was that Lutheran-Catholic thing at work). She smelled of a musky perfume that reminded me of burlap bags and spice. She may have been embarrassed by our awkward dancing and so she whispered in my ear, "can I put my feet on top of yours?" I was smitten. We danced the rest of the song with her patent leather shoes resting on top of my black tie shoes. I don't think I touched the ground the rest of the night. I can't remember her name but I always remember this song with some nostalgic fondness.

"Strange Days" - The Doors. Oh Patty. The archetypical hippy chick from college - she reminded me greatly of Lisa (see above) but was way smarter. I first saw her in the dinner hall at my college. She was wearing a dark blue down jacket, very faded and ripped jeans and a tight t-shirt - the overall effect was slatternly and I dug that... She, like her like-minded friends, were so obviously stoned. I laughed as she poked around the salad bar. She slouched when she walked with her tray and her friend said something and she just stopped in the middle of the hall and laughed out loud. My legs turned to water hearing her laugh. So, I admit it - I stalked her. How else would I figure out how to meet her without coming off like a total goon? I observed her friends. Two of them were this mousy little guy and this tall, also perpetually stoned, skinny guy. One night I was walking home from studying as I used to go find empty rooms in the classroom buildings to escape the din and distraction of the dormitories and came across Mouse and Tall, Stoned Guy. They were sitting in the commons strumming guitars and a geeky looking ROTC guy was playing stand-up bass. I recognized them immediately and I told them, "don't go, I'll be right back." On one hand, I wanted to just jam but on the other hand I was going by the maxim of "become friends with her friends and you'll become friends with her.' I rushed back to my dorm room, upsetting my football playing roommate (who was also perpetually stoned). I rifled through my tiny clothes closet and pulled out some cymbals, my snare drum and my drummer's throne and rushed back to the Quad. Mousy and Tall Guy were still there strumming and they broke up when they saw me coming with drumming equipment. I set up and we've been playing together ever since. And yes, I did meet Patty and became, of sorts, a friend to her or at least an acquaintance. She was very honest with people and once told me to my face that I was 'dumpy'. She was a cool geology major (all the geology majors were cool) and I was a nerdy industrial engineering and operations research major - the type of major that you always had to explain what it meant. Despite her brutal honesty, I could often talk with her for periods of time and elicit some wild story or get her to laugh. She was fun to be around and we both proudly shared our eclectic interest in music - she introduced me to Rick James and Grandmaster Flash, I brought her Return to Forever and Stanley Clarke. I slept off a drunk-drug binge at her house once or twice, usually on the dusty sofa that had been moved onto the porch. But, too bad, she had no use for me as a boyfriend and preferred men who would treat her as a 2nd-tier booty call. I became friends with one of these boyfriends (can you see the pattern here?) and found he kept her phone number right under the phone number for pizza. He was very handsome and had no trouble finding women. Even though I liked him, he was a total self-absorbed (like Patty) lout. If he happened to strike out with one of his dates, he told me he'd either call for pizza or call for Patty. Sometimes, he bragged, he even told her to bring pizza and she would, even paying for it herself. What's worse was she didn't have a car and would have to hitchhike out there (he had a motorcycle and two helmets and could have easily ridden into town to pick her up). His roommate, who also became a friend, told me that once he (the boyfriend) called for her and by the time she arrived, pizza under her arm, he had passed out. This tragedy only made me love her more. Once, me and some friends went to Pittsburgh to see The Grateful Dead (shut up) and we found her there. She was a Pittsburgh native and we stayed overnight at her parent's house and gave her a ride back to school. Her Dad was a former train engineer and seemed more like a grandfather than a Dad. I had no idea how Patty turned out so wild as her parents seemed totally normally, although a bit more liberal than my own parents. She had a terrific capacity for booze. I often saw her drinking straight from a bottle of Jack Daniels. She would brag, swaying about with the bottle that she had also taken qualudes and mushrooms (her favorite drug of choice). Most parties would end with Patty passed out on the floor. Drugs were heavily used in those years and life became surreal. Her friends used needles although I'm pretty sure Patty stuck with ingestibles and shied from the white powders. The Doors were a perfect soundtrack to life during those years. I made this tape for her from the album because her tape broke. This song off that album seemed to represent that time and makes me think of her. I hope she's still alive and happy. I've danced around the subject with Mousy and Tall, Stoned Guy and they're evasive about her - they heard this or that from a friend of a friend. In a way, if it hadn't been for her, I might have stayed in my shell and never met all the fascinating people that I did, some of whom became lifelong friends.

"Made to Be Broken" - Soul Asylum. In my third year at college, I met Colleen. She had doe-like green eyes with curly reddish-brown hair and one of the most perfect hour glass butts I had ever seen. We began a long friendship that was never consumated. She confided in me, as I found she had told all her "friends who were boys" that she was a virgin. That only made her all the more desirable in my mind and I pursued her through the years. We did all the things - exchanged mix tapes -- she had an affinity for obscure S.F. 60's hippy music and I made sexy Prince tapes. After college, she moved to DC and, though I was living in Baltimore, I came up with constant excuses to spend time with her. I once took her to the movie "Liquid Sky", a punk Sci-fi film that had a scene in which two lesbians rub up against each other, crotch to crotch. Afterwards, she asked me why the one girl screamed - she wasn't only a virgin, she had never had an orgasm. We went to the Prince movie and she sat there more wide-eyed than usual as the Purple One felt up Apollonia. Even a few years out of school living in the big city, she was still a virgin! We went to a Husker Du concert at the old 930 club and Soul Asylum opened up. She disliked Husker Du but fell in love with Dave Pirner. They played this hokey countryish song and I realized it would never work with her. How cheesy and cliche that this song was about my heart! In a way, my mind was made up when she rejected Husker Du who were to me the best band around at the time. That night she told me she was in love with one of those "boys who are friends" - "I love this boyfriend" as she told me. She started rejecting my excuses to spend time with her (old habits die hard) in favor of him. He married her and they moved to Hawaii where I believe they live today.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Coffee and Cigarettes #19

Shomei Tomatsu
Ô shima Eiko, Actress in the Film Shiiku (Prize Stock)

A Web Mp3 Mix:

"Daughters Will Tune You" - Br. Danielson
"The Girl From Ipanema"* - Antonio Carlos Jobim
"Tangent" - Burd Early
"Beowulf (I Am Deformed)" - Momus
"My Lazy Muse" - The Caulfield Sisters (obessive fan blog)
"Cannot Eat Better Not Sleep" - The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers
"The Last Last One" - The Weakerthans
"5,6 Kids" - Bear vs. Shark

disclaimer: direct links to MP3s to external sites are subject to change - please visit band sites (links provided) if you are have trouble downloading or have further interest in the band - usually they will have more samples of their music. Bands that object to direct linking, please let me know and I'll fix.

* Song comes from a probably anauthorized index - all other cuts are believed to be authorized by the bands

Photo by the Shomei Tomatsu: Skin of the Nation showing currently at the Corcoran - recommended if you are in DC - Thursday nights free admission! biography of Shomei Tomatsu

Hit Me Baby One More Time: Tone-Loc's"Wild Thing" single

Posted by Hello

b/w "Loc'ed After Dark" (Clean Version)
Delicious Vinyl, DV 102

Der Spiel:

I picked this up at a flea market or garage sale, all dirty and clothed only in a white sleeve, it was sitting right next to it's sister single, "Funky Cold Medina".

Ahhh... A. T. Smith aka Tone-Loc has/had that truly unique laid-back cheeba-infected throaty VOICE. THE VOICE... If God ever does speak to me, I hope he uses Tone-Loc's whisper.: "Let's Do It" y'know, the next time I go up against the Anti-Christ.

But truth be told, I don't really have much play love for this cartoony rap song. Sure it's got a funky beat and if it came up in the Shuffle, say, on a Friday afternoon, I wouldn't rush to to flip it to the next track... but it was so overplayed at the time --remember that cheesy video - wait, ok, that was kinda cool - ripping off Robert Palmer and his slickee girls ... Now "Funky Cold Medina", (heyTone, more cowbell! ), I can listen to that forever.

Alas, Loc was pretty much derided by others at a time when Def Jam and NWA were really hitting their stride - he always said he was a gangbanger but that he just was too cool to sing about it. In reality, he had signed on with Dike and Rossi (producers from Delicious Vinyl) and they wanted to churn out some Top 40 hits. It did introduce a lot of suburban kids to rap, though.

"Wild Thing"'s greatness measure seems to be proportional with the volume and the amount of alcohol you've ingested. It makes for a perfect set-up at a Wedding - turn on the viddy camera, stick this side on the turntable, turn it up and tape ol' Uncle Marty doin' his Robot Chicken dance. Instant Internet success.

The other lesser known songs on the album which sports "Wild Thing", titled Loc'ed After Dark were more in his desired style and considerably smoother - Uncle Marty won't do the robot dance to any of the other cuts (besides "Medina" and that calls more for his Egyptian Limbo dance) - "Cheeba Cheeba" is about the ups and down of too much dope and mixes his self-depreciating humor with a bit more edge.

In that vein, "Loc'ed After Dark" appears on the flip of this single. It's a clean version, alas, all the motherfuckers are replaced by vinyl scratching... It's simple structure along with the old-school Grandmaster Flash style delivery and an extended vinyl scratch makes me nostalgic for the halycon days of rap, even if they weren't that halycon, anything's better than the unmemorable crap today. I think this would make a great track for the next Grand Theft Auto game (I'd love to see a GTA New Jack City).

Sample lyric grab: "I slip off stage / and clear my head / my next thought / hmmm / just to knock them dead"...

Posted by Hello

Tone Buff

Where is He Now?

He's still out there - touring both with Legends of Hip Hop (along with Young MC, Digital Underground and Coolio) and doing his own shows. He has an upcoming gig in Phillie on June 24th.

A Nice Song For the Kids To Dance To:

"Wild Thing" (Radio Edit) - Tone Loc, recorded straight from vinyl...crackle and clicks and all...(see below for cleaner version)

Links/Further Reading/Listening':

  • 2000 saw the re-release of Tone Loc's "Loc'ed After Dark" - the songs were remastered and don't retain the fatter sound of these Delicious singles (I think I bought "Funky Cold Medina" at the same garage sale for 50 cents). Anyway, the album is still in print (or at least still for sale) at many fine outlets.
  • Jim Derogatis, an 80's fanzine writer from New Jersey and now an author and a music critic for the Chicago Trib, calls Loc's "Loc'ed After Dark" one of the Great Albums(!) - he interviewed Tone many years back and recounts that discussion.
  • After his recording career died down, Tone turned up in movies, usually as a cartoonish villian and he also gives voice to cartoons. His most memorable is as Pee-Wee in the animated "Bebe's Kids" (the premise of which was recycled by Ice Cube in his recent "hit" comedy "Are We There Yet?")
  • MTV has a 30 second or so clip from the "Wild Thing" video (Real Player required) if you want to relive it yet another time.
  • Delicious Vinyl has a clean version of "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina" for fregal download here. In a way, Tone Loc and Young MC's Rap Bubblegum helped finance what has turned out to be a fine label who aren't afraid to take challenges with experimental artists (how else does one explain Ton's mutant bastard grandnephew Fat Lip?)

Super Bonus MP3:

Wow - you read all the way to the bottom of the page... Noise-acid band Treasure Mammal from Phoenix wrote a tribute, of sorts to the man: "Tone Loc." They seem to have drunk of the Medina... a number of times. (Alternative download site for TM)

Friday, June 17, 2005

Imaginary Friends and Acquaintances

Unlike others, I never had an imaginary friend as a child. There were way too many kids both in my household and in the neighborhood to have to make up kids to play with. But when I was four or five, our family moved in a great big Tudor house. The house, dating back to the 1920's, was the color of shingles and dark brown wood and off-white concrete and seemed to me like a castle from the middle of the woods that had been dumped into a neighborhood with nothing else like it. It had a large basement (where we kids were usually relegated to go play), a spacious first floor with two porches, a giant garage and a second floor with two baths and three bedrooms. And then there was the third floor.

The house, build in the 20's, had all that mysterious energy that a child senses when something large and old is presented. In my youngest years there, though, the third floor held the most mystery to me. The Tudor was shaped somewhat like a pagoda or a big giant bell with each floor getting smaller and smaller in terms of floor space. The third floor windows were the tiny squinting eyes of a giant that looked down upon the alley where we played and the neighborhood of ranchers, row homes and manicured lawns. My brother once spent a summer scaring the neighborhood kids (and my littlest brother) by donning the most realistic Halloween mask and appearing at dramatic moments. Of course, I was in on the trick and would be the one who would point up at the witch staring down at the melee and violence of children's play disapprovingly. I once got in trouble with the Police (I was ratted out, of course) and spent the night hiding up there and peeking down at the damage I had done (I stole something out of someone's garage in stupid revenge for some stupidity done to me). Later, as a teenager, I would open those windows and a lean out late at night to smoke a Marlboro, thinking that throwing the butts down there would do away with the evidence (little did I know of the screens on gutters and rain spouts).

But back to the first night I slept in that house. It was fall and the night fell early. Near bedtime, I had yet been shown the third floor and asked my Dad about it. The lights weren't working yet up there so my Dad, carrying me with one arm around my gut and the other gripping a flashlight walked up the steps. At the top of the steps were the windows that I talked about and then the room revealed itself in the dimming light of dusk and my Dad's three battery flashlight. He led me to each of the three attic doors and showed me the then empty spaces which he claimed wrapped around the entire floor which I found fascinated and imagined crawling through them and finding discarded objects from previous tennants. There was also a cedar closet that I was warned right up there I wasn't to go into for fear that I woudl get locked in and be suffocated by the combined fumes of the mothballs and cedar - in retrospect, I remember a bit of a smirk had formed on his face as he said this. Empty, though, the closet looked like something a Forest King might have carved into his wooden castle. All that were missing were the chains and manacles.

Later that night, I woke up with a start. Sweaty and disoriented in a new house, I got up to look for my parents' room - my brother lay snoozing but I had learned never to disturb him in the sleep or suffer a slap up the back of my head. Somewhere in the dark I made a wrong turn and realized that I was at the foot of the stairs to the third floor, a closed door holding back the secrets. I was still as I felt something dreadful coming and saw the light (probably from the street lights) comging through the bottom of the door. In my imagination, maybe a bit fevered from all the stress, I saw a ghost boy coming through the door, pale and tortured. I sensed he had been wracked with some sort of disease , the type of things that grandparents would talk about in whispers when remembering siblings and schoolfriends ... I knew of the fevers - the yellow and the scarlet. One turned your skin into an odd color and the other made your hair fall out. I had had "the shots" - the paneled waiting room and the dread now remembered as similar to the cedar closet above and the terror now below.

The boy never spoke, he hovered there and I literally felt my knees knock and my crew cutted hair tingle and grow with the goosebumps that were being raised. His message was clear to me - the third floor is death. I don't remember much more than running back to my bed beyond any need for parental comfort but looking more for the only thing at the time that was familiar, my little bed and pillow and sheets. I was scared and crying and fell asleep, still in a sweat. My Mom mentioned that my sheets were still damp and asked if I had a nightmare. Something told me not to talk about the boy from the third floor - but just keep my boundaries and don't ever venture up there alone. As you can guess, I later overcame that fear and eventually claimed the third floor as my own when my older brother moved on to college. I even lost my cherry up there on the very same bed on which I was presumably conceived. But I'm still uneasy of heights and waking up in the middle of the night.


Esopus is a bi-yearly magazine that's mission is "to provide an accessible, non-commercial space in which creative people and the public can connect in meaningful ways." Issue 4 includes a history of ice cream truck music, presentations of found art - both in its native form and reconstructed, things that you pull out and look at, a review of a film as told by a cinematographer and three pages of stills and lots of beautiful stuff and words. It's sort of a pop-up book for adults (although there are no pop-ups, per se).

Included in issue 4 is CD entitled Imaginary Friends. Esopus asked their readers to send in stories of their childhood friends and then sent the stories out to a select group of songwriters who penned their interpretations. Most of the results are very good. You can hear short samples at the website. One of the more wellknown readers who sent in their stories was Alan Sparhawk of Low.

He wrote:
As a boy, from perhaps age 4 to 7, my dear imaginary friend was a small girl named Lisa. She lived in a small hole in the wall next to my bed. I always imagined her as a year or two older than me. She always seemed to have heavier, older-person things on her mind, so her demeanor was quite sober and even troubled, but never enough to keep her from finding time for me. She took care of me, gave me advice, and was great to have around when I couldn'’t sleep. I suppose she stayed with the house when we moved when I was 8. She probably has a family now.
Where as many of the songwriters and bands just took the words and constructed lyrics around them in the first person of the story's originator, Perry Wright, who is the front man for The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers decided to take a different approach and produces a classic mope-folk piece told from the vantage of the spurned imaginary friend.

If you can't listen to this with wiping away a tear, you must not be alive.

"Lisa" (3.7 Mb, 128 kbps) - The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers (w/John K. Samson and Heather McEntire)

Esopus is available at Amazon for the amazing price of only $10.00 - you can also get it at Barnes & Nobles and Borders. You can hear samples from the other cuts (including Avey Tare, Kimya Dawson, Grant Hart, Kate Pierson(!) and Jon Langford) by clicking on the CD icon on this page here. With the exception of one or two cuts, this is a great compilation - recommended for all the neo-folkies out there.

UPDATE: Oh my, great minds think alike - I just found out that Bars and Guitars wrote about this way back on May 27th and they even fronted the same cut. I feel so late to the party. No offense, I hope Peter. Are all the lumpia gone?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Music for Elvis Impersonators to Dance To

A couple of nights ago I was playing drums for a local production that included an Elvis "interpreter" - this guy had an awesome voice and sang a killer version of "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You." He didn't use the live band (which was me and a guitarist and a piano) and instead relied on prerecorded music. His singing gave me newfound respect for that song which I had previously asigned to Elvis's kitschy stuff (which is, well, pretty much everything dude ever recorded except the Sun stuff) - I didn't realize how powerful it can be when sung well.

However, he did this sort of slow motion dance to the song and (at least during the rehearsal) he did it under blue lights which gave the effect of it being somewhat dream-like... -his dance included the Elvis limp wrist hand shakes, sashay to the left and right, hip twirls the whole nine yards. yeah, yeah, I know but somehow it worked... He never overdid it and never succumbed to Elvis impersonation cliches. I think he was more trying to recreate a Teen Idol in the '50's (the show was called The Fabulous Fifties and no I had no input on the name of the show or what songs they did)... anyway, dude was trying to recreate what a typical teen idol might look and sound like (if they were a bit, um, arty) in the 50's... he didn't even dress like Elvis although when the song went live in front of an audience, he did a "thank you, thank you very much' but he never did an imitation (in his own voice).

But after several rehearsals even I got tired of listening to it, so I fired up the Ipod Shuffle and this song "Seasons" came on. At first I thought it was a Yo La Tengo cut (well, I know the voice is different but the song does appear to have some influences from Hoboken's finest) ...I realized I was confusing it with the Autumn sweater song.

At any rate, the whole f'ing effect was surreal - Elvis dude dancing faux slo-mo and this song playing and mostly synchronizing to his singing.

I then listened to the CD in the car today and realized where it came from.

"Seasons" - Bellefea

from their 2004 EP Family Tree - highly recommended if you like slow but noisy stuff with female vocals - you can download another cut from their web site. The band is playing in DC the 25th of June (Warehouse Next Door). I should add that the band was originally recommended by John (Mountain Goats guy) of Last Plane to Jakarta. He also liked this same exact song although I didn't realize it at the time.

Monday, June 13, 2005

When People Were Shorter and Lived Near The Water

self-titled 7" EP
Trace Element Records, 1987

When People Were Shorter and Lived Near the Water sprung up in the late '80s in NYC to poke a little fun at music. Led by Kim Rancourt, the early modus operandi appeared to be to find a cheesy Top-40 AM radio hits and give it a snot spewing, spitting up punk rock treatment. Think The Dead Milkmen or A.O.D. but with slabs of squalling art-noise guitar and other sounds (Osterizers, yeah!). Later they did a more aclaimed rock version of Porgy and Bess on Shimmy Disc and a more tongue in cheek (yet still oddly respectful) album full of Bobby Goldsboro covers.

Three songs are covered: the mostly forgotten "Dandy" (Herman's Hermits) and "Danke Schoen" (the signature song of that Vegas schlockmeister Wayne Newton) make the first side the most enjoyable. Peter Noone is even given props in the liner notes for "special inspiration" and indeed the spirit of Noone's sarcastic personna infuses the record. The second side is not quite as good - sure there's the somewhat inspired version of The Association's "Never My Love" (you and I probably know it better as a Musak staple) and but then there's a tedious reading of the Gettysburg Address over a bed of mediocre mid-tempo rock. Keep the former, forget the latter.

My copy is signed by all the band members and I have no idea how I got my hands on this. I think I bought it at Yesterday and Today - no doubt enamored more by the band name and the cut-rate used bin price.

When People... had a sort of ongoing tie-in with some of the assorted NYC indie bands. Ron Spitzer, who played drums on this record, was also the drummer for Band of Susans and in one of the later albums, Robert Poss himself stepped up to play guitar. Later versions of the band included Dave Rick and Chris Xefos of King Missile. And you can imagine Kramer was probably somewhere in the background as well (this was recorded at Noise New York and Shimmy Disc became their later patron).

Kim Rancourt has remained a fixture in New York. He booked music for the Sideshows by the Seaside in Coney Island and has done several projects with Don Fleming (B.A.L.L., 1/2 Japanese). Most recently he (along with Fleming) organized the Vietnam Songbook which, in a burst of anti-war fervor, recreated songs from that war that no one seems to be able to get off their minds. Rancourt is currently playing with Fleming in a band called JFK - a cut of their appeared on the recent esopus magazine CD insert and previously played with Fleming and Jay Spiegel in Idlewild.



Sunday, June 12, 2005

Drunks With Guns (back by popular demand)

Posted by Hello

(photo of the back cover of Alter Human Industrial Fetishisms)

Well, maybe it's not by popular demand but someone on the previous thread asked for more Drunks so here it tis.

A St. Louis punk band that existed from the mid to late 80's, Drunks With Guns recorded Alter Human Industrial Fetishisms and from the discographies I have read, it was the second to last 7" under the second (and by far, the best) incarnation of the band. From what I have read, they only released 7"'ers and cassettes - although post-break-up, they later collected songs onto full length CDs or LPs. It's all so confusing - like the band.

I previously posted "Leprosy" with the assessment that it was the best cut on this 7" EP. But I take that back. Instead consider "Enemy," a tortured litany of all the peeps, things and Supreme Dieties that have converged on Mr. Doskocil to make his life miserable (this was before his bandmembers launched lawsuits against him, I guess). If you've ever spent time in humid St. Louis during the Summer (hell, for the Winter, Spring and Fall as well*), you can perhaps understand what he's going through. It starts and ends abruptly as if someone has pulled the plug on the whole enterprise.

"Zombie" is on the other side - it goes on too long for me (and that's only at 5 or so minutes) - perhaps this is a band only really suffered in short doses ...


  • The Drunks With Guns Website is pretty in line with the pointlessness of the band. There's absolutely nothing there of any value to a fan besides a few pictures of Doskocil and a contact address I was afraid to try. It mostly fronts dead links and missing images and appears to be coded in html 2.0 or something 1997-ish, like there's some sort of joke going on. Who's paying their yearly domain fees and why?
  • Trouser Press has a very good (although incomplete - but then who can blame them) summation of the band's recorded output and a little bit of "where are they now?"
  • A new music blogger that specializes in 80's HC punk/noise recalls in his blog, dressed for the h bomb, an early show he/she witnessed. They also have some MP3s from the first DWG 7" - check it out before it's gone
  • Previously linked: Drunks with Guns at Grunnenrocks and St. Louis Punk
Saved Round - Big Whoop! Exclusive:
This is a letter I received from Doskocil when I mail-ordered this single (click to enlarge) explaining the title of the EP and "news" of the next release. It has a signature in case you want to bother to analyze this alleged drug dealer's personality or whatever... The letter promises to put me on his "mailing list" - this, in true DWG fashion never happened...:
Posted by Hello

Friday, June 10, 2005

Coffee and Cigarettes Mp3 Mix #18(?)q

The Switchblade Sisters

Have We All Lost Our Minds?

"Charlton Heston Has Lost His Mind" - The Chuck Hestons
"StoryTeller" - qr5
"r u a jonathan fan?" - Lydia Lunch
"Never the Last Time" - Soft Eyes
"The O.C." - The Assault
"Michael Jackson's Summer Camp For Boys" - Three Bricks Shy
"Druganaut" - Black Mountain

Acknowledgements: This is an update because I originally failed to give props to the websites that host some of these MP3s and hope you can go visit them.

The Lydia Lunch promo/cut came from Cam Archer's website - go check out his short johnny spots based on his short film about the life, the fame and the death of Jonathan Brandis.

The Black Mountain cut comes from their record label, Jagjaguwar. The song comes off the Druganaut EP which was recently released on CD.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Prevaricators

Detente LP
Disrupted Records, 1986

This collection of mostly garden variety hardcore comes from a little remembered Richmond, Va band and probably rightly so. Collectorscum.com's assessment is "OK hardcore, really nothing to complain about" and I guess that's about right - and given that there are plenty other bands in that subgenre that are worth checking out (see previous posts on Poison Idea and Big Boys), you would only have to be a total collector geek to want this - and even then they'd probably only take it for a pittance. (And I checked MXV and he doesn't fess up to owning any)

I bought this album on the heels of their previous single "Jihad" (a French import) which is remembered as a quite righteous skullcrushing hardcore screamer but was disappointed in the most part by Detente. But the Jukebox Jury is now out on that one as I haven't heard it in a while. I also remember people testifying about their previous album Snubculture but I haven't heard and Soulseek isn't turning up any rocks.

The cover shows a lady suckling what looks like a dog - apropros of nothing that I can tell (maybe its about a detente between man and the animal kingdom? - Richmond humor?) and I suppose that's par for course here.

Most of the songs are pretty much standard 2nd person accusatory hardcore (as in "you're safe within your plastic skin/you're an American mannequin" blah blah blah) mostly aimed at familiar targets - rockstars and betrayers, attempts at "humor" or political ranting- nuclear and religion-fueled wars are once again confirmed to be a bad thing.

The opener is a scorcher (in a manner of speaking) about the Rough Trade record distributors who apparently decided not to carry their previous record ("You're just a slut for money") - way to get back at 'em. One song ("Asente") proclaims that a friend shouldn't move to Philadelphia because its full of "queers and dykes". I dunno - I mean, consider the restaurants and Frank Sinatra kareoke nights. There's also a song or two with sax in it, so I suppose they were trying to think a little bit outside the lines.

So anyway, despite the rest of the album they do know enough about their punk history to have covered a Stooges song and I'm feeling generous enough to pass it on for your own assessment.


"I've Got A Right" - Prevaricators

Band lineup:
Steve Hunter - vocals
David Stover - Guitar
Hal Imburg - Drums
Alford Faulknier - Bass (R.I.P.)
Zip Irvin - Sax

Collector Scum review their 1983 single

Unrelated: Old Punks Webzine have a blog now.

Friday, June 03, 2005

No Iron (or Vitamins), Man

I feel like the anti-Iron Man or at least Smelted Down for Scrap Iron Man after one of those marathon cross country trips so the song below - an acoustic version of the great heavy metal standard from Four Tet seems to fit (it comes off this recent tribute record).

This time it was San Francisco but I did get some decompress time downtown - visited the Embarcaro (top two pictures), had some great food and beer and paid a pilgrimage to Aquarius Records (below).

Poison Idea wins the Battle of the Bands competition. Jerry A and Tom Pig are still getting the love after all these years. Thanks for all the votes - there was a request for more Drunks with Guns and I'll work on that this weekend.

"Iron Man" - Four Tet (ripped from WFMU)

I'm going to see Spoon tonight and Malkmus tomorrow night which is a kind of record since I normally don't take in more than two shows a month much less one weekend. My Old Kentucky Blog has some songs from the new Malkmus record - recommended (best for headphone listening). It appears that the songs have been taken down - go to Matador for the one meager track ("Baby, C'Mon") that doesn't give you the full impression of this CD. They have a Spoon track but it too isn't really representative of their sound.

I'm also digging the new Smog record. Just the ticket for some further decompression.