Monday, October 26, 2009

Cabron - Mexican Camel Tow

Here is the download: Cabron - Mexican Camel Tow

Cabron is/was the band that Mr. Bob-Rob Medina started in San Diego after leaving Atlanta and Chocolate Kiss behind in 2002. They kind of started out as some old guys playing the music of their childhood, but since have turned into quite a respectable Socal punk-hardcore band. They would regularly play with every classic punk band in the area (I believe their last show was with the Germs), and also venture south of the border to play punk shows in Tijuana and elsewhere. From what Bob tells me, playing a punk show in Tijuana is like going into a timewarp to hardcore from the early 80's. Playing bombed out spaces plugging everything into one extension cord running down the street, full circle pits, dudes with liberty spikes, etc. Sounds pretty unreal. Here is their latest recording, and you can find their earlier album/demo here.

Bob has since moved with his wife Ana to Alexandria, Egypt and continues his day job as a teacher, although I hope he can join up with some Egyptian punkers and start a band there. He keeps a great blog about his experiences called Camels and Tacos, which I would recommend checking out every so often as it gives you some perspective on being an expatriate in an Arab country, which can be quite interesting.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Mascara Aesthetic - Shake The Golden Calf

Here is the download: Mascara Aesthetic - Shake the Golden Calf

The Mascara Aesthetic was a kind of intermediate band in the 1998 time period between the two longer running bands Wheeljack and Electrosleep International. Michael Keenan and Sean Greathead from Wheeljack teamed up with Josh Fauver from The Perpetual Sciamachy Theorem and Titus as well as Derek Beber to continue in somewhat the same vein as their previous bands, but tightening things up a bit and taking it to a higher level. This time Michael takes lead vocal duties and plays synths, while Josh is on drums, and some impressive drumming I must admit. Sean and Derek take guitar and bass, respectively. I saw Mascara Aesthetic play a few times (once at the UTC show above with Red Monkey and the first Chocolate Kiss show), and remember the angular chaos they emitted, but I am very pleased they made this "demo" before breaking up. This is a complete album of material, and honestly a shame it wasn't ever officially released on a label, as it is a great recording and shows the evolution from Wheeljack to Electrosleep.

Supposedly Sean quit the band and was replaced for a short time by Phil Ritchie from Flakscrampe Traumantra, but only played one last show (with David Ahuja from Wheeljack on drums) opening for Ink and Dagger at Under The Couch, and by 1999 they were done and Electrosleep International started, with Michael and Josh teaming up with Scott Rogers (Wheeljack, Flakscrampe Traumantra) to bring us into the 2000's. After this, of course we have Michael Keenan playing in Battlecat, Airoes and most recently Hawks, while Josh Fauver starts SIDS and later joins Deerhunter. Sean did the Ananke project with me in 2001, then moved to NYC, played in Amverts and now plays in Nights. The rest is ancient history.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Flap - Brotherload b/w Bruised Molecule (1992)

Here is the download: Flap - Brotherload/Bruised Molecule 7"

Update: Michael Koenig who plays in the band Lesbian Afternoon has posted live footage from their show on YouTube, here is a sample:

As Flap has a show coming up this Friday October 23rd at the 529 Club in Atlanta, I thought it would be appropriate to post their Half Baked single from 1992 here on the blog. Mr. Radford posted a nice blurb about them and the upcoming show, check it out here. Musically, Flap (especially this era) really treads some dangerous ground, being a quirky acoustic guitar duo with so much going on in their songs, but somehow keep it all together and make it work. It's an impressive feat, and definitely not a safe route to take for a band. I wonder if a band like this could even exist today and get to the same notoriety that Flap did in their heyday. They really won people over back then, and I remember them being one of the bigger experimental bands in town with some very devoted fans, including Amy Potter from Half Baked records. I love reading her reaction, though, to their decision to leave the label:

Well, in the spring of '94, Flap called me from Chicago wanting off the label to pursue other opportunities and better distribution. Apparently, they had found someone else in Chicago to put out their records. I just hated the way they told me. They called me collect; they had borrowed my van to make the trip (which I had bought so they could go on tour); and then they had the nerve to ask me when they were getting royalties for there record (it had not even come close to breaking even). I kept asking myself - "why can't you wait 'til you get home to tell me this shit?" I was pretty angry, but relieved, so I let them go.

You have to love the internet for keeping this stuff online for 10+ years, very entertaining if not at all applicable 15 years later. I wish them all the best for Friday's show. I would check it out myself but I will be at another show a few miles to the west of the 529 Club that night.

Here is the rest of the classic artwork by Ben Rush and the insert for the single.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ananke - This Was It (December 2001)

Here is the download: Ananke - This Was It

I wrote the following summary for the Stickfigure Records site, but Gavin hasn't included it yet. He's a busy guy, but it's okay because I still owe him plenty of stuff myself, so we're even.

In the Fall of 2001, Benjamin Lukens made plans to leave his hometown of Atlanta to New York City to continue his college education, but wanted to form one last band with his old friends in town for the purposes of quickly writing a few songs, recording, and playing a few shows before moving away. With him on bass, he enlisted his friends Alex LaRoche (guitar), formerly of Go Back To Europe, Sean Greathead (guitar) formerly of Wheeljack and lastly James Joyce (drums), who he had played previously with in The hal al Shedad. James came up with the name Ananke, who was the Greek goddess of destiny, necessity and fate, from a Stanislaw Lem short story he read. They wrote five songs and learned one cover song ("Natural's Not In It" by Gang of Four) in about six weeks and played three shows: one at the EARL, one at the Echo Lounge, and one at the Stickfigure Headquarters' C-12 Warehouse. The original songs were recorded by Alex LaRoche at the Under The Couch studio at the end of Georgia Tech finals week, and a small run of CDRs were produced for the Stickfigure CDR label. They were not around long enough to truly develop their sound and music, and the songs themselves were never formally titled. However, the tracks on this demo have an interesting, spontaneous feel that you do not get from more established bands. Only Ben and James had played together before this point, so there is definitely a sense of learning about each other's musical attributes and abilities in these songs, and some interesting ideas result. I believe the band wrote one song at each practice, and then immediately played them live, so this was a nice challenge musically for everyone involved. After the New Year, Ben and Sean moved to New York City and formed another similar band of Atlanta transplants called Amverts, Alex moved to Austin to begin his career in the computer industry, and James joined a few more bands before moving to Amsterdam, continuing his career in the pharmaceutical industry. This recording is essentially a snapshot of a group of friends getting together on their last college days to have one last creative musical experience before moving on to the next stage of their lives.

Listening back on the recording again, it's really striking to me at how inventive and creative of a guitarist Sean Greathead is. The guy has a style all his own, and I'm kind of disappointed that he moved to NY soon after this as I would love to have kept playing with him. I also liked playing with Alex as well, he is a funny guy and has a nice laid back attitude for playing music that is so beneficial to have in a band. This was also the first band I played in after the whole DIY music paradigm shift occurred, making it possible to make decent home recordings and release a CD-R of your band immediately and with relatively no cost. We never had to book time at a real studio, and we didn't need to convince a label to put out our music. We did it ourselves, and have a decent recording and package to show for it. Not bad.

According to my notes, we actually played four shows - the first one at the EARL with Copa Vance, the second at the Echo Lounge with Astroblast and Audomobil (see flyer below), a third at Squaresville with Ocelot and The Love God Murder, and the last at C-12 with Airoes, An Albatross, The Tom Brokaw Has Anthrax (great post 9-11 name), and Ultivac - see flyer below. I thought Blame Game also played this show, but maybe my memory is faulty on this one. And I have no memory whatsoever of Ananke playing at Squaresville with Ocelot and LGM, so maybe that one fell through.

Here is the rest of the artwork from the CD-R.

Here is also a video taken from the last show:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Is The Human Heart So Selfish - A Benefit For Food Not Bombs

Here is the download: Food Not Bombs Compilation

Here is the track listing:
1: Orlock - Dressed Up
2: The Mike Douglas - Untitled
3: Aslund Constant - Number Six
4: The Party of Helicopters - There's A Bomb In My Food!
5: The Perpetual Sciamachy Theorem - Acquiring The Asymmetric Ear
6: Griver - Postmarked Division
7: Twenty Seven Hours - Dear You
8: Wheeljack - Baton
9: Cerberus Shoal - Broken Springs Spring Forth From Broken Clocks
10: Blue Stockings - Bubble People
11: Quadiliacha - What's Wrong With This Picture
12: The Forty-Two - Sound Age
13: Bughummer - Bird Dog
14: Full Scale Replicas - Raised
15: Flakscrampe Tramauntra - The Lost Art of Dueling
16: Titus - The What Little Boys Are Made Of Trilogy

I cannot tell you how many benefits I have played for Food Not Bombs. Back in the nineties, they were like the pet charity of the DIY hardcore/postpunk/indie scene. Sometimes it seemed like half the VFW/basement/warehouse/etc. shows I would play or attend would have some sort of affiliation with Food Not Bombs. I hadn't really heard so much from them over the past ten years or so, but then the other day I saw a banner and a group of people giving out food from a shopping cart at the plaza across from City Hall East on Ponce. It was a nostalgic moment for me.

So this compilation came out sometime 1997, but for some reason I never owned it. Jon Lukens gave me a copy a while back and finally I'm getting around to posting it here. This is actually a great compilation, with many unreleased songs by some awesome bands from this time period, at least in the tiny scene we had at the time. I believe the CD was put out by someone in Athens and maybe came with a zine, but I definitely do not have the zine or any more information on its origins. The bands on this compilation mainly hailed from the Atlanta/Athens area, however you have some notable regional bands (i.e. Bughummer from Savannah and Griver from Chapel Hill area) as well as some bands from farther out (i.e. The Party Of Helicopters from Kent, Ohio and Cerberus Shoal from Portland, Maine), which I'm sure are on the compilation due to their connections with Stickfigure Records.

As for the local talent, there are some unreleased songs by Wheeljack and The Forty-Two, songs I very much remember from their live shows, so for me it was like a little trip into my house show past. There is an Aslund Constant song, which was Bryan Fielden and Craig Lee Dempsey from The Forty-Two (pre-At the Price of the Union and San Agustin) along with Lewis Lovely from Scout on bass. We have a song by The Mike Douglas, which was a band started by Will Greene from Quadiliacha up in Athens, and included Damian Schafer from Levelhead and later The Walt Lariat. There is a Quadiliacha song included as well, once again being probably the most prolific band - compilation wise - from this era. I believe this was the only Flakscrampe Tramauntra song released (post Wheejack, pre Electrosleep International, Carbonas, GG King, etc.), but you can get all their other songs on this blog as well. Another noteworthy item on this compilation are two of Josh Fauver's early bands, The Perpetual Sciamachy Theorem and Titus (also featuring Dave Ahuja from Wheeljack on drums), before he played in The Mascara Aesthetic, Electrosleep International, Action Porn, SIDS, Diet Cola and most recently Deerhunter. I am not sure about the origins or conclusions of Orlock, Blue Stockings or Full Scale Replicas, but maybe someone out there can inform us. I also never heard of Twenty Seven Hours before, but I did find their Myspace page and found out they were related to the Pink Collar Jobs, which I remember from the old days. Enjoy the music.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

No Walls (1988 - 1992)

Here is the download: No Walls

Here is the breakdown:
1-5: from the demo recorded at Electric Lady Studios
6: from The View compilation
7-13: from the self-titled album

Drew Rydberg sent me a recording of the No Walls Live at WREK session, probably from 1991 or 1992, which is excellent and includes some interesting free jazz improvisations between songs. Here are his notes - "First off, credit where credit is due.....this Live @ WREK show was originally recorded directly to cassette from the radio broadcast by my friend Randy Castello. He loaned me that tape many years ago, and at the time I was working at a studio in Nashville, so I was able to clean up/re-master the recording somewhat. It seems like the band didn't have enough material to fill out the show, so there are a few improvisations sprinkled in between the normal songs (I'm not complaining). There was some chaff/banter that was cut out here and there for the sake of making a listenable CD, but all the good stuff is there."

No Walls was the band William "Kip" DuVall formed in Atlanta a few years after returning from California playing guitar in the SST band Bl'ast. Before that, he was the guitarist for the seminal Atlanta hardcore band Neon Christ, coincidentally the first hardcore band I ever heard, probably around 1987-1988. Randy DuTeau from Neon Christ did a great interview/overview of William DuVall's career and personal history here, so I don't need to revisit and try to encapsulate everything again in this format.

I knew No Walls from their song "Never Fall Apart" on The View compilation, which I loved for its loud, noisy quality but also its maturity and uniqueness. It was a perfect song to end the tape, and possibly my favorite. They were definitely mysterious, which only increased as I couldn't get into their shows as a spry 15 year old. Then in 1992, Ted Selke from Full Moon Records and The Seventh Ring of Saturn put out their full length album and as what happens in most cases like these, the band promptly disbanded. I picked up the cassette around this time at Chapter 3 records in Norcross, very excited to hear more of the strange, noisy, melodic music from these guys, but instead it was pretty straightforward and a little too polished for my tastes (especially back then), so it didn't really become a classic for me. However, I recently acquired a copy of the demo they made at Electric Lady studios under the mentorship of Vernon Reid, and this got me excited about hearing the band again after 17 years.

After No Walls was over, William played in several other bands including Madfly in Atlanta and Comes With The Fall, which brought him to Los Angeles and now fronts Alice in Chains, which would make anyone's arena rock dreams come true. As far as the other members of No Walls are concerned, Henry/Hank Schroy has amassed quite a resume of musical adventures over the years, but I'm not sure about drummer Matthew Joseph Cowley. Check the comments section in a few days, and I'm sure someone will let us know.

Here is an article written about them in Rolling Stone, as well as the artwork from their album, which you can still purchase at Full Moon Records, by the way:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jack' O' Nuts - La Horne 7" (featuring Chris Lopez)

Here is the download - Jack O Nuts 7"

I guess Laura Carter took a backseat on this single, as the only vocals present are on the cover of "My Shadow In Vain" by Tubeway Army, which I assume was done by Chris Lopez, hence the credit on the artwork, but I could be wrong. It's a great version though, possibly the best Gary Numan related cover I've ever heard, and the artwork on the single is just brilliant. When I got this from the Georgia Music Show archives, I couldn't stop laughing at the cover, and really had to borrow it to post on the blog.

As you probably know, Chris Lopez was the king of the Atlanta indie rock scene in the nineties, fronting Seersucker (with members of Dirt) as well as The Rock*A*Teens and now Tenement Halls, with great national/international success. Between him and Cat Power, Cabbagetown really became a household name. It's funny how Atlanta had/has such a stigma associated with it that indie bands would list places like Cabbagetown, Old Fourth Ward or some other Atlanta neighborhood their place of origin instead of Atlanta itself. Maybe not so much anymore, with so many popular bands coming from our fair city, but it was an interesting phenomenon about ten years ago.

Enjoy the single, and check out more Jack O Nuts here and here.