Sunday, November 29, 2009

Perimeter Records - Christmas '87 Compilation

Here is the track listing:
1. Merry Christmas, Dammit by Jon Kincaid, Bryan Lilje, Todd Ploharski, Melinda Spratt, Christopher Swartz and Doug Hughes
2. Chimes by Christopher Swartz
3. I'm Dreaming by Todd Ploharski
4. Arctic Christmas by Doug Hughes

I was originally approached way back in February through this blog by Steve Kilbride who writes for the Decatur Dispatch/Ponce Press paper asking about an old Atlanta record label called Perimeter Records. He remembered a set of Christmas cassettes that Perimeter produced back in the late 80's and early 90's, and wanted to know more about the label and these special cassettes that were circulated. This led me to a year long search (off and on) trying to find people who knew about the label and eventually got in touch with Doug Hughes, one of the guys who helped put together these compilations and a member of several bands including Broken Symmetry and Tenth to the Moon. He was able to provide me a complete history of the label and these releases, as well as remastered copies of all the compilations. I am posting the first here, and will post more as we get closer to Christmas Day. Additionally, Steve wrote a small article on this blog and the Christmas compilations in the Decatur Dispatch, so thanks Steve for all the extra promotion! I would also like to thank Kim Chee from Pineal Ventana for putting me in touch with Doug Hughes, and especially Doug for sending me all these great compilations, and for producing them in the first place. Here is the history lesson:

Perimeter Records Christmas Compilations
1987-1993 A brief history

The first Perimeter Records Christmas Compilation was conceived as a way to promote the new independent record label that was formed in the mid 80’s by Chris Swartz and Robert Hollis. These two gentlemen worked for the same company then and discovered they had a shared musical interest and began recording what would be their first LP Iso.

From this beginning, Perimeter Records released 3 vinyl LP’s by Hollis/Swartz, an LP compilation called Nine Underground, and several cassette only releases by many 80’s era Atlanta artists and noisemakers.

The first Christmas cassette was a 4 song, 23 minute collection featuring Chris on one track solo, and with St. Nick and the Morons on the opening track- “Merry Christmas, Dammit”. Hours prior to the session for this song, Todd Ploharski called Doug Hughes with instructions to ‘bring your guitar and amp down to WREK’, with no other details given. Doug was introduced to Chris Swartz, Brian Lilje, Jon Kincaid and Melinda Spratt who were assembled in the air studio to record the song. Lyrics were written by Jon Kincaid, sung by Brian, with Jon in the background and also a brief vocal from Doug, leaning into his amp mic; the session was engineered by Mike Mitton. It was a bit sloppy and largely improvised but it set the stage for what would come.

Chris asked Doug to contribute a song to close side two, which was quickly assembled from Doug’s existing guitar-effected multi-track tape mixes, married to a crude digital sample from a cassette recording off the radio of Santa Baby, for the rhythm track, while Chris patiently waited. He was trying to meet a deadline and had to have it that night. The track which preceded this one was contributed by Chris’ friend - Todd Ploharski, which featured a unique sound manipulation process involving massive CD destruction, played back through an early player without error correction circuitry.

The cassettes were given away free through Wax ’N Fax Records in Little 5 Points as well as Book-Nook on Clairmont; both in Atlanta. It was mailed out to ‘cool’ college stations across the country, many of whom were already listing Perimeter Records products on their play lists. No exact number of cassettes produced was ever made, but estimates of 125-150 each year are roughly accurate.

Chris continued this holiday tradition for the next 6 years, asking friends and acquaintances to contribute tracks for inclusion. The music tended be in the vein of ‘Nine Underground‘, but was also largely inspired by the weekly WREK show “Destroy All Music”. Emphasis was on creating art and less on technical sophistication.

Chris generated the cover art, and his skills as a draughtsman allowed him to neatly write the track list and credits by hand. Chris decided to include festive napkins, candy canes and most memorably, a Lego ‘build-a-Santa’ one year (that everyone commented on), enclosed in a large zip-lock bag, with additional notes and contributing musician credits.

Doug Hughes gradually offered his services in compiling the master tapes and making the cassette copies, using his growing Solar Wind studio, which initially consisted of several Nakamichi cassette decks, an old Teac ¼” 4-track reel to reel deck (w/o simul-sync), a Lexicon digital delay and other assorted effects. Solar Wind gradually became the recording arm for the label and was used by the Morons, who later became My Evil Twin, and other contributors who recorded there, into the Outer Loop daze.

By 1993, the last official year the Perimeter Christmas tape was produced, a rift developed between the founding members, and it was agreed to dissolve the business and cease operations. From 1994 through 1995, Doug resided in Dallas, Tx. but he returned to Atlanta in early 1996. He decided to resume the tradition by forming Outer Loop Productions, and was able to release two more Christmas tapes under the Outer Loop banner.

The final tape, released in 1997 - marking the 10th anniversary of the first Perimeter cassette; opens with a re-make of Merry Christmas Dammit, by Saint Nick’s Evil Moronic Twin. This track featured Jon Kincaid on words and vocals with Doug Hughes and Robert Hollis on guitars, plus drums and bass by Doug.

Of course by 1997, cassettes were already dead and Doug gradually became involved in Broken Symmetry with Chris Swartz and Gene Thompson and later with Keith Lee in Liar’s Club then Tenth to the Moon with Mitchell Foy, all of whom had contributed to the Christmas releases.

In 2005, Chris Swartz compiled a two CD retrospective of the Christmas tapes, which he again mailed out to the same college stations who had received the original tapes. These were also given out to friends, but it was very limited in production numbers and lacked modern mastering..

In 2009, Doug Hughes re-mastered the original master tapes, with tape hiss edits and a few other refinements, and is now making them available to anyone who wants them. If you are a such a person please contact:

Doug Hughes
Here is the complete artwork for the first cassette (click image to enlarge).

I will be posting all of these Perimeter Christmas compilations over the next few weeks as well as other Atlanta/Athens related Christmas comps, so keep in touch!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Re/Model - New Sounds from the Turn of the Century

Here is the download: Re/Model Discography

1-7: from "The Vampire Lovers to the Stars" EP
8-11: from the Demo CDR

After the breakup of Inkwell in 1996, everyone in the band went their separate ways to other musical projects and artistic ventures. To anyone who knew the guys in Inkwell, they were not the typical 90s hardcore-emo kids. They were into all kinds of music and ideas, and for bassplayer Marty Rioux, he started this band Re/Model with like-minded musicians Luis Arias on guitar/vocals and Thomas Wise on drums. This band embodied their love of 90's alternative rock, britpop, shoegaze, etc. that was a solid break from his past, but the main songwriter Luis had a good sensibility for writing this kind of music, so they existed as a band unto its own and not really tied to anything previous. However, it was such a drastic change from Marty's old band, and several years had elapsed between the two that not so many of the old Inkwell fanbase made the jump. Therefore they always seemed to struggle, as many of us did in the early 2000's, and just never really found their fanbase. This was a difficult period for local music in Atlanta, as there was very little popular support for local bands and the venues were in a transition period as well. I do think that they would have worked well with the new crop of Atlanta indie bands out there (e.g. Abby Go Go, NEC, etc.), but it was the wrong time and place. They recorded and self-released a demo and EP before calling it a day, sometime in 2002 I believe. Close to the end I remember Joe Myers from Inkwell joining the band on second guitar and adding more texture/heaviness to the sound, but I do not have any recordings from this period. Sometime after this Luis tragically took his own life, and everyone went their separate ways once again. I actually started playing with Marty, Joe and Gray Kiser for a little while in a band called Black Venus, but that is another story for another day.

Here is the artwork from their EP:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bliss - Pork 'n' Cockin'

Here is the download: Bliss Recordings

Update: Henry Owings sent me a live recording of Bliss' reunion show from December 10, 1994 at the Atomic Music Hall in Athens, which you can download here.

Bliss was a band from Athens in the 1990-1993 time period, featuring the excellent recording engineer/bassplayer Andy Baker as well as Will Low and Joe Rowe on guitar/vocals and drums. They were the first Athens band in my memory that adopted the Dischord style of postpunk but brought an Athens area sound to it. As I have mentioned before, they were one of my favorites from the Fuel compilation, but like many of the artists from this era, they disbanded before I moved to Athens and could see them live. They also released two cassettes, Man Comes a Knockin' and Drive Hard, but unfortunately I don't have these in my collection. If anyone has MP3s of these releases, I would love to hear them.

I know Andy Baker went on to record amazing records at Chase Park Transduction and elsewhere, and played in several bands including Servotron. Will Low left Athens to work for IBM, and Joe Rowe played in The Glands as well as Casper and the Cookies and now does his own thing as The Goons.

Here are the lyrics/artwork from the single as well as the insert from the Fuel compilation:

Monday, November 9, 2009

You never get to say goodbye

As many of you have probably heard, Jerry Fuchs passed away yesterday. It is not my intention to use this forum to discuss the tragedy specifically, but instead put some thoughts down about Jerry and his life and talent. I really encourage all of you to do the same, in whatever way you decide to do it. He made an impact on all of us, whether it was personal or through his music. I would not have considered our friendship to be close by any means, but based on how I feel I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for his family, friends and bandmates and the grief they are experiencing. For everyone out there going through this, you have my condolences and utmost sympathy.

To put it in simple terms, Jerry was the drummer that I always wanted to be. He had an amazing natural style that you can’t acquire, and he worked hard to take that talent to an extraordinarily high level. He was the master of his trade. Along with his unbelievable musical ability, he had such a vibrant personality and an energy that was an inspiration to us all. He was living his dream as a professional drummer, which could have been perceived by most as a truly difficult road to take, but he always put it in terms that made it sound like such an adventure. He was doing exactly what he wanted to do, and we were the ones lucky enough to be his audience. We should have had a lifetime of experiences, but instead all we have are a stack of records and some video clips. It’s nothing. We will never experience his love of life, his intensity, his humor again.

That’s all I think I can say for now.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Here is the download: Mouse 7"

In honor of The Jesus Lizard's return to Atlanta tomorrow night, I am posting the Mouse 7" from 1991, which according to the bio below does not technically include Jesus Lizard drummer, 86 drummer, Phantom 309 bass player Mac McNeilly, but he did join the band later and honestly it really sounds like him on the recording. Here is a little bio on Mouse from the interweb:

About Mouse

Mouse is:
Jenny McNeilly - Guitar, Vocals

Jackson Wilson - Guitar
Eddie Carlson - Bass
Mac McNeilly - Drums

Mouse was formed eight years ago at Cafe Express in Evanston. Jackson and Jenny were reprimanded and permanently separated from working shifts together for talking too much, but not before arranging the fateful first practice. This practice would also include their co-workers, drummer Alan Eberhardt and Swedish-American bassist Eddie Carlson, who rounded out what quickly became a writing and recording machine.

The group was dealt a serious setback when Alan moved to Alabama to fix knees, but not before they released a single, "Caesar Salad," on Worry Bird Records, and contributed to two compilation albums. Mouse then went on a two-year hiatus in order to be reborn from the ashes of themselves, but not before Jenny married Mac, who would become the next Mouse drummer, but not before they had two children. She forced Mac to quit the Jesus Lizards, and they proceeded to call Jackson and Eddie to ask if they could play. The rest is history. Rock history.

Mouse went on to write and record a vast library of as yet unreleased material with the generous help and expertise of Steve Albini, which in due time will ensure them a prestigious seat in the Rock pantheon, but not before someone decides to release some of this music.

If anyone has MP3s of these unreleased Mouse songs, pleeeaaassseee email me. This single was put out by David T. Lindsay's Worrybird label, probably the best Atlanta record label of the late eighties/early nineties. I will be posting several other Worrybird releases in the near future. Let me know if you have any requests.

Also, there have been several excellent stories on the Jesus Lizard's Atlanta show, including interviews with Mac McNeilly by Chad Radford in Creative Loafing and Jon Kincaid in Stomp and Stammer. Enjoy the reading.

Back cover:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Slumberjack - In The Studio and Live

Here is the download: Slumberjack Music

1-3: From High Heat 7"
3-5: From Slumberjack Demonstration Cassette II
6-8: From Re/Fuel Compilation

Also, Henry sent me a live show from August 8, 1994 at the Atomic Music Hall in Athens, which you can download here.

Slumberjack existed for a short period between 1992-1994 and included the rhythm section of After Words (i.e. Craig McQuiston and Kevin Coley on bass and drums, respectively). Christopher Lambert handled vocal and guitar duties, and later on they added a second guitarist named Petruska. Where After Words were influenced by the proto-emo/postpunk from the Washington D.C. area, Slumberjack took a more midwestern/Chicago noise rock slant. They fit right in with the other big bands of the area - Fiddlehead, Martians, etc. but also had a more refined sensibility that could have presumably brought them a major label deal, especially in this time period. It was not meant to be, however, as they broke up after only releasing two demo tapes, a single on Half Baked Records, and an appearance on the great Refuel compilation. I saw them live only once, opening for Gas Huffer and The LaBrea Stompers at the amazing Hoyt Street Station in the Fall of 1993, but I remember it as an impressive, loud set.

After Slumberjack met their demise, Craig McQuiston went on to play in several of Athens rock elites including The Glands, The Tom Collins, Elf Power and with David Barbe solo work. Lately he has been a tour manager for bands such as The Hold Steady. I'm not so sure of the other guys, but it's a small part of the world we are living in, I'm sure one of you knows.

Here is the artwork to their High Heat 7" and 2nd demo tape: