Thursday, August 28, 2008

One Crazy Summer - The Atlanta Band Genome has been updated!

Click on the picture to check it out.
Thanks to Chris Ware, Will Green and Ken Two Four (that's right - I have been receiving data from these dudes), I have been able to expand the Blame Game, Tornado Town, and Broken lines, respectively. The genome is getting pretty crazy, and I have been trying to make the appropriate linkages, but unfortunately there are only two dimensions to work with here. I need some kind of wormhole to link bands such as Portrait with The Power and The Glory, as you have to travel right through the Gold Sparkle Band area to connect them. Anyhow, I did my best, so please let me know what you think, and if you have some more bands and linkages that need to be made. One great accomplishment is that through Blame Game (which has more linkages than any other band on this list) I have finally been able to add Dirt to the Genome. My next post is planned to be a Dirt discography, so stay tuned.
Enjoy the BBQ.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Answer to the Ultimate Question: The Forty-Two (aka The 42)

Here is the unofficial "discography" for download: The 42 Discography

1-2 from the "What It's Like to Be a Musician" single
3 from the Live at WREK CD (from the same session as 4-12)
4-12 from the Live at WREK session (March 5, 1996)
Craig Lee Dempsey, Francis Karl Jensen and Jeffrey Bryan Fielden, collectively known as The Forty-Two formed sometime in 1995, dissolved sometime in late 1996 or early 1997. I have no idea where they got the name from, but I know once the band had formed, the number 42 came up everywhere in their lives, like it was some kind of universal calling for them. I knew Bryan and Craig from their Stockbridge days playing in Lowboy, but then Craig told me they started playing with this guy Frank who they knew from the Somber Reptile and he was really excited about it. Francis added a whole new dynamic to their music with his non-traditional drumming, singing and great in-between song banter, and really brought the three of them together as a true postpunk power trio.

They played the discordant, poly-rhythmic, atonal postpunk that was common during that era, but the personalities in the band really made them unique in the mid-90's Atlanta DIY scene. Craig Dempsey was originally a guitar player (he played guitar in Lowboy), so his bass style was very much like a second guitar, with plenty of chords and strumming involved and I think he played a short scale bass to play even more like a guitar. I knew Bryan initially as a guitarist during this time, but after the 42 broke up later in 1996 (or early 1997), Bryan started playing in San Augustin with the guys in Barrel and switched to drums. Francis was always a drummer, but he had the "playing drums right-handed but the hi-hat and ride are played with the left hand and snare with the right hand" approach, which led to some interesting rhythms. He also hit the kick drum and toms at really interesting times in the band, which gave them a kind of swing feeling. They played some good shows, mostly at the Driverdome, and had some great times, but eventually broke up and started new projects. Bryan started playing in San Augustin as I stated above, and they have been playing intermittently over the years with huge success in the minimalist rock world. I believe they still occasionally with play shows today. Actually, Craig and Bryan stayed together for a little bit in a mathy band called Aslund Constant with Lewis Lovely and Jon Archer, but supposedly they only have one song on a rare comp recorded. Craig went on after that to start At the Price of the Union, and then played in Thoroughbred and The Good Friday Experiment. He is still probably the most amazing and proficient guitarist from a traditional sense that I know, but I don't think he picked up the bass very much after this band. Francis started playing with Scott MC in Chapman Park (more on them later) soon after this band folded, and then moved to Chicago and started playing in The Tyrades with an old high school friend of mine. He has been in several bands up in Chicago since then, but I haven't been able to see them yet.

Here is the artwork from their only 7", and some live photos taken by Andy Stivers at the Driverdome:

Andy started smearing vaseline on the lens for these shots:

Here is a special message from Scott MC on the importance of travelling:

Monday, August 18, 2008

The hal al Shedad Lost Live at WREK Session: January 9, 1996

Here is the download: Hal al Shedad Live at WREK - January 9, 1996

So Chris van Etten gave me some recordings I had been looking for to post on this blog, and with one of these recordings was the hal al Shedad Live at WREK set. Once I listened to it, however, I realized it was our first Live at WREK recording from January 9, 1996 that was believed to be long lost. In fact, I had forgotten about it completely, but when I put it on and heard Jon Lukens' introduction to Consolation Prize, it all came back. This session was done after the first single had been released, but a few months before we recorded the album for Troubleman/Buddy System. We play some of the original 7 songs that comprised our set in 1995, but also played some new songs that would eventually appear on the album. Songs like Consolation Prize, Unification and Falling Out, but we also play On Building A Timebomb, which was never released as well as 1/1/96, which was written only 8 days before. Even though the recording is a little overdriven, it is a good document of what we were like right at one of the points of transformation of the band.

Also, Jon Lukens has been transferring and posting a lot of old performances from the mid-90's Atlanta DIY scene on Youtube, including the Hal al Shedad, Year Zero, Wheeljack, Inkwell and The 42. Here is us playing Walking Blind Dancing at the Lizard and Snake in Chapel Hill, NC sometime in 1997.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wheeljack - The Overachievers from Cobb County

Above and below: Wheeljack rocking the Driverdome in January of 1996

Here is the download: Wheeljack Discography

Out of all the Atlanta bands that played the Driverdome back in the mid-90's, Wheeljack were the real artists, and the most creative of the bunch. In a way they were kind of like the band that Max Fischer would have started in the movie Rushmore. I thought they were excellent, and always had something interesting going on with their shows and their music. They had some really technical songs, with plenty of stops/starts, tempo changes, time signature changes, they really went for it on their songs. I still can't understand some of the stuff that their drummer Dave was doing on some of those tracks.

I assembled an unofficial discography, the first two songs of which are from the split 7" with Year Zero on Ben Lukens' Terminus Records (the Burn! For Two single). It was a great 7", as it had a match glued to the front, which I can remember gluing a few nights at Apartment 13 with Ben and Phil Dwyer - one strip of glue for the stick, one dot of glue on the match head. One other funny thing about this single, I saw it for sale a few years ago at a small record store in Hilversum, which is about 30 miles to the east of Amsterdam in Holland, and it still had the match glued to it!

Wheeljack/Year Zero Split 7" (cover, insert and back)

The next batch of songs are from the LP put out by Stickfigure (aka Gay Jay Records). I'm glad they put out this album, as so many of these bands from this era never released a full-length album, and usually only have a 7" or Live at WREK session to remember them by (I'm looking at you guys in The Forty-Two). When I was transferring the songs to CD, however, I noticed that I had nine songs and only 8 song titles. I know the last song is Iscander, so I combined two songs to make The Breeze, which might be incorrect. Please let me know if I screwed up the transfer, as there is no insert, lyrics or any other information to go by here.

Wheeljack Album (front and back)

After the LP is one song from their Live At WREK session, that was on the Live at WREK CD that came out about 10 years ago. I would like to get their entire Live at WREK recording, if anyone has it on tape. Sean? Mike? Dave? How about you Josh?

Chris van Etten contacted me recently about several items on my want list, and that included the first Wheeljack demo tape. I have digitized it and added it to the end of this discography. He told me that they had a few other songs that were recorded at the time of the split 7" with Year Zero, but he didn't have them and the Wheeljack guys probably didn't want those songs to resurface anyhow. We'll just have to see about that.

So Sean Greathead (guitar) and Dave Ahuja (drums) are living in New York (surfing on Long Island and making music videos, respectively) and I will see them from time to time when I am up there. Michael Keenan plays in Battlecat and Hawks here in Atlanta, who I would like to play with someday, but haven't had the opportunity yet. Scott Rogers has been around and about, but I haven't seen him myself in a long time. He started a band with Chris van Etten called Flakscrampe Tramauntra, and then went into Electrosleep International with Michael Keenan. Mike and Sean played in a band called the Mascara Aesthetic with Josh Fauver and Derek Beber for a while, and then Electrosleep International, etc. Chocolate Kiss played with both of these bands a few times back in the day, but my knowledge of that stuff is a bit hazy right now, so sorry about the mistakes. I have not seen Kate Kraft since she was playing keyboards in Wheeljack, so I'm sure I would not recognize her today. I played in a short-lived band called Ananke with Sean before he moved to New York, and it was really great to finally play with one of these guys. He has a really interesting guitar style, that was maybe not the best match for my drumming at first, but I really liked making music with him. These are great guys, and a great band. One other piece of trivia/history: Frank Jensen from The 42 practiced with Wheeljack twice after Dave Ahuja left for New York, but then got into a car accident and broke his hip, and Wheeljack effectively disbanded after that point. Frank then played further in Chapman Park with Scott McFarland (aka Scott MC) and Scott Wilson (aka Emo-Beard), and then moved to Chicago to play in the Tyrades, etc. etc. etc.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Start of a New Generation - The Kossabone Red

Here is the album and 7" for download - The Kossabone Red LP and 7"

Since Jesse Smith finally released a full-length album with his Gentleman Jesse and His Men incarnation (which is one of my favorite local releases in years), I thought it would be nice to post what I believe is his earliest recording here. In fact, the 7" does not even include him, as The Kossabone Red was just Justin, Chris and Nick at the time.

If you have never heard The Kossabone Red, they were part of the strange era of DIY punk/emo/whatever generated by the midwestern bands such as Cap'n Jazz/Friction/Braid/Promise Ring/Get Up Kids/etc. during the mid to late 90's. I saw them a few times during this period, and although they were pretty rough around the edges, they should be given credit for attempting what is pretty complicated stuff while they were essentially still high school kids. I know that I wasn't playing songs with such abrupt changes and structures when I was their age, I was more interested in being juvenile (which we thought was being clever). Also, it is important to note that so many bands took on this type of music during this time, and so few of them were really good at it. My favorite was of course Friction, due to the Car Vs. Driver connection, but I think Braid were the tightest at it, and probably took it as far as it could go during their time. It helped that they had a Black Flag-level of practicing/recording/touring to give them that level of tightness. Cap'n Jazz probably put out the best record of this genre, but they could be a mess live (at least when I saw them).

So these guys were around in the late 90's, and Nick played drums on the first 7" only, and their replacement drummer Jeph started Airoes and other various bands (sang in Portrait, played drums in Electrosleep International among other things from what I hear), while the trio of Justin, Chris and Jesse stayed together to play in Some Soviet Station (with Lee Corum on drums) and Paper Lions (with Josh Lott on drums) until the early to mid-00's when Chris and Justin moved to Athens and Jesse stayed behind in Atlanta to play in the Carbonas and started Gentleman Jesse and His Men. I saw Justin working at the Grit in Athens a few times, and he played with Josh Lott in a band up there called Teenage Meth Lab for a little while. Chris has been playing bass in Maserati (at least on tour), and the story goes on.

These guys have all made excellent contributions to the Atlanta/Athens local music scene, and represents another generation of kids coming up and pollenizing this group of bands, musicians, etc. as we get older and stay at home more.

Also, here is some additional information that Scott McFarland (aka Scott MC) commented on this post:

A bit more on the history of this band -Ripcord started out as a 3 piece - brothers Justin and Nick playing guitar and drums, respectively and Chris on bass. They all went to Roswell high school (but Justin might have been out of high school by then). I think it was Chris who gave a us a demo tape (or maybe their 7" (on legendary Crazy Man Records out of Roswell)). Gavin and I thought it was great so we booked them to play a show at the I DEFY (I have no idea who they played with). I think they later realized that there were a few other bands around the country called Ripcord so they changed their name to Kossabone Red. Right about the time of the name change Jesse joined the band. Jesse was in another band at the time called Pax 13 with his brother Lee on drums. I seem to recall Jeph playing with them for a minute as well.I think Nick got sick of doing the whole band thing and quit as drummer. That is when Jeph started to play with them. Nick never did another band after that but he is still around Atlanta going to the occasional show now and then. We decided to put out an LP but I had extremely limited funds so we more or less recorded it ourselves at Under the Couch for free, so I will take all the blame for the sound quality. Luckily I could scrap together enough pocket change to pay Lewis to come in later for a few hours to do the mix.One thing I do remember about that recording session is that it was the same Saturday afternoon that a bunch of local scene kids got arrested at a Yerkes. I think some of the footage from the protests made it on the local news.

So, like most punk bands, these guys broke up very shortly after the LP came out. Hell, it might have been before it came out because I don't remember ever doing a record release show. The LP got some great reviews and I think if these guys had stuck together and done just one tour more people would remember this record. The good news is that the core of the group (Justin, Chris, Jesse) stuck together for many years after that and treated us to several great bands (Some Soviet Station, Paper Lions, etc). I don't know if Alex only has a digital copy of the Ripcord 7", but I have a real copy in case you guys need the artwork. Also, the Kossabone Red LP did have an insert. PC Josh carried on the Atlanta DIY tradition of working at Kinkos so he hooked me up with 1000 full color copies. Kinkos more or less financed the majority of the Concurrent releases. I have a few copies of this LP sitting around if anyone wants one - just let me know.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lay Down Mains/Sonn Av Krusher/Recompas - The Men Machines

This Saturday Sonn Av Krusher will be playing with our friends Lay Down Mains and Recompas at the Drunken Unicorn. This is an album release show for Lay Down Mains, so expect some loud rock n' roll raging from these guys all night long. Of course, expect a full set of power bore drone pummel from SAK, and some great atmospheric wash from Recompas to put everyone in the right frame of mind.

As mentioned in previous posts, Lay Down Mains features Rick Moore from Barrel/Rebar/Galanas Cerdd/Copa Vance/Home of the Wildcats/The Wayne Williams on guitar and Lee Corum from Chapterhall/Some Soviet Station/Copa Vance/Home of the Wildcats on drums. Recompas features Travis Thatcher and Ben Coleman from Judi Chicago, with a lot of gadgets, friends and other great gear. It is shaping up to be quite a night.

August 13 Update: The show was a great success, and not just because the bands were great and we got to see some old friends, but because Rick brought several copies of the never-released Barrel LP. I finally got my hands on one - thanks Rick!

I also recorded the set by Sonn Av Krusher, and Travis from Recompas sent me the recording of their set. Check it out here: Sonn Av Krusher Set / Recompas Set

Unfortunately, I ran out of battery before Lay Down Mains started, but rest assured they were tearing everyone a new one out there, in their totally unassuming way. They have a new album out on Moodswing Records - go get it now at your local record store, etc.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Atlanta Singles Week 32 - Bag of Jakes (1991)

Here is the recording - Bag of Jakes

The Bag of Jakes 7" is another one of those iconic local relases from my high school years. I can remember seeing the cover at Tower Records when I would go down there late in the evening to check out new music. At the time (1990-1992) Tower Records at Lenox was the main place for the suburbanite to get good music in Atlanta. They also had a local releases section, and it exposed me to the releases by Lunchbox Records like the Bag of Jakes 7", the Wrong Answer Zoo Breath 7", the View cassette tape, etc. Little did I know I would be playing in bands with some of these guys a few years later. At the time there was a whole scene of bands in Atlanta that I was completely separated from, and luckily the guys at Lunchbox and other labels took their records to Tower for consignment so people like myself could pick up on it. I never saw Dirt, Figure or Oily-O play live, as they were just too early for my time, but of course I got to see Fiddlehead around this time open for Fugazi, and probably has the biggest legacy of these four bands (although you can make a case for Dirt with Mount Shasta, Dirt as a band themselves are probably not as well known now as Fiddlehead).

As for the artwork, I don't know much about the cover photo, but I remember Kip telling me that the squirrel picture on the back was when he and some friends drove to DC to see Jawbox and made friends with this little guy in the park and snapped a picture. The thank you list is great, especially the "thanks to the US Navy for taking Steve off our hands". Steve joined the Navy for a few years before we started Car Vs. Driver, and was enrolled in their nuclear energy program, but was discharged due to severe headaches he would experience while in school. I think the experience gave him the drive and organizational skills to run Car Vs. Driver like he did and made us so productive for the 2 years we were together.

I noticed that Figure had Kyle Spence playing drums. So right now I have him playing drums in Figure, Fiddlehead, The Martians, Harvey Milk, The Tom Collins, J. Mascis and the Fog, and I remember playing a show at the Somber Reptile back in the early days and an opening band called Radio played, and he was on the drums for them as well. Are there any others I'm missing? As for the songs, I think I like the Dirt number the best. I really wish I had been able to see them, probably more than any other Atlanta band then and now. I am still looking for the "Sahara of the Bozart" album - does anyone out there have it? If so, then I will post an unofficial Dirt discography including the 2 7"s, the She-Male Sugarpussy LP, and this album. Stay tuned. Also, once I get a copy of the Maritans demo, I will post their stuff ASAP.

Inserts and back cover for the single: