Friday, October 31, 2008

The Difference 1992 Demo

Here is the recording for download: The Difference 1992 Demo

This was one of the last old demo tapes in my archive, so while everything is hooked up I transferred it to CD and uploaded it here. Now I can put my tape player away and start working on the mini-discs. I saw the Difference a few times during their day, but it is all a vague memory to me, and I couldn't tell you really any details at the moment. A lot of these early shows at the Wreck Room, Milo's, Somber Reptile all run together. Many bands played, there were pits and stage-diving, there was a lot of pointing and yelling of choruses, I'm not sure which ones were the Difference. They were right in middle of the Duluth hardcore scene with Crisis Under Control, Act of Faith, etc., but I personally didn't know the guys at all, so maybe some comments can share some info on their history and current exploits.

With regards to the music, listening to the Atlanta Hardcore Compilation 7", I was impressed by how professional their song sounded (and especially the drumming, which was pretty top notch in this style), but I think this demo might have preceeded that recording as it is definitely rougher and has not developed nearly as much. I'm not sure if it was recorded at Sleepless Nights, but it could also have been done on a 4-track in their basement, it's hard to tell. Most of the recordings from back then were pretty rough, no matter where it was done.

Thanks to Will Greene for the flyer - who else?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Go Back To Europe - The Early Musical Explorations of Alex LaRoche and Travis Thatcher

Here is the download:

Go Back To Europe - Live At WREK 2002-12-17
Go Back To Europe - How The West Was One

You may know Travis Thatcher as the yank in Judi Chicago (playing Friday night at the Drunken Unicorn), and you may know Alex LaRoche from who knows where but currently as a resident of San Francisco working for a company called Apple (and getting married on November 16th - Congrats!), but before all this they were a postpunk electronic (or whatever you call it) duo named Go Back to Europe based out of our fair city of Atlanta.

I played briefly in a band with Alex called Ananke back around this time (with Benjamin Lukens from The hal al Shedad and Sean Greathead from Wheeljack), and mainly knew him as that red-headed guy I would see at Under the Couch running the soundboard and taking money at the door. Travis was a guy I knew through the Lukens brothers, but didn't really get to know well until Noot d' Noot started playing shows with Judi Chicago earlier this year. Travis also introduced me to his other brilliant band Recompas, which seems to be more of a progression from the Go Back To Europe stuff - especially when you listen to the Live at WREK session included here. Also, I'm not sure if the pink panties are in reference to the Athens supergroup, but you might have to ask them about that.

For some reason, I seem to bond well with the musicians coming out of Georgia Tech. I would like to say it is due in part to WREK, as it is my favorite radio station in Atlanta, and one that really promotes musical diversity, and thereby exposes their students to new and interesting music that they in turn make themselves. It's great to see new generations of local musicians experimenting with their music and developing a diverse musical pallette resulting from their exposure to WREK programming. I have discussed this with Gavin before, but I think we are really lucky to have a radio station such as this in our town, whether we appreciate it or not.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Flakscrampe Tramauntra - Unreleased Split LP

Here is the download: Flakscrampe Tramauntra

Chris Van Etten has been providing some of the latest stuff posted on this blog (e.g. Wheeljack demo, 42 Live at WREK, Chapman Park demo), and during the process I have been learning about some of his previous bands. He is currently the bassplayer for the Carbonas, but one of his earlier bands was called Flakscrampe Tramauntra, or Flak Scrampe Tramauntra as three words, I'm not sure. Jon Lukens forwarded me their five song recording recently, and was really blown away, especially concerning the time period from which it came from. In the late 90's, the general tendency for DIY bands was to get more academic and cerebral in their writing and presentation. Song structures became more complicated, band names became more complicated, and everything was becoming purposefully impenetrable. This is a technique by which bands can sometimes become popular by making music that is difficult for people to understand, and thereby earning respect for the intellectual exercise. These guys took where they were coming from and added a visceral element to it, and greatly improved the output. I look at it like a Wheeljack-type band (maybe because they had the same singer), but throw in some Born Against, maybe some Skull Kontrol and you get these guys. I never got to see them during their era, which is unfortunate, but it shows that there are good bands all over the place, and maybe they don't have the connections to get the big shows, but you should not judge a band by their popularity, rule one.

Here are some details provided by Chris himself:

Flakscrampe Tramauntra 1996-1999

Membs: Scott Rogers (vox), Phil Ritchie (guitar), Chris Van Etten (bass), Jeff Dilbeck (drums).

Initially Phil and I tried to be a two-piece using a drum machine, but that didn't work so Jeff offered to play drums. Our first few practices had Phil and I switching vocals, but Scott was itching to sing in another band (Wheeljack was active at this time), so we brought him in. Just as well, since he was a better vocalist/lyricist than me or Phil. This line up solidified in Nov 1996. Despite practicing regularly, we didn't play a show until July 1997. We played out sporadically until our last show on August 4th, 1999. All of the shows were either in Atlanta or Athens, I think there were 17 altogether. Because we played out so rarely, most of the shows were on the sloppy side. Sometimes we'd do really well, and once or twice we flat out sucked. Also, like I told you before, we didn't know how the hell to promote ourselves so often we'd wind up playing to just a handful of friends. Every once in a while we'd do something gimmicky like all wear hammer and sickle t-shirts or all shave our heads.

Musically, I guess we were inspired by the more interesting (read:arty) DIY bands of the mid 90's, as well as Nomeansno, NOU, the Steve Albini bands and older punk bands like Black Flag (the only cover we ever played in public was "No Values"). The straight-up punk influence was particularly important, because it seemed at the time that most bands were trying TOO hard to sound "advanced" and "nuanced" or whatever. Maybe this is too personal, but I thought it was stupid that you would look more out of place wearing a Meatmen shirt at a show than a fucking SMITHS shirt. I also didn't (and still don't) feel that retaining a solid punk influence and adapting interesting stylistic attributes couldn't go together. Too many people had poured the baby out with the bathwater. I don't mean to rant, but that had a lot to do with the ideology of the band. This is all in my opinion, the other guys may feel different.

We did some basement recordings and one song"The Lost Art of Dueling" wound up on a Food Not Bombs comp. The six songs we recorded in the studio were initially meant to be one side of a split LP with Action Porn, Josh Fauver's one-man band at the time. Around 2005/2006, an attempt was made to reignite the band. We all lived in different states, so we would email tracks to each other. These songs were electronically based and didn't really sound like the old material. This more or less fell through, but I think Jeff and Phil are still working together on stuff. As of right now, Jeff still lives in the Atlanta area, Scott is living in North Carolina (I think) and Phil is in the Navy, living in San Francisco.

For our name, Jeff and I just threw a bunch of syllables together out of frustration after hearing that Thoughtcrime, our initial moniker, had already been taken.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More from 1999 - Good Friday Experiment at MJQ (1999-12-29)

Here is the download - The Good Friday Experiment 1999-12-29

This is a show recorded at MJQ back when bands actually played the main part of the club (and not the Drunken Unicorn). They were officially called Good Friday Experiment by this time, and not their original name, which was Beale Street Green (after the Big Star record).

This recording was of the short-lived 5-piece lineup of the band, including Marcus Lowe on drums, Mathis Hunter on guitar, Rich Morris on keyboards, Justing McNeight on guitar, and Ed Rawls on bass. I thought the picture of above of them playing MJQ as the original four-piece was from this show, but I guess I was mistaken. This was one of my favorite incarnations of the band, with a great mellow California-style twang running through it.

At this time we were just starting to experiment with quiet music in our lives, and these guys took it to a respectable atmospheric level. I remember "working the lights" on this show, and in the trance of the music kept everything so dim that they couldn't see their own equipment anymore. We used to have these light boxes at The White Lodge where I lived with Ed and Rich that would randomly dim different lights in the series at different times, creating a very soothing experience while listening to ambient records late at night. I tried to replicate that idea here, but it didn't really translate to a club environment.

Soon after this, Marcus moved back to Arkansas to live on a farm and raise a family, and the remaining members of GFE pushed on as a quartet with switched instruments (Mathis took the drums and Justin took over guitar and lead vocal duties). They released several CDs, etc. but this is one of the only recordings in this special state.

Enjoy the drone.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Nite-Owls At Lenny's Are Not What They Seem

Sonn Av Krusher has a show coming up on Thursday at Lenny's. Gray Kiser is always the man with the flyer, so I felt it necessary to post it here. Feel free to come out - I'm sure we'll play first, so it will work with our elderly lifestyles.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

After Words - S/T LP and Live at WREK (February 2, 1989)

Here is the download - After Words album and Live at WREK

UPDATE: Steve Wishart knows way more about After Words than you or me, so check out his comments below. Also, he's the guy that originally transferred the Live at WREK session, so credit goes out to him for being such a voracious fan.

I decided it was time to transfer and upload the After Words album, and thanks to Skyward Eyes, I also have their Live at WREK set from 1989. I never knew the guys personally, but I would run into and talk to Brian the guitarist from time to time (one time I was next to him in line at the DMV) and he would give me little bits and pieces of information about them as they were a just a bit before my time. From what he told me, this record was actually their demo, and Amanda Mackaye from Sammich records (sister of Ian) convinced them to use it for their Sammich LP debut. He was disappointed at how that turned out, because they had better songs available but never ended up releasing them and this LP became their only document. The album is not bad, but I can see what he means. It was urban legend that the After Words LP bankrupted Sammich, but that is unsubstantiated. One interesting note about the cover artwork was that it was done by Jason Farrell, who has made more Dischord Records layout than you could ever understand.

I'm sure After Words got a lot of Rights of Spring comparisons, but I think they have much more in common with later 80's DC stuff like 3 or Senator Flux, post revolution summer but before the early 90's peak (Circus Lupus, NOU, Lungfish, etc.). I think the late 80's was a difficult time for this kind of music. Lots of chorus pedals, awkward lyrics and singing, meandering song structures. They seem to have a bit of that going on, but I think they did Atlanta proud and probably played some great shows. On the Live at WREK recording, they mention an upcoming show with 7 Seconds at the Wreck Room later that week, and I know they opened for Ignition, just to name a select few.