Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Strike - A Conscience Left to Struggle With Pockets Full of Rust

Using late 70s British punk, ska and mod as touchstones, The Strike put out their first album in 1996.  If my fruitless google searches are any indication, it is still being slept on today.  That is surprising, especially considering that its release was preceded by a spilt 7" with basement-show darlings Dillinger Four.  I would'a thought there were thousands of young socialist whitebelts out there, bored to tears with their worn-out copies of London Calling and All Mod Cons,  chomping at the bit to drop a thrift store needle on this.  

Lacking in originality perhaps, but so what?  If you like the sound of '77 London, then you'll be plenty tickled with this.

Baby Astronauts - All the Pancakes You Can Eat

My friend Steve turned me onto this record at WRCT sometime in the early 90s.  He said they were "Minneapolis' Minutemen," which isn't too far off the mark.  To my ears they were also sonic contemporaries of Homestead Records mainstays like The Embarrassment, Salem 66, and Big Dipper.  

The record was pressed in a series of 1000 copies with unique cover artwork.  Each cover was cut from a huge original painting that must have been - if my math is correct, and I like to think that it is - over 1000 square feet in size.  

The attached image here is not my copy, by the way.  I found mine at Jerry's in Pittsburgh somewhere along the way, but it's packed away in a stack of LP boxes at the moment.  This image is blatantly swiped from the blog one base on an overthrow (thanks dude).

Download and enjoy, because unless you look hard you'll probably never find a copy of your own.  There is also a CD version out there, released by Big Money Inc., which includes 14 bonus tracks.  If you happen to have one let me know.  I'd love to hear it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Lot Six - Gwylo

I never would have known about this record at all were it not for my summertime DJ gig at WRCT in 2002.  This was a band who, on this album at least, was willing to experient and mix styles over the course of nine tracks.  Often that's just another recipe for shit sandwiches, but when it works - and it works on Gwylo - it can be awfully satisfying.  

I hear influences like Fugazi and Jehu on dynamic rockers like "This is Entertainment."  "Last Flight of the Spruce Goose" is all Tex-Mex desert shuffle.  "Coincidence Reprise" makes some lo-fi experimental strokes.   "The Tiny Tin" dips into the psychedelic effects toybox.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nothing Short of Total War (Part One) - Blast First comp (1989)

Tonight it's a pigfuck compilation double shot.  If you like the TnG comp posted earlier you'll probably love this.  Released in 1989 by the Mute imprint Blast First, Nothing Short of Total War was a who's-who of the indie pigfuck noise rock scene on both sides of the pond. 

Don't let the compilation tag fool you.  This is meant to be played from beginning to end, and you'll understand once you press play.  Don't let the familiar titles fool you, either.  This is not some cheesy label sampler rip-off.  Most of these tracks are live, demo, or alternate takes.  

I guess we shouldn't hold our breath for Part Two, eh?

(sorry for the rapidshare link... it's a big'n)

God's Favorite Dog - Touch n Go compilation (1986)

It probably goes without saying, but this compilation was the beginning of Touch n Go's salad days.

1. Butthole Surfers: Eindhoven Chicken Masque
2. Killdozer: Sweet Home Alabama
3. Scratch Acid: The Final Kiss
4. Hose: Down By The River
5. Happy Flowers: Colors In The Rain
6. Big Black: Every Man For Himself
7. Big Black: Crack Up
8. Happy Flowers: All I Got Were Clothes For Christmas
9. Hose: How Many More Times
10. Scratch Acid: Holes
11. Killdozer: Sonnet
12. Butthole Surfers: The Legless Eye

Love Cup | Hum | Dis- | Steakdaddy Six - Twelve Inch Records "Single of the Moment" series

The artwork for these singles is as hard to find as the singles themselves nowadays.  I have to admit, I don't own any of 'em myself.  I forget where I stumbled upon these mp3s but I'm glad I did. 

Twelve Inch Records can describe these better than I can:

Lovecup - Tearing Water b/w Juggernaut
Single of the Moment #1 (1992)

Every scene, every era has a great unsung band and Love Cup is that band for Chicago-Urbana in the early 90's. They found a perfect balance between metal and indie rock and influenced my band [Poster Children] and had an even greater influence on Hum. 

Hum - Hello Kitty b/w Roar, I'm a Tiger
Single of the Moment #2 (1992)

Jeff Dimpsey (formerly of Bad Flannel and Poster Children) takes up the bass after Baltie leaves to form Mother and Andy makes his last appearance on guitar and vocals. Recorded in the big city of Chicago with Brad Wood at the soon to be very hip IDFUL. This single moves even closer to the now familiar Hum sound.

Dis - Ed Was Solace b/w Girl Song
Single of the Moment #3 (1992)

Dis was the only 12 Inch band not to hail from the twin cities; they were a trio of Albini familiars hailing from the city of Milwaukee. Their song Ed Was Solace was their entry into the hearts and minds of the Twelve Inch family. Chris Fuller played guitar and sang, Rob Sieracki played bass and sang. Matt Morgan played drums. Recorded with finesse by Steve Albini in his home studio.

Steakdaddy Six - Rubber Pants b/w Play
Single of the Moment #4 (1992)

This single was recorded by Hum drummer Brian St. Pere at his home studio. Two drummers, heavy guitar and wah-wah bass sounds like a recipe for disaster but these guys pulled it off with panache and a sense of humor. They were the figurehead band of Twelve Inch, releasing all of their music on the label.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Kerosene 454 - Came by to Kill Me

This was their second and in my opinion best album.  Tense, melodic stress core with some prettier moments mixed in.  They played Pittsburgh a bunch of times, having ties to State College folks who lived and played here, but somehow I never got to see them.  

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hurl - Bessemer Process 2x7" | Shale - Truth/Lie 12" EP | Swob - The Explosion of Scilence 7"

I was a DJ at WRCT 88.3 fm at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh during my college years.  I didn't play guitar or drums, the standard indie rock instruments of the day, but I wanted to be a part of the burgeoning local scene.  My solution was to pool resources with several of my station alumni friends and help release records by some of our favorite local bands.

Fiscally speaking, our independent record label failed horribly.  It was a common story then and now, and it's not worth retelling.  Suffice to say that our enthusiasm for the business did not match our enthusiasm for the music.  

Musically speaking, however, I am pleased with our legacy.  Among our releases were Hurl's The Bessemer Process 2x7" and Shale's Truth/Lie 12" EP.   If memory serves, those were two of the three to be celebrated at the advertised "TRIPLE RECORD RELEASE PARTY!" on your left.  Also included, mostly because of dumb luck and a wealth of photos archived at Hurl's MySpace page, is the third and final 7" release by local art damage no wave scoundrels Swob.

For the unfamiliar:
Hurl = midwestern indie rock a la Bitch Magnet, Don Caballero, Hum, Slint (fun fact - Hurl bassist/vocalist Matt Jencick has been Slint's bassist for their recent reunion performances)
Shale = heavy post-punk indie crossed with screamo/hardcore
Swob =  psychopathic musings accompanied by atonal guitar splattered with tribal thuds.

(PS, if anyone reading has some good digital images of any of these records' artwork, please pass 'em on, eh?)

Pines of Nowhere - self titled

I don't know much about this band.  Slowdime released this album in 2001.  I saw another 7" a year or so later, but that's it.  Trans Am's drummer played bass.  

This record's tight and melodic post punk swam in the same pool as Drive Like Jehu, Kerosene 454, Bluetip, et al.  

Don Caballero - Live at the Middle East, Boston, MA - March 9, 1999

Don Caballero's lineup has never been constant.  For a brief time after What Burns Never Returns was released, the band remained a quartet despite the departure of founding guitarist Mike Banfield and bassist Pat Morris.  John Fine (Bitch Magnet, Vineland) took over on guitar.  Eric Topolsky, already playing in Ian Williams' other group Storm and Stress, filled the bass spots.  That quartet toured a bit in 1999, including this date in Boston, before reverting to the pedal-driven trio which eventually delivered American Don.

This boot is notable for a few reasons.  Firstly, of course, it sounds pretty good for what was apparently a crowd mic recording.  Also, they play two songs from Don Caballero 2, a live feat which for whatever reason was not attempted by the original quartet at the time What Burns... was released.  Lastly, the track "That Badge Means You Suck" was an early version of "You Drink a Lot of Coffee for a Teenager."  

Often imitated, never duplicated, frequently hated - Don Caballero.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Devil Dogs - Saturday Night Fever

Modern Rock radio would have you believe that the garage rock revival was contrived by Jack White, the Strokes, and Little Steven's radio show around 2001 or so.  All due respect, where the fuck were any of them in 1993 when this album was released?

This album was the Devil Dogs' finest moment.  Imagine a relentless garage punk-cum-Grease-style rock opera.  Hell, just imagine what the music must sound like as performed by the dudes in this album cover.  Guy picks up girl.  Guy loses girl.  Guy says fuck it, I'll just find another girl.  Classic.

Thee Speaking Canaries - The Joy of Wine LP

Right about the time that Don Caballero began turning heads outside of Pittsburgh, drummer Damon Che's "other band," Thee Speaking Canaries, started playing out around town.  They began as a trio with Che on guitar and lead vocals, Karl Hendricks on bass and occasional vocals, and Ian Williams on drums.  Williams was succeeded by Noah Leger in time for the recording of this, their first LP.  

The Joy of Wine was released in a limited edition of 500 vinyl copies on the local indie Mind Cure.  It's mostly reminiscent of midwestern indie rock styles from the time, and quite a few steps away from the Canaries' later and better known turn as the bastard child of a Sonic Youth-Wayne Rogers-Van Halen three way orgy.