Friday, December 28, 2007

The Last-She Don't Know Why I'm Here 7" Download

Here's a rare case where I'm nearly at a total loss for words as far as what to say about this record. The Last were an LA band who were a part of the whole punk thing back in the late 70s, but were more influenced by the Beach Boys and the Beatles than the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. Their LP, LA Explosion is a great melodic record, that features much less exciting versions of both of these songs. They could really nail some harmonies that were pretty atypical in early punk.

The version of "She Don't Know Why I'm Here" on this 7" is spectacular. One of the true gems that proves why the late 70s in LA are extremely under-rated in mainstream rock press. I always assumed it was recorded live, but the sleeve, as you can see, doesn't give any indication how it was actually done, but does credit a producer. The B side is also great, but not nearly as good.

She Don't Know Why I'm Here
Bombing of London

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I Object!-Pink 7" Download (aka S/T bka Everyone Is Welcome

I have a long personal history with I Object! (with an exclamation point like Against Me!, but not as pretentious) that's too long to explain here as this post will probably be too long as it is(and honestly, I just don't have the energy for it after the holidays).

This 7" was sold as a pre-order on their first winter tour a few years ago. When you bought it, they gave you a CD of all the songs with a couple extra tracks, and you wrote down your address for them to send you a copy when it came out. When they played Birmingham that tour, they took a wrong turn on the interstate and ended up in Montgomery, about an hour South of the city. They finally made it into town and to the right place for the show, set up in about 2 minutes, and played something like 12 songs. I timed them, and they played for 9 minutes. The band they were on tour with (John Wayne's Severed Head) weren't near as good, and I don't know if they went on to do anything else.

This 7" is still the best thing the band has ever released. There was a good split with a Michigan band called Forever Youth, and one more 7" called America Today that came out on a German label, I think. Their stuff after that wasn't ever as interesting to, even though I still own it all. It's heavier and a little slower, it just didn't suck me in like this record. Live, this band is still one of the best bands you will ever go see. They also hold the distinction of being one of the first US bands to actively import records by hardcore bands from third world countries, and then try and tour those countries (I've read account by people in Eastern Europe who think of I Object! the same way a lot of American think of Black Flag). I hate to think of all the music I would have missed out on had I not gotten to know these guys and had the advantage of their activism towards a global punk movement.

I believe there were 1,000 of these pressed. 500 on this version, marbled red with a silk screened b side, and 500 on orange. The 7" is long out of print, but is compiled on The First Two Years CD, with the aforementioned Forever Youth 7" and extra demo tracks from the tour sampler, as well as other compilation tracks and demos. And yes, there are 8 songs on this record, on ONE SIDE.

Download Pink 7"

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Weekend In Shows

As rarely as I'm able make it out to shows, it's even more rare that I'm able to see two in one weekend, so this weekend has ended up being pretty great for me. Friday afternoon I had a party at work with an open bar, so after downing way too many beers and meeting up with my wife to eat/sober up for a little while, I drove downtown for Macabre's Holiday of Horrors show. Apparently it's an annual event in Chicago that I didn't hear anything about last year, but puts me in a good place because I know I have something to look forward to next year as well.

All the bands were local, and the first band, the only one I'd never heard, was a sort of crusty metallic hardcore band from the Northside called Rager. Certain things about them made me judge them prematurely (firstly, I hate their name, and I always judge bands when I don't like their name), and I didn't think I'd like it, but they tore through a relentless set of fast, thrashy, heavy hardcore that didn't give you a lot of time to judge them after they started. There aren't very many locals I hear from Chicago that I get excited about, but I definitely want to keep my eyes on these guys. They nailed all their tempo changes, had split vocals that were both hectic and angry, and were punk enough to hang with the hardcore crowd, but definitely heavy enough to fit the metal atmosphere at the show.

HeWhoCorrupts played after Rager. I'd been looking forward to finally getting a chance to see them for a while, and they completely blew my expectations out the door. When you listen to a band a lot, but don't ever see pictures of them or anything, you build up this image of what they'd be like playing live, so I had this perfect image in my head of what they were going to be like, and they weren't it at all. First off, I guess I never realized how many people were in that band (6), and I also didn't think about exactly how far they'd bring out their corporate asshole stage personas. The singer opened their set with a story patting himself on the back with a recent three-way before they blasted into one of the most chaotic sets I've seen a long time. It was so refreshing. They played most of the songs I wanted to hear, and played them all even more intense than they are on record. Trying to quote the banter between songs would be pointless because I'd never get it right, and the perfect delivery of the speeches are what made it really special.

After HeWhoCorrupts were Dead to Fall. I heard them a few years ago on a Victory Records sampler and let that get in the way of admitting anything good about them. Because Rager reminded me of how quick I am to pass off bands for stupid reasons, I decided it was a good time to give Dead to Fall a second chance. They were tight and had a couple moments of cool dual-axing, but all of their songs dissolved into jock hardcore beatdown shit for kids to spin-kick to. It's obvious they know a lot more chords than just that low-D, but I guess they're doing really well for themselves. I wasn't into it at all, though.

After sort of a long set-up, Macabre finally took the stage. I heard Macabre for the first time when I was a freshman in high school and always loved them, but they were never a band I'd ever thought I'd get to see live, so this was a pretty cool moment for me. They were having a bit of an off night, mostly due to a sound man that must have been drinking the whole night and was getting pretty bad towards the end, but it was still great. There were a few rough moments on the songs I was really familiar with where it was obvious they couldn't hear each other and were trying to keep it all together, but on some of the older songs I don't know so well I couldn't even tell if there were any problems. They set an eerie mood that made you paranoid about getting killed by some psycho at the show, as they went through brief back stories on all their songs (if you aren't familiar with the band, all of their songs are about serial killers) before blasting into the songs. I had to cut out right after their set, so there may have been an encore I missed, but there's always next year and I definitely got my money's worth.

Last night my wife Toni and I went to the Beat Kitchen on the Northside to see the Koffin Kats. They've been a favorite of both of ours for a while now and we hadn't seen them in two years (I believe the last time they played Chicago they played like 15 minutes from our house but it was two days before Toni was due to give birth). I normally don't take any interest in American psychobilly bands because, as a general rule, they're awful. Anybody has to admit, psychobilly is a genre Americans have never done right, and the Europeans have us beat hands down. The Koffins Kats are a little different than most US bands right now because they aren't really trying to be a "psychobilly band". The bassist/main vocalist is a greaser, and the guitarist/secondary vocalist is a punk (they're the only two consistent members, I know they've been through at least three different drummers) and they each bring their own elements to the table along with a good bit classic rock n roll showmanship to arrive at a sound that's close to psychobilly, rather than just trying to cop European psycho bands. In that sense, the Koffin Kats are one the few bands that have managed to break out of the whole "quiff rock" mold and manage to come anywhere close to genius that bands like the Meteors and Demented Are Go created. Their set last night was great, much faster than I remember, and showed no signs of road weariness even though it was the last date of their tour before heading back to Detroit.

We showed up late and missed the first opening band, Johnny Murder and the 25 to Life, which I was disappointed with because I actually like the stuff I've heard by them, which is along the lines on the Guana Batz. We did catch the Massacres set, which I'd really not have because they're one of those bands that I'm convinced no one even likes, they just go see because they're friends and are convinced it's "cool", so those people convince other people it's "cool" to see them, and the cycle goes on until suddenly everyone claims they like this band that, in reality, no one likes at all. You know, the kind of band that sells a ton of t-shirts, but never any CDs.

Rager on MySpace
HeWhoCorrupts on MySpace
Dead to Fall on MySpace
Macabre on MySpace

Johnny Murder and the 25 to Life on MySpace
The Massacres on MySpace
Koffin Kats on MySpace

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Podcast 12/20/07-All American Oi!

I decided to put together an Oi! podcast a couple weeks ago. After pulling a bunch of records for the playlist, I realized 90% of it was American, so I just decided to go with an all American theme. American Oi! bands have always gotten a bad rep, even though most of them, in my opinion, blow away their British counterparts. Sure, there have been tons of horrible US Oi! bands, but there have also been tons of great ones.

There are obvious omissions here. I wasn't thinking about putting together something to educate anyone on the American Oi! scene, I was just putting together some stuff I liked and thought flowed well. The glaring absenses from bands like the Effigies and Iron Cross will be put into a future episode furthering the theme.

I enjoyed sitting down and throwing back a few beers while putting this together. You can hear me getting progressively more buzzed as the show goes on, until I start speaking in questions(?) like a girl from the valley(?). Is that really how I talk when I'm drinking? Someone should have told me sooner so I would've shut up. There is one correction I need to make. In the show, I mention that 86 Mentality borke up earlier this year, and apparantly that is a rumor and they're still together. Also, I might sound like I'm trying to "call out" Sons of Liberty about being racists, which I wasn't. The B side of the single from this Podcast is a cover of "Up on the Roof". I don't see how a band could be racist and cover that. I was just kinda' drunk and it came out wrong. And, thanks to Fred for hooking me up with the Lion's Pride demo their track on here comes from. Anyway, here you are.

Wretched Ones-Dead Man Working
Maddog Surrender-My Youth
Uprise-Around the World

The Trouble-Grasping at Straws
Fear City-One More Day
Adolf and the Piss Artists-Terminators

Lion's Pride-Terrorism
Barons-Bottom of My Glass
Stars and Stripes-American Oi!
86 Mentality-Fall In Line

Templars-Dawn's Early Light
Dropkick Murphy's-Never Alone
Slag-Blood on the Streets

US Chaos-Eye for an Eye
Sons of Liberty-Justice Denied

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Monday, December 17, 2007

NWA-Straight Outta Compton 20th Anniversary 2xLP (Priority, Ruthless)

I've always had a passing interest in rap music, though it wasn't ever even close to the focal point of my listening. I always liked more intelligent hip hop styled stuff like Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, or newer stuff like the Anticon Record stuff and, of course, Atmosphere and
Aesop Rock. But c'mon, NWA ruled. It's just hardcore punk from the really bad areas of SoCal. If the Adolescents had been from Compton and had actually taken the time to try and get an education past the 8th grade, they probably would have put out this record in '81.

Anything I would say trying to explain this band to someone that, for some reason, never heard of them, would all be included in the Wikipedia article about them. We all know that Dre was knocked for supposedly stealing beats and rhymes, and there are dozens of stories about tensions in the group that I don't think anyone except those members still living will ever really know about, but that doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that the band deliberately recorded certain cuts on this record for the sole purpose of having a "single" that would push the album onto the charts ("Something 2 Dance 2"), or that there are still debates on how royalties were split. What matters is that this record, 20 years later, is still honest and pulls no punches. People complain about rap music nowadays like it's a brand new thing, but this record is more raw than pretty much anything coming out now, and it's 20 years old. There are traces of misogyny, it glorifies the gangster lifestyle to a degree, but it accomplishes it's goal of exposing street life and getting those living it to take a hard look at how they live their life. "I Ain't Tha 1", which is skewed (understandably) as a sexist response to "needy bitches", but in actuality the intention is to rally against women in the ghetto who latch onto drug dealers for their money and ignore/suck dry people playing it straight who can't afford to keep up with the Jones'. "Dopeman" is supposedly a glorification drug-dealers and users, but it was the only way they could communicate what they saw on the streets of Compton, how crack was ruining lives all around them

I got the vinyl edition of this, which is a remastered double LP on 180 gram vinyl. It sounds fucking sweet. The D side is a "tribute" side that features some adequate covers by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Snoop Dogg, Mack 10, and others, but seems more about having some bigger names on the record than making substantial contributions to the album. The record speaks for itself.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Skate Korpse-Down 7" Download

I know I've mentioned how great I think Skate Korpse was and how much the original 7"s sell for on eBay even though they're only a couple of years old. Luckily, the Discography LP is still in print for now, so you won't have fork over almost $100 to get them.

I think Down is the best of the three 7"s they put out. The record says that it's limited to 200 copies (and pressing info says that there were 100 on pink, implying 100 on black), but I have been told on good authority that the label intentionally lied about that to make it more "collectible", and there were actually 300 pressed total (100 on pink and 200 on black). I don't know if that information is wrong or the result of rumours being twisted (anyone who knows, please chime in).

POST EDIT: In my most retarded move yet, I typed this entry without even consulting the liner notes of the Discography LP. I was contaced by a member of the band who pointed out that the pressing info. for the singles is listed on the insert of the LP, and clearly states that the pink version of this was a second pressing, limited to 100 copies.

More Brainless
Front Page White Out
The Valley

There's a ten second outro after "The Valley" that I left out.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dead Low Tide-Self Titled LP Download

I didn't start this blog as an MP3 blog. I actually started it just to write about music. I always enjoyed discussing music and figured that if I had an outlet that people might go out of their way to go read, it would keep me from talking about it all the time in my real life. It has worked to an extent, but for some reason, I got hooked on sharing so much great music with people, I'd forgotten all about how good it felt to just share my opinion about it. I just felt like I should let you know.

Dead Low Tide was the band that 3/5 of the Murder City Devils started after they broke up (inluding vocalist Spencer Moody). I don't like it as near as much as I do the Devils, and to be quite honest, if Moody wasn't involved, I don't think I'd be interested in it at all. The Murder City Devils were a near-perfect band, and 90% of their greatness came from Moody's vocals.

There are a couple of moments of greatness here. It's easy to see how the sound here is a progression on the last Devils record (Thelema), sans keyboards and the rock n roll edge. The songs are all basically written in extended metaphors that expand on Spencer Moody's love with the romantic life of the sailor. He never reaches the pure poetic bliss of the songs in the Devil's catalog on the subject like "18 Wheels" or the epic "Bear Away", from the Thelema record. The album is worth a listen, but it's a gamble for some.

Download Dead Low Tide

Friday, December 7, 2007

Hudson Falcons/Virus Nine split 7" (City Rat)

The Hudson Falcons have always put out good releases, but it always seemed to me that the band was always more about the live show and any recordings were just a little something to take home from that, or as promotion to get you to go see them (instead of the other way around). There's just something about the spot-and-ady of the band that will never, ever be captured on CD.

With that out of the way, the first Hudson Falcons' song on this 7" is pretty typical of the band. Positive lyrics about rock n roll with a rock n roll backbeat to carry it along. It makes you want to drink a lot and dance around with your friends. It won't change your life, but it'll make it a lot more fun, and that always seemed like the goal for bands like this. Their second contribution is a very, very styleised cover of Billy Bragg's "Power In the Union". It was always one of my least favorite Bragg songs because it always seemed a little uninspired to me, but their version adds a little "umph!" to the track.

I'd never actually heard Virus Nine before this record. I'd judged them because they put out a record on A-F Records, and, as a rule, A-F Records bands fucking suck. Surprisingly, the two songs they put on this slab of wax (both demos for an earlier LP) are way better than I expected. It's a little darker than most "streetpunk" stuff coming out of the US right, and much better put together, and "Urban Light" starts off with a nice shuffled beat before going into a pretty straightforward streetpunk sound. That actually kind of remind me of Kraut.

This is limited to 1,200 hand numbered copies. 500 are on blue.

Hudson Falcons on MySpace
Virus Nine on MySpace
Buy It On Interpunk

This Is England

I finally got to see This Is England a couple weeks ago and I've noticed that it's been all over the blogoshpere recently as well (the DVD was just released in the US, so I imagine a lot of people are just now picking it up as I did). I'd been looking forward to the movie for months and was stoked to finally get to see it.

This Is England is Shane Meadows' semi-autobiographical account of his vague associations with the skinhead cult in the early 1980s. It is the first time I've ever seen non-racist skins depicted in a movie (outside of the 10 second explanation given in the Troma classic Dog Years). The timeline of events happens to fall during the Thatcher period of political unrest in Britain, when people were reacting to inflating immigration issues and a failing economy (sounds familiar, right?), and skinheads, being mostly white, working class males, were reacting the most, and being suckered into far right-wing political movements like the National Front. In essence, it explains the roots of the "white power" element of skinhead.

The soundtrack is perfect, mostly older ska (the opening credits are set to "54-46 Was My Number") with a little 80s music to fit the time period. Amazon has it, but it's pretty pricey. The tracks worth having are definitely worth going out and buying the records by the original artists, though.

I wasn't around in the 80s, so I can't say it's spot on, but I can say that, for me, it's the most accurate depiction of the subculture I've seen in any sort of mass media. The obvious differences can be explained by looking at the fact that it was England in 1983, and so things in the US in 2007 are obviously going to have different connotations. But, the real scary thing was just how close some things are. The political state of the US is so close to what was happening in England at the time, and people are reacting in the same way. With immigration on the rise and racial tensions getting more heated every day in some areas, I'm seeing what were once considered legitimate aspects of the skinhead culture being warped by nationalism and blind patriotism. It can be explained away that there's a fine line between nationalism and racism, which there is, but it's a fine line we walk on every single day, and I've seen a lot of people straddle it. Can't we learn anything from the past?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Podcast 12/6/07

One day early, I know. It's my best so far, I think.

Link Wray-Rumble
Annihilation Time-Reality?
Panaceja-Jedi Govna (Croatia)

Anti You-Bail Out
Ray McCoy-I Need It
Poison Idea-Think Twice
Rabies-Gonna' Fuck You Up

Led Zeppelin-Dazed and Confused
Kriegs Kopf-Gun Power
The Freeze-Eating My Insides
The Stranger-Prison Called Life

"Napalm Death"-Don't Bother
Hank III-Dick in Dixie
Detention-Dead Rocker (AKA "Dead Rock n Rollers") (live)

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sideburns-All Skinhead Cons 7" Download

The Sideburns were Osaka's ruling Oi! superstars in the 90s. They had at least one other release, an LP called Golden Hits that's at least as good as this, if you ever track it down, let me know, I want a copy. I believe they also had an earlier 7".

The record isn't really straightforward Oi! (by American or British Oi! standards). It's bit more melodic, and the B side is a pretty dark song about...well, I don't really know what it's about (also, sorry about all the surface noise at the beginning of that track, there's a really long fade-in on the record). I think I should just share the lyrics inside:

"We can have a lot of thought
We can have any fun
But there need to stop
Mad chess play the fasten ghost"

Are they on drugs or does this just not translate too well into English?

Get Away
Mad Chess Play the Fasten Ghost

Sunday, December 2, 2007

V/A-Songs the Cramps Taught Us Vol.1 Download

A lot of people I know are aware that the bulk of the Cramp's material are actually covers, or butchered mergings of two covers, or ripped off music with new lyrics. I'm suprised at the number of people I meet, though, that haven't heard this series.

I've got a ooooooold bootleg 12" called Songs We Taught the Cramps that covers a lot of the early Cramp's stuff and throws in some samples from old horror movies. As far as I know, that's the earliest version of what turned into a huge deal among rock n roll comps. There have been several different comps. bootlegged under the name Songs the Cramps Taught Us, but as far as I can tell, this series of three CDs seems to be the best (though at least two different covers exists for each volume, and there are other versions that stole the artwork but are different tracklists). The liner notes are great, with bios on all the original performers and some thoughts on the different versions. I've honestly never really listened to the Born Bad series, though I understand they're supposed to be quite good as well.

This collection spans the 50s/60s underground gamit. You've got some rockabilly, fuzzed out psych, a little surf stylings, some demented jazz, and plenty of old school rock n roll. My personal favorites are The Sonics' "Strychnine", which is probably the best American garage rock song ever written, The Third Bardo with "Five Years Ahead of My Time", and the Frantics' sci-fi surf "Werewolf". On the subject of that, the CD credits the song "Werewolf" as the inspiration for the Cramps' song "Don't Eat Stuff Off the Sidewalk", while the original Songs We Taught the Cramps points to the Ventures' classic "Twilight Zone". Both are very similar and either one could be the "real" inspiration, but we'll probably never know for sure (but my bet is that the band was well aware of both songs).

I had to split it into two downloads:
Part 1
Part 2
1.Sparkles-Hipsville 29 B.C.
2.Dwight Pullen-Sunglasses After Dark
3.Link Wray-Fatback
4.Sherrif & Ravels-Shombolar
5.Riptides-Machine Gun
6.Bo Diddley-Dancing Girl
7.Trashmen-Surfin Bird
8.Walter Brown-Jelly Roll Rock
11.Third Bardo-Five Years Ahead Of My Time
12.Busters-Bust Out
13.The Phantom-Love Me
14.Jett Powers-Go Girl Go
15.Ronnie Cook & Gaylads-Goo Goo Muck
16.Runabouts-Strangeness In Me
19.Elroy Dietzel-Rockin Bones
20.Dale Hawkins-Tornado
22.Keith Courvale-Trapped Love
23.Freddie & Hitchikers-Sinners
24.Charlie Feathers-Can't Hardly Stand It
25.Andy Starr-Give Me A Woman
26.R.Lewis Band-Get Off The Road
27.Hayden Thompson-Blues Blues Blues
28.Lee Dresser & Krazy Kats-Beat Out My Love
29.Andre Williams-Bacon Fat
30.Jack Scott-The Way I Walk
31.Elvis Presley-Do The Clam.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Laisse Tomber Les Filles


When I was a freshman in highschool, a senior girl gave me an awesome mixtape full of great old rock n roll, punk, some jazz, and a little soul. Buried on the second side was Link Wray's classic "Rumble". In the liner notes she typed up for me, she told me to study Link Wray, because listening to, and understanding, his music would allow me to "develop a cool strut of my own." It was a silly way of putting it, but true. Rock n roll has always been about that swagger we carry with us, you can see it in our walk. Like we're onto something so much cooler than you are. The entire Cramp's catalog has that swagger to it (just listen to Bad Music for Bad People right before you go into a new job and you'll see what I mean). "Laisse Tomber Les Filles", oddly enough, is another great example of this.

"Laisse Tomber Les Filles" was written by Serge Gainsbourg and recorded in 1964 by France Gall, who was 17 at the time. Though she's pretty obscure in the US, apparently in Europe she's an icon and is still releasing hit records in France. Most of her music of the 60s is poppy, sort of Nancy Sinatra style stuff (that might be a weird comparison, but you know, this isn't the core of my knowledge base here), but this song is probably the best. It insists, but it's still pretty insouciant. Only teenagers can make stuff like that, it's great.

In 1995, April March translated the song into English and recorded a version called "Chick Habit" that, while significantly modernized and punked up, is pretty true to the original. The song originally appeared on an EP that was all covers of French pop (or "ye-ye") songs, but it's recently been made famous by appearing on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof.

Anyway, enjoy, and try and develop a cool strut of your own.

France Gall-"Laisse Tomber Les Filles"
April March-"Chick Habit"

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