Friday, October 30, 2015

Waiting On The Samhain Of My Soul: Day Five - Misfits Live at Max's Kansas City 12-20-78 and 12 Hits From Hell

Label: Bootleg
Year: 1978, 1980

I don’t have a particular memory to share for today, our final day together, but to make it up to the legions (and legions) of readers, I will share two fantastic Misfits recordings. As I mentioned earlier this week, Samhain is my favorite of the Glenn Danzig projects, but I do recognize that more than anything, the name Danzig is synonymous with the Misfits.

So, it is with the Misfits that we shall end.

First is the band’s set from Max’s Kansas City, the famous Manhattan nightclub that gave many of the early U.S. punk bands a stage to play on. This show was on December 20, 1978, and features a slower, less ghoulish, perhaps slightly tamer version of the band. I’ve never seen a definite lineup posted for this show, but if the Misfits Central timeline is accurate, this should feature Bobby Steele on guitar and Joey Image on drums. This show took place about 10 months after the band recorded the Static Age record, and as such, they play a lot from that here live—much more than you’ll hear in later live sets. Toward the end of the set you’ll also hear the somewhat infamous 25-second rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas.” Maybe we’ll finally hear a longer version when the Danzig Sings Elvis record comes out?

This set was booted onto a picture disc (why?) a few years ago, but I’ve never heard that so I don’t know how the quality compares. These files are the supposedly remastered ones that have been floating around online for a while. They sound good but not great. Still, it’s the Misfits live in 1978!

Note that the cover art I’ve used here, and which seems to generally get tagged with this set online, uses a photo taken not at this show, but later on, when Doyle had joined the band.

Our final share this week is the 12 Hits From Hell record that was to have been released by Caroline Records in 2001. It was recorded in 1980 with Bobby Steele on guitar and Arthur Googy on drums. Apparently this was right as Steele was on his way out of the band and Jerry’s brother Doyle was (secretly) on his way in as his replacement. Both guitarists ended up recording their own tracks for this planned full-length.

The album never happened; however, some of the tracks were released in 1981 as the 3 Hits From Hell and Halloween 7”s.

Caroline was set to finally release the full session in 2001—with Steele and Doyle’s tracks both included—but at the last minute Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only called it off, I believe, because of issues with Caroline’s layout and mixing of the record.

This is the best the Misfits have ever sounded, in my opinion, and sales of this record would have been through the roof. Instead, I’m sure Glenn was pissed that Bobby Steele was being included and given his due all these years later, and Jerry … well, I don’t know what Jerry was upset about, but if it was the layout that seems like something you can fix, not necessarily a deal-killer.

Because the record was cancelled at the very last minute, a few promotional CDs leaked, leaving us with vinyl and additional CD bootlegs, but nothing more.

It’s a shame, because I think the tracks the band eventually re-recorded for Walk Among Us sound rawer and more powerful here, plus this full-length would have had a really strong, more diverse feel overall. Lose “Halloween II” and throw in “Nike A Go-Go” and this would have been almost perfect.  

And with that, our week comes to a close. It’s been a blast reliving these memories, plus faithful downloaders now have their Halloween playlists already made! Enjoy, and watch out for candy apples and razor blades tomorrow night.
-Jeff Simms

DL - The Misfits - Live at Max's Kansas City - 12-20-78
DL - 12 Hits From Hell

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Waiting On The Samhain Of My Soul: Day Four - Danzig Legacy Live Hollywood 10-31-11

Label: Bootleg
Year: 2011

So there I was, two days before Halloween, slogging through a foot of snow as it continued to pour from the sky, on my way to take an hour-long train into New York City to see the Danzig “Legacy” show. There was so much snow on the tracks that the trains were crawling at less than half their normal speed. There was no guarantee they’d even be running by the end of the night, when I hoped to return home. My wife, eight months pregnant, was at home, alone, with no power.

Was that a bad decision?

In my defense, my wife had urged me to attend the show. Only in the past few years had Danzig begun touring with former Misfits guitarist Doyle and throwing a mini-Misfits set in on top of the standard live Danzig show. For GD to perform full Danzig, Samhain and Misfits sets, as he was in these “Legacy” shows, was unheard of. The New York City show—one of only four Legacy shows he’s done in the U.S. to date—had been on my calendar for months, and she knew how badly I wanted to go. The snowstorm had complicated things, however, and losing power right before I left was a really low blow.

The train was late, and by the time it arrived I’d talked myself out of going. I stepped inside, but knew it didn’t feel right, and immediately decided to get off at the first stop and make my way back home. Thankfully, my wife texted before the train arrived at that stop to say that power was back on. I was free to go with a reasonably clear conscience.

I think it took me almost five hours door-to-door to get to the venue (it should have been 90 minutes or so), and I arrived just as Corrosion of Conformity’s crew was taking their equipment off stage.

Thirty minutes later, the GD three-pack began with a slightly shorter than normal Danzig set. There aren’t many surprises in the Danzig setlist at this point. “SkinCarver” and “Hammer of the Gods” to open, generally “Twist of Cain” or “Am I Demon” follows, then it’s a few songs each off of Danzig I, II and III, usually one track off 4p and very little else from the last 15 years. I could probably live without hearing “Her Black Wings” ever again at this point, but still—all killer, no filler. 

After a quick break, Samhain (essentially Danzig with London May) came on. GD bounded onto the stage as the last notes of the “Initium” opener played, launching, obviously, straight into “Samhain.” I had seen the 1999 Samhain reunion but have no real recollection of the show (Does this happen to anyone else? I can remember the setting and location of almost every show I’ve ever seen, yet I have virtually no memories of the actual songs or performances themselves.) Great set, although the NYC crowd wasn’t as amped as I’d hoped it would be for these songs. I was slightly disappointed not to hear “Black Dream” or “Halloween II,” but both of those miscues would be rectified when Samhain toured on its own three years later. Danzig also earned bonus points for continuity by wearing the same leather bondage mask he wore at one of the last Samhain shows in 1986. A solid set despite a subpar crowd reaction.

Finally, after an appropriately longer than normal wait, lights dimmed and the intro music hit. There was thunder and rain, and someone screaming as they dragged a chain across what must have been a dirty, haunted basement floor. Then Doyle’s guitar crunched as he stomped his 14-foot monster self onto the stage. It was cheesy but I loved it. The band (again, essentially Danzig with Doyle) blistered through a whirlwind eight-song set. I felt like a kid in a candy store.

I had rushed so quickly to get to the venue once my train arrived in NYC that I never grabbed anything to drink; this occurred to me as I sang every word of every Misfits song. I hadn’t had a drop since leaving home hours earlier and I was so parched by now that my tongue felt and tasted like sandpaper as I sang along.

I had seen a couple of the Danzig with Doyle sets they’d done in recent years, but this one exceeded them all. The setlist was fantastic: “Bullet,” “Night of the Living Dead,” “Astro Zombies” and “Death Comes Ripping,” among a few others. Add “Ghouls Night Out” and maybe “Hybrid Moments” and it would have been perfect. As it was, it was phenomenal. I’ve only gotten chills a couple of times at live shows, and this was one of them.

I’m not sure who sequenced the event, but Danzig (the band) came back out for a three-song encore after the Misfits set, which was a bit of a momentum-killer. Finally, Doyle stomped onstage one last time to send the crowd home happy with “Skulls,” and I was out the door. 

I collapsed into bed around 4 a.m. after a pretty uneventful train ride home. It was still snowing, but we had power and everyone was safe. To this day I’m not sure how wise my decision was, but all’s well that ends well, I suppose. Right?

I could have sworn I had the NYC Legacy set on my computer but apparently I do not, nor could I find it online. However, here’s the Hollywood set from Halloween night. It’s the same setlist that we got in NYC two nights earlier, without the snow. Sound quality is far from perfect, but given how tight Danzig’s security is with photos and recording, it’s a wonder anyone got this at all.
- Jeff Simms

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Waiting On The Samhain Of My Soul: Day Three - Danzig Catch All

Label: Bootleg
Year: 1978, 1981, 1984, 1987

During my years as a newspaper reporter, a staple of beat coverage was the catch-all story. Rarely sexy and almost never on the front page, the catch-all was an essential collection of a few paragraphs on this, a few paragraphs on that which tied up loose ends and reported the notable news bits from one’s area of coverage.

For today I threw together a Danzig-ized catch-all—a handful of recordings that aren’t weighty enough for their own entry but still fill in some of the necessary gaps in our story.

First, we have the Static Age mixdown tapes.  These are the pre-mixed, slower versions of the songs that would have made up the Static Age album in 1978, and finally saw official release in 1996 as part of the Misfits Box Set (and then as its own release).  The eight shared here were allegedly booted on tape in 1986 by Curtis Casella from Taang! Records. I don’t listen to these versions of these songs often, but they are historically significant.

Second, the June 1981 Newfound Sound Studios recordings. The Misfits recorded eight songs here, six of which were never officially released. The unreleased six (shared here) are slower versions of songs that were later re-recorded for Walk Among Us. The other two (officially released) songs from this session were “Hate Breeders,” later appearing on the Sessions disc from the Misfits Box Set, and “American Nightmare,” which would have been on the original Plan 9 Records version of Walk Among Us (that never happened) and ultimately found a home on Legacy of Brutality.

Our third set of songs today bridges the gap between the Misfits and Samhain. The first track of these Initium rough mixes, as I’ve called them, is “Archangel,” the Initium album closer I referred to yesterday. Glenn recorded this version of the song with Al Pike of Reagan Youth while the Misfits were still together. The second Initium rough mix is “Black Dream.” This is the pre-mixed version of the song that Danzig and Steve Zing played on WNYU in March of 1984, when they appeared to promote the first Samhain show. Found most notably on the Black Dream bootleg CD, this version lacks the trademark Samhain chimes. If you listen closely too, you’ll notice some of Lyle Preslar’s guitar work that was eventually mixed out.

Finally, the Samhain “random tracks” are all from the murky 1987-ish period when Samhain, at the behest of Def Jam head Rick Rubin, was morphing into the band that would be known as Danzig. This incarnation of the band(s) recorded “Twist of Cain,” the album-opener of Danzig I and a staple of (I would guess) probably every live show the band has ever played. I think it was this recording of the song, along with a few other demos, that were tacked onto the end of later versions of the posthumously released Samhain Final Descent CD. (The first press of the CD had Glenn Danzig’s remixed version of the Unholy Passion EP as bonus tracks.)

This version of “Twist of Cain” isn’t particularly good, but as noted, it also comes from a significant time in GD’s career. The second song, “Die For the Demon” (also known online as “Night of Hate”) is an up-tempo rocker that was never released. I’ve always liked the track.

The final “random track” is the demo version of “When Death Had No Name,” another favorite of mine. This slowly building song bounced around for years in the Danzig camp before finally being included in the Lost Tracks double LP in 2007. As mentioned in the Lost Tracks liner notes, the band recorded it at almost every session they did between the late-Samhain era and Danzig III, but never included it on an album.

I first heard this song on the Fresh Flesh live bootleg 7”, which—come to think of it—may have been another Mighty Quinn pickup.

The band regularly played this song live for at least the first several Danzig tours, bringing me to today’s memory—a short and sad one.

Danzig played an old club called Baity’s in Winston-Salem at least twice, maybe more, during its first few tours, when this song would have been included in the setlist. I was 16 at the time (Gray would have been 15) and I had a car, but … we didn’t go*. I really don’t know why. As Gray will tell anyone who asks to this day, we missed several critically important shows that were within driving distance around this time because I, for some reason, didn’t want to drive.

I honestly don’t recall my reasoning but I certainly regret it. My car wasn’t particularly reliable (it had a top speed of about 45 miles per hour), which likely kept me off major highways, but within the confines of Winston-Salem—I have no excuse. I would guess that I was probably intimidated by the type of crowd we might have run into at a “metal” show in 1989. I wasn’t the toughest, or most confident, 16-year-old on the block, but I truly don’t remember.

As it was, I would not see Danzig live until 1997, when the Von/Christ/Biscuits-less band played Winston-Salem on the Blackacidevil tour. The show, ironically, was at a club called Ziggy’s, just down the road from Baity’s.
-Jeff Simms
* just to set the historical record straight, ONE of us actually did go see Danzig in 1989. A legendary show that was briefly interrupted when Glenn hauled off on a dude up front who had been shouting Misfits requests all show. He was dealt with pretty quickly, one punch to the jaw and a bunch of shouting ("come up here pussy"..."I'll fucking kill you"...etc.), but it left quite an impact on me, as it was one of the first instances I'd ever seen where the performer broke the proverbial "third wall" to knock somebody in the face. Good shit 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Waiting On The Samhain Of My Soul: Day Two - Samhain Live at Rock Hotel 03-31-84

Label: Bootleg
Year: 1984

I can pretty safely say that Samhain is my favorite of all the Glenn Danzig projects. It was the shortest-lived band, with the least recorded output, but from the moment I first heard Initium, I was fascinated with both the music and mystery surrounding the outfit.

It was actually one of my other Winston-Salem buddies who picked up Initium sometime around our 9th grade year. All we knew at the time was that it was Danzig’s post-Misfits band. I don’t recall what I expected to hear, but I was definitely blown away by what I did hear. Gone were the catchy, whoa-oa Misfits choruses and B-grade horror themes, and in their place were guttural screams; slower, brooding guitars; and macabre imagery and lyrics.

Whereas the Misfits did horror with a little cheese on the side, Samhain felt lawless and disturbing. My friend had the CD, which didn’t come with lyrics, so many an afterschool afternoon was spent playing and replaying that album, trying to understand just what this short, shirtless, bloodied man was trying to say to us.

“There is a human slaughterhouse, up on the hill, the road is red. And those that ignore and those who pretend it does not exist, end up in its hull.” Tell us how you really feel, Glenn.

Then “Archangel,” the album closer. This is the song that Danzig famously wrote for Dave Vanian of The Damned but ultimately recorded himself. Slow and morose, I think this is one of the best album-ending songs of Danzig’s career, unrivaled until “Let It Be Captured,” the last song on 4p, which, coincidentally, Eerie Von himself has said he considers a Samhain record as much as it is Danzig.

Back in Winston-Salem … sometime in the months that followed, one of us picked up November Coming Fire, the more polished but still dark full-length follow-up to Initium. “Halloween II,” which I didn’t realize at the time was originally a Misfits song, mesmerized me with its booming chorus, while Glenn sang “November’s Fire” while standing, apparently, knee-deep in pig’s blood.

The art for that album, just as iconic as Initium’s, perfectly captures the primal mystique that made Samhain so attractive to me.

Here’s the audio from the first-ever Samhain show—March 31, 1984 at the Rock Hotel in New York City. This show features Lyle Preslar from Minor Threat on guitar (Glenn played guitar on two songs that night as well), as Samhain was initially envisioned as a “supergroup” featuring Danzig, Preslar, Brian Baker from Minor Threat and Chuck Biscuits. They never played live with the latter two (not as Samhain with Biscuits, at least), and Preslar was gone after this show. Notice also that several songs (“Samhain,” “All Murder…”) have completely different lyrics than what was eventually recorded for the Initium record.
- Jeff Simms

Monday, October 26, 2015

Waiting On The Samhain Of My Soul: Day One - Misfits - Live at Al's Bar 1982

Label: Bootleg
Year: 1982

As Gray and I were growing up as young punk rockers in sprawling Winston-Salem, NC, most of our record shopping was confined to either Friday nights trolling Hanes Mall or flipping through bins at the local Record Exchange. In the late 1980s, Hanes Mall housed both Camelot Music and the Record Bar, both chain establishments. I think I bought a third press copy of Die Die My Darling (which I still have) at the Record Bar, while Camelot I remember most for its tape game. I’m pretty sure I remember picking up Legacy of Brutality and Collection I (which blew my mind at the time—where did these songs come from??) cassettes at the Camelot Music on the lower level of the mall.

The Record Exchange was the first used record store I knew of, and they had lots of punk stuff—in part due to the Let’s Active/Echo and the Bunnymen-ish indie/punker who worked there. I got a ghoul hair error Earth A.D. there, along with many other Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys and 7 Seconds classics. Sadly, none of these stores exist now.

Today’s Danzig memory, however, takes me back to a day when Gray and I veered slightly off the beaten path. I don’t know why we were out in this neighborhood (perhaps visiting local scene legend Rob R-Rock, who lived nearby), but something made us stick our heads in the Mighty Quinn music shop on the northwest outskirts of Winston-Salem. Mighty Quinn was an old school, dirty and dusty record store. I don’t recall him stocking anything of interest to us punkers … except a motherlode of overpriced Misfits bootlegs.

I’ll never know where this fellow got the records, as they were hardly in line with the rest of his stock, but somehow Mr. Quinn had gotten his hands on a handful of Misfits boots. He had the Spook City USA 7”, I think maybe 4 Hits From Hell, the Hittsville, NJ 12” and today’s choice, Al’s Bar 1982.

Labeled as a Fiend Club (the Misfits fan club that I’d only vaguely heard of at the time) release, in actuality it was a decent-sounding but unofficially released recording of the Misfits’ April 17, 1982 set at Al’s Bar in Los Angeles.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have given a kidney to have been a few years older and seen the Misfits live, but the truth is their live shows were a mixed bag. The experience itself must have been unbelievable. I can only imagine beer bottles and fists flying, Doyle taking people’s heads off with his guitar and Danzig challenging the entire audience to fight him as they played. Musically, however, they were out of tune, played a little too fast and largely shed the 1950s-doo-wop-meets-Ramones catchiness that made their studio recordings so unique. 

Still, I snatched the record up and have the red vinyl/blank-labeled platter in my collection to this day. This is actually a really good setlist, ranging from Bullet-era material to songs from Earth A.D., which had yet to be released. The between-song banter is fun too, as it captures a looser, much more frenzied Glenn Danzig than the metal god he would evolve into years later.

Sound quality on this one isn’t quite as good as the officially released Evilive, but it’s plenty passable and you get twice as many songs. Enjoy!

- Jeff Simms


Waiting On The Samhain Of My Soul: Intro Bust

Bonfires burning bright, pumpkin faces in the night. I remember Halloween.

With the change of the seasons from summer to fall, I am reminded of all things Glenn Danzig.

Probably the most prolific punk artist, perhaps ever, his track record is incredible. The Misfits catalog is flawless, there’s no debating that. It’s hard to argue that the same can’t be said for Samhain. And while many draw the line at 4p in their love for Danzig (the band), there’s a lot that’s been released since the departure of the Von/Christ/Biscuits lineup that easily holds its own. There have been a couple of missteps along the way, most of them fresher in our memories as they’ve come in clumps over the last 10 years or so … but even today if you go see a live Danzig show, at 60 years young, he’s absolutely still got it.

With that said, there’s not much out there in terms of unearthed music that isn’t already in circulation. And while I’ve been a Danzig devotee since sometime around 1987 (my 7th grade year), I don’t want to position myself as an expert, as there are many out there who know more than me.

Instead, I thought I’d share 5 days of memories and the recordings that coincide with each. Officially released music, in print or not, is off limits, so we’re talking demos, live sets and outtakes. Here goes.

-Jeff Simms

Friday, October 23, 2015

Waiting On The Samhain Of My Soul

It's almost Halloween, which means it's almost Samhain, which's fucking Danzig weather!
So, we would be remiss if we didn't spotlight the man, excuse me...Man, who has made a career out of channeling the dark, the black, the evil, the scary, and the profane. The Evil Elvis himself, the pride of Lodi, New Jersey....Glenn goddamn Danzig! (nee, Glenn Allen Anzalone to his mother [tell your children not to look my way...])

So it is with great excitement that I am handing the blog over to good friend (actual friend mind you...I DO have friends*) Jeff Simms for the entire week starting Monday for five blood soaked days of Danzig related ephemera. He (who cannot be named) has invested far too much of his life into researching, studying, and generally worshipping Glenn in all his incarnations (I think Jeff even willed himself to enjoying Black Aria II), and you, the good reader, will benefit from hearing first hand his trials and tribulations navigating the long way back from hell that is Danzig superfandom.

Even I don't know exactly what Mr. Simms has planned, but he assures me that he will only be posting rare items, since we should all have the released discography in triplicate by this point. It will be a fun ride sifting through whatever horror business that's up for offer.

Tune in Monday morning for the first in our five part series paying tribute to the greatest American songwriter of all time (yeah, that's right...fuck you if you don't believe me!)!

*Fun Danzig-Simms-Kiser trivia: Jeff learned to play the drums some time around 8th or 9th grade and we immediately proceeded to "start a band" (even though I had zero musical abilities to offer...just gusto...lots and lots of gusto). The aborted project (which to be honest, consisted of a single cover of Judge's "Take Me Away") was christened No Resistance, a nod to both our straight edge tendencies by sounding like something that could be emblazoned across a letterman's jacket AND our shared love of Danzig by referencing the chorus to "Children In Heat". Pretty great, huh?

Brain Banger - Yellow Belly

Label: Hawthorne Street
Year: 2008

You know that scene in that one movie where that one actress (I believe it's Angela Bassett...although it could be Angela Lansbury...I'm terrible with names) burns a bunch of her (ex?)husband's shit by walking away from the pile and casually throwing a lit cigarette over her shoulder to ignite the pyre? Remember?
Yeah, well, that's me in relation to this past work week. Fucking nonstop deadlines and headaches. So I'm all "fierce" and shit tossing my smoke into a pile of completed projects. Except I'm doing it in slow motion! (which, to be fair, might have been the way the movie was shot as well...truth be told, I never actually saw it, and I'm not 100% sure it even exists). And Brain Banger is the soundtrack to my triumphant "fuck you"!
Louisville noise rock of the highest order, with personnel from Young Widows, Black Cross, Lords, and Breather Resist. Perfect for your own triumphant "fuck you". Go out to today and give someone special the "fuck you" they deserve.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Meat Wave - Delusion Moon

Label: Sideonedummy
Year: 2015

All hands on deck! All hands on deck!
Stop doing whatever you're doing (masturbating? again? Really Curtis?) and report to your stereo hi-fi system (ha ha, just kidding....crowd around your computer) to immediately blast this record at top volume (grandparents be damned!).
Meat Wave have managed to find that sweet spot between catchy indie rock and ripper punker noise that results in the oft-chased dragon of "fun and memorable yet raucous and rowdy". It's got a lot of the hallmarks you might have found of a band playing the Cat's Cradle circa 1992, but also the hallmarks of contemporaries Diarrhea Planet or The Marked Men or Bass Drum Of Death or that crop of messy noiseniks. Music like this lives or dies on it's ability to be fun, and Meat Wave are fun. But they don't make you feel like a total puss for saying so (excuse me Muscle and urgency and a good tune are a lethal combination.
Good music for good weather. Top fucking notch!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bedhead - What Fun Life Was

Label: Trance Syndicate
Year: 1994

"Last time I saw you Clark, you remarked about how much you liked mine"
 - Cousin Eddie

Since we got some good feedback on the previous Bedhead post, well, here's another. Previously we posted their final record, and now we're posting their first release, bookending Bedhead quite nicely.
Mellow sophistication from a band who knows when to hold back, and when to employ a slow burning build. Never egregious. Never hurried. Always beautiful.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Smashing Pumpkins - Waiting For The Past

Label: Bootleg
Year: 1991

Yes, I understand that Billy Corgan has a humongous bald melon head. And yes, I am completely aware that after Jimmy Chamberlain got hooked on the horse, and D'arcy bailed out and James Iha quit(?) that the band lapsed into a severe state of creative decline (and infinite sadness?). I got it. I know.
But I also am well versed in the band's previous ability to stoke some of the most ferocious and rollicking big guitar music ever. I heard them do it! I saw them do it! Despite (all my rage?) all the baggage that seemed to come along with the band in those early years, they were head and shoulders above their peers in their ability to unleash a warm, heavy, blissed out bounty. They dealt out blistering guitar solos when guitar solos were taboo relics of dinosaur rock. They embraced a hippie-damage aesthetic when flower power was a joke to be sneered at...possibly's hard to say. They were unrepentant in their quest to rock out, when you were supposed to be flailing around to a noisy Stooges sludge concoction. They were weird in a time when being weird was getting harder to do (weirdness was co-opted, you see).
So, whatever. Slag them off if you must. But I'm telling you...these fuckers were raging in a way that nobody else was trying. Enough to excuse a few "Zero" t-shirts (but not enough to excuse Ava Adore, or whatever that record was called...holy shit.)
This bootleg is from three sources; live in Madison, WI 06-16-90, live in Madison, WI 10-16-91, and one "studio" track. There are some very seldom heard songs on here. Plus some slower versions of songs you are well aware of. And that cover's a glorious mess of 90's graphic study!


Todd - VVitch

Label: Riot Season
Year: 2005

Four songs at 45 rpm, in an edition of 500, and...poof....gone.
But in the roughly eight minutes you are allowed, Todd is going to take you by the scruff and lower your tender parts onto a belt sander just to watch you squirm.
They go from blasting, borderline industrial grind to a droning sludge plod without thinking twice about the ramifications to your psyche. Complete noise overload to destroy your ears.
Would you have it any other way?
Loudly please.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Eighteen Wheels Burning - Tweak'd Out, Strung Up and Redlined

Label: Meteor City
Year: 2008

More unrepentant rock n roll bluster, that shall go about starting your week with nary a repentance in sight. And what would you be repenting for anyway? Or more importantly, to whom are you repenting?
Just don't do it. Ride hard straight into the sunset leaving a wake of mayhem and jealousy as your signature.
This band isn't trying to impress you or your friends. In fact, I would wager to guess that they think you guys all party like a bunch of amateur sorority girls, with your fancy beers and novelty beards and glasses and hair cuts and bullshit. You and your boys aren't coming close to achieving your full potential. For example, it's Monday morning, and Eighteen Wheels Burning are about to START their weekend. What the fuck are you doing? Working? Lame, man. Super fucking lame. Holler at me when you're ready to get serious about getting serious.
Eighteen Wheels Burning is 2/3 of the woefully underrated The Want, and if you liked their Humble Pie boogie jams, then you'll like these too. Kicked up a bit more than The Want, they get into a swinging fuzz groove, not unlike Nebula. It's a proto-punk swagger welded onto a desert rock low ride.
Quit pussy-footing around and handle your fucking business.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Chang Ffos - Trust This Arcane Device

Label: Moonlee
Year: 2006

Fucking busy ass last couple of days has kept the blogging on the backburner (but not you, the readers...the readers are always first and foremost in my mind).
So today we have a quick one, and one that's slightly off the beaten path (of this place anyway), as it's more "metal" than our usual faire, but c'mon...grow a pair. You can do this.
Take mid-period Neurosis, and add in some destructo-rock akin to Black Elk, and a little sludgy stoner-ness like Black Cobra and, viola, Chang Ffos. Except, they are from Croatia. Which you would never know. All you will be concerned with is the mountainous pulverization that they wield across this 9 song brow beating. Low end hellhammer.
Mastered by Steve Austin of Today Is The Day.
Good Friday listening after sitting in a three hour meeting. Or whatever it is you do on a Friday.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bedhead - Transaction de Novo

Label: Trance Syndicate
Year: 1998

Hazy and deliberate. Restrained and direct. Gorgeous and effortless.
Matt Kadane from Silkworm plays guitar and sings on this one (to continue our post-Silkworm converstation [one sided as it was] from the Bottomless Pit post below). Tench Coxe from the old Texas band End Over End (not the hardcore band from who started out as just The End, also plays guitar. And the other Kadane family member in Bedhead, Bubba (assuming that's not his Christian name, although, maybe it is...we can hope) put out a few records on Touch and Go with Matt Kadane as The New Year. Keeping it in the family. Like incest.
Recorded by Steve Albini, and given slightly more "umph" than previous Bedhead records (therefore making it feel more balanced and consequently my favorite of their discography). It was also their last album release.


Cop Shoot Cop - Headkick Facsimile

Label: Supernatural Organization
Year: 1989

I think this particular record bounces around the music blogs from time to time, but I don't think we've ever posted it here, and that's a crime for which I truly apologize. This is an absolute "must have" for folks who enjoy the type of music spotlighted on Shiny Grey Monotone. No question, you have to have this playing in your ear holes at some point at least once a month. Minimum.
Cop Shoot Cop were the quintessential New York City noise rock band, and in my opinion, this (their first release) is their crowning glory. The bass tones are punishing, the drumming and percussive treatments are tribal, and the vocals are all seething bile and condescending vitriol. Note, there is no guitar, no screeching treble or slashing chords, only two mind-numbingly relentless bassists. In addition, Cop Shoot Cop have augmented their sound with keyboard and saxophone samples to enrich the low end assault. Please be aware that I do not condone, under normal circumstances, the use of saxophone in my life, hence my distrust for jazz, my suspicion of salsa, and my loathing of ska. I just don't want no goddamn woodwinds fucking up my good time. Period. But, and this is a big "but" ("let's talk about your big 'butt'" - Pee Wee Herman), Cop Shoot Cop have employed these sounds to great effect and so I must allow them to enter my brain just this once.
So, saxophone aside, if you do not own this record, please stop, drop  and roll...then grab it and listen at top volume.

*Originally posted 01-30-09, reposted 10-14-15


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Antioch Arrow - In Love With Jetts

Label: Gravity
Year: 1993

Back from vacation in the mountains. No bear sightings, though my parents had three in their driveway Saturday morning. I saw a single turkey, that was about it. A single turkey and a metric ton of beers.
Glad to be back, thanks.
Do you remember when this record was exciting? It came out on the heels of Antioch Arrow's really super great debut 12", and there was a lot of new energy coming out of San Diego. A lot of crazy chaotic energy that was giving hardcore a shot in the arm. So, I was ready to go all in on Antioch Arrow when this second 12" came out. All in. Full on Kenny Rogers in the 'Gambler' type shit.
Do you also remember hearing this record the first time and thinking, " I like this? Wait a minute, was that a keyboard?!"? That ring a bell? It was confusing. A confusing time to be sure, but this particular record started a shift in the cosmos that I'm not sure I fully followed. It was the stepping stone away from the frantic slash and burn hardcore and a step towards the black and gloomy post punk posturing. Which, to be fair, was at least a new tact, and in some cases came off well. But in a lot of cases....not so much.
Do you remember me asking you if this record has stood the test of time? Cause I did. Just now in fact.
Did it? Honestly asking.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bottomless Pit - Hammer Of The Gods

Label: Comedy Minus One
Year: 2007

Band name is Bottomless Pit, and album name is 'Hammer Of The Gods', so you would be excused if your first thought is "sludgy downtuned metal". I would have thought the same thing.
But in fact, this is no burly group of bearded knuckle draggers with Eyehategod patches on their vests. Nope. This is actually a beautiful and poignant return for Andy Cohen and Tim Midgett after the untimely and shocking death of their Silkworm bandmate and friend Michael Dahlquist. It's a record that takes what has to have been a brutal time in their lives, and channels it through the distillation of rocknroll , indie rock and post hardcore heft to a crystal clear statement of intent for a new band pulling themselves out from under the shadow of tragedy and legacy.
Silkworm fans will immediately grab ahold of the familiar sonic cues and fractured earnestness that Midgett and Cohen had previously brought to that band. You will forgive them though that the mood here is more maudlin, the tone is one of yearning and introspection, but no less powerful (or possibly more so) than what they had done before.
I'm listening to this in the morning before starting a work day with deadlines looming. It's perfect for that. The song "Human Out f Me" might just be one of the prettiest and heart wrenching numbers you'll hear this week.
The rhythm section of Bottomless Pit is fleshed out by former Seam drummer Chris Manfrin and former .22 bassist Brian Orchard.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

El Buzzard - Gringa

Year: 2006
Label: The Electric Human Project

Self described as a "noise metal" band, these fuckers came out of San Jose and laid waste to shit. You'd have never guessed they spawned from mid nineties screamo spazzes, Mohinder, but lo and behold, that's just what they did. Gringa was their last will and testament before breaking up and reforming as Breasts. On this record they continue to play slash and burn, loud as shit skuzz rock with heavy Unsane and Karp leanings, but this time around there's a slight late-period Black Flag vibe creeping in. The warped stoner proto-metal riffing that Greg Ginn was experimenting with round about 1985 rears it's ugly head here, and seems to fit in just fine. This is a dirty, raw, punked out rawk trip.

*originally posted 09-05-08, reposted 10-07-15


Pissed Jeans - Hope For Men

Label: Sub Pop
Year:  2007

to be honest with you...when i'd first heard this band...i really wasn't all the impressed...someone on a messageboard has posted a link to their first full length (2005's shallow)...saying it was the best album they'd heard in awhile...blah blah blah...and being the biased kinda guy that i am...i gave it a download...gave it a quick listen...and didn't look at it again...

flash forward to a few days ago: i was listening to some random online radio station...not really paying all that much attention to it...and i got up and left the room...i was thirsty...i needed a beverage...and half way back i heard this sound coming from out of the computer's speakers...and the player wasn't telling me the name of the band...and i thought "could it be? have they gotten back together?! OH MAN! BONERS!"...the song was called "i've still got you (ice cream)" (and i'm going to remain vague on the band that i was thinking got back together...i want to see if you're up to speed on your shiny grey monotone-ness)...anyway...back to my i went to youtube to see if there was a video for said song...and there it was...pissed jeans had made their way back into my life once again...but this time around they've managed to keep their tight and shiny presence in my ears

i've heard this described as rollins era black flag...sabbath-esque...flipper-esque...the list could go on and on...and it would all be correct

but once you'll know where the band's allegiance lies

so if you like your reptile on amphetamines...this be for you

on their stained sleeves...

*originally posted 10-04-08 (by Ipecac...hence the punctuation), reposted 10-07-15


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Meatwound - Addio

Label: Magic Bullet
Year: 2015

Just what daddy needs. Overbearing, overdriven, overwhelming, and I must imagine, smelling of human feces. Total hammering . Cut the brake lines, rip off the steering wheel and let chaos drive, cause any way you slice it, this ride ends by slamming head on to a brick wall.
Members of Holy Mountain and Combatwoundveteran, two older Florida bands that played damaged hardcore back when, so you can rest assured this new version is in good (unwashed) hands.
They cite Fudge Tunnel as a reference point, but I would argue it's Fudge Tunnel as redirected by La Gritona. Which is a good thing.

I'm pretty convinced that this is a top ten record of the year. Please give it a listen and make your own rankings.


Monday, October 5, 2015

The Convocation Of... - Pyramid Technology

Label: Tiger Style
Year: 2001

Coming out from under their mid-nineties' emo cable knit sweaters to don sleeveless Van Halen t-shirts (but leaving the glasses on...let's not get too crazy here) in order to get their proverbial ya-ya's out, The Convocation Of... gets big and rocking on this, their final(?) full length record.
Tonie Joy is playing guitar here, so if you're a fan of the snaking riffs of Universal Order Of Armageddon or The Great Unraveling, then you'll no doubt find much to chew on. But, were those bands were tightly wound balls of energy, The Convocation Of... swings a bit more from left to right, and don't shy away from a explosive power chord chorus. They get down to it, is what I mean. Yes, sure, nobody is going to mistake them for Nirvana or anything it's not THAT kind of "big rock chorus", but the point is, Tonie Joy lets loose and the band pounds out a wide open groove behind him. Smart person rock music.
Sidebar (and the opposite of smart): when was the last time you shot gunned a beer (with your car keys)? Cause I did it last night at the age of 41 and found it perfectly acceptable, even though it led to a buddy falling down the back stairs and stepping on a nail (cross your fingers for no tetanus!), and the guise of the Sunday evening get together was "wine and cheese Sunday evening before dinner" (things devolved....or evolved depending on how you look at it...quickly when the wine ran out). Point being, if you haven't taken down a cool one shotgun style in a minute, I recommend it. It's a good bonding experience, just make sure your friends stay off the steps, and your kids are in the house out of view. Party hard at all times.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Distorted Pony - Work Makes Freedom

Label: Bomp!
Year: 1991

Originally released as a single sided 12" with the B-side being an etching of all the song lyrics. It would probably sound like shit to play side B. Kind of like when Bob and Doug Mcenzie tried to "play" the floppy disc they "horked" from the Elsinore Brewery on their turntable, only to remark that resulting high pitched squeals must be "one of those English New Wave bands". If you haven't seen Strange Brew in awhile, please do yourself the favor of arranging a screening post haste. Fucking brutal movie! I used to watch the shit out of it when I was in middle school. It was "one of our things" in my group of buddies, as queer as that might sound. We would watch ridiculous movies until they were committed to memory, then we would speak to each other in our secret language of Zucker Brothers comedy dialogue to the point that nobody could understand what in the fuck we were talking about.
Then we realized that girls had vaginae.
That was sort of the end of the movie parties.
So, Distorted Pony....uh, they are good. They sound kinda like Big Black meets Cop Shoot Cop/ Easy. Also, former Samhain-ian London May would play drums for this band later on in their career (this record has a drum machine).

*originally posted 09-30-09, reposted 10-02-15


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Rapeman - Live WZRD Chicago - 08-13-88

Label: bootleg
Year: 1988

Choice sound quality recording of the choice interstitial Albini project betwixt Big Black and Shellac, playing choice cuts of biting noise rock shards on the choice Chicago radio station WZRD ("The Wizard").
And, to be fair, to call it "Albini's project" is not exactly accurate. The rhythm section of Ray Washam on drums (Scratch Acid, Big Boys, Daddy Longhead, Didjits, Lard) and David Wm. Sims on bass (Scratch Acid, The Jesus Lizard, Pigface) are nothing to sleep on. But, you knew that. You know all of everything.

P.S. - You know what I didn't know? That this was actually posted 6 years ago to this very blog by Ipecac (get home soon brother!), and I am just now noticing. Whoops. Oh well, that link had long since expired.

"Go fuck mud"
- Steve Albini

Designed by mln3 designs & etc.