Feb 16, 2011

Half Man / Kisses & Hugs - Split 7" [MOUNTAIN]

"Not My Place"
Kisses & Hugs
"Strapped and Snapped"
"Die, Decorated"
"One Last Powertrip"

Mountain put out some really good shit, now that I think about it.  This record was a real favorite for a while, the Kisses & Hugs side especially.  Both sides are intense, but Half-Man is a little more mid-tempo as a rule while K&H kind of echo the Palatka / Eurich / In/Humanity emo-violence thing and just destroy it.  There's not a lot of words about this that can really reflect how crazy and chaotic it sounds so maybe just listen to it.

Feb 15, 2011

Don Martin 3 / Moonraker / Hope Springs Eternal -- 3-way Split 7"

Moonraker "White Christmas"
Hope Springs Eternal "Drone"
Don Martin 3 "Transistor"

First, the elephant in the room -- this record has Don Martin 3 on it, which means you're never going to find a physical copy of it for under like fifty bucks because the 'collectors' have decided to go apeshit over them.  That being said, this is a very good record that really does deserve to be heard, so I'm glad there's a digital version available.

The Moonraker song on here is definitely one of my favorites, and one of favorite emo songs of the era, really, it's really raw and affecting and provides an interesting counterpoint to the Don Martin 3 song.  DM3, by all accounts, was a joke band who were lampooning the self-serious nature of emo, but kind of ended up doing the "Poe's Law" thing where the parody became unrecognizable. Of the two songs, I'd probably classify the DM3 one as sounding more "legit", but the Moonraker tune is the 'real article'.  I definitely got sucked in by the Don Martin mystique, I had their self-titled 10" and used to routinely name it as one of my favorite records, so when I later found that they were basically making fun of me, it was a little tough to accept.

Anyway, this is a great document of Florida's emo/post-hc scene circa 1996 and it makes me filled with backwards civic pride. Southeast first!

Feb 11, 2011

Give Me Back - LP Compilation [EBULLITION]

Amenity "Machine"
Desiderata "Upon a Man Looking at a Woman"
Seein' Red "Bigot"
Spitboy "Seriously"
End of the Line "Burning Down"
Man Lifting Banner "Sister"
Born Against "Body Counts"
Econochrist "Seek to Use"
Profax "Patience / Bona Fide"
Suckerpunch "Religious Phallos"
Sawhorse "Spoke/Farther"
Struggle "Culture of Rape"
Bikini Kill "Daddy's Lil Girl"
Downcast "For In Love"

First of all, in sake of fairness, this record came out in 1992 and I was barely 13 years old -- my concepts of hardcore and sophisticated feminism were not very well-formed and, as such, I didn't encounter this record until four or five years later.  And by that point, unfortunately, this record felt very dated. It was a benefit for Planned Parenthood and the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, and those were good things to do, and it came with a 32-page booklet that contained a ton of information about the social issues facing women, GLBT folks, and those who refused 'gender' as a social construct.

However (and this is a BIG however), more than half of the tracks on this album were written and performed by men and have all the hallmarks of the early 90s hardcore obsession with the 'sensitive but macho' guy. There is a ton of the obnoxious "voice of the voiceless" posturing (check out Struggle's "Culture of Rape" for a great example) and the general assumption that women need a Big Strong Man to speak out about their issues in order to be heard.  Luckily, really strong female-fronted bands like Bikini Kill and Spitboy round out the roster, but I can't help but feel that this was ultimately a pretty misguided, if well-intentioned, release.

Feb 10, 2011

Attaining the Supreme - LP Compilation [WHIRLED RECORDS]

Man Or Astroman "Joker's Wild"
Whirlybird "Foogatavie"
M Blanket "Some Other Day"
Swank "Latin American Negro"
Teeth "Enzyme"
Squatweiler "73 Degrees"
Shade "In The Battle"
Quadiliacha "It Happens"
Hot Water Music "Incisions"
Waffle Stomper "Berol Giant"
Maximillian Colby "New Jello"
Tanner Boyle "Phase To Retired"
Second Hand "Rose And A Thicket Of Thorns"
Horace Pinker "Extra Step"
Water Monitor "User Friendly"
Less Than Jake "This Is Going Nowhere"
The Pee Tanks "Santa Gada Da Vida"
Car Vs. Driver "I Was Bitter"
The Odd Numbers "So Many Girls (Live)"
Bug Hummer "Burning Atlanta"

This was a 'regional' comp for Whirled more than anything that had to do with stylistic or thematic consistency.  However, it's probably mostly famous for using the same title as the most recent Shelter album at the time, "Attaining the Supreme", and recasting the imagery from the Bahagahd-Vita to a Pizza Hut box.  This visual pun always cracked me up, and angered a ton of the Krsnacore brigade.

Since this comp has more to do with the fact that the bands are mostly from the Southeastern US than anything to do with their actual music, it can be incredibly hit-and-miss.  However, there's some great songs on here (Car vs. Driver and Max Colby both provide some amazing standouts).  As an aside, the band Shade was from my hometown of Bradenton, FL.  Their singer and guitarist, Lea and Brian, were a couple who were about eight years older than me at the time and really took pity on my backwards-ass attempts to discover punk rock. A lot of the first shows I attended AND played were due to the prodding and encouragement of those two.  So thanks, Shade!

Anyways, enjoy the music.

Feb 9, 2011

Emo Schmemo - 7" Compilation [LIBERTY PARK]

Gila Bend "My Dream Locomotive"
Orwell "4242"
Cinco de Gatos "What's Wrong With Butterfly, Sugar?"
Braid "To Kiss a Trumpet Player"

This is the epitome of the 'forgotten 7" comp' -- I have no idea what the run was, but I'm guessing it was WAY under 500, and it hung around in my memory for so long because of the amazing Orwell song on it.  For those unfamiliar, Orwell was a side project of Bob Nanna from Braid, and on this record at least, they far outshine the Braid contributing.  The Gila Bend song will definitely please fans of the band (which I am not), and the Cinco de Gatos song is sort of forgettable but passionately performed.

Feb 8, 2011

Education -- LP Comp [MOUNTAIN RECORDS]

Devoid of Faith "I'll Keep You Safe From Me"
Bleed "Better Days"
Kisses and Hugs "Lessons 1-3"
Horace Pinker "You Know"
Benchmark "Knowledge is Power"
Abnormal Behavior "Monday"
Coleman "Homage"
Ox "Channel 1"
Floodgate "Ruler"
Silence Equals "How Does it Feel To Be The Last One Picked?"
Three Studies For a Crucifixion "To Some Degree"
Raze "Blackboard"
Dead Inside "Natural Selection"
Policy of Three "Twelve Years Down"

Younger folks are probably mostly familiar with Mountain Records and its impresario, Chris Jensen, as a tossed-off line in an Atom and His Package song. People who read HeartattaCk regularly, however, knew Jensen as both a labor-of-love record publisher, a high school teacher, and a brilliant essayist on the subject of education and its relationship with liberation and the 'punk rock community' in general.

A lot of Jensen's columns came off as a bit naive, the work of a suburban ex-pat guy in his early-20's discovering the power of education, and definitely veered towards "Dangerous Minds" territory at times, but he always seemed like a very earnest guy with really positive values, who worked very hard to both accomplish them, and inform the hardcore world about issues they may otherwise not have considered.

That being, "Education" is a comp that's very close to me, regardless of the hit-or-miss nature of a lot of the performances.  One of the standouts of the release was a 30-page zine-style booklet that contained essays about inner-city education from the bands featured, prominent educators, and even students themselves.  The comp was a run of 3,000, and all proceeds from the sales went to the East Harlem Tutorial Program.

So, on to the music -- this was released during the flashpoint of 'emo' involving itself with the hardcore aesthetic and, as such, there are a lot of songs by groups like Devoid of Faith and Policy of Three which really straddle the line between emo and hardcore, and some (like the 'tryptic' by emo/violence unknowns Kisses and Hugs) that gleefully destroy it.  It's a great record to listen to.

But most importantly, it's a great record to READ, so I made sure to seek out the liners (on http://shallbejudged.blogspot.com) and include them here as well in a separate zip. If you download this record to listen to, I HIGHLY suggest that you also grab the liners and read along. What a lot of people forget, or miss, about this era of hardcore is that the ideology and the feeling of free expression were often just as important as the music, if not more.

Feb 7, 2011

Ooh Do I Love You -- 2 x CD Compilation [CORE FOR CARE]

I'm not even to begin trying to type out the track listing for this monstrosity, it was a 2 x CD comp where both discs were completely stuffed to the 74 minute mark, and too many of these bands are just a little too forgettable in my mind to warrant that kind of treatment.  However, this comp occupies a special place in my heart because I think it truly represents the moment that I cut my "music nerd teeth" in a visible way.

Some friends and I were hanging out one day and I read about this comp and got my buddy Todd excited about it too, so we ended up driving to every indie record store in like a 200 mile radius looking for it, to no avail. I tried to mail-order it later, but the run was out, and they weren't planning on repressing it. So I gave up. As luck would have it, I found a brand new but dusty copy of it sitting in with the "CD Singles" in the world's lest 'underground' record store about six months later and even did the "yesss" fist pump in public.

Unfortunately, the record as a whole isn't great -- there are definitely a lot of "friends of friends" bands happening here, and a lot of short-lived side-projects, and (for whatever reason) more than a handful of weird cover songs. However, the Promise Ring + Kinsella version of "Ooh Do I Love You" is FAR surperior to the original Cap'n Jazz one, The Dismemberment Plan's track is one of their really fun and uncharacteristically "rock and rollish" songs, and the Braid song stands as one of my favorite things they've recorded to this day (as well as being the first Braid song I ever heard).

So, enjoy!

    Feb 5, 2011

    XXX: Some Ideas are Poisonous -- 2 x LP Compilation [EBULLITION RECORDS]

    Monster X "The Gift"
    VIA "Homage"
    Well Away "Embodied"
    Frail "Drought"
    Policy of 3 "Autronic Eye"
    Trees Without Leaves "A Drop in the Ocean"
    Prozac Memory "To Have Voice"
    Pogrom "Laughing at the World"
    Groundwork "Willing Victim"
    Portraits of Past "Sticks Together"
    Threadbare "Feed"
    Shatter the Myth "Fuite (Escape)"
    Endeavor "Nothing More / Burn in Hell"
    None Left Standing "Station Identification"

    First of all, let's get this out of the way -- I've always had a bit of a hard time with Ebullition comps. Kent definitely had a tendency to showcase a lot of bands because of their lyrical content rather than the musicality, and a lot of that stuff never did it for me. There are definitely bands on this comp (Pogrom, Shatter The Myth, VIA) that I never bothered to explore further, but there are also incredible songs by some legendary groups like Portraits of Past and Prozac Memory, and some weird forgotten novelties like None Left Standing.*

    Secondly, I just wanted to mention that although this record is named "XXX: Some Ideas are Poisonous", I never heard it referred to as anything other than "The Straightedge Comp" in real life. So if you've heard people talk about that, they're probably talking about this record. This was definitely a big jumping-off point for a lot of people's excursions into more politicized hardcore, and was an important record at its time for presenting straight edge as a personal choice, rather than an ideology.  Definitely worth checking out.

    * It's worth noting that the guitarist from None Left Standing was a founding member of the Promise Ring later on, which is a pretty bizarre shift in genres, but says a lot about where things were musically in the mid-90's hardcore scene!

    Feb 4, 2011

    Action Patrol -- "On Patrol 1993-96" Discography

    Action Patrol was a really great band that is sort of criminally overlooked when people talk about old hardcore bands, probably because they were very difficult to pigeonhole.  They bounced all over the place stylistically, from pop-punk to ska-ish stuff to straight up hardcore breakdowns, and their vocalist Dave's voice still stands as one of the coolest and most frenetic I've heard.

    My first exposure to Action Patrol was the Blindspot Compilation, a promotional CD put together for a mailorder distro that was run by Toybox and No Idea, and I definitely feel in love immediately.  The Action Patrol LP (on Whirled Records, I think) was definitely a summertime staple of my friends and I for several years, and when the "B is for..." 7" came out, I listened to it like six times in a row.

    The coolest thing about Action Patrol, in my opinion, was that they were obviously all amazingly talented musicians and sounded like a really tight band even when they were spazzing out all over the place.  This is definitely a worthwhile download if you like frantic energy and melodies that are constantly on the verge of falling apart.

    Eucalyptus -- 2 x 7" Compilation [TREE RECORDS]

    Indian Summer "Touch the Wing of an Angel... Doesn't Mean You Can Fly"
    Current "Bastille"
    Allure "I Think I Can"
    Shroomunion "Calm"
    Boilermaker "Slingshot"
    Embassy "Blackness"
    Julia "I Will Not Be Ignored"

    The Eucalyptus compilation was a two 7" released in 1996 by Tree Records. It was a really small run, and I was lucky enough to find a copy at Alternative Record Store in Tampa a couple years after it was released. This record definitely skewed heavily towards the melodramatic, rolling-on-the-floor side of emo, but I loved it nonetheless and it still carries a ton of memories for me.

    The Indian Summer and Julia tunes, especially, are great songs -- I'd argue that the Indian Summer song on this record, "Touch the Wings of an Angel...", is the best song the band ever released. And Julia kills it as usual, doing their standard facing-away-from-the-audience nervous-breakdown thing.

    The Boilermaker song might come as a surprise to somebody whose main exposure to the band is from the Direction comp, or even the Watercourse album, since it's a lot heavier and less brooding than the later stuff and is actually sort of reminiscent of Heavy Vegetable.

    If I'm remembering correctly, a lot of the stuff on this record had been released, but a lot of these bands have become pretty tough to track down over the years, so the compilation definitely serves as a good record of bands like Allue and Shroomunion, who don't get a lot of love on the nostalgia circuit.

    Anyways, please enjoy, this record was very influential on me as a younger dude and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.