Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Dwarves

For a wild couple of years the Dwarves were arguably the most entertaining, offensive, and dangerous band anywhere to be found. I view the band's arc as mirroring a bell curve: the humble beginning making campy 60's inspired garage before transitioning to the lunatic sounds of Toolin' For A Warm Teabag and Blood, Guts & Pussy, followed by the inevitable sink to mediocrity. Living in the sticks I never had a chance to appreciate their brand of mayhem live, though their antics were recounted in almost every 'zine of the day. Apparently Blag Dahlia and the Dwarves are still kicking around, though I hopped off the train after the whole Subpop fiasco. If you haven't done so already, get a hold of Blood, Guts & Pussy, perhaps the best 11 minute LP you'll ever listen to. The Free Cocaine CD, which compiles Toolin', Lucifer's Crank, and assorted outtakes from the 1988 era, is also a worthwhile listen. The last two Subpop LP's (Thank Heaven for Little Girls & Sugarfix) are more polished and by the numbers. Despite missing that early energy each has a couple of decent tracks. Take a listen:

From the Free Cocaine compilation
Dwarves - Sit on My Face.mp3
Dwarves - Free Cocaine.mp3

From Blood, Guts, & Pussy
Dwarves - Fuck You Up & Get High.mp3
Dwarves - What Hit You.mp3

From Thank Heaven...
Dwarves - Dairy Queen.mp3

From Sugarfix
Dwarves - Anybody Out There.mp3


  • Dwarves official site
  • Jay at Agony Shorthand reminisces
  • Mark Prindle on "The Little Punk Band with a Heart of Gold"
  • ##

    Tuesday, September 27, 2005

    Double 0

    I've always been fascinated by the split releases that Dischord Records has been putting out for many years (see the Reptile House post for another). During the height of my record collecting days my goal was to own a copy of every half release on Dischord. That never came to fruition, though with the advent of the digital age I've been able to track many of the songs down. Which brings us to Double O and their self-titled 7" EP. Double O formed in 1981, comprised of former Youth Brigade and Red C members. Their lone EP was released in 1983, just as the band split. Alternately referred to as "You've Lost" after the first track, this release was a split between Dischord and DC's R&B records, listed as Dischord 10 1/2. 5 tracks of punchy, mid-tempo hardcore that everyone compares to the Faith, a comparison that is good enough for me. The record is infamous for including synth sounds on "Death of a Friend", pure heresy at the time. Take a listen:

    Double O - You've Lost.mp3
    Double O - Is It Better.mp3
    Double O - Gray to Black.mp3
    Double O - Death of A Friend.mp3
    Double O - There's No Reasoning.mp3


  • A double 7" of the bands demos were released as Double Barrelled years ago. I've never heard this to comment on the quality
  • KFTH has a nice Double 0 page
  • Double 0 interviews, etc at DementLieu Punk Archive

  • ##

    Saturday, September 24, 2005

    Drinking Is Great

    Portland hardcore comp Drinking is Great is dedicated to "the great boozers throughout history" - an appropriate soundtrack for weekend in which the wife and I will be heading out to some of New York State's finest wineries on our annual fall booze run. Released on Poison Idea's Fatal Erection label, Drinking is Great is a snapshot of the hardcore scene in the Rose City circa 1985. 4 bands, 4 tracks, the highlight being Poison Idea's "Laughing Boy" - possibly my favorite track by Jerry A and Tom Pig. The E-13 track is solid, with a great mid-tempo feel. The other two tracks aren't bad, but fall into the vast morass of unremarkable metallic hardcore. Eh, decide for yourself:

    Poison Idea - Laughing Boy.mp3
    E-13 - Pankreatitis.mp3
    Lockjaw - You Dick.mp3
    Final Warning - I Quit.mp3


    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    Lee Harvey Oswald Band

    As promised several weeks back, here finally is the mysterious Lee Harvey Oswald Band. Apparently Lee Harvey Oswald was a side project featuring Didjits frontman Rick Sims and graphic artist David Landis (can't verify) hiding behind makeup, wigs, and pseudonyms (Dredge and Zowie Fenderblast). The music is less Didjits mayhem and more NY Dolls inspired sludgy glam rock, featuring distorted vocals, dirty production, and odd covers (Wings "Junior's Farm", and The Amboy Dukes "You Speak Sunshine, I Breath Fire" among them). Or, as TrouserPress describes them: Urge Overkill practicing to be an MC5 cover band

    The band'a=s albums can be uneven, varying from balls out rockers to pure dreck. (i.e. the cover of "Locomotion" an example of the latter) 1996's Blastronaut is more polished and poppy than 1994's A Taste of Prison and features a more tracks with Sims on vocals. You decide if that is good or bad. Check it out:

    from 1996's Blastronaut
    Lee Harvey Oswald Band - Rocket 69.mp3
    Lee Harvey Oswald Band - Morphodite.mp3

    from 1994's A Taste Of Prison
    Lee Harvey Oswald Band - Tinglers.mp3
    Lee Harvey Oswald Band - Jesus Never Lived On Mars.mp3

    from 1990's Lee Harvey Oswald Band 12"
    Lee Harvey Oswald - Steamroller Doggie.mp3


  • Buy Lee Harvey Oswald Band releases
  • please, share any info you may have
  • ##

    Monday, September 19, 2005

    Saccharine Trust

    Why write my own description of LA's Saccharine Trust when this quote from Perfect Sound Forever captures it all:

    A screaming hybrid of punk energy, be-bop swing and beat poetics, for many, the 'Trust were SST's "difficult" outfit. Without the brutal anger of Black Flag, the populism of the Minutemen, the hillbilly stomp of the 'Puppets or the pop smarts of Husker Du, the band was often left playing support to the stars and being content with their "cult band" status. So be it.

    It took many years for the music of Saccharine Trust to sit well with me, but I've reached a point where I can now cautiously appreciate (if not fully understand) what Jack Brewer, Joe Baiza, and company were trying to do in the early '80's. I remember picking up the Sacramentel Element tape after reading about it in an SST catalog (which effectively hyped every release ), and being disappointed by what I heard. Or rather, what I didn't hear (see above quote). In retrospect the Trust's 1981 debut Paganicons is a classic 12" filled with Baiza's twisted guitar dissonance and Brewer's impassioned rants. 1984's Surviving You, Always is a more schizophrenic affair, mixing spastic jazz riffs with weird, psycho-religious lyrics to create some strange soundscapes. Sometimes great, often frustrating, Surviving You, Always can be an exhausting listen. As a result of my initial distaste I passed on Saccharine Trust final two LP's - 1985's World broken and 1986's We Became Snakes. Below are a couple of my favorites from the first two albums:

    from 1981's Paganicons 12"
    Saccharine Trust - I Have...mp3
    Saccharine Trust - I Am Right.mp3

    from 1984's Surviving You, Always
    Saccharine Trust - Sunk.mp3
    Saccharine Trust - Speak.mp3


  • buy Saccharine Trust releases
  • photo from the official Saccharine Trust website
  • Dave Lang is the author of the quote from PSF

  • ##

    Friday, September 16, 2005

    Mutiny on the Bowery

    By now everyone has heard the news about the impending end of CBGB's, right? In light of that and possessing a myriad of "Live at CBGB" releases I figured why not trot out the Mystic comp Mutiny on the Bowery? I always enjoyed most of the bands and the live sound on this one, and say what you want about Mystic Records, but they've always put out a solid compilation. Mutiny on the Bowery was volume 6 in their "Sounds of USA Cities" series, the previous 5 I have no recollection of. Anyhow, Mystic seeks to capture the vital sound of NYC by recording two live 1986 shows featuring mostly Connecticut and New Jersey bands. Go figure. Most of the material is solid, but I'm partial to Damage and Sharkey's Machine. Below are my favorites:

    Adrenalin OD - Pope on A Rope.mp3
    Chronic Disorder - Welcome To The Modern World.mp3
    Damage - Yah Die Ho.mp3
    Seizure - Not Without A Fight.mp3
    76% Uncertain - Same Result/Justice For All.mp3
    Sharkey's Machine - Chevy Van Blues.mp3
    Stisism - I'm a Corpse.mp3


    Wednesday, September 14, 2005

    Stretch Marks

    I don't usually do requests, but tonight I'm putting up a couple tracks in an effort to thank a reader who seriously hooked me up with some great music and info. Thanks Mike!

    The Stretch Marks hailed from the frigid realm of Winnipeg and along with fellow Manitobans Personality Crisis garnered a fair bit of attention in the US hardcore community. The Stretch Marks self-released a 6 song 7" in 1983 entitled Who's In Charge. BYO took note of the band's muscular sound and singalong choruses and signed 'em up, releasing the bands 1984 LP What D'Ya See. Hearing this many years after first listen I have to admit a good portion of the material isn't as remarkable as I remember. Some of the tracks however (i.e. "What D'Ya See", "Turnbuckle Stomp") are loaded with overwhelming energy and still deliver a wallop. My favorites:

    From 1983's Who's In Charge EP.
    Stretch Marks - Who's in Charge?.mp3
    Stretch Marks - Professional Punks.mp3

    From 1984's What D'Ya See LP
    Stretch Marks - What D'Ya See?.mp3
    Stretch Marks - Turnbuckle Stomp.mp3
    Stretch Marks - Another Tragedy.mp3


    Tuesday, September 13, 2005

    Suicide Commandos

    Carrying on in the "suicide" theme (in name only), it seemed like a perfect opportunity to discuss Minneapolis's Suicide Commandos. Ostensibly the first "punk" band to come out of the Twin Cities (someone, somewhere can always point to something earlier in most cases), the Suicide Commandos were guitarist/vocalist Chris Osgood, drummer, Dave Ahl, and bassist Steve Almaas. Forming in 1974, the Commandos would release two 7" records on the PS label before landing on Mercury's short-lived punk subsidiary Blank (the only other Blank release was Pere Ubu's The Modern Dance). 1978 saw the release of Suicide Commandos Make A Record, 15 tracks of high energy rock punctuated by Osgood's stun gun guitar and Ahl's animal like drumming. In 1979 the Commandos completed their run, releasing a live platter The Commandos Commit Suicide Dance Party (the first release for TwinTone records) and a couple of tracks for Big Hits of Mid-America III compilation One of the tracks on the comp was "Complicated Fun" - years later this track would turn up in a Target commercial. Anyhow, have a listen:

    from 1978's Suicide Commandos Make A Record

    Suicide Commandos - Attacking the Beat.mp3
    Suicide Commandos - Mosquito Crucifixtion.mp3
    Suicide Commandos - You Cant.mp3

    A couple from the band's first two 7 inch releases, more in the straight rock vein than the album 1977's "Match-Mismatch" is a long one - 5+ minutes - that kinda drags for the first two minutes before hitting it's mark. "Emission Control" is from the very first 7", released in 1976

    Suicide Commandos - Match-Mismatch.mp3
    Suicide Commandos - Emission Control.mp3


  • Make A Record was reissued by Mercury on CD in 1996, but that too seems to be unavailable.
  • A Suicide Commandos page on Twintone's website
  • ##

    Saturday, September 10, 2005

    Don't Fear The Reaper

    This is a part two of sorts to the Heroin Hates You post from July, this one involving bands who've had members take their own lives. Sadly, there is a recent addition to the list: Stevo Jensen, original vocalist and songwriter from the Vandals. Below is a list of some of people who've succumbed to their personal demons

    Nirvana - Been A Son.mp3
    While not a huge Nirvana fan I'll remember the moment I heard about Kurt Cobain's death - I was in a record store and happened to be checking out the only copy of Big Black's Headache 12" (with the limited edition cover) that I had ever seen. The clerk joked that the cover model was Cobain, and then explained what he had just heard. Creepy

    Joy Division - Shadowplay.mp3
    a brief writeup on the life and death of Ian Curtis.

    Plasmatics - Monkey Suit.mp3
    vocalist Wendy O. Williams, in the woods, with a shotgun.

    Reagan Youth - (Are You Really) Happy.mp3
    The story behind Dave Insurgent's suicide - truth or urban legend?

    Battalion of Saints - Second Coming.mp3
    I know someone in this band has offed himself, but I don't know who. I could probably fit Battalion of Saints into any death related post.

    Christian Death - Figurative Theatre.mp3
    original vocalist Rozz Williams hung himself in 1998

    Vandals - Legend of Pat Brown.mp3
    Original singer Stevo Jensen overdosed in late August 2005 .

    Dead Milkmen - Tiny Town.mp3
    Most "joke" bands songs don't stand the test of time, and that is sadly true for most of the material by the Dead Milkmen. Still, I met them a couple of times after shows and they simply were some of the nicest people I'd ever met, funny as hell and completely down to Earth. I was saddened to learn that bassist Dave Blood took his life in 2004.

    An incomplete list, of course. Please, share any that I've overlooked.


    Thursday, September 08, 2005

    Reptile House

    Reptile House - I Stumble As The Crow Flies

    My post on the Bouncing Babies compilation a couple of weeks back generated some comments and emails both praising and asking for more Reptile House. Reptile House were a Baltimore band circa 1982-1987 and are notable for having a pre-Lungfish renaissance man David Higgs on vocals and London May (Samhain) on drums. In 1985 Reptile House released their only 7" I Stumble As The Crow Flies, produced by Ian Mackaye. The record was released as Dischord #15 3/4, a split with Baltimore label Druid Hill. The four tracks on the 7" contain some melodic, atmospheric guitar sounds that reminds me at times of the Proletariat's Indifference LP. Reptile House would eventually release a solid and enjoyable posthumous LP titled Listen to the Powersoul in 1988. Like this EP it to is currently out of print.

    1985's I Stumble As The Crow Flies 7"
    Reptile House - Keelhaul Love.mp3
    Reptile House - Social Champion.mp3
    Reptile House - Mrs Rain.mp3
    Reptile House - Sleestak Weather.mp3


    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    Strike Under

    Despite a flash in time existence (1980-1981) and miniscule output Chicago's Strike Under have several notable distinctions to their credit. First and foremost their Immediate Action 12" was the first release for Chicago's famed electro-industrial label Wax Trax! (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, etc.). Strike Under is also remembered as the starting point for guitarist/voaclist Steve Bjorklund (Breaking Circus, producer) and bassist Pierre Kezdy (Naked Raygun, Pegboy). The band split in 1981, soon after recording the tracks for the Busted At Oz compilation and the Immediate Action 12". And what of this record you ask? Well Flex pretty much shits all over it:

    Mid- to slow-tempo HC from Chicago; some Naked Raygun influence, but pretty boring otherwise. [4].

    A quick listen and you might agree - the guitar sound is mighty weak sounding on some of the tracks, and the pace is kinda slow. After repeated listens though it grows on you. Everyone knows "Context" from the Killed By Death series, right? It is the standout track on the record, without a doubt. The others are decent, if somewhat undistinguished from their influences. "Sunday Night Disorientation" has lazy, Brit post-punk vibe, while "Closing In" is a mostly instrumental track ala Naked Raygun or The Effigies. "Elephant's Graveyard" reminds me of Radio Birdman or the Fun Things, and "Immediate Action" is a speedy, midwest Hardcore '81 track. Have a listen and decide for yourselves

    Strike Under - Sunday Night Disorientation.mp3
    Strike Under - Context.mp3
    Strike Under - Closing In.mp3
    Strike Under - Elephant's Graveyard.mp3
    Strike Under - Immediate Action.mp3

    Personally, I like the tracks from the Busted At Oz comp better, if only for the grittier guitar sound:

    Strike Under - Anarchy Song.mp3
    Strike Under - Fucking Uniforms.mp3

  • KFTH page on Strike Under
  • Strike Under Interview at Dementlieu
  • ##

    Hosting Issues

    Bear with me folks, I'm in the process of switching hosting companies and things are progressing slower than expected. I've exceeded my monthly bandwidth limit with my current host, and between that and the host change links may not be working correctly. I hope to have a new post tonight or tomorrow, just FYI.


    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    Sacred Cattle

    Another exhumed (and subsequently lost) gem from the Existential Vacuum label, Sacred Cattle is a "lo-fi selection of previously unreleased Texas Punk 1978-1982". I had forgotten this one even existed, as the pressing of 600 rendered it scarce. A couple of weeks ago someone inquired about, which rekindled my desire to hear it. I tracked it down and I wasn't disappointed, it's a quality collection. What you get is four overlooked Texas bands on one 7". All of these tracks are solid - Boy Problems (Austin) deliver some punchy punk, while Vast Majority (Houston) shuffle through two songs. The Ejectors (Fort Worth) track is speedy,old-style hardcore; NCM (Dallas) finish things up with the cool, bass driven "Six Feet Under"

    Boy Problems - Participation.mp3
    Vast Majority - Poor Sid/Duke is Dead.mp3
    Ejectors - Slam Dance.mp3
    NCM - Six Feet Under.mp3


    Thursday, September 01, 2005


    Hard to believe it's been five fucking years since the last Shellac album, 1000 Hurts. A year ago I posted on Shellac, hoping that by this time I would have something new in hand. No dice. The last I read was the new album was still only half complete with no anticipated release date due to the band's ongoing day to day obligations. Luckily, Albini, Weston, and Trainer have been able to get out and play an occasional show here and there. Some of the new tracks have made their way to the net, and judging by the recent requests I've received for Shellac's "End of Radio" I figured it would only be fair to share them with all of you. So, below are three new tracks recorded in December 2004 as a tribute to the late John Peel. Enjoy:

    Shellac - The End of Radio.mp3
    Shellac - Paco.mp3
    Shellac - Steady As She Goes.mp3


  • Buy Shellac releases
  • Simon at Spoilt Victorian Child had "End of Radio" up earlier this year. Read his take on the track
  • a Pitchfork review of a recent show
  • Photos from the 2004 Peel Session