Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Store "Sleeping On Glass Pillows" cassette (Eiffel Trousers Records/1999) +"Gonster"

Well here is nice little rarity, one that I wasn't sure ever existed until my good buddy J-Ro gave me a cd-r copy a few years ago and confirmed that yes,  his brother Matt Orphan did indeed release it as a tape on the mighty Eiffel Trousers Records label (whom I will speak more of later on). I knew of these songs because after chatting with Book Store bassist Jon Kaplan in a AOL chat room he sent me a tape with these songs on it but I wasn't aware of the "formal" release. The band never had them with them at shows or anything so I imagine to most this release was or is a mystery. I am not sure why that is. Maybe they weren't happy with the recording or something as it does have a fuzzy, lo fi quality to it but to my ears it sounds just grand. I do know that this recording features Book Store's original drummer Lou S. so perhaps that was a reason. Strange...

In any event out of the five songs presented here four were re-recorded for the self titled cd on Rok Lok Records (why yes, I still have some available...). Aside from some songs I think sounding better here than the album for my own personal aesthetic reasons; particularly "Dreamy" which is played a little faster and for the better; what makes Sleeping On Glass Pillows a point of interest for any Book Store fan is that it is the only place to get the song "Maggie Cassidy". It was a short lived song that I only saw the band perform once in the many, many times I saw the band while they were together. And the record nerd in me just loves stuff like that-forgotten tracks or rare exclusive comp or demo tracks. Sometimes when that stuff is dug up it is golden and while "Maggie Cassidy" certainly isn't the best song Book Store wrote but is definitely a strong slice of indie rock that far outshines some other tunes that the band played throughout their life span. In a way I am curious what this song would sound like if they kept playing and re-recorded it for the album like the did with the others. All in all, Sleeping On Glass Pillows is perfect basement indie rock to tap your toes to.

As a bonus I have included the original, and superior version "Gonster" that appeared on The Hope Machine compilation. Not that I don't like the version that opens up the self titled album I just find this version to have more energy, and I really like the guitar tones much better as they are really fitting for the song. Also I prefer the extended hyper jam outro presented on this version as opposed to shortened version on the album that went back to the verse, or "Radio Friendly Gonster" as some of us called.

And to wrap this post up I just would like to share a few thoughts about the label that released this tape and many other great releases through the mid to late 90s, Eiffel Trousers Records. This was the label that was started by Matt Orphan of The Microwave Orphans and with Eiffel Trousers Matt was able to mash together the label influences of Lookout Records, K Records, Kill Rock Stars and Shrimper to have nice diverse roster of releases. From the new wave tinged punk of his own Microwave Orphans as well as the Space Robot Scientist. Ska/surf/pop of Freaks from the Apocalypse. Melodic pop punk of Supermatchboxx, Embarrassing Wrecks, Whoopie Cushion, Milton, and 48 in the Basement,  4 track weirdness of Caroline's Pneumatic Drapery, Tork & Co., indie rock of Book Store, The Mutes Brothers, and Potbelly Bandits- Eiffel Trousers always kept it interesting from release to release as you never knew what you would get. And let's not forget, Eiffel Trousers Records was responsible for releasing the second pressing of the On the Might of Princes demo. No matter what your personal thoughts of each band were, there was no way you couldn't appreciate the sincere aesthetic that Eiffel Trousers was able to convey with every release.

Honestly, when Matt stopped showing up to shows with those shoe boxes of tapes a part of me felt rather empty. And that is not to take anything away from anyone, it is just Matt was the first person I met in the Long Island scene that was into the same kind of weirdo indie rock that I was into. He knew who Sebadoh and Shrimper Records were which as silly as it sounds that was huge for me at the age as I wanted to play in a band more than anything and finding people that didn't want do a pop punk or hardcore band back than was very, very difficult. If you said Sonic Youth or Jesus Lizard or Pavement to anyone- they laughed and would proceed to tell you that NOFX is the greatest band ever. Times have certainly changed...Matt introduced me to people who I'd later go on to create music with and essentially the core of the creative circle that I travel in so for that I am very grateful.  People reminisce a lot here on Long Island about many old bands, venues, and labels but I always feel very few people give the proper due to what Eiffel Trousers Records did in releasing music and coordinating shows in the mid to late 90s. Matt here is to you my friend, thanks for all that you have done over the years. Since I have finally have a reliable set up to rip cassettes I'll certainly be uploading more of the label's discography in the coming months. For those interested Eiffel Trousers has a old Myspace page that is still up, check ahoy

Book Store Sleeping On Glass Pillows track listing
1. October
2 Dreamy
3. Sweet Day
4. A Simple Notion
5. Maggie Cassidy

and then "Gonster" from The Hope Machine

Download Here


  1. Mike, this was a touching one to read. And my first thought when I saw the link was "did Mike have the CD-R version?" I'm glad it was. Also, you're totally right about this version of "Gonster."

    Oh and Chris Amato from Sedition has a blog where he's uploading old LI stuff, too.

  2. Mike - you sure that the archive saved right? Having some problems with this one.

  3. J-Ro, nor problem buddy. Thanks for the hookup of this "proper" release all those years ago because I actually misplaced the tape that Jon sent me. Thanks for sending the link to Chris' blog, very cool stuff. He beat me to the punch on a few things but it certainly saves me time in ripping for sure!

    Jason-I'll double check. Is anyone else having problems with these files?

  4. hey folks, daniel fucello formerly of bookstore here. first off it was amazing to read this as well as the other retrospective bookstore reviews. it means a lot. secondly, i too got MY copy of this from john when it was well known bookstore was throwing in the towel. it was originally intended to be a demo only and recorded by brian from bunsen honeydew fame in his basement and we gave it out to a bunch of small nyc clubs in our pre LI show days. we never sold them(there were only a handfull of the cassettes ever made) and most of them probably ended up in the garbage at those clubs. i remember calling a club from johns work office in nyc and talking to a promoter asking "what'd do you think", his reply' "i think it sucks. what a bunch of noise" followed by a click. though this EP did get us our couple of shows at CBGBs. john ro totally hooked me up with a CD-R version at one of our last shows.

    I must agree, the s/t album was ambitious having access to awesome studio equipment, but looking back it was the 2 lofi EPs i feel captured what we sounded like live and our overall energy the best. a funny story about "sonic outro gonster", the guy who recorded that version for the comp fought us hardcore to do a "radio friendly" version saying we'd never "make it" ending the song the way we did. this guy thought we had our sights on MTV or something. anyway, if there ever was a bookstore reunion show, i promise we'll do the original version of it. cheers!

  5. Daniel-

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving some words! When was the last I saw you, The Jesus Lizard show?

    Anyhow thanks for stopping by and shedding some light on this release. As much as I love the self titled album, I find myself especially in recent years listening to the two eps a bit more because like you said it reminds me more of what the band sounded like live. Though I have to say "Simple Notion" still finds its way onto mixes that I make!

    In a way it is really a testament to the time period. A band now a days can't be active for more than a month without having a release out before being out of sight, out of mind. Back then you guys played for close to two years without having a release of any kind to sell at shows, yet people always remembered and came back. That is almost unheard of these days.

    A reunion? The last time I went barking up that tree for Rok Lok Fest I didn't get a response. If there is any seriousness to that I AM thinking about doing another 2 day festival this summer though not as crazy hetchic as the last one. Just putting it out there...


  6. Mike i hadn't heard about the Rok Lok fest until i ran into at that jesus lizard show. i am always down to play (DTP as the jersey shore kids call it). i would imagine joey would be into it too. its kaplan you have to rope down. keep in touch! i'm on facebook and my email is word up.