Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dude Japan "Raft Captain"

I know, I know absolutely shameless. But hey two things:
 1) It is a link to a free MP3 download so I think folks coming here are into that sort of thing
 2) who cares that it is in fact my band
 3) Most importantly it is my blog so I can do whatever the fuck I want. You dig?

With that out of the way...

The fine folks over at today are featuring my band Dude Japan and not only gave a nice write up about us but they are offering a free download of the song "Raft Captain" off our new album The Things That Matter which is available now on CD at Rok Lok Records. It will be coming out soon via cassette on Keep It Together Records.

And for you Long Islanders be sure to come the CD release show for The Things That Matter tomorrow night at Mr Beery's in Bethpage. It is a wonderful night for Long Island indie rock as the show will also feature  Fellow Project, Wax Phantom, Deep Pockets and my friends from New Jersey the wonderful Brick Mower!!!

DOWNLOAD: Dude Japan - Raft Captain

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Space Robot Scientists "At Home With Machines CD-R (Eiffel Trouser Records/1999) + Bonus Tracks

In building off my previous post here is a Eiffel Trousers release for you to sink your teeth into. Here is the debut release from Space Robot Scientists, At Home With Machines which was a cd-r release on Eiffel Trousers but I could have sworn that at a few shows where Matt had a merch table set up that I saw a cassette version. Perhaps I am imagining things? Anyhow my first exposure to Space Robot Scientists was a party at Josh's house one night where Microwave Orphans, Clump and Space Robot Scientists all played in late 1998. At the time Space Robot Scientists were a duo that consisted of Andre Bermudez (Freaks From the Apocalypse) on baritone guitar, vocals, and programming as Matt Dallow (Microwave Orphans) on keyboards and vocals. It was one of the first times I had seen a band use a drum machine in a live performance and have it work so well. Their set was awesome- it was weird and spacey, dance inducing, noisy. Everything that I felt was missing from local music at the time. Seriously, if  I heard another pop punk band I was going to go insane. I just watched wide eyed and all through their set but by the time they played the droning "King of Untied Welcomings" as was absolutely hooked. Conventional thinking tells you that anytime drum machines or pre-recorded material is implemented into a band's live act then the band can not be exciting live, and usually I'd probably agree with that statement but Space Robot Scientists are without a doubt the exception to the rule. Bermudez would perform with so much hyper energy and attitude and snarl while Dallow almost motionless 'ala Martin Rev would hammer away on his keyboard creating bizarre, wavy sound after another. Space Robot Scientists wre an absolute treat to see every time not only for the brilliantly unique music but their wonderful live show that went along with it.

At Home With Machines sums up what I love about Space Robot Scientists and what drew me to them that first time I saw them. The songs are smart but have a grooving simplicity that their later work lacked, and that is not to say their later work isn't as brilliant or even more so I think personally I just love the simplistic grooves and how all the sounds wrapped around these throbbing almost video game esque midi beats. At Home With Machines still contains three of my favorite Space Robot Scientists songs which were for whatever reason never re-recorded for any of their other releases and those songs would be the aforementioned "King of Untied Welcomings", "SysX" and "Dabba". Not to mention the song that I would wager to say is the band's signature song, "Sanitize". Sanitize the universe-cha-cha-cha. However, the album does feature three songs that would later be re-recorded- "My Control", "Colin Ferguson" and "Fuck You Doctor", the later of which was lent out to the Eiffel Trousers/DAB Records CD comp Victims of the Modern Age.

At some point the added some point they added Sean Corkery on bass and the band continue to create outstanding synth driven post punk that meshed together influences of Wire, Public Image Limited, Suicide, Gang of Four, Joy Division and Atom & His Package. The material that Space Robot Scientists would create for their 2001 sophomore album We've Got a Time Machine on my own Rok Lok Records would be a bit more distorted and dare I say darker sounding than At Home With Machines. During this period they would do hands down the best cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" that I have ever heard. To bad they never recorded it. The band would go on to release a third and final cd- 2004's Aggro Disco on Example Such Cloth Hammer Engine (better known as ESCHE). A couple of summers back Space Robot Scientists did a reunion as part of Rok Lok Fest at the Knitting Factory. I was fortunate as from 2004 til last month Bermudez joined me as collaborator in Yes Sensei. He has always been a good friend but I don't think I have ever played with another musician who has influenced me so positively and generally me made a better musician the way Andre has. I'll missing writing music and performing with him. Anyhow before I get too sappy...

As a bonus I have included two bonus tracks a alternate unreleased version of "Sanitize" and the version of "Itinerary" from The Hope Machine CD compilation on Rok Lok Records. Enjoy!

At Home With Machines track listing:
1) My Control
2) Colin Ferguson
3) Dabba
4) SysX
5) White Trash Town
6) I'm Straight
7) Fuck You Doctor
8) Sanitize
9) King of Untied Welcomings
10) The Day the World Turned Day Glo

Bonus Tracks
1) Sanitize (alternate version)
2) Itinerary (Hope Machine version)

Download Here

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Remember-If It's On Eiffel, It's out of this world!!!

That was the little tag line that was included in The Mutes Brothers Isn't It Neat Being Unique?cassette on Eiffel Trousers Records (which I shall be uploading in the near future) but this flyer posted is for what was essentially a Eiffel Trousers Records showcase as all of the bands save for The Peawees had releases on the label. As I wrote  previously Eiffel Trousers Records was a label that was run by Microwave Orphans front man Matt Roren and existed in the late 90s. The label hosted a varied discography that included bands such as 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, Clump, and 48 in the Basement,  4 track weirdness of Caroline's Pneumatic Drapery, Tork & Co., indie rock of Book Store, On the Might of Princes,The Mutes Brothers, and Potbelly Bandits. They were a label that primarily released cassettes but over the years cds were issued as well. ETR did an excellent job of documenting what was going on that time and made sure to have fun while doing it. 

 And the site of this show is from The Massepequa Bowl- a venue that I saw several excellent shows at most notably the last Striped Basstards show which was tons of fun but insanely packed and hot as hell. Anyhow, it wasn't too out of the ordinary in the late 90s to see shows with The Microwave Orphans, Freaks From the Apocalypse and 48 in the Basement playing together in fact it was quite regular but what makes this show special is that it featured a rare live performance from ETR's resident experimental/lo fi/weirdo/psych rock out fit Caroline's Pneumatic Drapery who to my ears only existed on cassette as well as The Peawees a band from Italy who had just around the time of this show released their album on another local record label Motherbox Records. And while the Peawees' wannabe Ramones styled punk rock didn't do much for me I was pretty blown away that a band from Italy was putting a record out on a Long Island label and would actually come to Long Island and PLAY. I was still relatively young so it definitely had a "wow" factor to me.

Something about this flier always struck me and I had it hanging in my various bedrooms for years. It was a real sharp looking flier that stood out from the usual photocopy fare. I am not sure if this comes through at all but this flier was printed on reflective card stock. Nice!

One last thing... I shall get back to regular posts soon. This week I joined the unemployed club so most of my time recently has been spent looking for a new job and trying to figure out ways to conjure up cash (i.e Ebay) so I can survive in the space in between jobs. Thanks for reading everyone and once again your support/feedback is greatly appreciated.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Smells Like.... Bo Coach!

Here is a set list that I nabbed from one of the last shows that one of my favorite Long Island bands ever played. Bo Coach were a lo fi indie rock band that was based out of the Shoreham/Wading River area of eastern Long Island, which was a town away from my home town of Rocky Point. Bo Coach shows were always great because you never knew what you were going to get or what members would show up. It was always on the brink of disaster which was part of the fun and I guess which is why when they were on (which was just about all the times) it was an absolute beautiful mess to witness. Smart pop with almost new wave sensibilities thrown in with fuzzy noise that wavered in and out was essentially what Bo Coach went for sonically. So if you put The Pixies, Man or Astroman?, The Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth in a blender it would come out sounding like Bo Coach. Simply put, it was quintessential suburban indie rock. My first band Pale Marble Movie played with them a lot, and even one time we joined them for a raucous rendition of The Velvet Underground's "Heroin". I released their only formal release, The Mustard Tape as a cassette on Rok Lok Records in early 2000 and it remains one of my favorite releases. It has been out of print for awhile now though I may do a small repress some point as I'd really love to share their great music with a new generation of music fans. Bo Coach allowed me to include their song "Fast One" on The Hope Machine compilation and I have attached that song here. Enjoy!

BO COACH "Fast One"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Grid Iron "6 Songs" (unreleased/2003)

In starting to organize the recordings that I would be using in this blog I came across this cd-r in my spindle and I had no idea what this was because I never recalled  Grid Iron releasing a 6 song ep. And some of the songs sounded like they could have been different mixes of tunes on Quietly, Confider but there were also songs from the Demo re-recorded as well as two songs that I never recalled hearing before on a recording. Then it dawned on me and I am fairly certain I unraveled the mystery of these songs. This is what I believe to be the story here- shortly after Grid Iron first started playing they started teaming up a lot with my band Yes Sensei for shows. We liked them a lot and playing shows together were always fun. After we, Yes Sensei that is, released our first album What I Do Best is What I Do Worst in 2002 we started looking to the future and thinking about our next release. After some discussion it was decided that we'd do a split cd with our buddies Grid Iron each of us doing six tracks each. Grid Iron had their shit together and it didn't take them very long to get their half of the split together and it wasn't before long where drummer Adam Kuhn was pestering us (rightfully so) wondering when we'd record out tunes. And unless I am mistaken (which would sure make me and this post seem rather silly- what can I say but those years were my "drunk years" so the memory is a bit fuzzy at times)- at some point Adam handed me this cd-r which was to be their six songs for the split.

Finally, we set up shop in Yes Sensei bassist Paul Como's parents' house, ran cables everywhere and had a pretty good set up going. We recorded the tunes and it really didn't sound all that hot. Mostly it was my fault because I waited to the last minute to get a good guitar cabinet. Back then I hated recording and was more interested in playing shows constantly. Anyhow, we sat on that recording and were going to patch it up but eventually Paul left our little band and with Michael Parish assuming the bass role and weeks later Adam Vargas joining us on guitar we all thought it best to scrap the recording and finish re-working the five songs and discarding one from the band's library of tunes we had to make our second full length album which would turn into We Who Transplant Sustain; which meant that the long planned discussed split cd with Grid Iron went the way of so many youthful discussions and plans. And that is really unfortunate because in listening to these songs for the first time in years I realize what a missed opportunity I had to release a collection of outstanding songs on my label. I have a few regrets in my label history of projects that I passed up on or ones that didn't happen for whatever reason. I have been listening to this batch of songs a lot the last several days and all I could think was "man how did I NOT release this?"...oh well. Live and learn.

Grid Iron grew in leaps and bounds from their Demo and this collection of 6 unreleased songs is a wonderful document of band finding its footing and doing so in style. The level of songwriting and performance improved so greatly, even the two re-recorded songs from the Demo, "Tarry Under Docks" and "Crater Basin" sound like a different band. I highly recommend this batch of songs and this is easily one of the best uploads song writing quality wise that I have the privilege to share here. One last bit- if anyone knows the names of the two untitled tracks please pass those along. Thanks!

Grid Iron "6 Songs" track listing
1. Gift Horse (version)
2. Tarry Under Docks (version)
3. (track #3)
4. Tides (version)
5. Crater Basin (version)
6. (track #6)

Download Here

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

On the Might of Princes "Live at The Spot 9/9/99" (soundboard recording)

Oh boy to say this is a rarity is an understatement. And I am really excited to share this with everyone. How I came into possession of this is nothing short of a miracle. As the story goes when I was compiling material for the CD reissues of The Making of a Conversation and Where You Are and Where You Want to Be that I released with my buddy Wells a few years back I started doing some detective work to track down recordings and such to make the reissues really special. I distinctly remember seeing On the Might of Princes play a show at The Spot on Stony Brook University Campus and I was aware that they did happen to record the shows through the soundboard from time to time. And what made me recall this and try to track down the possibility of the recording was that I definitely remembered them playing a song that was never formally recorded, "Poison of Youth". I remembered this so vividly because Pauly from Splurge showed up mid way through them playing that song and tried to coerce the band into playing it a second time. This was stuck in my memory banks when the search for a possible recording commenced. Through a string of various different people who I knew at the time and hadn't seen/spoke to in years I was able to find the guy who was manning the sound board that night. I did and he revealed to me that he if his memory served him correct he did indeed record the entire set that night however,  if he did indeed have the recording he wasn't sure if it still existed as he explained that hundreds of recordings he did over the years were lost in a fire in his home a couple years prior. Mike searched through what recordings remained and low and behold one day the cd-r of the entire show in my PO box. So we were able to include a recording of a song that most On the Might of Princes fans never heard and would've never heard if it wasn't for a lot of luck and for all the folks who used to be involved with The Spot that took time out of their days to assist in locating the recording. And now I am stoked to share the entire set with the world.

About the music enclosed on the soundboard recording captured here, it is all songs that were from time period of the band's first album The Making of a Conversation came out. In fact the album was formally released almost a month prior to the date of this show. And this recording is the only known live recording outside of a video that surfaced of "Poison of Youth" (different show from the one here) that features the original On the Might of Princes line up with Nicole Keiper on drums. The performance is rough and sloppy at times which was a trademark of On the Might of Princes live shows from the beginning all the way to the end. People loved On the Might of Princes for their sincere, heart on the sleeve song writing and performances that were the most visceral thing anyone had ever seen-not whether or not they missed a note or lyric or whatever. I am happy that this recording exists not only for giving people a chance to hear the song "Poison of Youth" but to hear that early On the Might of Princes had a edge as well which in some ways I do believe got lost in the recording of The Making of a Conversation. There is a misconception from fans of the band who came on board with their later albums that OTMOP's early material was "safe" and that they weren't as powerful live-clearly those are thoughts from people who weren't there at during this era of the band to witness it first hand. People who were there know better and will tell you otherwise. I think that this recording proves that there was a raw power to OTMOP's early material in a live construct that maybe didn't translate as well to the studio.

I have a few more On the Might of Princes live sets that I will be uploading in the near future. As far as more OTMOP rarities I do know that there was a unreleased demo recorded on a reel to reel in Lou Fontana's basement where at least two maybe three songs that were never re-recorded appear. I heard it only a couple of times but it ruled, I was wish those guys would release that in some manner just as a document in the evolution of the band. I know fans would love it. Even if they just release for free digitally or something. Additionally, there is another track that was written in the period after The Making of the Conversation was recorded and before Keiper was replaced by Chris Enriquez and the band started putting Where You Are and Where You Want to Be together; the song is called "History of Churches". I can't find a recording anywhere of it. I know the band played it in Spring of 1999 when they played with Promise Ring and American Football at NYU. I tried seeing if there was a soundboard recording of that show but no luck. Who knows maybe something will turn up some day...

Also I want to credit the photo above the Maria Ciafonne who took this photo at a show with On the Might of Princes and In Transit at here apartment in late 1998/early 1999. I didn't have a live photo from the show at The Spot so I felt this photo would be the most appropriate.

On the Might of Princes Live at The Spot 9/9/99 track listing
1. Absentee Ballot (partial)
2. The Snow Watchers
3. At Half Mast
4. Poison of Youth
5. Juliana (Taking the Long Way Home)
6. Astoria
7. Water Wings
8. A Shadow Taller Than You
9. A Thousand Words

Download Here

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cedar Beach Rules!

Cedar Beach was the best. And I think anyone who went to shows there or performed there would agree. Yeah, you couldn't "mosh" or whatever the fuck but you know what that shit is stupid anyway and made shows worse. In the late 1990s to mid 2000s the Town of Brookhaven as part of their youth program during the summer would let kids put on shows at the pavilion on the beach and I can't speak for everyone but for myself and my friends this was absolute gift to stave off boredom growing up in eastern Suffolk County. Big touring bands never came to eastern Long Island so we had to make our own thing. I mean seriously what beats watching bands play and hang out with your friends at a beach at night? Nothing that is what. I have toured around the country many times, played in venues all over with my bands-nothing was better than Cedar Beach.

And in looking back no one can argue the influence that eastern Long Island byproducts had on the scene for years to come mainly in thanks to Traffic Violation Records and the family of bands that label helped document. Here is a flier for what was essentially though not formally a Traffic Violation Records showcase as the only band on the bill that wasn't on the label was Big Lick. Seeing bands like Splurge, Striped Basstards, and The Howards who were all from eastern Suffolk County as well and releasing records was very inspiring to me in starting my own label. Yeah, being exposed to K Records, Shrimper Records, Sub Pop and Kill Rock Stars at a young age was very inspiring to me and got me into music and underground culture but what Traffic Violation (as well as Mountain and Eiffel Trousers) was doing hit a nerve with me because it was local and done by people my age or younger.

Anyhow to go along with this flier I have decided to upload two more tracks from the Traffic Violation Records "6 Band Comp". Props to Jason from the excellent To Live and Die on Long Island music blog for making the this rip available. Scroll below to download Splurge's "49 Cent Refill" and Striped Basstards "Inside My Head".

Download SPLURGE "49 Cent Refill"

Download STRIPED BASSTARDS "Inside My Head"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Kiwi "Anarchists Have More Fun" CD (Burn It Down Rebuild/2003)

"This is about having a good time with my friends". Well said Kiwi.

Kiwi was a DIY synth pop/punk band that existed from around 2002 to maybe sometime in 2004. It was originally a duo that consisted of Matthew Winn (Wildebeest/The Fish) on synthesizer and vocals and Jesse Vargas (The Life of Crime/Jack Bandit) on drums/vocals. Later on Mike Campbell of Latterman/Grid Iron/The Brass played bass to turn the duo into a trio. I believe someone else played bass briefly but I am not 100% certain of that or whom it would've been. Kiwi played really fun, dance inducing bouncy synth pop that lyrics that centered around the exuberance and idealism of youth and DIY culture though there was also heavy political tinge to the lyrics that touch on consumption culture, corrupt politics, battling racism, sexism, and homophobia and of course songs about the fucking pigs. Mixing this rather serious lyrical content was dancey, grooving rhythms propelled by airy sounds of synth Kiwi certainly upheld the argument that, yes anarchists do indeed have more fun. Musically speaking if you dig stuff like Devo, Atom & His Package, Robotnicka, Math the Band and even local new wave synth driven locals Space Robot Scientists then chances are you'll dig Kiwi and their full length album Anarchists Have More Fun. It should be noted that the cover I have posted here is actually the cover of the booklet; as the cd and booklet were each housed a unique hand sewn printed fabric sleeve. Each one was different, mine came in a American flag print. I have seen some in flannel and even printed Cowboy art fabrics. Fucking tight.

As far as other releases are concerned to my knowledge the only other release Kiwi had was a split cd with The Lazer which I do not own so if someone out there could share those tunes with me I'd appreciate it. Kiwi were always fun and in hindsight they were the ultimate basement band. Listening to this cd right now makes me want to call them out of retirement to come and play show in my basement. Of course that wouldn't happen. I have to say one of my favorite experiences seeing Kiwi was at some basement in Northport where Jesse Vargas the band's drummer didn't show up but Matthew Winn and Mike Campbell forged ahead by recruiting Ryan Nadieau from Guadalupe/For Those Who Can Not Wait to join them for a unrehearsed impromptu set. Nadieau had never played the songs but fucking nailed it. It was such a fun performance; everyone was dancing and having fun. For me it came at a time in my mid 20s where I was starting to feel out of place at basement shows and just within punk in general but all of that was washed away with such a fun and care free set that Kiwi put on that night. Indeed it certainly was about having a good time with your friends.

Kiwi "Anarchists Have More Fun" track listing
1. Hopping Fences
2. With Friends Like These Who Needs Sleep?
3. All They Can Offer Us
4. We Don't Need No Borders, Let the Revolution Burn!
5. Honor Among Thieves
6. We Hate the Pigs Cause the Pigs Hate Us
7. Hopes, Dreams and Fears
8. Fun House Mirror
9. Who Needs Who?
10. Vitamins and Minerals
11. Dance on the Graves
12. Clap Clap Clap

Download Here

Friday, February 4, 2011

Who wants to read some Howards comix???

Here is one of those artifacts of Long Island punk's past where I asked myself how and why have I held onto this for so long? The Howards were one of the first punk bands that I knew to be from my neck of the woods in eastern Long Island. They played snotty, Screeching Weasel-esque pop punk and were based out of Port Jefferson. Here is a flier in comic strip form that was made essentially to get people out to shows and spread the word about their band. I picked this flier up probably at either Music Den or Alien Nation Skate Shop-both of which were in the Port Jefferson area. The Howards released a track "No Place Left to Go" on the Traffic Violation 6 Band Comp 7 inch which I have included below and also a split 7 inch w/ Checkerboard Charlie called "Kinda Port Jeff's Finest" which was released on Traffic Violation Records as well. You can download this 7 inch over Uncle Ron's Dusty Discs.

The Howards went on to form A Boy Called Spite, Explosivo!, The Devil Himself, Small Arms Dealer, Iron Chic and Wax Phantom. WHEW!!

Download "No Place Left To Go"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

And now for something different...

Here is the first entry in something a little different that I'll be doing. In addition to the regular music uploads I shall posting scans of show fliers that I have amassed over the years. I realized if I just keep this stuff in boxes I am a pack rat (or is hoarder the new "in" term?) but all of this accumulation is worth it if I am archiving and sharing it with people. And if people enjoy seeing this type of stuff, awesome.

This flier upload is a two for one as there were two fliers made for the same show. The top one was a small flier that I found amongst the stack at None of the Above Records and the second is one of my first encounters with a digital flier. Danny from Bunsen Honeydew (whom I WILL be uploading tunes for this blog shortly) emailed me this flier on the good 'ol America Online. It took me a bout 15 minutes to download it and another 10 to print it. Ahhhhh... high speed internet in the late 90s was funny. Anyhow, this is the flier for which is essentially the night that changed my life as it was the first time I saw On the Might of Princes play. It was maybe their second or third show; I can't exactly recall. While music has always been a huge part of my life, no band influence my life in the manner that On the Might of Princes did- I started a label, a band, etc. all because of these guys. I don't listen to the music nearly as much as I used but every time I see this flier I get choked up and it takes me back to a time that was really exciting for me. It makes me feel good despite all of the uncertainty in my life at that time, but that is realizing in hindsight how fun growing up is no matter the heartache.