Monday, May 30, 2011

Reflex Blue/Casa Negro "Live in Bayshore" (unreleased live recording/2001)

It has been awhile since I made a post but to say I have been busy is an understatement. I intended to upload the the Knox Overstreet/Radio Raheem 7 inch but my phone/camera is out of battery life after foolishly leaving uncharged for the last four days where I was away from home. So in keeping things in the family so to speak today's post is the second offering from former Casa Negro guitarist Greg Gerardi's vaults. It is a show from the old Bayshore house featuring Casa Negro and one song from a project called from Reflex Blue which was Jon Gruber from Casa Negro on drums and Jammer of "Jammer Failed" fame on guitar. I am not sure of Reflex Blue ever did anything else or recorded anything so this may very well be the only documentation of the project. And in the case of Casa Negro since they never formally recorded or released anything I am excited that Greg has been sharing these live recordings because they serve as the only documents of a really awesome band that for whatever reason never buckled down to record anything formally. In any event download the Live in Bayshore recording here at the Bandcamp page Greg created.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Portal "Portal" cd-r (self released/2002)

Back in January I posted the sophomore effort from Portal, Lost in The Translation and I was pleasantly surprised to hear from folks how much they liked it or were looking for it for years, lost their copy or whatever.  So without further delay I happy to finally share the debut release from Portal. For those who missed that first post, Portal was a experimental home recording project by Contra/Church of the Rowdy guitarist Stephe Cooper. In these home experiments Cooper employed various genres-prog rock, art rock, kraut rock, midi/electronic music, ambient and even lo fi garage punk. I think Lost in The Translation is a much more calculated, though out work thus to my ears being a bit more enjoyable than the debut, however this disc is certainly enjoyable and firmly lays the groundwork of what was to come. Honestly, it is a shame that Cooper only released two Portal cds because both are so damn good. This debut cd-r features a Jane's Addiction cover.

Portal track listing
1. Frogball
2. A Call to Arms in Defense of Mother Earth
3. Shifting
4. Dry Lake
5. Summertime Rolls

Download Here

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Insurgent/Sometimes Walking Sometimes Running "split" 7 inch (Traffic Violation Records/2001)

When I look at this 7 inch outside of the memories of wonderful music both bands created and how the label that released this influenced me a great deal, what I think of most was the vibrant basement shows that marked this era of Long Island DIY for me. The cover of this 7 inch is a picture of a room that I am sure looks familiar to anyone who went to DIY punk/hardcore shows on Long Island in the late 90s/early 2000s. The picture is no other than the basement of "Ren's House", one of several DIY show spaces that Long Island  in that time period. Ren, who played guitar in Sometimes Walking Sometimes Running, and his family allowed their home to be opened up for youths to congregate and make a racket but above all a safe place to express themselves. Every time I went to a show there it felt special. Some of the best shows that I have went or been a part of have taking place in that room. When Latterman went on hiatus after Turn Up the Punk We'll Be Singing guitarist Phil Douglas played the show in a bear costume. It was just always great. And generally speaking that was the vibe of Long Island at the time as house shows were very prevalent; from Ren's house to The Vargas House, Ryan Woodhull's house, The Hobo House, and a few other that come to mind. It all had a very powerful effect on me and I feel very fortunate to have been a part of something so organic, creative and liberating. These days it seems like the only cats doing house shows that I know of are the folks at Dead Broke.

Anyhow the music on this split 7 inch are two bands that I have posted about prior. The Insurgent play anthemic pop punk with a emo flair that is one part Crimpshrine and one part Rites of Spring. The one song that The Insurgent contributes may be my favorite song of theirs. And on the flip side Sometimes Walking Sometimes Running played chaotic, noisy hardcore screamo that was like City of Caterpillar, Pg.99, etc.

The Insurgent/Sometimes Walking Sometimes Running "split" track listing
1A The Insurgent "Miles to Go"
1B Sometimes Walking Sometimes Running "You"
2B Sometimes Walking Sometimes Running "She Won't Kiss Me Because I Smoke and I Smoke Because She Won't Kiss Me"

Download Here

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bunsen Honeydew "Transistor" 7 inch (Bumble Bear/2000) + "Modern Gal"

I'd hate to start out a post about a band whom I loved a great deal negatively but for the life of me I can not understand why the drums are barely audible on this 7 inch. I thought it was the rip I did as it had been sometime since I actually spun the vinyl but holy shit on my stereo spinning the the 7 inch again I was asking myself what happened to the drums. It seems as if on the the 7 inch all that was captured was the treble happy, noise overdose guitar sounds that were the band's trademarks. And for anyone who saw Huntington based Bunsen Honeydew back then can certainly attest that the band was blisteringly loud. Still to this day I have very seldom come across a band as loud as Bunsen Honeydew were. But in addition to the wall of shoegaze, Kevin Shields worship that the guitars spewed from Brain Rayman and Danny Tieman, drummer Theo Cateforis propelled the songs to even greater volumes with his awesome, heavy handed drumming. All while bassist Lisa Cuomo anchored the madness with a rich and fluid sense of low end melody. Anyhow I am getting ahead of myself...

I first became aware of Bunsen Honeydew when I struck up a online friendship with Bunsen Honeydew guitarist Danny Tieman back on AOL chat when I was trying to find musical kindred spirits on Long Island back in the late 90s so that I could start a band. Back then trying to find folks who like bands like Pavement, Sebadoh and Sonic Youth was a tough sell when trying to start a band so naturally I gravitated towards Danny when he told his band "made a bunch of noise with their guitars". I liked the sound of that. And when Bunsen Honeydew played Cedar Beach I was finally able to see them and confirm that yes, I like the sound of that. In fact I REALLY liked the sound of it. Coincidentally, that show was also featured On the Might of Princes and it was the first time I saw them play. Man what a great night that was.

Bunsen Honeydew played noisy guitar shoegaze/mod indie pop that was influenced by bands like Television Personalities, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, and The Pastels. Even an element of The Buzzcocks can be detected at times. They generally traveled outside of the Long Island DIY community but they certainly played shows on Long Island, and played places where there were DIY shows happening. I booked them a few times at the spots like The Mod Center, Roadhouse Pub, etc. And each time they were louder, louder and louder. Anytime they played myself and Tommy Orza (from OTMOP) would buddy up and make the trek. Tommy even would constantly play in his car this tape of recordings of theirs that he wasn't even supposed to have. I think the band didn't like it or something but Tommy coerced Lisa to make him a copy or something like. Regardless, he'd never make me a copy no matter how much I pleaded so I was just content to hearing the band's music in his car. And I think in nut shell I think that was my biggest issue with Bunsen Honeydew, getting their music in a tangible form was next to impossible. I fucking loved the band's music so much but I would even know that records came out. Generally speaking most of their music was released over seas on small boutique indie labels. Even Graham Coxon of Blur released the Didn't You Used to Be Invisible? on his Transcopic Records label. In fact just recently I discovered that the band released Modern Gal as a 7 inch on the Little Teddy Records label out of Germany. Frustrating that I have to hunt down records from a band that I followed as they were active years after the fact. In a way though it is kind of funny and probably very telling of why most people on Long Island never heard of the band.

Back to the issue at hand the Transistor 7 inch which was released on Bumble Bear Records in 2000 features the title track which is a noisy, hypnotic shoegaze romp that mimics Ride at their best while the b-side "Tiny for Louis" is a ambient, shoegaze drone piece that recalls moments from My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. Beck even had a copy of the 7 inch as it appeared in a stack of his records in a photo that went along with a interview he did for Vanity Fair. The bonus track that I have included "Modern Gal" was included on The Hope Machine compilation that I put out and honestly I do not know if this is the version that appears on the Modern Gal 7 inch on Little Teddy. Something tells me that it is not. The band was eventually issued a cease and desist by Jim Henson's people and the re-named themselves Four Volts shortly before drummer Theo Cateforis left the fold. They issued a album called Triple Your Workforce on Kanine Records. Lisa Cuomo moved on shortly thereafter and the band continued on for awhile before folding and moving onto other projects. You can check out Four Volts here.

This is definitely one of my favorite bands from Long Island but I just wish I had better audio documentation to share. In any event check out this out and who knows maybe someday I'll have the time to find some Euro distros where I can import their other releases and eventually rip those. For those interested I do have a couple of copies of this 7 inch remaining in my distro.

Bunsen Honeydew Transistor track listing
1. Transistor
2. Tiny For Louis

from The Hope Machine
1. Modern Gal

Download Here

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Casa Negro/Knox Overstreet/TheLord Humongous "Live at the Mod Center" (unreleased live recording/2000)

Through doing this Here On This Island I have certainly reconnected with a lot of people whom I hadn't seen in many years. Friends or just acquaintances whom I shared in experiencing all of this great music growing up. And I have to say it has been a good feeling to know that it was just me who felt this way about playing music, and being a part of something creative and substantial  in regards to the Long Island music scene. At times I have thought maybe the joy culled from those experiences so far removed is just nostalgia or my head just playing tricks on me but clearly in trading words with these folks I speak of it is apparent that I wasn't alone in feeling the profoundness of these experiences in the Long Island music scene. One such person who got in touch with me is Greg Gerardi who played guitar in Casa Negro (originally called Music- who appeared on The Hope Machine comp). He has been residing in San Diego for awhile now had been in touch with me intermittently over the years sharing with me whatever new music he was doing. I appreciated that. In fact I still spin The Challenger Deep cd he sent. Anyhow, he saw a post I made about one of the shows at the North Shore Public Library and how shows with Knox Overstreet, Casa Negro, and Lord Humongous were some of my favorite shows to play when Yes Sensei was starting out. Low and behold Mr. Gerardi has a stack of live shows that he recorded back in the day that he asked if I'd be interested in hosting on Here On This Island and considering A) I love the bands involved and B) some of the bands never properly recorded so live recordings would help at least provide a sort of aural documentation so I said absolutely.

This is a bit different from usual posts since I don't actually own the material but I feel it is just more important to properly archive this stuff. You can download the files from a Bandcamp page that Greg uploaded. He and Mario Quintero mastered this live set at Black Box Studios in San Diego, CA.

Even though I have written about all three bands before here is a brief run down of what the bands are like. Casa Negro played loud, bombastic post punk that is a lot like Shellac, Karp and GodheadSilo. Knox Overstreet were an awesome indie/emo band that meshed together the influences of Garden Variety,Superchunk, Afghan Whigs, the Replacements, Big Star, etc to create truly great rock music. The Lord Humongous played screamy hardcore that  was a blend of all the best elements of Scapegrace, The Last Crime, Rorschach, "My War" era Black Flag, and Slint.

Here is the link to the Bandcamp page. Thanks to Greg for sharing this.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Encrypt Manuscript "s/t" 7 inch (Tone Library Collective/2005)

Here is the second release from a band who my opinion just didn't release enough music the five to six years that they were a band. During their tenure Encrypt Manuscript released the Dialogues cdep, Census full length cd and this two song 7 inch which I am sharing with you today. Encrypt Manuscript consisted of Brian Davis on vocals, Jordan Achilli and John  Phillips on guitar, Conrad Mata on bass, Jay Gerstner on drums-who was eventually replaced by Tom Roslak for the Census. Musically speaking Encrypt Manuscript first and foremost played urgent, frantic post hardcore that most certainly drew influence from stuff like At the Drive In and Blood Brothers crossed with Make Believe but it doesn't take long to notice other elements. The musicianship of Encrypt Manuscript was certainly a thing of beauty as Achilli and Phillips traded off intertwining jazzy, note-y guitar parts all the while it was anchored by a really taut yet free feeling rhythm section of Mata and Gerstner. Needless to say there was a complexity as well as originality to the music where it was in stark to contrast the usual notion from young bands of just put together a few power chords together in major key, scream over it and done; Encrypt Manuscript were on a level musically that few bands ever reach much less dream of. And over this complex aural post hardcore web Encrypt Manuscript weaved vocalist Brian Davis howled and screamed like a mad man in a manner that was a cross between a dramatic, deconstructed spoken word and free form stream of consciousness ramblings. Say what you will the vocals being rough on the ears at times but simply the form in which Davis approached the vocals complimented what his mates were doing what guitars and drums almost too perfectly. The band was a wonderful pastiche of chaos and the two songs on this 7 inch I think represent some of material that the band did.

Encrypt Manuscript s/t track listing
1. Knife Fight at the Blind Tiger
2. Phantom Limb Pain

Download Here

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

End I "s/t" 7 inch (Rok Lok Records/2001)

Here is a quick little morning post for y'all! For those unaware End I was a solo moniker used by On the Might of Princes guitarist Lou Fontana however this was the only material ever recorded/released. The music is droning guitar/vocal based, lo fi basement emo and it is eerie as it is beautiful. Jagged guitars mixed with elegant melodies is what one can expect when spinning the two songs that make up this 7 inch. Originally, this release was planned as a four way split between End I, my own Stars Are Insane, I'd Rather Be Flying (Jason from OTMOP's solo name) and a solo song from Tommy Orza also of OTMOP but Jason didn't seem into the idea and after Tommy recorded his song he got a little shy about releasing it. Not sure why, I heard (as well as have a copy of it) and it is awesome. So I decided to scrap my contribution and make the 7 inch just 100% Lou since he already had a second song stashed away. I pressed up 300 of these all on green vinyl, 100 came with lyric inserts and they are long out of print. However, for you completists out there who need the physical record there are two distros that I know of that have copies- Interpunk and Vinyl Junkie Distro.

End I s/t 7 inch track listing
1. The Wishing Flower
2. Schiavo

Download Here

Monday, May 2, 2011

Radio Raheem "s/t" 7 inch (Zoo Music/2001)

In getting vinyl ripped for this blog I don't think there was a 7 inch that I was more excited to share than this release but with that being said it has also been the most maddening release to rip. I say that because I have ripped it several times and I can't get it to sound exactly right. I am not sure what is up but no matter how I rip this the sound quality is far more distorted than it should be which just annoys me. But at the end of the day I just want to share this great music and perhaps latter on when I am more patient I can do another rip. Or perhaps if someone from the band sees this they'd be kind enough to upload the original files. So before the hate mail comes in, trust me I tried and tried to get it to sound better but alas...

Anyhow enough with the tech talk let me just say that this 7 inch is one of my favorite 7 inches ever. Period. And the band responsible for these three great songs is a band that I miss dearly and maintain that Long Island never showed enough love for. Seriously shame on you Long Island. Radio Raheem were a post punk trio from Quogue which is in eastern Long Island and I first came to know of them when Yes Sensei played a show with them in our friend Jenn's back yard. Myself and the rest of the guys in Yes Sensei collectively let out a "fuck yeah" as almost two years of being the black sheep if you will of local shows here was a band right before our eyes and ears who played our type of music. Radio Raheem reminded me of bands like Unwound, Rodan, Crownhate Ruin, Kerosene 454, Shellac, etc and they were anchored by a incredibly taut rhythm section that consisted of persistent and on point drumming of Phil Sutton which around was wrapped the low end rumble of Ryan McCoy. And topping it of was the discordant guitar of Michael Fredrich who wrote lyrics that tended to reside in the dark, introspective side of things and were delivered in way that reminds me of a cross between Steve Albini and Nick Cave. Almost instantly Radio Raheem not only became my favorite band on Long Island but a relationship with them and Yes Sensei was forged and was maintained throughout the tenure of both of the band's lifespan.

The band had a cd-r demo (which by the way if anyone has PLEASE, PLEASE send it my way- I need "Aloha" on my Itunes in the worst way) out and then they issued 500 copies this three song 7 inch. Sometime later they issued a split 7 inch with another great Long Island band whom I have shared here, Knox Overstreet. At some point like 2002-2003 I coaxed them into letting me do the band's then  forthcoming full length release on Rok Lok. I was excited but lots of stuff happened- the band was touring and trying to write a definitive work but also grow and stretch away a bit from the more aggressive post punk sound of their previous releases. They started to record the album but the recording was marred with numerous problems like computers crashing and glicthing which eventually led to a considerable portion of the recording being lost forever. Additionally, myself on the label front I was still really kind unorganized with doing a label. Fuck I didn't even have a computer (this still amazes me that I started the label 1998 and didn't own a computer until 2004) and I definitely wasn't properly equipped to promote a release they way they were hoping to promote their album as I was still doing things the old school way which at that point wasn't helping anyone. So understandably at that point I think the band rethought what they were going to do with their band and their album. Eventually, the band re-located to Williamsburg and started to cement itself quite a following. They soon buried the Radio Raheem name and renamed itself Rahim and signed to French Kiss Records. And they left behind the basement recording set up to work with J. Robbins to record the Jungles EP and then again for their first full length album Ideal Lives. As Rahim some elements of its former self were still there but for the most part they wer starting to draw more influences from dancy post punk stuff like Gang of Four and Q & Not U as well as stuff like Blonde Redhead and the outcome was marvelous. Both Jungles EP and Ideal Lives are masterful albums that showcase truly poised and mature song writing while still being very exciting. As a friend and fan I was really excited to see them achieve such a creative high point, and above all be recognized for their work. Eventually McCoy left the band and some new folks joined the fold and they self released a 7 inch called The Same which would be a precursor to their final album Laughter which came out on Pretty Activity Records in 2008.

Whether under the name of Radio Raheem or Rahim the band always delivered music of an extremely high quality that was well thought out yet still felt natural and unforced. And on a personal level not a thing changed about the guys in the band even when they signed to a known indie label who certainly at the time definitely had some hype about it. Unlike other bands who have over the years transplanted to Brooklyn, Radio Raheem/Rahim always remembered where they came from and never scoffed at coming back to play Long Island. They never put up some sort of goofy front like they were too big or cool for that. Shit, they even looked out for old friend's bands over the years when they could. Several times they went out of their way to invite a very ramshackle and decidedly unprofessional Yes Sensei to play shows with them when I am certain their booking agent must've been displeased but regardless they always did what they felt was right and what they wanted to. I have nothing but respect for the band collectively and individually. I highly recommend that you try and track down whatever Radio Raheem or Rahim material you can find, as it is all exceptional.

Radio Raheem s/t track listing:
1. Evidence
2. Out of the Ocean
3. Skin Cells

Download Here

And as a bonus here is a Radio Raheem video of the song "Evidence" that I just came across