Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Threadbare - s/t ep

Moving, dark, intense and passionate are all applicable adjectives one could use to describe the Minneapolis band Threadbare, who were active between 1993 and 1997. They are one of the more musically-inclined straight edge bands that I've ever come across, as well as one of the more inspiring groups of their era. Threadbare crafted emotionally-charged and intelligently-penned songs that somehow intertwined the two completely differing feelings of depression and/or despair with something that was much more optimistic and hopeful at the very same time, with this dualism often occuring in the same song. The dynamic aspect of their songwriting led to lots of awesome moments on their records. Their discography isn't a very extensive one, yet it was apparent they put more emphasis on quality rather than quantity. All told, Threadbare released three records, and this eponymous ep was their first.

This was originally released as a 2 song 7" on Watermark Records, run by the Jordan brothers who played in New Jersey's Encounter. It was also offered as a 3 song cdep on Minneapolis, Minnesota's own FurFace Records, with the additional track "Penicillin" being pulled from their earlier demo tape (this track was eventually re-recorded for their next release). It's a raw and brooding journey, and although the production isn't quite as full as their next two Doghouse efforts, these songs aren't lacking in power at all.

I used to own a Threadbare hooded sweatshirt which I purchased from Doghouse at the same time their final record came out. It had the flame artwork that is pictured on the cd below. I let some girl I was briefly seeing when I was living in Georgia borrow it one morning, and I never saw her or that fucking shirt ever again. I'm way more than extremely confident she had no idea who the band was, but I do recall her strategically placed Grateful Dead tattoo (but not her name, which in hindsight is worth a chuckle).

"Ignition" and "Hoover" were recorded at The Terrarium in January 1994, and "Penicillin" was recorded at AmRep in August 1993. There is no catalog number for FurFace included. Dudes from Threadbare also played in Bloodline, 108, Snapcase, Krakatoa and The Judas Factor. Genuinely a brilliant band.

-cracking the facade-

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

V/A - Food Not Bombs Compilation LP

This is one of several Food Not Bombs benefit records that appeared during the 90s, and it was released on Anima Records, a small Canadian punk label based just outside of Toronto, Ontario. Anima put out stuff by notable bands like Jonah, Bev Clone, Drift and the under-appreciated French band Anomie*, with the latter two bands appearing on this comp.

Food Not Bombs, for those who may not be familiar with the organization, is an all volunteer-run group devoted to developing positive personal, political, and economic alternatives to the way food is handled and, at times, used as a weapon or a commodity against people who struggle to feed themselves. FNB essentially collects and serves mostly vegan food items to homeless or sick people. The gathered fare is donated to FNB members predominantly  by co-ops, health food stores, or just all around nice folks who actually care about the suffering of complete strangers and want to make a difference, no matter how small. The collective exists as a direct protest to war and avoidable human adversity, putting people first before profit, which is clearly not how the military-industrial complex that Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the world about in the early 60s operates. You can learn more about Food Not Bombs here.

The record itself a nice mixture of bands that play different styles of punk, and this variety is probably it's greatest visible feature. I bought it not long after it came out from the fantastic and long gone Vacuum Distro, from the San Francisco area. I also think it's pretty great when bands have more than one song on various artist releases, as is the case with this LP. The music ranges from fast, crust-friendly hardcore (Swallowing Shit & Palatka) to classic emotive stuff (Constatine Sankathi) to dirty, messy Canadian greatness with the right amount of bass in the mix (Drift), as well as a band that party-dude Andrew W.K. played in (Michigan's Kathode, pre-Nema). It's a pretty good cross section of what was going on in hardcore throughout the later half of the 90s, which was plenty of diversity. I've already mentioned Anomie, who are pretty easily my favorite band here. Been jockin' them for ever. Something I've never loved, or understood at all, is the cover "art". What the fuck is happening, exactly? Is that supposed a d.i.y. rendition of the famously faked picture of the Loch Ness Monster? Perhaps it is a sock puppet? Some type of alien spacecraft? An artfully drawn chimney? My money's on Nessie, yo.

As with most compilations that were released during this era of hc history that were centered around a specific cause, there's tons to read in the liner notes. It's like you got a free bonus zine along with your mail order, and it made your day when it showed up in your mailbox. Disclaimer: some of these pics turned out better than others, but after trying to get a good shot of the Inso Grey and Holocron inserts for over twenty minutes, I finally threw my hands up in the air, briefly admired my ceiling fan and said "Fuck it Nessie, I'm done".

You'll have to deal with it, dear reader.
This is Anima Records #3, and it was released in 1997.

* Remember how fucking awesome of a drummer Sammy Siegler was, especially considering he was in the neighborhood of 13 years old when he was playing on those classic edge records? Well, the drummer for the female-fronted frenchies Anomie was the equivalent of Sammy, except he was from Europe, played in a DOPE AS FUCK screamy emo band not many people listen to anymore, and was named Remi Chaumet.

- seriously, that cover art -

1) Anomie - "Alienation"
2) Anomie - "Remise En Cause Revolution Dilemme"
3) Palatka - "The Bus Ride"
4) Palatka - "Washington Park"
5) Palatka - "The Truth About San Diego"
6) Kathode - "Falling Down"
7) Inso Grey - "Lying Vines"
8) Inso Grey - "BBQ"
9) Holocron - "To Be Part Of A Group"
10) Sixpense - "Only The Faces Have Changed"
11) Sixpense - "Adapt"
12) Swallowing Shit - "I May Be PC, But You're A Fucking Poseur"
13) Swallowing Shit - "Welcome To Hell"
14) Swallowing Shit - "I Heard Songs About Animal Rights Aren't Cool Anymore"
15) Constatine Sankathi - "In December"
16) Drift - "Words That Burn My Ears"

Monday, June 15, 2015

V/A - "All The President's Men" compilation LP

Some things just seem like they were made to go together: peanut butter and jelly, Canadians and ice hockey, Pennsylvania and delicious craft beer, and the 1990s and monumental hardcore punk compilations. This one is indeed one of the better examples, and it supplied us with songs by significant bands such as Julia, Ordination of Aaron, Hoover and Ugly Kid Joe. Whoops, I meant Hose.Got.Cable. I did, however, just listen to the UKJ classic "Madman" for the first time in I don't even know how long, so I guess we can blame my typo on that.

This 12" masterpiece is worth the listen alone for the first three tracks. This agglomeration of prominent emo bands is also notable for featuring a few dicks in the artwork, and for being my introduction to one of the best bands ever...SC's Assfactor 4. They start off the record with their utterly victorious "Closed Captioning For The Blind", and shit just straight up continues to rule from there. All the President's Men was released in 1994 by Old Glory Records, who fittingly released records by a few of the bands that appear here and, oh, was fucking awesome. This is indeed a label that should (and does) get mentioned alongside Ebullition, Mountain, Hand Held Heart, Watermark, Art Monk Construction, Kidney Room, Great American Steak Religion and One Day.

Chances are you may be familiar with this compilation already. If you aren't, then you, comrade, are in for a treat. I mean a real serious chest-slappin' goody. Goddamn, the Assfactor 4 and Julia songs are so super good, I promise. Peep it if you missed out the first time around, or remind yourself while you got into quality hardcore in the first place if you didn't.

Old Glory #12. 

- NGR means Old Glory Records -

1) Assfactor 4 - "Closed Captioning For The Blind"
2) Maximillian Colby - "Petty Fix"
3) Julia - "Forge In Wind"
4) Fingerprint - "Liberation"
5) Policy Of 3 - "Improv Culture Kill"
6) Hoover - "Breather Resist" (not the album version, it's from their demo)
7) Acme - "untitled"
8) Ordination Of Aaron - "Parthenon"
9) Shotmaker - "Pilot"
10) Hose.Got.Cable - "untitled"

Farside - "Keep My Soul Awake" 7"

Keep My Soul Awake is the debut record from Irvine, California's 100% awesome Farside. The songs here, although good, do not match up to later efforts from the band; particularly once guitarist Kevin Murphy (an ex-member of Headfirst and 411) joined 'em. If you think back to the last band you were in, I'm sure said band's early stuff didn't quite match up to your shit once you really started rolling, correct? Exactly.

Nevertheless, these four jams put the fledgling band on the map and everyone on Planet Earth should be pretty fucking happy about that."Third Person Paranoia" and "Keep My Soul Awake" have always been my favorite tracks from this seven inch, and probably will be become yours once you hear them, too. This slab of wax was a nice introduction to an eventually superb band.

Recorded during the summer of 1990 at Don Fury's in New York City.
Crisis Records #1.

- here -

1) Hero
2) Third Person Paranoia
3) Keep My Soul Awake
4) Boiling Over

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Jonah 7"

This is the only solo record from five-piece French Canadian emo band Jonah, who also released a split 7" with fellow Canadians Drift (which is in contention for being one of my favorite splits ever) as well as second split with The Weak Link Breaks from Virginia.

Jonah has a real spastic, chaos-filled style, but also had elements of doom (and some gloom) in their sound, very similar to early Ire, who - wait for it - also hailed from fucking Quebec. I'm not sure what was going on up there the great white north during the middle part of the 90s, but there were tons of really good bands who called Canada home. Jonah was definitely heavier than many of the bands they shared their time and place with, and this three song seven inch is a good one that is atypical of the "emo" style kids who got into the scene post-1999 would immediately think of. Jonah stuff always had a real epic feel to it, if that makes any sense. This is legitimate emotional hardcore, the kind that existed before corporations sank their teeth into it and turned it into a marketing tool geared towards kids who really loved eyeliner and *crazy* haircuts. There is a real rumbling bass presence on this recording, some spoken vocals, the occasional jangly guitar part, and loads of high pitched screaming. It's good, and if you're reading this blog I'd imagine you'd be into it just as much as I (still) am.

These songs were recorded in October 1996 in Toronto with Rob Sanzo, whose studio I mentioned in a recent post. The ep was released in early '97 on Anima Records from Ontario, the label that also released the aforementioned split with Drift, as well as the phenomenal Anomie full length.

Anima #4. If you enjoy this, you should probably look into One Eyed God Prophecy, too.

- here -

1) Dormir Sous L'empire
2) Duality
3) Haunted By The Past

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Spirit Assembly - "Welcome To Lancaster County" lp

If you've been paying attention to this blog at all at any point during it's short-lived existence, you'll know how much appreciation I have for the many rad bands that came from my home state of Pennsylvania. Spirit Assembly remains one of my favorite bands from the middle part of the 1990s, and has been a big influence on me whenever I find myself playing drums in a band. These dudes started out as a four-piece, recording a two-song 7" in early 1992 that came out on Millersville, Pennsylvania's Motherbox Records, as well as a second three-song 7" that was a split release between Motherbox and Ancestry (another great 90s d.i.y. label) which was recorded in April 1994.

After the release of these two records, the band's vocalist left, and the three remaining members continued on with guitarist Sam Stansbery and bassist Gus (Zach) Martin taking over and sharing the vocal duties. As a three-piece, they released a split with Atlanta's Car Vs. Driver (who were also good) as well as this longplayer. Dru Martin played drums, and he, along with Gus, went on to play in Encyclopedia Of American Traitors after the breakup of Spirit Assembly in 1996 / 1997. Dru also played drums for 400 Years while filling in for Ash Bruce in the set I posted here in December. Both Gus and Sam went on to play in the fucking amazing and short-lived Fields Lay Fallow, whose sole record you can find here. Sam eventually played guitar in To The Mean, a Philly area band which featured Scott Torguson, who had previously played in two awesome bands from California about a decade earlier: Sinker and Amber Inn. I'll probably get around to uploading the Amber Inn lp soon, so you can look forward to that, friends.

Regardless, here is eight songs-worth of important Pennsylvania emo hardcore history for you to check out. It comes highly recommended (by me) for kids who dig more driving stuff like Shotmaker, Car Vs Driver, Inkwell, Sleepytime Trio or Engine Down. "Welcome To Lancaster County" was released in 1996 on Yuletide Records, from Millersville, Pennsylvania. It was the label's fifth release and is Spirit Assembly's only full length. Enjoy.

- more assumptions are made, creating truths from nothingness -

1) Simple Transaction
2) Continuity Without Question
3) Nameless
4) Convention Invention
5) Self-Appointed Outcast
6) Pop Acculturation
7) Manmade
8) Stain