Blah-g posts


It's been a very long time between posts. Over a year. Honestly, I got a job and got really busy, and ended up neglecting this website. Unfortunately, I recently got laid off from that job. The good news, however, is that the job was as a lead software developer, where I learned the particular framework that I used to build this site. The result is many more features, and an overall better site.

Another benefit of the job was that I had plenty of surplus income. Thus, I was able to make quite a few additions to my collection. I may take the time to discuss them individually, but I will start by talking about a handful of them in this post.

When I was in ninth grade, I went over to a friend's house and recorded a bunch of his cassettes on to some blank tapes. Among the bands was Dead Kennedys. I felt the lyrics had just the right amount of intellect, wit, angst and sarcasm, and the singer, Jello Biafra's delivery drove them home. I listened to them incessantly, and they quickly became my favorite band.

I soon began buying their cassettes, which were released on Jello's own label, Alternative Tentacles Records. Inside the tape case they included the label's current catalog. I started to check out other bands on the label, and was impressed by so many of them. As I did research, I found that many bands I loved, such as Black Flag, Bad Brains, Husker Du, MDC and Flipper had all put out records on AT. That was when I decided I would try to collect their whole discography. Well, the catalog indices began to rise exponentially. I think they are currently in the 400s. Thus I decided that I will only collect the first 60 or so. Though I have been collecting for a couple decades, I still haven't completed the collection. Therefore, this past year, I made a conscious effort to seek out the missing records. So, with this post, I am going to mention the AT records I have picked up since my last post.

The first record is Dad/Revenge by Nomeansno, whom I saw play when I was in eleventh grade with Victim's Family and a local band called Flounder. It was in the cafeteria or student union at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Hardly anybody showed up for the show, but it was incredible, and well worth the hour and a half drive each way. As for the single, there were no surprises, as I have these songs on their first full-length LP, Sex Mad, but the single is still great.

The next record is Bullets for You by Toxic Reasons. Again, there are no surprises, because I already had this record on Toxic Reasons's own record label, T-Reason Records, though there are some variations of tracks between the two versions. For instance, the T-Reason version contains the songs 'God Bless America', 'Can't Get Away' and 'Do What You Can', while the AT version has the tracks 'Too Late', and 'Party's Over'.

Finally, I got War on 45 by D.O.A. When I was a senior in high school, my friends and I spent a lot of time in Boulder, CO. One time we were at the Boulder Wax Trax location and I found a D.O.A. t-shirt that had a drawing of a puritan holding a bible and a gun, while being shot with arrows. The caption on the shirt read, "Repent! You fucking savages, repent!" I already owned War on 45 on Alternative Tentacles, but I found out years later that that artwork is from the UK version of that record. The fact that the artwork moved me so much when I was younger, and that it was released on AT meant it was doubly important for me to add this gem to my collection.

McRad - "Dominant Force"

McRad - “Dominant Force”I just realized that my first three posts have been about bands from Philly. I guess you can tell where I left my heart. I promise that I will try to shake it up a bit in the future, but I have another Philly band I feel I need to write about right now.

I first heard McRad on Thrasher Skate Rock Vol. 2: Blazing Wheels And Barking Trucks in junior high school. I've gotta say that, though I liked them, they were not a standout band on that comp. It wasn't until I listened to the “Absence of Sanity” re-release which included the dub version of “Words of Life/Separation” that I was truly a fan.

While I was in Philly, they played several shows, but something came up every single time, so I never got to see them play. The day that I was to leave Philly, I spent the entire day aimlessly wandering the city. I stopped by my second-favorite record store, Long in the Tooth Records. They had Dominant Force on the wall, which I quickly snatched up.

Ironically, just last weekend McRad played a free show here in Denver with Hightower and my old friends Frontside Five. I finally got to see them play. Okay, it was Chuck Treece with fill-in musicians, but it was still great to see him. I got to chat with him a bit after the show. He is such a nice and happy man; he had a smile on his face the whole night.

I guess it makes sense that he is so happy. He has successfully avoided the “Sundial” for the past thirty years. He has been able to make a living skating and making music. How could he not be happy?

YDI - "A Place in the Sun"

YDI - “A Place in the Sun”The first time I saw YDI was on Halloween two years ago. The month before, my girlfriend of two years, whom I moved to Philadelphia with, broke up with me. It was two days prior to my 40th birthday. I never felt so alone. I had been in the city for about a year and a half, but hadn't really met too many people. I figured the best way to start meeting people was to go to more shows. I found out about the Satanic Rave 2013, which would feature Limecell, Serial Killers, Scareho, Tribe 13, Bad Luck 13, and YDI.

In the mid-90s, while living in Denver, I ran a small record distro. I mean, very small. But, it was a great way to get turned on to some great bands, while building my personal inventory, while making a couple bucks along the way. Coincidentally, upon moving to Philadelphia, I realized a great number of the bands I had been distributing were from Philly/South Jersey. One of those bands was Limecell. So, when I found out they would be playing on Halloween, it was settled I would go.

As it turns out, I did meet somebody at the show — a girl named Mel. She happened to be friends with the members of Limecell, and she informed me that one of the band members broke his ankle(s), so the band would not be playing.

A little bummed, I could hardly complain. Already, I had been turned on to a couple great bands, and we were only halfway through the show. After a while, this tall black man dressed in leather, wearing a Freddie Krueger glove on one hand, takes the stage. Having only seen old footage of the band YDI, I can only assume this is them. The singer, Jackal, has long hair, that he is continually combing with his ungloved hand to cover his face.

The music starts, and it blows me away. Jackal starts singing, and I'm an instant fan. I was lucky enough to see them play about 3 or 4 more times in the next year prior to me leaving Philly. I ended up meeting Jackal at a Philly Hardcore reunion show featuring Serial Killers, Deadspot, Trained Attack Dogs, and Live Not On Evil (featuring members of Dr. Bombay), and I hung out with him at several subsequent shows. He is such a nice man, and he reminds me of so many other punks who just refuse to grow up. There is a good interview here with Joseph Gervasi, who runs Loud! Fast! Philly!, talking to Jackal.

Thirty years ago, YDI released their first EP, “A Place in the Sun” on Blood Bubble Records. It has been out of print since then. The record contained 9 songs and lasted about 11 minutes. TKO Records has finally re-pressed it after 30+ years. Unfortunately, I left before they did their meet-n-greet at Sit & Spin Records for the re-release of this record.

Most of the lyrics on the record are about feeling like an outcast in the world, and being disgusted with society. “Mad at the World” ends with the lyrics:

I'm ugly, I'm poor, I'm awkward, I'm nothing.

Apart from the lyrics, standouts on the record are “Why Die?” for the killer guitar work.

Erode and Disappear - "Scythian Lamb"

Erode and DisappearUpon arriving in Philadelphia, somebody from back home suggested I watch this movie 'Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles'. I had actually seen some of these tiles on the streets near my apartment, and was captivated by the documentary, as well as the documentarian, Justin Duerr. I was bummed to learn that I barely missed his performance with his band Northern Liberties when they opened for Ruin… (it took me a while to realize Philadelphia shows actually start on time).

Months later on Instagram, I happened to see a photo by prominent Philly street artist, Harlequinade, featuring one of Justin's pieces of art. It was magnificent. I did some research and found he had an upcoming art show. I sent him an email, asking him to bring any prints, as well as any vinyl he had for sale. I met him at the show, and ended up hanging out with him for more than an hour. He is a very interesting and intelligent individual. At the end of the show, I bought a couple prints and a few records from him.

Recently, in an effort to enhance my own portfolio, as well as pay homage to an artist I have so much respect for, I took it upon myself to update Justin's website. During which, I was transferring some content, and came across a YouTube video of Justin with his previous band Erode and Disappear for the song “Lost Way”. I was really moved by the video, and realized that song was on the record “Scythian Lamb”, which I purchased from Sit & Spin Records before leaving Philly, but hadn't had a chance to listen to it yet.

Erode and Disappear are a two-piece band with Justin Duerr on drums and vocals, and Kevin Riley on bass. As I listened to the album repeatedly, I couldn't help but wonder how they can get so much sound and energy out of just two of them. As for the content, I won't pretend to know what Justin is singing about; I'm just not that deep. However, the lyrics to me are like pure poetry:

“We lost our ways in the wheels of decaying sackcloth
We lost our ways and the cards were stacked against us
We lost our ways in a house that was haunted by us
We lost our way in a brain through its demonic aura
We lost our ways in the folding of fallen flowers
And so all pattern is deranged in the maw of thinking”

Bad Doctors "Burning City"

I recently moved back to Denver from Philadelphia. Shortly before leaving, I purchased “Burning City” by Philly's own Bad Doctors from my favorite record shop, Sit & Spin Records. The cover of this album is a very limited run to be sold exclusively at their shop. Since arriving in Denver, it has been on pretty constant rotation on my turntable.

While in Philly, I was fortunate to see them play a few times, and it's hard to listen to this album without recalling some fantastic memories of those shows. For instance, whenever I hear “Burning City”, I can't help but remember the singer, Matt, getting shocked repeatedly by the microphone while the band tried to get through their set at The Pharmacy in South Philly, or the unexpectedly amazing sound of their set upstairs at Wolf's Cycles in West Philly.

Getting to the album, I find the name of which kind of poignant. I've never heard of any place having more house fires than Philly. In fact, within a month of moving into my new apartment in South Philly, there was a fire a block away from my place that was the result of a gas explosion, as well as a house fire across the alley, that I watched the firefighters battle from my bedroom window. I am unclear if the name of the album refers to the number of fires, but it would definitely be fitting.

The band is a three-piece with a singer/vocalist, a bass player/keyboardist, and a drummer. The sound is kind of a post-punk-synthy-death-rock with some timely placed spaced-out psychedelia; the vocals are deep, sometimes reminiscent of Ian Curtis or Peter Murphy. The lyrics, dark and intelligent, range from heroin dependence to relationships to…