Monday, July 13, 2009

Historia del la Musica Tad pt. V

We want you to take 30 seconds to watch some of this video by 2008 Pitchfork-approved “it band” Vampire Weekend.







I’m sure the weekend vampires are all nice chaps, polite to a fault, and respectful of everyone they meet. And that, to me, represents everything wrong with their music. It’s so damned polite, so academy-approved, that it makes my stomach ache. Now, for the antidote:



Some thoughtful person captured TAD in its heyday, bulldozing their way through “Daisy.” We’ve mentioned here in the past that the attribute that we most miss with today’s Hot Young Bands is menace, and although the members of TAD were all apparently friendly to a fault, they packed their music full of menace. How we miss TAD!

Anyway, we’re going to keep this post short, because we’ve been slacking on the posts and because Tom is heading out to England for a couple of weeks. This entry’s contributions to our ongoing Historia del la Musica Tad are . . .

(1) The “Wood Goblins” single. “Wood Goblins” and “Cooking With Gas” date from the Salt Lick era (1989); both were recorded by Steve Albini. “Cooking” also appeared as b-side to “Loser.” “Daisy” dates back to the period when TAD-the-band was simply Tad-the-man. We also posted “Daisy” years ago here.

God damn, this record turned 20 years old this year.

(2) The “Jack Pepsi” single. This record resulted in one of TAD’s many legal troubles, as the Pepsi Corporation didn’t cotton to seeing its logo appropriated for something that rocks this hard. “Jack Pepsi” ranks high in our grunge canon—we definitely put it in the top ten. The b-sides, “Pig Iron” and “Eddie Hook,” come from expanded version of the single. Both rock.


Wood Goblins

"Wood Goblins"
"Cooking with Gas"
"Daisy"

The zip file for this EP is here.



Jack Pepsi

"Jack Pepsi"

"Eddie Hook"

"Pig Iron"


. . . and the zip file for this EP is here.


Sorry to keep this so brief, but we’re busy, busy men. We’re planning to follow this up with a piece about some of pre-TAD bands featuring TAD members, so stay tuned!


--Wm

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A post about Stymie that's really about Seattle

As I write this post—longhand, in a spiral notebook—I’m 20,000 feet above eastern Washington, having just crossed above the Cascades on my return flight to Chicago. I visited Seattle for the weekend to attend my friends Steve and Eliza’s wedding. Steve and I have known each other for 20 years now. They had a lovely ceremony, and the trip in general was fantastic.

In the 13 years since I left Seattle, I’ve visited six or seven times, and I always return to wherever has become home with mixed feelings about the place. It both alarms and pleases me to see how neighborhoods have changed, to the point that once-familiar areas seem almost foreign. For instance, on the south ridge of Capitol Hill, near Seattle University, where I lived in 1991, charming street-side cafes have proliferated where warehouses formerly existed—as have cookie-cutter, here-today-and-gone-tomorrow nightclubs that cater to the shiny shirt crowd.

The Comet Tavern, however, still stands, with its familiar dilapidated neon sign still serving as a beacon for the young, thirsty, and skuzzy. It comforted me to walk past it, to see its resilience to gentrification. It comforted me to see the original Vivace coffee bar on Broadway, to see young people sporting long hair (a rarity in Chicago), and to see Showgirls across from Pike Place Market, even if I was patronizing Pike Place on this trip to buy gifts for my wife and kids and not to buy produce or to hit the comic book shop on a grade-school field trip.



The constants—these harbingers to the glory years of local music—vacillated between the back and the front of my mind as I considered what to write about Stymie, a long-defunct grunge band featuring occasional Lamestain comment-writer Adem Tepedelen. Saturday afternoon, I hung out with Tom and his girlfriend, Emma, at their home (and Dirty Knobby headquarters) in Ballard. As we sat in the living room, Tom spun singles from the A-B box from his enormous, alphabetized collection of singles. We revisited Big Satan Inc. and Alcohol Funnycar (Stymie’s New Rage labelmates)—bands that, if we can be honest here, few people have considered over the past decade, decent bands that were extinguished in the shadow cast by Nirvana, Mudhoney, Sub Pop, etc.

This will sound disparaging, but I don’t intend it to be: in the late 80s and early 90s, bands like Stymie and Big Satan Inc. were almost like wallpaper. They filled out the bills at the Vogue and Moe’s and the Croc. They played music that locals would recognize as grunge because it was grunge and that Spin might classify as grunge because it came from Seattle. Moreover, I believe that, if these bands didn’t specifically set out to make grunge, they certainly didn’t set out to avoid making it.

Stymie also played the brand of grunge that we here at Lamestain HQ most appreciate: the original kind, the kind grown from the same waters that nourished TAD and Dickless. Even this single’s packaging—a recycled grocery bag—recalls the thrift store chic of the time. “Willy’s Gone” reminds me of the no-hope music made when Seattle bands had no realistic expectation of $2 million advances, before Los Angeles diaspora like Candlebox followed the trail of eager, na├»ve A&R reps up I-5. Somehow, they achieved this in 1993; like the Comet, they resisted gentrification.

In a sense, bands like Stymie were a paradox: bands like this were common; bands like this were unique.



Here are some of the basics. Membership at the time that they released this single was Patrick Barber on bass, Shane Bastian on vocals, James Halada on drums, Jeff Kleinsmith on guitar and vocals, Brian Taylor on guitar and bass, and Adem Tepedelen on guitar. (That’s a lot of guitar!). New Rage released the record in 1993. Nick Sherman and the band produced the record, which was recorded by Phil Ek at Word of Mouth Recording Studios. “Willy’s Gone” has elements of Skin Yard, and the two B-sides remind me a tiny bit of Seaweed. I’m sure that not even Styme would claim that this single is as essential as, I dunno, “Touch Me I’m Sick,” but you can’t really complete the picture of that era without accounting for Stymie, the New Rage roster, and the dozens of really, really good bands that were obscured by the giants.

I’m now about midway through the flight, and the landscape below has flattened and browned. A few closing notes:

While there’s good coffee in Chicago, I was reminded this weekend of what great coffee tastes like. Seattle, you can’t match us in pizza, but the cappuccino I quaffed at Vivace last Friday morning was heavenly, and it beat anything that Chicago has to offer.

We saw a pair of shows: Deranged Diction w/ the Suck Machine at the Crocodile on Friday (sadly, we arrived too late to catch Police Teeth, who I wanted to see) and Obits w/ the Lights and the Unnatural Helpers at Neumo’s on Saturday. The best band of the bunch, by a country mile, was the Unnatural Helpers. Deranged Diction were also good. As ridiculous and, frankly, banal as their music was—this was, after all, a reunited high school band—the guys played with an infectious giddiness. I smiled throughout their set.

One of the wedding guests was Franklin Foer, editor of The New Republic. A minute after Steve pointed him out, I made some cracks to Steve about Stephen Glass, only to realize that Foer had vacated his seat and was now within earshot. His facial expression fell somewhere between a smirk and a cringe. So, if you’re wondering why you’re reading this in Lamestain and not The New Republic . . .



Willy's Gone

Pretty Now

Frogs







They're also available in the zip file here. Adem, if you're reading, I hope it's okay to post these tracks! Let me know if you'd like us to remove them.

--Wm

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Super Electro Sampler


Not long ago, we proudly declared ourselves to be Mark Arm fanbois. We still stand by that pronouncement, but we would like to add that we also really like Mark’s Mudhoney cohort, Steve Turner. Not only do we dig his Big Muff to Mark’s Super Fuzz, we also think he has pretty cool musical taste. Case in point: his rather awesome record label, Super Electro Records. Not really a Sub Pop subsidiary, Super Electro was manufactured and distributed by the label in the Nineties and released 11 full-lengths and 17 singles, mostly by Northwest garage bands. Obviously, not everything on the label was a smash, but overall, their hit-to-miss ratio was pretty damn high. We already gushed about back-from-the-grave Regal Select, and we’ll eventually get to Bag of Hammers, but right now, we’d like to add Super Electro to Seattle’s great trifecta of Garage Rock Labels.

And since we already hyped up their first bunch of Wellwater Conspiracy singles (read about them here, listen to them here), we’ll give you a Super Electro 7” Sampler.

The Statics - As well as being a cool band in their own right, the Statics attainted legendary status for having the first record release on Greg Lowry’s infamous Rip Off Records. This single was the 2nd Super Electro release. The band paid tribute to Mr. Lowry by covering a Supercharger classic. Besides those ace records, the band also released worthy records on Estrus, Empty, and Rat City. Not sure what their old rhythm section is doing now, but Zack Static now fronts the Zack Static Sect, which features ex-Green River drummer Father Alex.

The Calabros – A Super Electro super-group! Featuring bassist/singer Javad (Night Kings), guitarist Dave (The Fall-Outs, and drummer Steve (Wiretaps), this was the lone release by the band. I’m not sure if they ever played any shows, and while I prefer the guys’ main bands, this record is worth hearing if you are a fan of the aforementioned bands. We can also only assume that their name was in tribute to Seattle Supersonics announcer, Kevin Calabro.

And if you are wondering what Kevin Calabro is doing now that the Sonics have moved to Oklahoma (current record 21-51. Eat it, Clay Bennett!), he’s the voice of Seattle’s new Major League Soccer team, the Sounders.

Eddie and the Back Nine – Okay, so this record isn’t too hot. If you ever wondered what Flop would sound like if they were a straight-up punk band with an Australian singer, then here is your answer. Featuring Thrown Up and famous illustrator Ed Fotheringham on vocals, this four song “golf concept” EP is one of the stranger artifacts from the era.

The Fall-Outs – As they once sang, the Fall-Outs might be one of the least ambitious bands in Seattle. For a band that has been around for 20 some years, they don’t have a gigantic, impossible-to-navigate back catalog, which says to me that they care more about quality than quantity. While Rock Ambition might not be their forte, they are pretty damn consistent and have written some gawddamn classic songs, like the a-side on this single, “Sleep.” They still play around town every so often, and you owe it to yourself to buy their records. For the CD-phobic, you can download their two Super Electro full-lengths here.

Flop – We already declared Flop was the Best Pop Band of the 90’s, and this single is further proof. The a-side comes courtesy of their third record, World of Today, and the b-side features Devo and The Jam covers. The Devo cover isn’t that hot (to be fair, “I’m a Potato” isn’t my favorite Devo song), but their version of the Jam’s “The Place I Love” is great and caused this putz to track down every Jam record . . . as well as any over-priced and over-rated third-tier mod-revival record. So indirectly I blame Rusty Willoughby for me dropping major coin for those limp Merton Parkas records. Thanks, dudes.

The Statics – Hey, Hey EP 7”
SE702
Hey Hey
Don’t Mess with Us
Rhino Chaser
Sooprize Package for Mr Mieno

The Calabros – Problems and Others EP 7”
1993, recorded at Egg, SE703
Problems
In My Room
Stupid
Gonna Eat Me

Eddie and the Back Nine – Improving Our Lie EP 7”
1994, SE704, 2000 pressed
Under 10 Handicap
Pin High
Dishes
Titleist Too

The Fall-Outs – Sleep 7”
1994, SE705, recorded by Conrad Uno at Egg
Sleep
It’s a Shame
Talk

Flop – Act 1, Scene 1 7”
1000 pressed
Act 1, Scene 1
The Place I Love (the Jam)
I’m a Potato (Devo)

Supercharger – “Sooprize Package for Mr Mieno”

Get the Super Electro Party Pack Here.

- MC Tom

Friday, February 20, 2009

More re-posted songs!

Here's the last batch of requested re-posts.

64 Spiders -- single

Thrown-Ups -- misc. songs

The U-Men -- Step on a Bug

Les Thugs -- "Chess and Crime" 7"

Bundle of Hiss -- misc. tracks

Vexed -- misc. tracks

H-Hour -- misc. tracks

Dickless -- "All Stars" 7," I'm a Man EP, and "Sweet Teeth"

Cat Butt -- Journey to the Center of Cat Butt EP and "64 Funnycars" 7"

I hope this just about covers everything. At some point in the future, we may re-post some more material.

I'll also note that it really pleases us that somebody requested the Dickless songs. Those were seminal records from the pre-Nevermind grunge era, and if you don't download anything else, man, by all means download those!

--Wm

Monday, February 16, 2009

Requested reposts

Greetings,

Here is the first batch of requested re-posts. We'll add more either later today or sometime later this week. I'll start with the original list of requests that I posted last week, and we'll add recent requests from the comments section over time.

Bloodloss -- The Truth Is Marching In

Bloodloss -- "Broke" 7"

Bloodloss -- "Face Down in Mud" 7"

Tad -- "Tuna Car," "Hollow Man," and "Nipple Belt" from the God's Balls LP



Screaming Trees -- Time Speaks Her Golden Tongue EP (this one may have two copies of each song, for some reason)








Wellwater Conspiracy -- singles

Room Nine -- Voices of a Summer's Day



The Freewheelin' Mark Arm -- "Masters of War" 7"










Malfunkshun -- Misc. tracks from Deep Six and Another Pyrrhic Victory

(Note: the links above are only for the Malfunkshun tracks and not for the entire records.)

Green River -- demos (make sure you peek at the comments from lamestain's original 2007 posting of the demos, as ex-Green River drummer Alex Shumway corrected us about some of the track labeling)

We'll be back later with more.

--Wm

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Reposted songs

Several people have requested that we re-post some dead links. Here are some of the requests we've received:

Bloodloss The Truth Is Marching In
Wellwater Conspiracy singles
Screaming Trees "Time Speaks Her Golden Tongue" ep
Room Nine Voices of a Summer's Day
Mark Arm "Masters of War"
Malfunkshun misc. tracks
Green River demos

TAD was also requested, but the requester didn't specify which TAD was meant.

Anyway, before we re-post anything, we thought we'd see what else people would like us to offer again. We'll do what we can to oblige.

Oh, and several people have requested that we post a record by SGM. Sorry, but we don't have anything by SGM. If anyone does have this record, we may be able to forward it on, but no promises here.

--Wm

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

1989 turns 20!

Let’s start with a list of Northwest and/or grunge records born in 1989: Nirvana’s Bleach, Soundgarden’s Louder Than Love, TAD’s God’s Balls, Mudhoney, Gas Huffer’s “Firebug,” Love Battery’s “Between the Eyes,” Blood Circus’ Primal Rock Therapy, Fastbacks’ “Wrong, Wrong, Wrong,” Journey to the Center of Cat Butt, Screaming Trees’ Buzz Factory, The Melvins’ Ozma, Mother Love Bone’s Shine, Beat Happening’s Black Candy, Skin Yard’s “Start at the Top,” The Young Fresh Fellows’ This One’s For the Ladies, Swallow, and Coffin Break’s Psychosis and Rupture.


If you want to argue that other years produced better music in the Northwest, but you may fail to convince me. And while critics remember 1991 as the year that grunge and Seattle broke, in my mind, 1989 ranks higher in importance. You have Nirvana’s debut. You have the first major label output (Louder Than Love and Shine, which Mother Love Bone released on a fake indie). You have seminal releases by Gas Huffer, The Fastbacks, Skin Yard, etc. You have the cavernous, cramped original Cellophane Square and the OK Hotel and the Central Tavern and a fair amount of attention from the music press. You don’t yet have Tabitha Soren interviewing Tad Doyle for MTV or the new, spacious Cellophane Square or Candlebox or a distressing increase in the number of heroin casualties.


Nirvana at the HUB Ballroom



(Okay, fine, you could also make a solid argument in favor of 1988 based around “Touch Me, I’m Sick,” Ultramega:OK, and Sub Pop 200. . . . )


1989 also marks the year that Seattle became SEATTLE in the larger cultural sense--the year that it transformed from a rainy backwater city, where people channeled their boredom into sludgy rock, into home for California diaspora. Our housing prices started increasing, our sports teams started sucking a little less, and the hippest hipsters on the planet began declaring that grunge was, like, yesterday’s news, maaaaan.


It was also in 1989 that I began working at the A206 copy center at the University of Washington Medical Center and where I photocopied medical texts with long-time lamestain friend Steve Mandich, who educated me about the still nascent grunge scene via mix tapes. Those tapes, some of which I may still have, featured Mudhoney, the Stooges, Gas Huffer, the Clash, and tons of other pieces of greatness.


But, of course, more happened in Seattle than just grunge.


Sports


In the mid-80s, our parents used to reward Tom and me with periodic trips to the gone-but-forgotten Kingdome to watch the perennial basement-dwelling Seattle Mariners. Whoever managed the M’s back in the mid-80s hadn’t yet gotten the hang of running a baseball team, so although they fielded a handful of decent players (Richie Zisk, Alvin Davis, Mark Langston, Spike Owen), they also had a tendency to acquire novelty players, like former Seattle Pilot Gorman Thomas (Mariner career batting average, .194) and geriatric spit-baller Gaylord Perry for the final season of his fine career.


In 1989, things finally started looking up: Ken Griffey, Jr., made his big league debut. Omar Vizquel made his big league debut. The Mariners acquired Randy Johnson (and lost Mark Langston) via a trade with the Montreal Expos. Manager Jim Lefebvre took over the reigns that year (“I’m a Lefebvre Believer” bumper stickers were all the rage.) This line-up (plus Edgar Martinez, who had already been a Mariner for a couple of seasons) didn’t produce fireworks immediately--the Mariners still had a losing season--but they did finally start breaking .500 in 1990.


The novelty disease hadn’t worn off entirely by this point. Around this time, the Ms acquired Ken Griffey, Sr., and attempted to speed Griffey’s younger brother up through the minors to create a Griffey hat-trick. This didn’t pay off. Furthermore, who can forget the Ken Griffey chocolate bar? If you have, well, eBay can help you remember.

But 1980s retro is fashionable right now, and the Mariners are doing their part by sucking again.


In other sports news, Brian Bosworth ended his disastrous tenure as the Seahawks’ designated bulldozer target in 1989. The Sonics were in their Xavier McDaniel and Nate McMillan phase and played pretty decently. And in the 1989 Apple Cup game between the Huskies and Wazoo, security maced the shit out of fans who stormed the field to ransack the goalposts and toss them into Lake Washington. And we, at this point in time, largely hated sports.


Media


Two game-changing articles were published in 1989.


First, Money Magazine ranked Seattle as the country’s #1 most livable city in 1989 (revisited here). This praise--which actually was major news, in the days before blogs and magazines ranked everything, all of the time--came as a bit of a surprise to those of us who loved our hometown but thought that, you know, it might be a bit damp for most people. Local mossbacks shook their fists in outrage that such attention would soon spoil our fair city. Whether this article, and the deluge of Californians that moved north after its publication, really spoiled the city can be debated, but the culture really did change radically in the span of a few short years. The biggest changes were that housing prices skyrocketed, traffic grew worse, and Emmet Watson got hot under the collar.

Second, Everett True wrote the infamous Sub Pop article for Melody Maker. (You can find a cool pdf of it here). The article appeared after Bruce and Jon at Sub Pop flew True out to Seattle and wined and dined him--it was basically Sub Pop’s first major marketing ploy. With the exception of Beat Happening and Screaming Trees, all of the reported bands were on Sub Pop (Screaming Trees would release an EP on Sub Pop in the following year, and Beat Happening would later co-release their last two LPs on K and Sub Pop). There’s nothing about, say, Skin Yard.

It’s amusing to note that, in the opening sentence, True describes Mudhoney as “thrash metal merchants.” Thrash metal?

But in spite of my best intentions, I keep falling back on music-related events from 1989. I should stop this blog entry here, before I get into 4 Bands for 4 Bucks at the HUB Ballroom, etc. For your listening pleasure is a mix of notable songs from 1989.

Here's your awesome 1989 mix tape: Gas Huffer -- "Firebug" The Fastbacks -- "Wrong, Wrong, Wrong" Screaming Trees -- "Where the Twain Shall Meet" Mother Love Bone -- "Thru Fade Away" Skin Yard -- "Start at the Top" Tad -- "Nipple Belt" Blood Circus -- "White Dress" Love Battery -- "Between the Eyes" The Melvins -- "Eyes Flies"