Wednesday, December 27, 2006

You'd better watch out / You'd better beware: The Wipers

One thing that separates a scene from a simple group of bands in a region is that, somehow, elements of the geography make it into the music itself. I can't really explain why this is the case, but for some reason, those early Soundgarden, Nirvana, Green River, and Tad records simply sound rainy, damp, and muddy, and the reason has to do with more than just the guitar sound. One cannot imagine a group of fellas in Houston or Los Angeles writing and recording "Flower" or "Daisy"; the result simply wouldn't be the same. This is also true of Pere Ubu and the Dead Boys, who embody the grimy, industrial nature of Cleveland; effete New Yorker scumbags like Lydia Lunch and Jon Spencer; and Minneapolis punks, like the early Replacements and Soul Asylum, who have a sniffly, sneezy, coughy, achy, stuffy head, feverish quality unique to regions where winters last for six months and reach bone-breakingly cold temperatures.

The Wipers also had that aforementioned rainy, damp, muddy sound, only they had it ten years before Sub Pop and grunge exploded: the Wipers' recorded and released their first record, Is This Real? (Park Avenue Records), in 1979. Although they have been correctly classified as a punk band, they formed well away from/before any larger scene (and thus, away from hidebound rules about punk rock appearance, song structure, etc.) and developed a unique, melancholy sound of their own. Although Is This Real? contains plenty of straightforward punk rock rave-ups ("Let's Go Away," "Don't Know What I Am"), it's the other material that interests me more. You can hear the (underappreciated) influence that they had on, for example, Nirvana. Even "Return of the Rat" shifts in a manner unlike most other punk songs.

Like The Fall and Guided by Voices, the Wipers' membership rotated around a single member--in this case, Greg Sage. On Is This Real and the Alien Boy ep, Dave Koupal plays bass and Sam Henry drums; by the time of the second Wipers record (Youth of America), they had been replaced by Brad Davidson and Brad Naish, respectively.

A pretty good history can be found here. Although the Wipers released records well into the 90s, it's their first three that are essential. Happily, Sage's label (Zeno Records) sells a box set containing all three records plus a ton of bonus material--for only $17! Also, Portland's Jackpot Records has reissued Is This Real? on audiophile-quality vinyl.

The first three songs come from Is This Real?, and "Alien Boy" comes from, erm, the Alien Boy ep. At some point, we'll cover Youth of America and Over the Edge. Also, the Wipers are one of those rare bands who have been covered quite well (by Nirvana, the Mono Men, the Melvins, Crackerbash, and many others); at some point, we'll devote a post to some of the excellent covers

The Wipers--Return of the Rat
The Wipers--Potential Suicide
The Wipers--Window Shop for Love
The Wipers--Alien Boy


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

We Will Never Forgive Sub Pop For What They Did to Swallow

As pretty any music observer knows, music genres get co-opted rather easily, and their definitions often change. For instance, wretched modern Emo bands like Dashboard Confessional or New Found Glory sound nothing like yesterday bands like Rites of Spring or Moss Icon. Often, originating bands will develop a trend, play many thankless shows, release a few ultimately obscure records, and inspire a legion of other bands that will go on to more have commercial success. Grunge was no different. The 1992 definition of grunge really did not make much sense if you were at all familiar with the 1988 definition. Blind Melon, Smashing Pumpkins, Paw, or Bush obviously did not have a lot in common with the early Sub Pop or Deep Six compilation bands. At Lamestain HQ, we are, of course, champions of the latter group. In our Bizarro World, it’s the Skin Yards and Cat Butts pictured on Teen Beat magazine covers, while the Blind Melons and Everclears of the world are lost to the cruel dustbins of history.

One early Sub Pop band that deserved better success than Silverchair was Swallow. Along with Blood Circus, Swallow were an early grunge band that didn’t make the major label jump. They cut some of the earliest Sub Pop records, shared bills with some future star bands, and broke up before the Alternative Nation frenzy. With two front men, Swallow also had two kinds of sound: Chris Pugh was more pop-grunge, and Rod Moody leaned more towards heavy grunge rock. At some moments, they also had a bit of an early Soul Asylum (and yes, that band used to be cool, too) feel to them.

Ex-Young Pioneer member Chris Pugh formed the band with bassist Andy Scheen (ex-Isolation), drummer Scott Schickler (ex-Limp Richerds & Thrown Ups), and future Blood Circus frontman Michael Anderson in 1987. Michael didn’t stick around for long and was replaced by former Deranged Diction member, Rod Moody. Chris’ old Olympia ties with Bruce Pavitt led to Sub Pop forming a verbal agreement with the band and releasing their debut single, the "Guts"/"Trapped" 45 (SP #14) in 1988. The band soon followed with the self-titled full-length (SP #24) and also contributed the song "Zoo" to the scene-defining Sub Pop 200 compilation (SP #25). After some touring, the band released their 2nd LP, Sourpuss, which Sub Pop/Glitterhouse only distributed in Europe. Craig Bradford then replaced Scott, and the band recorded their unreleased third LP but soon broke up after record label troubles. Why Sub Pop refused that record yet went on to release several Big Chief records remains a mystery today.

After the band broke up in 1992, Chris fully unleashed his inner pop songwriter demon with his band, Creep, and Rod formed the band Spike and co-founded Y Records (not to be confused with the UK Y Records, which released awesome singles by Pop Group, Glaxo Babies, and Pigbag) for a few years. The band did a few reunion shows around town with Blood Circus around 1993/1994, but I was underage, living in Bellingham, and probably listening to Witchy Poo, so I missed them. In retrospect, I should have gotten a fake ID. Swallow are doing shows again, and Flotation Records will be releasing their long lost third LP sometime next year. Go here for more songs and upcoming show & band news.

In the meantime, here are some songs from Sourpuss.

Sex Pig
In Effect

--MC Tom

Monday, December 18, 2006

I scream, you scream, we all scream for milk!!!!

Regularly scheduled programming will resume shortly, but first, we need to take a moment to welcome into the world the newest member of the lamestain community: Oliver Whitman Ojendyk, born on Wednesday the 13th at 12:37 P.M.

Clockwise from bottom: Oliver, Blood Circus LP, Tad.

To ensure that Oliver would rock later in life, my wife and I attended the Touch & G 25th Anniversary bash while she was seven months' pregnant, thus exposing Oliver to Killdozer while in utero.

So say hello to Oliver, everybody.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Miniskirt mob: Dickless

Of all the bands we’ve covered and are planning to cover, I’ve been most looking forward to writing about Dickless. Few resources on this band exist on the web. They lasted only briefly, releasing two proper singles (one of which we’ll cover later), one song on the Teriyaki Asthma compilation, and one limited-edition single credited to Dickless All-Stars (which we’ve neither seen nor heard). Their wikipedia entry is only one paragraph long, and only recently did somebody create a myspace page dedicated to them. To my knowledge, only the Teriyaki Asthma track saw release on cd, although that will soon change.

In the introduction to Charles Peterson’s collection of grunge-era photographs Screaming Life, Michael Azerrad wrote that “the visionary Dickless broke up before the rest of the world had caught up to them.” While I love to think that the world would have embraced Dickless, I doubt that the world agrees. Singer Kelly Canary’s vocals are on, shall we say, the abrasive side. (I mean this in the best possible way: she sings like a wasted hyena.) As you can see from the myspace page, however, many people fondly remember the awesome bludgeoning that Dickless gave them all those years ago.

It used to strike us as silly to see the term “grunge” applied to slick, carefully marketed, radio-ready bands like Stone Temple Pilots and Blind Melon (!), because Dickless embodied grunge better than perhaps any other band from that era, and nobody would consider them slick or ready for radio. Instead, they played a shambolic, fuzzed-out, assertive, and funny rock, and I regret that I never managed to catch them live. For at least a few months, they ruled.

I had some questions about their releases, so I donned my Sherlock Holmes hat, put on my tan-colored topcoat, and grabbed my best magnifying glass (I own several) and hunted down ex-Dickless drummer Lisa Smith to ask her some questions.

At one point, there was talk about a Dickless retrospective. What ever happened to that?

There is a contract we are signing right now for an anthology that is being put out with everything, ever recorded.

Who is releasing the retrospective?

Lance T. " Bored Housewife" is the label owner who is putting the Anthology out.

What ever happened with the All-Stars single? Were two of the songs on "Hey Lumberjack"? Did Sub Pop ever press any copies of it?

They did, but very few that they passed out at their 10-year anniversary party as a free give-away at the door.

I read that Megan Jasper replaced Kelly Canary on vocals. Did Jasper attempt to sing the same way?

Well, she screamed as well, but nobody can imitate Kelly's gravel.

Did Dickless ever tour?

We did short little jaunts

What are your best and worst memories from that time? Any shows in particular stick out?

We drove all the way to S.F. to open up for Tad and Nirvana on Valentines day, and as a gift to Tad, we learned “Sex God Missy” and changed the lyrics to "SEX GOD TAD."

Finally, I see on your profile that you've gotten into fitness (so have I). What's your mile time?
I am not very fast at all. I run an 11 min. mile on a good day without any injuries!!

* * * *

So there you have it. I personally cannot wait for the retrospective.

Thurston Moore, incidentally, coined the term “foxcore” to classify Dickless and like-minded bands, such as STP. Ha ha ha—“foxcore.” Thurston Moore, you jackass!

The first two tracks appeared on the Sub Pop “I’m a Man” 7”, and “Miniskirt Mob” was appended to the 12”. “Sweet Teeth” appeared on the Teriyaki Asthma compilation.

Dickless--"I'm a Man"
Dickless--"Saddle Tramp"
Dickless--"Minkskirt Mob"
Dickless--"Sweet Teeth"


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Buzzo Goes to Bitburg

By now, everybody acknowledges that the Melvins are the Greatest Band of All Time. For my money, the Gluey Porch Treatments through Lysol era is some of the best heavy music ever recorded. They are the standard that all other heavy music is judged against. The Melvins’ influence can be found from everything to grunge, "alternative metal" (truly an awful term), doom metal, stoner metal, and drone metal. Their inspiring story of small town boys turned international jetsetters is well known, so instead of that, here’s something about their first live album.

This record was recorded live in Alzey, Germany on January 23, 1991 and released as Your Choice Live Series Volume 12. At the time of this record, Lori Temple Black (aka Lorax, or Shirley Temple’s daughter) was playing bass in the band. The label was run by Tobby Holzinger, and other bands in the series were Ripcord, Neurosis, Poison Idea, Leatherface/Jawbox, Scream, Steel Pole Bathtub, and many more. The label also donated part of the proceeds to animal rights organizations. The record was released a few months before Bullhead and leans mostly towards Ozma material (“At a Crawl,” “Koolegged,” “Let God Be Your Gardener,” “Revulsion.” “Heater Moves and Eyes,” and “Eyes Flys” were from Gluey Porch Treatments or Ozma; “Anaconda” was from Bullhead; and “Tanked” was as early version of Eggnog’s “Wispy.” They also performed “It’s Shoved” at the show, but it was left off the record and can be found on the It’s Your Choice Live compilation.

This record is now out of print, but you can’t really enjoy a live record by listening to mp3s. MP3 breaks kill the record’s flow, so try and track this CD down at your local used record shop. The Melvins also released the great, recorded-in-Australia Alive at the Fucker Club on Amphetamine Reptile in 1998, but that’s sadly also out of print. You can buy the live Melvins / Fantomas Big Band and Live Houdini records here.

Heater Moves and Eyes
At a Crawl

-- MC Tom

Monday, November 27, 2006

By popular demand: The Freewheelin' Mark Arm

Although hundreds of thousands of Americans opposed Papa Bush’s initial invasion of Iraq in 1991, for the most part, it enjoyed massive popular support—something like 90% of the public sided with the President. I recall attending a protest in downtown Seattle that included thousands and thousands of participants; while walking from Capitol Hill to the Federal Building, several adults yelled at me and flipped me off, even though I was a teenager. Needless to say, the general public had little interest in dissent or even skepticism of any kind.

Slightly more than a month after Hussein tipped the first domino with his invasion of the emirate of Kuwait, Mark Arm headed to Reciprocal Recording to record a cover of Robert “Bob Dylan” Zimmerman’s “Masters of War.” The recording session lasted a day, and Sub Pop had the record on the shelves by the first of November 1990. Two months later, the bombing started.

Although the speed of the recording and release indicate the urgency of the situation, it’s hard to take this single too seriously as a form of protest. I don’t doubt Mark Arm’s sincerity, but the American public felt determined to invade Iraq, and rightly or wrongly (I think wrongly) had rendered all protest quaint and futile. The single seems to acknowledge this situation: although Arm performs the Dylan cover earnestly, the B-side is a shuffling novelty called “My Life with Rickets,” jokingly credited to “M. Arm/B. Diddley” and featuring a “Who Do You Love”-like riff and the refrain “she beats the shit out of me.” Sub Pop released the record under the moniker “The Freewheelin’ Mark Arm,” and the cover ever goes so far as to parody Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan record from the early 60s.

How are the songs themselves? While nobody would place them in the pantheon beside “Touch Me (I’m Sick)” or “You Got It,” they have a semiserious charm of their own, and Arm’s voice shares a distinctive, enjoyable imperfection with Dylan’s voice that suits the cover well. Several people have asked us to post these songs (by several, I mean two), but I think that’s mostly because of their orphan status. They aren’t like to be appended to any Mudhoney records, so until Mark Arm records a proper, bonus-ready solo record, they’re likely not to see the light of day anytime soon.

Incidentally, while all this was happening, the real Bob Dylan was banging out such classics as “She’s My Baby” and “Wilbury Twist” with his “super” group, The Travelling Wilburys. The late 80s and early 90s were not kind to Mr. Dylan.

“Wilbury Twist” . . . I mean, Jesus Christ. . . .

The Freewheelin’ Mark Arm—“Masters of War”
The Freewheelin’ Mark Arm—“My Life with Rickets”


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

64 Spiders: What Life Was Like Before Cat Butt

If you are like me, you talk about Cat Butt as much as possible. While your friends might find it pretty annoying, you know it’s your personal mission to spread the Gospel of the Journey to the Center of Cat Butt EP to all the nonbelievers. While some folks refuse to look past the band name, you know that Cat Butt were Seattle’s closest thing to Austin’s legendary punk band, Poison 13.

You have also been fascinated by Brother James’ earlier band, 64 Spiders, ever since you heard C/Z record’s Another Pyrrhic Victory compilation LP many years ago. 64 Spiders, sadly, weren’t around for very long and did not leave much of a recording legacy. But as luck would have it, they are doing a reunion show at the Funhouse on November 25th.

According to the very detailed Grunnen Rocks webpage, the band formed in 1985 and originally featured David Lee on vocals, James Burdyshaw on guitar, Joe Ross on bass, and Eric Walker on drums. Eric soon opted for a normal non-rock and roll life and was replaced by Scott McCullum (aka Norman Scott) around 1986. Who David Lee was remains a mystery; he was not credited on the records, and James and Joe perform the vocal duties. The band broke up in 1987 after slaving away in the local club scene, and members went on to other projects. Brother James, of course, formed Cat Butt, Yummy, and Sinister Six and currently fronts the Bug Nasties; bassist Joe Ross rejoined the Green Pajamas and also played in Yummy; Scott McCullum played in Skin Yard, Gruntruck, and Capping Day. Scott was also rumored to have almost joined Soundgarden before Matt Cameron (who also played in Skin Yard) accepted the job.

Their only release was a posthumous 500-pressed single on Issaquah’s Regal Select Records (RG-006). Regal Select put out some great garage punk rock records by bands like the Fall Outs, Kings of Rock, and the Night Kings and the 4 Puget Power compilations EPs. We’ll someday do a commemorative post about them. Until that glorious day comes, you’ll have to settle for these songs. The songs “Potty,” “Swat,” and “Rubber Room” were recorded by Jack Endino around 1986/1987 and released in 1989. On the back of the single, they mention a demo tape for sale, but I have never seen or heard it. “There Ain’t” and “Bulemic [sic] Saturday” are more grunge sounding and were included on the 1989 Another Pyrrhic Victory compilation. Jack Endino also engineered these songs at Reciprocal Studios, but the record dates are not listed.

On a personal note, this single has been tacked on a University District record store wall for many years, but the $20 price tag always dissuaded me from buying it. As a record nerd, if there is one thing I hate, it’s when record stores don’t know how to price records. Why they would choose to sit on inventory for an indefinite amount of time with the most likely vain hope that a sucker will eventually come along and overpay for it instead trying to get everything to sell quickly by charging a reasonable price is beyond me. Yes, the single is rare and everything, but $20? You can generally find it on eBay for around $5. Rant Over.

64 Spiders--"There Ain't"
64 Spiders--"Bulemic Saturday"
64 Spiders--"Potty"
64 Spiders--"Swat"
64 Spiders--"Rubber Room"

-- MC Tom

Monday, November 13, 2006

Love Battery's Between the Eyes

A year or two ago, a friend and coworker loaned me several CDs by the British shoegazer band Swervedriver. This was among the incidents that renewed my interest in the music from my youth, because I immediately identified similarities with the “last great, undiscovered, first-generation” Seattle band, Love Battery.

Ron Rudzitis (aka, Ron Nine) formed the band after his previous pop band, Room Nine, folded. Love Battery had several iterations, and they also underwent the cross-pollination common among the great bands from that scene: at various times, the band included Dan Peters (of Mudhoney), Bruce Fairweather (formerly of Green River and Mother Love Bone), Jason Finn (later to join The Presidents of the United States of America), and Jim Tillman (formerly of the U-Men). (Amazingly, Jason Everman never played with them.)
The term “psychedelic” often appears in descriptions of their music—their Wikipedia entry uses that term, for example. I, too, classified their music using this term when first heard them, but the band actually shares little in common with music made during that 60s movement. Persons expecting to hear Nuggets-style jangle like the Cynics or a hard-psych band like Dungen would be in for a rude awakening. Their psychedelic influence appears to have filtered through some of the loopier British pop bands of the early 80s, such as Echo and the Bunnymen or the Teardrop Explodes. Swervedriver likely sipped a little from this same cup.

(This is not to imply that Love Battery actually sound like Echo and the Bunnymen; they don’t. What do they sound like, then? I’ve seen the term “shimmery grunge” used to describe Swervedriver, and that term works with Love Battery as well: the guitars sound grungy, yet they also shimmer.)

Their first release, Between the Eyes, was both a grunge lover’s dream and a record collector’s nightmare: SubPop originally released “Between the Eyes” as a 7” (with “Easter” as the b-side), and over the course of 2 years, it grew into a 10” EP and a full-length LP. The CD version my friend Dave loaned me to extract the mp3s contains seven songs, but the definitive version of Between the Eyes contains ten songs, three of which were culled from their subsequent record’s sessions. I culled my favorite tracks from the EP but am opting not to post the entire record, as it appears to still be available, at least via iTunes.

I recommend ignoring the lyrics. Make sure and visit Love Battery's official home page.

Love Battery--"Between the Eyes"
Love Battery--"Easter"
Love Battery--"Highway of Souls"


Friday, November 03, 2006

1000 Words on Deranged Diction

With the rare punk record craze and recent documentaries like American Hardcore, the once-reviled US hardcore movement is having a slight resurgence. Once lost bands like the Fix and Koro have seen their impossibly rare records reissued, and it seems like rare hardcore compilations are getting released daily. Like the very briefly discussed metal and power pop scenes, Seattle also had a pretty healthy early 80s hardcore scene. Since Seattle did not have anything like a Dischord, SST, Touch and Go, or Alternative Tentacles Records at the time, the movement was far less documented than the DC, Boston, California, and Midwest scenes. Still Seattle had their fair share of loud, fast rules bands. The Accused and their legendary fathers, the Fartz, are probably the most well known Seattle hardcore bands, but bands like Solger, the Rejectors, RPA, the Drills (anybody have info on these guys?), and the Silly Killers also left behind some cool songs.

Another noteworthy band was Deranged Diction. Mostly remembered as the launching pad for Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, the band also featured Green River and Mother Love Bone guitarist Bruce Fairweather and, once they moved to Seattle, future Swallow singer/guitarist Rod Moody. Their music was fast and pissed off but still less monotonous than your typical hardcore band. They would occasionally break the 90-second song rule and would sneak in the quick guitar solo (and even a bass solo for one song), which would probably annoy the hardcore punk purist.

Originally formed in Missoula, Montana in 1982, the group comprised skateboarding college students and was one of the few original bands in the area. Along with Jeff and Bruce, the band also featured former Renobs singer Tom Kipp and drummer Sergio Avenia. The band performed original material as well as Flipper, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, and Dead Kennedys covers during their live sets. In 1983, the band released a limited edition half studio/half live tape called No Art, No Cowboys, No Rules. The band also contributed a song to the 1983 Mystic Record’s We Got Power compilation LP and the 1984 Bad Compilation Tapes’ Eat Me cassette. Kipp then left the band when they decided to move to Seattle. Tim Healy filled in for vocals during last few Montana shows, and Rod Moody joined the band once they arrived in Seattle. The band eventually broke up in mid-1984, when Jeff and Bruce left for Green River.

Outside of an August 1993 Goldmine article about Pearl Jam’s family tree, Deranged Diction isn’t that well documented. Luckily, I tracked Rod down, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about the band.

When were you in the band?


Why did the band relocate to Seattle?

I joined the band after they moved, so I'm guessing that Missoula was boring and they were looking to find a more active scene.

What did you think of Seattle's hardcore/punk scene at the time?

It was fine. Lots of fast, loud bands with lots of attitude and little substance. Of course, I'm old now, so I can say that. I was pretty removed from the punk "community" for the most part. Just went to shows, played shows, then jumped on the bus back home to my safety zone in West Seattle. Back then I thought it was pretty amazing though. Once things shifted into metal territory, I lost interest--temporarily at least.

Did the band tour at all?

No, just played Vancouver BC and Tacoma, once each.

Who did you share bills with?

Husker Du, Butthole Surfers, Stalag 13, Boot Boys, Rejectors, Accused, Circle 7, Mr. Epp, Silly Killers, Malfunkshun, Aerobic Death, LockJaw, Spluii Numa, He-Sluts, March of Crimes, Extreme Hate, DSML, and probably a few more.

Mark Arm once said that Diction went from being "one of the fastest bands around to one of the slowest and weirdest." How did that happen, and are there any recordings from this era?

I think he was exaggerating, because apart from a couple of slower songs (one dirge and a couple midtempo tunes) we kept things pretty fast throughout. But, yeah we were leaning toward the direction that early Green River eventually nailed. Jeff was moving away from his early influences like DC hardcore and was immersing himself in Bad Company and Kiss records. I started bringing my songs into the band, some of which were a bit more midtempo punk, and I started playing guitar with them, which crunched up the sound a bit. No recordings from this time apart from a couple of cheapo rehearsal tapes.

Did Tim Healy, Tom Kipp, or Sergio Avenia end up in any other bands?

Don't know about Healy or Kipp...never knew them. I do know Kipp is living in Seattle -- here's a link.

Sergio moved to New York over 10 years ago and began playing jazz with many excellent musicians and drove a taxi in Manhattan. He later moved back to Seattle. Andy from Swallow was playing jazz with him recently, and he tells me Serg is focused on piano now instead of drums.

Why did the band break up?

This is a bit hazy.... Jeff claimed in an interview that he didn't think the rest of the band was taking it seriously. I honestly can't remember what led to the breakup. I just recall us not practicing for a while, and then discovering we were no longer a band. I seem to remember someone else telling me that Jeff was jamming with Mark, and I was like "oh, really?"

Where you any bands in between Diction & Swallow?

Yeah, I was in a bar band playing covers. Mostly tasteful covers, at least.

Any reissue plans?

I've heard rumors, but I'll believe it when I see it.

The below songs originally appeared on the 11 song No Art, No Cowboys, and No Rules tape and were later included on the BCT Eat Me compilation tape.

Borderless Countries Tapes, Schizophrenic Records, and Enterruption (now based out of the very cool Electric Heavyland record store in Wallingford) also reissued the Eat Me and I’m Buck Naked tapes as the Hardcore Amerika–the Reagan Years CD a few years ago. It might be out of print, but you can go here and see if there are any reissue plans.

Mad Props to Rod for answering my questions and go check out the reformed Swallow (we’ll get to them shortly) and his new band, Twink the Wonderkid.

Kill or Be Killed
So Bad
Not Fair

-- MC Tom

Monday, October 30, 2006

mp3 archive problems

Like practically every other music blog on the planet, we're having problems with EZ Archive (where we store our mp3s) right now. Their "upgrade," as it presently works, sucks ass. We will be back to posting mp3s soon, either when EZ Archive gets their shit together or via another mp3 hosting service.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pure Joy

Somebody smart once said that for every Elvis Presley there is a Charlie Feathers: there is always some talented guy out there who was at the right place and the right time but, for some unknown reason, doesn’t quite achieve gigantic, mainstream success. Rusty Willoughby is kind of one of those guys. I can’t think of an Elvis for Rusty’s Charlie Feathers, but the point is that Rusty is one helluva talented guy. His late 80s/early 90s band Flop were, in my expert opinion, the best power pop band since the late 70s glory days. Prior to Flop, Rusty was in another great band called Pure Joy. Their catalog, which might all be out of print now, is highly underrated, and sadly, it got a bit lost in the grunge shuffle. Along with the Fastbacks and the Young Fresh Fellows, Pure Joy was part of the Seattle Holy Pop Trinity during the otherwise bleak 1980s pop scene.

Formed in the mid eighties as the Dwindles, the band consisted of singer/guitarist Rusty, bassist Lisa King, keyboardist Randy Willoughby, and drummer Jim Hunnicutt. They later renamed themselves Pure Joy after the Teardrop Explodes song and made their vinyl debut with a self-released, self-titled EP in 1986. The four-song EP contained the song "Ocean,” which was played on the long-gone local radio station KJET and included on the Lowlife Compilation LP (Ironwood Records). Welcome to My New Psychotic Dream was supposed to be their debut record on No Big Business Records, but after their financer ran off with the master tapes, it remained unreleased until Flydaddy Records released it on CD in 1994. By the time of this record, Randy had been replaced by future Nirvana soundman Craig Montgomery, and the nine songs are more developed than on the previous EP. While this record was unreleased at the time, the song “Standing on a Bridge” was included on the C/Z records compilation, Secretions (CZ006). The band then stripped down to a three-piece, with future Sister Psychic/Lawnmowers member Andy Davenhall taking over on drums for their next record, the “Now I Know” single on ex-Silly Killer/Chemistry Set member Bryan Learned’s Fat Bald Records (FB11). Popllama released the Carnivore LP in 1989, and Kurt Bloch’s No Three Records put out the live EP, Sore Throte, Dead Goat (N3-10), in 1990. Pure Joy then disbanded, and Rusty went on to Flop who recorded two records on Frontier and one on Epic.

After Flop broke up in the mid 90s, Rusty, Jim, and Lisa reformed Pure Joy and put out two more full-lengths. The Getz, The Worm (The Great Utopia/Flydaddy, 1997) and Gelatin and Bright (Book Records, 2003) were damn fine pop records that were out of step among all the lousy nu-metal bands that were clogging the airwaves at the time. Between Pure Joy records, Rusty also put out a solo record on Book Records and did a Sub Pop single of the month (SP473) in 1999. Rusty currently plays in the band, Llama.

New Psychotic Dream
Standing on a Bridge
Calvin and Hobbes
Orphan Sky
Gun Thing

-- MC Tom

Friday, October 13, 2006


In the post about Green River, I talked about the importance of seeing Mother Love Bone in my musical education. Since I already discussed one of Mother Love Bone’s parents, it would be fitting to discuss their other parent: Andrew Wood’s first band, Malfunkshun.

Malfunkshun formed in 1980, when Wood was only 14 years old, and they disbanded in 1988 (they were, for all intents and purposes, a high school band). Although their recorded output was limited to a handful of tracks on compilation albums, they achieved a fair amount of local notoriety. In the early 90s, my brother interviewed Lori Black during her second stint in the Melvins, and she singled out Malfunkshun as among the best bands from that era. (The Melvins later covered “With Yo’ Heart Not Yo’ Hands”; someday, we’ll post it here.)

I feel rather unqualified to write much about Malfunksun; they disbanded very early in the grunge years, and the only songs they released while together were on the Deep Six compilation. Histories of the band can be found elsewhere on the web, but I’m not too certain how trustworthy they are. On the wikipedia page, for example, the writer claims that SubPop opted not to sign the band because they weren’t “Grunge enough.” This claim strikes me as preposterous; they sounded as sludgy as anyone.

However, Malfunkshun also sounded more schizophrenic than their peers: a typical song also included a track of shredding guitar on top of the heavy 70s bottom end, and Wood’s vocal style owed more to glam rock (and, dare I say, hair metal) than to the MC5 or the Stooges. Wood’s love shtick, well, it was a bit unfortunate, but I hate to think that his legacy includes Dr. Seuss hats and glitter. He died at the disgustingly young age of 24 and had already started to outgrow the college campus, fly-your-freak-flag look. Furthermore, the look is almost refreshing: it indicates he didn’t subscribe to adolescent boundaries in taste, whereby one wouldn’t permit himself to like both Kiss and Black Flag at the same time.

(Also, in the interests of full disclosure, I should note that I wasn't immune to the freak-flag silliness at that age either. Although I never owned a Dr. Seuss hat, I did play in a band with a song called "Hippie Woman Child" (thankfully, I didn't pen it), and not only did I own a pair of small, rectangular sunglasses, but I also owned a beaded necklace, and I was even known to wear both at once.)

Wood’s death happened just before—literally days—the planned release date for Mother Love Bone’s Apple, their heavily hyped major label debut. His heroin overdose also began a tragic and stupid trend in the northwest, but nobody needs to hear that lesson again. Kevin Wood, the band’s guitarist, later found a reasonable degree of local success with the Fire Ants (with ex-Nirvana drummer Chad Channing), Brad, and Satchel (the latter two of which also included Malfunkshun’s drummer, Regan Hagar). I think I saw the Fire Ants play at Bumbershoot one summer. Whoever it was played absolutely dismal white funk with falsetto vocals. They also smiled a lot; the white funk made them happy. Maybe it wasn’t the Fire Ants. Come to think of it, I probably saw some other band.

An interview with Kevin Wood, can be found here. Also, a movie about Andy Wood premiered at the 2005 Seattle film festival; the producers anticipate an eventual DVD release. I haven’t seen it, and clips do not appear to have landed on YouTube.

The first two tracks come from the infamous Deep Six compilation (C/Z Records, 1986), and the latter two come from Another Pyrrhic Victory (C/Z Records, 1989). Both are long out of print.

Malfunkshun--"With Yo' Heart (Not Yo' Hands)"
Malfunkshun--"Stars n' You"
Malfunkshun--"My Only Fan"
Malfunkshun--"Shotgun Wedding"


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Comments on comments

Somebody recently pointed out that, originally, the blog allowed comments only by other blog users. We changed the setttings to now allow comments by any readers.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

An Earth Post That Barely Mentions Kurt Cobain

One of the stranger marriages in modern music is heavy metal and minimalism. As an 80’s thrash metal kid, I expected all my metal bands to be fast, loud, and obnoxious. Bands like Cryptic Slaughter, the Crumbsuckers, and Wehremacht were the Speed Kings and there were a million other garage metal bands fighting for the fastest band in the heshian land status. Of course, in their speed quest, a lot of bands forgot about songwriting and good riffs. The music was played at such a spazztic blurr that heaviness took a back seat to insanely fast tempo. However, the Melvins took the opposite approach. They realized that heaviness is found in the low frequency so they played lower and slower than everybody else. Dylan Carlson, who once swore off music because the Melvins already perfected it, soon came along with his Earth project and took the Melvins’ dirge template even further. Earth slowed it down even more and used repetition to create some of the heaviest music on the planet. At the time, I used the Melvins as my reference points, and enjoyed Earth in that context. Years later I heard classical minimalist composers like Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Morton Feldman, and Earth’s music made even more sense. Earth were one of the first heavy bands who understood that there is power in the drone and influenced a whole slew of modern day dronesters like Sunn 0))), Growing, Black Boned Angel, Asva, and the Holy McGrail.

The band was originally formed in ‘89/90 by Dylan, future Kill Rock Stars’ head honcho Slim Moon, and Greg Babior in Olympia, Washington. Greg and Slim didn’t stick around long and were then replaced with Joe Preston and Dave Harwell for their debut 1991 recording, Extra-Capsular Extractions. Recorded by Mike Lastra at Portland’s Smegma Studios and featuring guest vocals by Dickless’ Kelly Canary & Kurt Cobain, Earth’s debut confused the hell out most hipsters who were expecting the ‘Sub Pop’ sound. Joe Preston soon left the band for the Melvins, recorded the great Lysol and solo EP on Boner, and then set off to join as many bands as possible. The remaining members (with some help from Laceration’s drummer Joe Burns) then released Earth 2 in 1993, which was pretty much ignored at the time yet has become the definitive drone metal record. Several line up and records later, Earth broke up and Dylan vanished from the public eye. But Dylan couldn’t stay away from the drone metal spotlight for too long and resurrected the band with Adrienne Davis a few years ago and released the great Hex LP on Southern Lord Records in 2005.

Around 1994, some friends and I drove from Bellingham to Seattle’s Velvet Elvis for a Thanksgiving Day Earth show only to find out that band had canceled at the last minute. Since we were already there and made such a big effort, we decided to stick around and watch the other bands. Earth’s replacement was a New York hardcore band called State of the Union and their signer went on a twenty-minute lecture on the genocide of Native Americans in the 1600’s. It was not a fun show and I will carry the disappointment of Earth’s cancellation to my grave. Luckily, a Portland friend taped this solo Dylan Phase 3 era show on his hand held tape recorder at the X-Ray Café a few months later. It’s crude and lo-fi, but if that bothers you then you are a pussy.

Earth – Live at the X-Ray Café

Buy the Sub Pop reissues here.

-- MC Tom

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Even though we're headed for war, this nation is prouder than ever before

Seeing Mother Love Bone at Bumbershoot when I was fourteen or fifteen years old was one of the formative moments in my musical education. They seemed to possess all of the swagger and volume of the hard rock bands I liked at the time, with none of the misogyny, tastelessness, vacuity, or Bacchanalian overkill of, say, Guns n’ Roses or Dokken. Hindsight I gained a few years later, of course, corrected my youthful misimpressions: Mother Love Bone didn’t sound like the second-coming of rock; they sounded like the Cult.

However, watching Mother Love Bone in that pavilion and hearing very early Soundgarden the University of Washington station, KCMU, led me to investigate other bands from the region—specifically, Mother Love Bone’s divorced parents (Green River) and newly estranged sibling (Mudhoney). And although Mother Love Bone made the first impression, Green River made the lasting one. I bought the Rehab Doll record first. And when I admitted to my buddy Dean that I preferred Rehab Doll to Guns n’ Roses, he called me a homo or something.

Green River’s Dry as a Bone EP (their best record) and Rehab Doll still hold up pretty well. After giving those records a decade-long rest, I pulled them out not too long ago and found that I liked them even more than before. A good friend loaned me the CD SubPop issued with both records (plus two unreleased tracks), and I’ve been spinning it pretty frequently. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, one of the later songs on Rehab Doll (“Porkfist”) came up on my iPod while I was running by Lake Michigan. It gave me a little lift.

Green River were the first grunge rock stars. Their name popped up frequently alongside those of contemporaries Husker Du and Sonic Youth, and they wrote the first grunge staple, “Swallow My Pride,” which both Soundgarden and the Fastbacks covered. Two guys later went on to jaw-dropping levels of fame in Pearl Jam, but everybody already knows that.

What you may not know is their first record, Come on Down (Homestead Records, 1985). I don’t believe it has ever been reissued, and frankly, beyond Pearl Jam completists, I’m not certain that much of a market for it exists. This record, more than their others, embodies the grunge sound—it’s thick, slow, sludgy, and hard. However, it’s also their least interesting record. They're clearly a young band, still finding their bearings. Except for “Come on Down” and “Swallow My Pride,” I don’t find much to recommend it; furthermore, Green River recorded a superior version of “Swallow My Pride” for Rehab Doll. Still, it’s an important record in other regards (it’s the only one on which Steve Turner appears), and I don’t expect it to be reissued anytime soon.

Incidentally, web reviewer extraordinaire Mark Prindle thinks little of Green River, especially Rehab Doll. His reviews should be taken with a grain of salt; after all, he owns everything that Johnny Cougar ever released. Then again, he also has a jaw-droppingly comprehensive collection of records by the Fall, so he's allowed to love "Hurts So Good" as much as he wants. I mention his page only because I like it.

Finally, a decent entry on Green River can be found on wikipedia, and this Mudhoney page also has a good history of the band.

Green River--"Come on Down"
Green River--"New God"
Green River--"Swallow My Pride"
Green River--"Ride of Your Life"
Green River--"Corner of My Eye"
Green River--"Tunnel of Love"


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lip Lock Rock: The Alice 'N Chainz Story

Nearly every musician has an embarrassing past. It's very rare for anybody to be in a good high school band, and most musicians have been in bands that they would rather not have anybody talk about. Sadly, with the advent of the Internet, your crappy high school band will not get lost in the dustbins of history. Like Pantera, Alice in Chains also had a glam rock past. Prior to his mega successful career as a gloom and doom hard rock/grunge front man, the late Layne “Candy” Staley sang in a Shorewood High School band called Sleze. Sleze eventually morphed into Alice 'N Chainz and recorded a demo before Layne joined up with Jerry Cantrell and his glam band, Diamond Lie, around 1987. Diamond Lie would soon change their name to Alice in Chains, ditch their glam rock image, hook up with Soundgarden’s management, and eventually become one of the first Seattle "Alternative Metal" bands to sign to a major label.

Alice 'N Chainz originally formed sometime in the early eighties with Layne on vocals, Nick Pollock on guitar, Johnny Bacolas on bass, and James Bergstrom on drums. In 1986, they went to the famed London Bridge Studios and recorded their first 3-song demo tape. Produced by Timothy Branom and engineered by former Enemy drummer, Peter Barnes (check them out on Killed By 7" 1-5 or Screaming Fists vol 2), the demo features a guest horn section, took them several months to finish, and cost them around $1600. While it's rarely discussed nowadays in the post-grunge and modern day indie rock age, Seattle actually had a pretty large hard rock/metal scene in the 1980s. Metal Church, Queensryche, TKO, and Rail were the big local bands, and bands like Mistrust, Heir Apparent, Myth, Overlord, and Fifth Angel were supposed to be the Next Big Things. Alice N Chainz should then be placed in this hard rock/metal context and not in the post-punk or grunge one, and obviously, their demo sounds nothing like their later recordings.

After Layne joined Diamond Lie, former guitarist Nick Pollock started My Sister's Machine with ex-members of Mistrust and released a few records, followed by Tanks of Zen and, more recently, Soulbender. Johnny Bacolas and James Bergstrom would go to form Second Coming, who still gig and record regularly.

And according to the demo’s thank you notes, if you are “Blonde, Tan, Tastey [sic], And Tight,” the boyz in the band love you lots.

Oh yeah, “Over the Edge” is not the Wipers’ song.

Alice 'N Chainz - "Lip Lock Rock"
Alice 'N Chainz - "Fat Girls"
Alice 'N Chainz - "Over the Edge"

--MC Tom

Monday, September 25, 2006

Go ahead! Bundle of Hiss

If you’ve seen Decline of the Western Civilization II: The Metal Years, you no doubt remember several scenes featuring the band London. London had slaved away on the Hollywood Strip for years, playing all of the important venues and attracting pretty decent crowds. However, London’s fame (if you could call it that) arose not from their music itself but from the band’s impressive list of alumni: future members of every big hair metal band in the world had tenure in London. London itself, however, never attained much success. In some ways, Bundle of Hiss resembles London: they slaved away for a number of years (1980 to 1988) without releasing a record, and they included two future members of TAD (bassist Kurt Danielson and, briefly, Tad Doyle himself) and a future member of Mudhoney (drummer Dan Peters). However, Bundle of Hiss differed from London in a few of important aspects:

(1) To my knowledge, Bundle of Hiss never introduced a song called “Russian Winter” by attempting to burn a Soviet flag, only to destroy their set’s momentum by failing to get the flag to ignite.

(2) Bundle of Hiss likely never credit carded themselves into massive debt because of a large Aqua Net, smoke bomb, and fish-net stocking budget.

(3) Bundle of Hiss—and this is the most important difference—were awfully good.

I didn’t learn this until recently, when I picked up a used copy of Sessions: 1986-1988, a posthumous collection of most of their demos released by Loveless Records in 2000 or 2001. The CD includes two demos: one from 1986, with original singer and founding member Russ Bartlett, and one from 1987-1988 with guitarist Jamie Lane on vocals. Bundle of Hiss also recorded a third demo (apparently their best), but no copies of the masters exist.

I didn’t post any songs from the first demo. Barlett’s voice is fine, but the band hadn’t found its bearings yet. They lumber through several sludgy and uninteresting attempts at post-punk. The Lane-era songs, however, contain much more power and purpose. I could give or take Lane’s voice (think Andy Wood), but he managed to marshal Peters and Danielson into a formidable rhythm section. Several tracks are great—really great—early era grunge.

It’s a shame that this band was more heard about than actually heard.

Bundle of Hiss--"White"
Bundle of Hiss--"Drown"
Bundle of Hiss--"Rables"


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Three Year Old Could Do That: The U-Men Destroy Seattle

Ah, the U-Men. If you speak to any long time Seattle show goers, chances are they will tell you that the U-Men were Seattle’s best live band during the 1980s. They existed in the time after punk’s initial explosion and before grunge or alternative music’s pop chart domination, so their story is rarely told by boring Rock Historians. Often credited as a grunge forerunner, the U-Men were actually much more than just that. Their sound was much broader than the typical grunge band’s and musically they owed more to post-punk bands like the Birthday Party than they did to hard rock bands like Black Sabbath or Zeppelin. Their music also had a definite art edge to it, yet they still followed in the Northwest garage band tradition.

Known for their insane live shows (the most notorious show was when they were banned from Bumbershoot for setting a moat under the stage on fire), the U-Men were also one of the first Seattle bands to tour. However, for people like me who didn’t learn about them until Gas Huffer, the band also left behind a great vinyl legacy.

Singer John Bigley, guitarist Tom Price, drummer Charlie Ryan, and bassist Robin Buchan formed the band in 1981. Robin soon ditched the band and was replaced by Jim Tillman just in time for their self-titled debut EP on Bombshelter Records (run by Bruce Pavitt and Russ Battaglia) in 1984. A 2nd EP for Gerald Cosley’s pre-Matador record label, Homestead, soon followed in 1985. The U-Men were also featured on C/Z record’s Deep Six compilation in 1985, along with Green River and the recording debuts of Soundgarden, the Melvins, Malfunkshun, and Skin Yard. Further records include the 1987 “Solid Action” 45 and 1988’s Step on a Bug–The Red Toad Speaks LP, which were both released on Fallout Record’s label, Black Label. Former bassist, Tom Hazelmeyer, also included the U-Men’s cover of the Wheels’ “Bad Little Woman” for the first Dope-Guns’N-Fucking in the Streets 45 and released the posthumous “Freezebomb” 45 in 1988.

During a brief U-Men hiatus, Tom and Charlie also played in David Duet’s (a short-time singer in Girl Trouble) band, Cat Butt. This is the line up that recorded the song, “Big Cigar” on the Sub Pop 200 compilation. Tom and Charlie soon rejoined the U-Men, and Cat Butt went on to greater things on Sub Pop.

After the U-Men called it quits in 1988, Tom Price played in the Kings of Rock (who have since reformed), Gas Huffer, the Monkeywrench, and the Del Lagunas (Gas Huffer’s instrumental alter-egos). Charlie Ryan later played in the Crows, Bottle of Smoke (with David Duet), and the Right On (with Night and Days/Night Kings member Rob Vasquez). John Bigley also sang for the Crows and currently owns the Capital Club and Barca Lounge in Seattle. Bassists Jim Tillman later played in Love Battery, and Tom Hazelmeyer left town and formed the Halo of Flies. Another bassist, Tony “Tone Deaf” Ransom, supposedly moved to Alaska.

All these songs are included on the Chuckie Boy Records retrospective. You can buy it here.

U-Men - Shoot 'Em Down
U-Men - Bad Little Woman
U-Men - Solid Action

--Mr. Tom

Monday, September 18, 2006

Historia de la Musica Tad, vol. I

I had bought a drum machine and a Fender Jazzmaster guitar and started playing songs by myself and a drum machine. I had a Fender Champ amplifier that I played the guitar through an old Sun Beta Bass amplifier that I would put the drum machine through. I slowly taught myself how to play guitar and had many friends who were great guitarists gave me tips along the way. I quickly put together a few songs and in my mind I could hear the finished product. In June of 1987 I took my 1986 tax return refund of about $500.00 and bought time in a small 8 track studio (Reciprocal Studios) in Seattle’s Fremont/Ballard neighborhood with a friend named Jack Endino--Tad's MySpace page

Below, I noted an early TAD single that had eluded me because of the record store’s collector-level price tag; this was another. (SubPop’s Fuck Me I’m Rich compilation included the two songs, but alas, that is now out of print, and we sincerely doubt that SubPop will reissue it.) We later found a copy on vinyl. But at one time, in one region, this single was very much in demand.

Although these tracks should be credited to Tad the person and not TAD the band, a listen will make it clear that Mr. Doyle had pretty clear musical intentions before recruiting Kurt Danielson, Gary Thorstensen, and Steve Weide to flesh them out. It’s a template for later TAD songs: a steely, almost tribal rhythm section provides the song’s foundation, and a layer of feedback seethes throughout. “Ritual Device” (which a friend considers Tad’s best song) is the quicker of the two, whereas “Daisy” sounds like shin-deep mud, if mud had a sound. Both rock, of course: the former kicks you repeatedly in the chest, and the later pummels you with a tire iron.

TAD lacked Nirvana’s pop sensibility and Soundgarden’s arena rock power and looks, so their failure to achieve anything beyond a respectable level of cult status surprised nobody. However, TAD’s best songs were incredible, and Doyle had personality and humor to spare. Sub Pop created a hell of a myth around the guy by emphasizing that he came from Idaho, dressed like a lumberjack, and had once worked as a butcher. In truth, he studied percussion and was smart as a tack. A long essay remains to be written about TAD’s sense of humor, but I don’t have the time to write it. Suffice to say that the band couldn’t have worked without both sides of his personality.

The nascent Sub Pop released “Ritual Device” in August 1988. Its catalog number is SP19. (For all intents and purposes, the catalog numbers for Sub Pop begin at SP10, so this was the label’s ninth release.) Both were included on Fuck Me I'm Rich, and "Daisy" was also later released on the "Wood Goblins" ep.

Tad--"Ritual Device"


Friday, September 15, 2006

"How come you having 'lamestain'? What it is, 'lamestain'?"

By 1992, the "Seattle scene" had exploded like a banana in a microwave. The intrepid reporters of the New York Times decided to embed themselves in the scene, to learn how it is that the grunge kids talk. So they phoned SubPop Records and talked to one Megan Jasper, asking her to pass on the secret grunge lexicon to the kids.

Thing is, there was no grunge lexicon. So practical joker Jasper asked the Times to simply give her some terms, and she'd translate them into grunge.

Here's what the Times printed:

bloated, big bag of blotation - drunk
bound-and-hagged - staying home on Friday or Saturday night
cob nobbler - loser
dish - desirable guy
fuzz - heavy wool sweaters
harsh realm - bummer
kickers - heavy boots
lamestain - uncool person
plats - platform shoes
rock on - a happy goodbye
score - great
swingin' on the flippety-flop - hanging out
tom-tom club - uncool outsiders
wack slacks - old ripped jeans

Left, the cruel, petulant prankster Megan Jasper. Top right, the victims of this heinous action.

We actually remember reading this grunge lexicon in Newsweek, who reprinted it not long after the Times piece. It was pretty clear to everyone that somebody had pulled the Times's leg. The Baffler first called public attention to the prank.

Wikipedia has a pretty decent article about "Lexicon of Grunge: Breaking the Code." Jasper tells the story herself in the movie Hype!

If you haven't already figured it out, we actually are a couple of lamestains.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Suuuuuuub Pop, Rock City

Three weeks ago, I was hunting around The Hype Machine for the first time, punching random bands into their search engine. I entered "TAD," and to my pleasure and surprise, some blogger had posted mp3s for TAD's split single with Pussy Galore. This took me aback. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, this single would taunt me from the back wall/glass cases at the Cellophane Squares in the U-District and Bellingham.

The surprise was so great that I spilled coffee on my flanel and dropped a heroin needle on my Chuck Taylors.

Coincidentally, my brother (who will also post here) and I had been talking about this very 7" a couple of months earlier. He had gone on a grunge tear at the local record stores, snapping up all of the formerly overpriced grunge records he could find, now that the genre was at a popular nadir. Between those records, the ones we already had, and the stuff that I've unearthed on the Web, we had accumulated a pretty decent collection of records that few people felt they had a use for anymore.

And what better repository of useless records and information than the internet? Thus, the blog.

What will we dump--er, add here? Well, Pearl Jam never did anything for either of us, and they're already pretty well represented on the internet. So there will be none of that. There will also be no Mad Season, no Candlebox, and no Alice in Chains (unless we can figure out a means of digitizing their glam metal demo tape).
Did I say no Mad Season? No Mad Season. We'll basically limit ourselves to rare-ish stuff by the bigger artists and unheard or forgotten (sometimes justly) stuff from lesser-known artists. We also don't want to limit ourselves to grunge, either. However, most of the bands we want to focus on could conceivably share bills with one another.

We both lead busy lives, so we'll likely update lamestain only once a week. The songs will add will be dictated by what vinyl we're able to digitize. We also probably won't give away complete LPs that are still in print.

So, without further ado . . .

"Okay, could we get our dollar back, Bruce?"

Soundgarden: "Sub Pop Rock City" (from the Sub Pop 200 compilation)