Friday, November 28, 2008

Trash Can Rock

Here's another example of an amazing shout out for an amazing band. This young lady was rocking a "whatever's cool with me" D. Jr. tee while the officer on COPS was telling her that her boyfriend shot himself upon his capture and arrest.. "He'll be alright, they can sew people up real good at the hospital he's going to" - Officer. "I'm gonna git her back in therapy, I'm always tryin' to git her back in therapy where she belongs" - D. Jr. fan's mother. (not shown).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chinese Democracy

I remember buying Guns N’ Roses “Lies” from Sam Goody right around the time it came out. It had one of those Parental Advisories on the front of the cassette, so I had to cover it with my thumb when paying for it. When I got to the counter the clerk ripped it out of my hands and said “Fuck yeah!”.He sold it to me, I took it home, and I learned every single word start to finish.

In 1988-1990 I lived in a trailer home on my family’s lawn while my house (which had recently burned) was being rebuilt. My younger brother and I shared a small room, covered wall to wall with fake paneling and a steel bunk bed. It had an Iron Maiden “Somewhere in Time” poster on one wall and a Megadeth “Peace sells but who’s buying” poster on the adjacent wall. It was perfect trailer home décor. I remember blasting “Lies” with my younger brother singing along one night. My brother yelled “Muthafuckkka!!” and my mom ran in immediately. She took my Lies tape and told me that I was never to listen to anything like it again. A month later, I opened a shoe box in her closet and there it was. I sneaked the tape back into my room and made a little hiding place for it. I shared it with my neighbor Jay, a kid my age who had older grease monkey brothers who regularly blasted things like “Dr. Feelgood” or “Ride The Lightning”. It wasn’t long before I heard the album “Appetite for Destruction”, and knew right then that I needed to backfill my GNR cassette “collection”.

Jay and I were hanging out in our tree house one summer afternoon when we came up with a bad idea. “Let’s see what’s in those cars”. So we sneaked back into the garden center behind the tree house and started opening up cars. I found a bunch of change, a copy of Judas Priest’s “British Steel”, AND a copy of “Appetite for Destruction.” YES. I took it all home, along with a giant primitive car phone and hid them all in my 1988 Topps baseball card complete set box .

Over the next few days we rocked out to more GNR and I started playing Jay’s brother’s guitar. I tried over and over again to mimic the sound of the “Sweet Child O’ Mine” intro. No luck, just some bad notes that ultimately made me think guitar was too difficult. One day after school I came home to a very disappointed mother. “Someone at the Hillsborough police station wants to see you. What’s going on Jeffrey?” I shrugged my shoulders and said “I dunno” . She shook her head and the next thing I knew we were on our way to police headquarters.

The officer asked me questions about the cars we had broken into. “I’m recording everything you say Jeffrey so be honest” he said. Then he asked me if I believed in God.

“Umm…yeah?” I awkwardly responded thinking “wait, I believe in metal now”.

It tuned out I had dropped my pocket knife at the scene of the crime. It had my initials on it and it didn’t take long for the authorities to make the connection. I was let off the hook for being so young but they told me if I got into anymore trouble I’d score a permanent record out of the deal. The officer came to my house and I returned all the stolen goods…well, except the Appetite tape. I wasn’t allowed to hang with Jay for awhile either.

Over the next few years I grew up a bit, but not much. I got into my first Rated R movie: “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”. It during this movie that I fell in love with this brand new song by GNR called “You could be mine”. I needed this song. This song need to be MINE. So being the younger sucker consumer I was, I ended up both “Use Your Illusion” cassettes. I never favored one over the other though. Everyone I knew was either like: “Dude, UYI 1 is so much more killer than 2 – 2 has all the lame songs” and vice versa. I found something special in both of them.

My girlfriend at the time ended up dumping me at some point during the UYI era. I have a distinct memory of showering before school one morning and blasting “So Fine” off of UYI 2. I remember it being a song that spoke directly to me and my feelings at the time.

The song was so powerful that it transcended all the years between then and just a few years ago when a new girl in my life gave it an all new meaning. When I realized that it was a Duff McKagan song, he quickly became my favorite member.

“The Spaghetti Incident?” turned me off instantly simply because of the album’s name and food imagery on the album’s cover. When I finally mustered up the courage to give it a listen, I heard and understood why the public couldn’t care less about the release: They simply did not understand. There are two simple reasons why this album rocks. Number one: Duff sings on many of the tracks. Number two: Every band they cover is amazing. They really show you exactly where they came from with the songs ranging from Dead Boys “Ain’t it Fun” (actually including guest vocals by Hanoi Rocks front man Michael Monroe) to the J.Thunders great “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory” (arguably one of the saddest songs in semi-popular glam rock history). An amazing album to end the era of what I consider GNR.

Today I heard the new one: “Chinese Democracy”. First let me say that it is hard enough to consider it new or to get excited about something I’ve been hearing so much about for so long. This record seriously murders me. It feels like the time I ran into my childhood best friend after not seeing him for 15 years. I still knew it was him but his life had changed so much without me that when we finally reunited it was like we never met.

There are songs that have their parts such as “Better” shows some of Axl’s sensitive side which is tolerable and perhaps his only successful skill that has survived over the years. Am I still seeing the dreadlocks and the football jersey from the 2002 VMAs in the back of my head? Am I thinking of the stories of the ridiculous fights and trashy attitudes Axl has dished out in the last decade and a half, or am I simply coming to terms with the fact that GNR died long ago? Fact is that the new heavier songs sound like newer heavier popular bands and that makes me a bit ill. Somehow the leads and the bass sound amazing. Axl’s voice sounds sonically amazing. The effects on some of the rhythm guitars and the newer more modern tricks they use are corny, weak, and really have nothing to do with GNR. The drum effects? Shoot me. I guess that’s what comes with a band that loses everything except its front man. And the new lineup? I don’t care about a single new member with the exception of Tommy “Take your money and get the hell out of there dude” Stinson. The new record is as much of a mess as Axl’s life has been.

Every mistake Axl has made can be summed up in one decision he made awhile back when tattooed a big ugly black cross over the AFD logo he had on his forearm. It speaks for everything. It’s over. Chinese Democracy should have been called American Capitalism, because that’s pretty much all it is to me. Next time you pick a band to back you up Axl, make sure they like rock music that predates crappy 90’s rap-rock.

Monday, November 17, 2008

That's it, bye

So we went down to part one of the final Ergs show at the Asbury Lanes. My roommate Sarah was nice enough to score me a ticket awhile back so it was a smooth sailing successful adventure. The place was pretty crowded, we ran into a bunch of people we knew, and I think I had about six drinks before 2pm. The first band "The Jurks" were decent. Punky, dark surf rock with a wailing drummer/singer. I thought they would have sounded a lot better with their treble on 6 as opposed to 11 (or as it seemed). Very very loud highs that distracted me from their true, full sound.
Next up was Hunchback. I really like these guys (and gal) when they play their more serious stuff. The singer nails a Gibby Haynes from Butthole Surfers here and there, but influences are across the board. A few of their songs sound like a completely different band, which isn't necessarily bad, but again I am a fan of the darker more serious stuff. Their humorous Beavis and Butthead, and 80's SNL clips were funny but distracting and irrelevant. Their cover of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" was good but not their best cover. I'd have to say the "Statue of Liberty"
by Descendents was their ballsiest and most successful cover to date. I will miss this band but will not miss the Ghostbusters theme song. And if you were there you know EXACTLY what i speak of. Kill me.
The Ergs were solid. Played pretty much what everyone wanted to hear, demonstrated some serious energy on stage and did very well. Unfortunately for me it was another last show by a band I should have paid more attention to. It felt like my girlfriend had finally left me after years of neglect and disinterest on my part. As she waved goodbye I simply thought: "fuck".

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Music Choice?

Ok, so my roommates and I have had the dilemma of two broken household stereos. This means that the living area in our loft apartment is dead quiet unless we are watching television. I never really watch T.V. and this year was the first year I've ever paid to have cable. I just don't have time to watch it. Anyway, there are these silly music channels that we put on when we are hanging out sometimes. One of the rock channels was playing Iggy Pop's Lust For Life. When they showed the info for the song it said: "Iggy Pop Lust For Life From: Songs For Television Commercials Vol. 1". My roommate was like "WTF?! Are they talking about the Carnival Cruise line commercial?" How lazy can you possibly be, not to mention misleading and down right wrong?! They also scroll these little trivia facts that are sometimes interesting but generally boring. Goodbye To You by Scandal was on and a fact flashed on the screen: "Scandal was formed in the 1980's in NYC". A few minutes later another fact flashed on the screen: "Scandal formed in NYC in the 1980's". Wow. Great facts guys. Keep up the good work.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ian MacKaye spoke in Metuchen NJ

Ian is like a rock hero to me. Although I was never a huge fan of Minor Threat or hardcore music, I've loved almost everything this guy has been a part of (Teen Idles, Embrace, Egghunt, Pailhead, Fugazi, The Evens, and anything else he added his flavor to) and I've also love the things he's had to say over the years. On Saturday we hopped the train to Metuchen (which was all of 10 minutes and $1.75) and we filed into some church auditorium. Ian basically let the crowd run the show by allowing everyone to ask him questions. People talked about straightedge, his philosophies on how a band is run, politics, the state of music involving Youtube and ipods, etc etc. His words were all very positive and insightful.
I've met Ian about eight or nine times. Several times at Fugazi shows down in Fort Reno DC, and several times at Inner Ear studio in Alexandria, VA. Before Saturday I had seen him as recently as September 12th Grey Matter reunion show at the Black Cat in DC. Every single time I have seen, run into, or talked to Ian, he has been a real person to me. I never felt anything but honesty and integrity when encountering him. I hope one day to feel the success of living into my 40's as a real punk, rocking my black zip up hoodie and jeans.

Recent scores

The Beatles - Introducing The Beatles - 1964 Vee Jay Records

As the "most counterfeited record of all time", finding an authentic copy of Vee Jay's Introducing The Beatles has been quite a task. I've picked up a few dozen copies of potential originals, only to be disappointed when finding as little as one reference point on each record to discredited it from being a legit copy. There are currently dozens of websites that focus strictly on authenticating copies of Introducing... that I have done my best to pay attention to. In the past six years I have come across about thirty-five to forty fakes and only two genuine originals. This particular copy is an original Monophonic copy with colorband label. It passes all the authenticity points and is the second real copy in my collection. Hooray!

Found: At a record store in central New Jersey.

The Method Actors - This is it (45) - 1980 Armageddon Records

Athens, Georgia has a solid reputation for their early eighties artsy alternative rock scene (most notably Pylon, R.E.M., Love Tractor, and the new wave dance sensations The B-52's). The Method Actors were a group from that very scene who started out when a couple of creative musician-friends put their ideas together and made some impressively innovative music. This Is It starts off amazingly strong with the A-side track "The Method" and is B/W "Can't Act" and "Bleeding". The songs are faster-paced and exciting, with avant-garde effects that humbly withstood the test of time. There are quirky meandering guitar riffs that take you for a high-anxiety ride while deep, dark floor toms bellow from the background and manic vocals intertwine throughout the mix. A score for certain, and it's getting tons of plays since I dug it up. Unfortunately when I took the time to conduct research on the band's later material (This Is It is their first release), I was not as impressed as I wish i was. Their first record and first song still stand out most strongly to me.

Found: In a crate of records in my apartment that was initially thought to be 100% trashed records.

"The music of psychedelic despair." - Tip, Berlin

The Decorators - Test Pressing

A manchester post-punk group who lean more towards a "new wave" sound versus a punk sound (considering the distinctive presence of clean saxophones and bright keys), The Decorators sound like a young Richard and Tim Butler production. I had not heard of the band when picking up this test pressing, but the matrix info and the band name (written on both labels in blue pen) hinted at a sound I essentially predicted. The tracks are solid, but I generally find myself wishing the existence of the horns away.

Found: Other Music, NYC.

The Bigtime Syndrome - (in one eye and out the other) - 1987 Bigtime Records (America) Inc.

I saw the name "Bigtime" in the title of this record and knew I needed to scoop this one up. When I checked out the track listing, it was an instant sale. A slow version of Mirror People by Love and Rockets starts the compilation off followed by a remix of Redd Kross's Play My Song. That's just the beginning. The Dream Syndicate, The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy, Exploding White Mice, Love Tractor, Alex Chilton and Dumptruck were some more selling points. This record is 80% genius and 20% 80's fluff. I'm super stoked to have grabbed this up and for a mere $2.99 I think it's safe to say it was worth it.

Found: The Princeton Record Exchange, Princeton, NJ.

Droogs - stone cold world -1984 Plug N Socket Records

One of the lesser talked about participants in the L.A. Paisley rock movement of the mid eighties,Droogs sound like they could be a collaboration between members of the Three O'Clock and The Last. Super tight rock, melodic but quick to the point and pretty badass. There are flowery psychedelic, if we slowed down any more you might think Lou Reed helped us with this part parts as well as hard clean blasts that make me wish I was up front for one of their shows with a whiskey in hand. They also do a pretty fantastic live cover of "He's Waitin'" by The Sonics.

Found: My friend's mother scored this (and others) at an auction at a VFW in Neptune, NJ.

Marginal Man - Double Image - "1985" Double A Records

Super rare import/bootleg version of their second release. Marginal Man’s Double Image was original released on Enigma offshoot Gasatanka in 1985, but a German label who called themselves Double A Records decided to illegitimately repress the record some time in the mid – late 90’s. Once the band caught wind of this, they did a repress of the album on CD with updated liner notes and new artwork. My personal opinion is that they should have stuck with the original cover design of the Gasatanka version, because the artwork would turn a lot of people away from an amazing piece of D.C. mid 80’s mid-tempo melodic punk. What a phenomenal album.

Found: Double Decker Records Allentown, PA.

Close Lobsters - Foxheads Stalk This Land - 1986/87 Enigma/Fire

A friend of mine recently found some music by these guys, so when Close Lobsters appeared in ROCK C at a record store I visited this past weekend, the album nearly jumped into my hands. I went into listening to them with a bit of a biased opinion, but after hearing the praise my friend gave them, I really wanted to sit back and hear them for myself. When I threw the record on, my first thought was as follows: "These guys would have played THEE perfect set with a band like The Jesus and Mary Chain". A bit to my surprise, I found out later that they had in fact supported The Jesus and Mary Chain on a 1986 tour. Not bad dude. Something about their clean distinct sound would have given fans the perfect, breathable set before experiencing TJAMC. Close Lobsters are Scottish indie pop that sound like The Stone Roses if they laid off the chorus and distortion and had Steve Kilbey of The Church do some (more) masterfully melodic vocals for them. Poppy and hooky, It's quite great stuff. "Feel-good contemplating feeling bad".

Generation Records, NYC.

Lone Ranger - Dee Jay Daddy - 1984 Techniques

Pretty interesting early 80’s reggae dub mixed by Sogie and Maxie in the ever so famous Channel 1 Studios. Sounds like early hip hop vocals over some classic hooky reggae jams. Very energetic feel-good stuff. This record was pressed and distro’d in Kingston, Jamaica.

Found: At a record store in central New Jersey.

Moving Targets - Burning in Water - 1986 Taang

Mid 80’s post hardcore at it’s finest. A melodic Boston punk sound for fans of Mission of Burma, Hüsker Dü, and Gray Matter. From the label who brought us Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Lemonheads. Moving Target’s debut album is very ahead of its time, and a very solid listen.

Found: At a record store in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Past Videos of the Week

23 Skidoo

Kundalini [1982]

Early Industrial/Funk/Tribal freakout. Think Cabaret Voltaire meets A Certain Ratio.

Einsturzende Neubaten

Autobahn [1980]

This has got to be the most industrial thing I've ever seen... Also, Gustav's favorite band.

Simple Minds

30 Frames a Second (Live 1997)

Total hypnotic rocker from Simple Minds' much underrated 1980 album Empires And Dance.

Cabaret Voltaire

No Escape (1979)

The Cabs' creeptastic reimagining of the Seeds' classic.


Tanzmusik (1973)

Kraftwerk back in their cosmic days. Note the handmade electronic drums.


Spoon Live (1972)

Straight Kraut Freakin' - Now With Jugglers!

Brian Eno and Nitin Sawhney


Come freak out with the Godfather.

A Certain Ratio

Shack Up

Funky post-punk on Factory Records. If Ian Curtis knew how to dance.

Xhol Caravan

All Green

Little-known Krautrock originators. If you watch this you'll probably break through.

Black Dice

Smiling Off

Intense neo-psych video from rhythmic noise wunderkinds Black Dice. Hit the bong.

Roxy Music

Virginia Plain

Come for the star shaped sunglasses, stay for Eno's knob twiddling goodness.

Popol Vu
Improvisation 1971

Moog Modular + Bongos = the perfect recipe to reach the cosmic infinity.

The Cure
Live on Chorus TV 1979

Includes a rare early version of "A Forest," when it was still known as "At Night," which had completely different lyrics.

Making Plans for Nigel

Quintessential XTC single. You gotta love that break at 3:36: Steee-eee-ooooo! Steee-eee-ooooo!

Throbbing Gristle

Real Industrial, yo.

Nude (live 04-02-98)

Original live version from a decade ago, before they butchered it for their latest album In Rainbows. One of the best Radiohead songs ever! Total psych style.

Pink Floyd
Corrosion In The Pink Room

Rare, unreleased Floyd cut from their prime period. Nick Mason plays the inside of a piano, wigged out binson echorec style on the voices... crazy man!