Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Coctails Here Now Today Hi-Ball 1991

 The Coctails Here Now Today Hi-Ball 1991 Cat # RLP 12-312

The second self released Coctails LP isn't as fun as the first.  The back cover in all it's cheesy late 50's goodness reads that this is the Chicago Coctails, dudes from KC, MO now in Chicago.  Reviews and history present this LP as material recorded while the band was still students at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Listening to it, it's pretty obvious it's from the same era as the first LP if not the same sessions.  The back liner indicate the same in that they used the same 2 track recorder.  But yeah, this is the Chicago Coctails.  The guys that are on the verge of inventing Lounge-core.  To mention again, the Hi-Ball stuff
isn't the same as the later day uber-hip Coctails, it's a low key jazz affair.

What I think these tracks represent are the Kansas City stuff not originally intended for release.  I'm assuming once in Chicago and playing shows, demand for LPS grew.  They likely threw this LP together with stuff already recorded just to have something new at shows to sell.  Lots of ideas rather than fleshed out tunes.  A couple tunes under 2 minutes.  A lot of developed structures that you can tell are missing the lyrics due to the vocal qualities of the arrangements.

It's still a fun LP.  And, far more rooted in jazz than the previous effort.  Just has a rushed, unfinished feel throughout.

Shiner Sleep It Off b/w Empty Sub Pop 1997

Shiner Sleep It Off b/w Empty Sub Pop 1997 Cat # SP403

Shiner wrote complex post hardcore tunes that feature start stop dynamics, time signature changes, and they were notorious for skipping something pop oriented like a bridge and would often opt to take a song in a whole other direction.  On a local level, similar to what Boys Life and Giants Chair were doing.  On a national level, similar to Quicksand, Failure and bands of that ilk.  Great part about Shiner, is they did play a fairly large national audience in terms of inde-rock.

Splay, their debut album caught people's attention.  I know I loved it back in the day and currently, it's #1 on my vinyl want list.  The band could do the slow math rock thing then jump into full on rock mode at the snap of a finger.  So, listening to their Sub Pop 7" I've always wondered why they didn't lay down a scorcher.  Sleep it Off is great, it moves well but it doesn't have whole lot of energy.  Empty has even less energy and borders on boring.  I mean, here they are, putting out a record on Sub Pop in 1997.  Sub Pop was at their most popular and kids were paying attention.  If they wanted to leap over into the big time, this was it, lay down a hit, y'know?  Don't give me Side 1 song 3, give the opener, get people's attention.

Friday, August 23, 2013

BE/NON A Mountain of Yeses Unipegadong Records 2009

BE/NON A Mountain of Yeses Unipegadong Records CAT #DONG-0001 2009

I don't have any hipster douchebag stories about this band, despite that the BE/NON moniker was kicking it in the KC scene back when I was a hipster douchbag.  It's not really a band, it's the brainchild of Kansas Citian Brodie Rush.  Since 1996 Brodie Rush has been releasing under this name with a host of musicians and friends appearing on the recordings.

I remember the band vaguely in their early days and thinking they sure tried awful hard to have edge.  The sound they were shooting for in the beginning was a bit out of range.  However, after picking this LP up awhile back, Brodie has definitely found out what works for him.

A Mountian of Yeses carries some heady tunes.  A bit early 70's prog clashed in with 80's post punk and synth pop.  It's ambitious and a challenging listen.  Everytime I listen to it, I honestly can't help but thinking that Muse should sound more like this.  I fucking hate Muse and I think it's because they take the prog/art rock form and experimentation and try to dumb it down for soccer moms, all while singing about total nonsense like "Blackholes and Revalations."  BE/NON seem to understand that they don't have to dumb down their shtick for other to enjoy it.  In fact, what's appealing about the LP is that you sense that Brodie Rush made this for himself.  He had it in his mind and got it out there, there was never a concern of impressing others or making fans, he just had some tunes in his head that he needed to get out there.  Also, TRUST ME, the whole Muse thing is just what I think when I listen to this LP.  BE/NON has nothing to do with that shit band.

Live Tune from the Album Release Party 

The Mortal Micronotz S/T Fresh Sounds, Inc 1982

In about 3rd Grade, my mother gave me a book for the holidays entitled Stairway to Hell the 500 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums in the Universe by Chuck Eddy.  At the time, I was into ear splitting metal bands, Megadeath, Anthrax, that type of thing.  Chuck Eddy's book was not, so it was shelved.  However, occasionally I would thumb through the book.  As I got older, I started reading the reviews and started to understand that Chuck Eddy wasn't talking about "metal" at all, just ear splitting rock n' roll.  Throughout junior high and high school I was looking through the book for something new about once a month.  There's tons of obscure titles within his work.  The best of which is the Lawrence, KS punksters, Mortal Micronotz, who get the honor of #421 in his book.

The Mortal Micronotz S/T Fresh Sounds, Inc CAT# FS 201 1982

Well, this means a lot more to me than it does Eddy, for one, I’m from Kansas.  Two, I went to college in this band’s hometown.  Lawrence, KS, home of the Jayhawks and the best small music town in the nation.   Three, they hung out with William Burroughs, he even wrote some lyrics for this LP.  I went to William Burroughs house when I was in high school, and found out the same thing the Micronotz did, Mr. Burroughs liked high school age boys, which is creepy, but you throw that all way because he wrote Naked Lunch and Junkie.

Keeping on the same tip, one issue I do have with Eddy’s review is refers to the band as from the ‘burbs.  Well, that’s not true at all.  Lawrence is a college town.  Living in Lawrence for as long as I did, I always envied the high school kids in Lawrence, because I did grow up in the ‘burbs.  College townies have access to art (in this case the home of William Burroughs), a local music scene, cool record stores, and beer.  I think Chuck Eddy mistakes suburban boredom for kids begging for more.  Bored is when you grow up in Olathe, Kansas and go to the 711 every Friday night until the cops send you down the road.  Wanting more, would be having liberal college professors for parents and access to punk rock.  The best punk rock has anger, spite, angst, and is from an area where "the man" is out to get you.  Judging by lyrical content, the Micronotz lived a pretty normal life and "the man" was never out to get them, even if they tried.  However, we must also take into account when the band cut this record, they were still in high school.  And seriously, we’re all little embarrassed looking back at our world outlook when we were in high school, right?

As far as the punk rock moves, the Micronotz have them.  They must have had the coolest fucking record collection of any high school kid, ever.  This ain't your Washington, DC, angry at the government (because my parents work for it) white kid hardcore.   It’s got moves.  It owes a little to the Brits, the dance rockers like Stranglers, The Fall and Gang of Four, but overall, it’s got a nice early American punk feel.  Too dirty and loud to sound like the Talking Heads, more on par with trashy New York Dolls rhythms and some Ramones repetition thrown in.  They've got a lot of pop to them and you just sensed if they were to ever cross the nation as a band, they would've had the hooks to sound like the Replacements.  Best comparison, and almost an identical situation, would be Squirrel Bait.

You Don't Say

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Singers Traveling Light Pearce Records Year Not Listed Cat #42270

So, my dad got this.  Admittedly, had I seen three girls on motorcycles on what appears to be a private press LP I would've have looked at it, too.  But, I would have quickly discarded it due to the religious subject matter.

My dad, though, he saw Kansas City plastered all over it and thought I had to have this.  Thanks Dad, but this is fucking awful.  First, they aren't just Christian, they're Jews for Jesus.  Being Jewish, that whole scene is just offensive.  Seriously, you're Christian and we all think it's cool you're finding a way to incorporate Jewish practices into your Christianity, that part we get.  However, kindling Shabbat candles and spitting out some Hebrew doesn't make you Jewish.  Whatever, motorcycle ladies, do your thing, though.

Admittedly, there is a record collecting scene centered around private press religious recordings.  I'm not sure what triggers collectors to search out certain albums, I assume it's a lot of word of mouth.  There are moments on this LP that aren't half bad.  Killer moog breaks on "I've Got Confidence," "Bright Sunshiney Day" done up as a Jesus cover isn't half bad, there's some unexpected fuzz guitar, and the last song "God's Might Spirit" is all out country rock jam, but outside of that, it is what you'd expect from private press, creepy white people, Gospel music--I don't think this album is going to hit anytime soon at astronomical price points.

Also of note and to the excitement of my father, Jim Wheeler recorded the LP at the Cavern in Independence, MO.  Jim Wheeler did some cool stuff after moving away from Kansas City with the likes of James Brown and John Hartford in Denver as sound engineer.  He had a solid career in the biz and it started in KC with albums like this.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Rainmakers S/T Polygram 1986

The Rainmakers S/T Polygram 1986 CAT# 0704

1980's production sucks.  Disco may have died, but the uber-slick production never went away.  In the 80's the slick production style dominated, wet drums, vocal effects, synthesized horns, and guitars that sometimes don't sound real.

This album suffers from that, a lot.  It's unfortunate, the songs, the lyrics, it's all there.  You sense the roots rock and you can tell what the Rainmakers sounded like live, but that part of the band gets lost in the production.

When starting this project, I was excited to explore this band further.  They are an 80's KCMO band that just recently released a new album.  Their lyrics were featured in Stephen King novels, they had moderate chart success in the states, they were featured in Rolling Stone Magazine and always well reviewed.  They were also absurdly big in Scandinavian countries, having the equivalent of gold records in Norway.

Having never heard the band, I was excited to find this at a good price ($5.99 at Half Price Books).  All the reviews talk about the roots rock appeal of the band and Bob Walkenhorst's literate lyrics.  The lyrical aspect of the band isn't lost in the production, even a dumb title like "Big Fat Blonde" drops J.D. Salinger into the mix.  However, I cannot stress how much the production lessens this LP's appeal.  You can tell the twang, jangle, and boogie rhythms were originally intended.  But, in the 1980's it was apparently only going to make it on the radio if you made things sound plastic.  The guitars don't rumble, they pierce.  The drums don't bang, they splash.  Good luck picking up on the bass, it's there, but as vanilla as possible.

Let My People Go-Go
Steve, Bob & Rich Pre-Rainmakers Live in 83 Big Fat Blonde

Monday, August 12, 2013

Kill Creek Colors of Home Second Nature 2001

Kill Creek Colors of Home Second Nature 2001 CAT# SN026

I love Kill Creek, probably more so than any other local band.  I was in high school when they started releasing on the Mammoth label and in terms of local bands, these guys were the top dog.  This was the 90's local band that was "going to make it."

The 'Stretch' EP was a solid outing, a bit grunge-a-fied, but a solid 5 song set.  'St. Valentine's Garage' was a perfect high school album.  It was angry at times, sappy at times, and had hooks.  Second, local producer extraordinaire Ed Rose and Kill Creek singer Scott Born wrote possibly the best liner notes in the history of rock n' roll on that album.  Then, my junior year, they put out 'Proving Winter Cruel.'  At that time, it was a total buzz kill.  Why did this band get so damn sad about things?  That CD sat on the shelf for some time.  I still played the crap out of Stretch and St. Valentine's and put the band on mix tapes galore (if you want to impress a girl, hit her up with 'Million' off St. Valentine's, total panty dropper).

Later, say two years, I got to college and things got complicated.  Work, school, and relationships became tough to balance.  I was at JCCC, a lot of friends and my girlfriend were at KU.  Queue 'Proving Winter Cruel' for long drives back and forth.  Holy shit!  Why hadn't I paid more attention to this album?  It was incredible.

At this time, Kill Creek wasn't doing much.  I believe Mammoth had dropped them shortly after 'Proving'.  I began sending the band emails through their website.  I began listening on-line to stuff they put up for the 'Whimsy' album that never came out.  Scott Born started emailing me back, so did other members of the band.  Emails were exchanged which made 'Proving Winter Cruel' that much better for me.

I started championing the band; really spreading the word on 'Proving Winter Cruel' to friends and people in bands.  Surprisingly, so were a lot of other people in the local scene.  It was like we all spontaneously re-discovered this band's greatness.

And that is one of the great things about local music.  On the 'St. Valentine's Garage' tour, Kill Creek played an all ages show at Gee Coffee in Shawnee, KS.  There was well over 300 kids there, kids under the age of 18 like myself.  Well, they didn't all leave the music scene.  Many of those kids formed their own bands, wrote for zines, worked for KJHK, and even started labels.  None of us forgot about Kill Creek and like I said, it's like we all revisited 'Proving Winter Cruel' at an age when it spoke to us.

So, despite being out of it for nearly 5 years, Kill Creek was sucked right back in.  They started playing shows and we all went again.  This time as young adults (well, adult may be a stretch).  Dan Askew, who started up Second Nature was one of those people.  Second Nature had been putting out local hardcore and metal, but, I think the guy who really got Dan interested in the band was Nathan Ellis of Coalesce and Casket Lottery.  I have no proof for that other than Nathan is a featured player on this LP and featured in bands on Dan's label.  Dan got the rights to the catalog and somehow released a compilation entitled 'The Will to Strike', which is a virtual anthology of the band.  He also released this album.

I was honestly scared to listen to the LP when it came out.  Here is a band 5 years out of the loop trying to give it another go.  The idea has train wreck written all over it.  Surprisingly, it's solid effort.  The train-wreck part happened because like other Kansas bands, no one outside Kansas was paying attention.  And, for Kill Creek if they weren't paying attention before, they sure as hell weren't in 2001.

The reviews that surrounded the LP in the indie-circles weren't too favorable either.  Most of them group the band in with the likes of the Get Up Kids and Anniversary calling them a Midwest emo band.  Which is absurd, the band was contemporaries to early Midwest KC bands like Shiner and Giants Chair, but sounded nothing like them.  Outside of the obvious influence the band imparted on bands like the Get Up Kids and the Anniversary, they don't have much to do with that scene.  Kill Creek is far more routed in 80's punk-ish power pop.  If there's an angular "emo" sound, it comes from 80's groups like Mission of Burma and Big Dipper, not Sunny Day Real Estate.

The other comforting part of this LP for me was the familiarity I had with the songs.  A lot of these songs came from the never finished 'Whimsy' project.  It also features a local rock all star cast, the previously mentioned Nathan Ellis, Twani Freeland, the members of the band obviously, and Ed Rose at the helm producing.  The song "Gett Up" is among the best things the band ever did and sets the tone for a great album.  The band actually found a groove in their old age.  Not just heartbroken pop tunes that you scream or cry to, now you could also dance.  It's a blends the crunchy guitars and hooks of 'St. Valentine's' with the roots rock of 'Proving Winter Cruel'.  Shame it came out about 6 years too late, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't mattered, the band was cursed.

Gett Up
Grandfather's Left Side

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Appleseed Cast Tale of the Aftermath B/W Skattar Ik Ignito Tan Bur Records 1998

Appleseed Cast Tale Of The Aftermath B/W Skattar Ik Ignito Tan Bur Records 1998 CAT# 1

Here's another tale from an old Kansas Hipster, sorry in advance.

I had briefly mentioned how Jakob Cardwell from Reflector introduced me to these guys.  I met Jake at community college, we shared friends and interests in music, he was in a band, we hung out.  He kept telling me, "My friends from Appleseed Cast are moving here [to Lawrence], you got to meet them, you'll love their album, it sounds like Mineral."

At that time, the "emo" scene was a mish mosh of indie bands trying to sound like Sunny Day Real Estate.  It wasn't a fashion, or something you called someone.  It was a genuine "underground" scene in it's infancy.  Mineral were the darlings along with Texas is the Reason, The Promise Ring and the Get Up Kids.  Appleseed Cast was still a bit of an unknown, I don't think the first album had even came out when they initially moved to Kansas.  My understanding was they wanted to be more "central".  They planned to tour a lot (they did) and calling Kansas their home base put them in the middle of the map.  Not to mention, Lawrence, KS, is a great spot to locate a band.  At the time, you could literally record an album, grab a bite to eat, and go play a show all on the same city street.  Further, the Appleseed Cast guys were chummy with other area bands from their Christian rock days (weird, I know).  It made sense them for them to call Kansas home and to this day, they still do.

Moving on, the day came, Appleseed Cast moved to Kansas.  I remember Jake being really excited.  They had a show shortly after arrival at Gee Coffee in Olathe, KS.  Further proof they were still a bit of an unknown, couldn't even book a gig in Lawrence or Kansas City.  We went, they did their thing and I remember thinking, "Jeez, these guys are just ripping off Mineral."  After the show, virtually everybody there made the 30 minute drive back to Lawrence, KS to hang out at Jake's house with Appleseed Cast.  I met the guys, probably got drunk or something and Jake showed his penis to everyone (it's just something he did, I don't know why).  While at Jake's house, Jake forced Aaron Pillar to give a copy of The End of Ring Wars CD for me to review.  At the time, I was writing reviews on .emo and post-hardcore for an eZine called Signal Drench.  Aaron supplied the copy and I took it home to soak in.

Also important to this story is the label Appleseed Cast was on; Deep Elm.  Again, the .emo scene was young and this was late 90's.  This scene had virtually developed itself online.  There were many eZines, in fact Pitchfork, cut it's teeth trashing emo albums of this era.  It was also a labels scene, Crank!, Caulfield, and Jade Tree were the favorites.  Labels like Doghouse and few others had their hitmakers too, but the scene was centered around those three.  They all had webboards with a host of personalities talking about what emo bands they hated, which ones they liked, reasons the Get Up Kids and Promise Ring sucked, it was a lot of fun.  A HUGE topic of conversation was Deep Elm.  There were loyal Deep Elm enthusiasts for sure, but the kids on the Crank!, Jade Tree, and Caulfield web boards hated that label.  Namely, it was due to label founder, John Szuch, putting out a series called the "Emo Diaries" (comps were big and an easy way to get into new bands).  People lambasted Szuch all day for "selling out" the scene.  Some of the bands, Samiam and Hot Water Music come to mind, even bashed the label after being involved with the comp series.

One day, feeling arrogant and stupid, I jumped in on one of these Deep Elm bashing threads.  My post wasn't bad at all, something to the effect of, 'I don't like the Emo Diaries, if you want to know why email me and I'll tell you.'  I was trying to be nice, didn't think anyone would email me and I didn't think the webboard was the place to shit all over the label.  Funny thing, I got a response almost immediately from the label founder, John Szuch, requesting I tell him why I don't like the series.  I have no idea why he responded, I really don't think it had anything to do with my Signal Drench cred and I think my profile on the Crank! webboard was fairly low profile compared to others, but here's the label founder emailing me and asking why I hate his label.  So, I was honest.  At the time, I was on the "sell out" kick and explained that it exploited the scene.  His label wasn't like Crank! pushing good music, his was just trying to make money out of a buzz word.  Shit, he blew up.  There was a thread of several emails of us typing in all caps and saying mean spirited things.  Looking back, I'm not sure why he just didn't play the high road, say something like, "Why don't I send the comps to you for review, maybe you'll understand it better."  That would seem reasonable, but no, we hated each other after that exchange.

So, back to Appleseed Cast.  When Aaron gave me the End Of Ring Wars CD, I had made them aware of the exchange I had with John Szuch.  Aaron of course stood up for him and rightfully so, John Szuch is a nice guy, he's just really passionate.  The one thing Aaron said to me about the reviewing the CD is that I be honest.  So, I was.

After the show and after Jake's house party, I put it in on the way home back home.  Oddly, I lived in Olathe at the time, so I had a good drive with it.  I spent a week with the disc, listening to it over and over.  I kept hearing Mineral in it.  Not Sunny Day Real Estate, but Mineral.  You see the lame-ness, there.  Mineral ripped off Sunny Day, we all knew that, but we couldn't buy anymore Sunny Day albums because the band broke up.  Mineral was the next best thing, they got a pass.  However, Appleseed Cast was ripping off a band who was ripping off a band.  Appleseed Cast, would have been much better served to rip off Sunny Day's LP2 (the pink one) since Mineral already stole from Diary.  I probably would have gave them the pass if they had.  Instead, I wrote about what it was, the first Mineral rip off (oh fuck, don't worry, there were plenty more to come).  I did say I like the song Marigold & Patchwork (I do), but the rest of the album just kind of kicked around and didn't add anything to the scene that hadn't already been done.

About a week after the review hit the internet, I was back at Jake's house and Aaron was there.  He wanted to talk about the review.  It was a bit awkward at first, no sorry, it was real fucking awkward at first.  The sudden realization that I just bashed all this guy's hard work was right there in my gut.  I was nervous, my palms were sweating, I felt awful.  I'm not a mean person, I like to find good things about people and music.  It's far too easy to say what sucks about an album--there's never anything "new" about it--it always borrows from someone else.  I never wanted to develop into a Lester Bangs character when writing about music.  But, I had.  Right in front of me was the proof.  Second, after the review was submitted, I had to deal with John Szuch again.  Another online screaming match ensued between the two of us.  Not surprisingly, it also ended on bad terms.  I said the album rips off Mineral.  He said Mineral rips off Sunny Day.  I agreed but said Mineral is cool for picking up the torch.  Appleseed Cast are hacks, they just stole the sound.  He didn't like that, but, to both our benefit, I think we both decided to take a high road and leave it at we didn't like other.

So yeah, I'm sitting next Aaron on wood bench on the front porch of rental home in the student ghetto of Lawrence, KS.  He looks at me and says, "I read the review."  I replied, "Yeah, sorry about that, look I already had to deal with John, man."  I was desperately trying to avoid confrontation.  "No man," Aaron says, "You're right, I talked to Chris [the singer], and you're right, man.  That's what we did."  A long conversation ensued.  I was telling Aaron it was good album to rip off and I love Mineral.  Aaron was explaining the impact that album had on his band.  So much so, they even took it with them to the recording studio and told the producer that it was the sound they were after.

After the conversation, Aaron gave me this 7" and said I might like it better.  I should review it, too.  John wouldn't mind because it's not on his label.  (Obviously, John told Aaron about the email conversations and that Deep Elm would not be supplying albums for Signal Drench to review).  I stood by my review and told Aaron again, to the albums benefit Marigold & Patchwork is a hit.

This 7" showcases the band in the early emo days.  I'm not sure why, but it was put out by some guy in Sweden.  I did give this a better review.  But, honestly, it is the same feel as End Of Ring Wars.  Strained vocals over the top of the of everything, almost crying.  Sudden screams leading into start stop dynamics.  Honestly, now a days, I don't care who it rips off, I just miss this sound.  I love it and really wish I had a copy of End of Ring Wars on vinyl.

*Also, as an afterthought, many months after all this, John Szuch came to Lawrence, KS to support the band.  We hung out, didn't fight or anything.  Like I said, it's clear to me that he's just a passionate guy and had really invested EVERYTHING he had into his label.  We never became friends, but I'm pretty sure we walked away not hating each other.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Blue Things Listen & See RCA Victor 1966

The Blue Things Listen & See RCA Victor 1966 Reissue Orignail CAT # LSP-3603 (Stereo) LMP-3603 (Mono)

Here's another Kansas band that is one of best band s in a generation no one ever heard.  Hays, Kansas' own The Blue Things.

Led by Val Stöecklein this group of Kansans was in the vein of the Byrds.  Great original tunes, clever and well picked covers, the band could have easily been a national act.  Unfortunately, the bands fan base only went as far as Texas.

The whole thing is puzzling, the group's sound is very accessible.  It's folk-rock but very in line with the British Invasion sounds of the Beatles and the Searchers.  They dipped their toes into pyschedelic sounds.  And, their folk-rock feels natural, not forced like other bands doing the same thing.

The album is lost classic.  You hear their version of Dylan's of "Girl From North Country" and have to think, this version should have been a huge hit.  You hear the original tune, "Doll House," with chiming 12 string and clever lyrics and wonder why teenage girls weren't screaming for these guys.  Their Dale Hawkins cover, "La Do Da Da" and Jimmy Reed cover "Ain't That Lovin' (You Baby)" are solid ravers.  And while there is some expected 60's type filler, the album's consistency is superior to what most bands releasing on full length LPS during this time.

The band would split when Val left to pursue solo work.  It's unfortunate, as the LP is so promising as are the singles that were released around the same time.  Really great Kansas band, folk rock with a Midwest appeal and sensibility, no radicalism attached, just good music.

Doll House
Ain't That Lovin' (You Baby)
Girl From North Country

Burt Bacharach & Friends A&M

Burt Bacharach & Friends A&M Cat #SP1907 No Year Listed

Dude was born in Kansas City, MO and writes the songs the world sings.  Pretty big score for KCMO.  Too bad he moved to New York City at a young age.  And in all honesty, it just seems right when you listen to the tunes.  The whole Tin Pan Alley thing, guy should be a New Yorker like the rest of them.

This LP was something I picked up for free.  All his jazz influence, breezy, pop hits.  Further, it showcases the hitmakers this guy was writing for, plus a nod to his true love of Jazz music with the Wes Montgomery selection.  It's hard to hate some of these songs.  They're so absurdly non-confrontational you just kind of want to sit still in a elevator and wait for the doors to open.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Vexed Suburban Scum Nuke the Midwest Split 7" Anarchy's For Squares 2004

The Vexed Suburban Scum Nuke the Midwest Split 7" 33RPM Anarchy's for Squares 2004 No CAT#

Well, I picked this up a while back for a quarter because it looked new-ish and the stuff it was next to was easy to sell on eBay.  While researching prior to selling, I found out the VeXed is from KC.  So, figured I'd hold onto it.

Upon listening it, first thought was, "They still make music like this?"  Second thought was, "They make music like this in KC?"  It's what I would term hardcore, in the vein of Minor Threat.  It's a little more abrasive and metallic than 80's hardcore.  I'm also going out on a limb and assuming the X in the band's name is larger to accentuate the straight edge lifestyle.

I'm not sure I'm at an age that can get into new bands that sound like this.  As a fourteen year old, I'd would have thought this was hot shit.  But, I'm too old now.  I get it, it's angry teenager stuff, pissed at the system.  I used to be that way until I sold out to the man.  The one thing that drives me insane is that I can't figure out what the singer is even talking about.  I know every word to the 'Banned in DC' and I can't make out  what this guy is screaming about.

Better yet, there's a song by the VeXed titled "Lawrence Will Burn."  Really?  A college town pisses you off that much?  Is it a racist reference to the Free State/Bleeding Kansas?  Certainly, it can't be a nod to Quantrill's raid from Columbia?  I mean that's about slavery, it can't be a nod to burning a town down because they didn't own slaves?  I wish I knew what Lawrence, KS did to these kids, but fuck, I can't make out the lyrics.

The flipside is Surbuban Scum, they are from Iowa, so I won't talk about them much.  There is a song entitled, "Kill Yourself," which I am pretty sure is about people who look like me.  It doesn't offend me, I'm square, and Marilyn Manson already told me more or less the same thing.

The Coctails Hip Hip Hooray Hi Ball Records 1990

 The Coctails Hip Hip Hooray Hi Ball Records 1990 CAT# LPC-8255

First, I stole this from Vinyl Renaissance.  $9 is all they wanted, I did initially say they should sell it for more, but yeah, I wasn't about to make them charge me $25 to $50 for it.  Furthermore, it's not like I haven't traded in some absurdly good stuff to that store.  A Niki Aukema album they are selling for $50, the first Police 7" they DID sell for $75, and some other rarities that weren't getting the bids on eBay.  It all comes back in the end, so I hope me and store keep a solid relationship of mutual ripping each other off.

I previously brought up this band when discussing the amazing Bangtails LP as it features Archer Prewitt who went onto form this band.  The Coctails initially started in Kansas City as students of the Kansas City Art Institute.  They weren't able to gig much around KC, but the story goes they did do the first two albums here in KC in a home studio.  They would later pack up and go to Chicago.  Which is better suited for this type of thing in all honesty.  They were able to cast a bigger net in that city and in the end, helped shape the 90's Chicago indie-rock scene.

You can read the back liners, it's a nod to old jazz LPS.  However, it's not entirely correct.  For one, at this time the Coctails were indie-pop with Jazz tendencies.  You aren't going to hear echos of Charlie Parker, but you do get a strong sniff of vocal jazz and the structures of Kansas City Jazz.  Later, they would develop what they termed "lounge core" and that's were the whole Thrill Jockey, Sea & Cake, Tortoise scene come into play.  Well, Tortoise is bit of their own thing and started around the same time.  But the Sea & Cake reference is easy as Archer Prewitt would play in that band with another Kansas City Art Institute alum, Sam Prekop.

The Coctails GO BIG TIME

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Get Up Kids Shorty B/W Breathing Method Huey Proudhon 1996

The Get Up Kids Shorty B/W Breathing Method Huey Proudhon 1996 CAT #HP016

True story: Ryan Pope, the known drummer of this band, offered this to me 1st Period in our Student Naturalist class.  He said to me, "Hey, you need this."
I looked at it and said, "Ryan, why don't you just give it to me?"
"I'm not on it, [he isn't] and we need money for the tour, otherwise I would."
"Ryan, did you bring a bunch of records to school?"  I replied.
"Yeah," as he showed me a backpack full of the 7"s.  "Dude, I'm like the one here that owns a record player, who the hell is going to buy these off of you?"  "Friends," he replied.
Fuck.  He had me there.  I had $5 in my pocket and it was for lunch, but there was my friend, trying to get money for an upcoming tour.  What the hell was I supposed to do?  "How much?"  I replied grudgingly.
"Three dollars."
"I have a five, do you have change?"
"No, not yet, but I'll sell some more and get you your change."

I never got my change.  But, I'm glad I purchased the record.  At the time I bought it, the first Get Up Kids E.P. Woodson had already been released.  I wasn't too excited to own this at the time, Ryan wasn't on it, it wasn't like I was too deep into vinyl.  But, now I kind of wish I bought a couple of them.

Interesting tid-bits about this single...As stated, it doesn't feature Ryan Pope the longtime and current drummer of the band.  It features Nathan (I forgot his last name) who was studying at the Kansas City Art Institute with Robby Pope and Jimmy Suptic.  I don't think he ever got canned in favor of Ryan or anything.  I think he just wanted to pursue art instead of music.

Also, the band recorded this in Lincoln, NE by the Mogis brothers who are now legendary for the whole Omaha scene and recording Cursive and Bright Eyes among a ton of other stuff.

It was also a self issued, private press release.  The Get Up Kids footed the bill on all expenses and promotion of it.  Played shows on it, paid for it, folded all the sleeves, sent it to Zines for review, the whole nine.  Funny, because at the time, they would do interviews and try to talk up Huey Proudhon as an actual label that signed them.  I mean, they even went as far as to catalog it as HP016, as in the sixteenth release by Huey Proudhon records.  Funny, because people have always thought DIY was cool.  Nobody hates Fugazi for being DIY.  I didn't get why in those early days they weren't proud of it.

Kansas Leftoverture Kirshner 1976

Kansas Leftoverture Kirshner 1976 CAT #34224

I don't really want to buy a bunch of Kansas (band) records for the sake of this blog that no one reads.  So, I suppose it's a good thing I got this one free from my old man.  If there's a Kansas album you have to own, I assume this is the one, right?  It's got the hit, "Carry On Wayward Son," made famous by the 1970's, AOR Radio, and later the video game Guitar Hero and the cartoon Southpark.

There are some things I love about the band Kansas.

1.  They are legitimately Kansas dudes, form Topeka.

2.  The song, "Carry On My Wayward Son" is pretty f'n good.

3.  They are about a 100 times better than the band called Missouri.

4.  They are virtually the only American Prog Band worth a shit.  Boston, maybe?  They had prog tendencies, right?  Journey sucks and can hardly be considered anything but overproduced.  Who else is there?  The great prog bands were British with the exception of Rush who is Canadian.  I'm sure there is some sort of hyper-obscure American prog-outfit out there.  However, in terms of going toe to toe with the Brits, these guys from Topeka are America's answer.

5.  Continuing on the prog-theme, Kansas made their version American.  Nothing about Kansas' music sounds plastic or over thought.  The songs have a groove--prog-rock you can dance to and girls actually like.  I love that this band had the balls to do it.  That's being a Jayhawker, man.  It's not always about what's par for the course, sometimes it's about finding your own thing, and Kansas certainly did that.

What I don't like about Kansas; it's that they are a prog-rock band.  I mean, I have a guilty pleasure in Rush, The band Yes is good.  And, you might catch me raising my fist to an Emerson, Lake & Palmer song.  But yeah, I wouldn't consider myself a fan.  However, what becomes apparent after listening to Kansas is that they are nowhere near the talent level those other bands are.  Thus the reason they probably throw in a bunch of boogie rock, it's to hide their inadequacy as a prog-band.  Again, cool they had the balls to do it.  They took beatings in the world of rock journalism because of it, but still made out like bandits.

Randy Marsh does Kansas