A couple weeks ago, when The Patient Mrs. was in Athens, Greece, on one of her I’m-brilliant-so-I-get-to-do-awesome-things field trips, she mentioned over Skype that she has passed by a record store. If there’s one thing I like, it’s record shopping on foreign soil, even vicariously, so I got the name from her — Sound Effect Records – and proceeded to look them up. The second I saw that owner Yiannis Andriopoulos had the nickname “Kaleidosmoker” I knew she had stumbled onto the right place.
Turns out Andriopoulos was a former ‘zine head with a long history in Greece’s heavy rock scene. Sound Effect also runs a label out of the store and has distributed cool stuff from Montibus Communitas and others, so I immersed myself in the thousands of selections on the Discogs page and started putting together a wishlist. I kept it to CDs — traveling with vinyl yourself is bad enough, let alone asking your wife to do it — and passed it on to her, with links, and told her when she went to the shop to ask for Yiannis, figuring that he’d be able to help her out with the stuff if she couldn’t find it.
Had to get a few Greek acts in there, and Planet of Zeus were on my mind for having recently checked out their Vigilantealbum (review here), so their first album, 2008’s Eleven the Hard Way, made the cut, as did Brotherhood of Sleep‘s 2009 self-titled debut. Both bands are native to Athens, and since I already had a copy of the new 1000mods, I was glad to dip back to some older, less available releases. There was also a ready stock of Nasoni Records stuff — not the first Weltramstaunen, unfortunately — but I asked her to grab Baby Woodrose‘s Dropout!collection of covers and a reissue of The Rising Sun‘s 1969 LP, Born to be Wild, as well as the 2CD Entering into the Space Country/Phaze Your Fearscollection from Øresund Space Collective.
When she got home this weekend, she surprised me by bringing not only those, but the 2LP version of Los Natas‘ El Universo Perdido de Los Natas, filling both the Nasoni and the vinyl quotas in one fell I’m-the-luckiest-dude-ever swoop. I have the corresponding CD version that Oui Oui/MeteorCity released in 2007, but both the thought and the gatefold were beautiful, and if it’s another excuse to spend some time listening to Los Natas, I’m not going to lose. Apparently at some point in her trip to Sound Effect, The Patient Mrs. also let it slip that she was buying for her husband, explained who I was, and Andriopoulos gave her a copy of one of Sound Effect Records‘ releases, a joint issue with Nowhere Street Music from the band Drug Free Youth called A Message fromNow.
And I’m glad he did, because apart from the Los Natas vinyl, the Drug Free Youth CD might be the find of the trip. A modded-out late-’60s-style psych rocker, it’s got plenty of garage organ and guitar jangle. It’s actually a message from eight years ago, having been released in 2006, but the sound and production date back way further than that. It’s got 15 tracks in about 45 minutes, and they keep things pretty simple structurally, otherwise, but the 7:47 closer “Visions of a Gypsy Queen” — Eastern European influence in the organ and all — the buzzsaw leads in “Time is Iced in an Instant,” and the steady wash of effects and echo overall provide plenty of nuance for those who’d dig below the raw retro veneer. It’s a cool vibe and I’m glad I got to hear it.
I probably won’t get to Athens anytime soon, but I hugely appreciated The Patient Mrs. keeping an eye out for some records on my behalf, and thanks to Yiannis from Sound Effect for steering her in the right direction on the stuff I’d checked out on his Discogs. There’s a ton of vinyl as well, and between that and the store’s website itself, plenty of fodder for perusal. Obviously no complaints from my end.
Drug Free Youth, Selections from A Message from Now (2006)
A band’s early days are often a mishmash of releases, songs cobbled together from rehearsal recordings and put out as demos with live tracks from shows or different sessions. A few songs are copied for friends one week, and the next a demo is professionally pressed under the same title. That’s just part of promoting a new band. You try and get as much out there as possible. As such, when I opened the mail and found this surprise copy of Dozer‘s 1998 demo, Universe 75– the tape gifted to me unexpectedly by Lansing, MI’s Postman Dan, who’s come up around these parts a few times over the years and will again before the next week is out — it wasn’t a shock to discover that its tracklisting differed from what’s largely been settled on as being Universe 75.
I know the story behind this tape, know that Dozer guitarist Tommi Holappa sent it to Dan when Dozer were putting out their early material, that it came with an orange flyer that had Han Solo on it firing a blaster the laser of which was the Dozer logo, and if you can’t trust Postman Dan, you can’t trust nobody, so its authenticity is without question as far as I’m concerned. I damn near wept when I opened the package and found it.
What’s commonly regarded as Universe 75has six tracks, and this tape — dubbed onto a Maxell 100-minute blank cassette, though of course it reaches nowhere near that mark time-wise — has four. “Supersoul,” which opens, is the only song shared between the two. It and “Captain Spaceheart” – written in the liner here as “Captain Space Heart” — also appeared on Dozer‘s 2000 full-length debut, In the Tail of a Comet, while “Centerline” and “Tanglefoot” showed up later in 1998 on the first of the two Dozer vs. Demon Cleanersplit releases.
At this point, Dozer was Holappa, guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Erik Bäckwall, and these songs were recorded at the end of Jan. 1998 by Bengt Bäcke — here given the nickname “Action.” Of course, he’d come a long way by the time he was continuing to work with Holappa in Greenleaf and tracking that band’s albums, but even in ’98, Bäcke knew what he was doing. The sound of the tape is raw, and the bass is way, way high in the mix, but overall it’s clear enough to get a sense of the songs and where Dozer were coming from stylistically in some of their earliest days, Nordin sounding more directly indebted to Kyuss‘ John Garcia than he even would by the time In the Tail of a Cometwas released, and the band seeming to work at full stonerly jamble on “Captain Space Heart” only to up the swing as “Tanglefoot” closes out.
As a longtime nerd for Dozer (obviously not as long as the Postman), I felt incredibly fortunate to hear these songs at all, let alone to be able to sit with them and think of them in context of the Borlänge four-piece’s pre-debut-LP progression. They were prolific as they solidified their sound, and over singles, EPs and splits with Demon Cleaner and Unida, they honed a reinvented — maybe “relocated” is the word? — take on what was then desert rock that of course would turn them into something different entirely over their years together, which hopefully aren’t done as they continue to play shows periodically. A snapshot of one of Sweden’s greatest contributions to heavy rock as a young band is something genuinely special, and I know I’ll cherish it in a cool, dry place for years to come and use it as fodder while I continue to campaign for a compilation of their pre-album material.
I’ve done my absolute best these last six months or so to buy as little music as humanly possible. As I’ve lost jobs and seen my income go from what it was last year at this time to half that, to less than half that, to nothing, it’s felt like the very least I can do to stop scrolling through online shops or thumb my way through record bins trying just basically looking for one more thing to own. Just out of fairness to The Patient Mrs., if the actual financial concern isn’t enough. I won’t lie: I’ve missed it. And it hasn’t been easy. Between new stuff that’s come out in the last year — I’ve got a running list on a post-it note on my wall and it goes back a ways by now — and the joy of actually going to a store and finding something used I never expected to see and sometimes didn’t even remember I wanted, I’ve felt like something that I used to really enjoy, I can no longer do because I don’t have the money to spend.
At least I ever did, right? I’m not saying I’ve got it tougher than anyone — ever — because basically I don’t. My point is that when I ran into the pre-release version of Isis‘ 2000 full-length debut, Celestial, yesterday at Armageddon Shop in Boston, it was something I knew I shouldn’t buy. I knew it was there. They had three of them at one point — Celestial, 1998’s preceding Mosquito Control (it might’ve been The Red Sea) and 2001’s subsequent SGNL>05EPs — and I had seen them a few months back last time I was in the store, in the case at the counter in a small box of oddly-shaped or rare CDs. You have to ask to look. Yesterday, after perusing the wall of discs and feeling positive about a three-dollar copy of Cavity‘s On the Lam, I decided to take another gander at the Isis discs. I knew what they were, I didn’t imagine they were gone, and I knew how much they cost: $29.99. Not cheap for anything at this point, let alone an album I’ve already owned for more than a decade.
I suppose I could say that it was the fact that Mosquito Controlwas gone from the box that called me to action in buying Celestial– getting both that and SGNL>05would’ve been absolutely out of the question, and given the choice, I’ll take the full-length — and maybe that was a factor, but the root of it was more that I miss buying records. I miss going to a store, picking up something like this and delighting at the prospect of making it mine. I wanted it. It was overpriced, but the inside liner confirms that, indeed, there were only 40 of them made (mine is number 24), and put out by Escape Artist Records in advance of the album itself. Yeah, the cover art hijacked from the self-titled Godflesh EP was also a factor, my enjoyment of that blatant acknowledgement of influence made only more fervent by knowing they used the same cover for these versions of the other releases as well. All three sitting there, daring anyone who’d look at them to recognize that face.
That’s not to take away from the impact of Celestialsonically. I think we’re probably still a couple years too close to post-metal’s overexposure — bands taking no small measure of influence from Isis‘ largely unfuckwithable first three long-players; Celestial, 2002’s Oceanic and 2004’s Panopticon — and just hammering those ideas into the ground, but Celestialstill remains about as close to “atmospheric sludge” as anyone has ever come, an aggression metered out across varied, lurching cuts like “Deconstructing Towers” and the later “Collapse and Crush” interspersed with ambient interludes titled to maximize a theme that would soon enough tie in with the follow-up EP. A breath-stealing undertaking at over 51 minutes, the pre-release version advises, “Listen to this goddamm (sic) thing the whole way through for best results,” but with a record as densely packed and, at times, vicious as Celestialwas at the time, they weren’t by any means making it easy. Then based on the East Coast, Isis were a direct answer to the Bay Area’s Neurosis at their most unbridled, and while their musical paths would diverge, that influence, as well as that of Godflesh, would remain a typifying factor throughout much of Isis‘ career, for better or worse.
So yeah, Celestialcrushes, and it still crushes, and between that and the added nerdout factor of the swiped artwork, the limited release and my own wistfulness at the thought of leaving it there again, I picked it up. I won’t say I don’t feel guilty, because money really is tighter than would allow for such things, but cash comes and goes and this is mine now.
I only purchased two CDs at this year’s Roadburn festival. One was Rotor‘s 2, which I was far less than thrilled to discover later that I already owned (it was their first one I wanted), and the other was Love Monster, a 2001 compilation of Dave Wyndorf‘s pre-Monster Magnet demos, recorded in 1988. This one, which I didn’t already own, has been on my radar for a while, and though I was royally, epically broke at the fest, I used some of the Euros left in my wallet from 2013 to pay for the disc, which came out on Wrong Way Records basically as a fan-piece for Monster Magnet heads who maybe by then were missing the band’s more psychedelic side.
Remember, this was 2001, the same year Monster Magnet put out God Says No, right around the height of their commerciality, so in a way a release like this was bound to happen. 3,000 copies were made, and indeed, the seven tracks do capture some of the space-rocking spirit of Monster Magnet‘s earliest work — their landmark debut, Spine of God, would see US release in 1992, following a self-titled EP in 1990 — but there’s more to it than that. The material was recorded on a 4-track by Wyndorf himself, so it’s pretty blown out and raw, but there are shades of pre-industrial new wave on “Atom Age Vampire” and Wyndorf adjusts his attitude-drenched vocals accordingly, and “Brighter than the Sun” coats classic garage riffing in echo like the prototype for a psychedelic punk movement that never really existed. Rawness notwithstanding, a lot of what would prove so pivotal to Monster Magnet‘s sound is there on Love Monster, which if nothing else underscores the clarity of vision at work in the band from its launch.
There are seven tracks on the CD, with the penultimate “Five Years Ahead” a cover of obscure New York psych rockers The Third Bardo‘s 1967 single, and the closer “Snoopy” a 10-minute effects-laden noise-buzz freakout, but really, the appeal of Love Monsterwhen it was new would’ve been the chance to hear where Monster Magnet came from some 13 years earlier. Now, another 13 years after that, the EP still has that appeal, however rough it might sound, and in the clever lyrics of “Poster” and the bright-toned bliss of “War Hippie” one can hear one of psych rock’s most accomplished songwriting processes beginning to take shape. What Monster Magnet would go on to accomplish and the influence they’d wind up having didn’t come solely from the songs on Love Monster, but they were a step on the way to getting there, and for that, I was more than happy to shell out a couple of my remaining Euros for the disc.
It’s a pretty rare phenomenon, but every now and again somebody gets in touch who feels strongly enough about a release to send it to me even though they’re not affiliated with the band in question, not part of any record label or promotional effort or anything like that. Just a fan of a work who thinks I’d be better off hearing it enough that they’re willing to put their postage where their mouth is and actually send it. To that end, I offer thanks and kudos to Anthony Brown of Guildford in the UK who saw fit to shoot a copy of Enos‘ 2010 debut, Chapter1,across an ocean on my behalf. Even before I went to the post office and picked it and the XII Boar demo he also sent up, it was an effort I appreciated.
I’ve had some past experience with Enos, and pleasant experience at that. The band played the pre-show at London’s Desertfest last year (review here) supporting 1000mods that I was fortunate enough to attend, and while there, I picked up a copy of their 2012 self-released outing, All too Human. The band, who are named for the first chimpanzee launched into orbit, also work with space-program themes on the five tracks of what would essentially be a demo if it didn’t sound so cohesive over the course of its 34 minutes. It’s not hard to pin a narrative arc to the five tracks, “Launch,” “In Space,” “Floating,” “Transform” and “Back to Earth,” so to coincide with the professionally crisp production, they seem to have started out with a firm grip on the concepts driving their creativity. All the better across the songs, really, since “Launch” embarks with a countdown of cymbal wash and explodes with a vibrant pulse into the riffing of Chris P. Rizzanski and Sean Cox, which emerges as the dominant force in a nonetheless well-balanced mix thickened by George “Bungle” Cobbold‘s bass.
Rizzanski also handles vocals in semi-melodic, echoing shouts that sit smoothly alongside a psychedelic impulse, though when “In Space” is at its most chaotic, following a brief acoustic stop when Sparky Rogers kicks back in on the drums and the guitars are going full-force, he seems to shift more into a throatier approach that in another context I’d probably attribute to a Neurosis influence. Even looking back after All too Human, Chapter 1finds Enos refreshingly individual. Yeah, there are the post-Kyuss riffs and some of Rizzanski‘s delivery reminds of Orange Goblin‘s Ben Ward — an impression I got less from the subsequent outing — but if Enos are making anything clear on these tracks it”s that what they’re in the process of developing is theirs specifically, and as “Floating” lives up to its name with the transition into the more raucous “Transform,” the shortest song on Chapter 1but a barn-burner at 4:26, the work they’re doing seems well worth undertaking, the two guitars showing some lead interplay in the bridge over the solid rhythmic foundation of the bass and drums.
As it was no doubt intended to do, the nine-minute closer “Back to Earth” provides a neat summary of the 2010 outing — which, if you’re looking for a marker of its era, you might find in the MySpace link included on the back liner of the jewel case — gradually building a psychedelic opening progression to an airy mid-paced push and forward to a grander, louder, larger apex that consciously answers the call of the first four cuts for resolution prior to its long fadeout. Knowing they’d put out All too Humantwo years later and build on the accomplishments here feels a bit like cheating, but does nothing to diminish enjoyment of Chapter 1as it is. The band’s latest release is the 2013 live album The East Slope, which is sold-out on CD, but still available digitally through the Enos Bandcamp, and there are still a couple copies of Chapter 1out there as well. I feel fortunate to have been given one and having sat with the album and gotten to know it better, am all the more able to understand why Brown felt so strongly about it in the first place. Thank you, sir.
Leave a comment on this post and make sure your email is included in the box asking for it to win a vinyl copy of Black Space Riders‘ new album, D:REI. The giveaway will go until Friday, at which point I’ll pick a winner at random and notify that person via email. The record is 180g black double-vinyl and also includes the CD version of D:REI, which tops a full 78 minutes.
I like, whenever I’m able, to do giveaways. Free stuff is an automatic win, and in the case of Black Space Riders, all the better that someone gets acquainted with their far-ranging space metal. Their material has proven to be widely varied over the course of their two prior albums, and this one, which was released by the band in January, certainly follows suit, running a spectrum from driving riffs to ambient drones and always managing to keep a flow from song to song and a consistent level of intelligence throughout the varied atmospheres of their work.
The title D:REI, aside from hinting at the German word for “three,” stands for “Defiance,” “Ruins,” “Escape” and “Beyond” (presumably that’s a translation thing), the subheading under which each side of the 2LP arrives. Black Space Riders‘ ethic has to-date leaned toward the conceptual and narrative, and their third outing only pushes further, as you can hear on the Bandcamp player below.
Take a listen and leave a comment to enter into the giveaway. Good luck to all, and thanks for your continued support of this site. Black Space Riders‘ D:REIis available now as an independent release from the band with distribution from Cargo Records in their native Germany. More info at the links under the player.
I was talking (or at least typing) not too long ago with Lowrider bassist/vocalist Peder Bergstrand — not to drop the name, but it’s relevant — and he mentioned Mother Superior‘s 1996 debut, The Mothership Has Landed, as having been an especially pivotal album for him in his band’s earliest going. He was a teenager at the time. I think we all have those records, and if you’re passionate about music, then probably you can also recall an album or a song or an artist whose work seemed to hit you just in the right way at just the right time in your life. It’s part of what makes us who we are, and being a nerd for Swedish heavy in general, I was curious to delve into what might have been a piece of its history I’d previously missed.
Whatever it was The Patient Mrs. was ordering from Amazon a few weeks back, I don’t even remember, but I do remember the utter (lack of) smoothness with which I said, “Well maybe I’ll just pick up one or two things for myself too.” Nicely done, chief.
Mother Superior recorded The Mothership Has Landedin Gothenburg, and it’s one of two full-lengths they released in their time, the other being 1998’s The Mothership Movement. Danish label Freakophonic reportedly reissued The Mothership Has Landedon vinyl in 2004, but the CD was through Velodrome/SPV, and though it’s 44 minutes long, the album works well in linear form, with middle cuts “Too Bad (Freddie’s Song)” and “Down the Straight and Narrow” both topping six minutes, albeit with markedly different atmospheres. Vocalist David Berlin has a touch of Mick Jagger in his voice on “Breakin’ it Down” and slide-guitar-and-piano-infused closer “Reach Out” — but cuts like “Radically Cool” and “C’Mon” are fuzzier and fuller than any blatant classic rock worship, and whatever else it is, The Mothership Has Landedis heavy. Opening duo “Yeah Baby” and “Velocity City” work at a pretty fast clip, and the penultimate “Love Gone Bad” seems to bookend with the same idea, but even then, the guitars of Sölvi Blöndal and Per Ellverson keep a thicker tone and bassist Fredrik Cronsten and drummer Anders Stub swing more than much of the garage rock Sweden was producing at that time, whatever other influence they may have taken from it.
In that regard, it’s interesting to try to put Mother Superior‘s first outing in the context of its day. Spiritual Beggars had one album out by 1996 and would release their second, Another Way to Shine, that year, but nothing on it got quite as funky as “Keep on Movin'” does here. Stockholm’s The Hellacopters, who are basically unavoidable in any discussion of Scandinavian garage rock of any era, released their own debut, Supershitty to the Max!, in ’96 following a single the year prior. Sparzanza formed in 1996 but didn’t have their first album out until 2001, and of course by then, both Dozer and Lowrider had issued their respective first full-lengths in 2000. The Awesome Machine was a year earlier than that, in 1999, and Mustasch‘s The True Sound of New Westarrived a year later than Lowrider and Dozer‘s albums, in 2001. It’s hard to imagine that in 1996 there wasn’t also a huge contingent of Swedish heavy with its interest invested in the groundbreaking metal being crafted by the likes of At the Gates (their Slaughter of the Soul was 1995), Meshuggah (Destroy Erase Improve, 1995), In Flames (The Jester Race, 1996), Arch Enemy, and so on.
So while there was plenty of rock around, it’s easy to hear in listening to The Mothership Has Landedwhat might resonate with a burgeoning heavy riffer. The album flows like a classic rock record and for all its stomp and fuzz, it’s still clean enough to be accessible. Stub went on to drum in On Trial prior to their breakup in 2011 and in 2009 released a solo LP called The Silent Boatmanthat’s available to download for free from his website. The last Mother Superior offering seems to have been a Bad Afro Records 7″ called Brothers and Sistersin 1999 and then like so many others, seem to have just dissipated. Fair enough, but here we are almost two decades later and The Mothership Has Landedstill holds up, so I’m glad to have chased it down.
Probably the most notable thing about Sam Gopal‘s Escalatorwhen it was released in 1969 was that the band’s namesake percussionist substituted tabla for the standard rock drumkit. Not to take away from that, as it was an interesting turn for a London-based band even in that time of Eastern-influenced psychedelic rock becoming somewhat mainstreamed (Gopal himself was born in Malaysia), but if the group is something of a footnote today, it’s more because of vocalist/guitarist Ian Willis, who by the time he left Hawkwind to form Motörhead some six years later would adopt the universally-recognized moniker of Lemmy Kilmister.
Lemmy‘s involvement in Sam Gopal isn’t exactly a secret — prior to joining, he played guitar in Blackpool-based The Rockin’ Vickers from 1965-1967 and those seeking a sample of his work before and around Motörhead were afforded an easy opportunity with 2006’s Damage Casecompilation — but neither is it widely advertised, and when he finally decides that Planet Earth isn’t cool enough to hold him and departs this mortal coil, Escalator isn’t likely to be mentioned as part of his considerable list of landmark or otherwise influential works. Still, for devotees of proto-heavy rock and psychedelia, the album has much to offer in the moody wanderings of “Grass” and sweet, pre-“Planet Caravan” vibe of “Angry Faces.”
With fellow guitarist Roger D’Elia and bassist Phil Duke, Lemmy brings a nascent fuzz to “The Dark Lord,” which was included on that Damage Case compilation no doubt for its theme as much as the song itself, but the bulk of Escalatoris candlelit British psych, the subtly bass-driven “The Sky is Burning” having little time for the kind of raucous blues jamming Cream were doing at that point, “You’re Alone Now” aside, or even the swagger of Jimi Hendrix, for whom a young Lemmy famously roadied. Maybe Sam Gopal were a little behind the times, then, but if so, the distinction is moot since the album fits with its general era and precedes in both tone and execution the kind of heavy-rock-into-prog explosion that UFO, Uriah Heep, the second lineup of King Crimson and, indeed, Hawkwind were about to unleash on the UK rock scene as the likes of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin made their way to megastardom behind Pink Floyd, who’d already been signed to a major label (EMI) for two years.
Hearing Escalatorthrough a filter of hindsight is inevitable, but the stoned-out push of “You’re Alone Now” seems prescient in asking, “Can you hear me on the wind?/Are you thinking of what might have been?” and as much as Lemmy‘s presence dominates even though the vocals are mostly given to a rudimentary melodic garage-type drawl fitting to the music, the songs have value beyond novelty for anyone who’d take them on as part of a larger exploration through the roots of heavy. Putting Sam Gopal next to earliest Vanilla Fudge doesn’t seem inappropriate when they get into Donovan‘s “Season of the Witch” and rough it up a bit, but the sleaze that’s inevitably brought to the already-sleazy Doors cover “Back Door Man” — a bonus track on the 2010 Esoteric Recordings reissue — helps to give Escalatora personality of its own, as much of that might be wrapped up in a reading of the album through the Lemmy context.
It was that Esoteric Recordings reissue that I wound up with, following a recommendation that I check the record out because, with or without “the Motörhead dude,” it’s quality psych. I’ve found that to be precisely the case, and found that I’m drawn to repeat listens of Escalatornot because of the personnel, but because of the songs they execute. If you’re not already familiar, give it some time to settle in.
About two weeks ago, I visited the “Not Just” Rock Expo outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and while I found some pretty killer stuff there, one thing I didn’t pick up was the 2007 Concrete Lo-Fi Records split CD between Queen Elephantine and Sons of Otis. The dude wanted $20 for it and that was more money than I had left to spend. I was bummed out about leaving it behind, and all the more so since I couldn’t find a copy on the interwebs once I got back home and tried looking. Seemed like I was going to have to let it go, at least for the time being, and maybe keep an eye on eBay or Amazon or hope to randomly run into it at Armageddon Shop somewhere down the line.
Well, a couple days ago, Indy Shome from Queen Elephantine dropped a line and said he was sending a copy over. It showed up today and it’s been the perfect thing to get me through an overtired fuckoff of an afternoon. The split is comprised of three songs, two from Toronto stoner lords Sons of Otis and one from Queen Elephantine, totaling just under 44 minutes, and comes complete with Adrian Dexter artwork and vibe to spare. For Queen Elephantine, it’s one of their earlier releases, after they made their 2006 debut on a split with Elder, but before they released their first album, Surya, and for Sons of Otis, it arrived two years after their Small Stone debut, X, and two years before its follow-up, Exiled.
Sons of Otis go first, their “Tales of Otis” embarking on an eight-minute march that seems to slow time along with it. There’s little more to it than thud and vague riffing, but somehow it manages to be grooving anyway. There are no vocals on either of the Canadian band’s inclusions, and interestingly, both songs include drums, though only bassist Frank Sargent and guitarist Ken Baluke are listed as playing on it. Could be a loop, I guess. Both “Tales of Otis” and the subsequent “Oxazejam” are repetitive enough in their rhythms to have that be the case (and that’s not a knock on them), the latter also a slow-burning jam that keeps the smoked-out feel of “Tales of Otis” going as Baluke‘s guitar seems to sort of wisp into and out of lead progressions. They’ve always excelled that that kind of ultra-chilled semi-consciousness, and in the six years since this release, that hasn’t changed at all.
Unless I’m mistaken, Shome, who handles guitar and vocals in Queen Elephantine and is the only remaining member from this incarnation — the band having since parted ways with bassist Daniel Quinn, drummer Michael Isley and percussionist J. Alexander Buck — was based in New York at the time this split was issued. He gets around, be it to Providence, Rhode Island, or Hong Kong. In any case, the band’s 26-minute exploration “The Battle of Masscoit (The Weapon of the King of Gods)” is a fitting precursor to the types of jammed-out contemplative psychedelic experiments Shome has been leading even up to this year’s Scarab (review here), albeit somewhat less expansive in the sonic ingredients used and the overall atmosphere. The will to drone is there, however, and it serves Queen Elephantine well as the piece unfolds, molten and held together somewhat by the drums but by no means beholden to them.
Because the idea entertains me, I’ll use the phrase “ambient as fuck,” but let the point be that Sons of Otis and Queen Elephantine worked remarkably well side-by-side on this release, and both give ample opportunity to let your mind wander in their psychedelic and engrossing haze. I’m glad I got to hear it on disc, and I’ll look forward to future sonic escapes like the one it provided me today. Sometimes you just gotta check out for a while. May I suggest:
Queen Elephantine, “The Battle of Massacoit (The Weapon of the King of Gods)”
“What the hell are you going to do with those?” asked The Patient Mrs. when I got back to the car and showed her the two Black Sabbath 8-track tapes I’d bought at the annual “Not Just” Rock Expo outside of Philadelphia this past Friday afternoon. It was a fair question. My answer was somewhat less reasoned: “Set up an altar and worship them as gods, who fucking cares?”
My point, expressed with my usual eloquence, was that it wasn’t about listening to Heaven and Hell and Sabbath‘s 1970 self-titled debut — which I can do at this point on any number of physical media — but just about enjoying owning the albums on this format. And hell, if I wind up with an 8-track player someday, at least I’ll know what to put on first. Whether that came through or not, I was greeted with the usual rolled eyes and a, “Time to go.” Fair enough. We were already running late.
This was the 27th “Not Just” Rock Expo – it’s actually put together by the same dude who does the Second Saturday Record Show in Wayne, NJ, that I’ve enjoyed many times in the past — and it just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Held in Oaks, PA, which is northwest of Philly, this past Friday and Saturday, normally, it’d be well out of my geographic range at this point for a day trip, but The Patient Mrs. and I (also the little dog Dio) spent Thanksgiving in Maryland. Friday found us heading back north to see family in New Jersey, so the “Not Just” Rock Expo was more or less on the way, and that’s just how I sold The Patient Mrs. on the idea of making a stop.
The GPS took us what felt like halfway across PA, but we got there eventually and found the hangar-sized room where the expo was happening. Three long, two-sided rows of vendors were set up, and there was a good crowd there. I recognized a few faces from shows and such, and while it might not have been just rock, there certainly was enough of it. It seemed like almost every table, save perhaps that run by King Fowley of Deceased, had one or another kind of Beatles memorabilia on offer, but there were plenty of other ways to spend money as well. More money than I had, but I did alright. The first place I looked had Death‘s Individual Thought Patterns on tape for like two bucks, so I made that happen, and an original Alternative Tentacles pressing of Neurosis‘ Souls at Zerothat I’ve very much enjoyed revisiting despite a skip or two in “The Web,” as well as Death in 3s by Meatplow, which I picked up essentially because I recognized the name and thought it would be fun. So far that’s worked out.
Across the aisle was a vendor who had an entire section devoted solely to Repertoire Records reissues. Fuck me. But for the ones I already owned, I probably could’ve shelled out $300 on that stuff alone and walked out of the “Not Just” Rock Expo with a smile on my face. I didn’t. Money’s tight, and sooner or later I’d have to buy gas to get back up to Massachusetts, so I nabbed the digipak version of Atomic Rooster‘s In Hearing Ofand left it at that. By then, The Patient Mrs. had adjourned to the car, but I made my way through at what was apparently a leisurely place — when it was over, I seemed to have lost an extra hour in there somewhere — finding other odds and ends along the way like a Nuclear Blast edition of the first Count Raven CD, a full-jewel-case promo (imagine such a thing!) for Russian Circles‘ debut, Enter, and a cheap tape copy of Band of Gypsysthat made the rest of the ride to Jersey a little easier to take, despite traffic.
Toward the end of the last row, a guy who had some other decent stuff as well was selling a copy of the 2007 split between Sons of Otis and Queen Elephantine for $20. I wanted it. I was decently enough past my spending limit, however, so I offered the $13 in my hand, he said no, and I put the disc back. The one that got away. More the fool I, since I can’t seem to find the CD version online anywhere. That’ll show me not to recklessly shell out dollars.
It was a downer note to end on, but overall, I can’t really complain. I hadn’t even known the “Not Just” Rock Expo existed until reading a post about it Thanksgiving night on Thee Facebooks, so considering that and the tri-format haul, I’d say I did alright. They’ve already got the space booked for the 28th installment of the “Not Just” Rock Expo (their website is here), and if you happen to be in the area, it seems like a good way to make yourself late to wherever you might be headed next.
Queen Elephantine, “The Battle of Massacoit/The Weapon of the King of Gods”
There’s little question that Armageddon Shop makes its bones in the vinyl trade, and that’s cool. I’ve come to accept it at stores that what was for a time the format of record has in turn been replaced in prominence by the LPs that it originally took that position from. Turnabout. All good. Everything comes back around in time, or doesn’t, and I don’t mind craning my head to look at the spines on the wall of CDs in the basement store in Cambridge, my knees cracking as I crouch to see the shelves lower to the floor. It’s a reminder of the calisthenics I should be doing instead of buying albums in the first place.
My buying power is low at this point and I know it, but if you’ve been either to the Boston or Providence store, you know it’s not easy to walk out of there empty-handed. They’re gonna get you with one thing or another. This time around, it started for me with a used copy of Amorphis‘ lackluster 2011 outing, The Beginning of Times. Not an album I really cared to pick up, but for six bucks, I figured I could give it a home on the shelf and maybe find something in listening to it I missed initially. Next thing I know, here’s a copy of Zeke‘s second album, 1996’s Flat Trackerfor $4.99, and the 1999 He’s No Good to Me Deadfive-way split between Bongzilla, Grief, Negative Reaction, Sourvein and Subsanity for $11. That’s just over two dollars per band. How could I refuse?
The answer, of course, is I couldn’t. I was pleased to find later that I didn’t already own the split, which was released on Game Two Records, but even if I had, it would’ve been worth the asking price to revisit some early Sourvein – three of their five tracks here would show up the next year on their self-titled debut — and live Bongzilla cuts, along with Negative Reaction and Grief in immediate succession. That one-two punch would probably fill any sludge quota a given day might present — 15 decabongs — but with Subsanity in the center role, and Bongzilla and Sourvein following, you’re basically getting a 74-minute overdose. Easy listening it is not. The only one of these acts who wouldn’t go on to craft a significant legacy in the genre is Subsanity, whose third and final LP, Future is War, was also issued in ’99, but even they prove vicious in keeping with their company, all of whom are raw the way you think of oozing, scraped skin as being raw.
And Zeke? Well, Zeke were the super-fast punk band it was cool to like if you were into slow music. They always had a bit of strut to them, as “Daytona” from Flat Trackerwill attest, and when they signed to Relapse to release 2004’s ‘Til the Living End, that just sealed their appeal. I remember seeing them at CMJ in NYC at some point around then and they had the fastest count-ins I’d ever heard, and then they actually played that fast. Flat Trackeris in and out in under 18 minutes and its 15 tracks are liable to leave you sucking wind as you try to keep up, but it’s also a lot of fun. Along with their 1994 debut, Super Sound Racing, Flat Tracker was reissued by Relapse, but the Scooch Pooch Records version has the original art, which is all the more killer for the fact that the lineup comes with each member of the band’s Mexican takeout order. Guitarist/vocalist Blind Marky Felchtone will have, “two chicken soft tacos, one bean burrito and a medium Coke.”
All discs considered, I still got out of Armageddon Shop on the cheap. There was more — and yes, I did flip through the vinyl section and drool at the assorted heavy ’70s and more modern wonders — but ultimately I resisted such devilish temptations and skipped out. I had my eye on a few other odds and ends on that wall though, so I have the feeling it won’t be too long before I’m back. Hope not, anyway.
Weymouth, Massachusetts, is about two minutes down the road from me. I could go out to the road, hang a louie, and be there in three traffic lights. Most of the time, this is knowledge that doesn’t really have any bearing on my day one way or another, but when I put on Nightstick‘s unearthed 2012 album, Rock + Roll Weymouth, and it’s hard not to be taken aback by my proximity to such fucked-up sonics. The local trio — four-piece if you count Padoinka the Clown, credited with “improvisational movement, interpretive dance” — released three LPs on Relapse between 1997 and 1999 and then came back last year on At War with False Noise with the twisted reveries of this work, which may or may not have been recorded circa 2000, but was never released at the time. At the beginning of September, they did a run of shows with Fistula, and it had been my intent to catch them in Allston or Providence (which are further away, but still pretty nearby) on that tour. When that didn’t happen owing mostly to job loss on my part and I happened to be in Providence the next week at Armageddon Shop, it seemed like the least I could do to pick up Rock + Roll Weymouthand get to know the band better.
At 43 minutes that runs a gamut from sludge rock to sample-laden guitar wankery, acoustic sweetness to drones to piano-topped bizarro shenanigans and on to the sludge the Melvins might’ve made if they hadn’t been called geniuses for two and a half decades, Rock + Roll Weymouthmakes little attempt to tie together, instead, as the second song title urges, the album lets its “Freak Flag Fly.” Actually, the complete name of that song, which is the longest at a smidgen under 11 minutes, is “(Let Your) Freak Flag Fly (featuring Kenny’s Cancellation Message).” That’s right, a rare double-parenthetical in the title. One might expect all kinds of resounding progressive indulgence as a result, but Nightstick don’t seem to have time for it. “Kenny’s Cancellation Message,” which is legitimately hilarious, is a sample of someone in another band or maybe a promoter more or less kicking Nightstick off a bill because of the potential for violence to erupt at the show from Nightstick‘s crowd and the band being generally unhinged. Probably a fair concern, though neither the pretty acoustic “Lila Claire Blues” — written by guitarist Cotie Cowgill for his daughter — nor the band’s closing cover of “Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme from 2001)” does much to justify it.
That duty is left up to cuts like the gleefully strange opener, “Nightstick a.) ‘Call Me… Nightstick!’ b.) Outtro c.) Requiem,” which takes lo-fi garage sludge rumble from bassist Alex Smith (also vocals), feedback from Cowgill and punkishly intense drumming from Robert R. Williams (also formerly of Siege) and devolves initial push first into solo-topped chaos, then sample-infused plod, Smith‘s bass coming even more to the front while periodic bursts of gunfire and sirens gradually take over. Together with the following “(Let Your) Freak Flag Fly (Featuring Kenny’s Cancellation Message),” the first two cuts of Rock + Roll Weymouthcomprise nearly half of the runtime, but if you’re looking to make sense of the proceedings in a traditional fashion, you’re doing it wrong. Weird out. In the context of Nightstick‘s three prior outings, the subtitled tracks, unexpected covers (in the past they’ve done Funkadelic and Discharge, both of whose influence is also audible on the 2012 album) and the Star Wars homage, “Ode to Lord Vader a.) ‘The Circle is Now Complete’ b.) ‘Now… I am the Master'” are about in line with where Nightstick left off on 1999’s Death to Music; operating on a plane all their own.
I was bummed out to miss those gigs when I had the chance to see them, and I’m bummed out more now that I’ve had some time to spend with Rock + Roll Weymouth, but hopefully my path and Nightstick‘s will cross at some point soon. Probably at the grocery store, they’re so damn close, but maybe at a show too. In the meantime, continuing to decipher the aural hieroglyphs of the record seems like a worthy pursuit.
The way I understand it, there were 500 misprinted copies of the 1997 split 7″ between Lowrider and fellow Swedish heavy rockers Sparzanza. Nothing tragic, just labels that were on the wrong side — which probably would be tragic, so yeah. These reportedly sat in Lowrider bassist/vocalist PederBergstrand‘s house for years and years, doing nothing, until he finally threw them out. Then the band got back together! Timing is everything, my friends.
But for some demos, Lameneshma/Burnin’ Boots was basically the first release for both bands. Of course, Lowrider would go on to include the track on their 1999 split with Nebula as the first of their four cuts, but the song didn’t make it to their only full-length to date, Ode to Io (1998), and while since that album is one of the best Swedish heavy rock releases ever I can’t really question the decision — that is to say, Ode to Io worked out just fine — the song was a highlight of thatNebula split and even in the rougher form on the Sparzanza split is a maddeningly catchy desert rocker. “Lameneshma” is probably the best use of the “Thumb” riff since Kyuss did it.
And naturally, with the vocal effects and the turns the song makes instrumentally, Lowrider were building off that landmark progression more than just aping it. Considering how nascent that wave of Swedish heavy rock was at the time — Mother Superior had their first record out and Dozer and The Awesome Machine were starting to pick up, but otherwise you start getting into more garage stuff like The Hellacopters, who I always thought were working on a different plane, even then — that Lowrider would’ve taken the influence of desert rock and made it their own like they did is all the more impressive. I guess it shouldn’t be such a surprise their influence continues to spread.
As for Sparzanza, their “Burnin’ Boots” is rawer than one might expect who’s maybe encountered their more recent works like 2012’s Death is Certain, Life is Not or 2011’s Folie à Cinq (both released on Spinefarm), but though I’ve always put them in that same category of bands who started out playing stoner rock and then nestled into a more commercially viable European heavy rock burl — thinking of groups like Mustasch or what Dozer might’ve done after Call it Conspiracyhad Mastodon’s influence not crept in with such brilliant results — that’s not to take anything away from the band’s songwriting. It’s not as complex or fully toned as “Lameneshma,” but especially for a band who rode the stoner wave and continued long after its (alleged) crash — they’re currently touring — it’s a more than respectable glimpse at ideas they’d develop later.
Nothing’s ever really gone completely, but from what I hear, this is the last of the misprinted 7″s between the two bands, all the others having sat for so long before being tossed. Pressed on clear red vinyl and arriving in a plain red sleeve, it’s a piece of heavy rock history that I feel lucky to own. I know that probably sounds ridiculous to some ears, but it’s true. I’ve had Lowrider on the brain since they were announced as taking part in this year’s Desertfest with Dozer, and even as they pick up again and continue to play more shows, an early release like this is given a whole new context. Needless to say, Lameneshma/Burnin’ Boots will be kept in a cool, dry place and treasured for years to come.
A bit about me: While most children were out playing sports, making friends, scraping knees and engaging in the socialization now prescribed as essential for healthy personal development (whoops), I was collecting. Not surprisingly, this was a learned behavior, and one I picked up in no small part because, well, I was going to get dragged to antique stores either way, so there you go. I still collect CDs, books, and so on, but when I was a kid, it was action figures, video games, shot glasses, old lighters, pretty much anything I could hold in my oversized 10-year-old ogre paws.
My mother was a big influence on me in this way, and as a result of going from shop to shop to auction house and so on, I’ve got a pretty decent knowledge base of a whole host of random artifacts, from Stickley Furniture to Northwood glass. Hardly the most masculine of trivial pursuits for an already awkward boy child, but maybe the intent was to take traditional gender roles down a peg. Or maybe it was just, “Well, the world doesn’t have enough weirdos.” I don’t really know. When I was out this past weekend and stumbled on a couple Edison Records cylinders, I was plenty happy just to recognize what they were.
By now it’s more or less commonly accepted that Thomas Edison — inventor of the lightbulb, phonograph, etc. and hero of Fourth Grade Social Studies textbooks across his and my native New Jersey — was a prick and a thief. Bullying competitors into either leaving the East Coast, as he did with the founders of Hollywood, or putting others like Thomas Lambert out of business with a barrage of patent suits, Edison was ruthless in the tradition of any number of capitalist supervillains, the only difference was a question of scale. Whereothers in his era might’ve sent Pinkertons in to bust up a union, Edison seems not to have been above getting a goon squad to pound on some nerds. Probably the kind who went antiquing as kids. So it goes… allegedly.
To this day, in the dining room of mom’s place in Jersey, there resides in a china cabinet an Edison Standard Phonograph and a couple of “Gold Moulded Records” — cylinder records from around the turn of the 20th century, predating the flatter discs that would emerge as the dominant format (78s were so hip) in the 1910s. I bought the ones I saw the other day (of course) and brought them home for a bit of investigation. There are two different labels on top of the thick cardboard case around each black wax cylinder. One has had its catalog number fade away — good luck finding out what it is — and the other is written over. What was at one point “You Can’t Stop Me from Loving You” by Manuel Romain from 1909 is now labeled as “The Messenger Boy March,” which was recorded for Edison by the awesomely-monikeredImperial Marimba Band and released on Blue Amberol, which was a different production method and actually blue wax (limited numbers, dude), in 1917.
Because the record in that container is black, not blue, I think it’s probably the original and that the case was just used to store “The Messenger Boy March,” but without a working player, I don’t really have confirmation it’s that and not some other release. The outsides look good, but both of the records also have some cardboard residue on them from being in the cases for so long and at some point probably encountering some moisture, so I don’t even know if they’re playable. But screw it, they look good on top of the bookshelf in the living room.
Also in my pitiful round of Googling — being married to somebody who actually does research for a living is humbling in so many ways — I found a company called Vulcan in the UK who make new cylinders you can buy if you have an old phonograph to play them (their website is here). I’ve always thought that would be a cool idea for black metal bands with short songs who don’t find tapes “kvlt” or shitty-sounding enough. Probably won’t take off as a trend, but as someone who regularly hears about this or that “dead format,” be it cassettes, CDs or vinyl, I’d die laughing to get a single on an Edison cylinder to review. Just make sure to include a download card.
Imperial Marimba Band, “The Messenger Boy March” (1917)
Here’s the story of how I came into possession of over 250 audio and video bootlegs all at once:
A few weeks ago, when I could still consider myself gainfully employed and not go into some kind of simultaneous laugh-cry about it, I got an email from a dude who reads the site. Knowing I’d almost certainly post about it later, he asked pretty early on not to be named. He said he had a bunch of live stuff from Wino he was looking to get rid of, that he’d been a big CDR and DVDR trader for bootlegs over the years and had got together a good collection. Needless to say, my interest was piqued.
He wrote that he wanted it to go to “a good home.” I said I was happy to provide one and to send over his list. I’ve never traded boots, but I know that in the days when physical trading was a thing, you were your list. He sent it over and I read it in slow motion. As advertised, there was a ton of Wino, from The Obsessed playing in 1983 and Warhorse at their high school in 1978 up to Saint Vitus in New Orleans in 2009, with a healthy dose of Shine/Spirit Caravan and The Hidden Hand stuff in between, audio and video. I found a video of a show from TheHidden Hand that I went to at the Khyber Pass in Philly, Feb. 5, 2004. I’m pretty sure you can see my big goofy head in the shot.
But the Winory is just the start of it. From The Atomic Bitchwax live at Roadburn in 2003 to shows from Warning, Valkyrie and a slew of sets recorded at Emissions from the Monolith (there’s a lot of “Live in Youngstown, OH” in late May 2003 and 2004), there are gigs from Revelation, Solace, Blood Farmers, YOB, Buried at Sea, Goatsnake, Test-Site and Acid King, Iron Man and Paul Chain. I said to the guy that I’d take everything on the list, and that’s just what I did. For $100 to cover the cost of discs, sleeves and shipping, I got 266 discs, some with more than one show included on them.
Here’s the full list:
Live & Demo CDs
35007, Roadburn Festival 2003
Abdullah, Cleveland, OH 10/18/01
Acid King, Baltimore, MD 10/2/00
Acid King, San Francisco, CA 7/16/01
Acid Mothers Temple, Chicago, IL 10/20/02 (2 CDs)
Agony Bag, Piss Out Your Trash Demo
Asylum, Demos 1986-88 (3 CDs)
Asylum, Baltimore, MD 4/13/07
Atomic Bitchwax, New Jersey 9/10/99 Atomic Bitchwax, Roadburn Festival 2001
Atomic Bitchwax, Berlin, Germany 5/11/04
Atomic Bitchwax, Switzerland 5/6/05
Dax Riggs, The Skeletal Circus Derails – Demo
Dead Meadow, Peel Sessions 2002
Deadboy & The Elephantmen, Demos
Deadboy & The Elephantmen, 10/9/03 Lafayette, La
Debris Inc., Cincinnati, OH 5/27/04
The Dictators, Asbury Park, NJ 6/8/91
The Dictators, Philadelphia, PA 5/30/98
Fu Manchu, Sweden 6/18/99
Grand Magus, Demo + Live 3/30/02 London
Helmet, Compilation (Rare, B-Sides Etc.)
Helmet, Blacktop 2/28/91
Helmet, New Orleans, La 8/5/91
High Rise, NYC, New York 3/14/00
House Of Large Sizes, I.O.W.A. – Live
House Of Large Sizes, Iowa City, IA 8/11/90
House Of Large Sizes, Davenport, IA 2/9/91 (2 CDs)
House Of Large Sizes, Cedar Falls, IA 8/16/90
House Of Large Sizes, Cedar Falls, IA 2/16/91 (2 CDs)
Internal Void, Frederick, MD 6/13/98
Internal Void, Indianapolis, IN 6/19/04
Iron Boss, Baltimore, MD 12/31/02
Iron Man, Force (Pre Iron Man)
Iron Man, Frederick, MD 12/31/07
Iron Man, Cincinnati, OH 3/14/00
Kyuss, Black Jeweler (B-Sides Etc)
Kyuss, San Francisco, CA 11/12/94
Kyuss, Desert Heavies
Kyuss, Desert Storm
Kyuss, Live At Bizzare Fest
Kyuss, Mercurious Pools
Kyuss, Norfolk, VA 12/18/92
Kyuss, To Infinity And Beyond
Kyuss, “Sons Of Kyuss “”Demo”” 39 Mins.”
Kyuss, Muchas Gracias
Nebula, Sweden 6/15/00
Opeth, Chicago, IL 10/02
Orange Goblin, Osaka, Japan 6/11/99
Orange Goblin, Austin, TX 5/10/02
Orange Goblin, Cincinatti, OH 5/27/04
Pale Divine, Frederick, MD 6/13/98
Pale Divine, Wheaton, MD 6/18/99
Paul Chain, Rimini, Italy 4/10/82
Paul Chain, Milan, It 1/15/90 (2 CDs)
Saint Vitus, First Album Demos
Saint Vitus, Koln, Germany 3/12/95
Saint Vitus, Firburgo, Swi 3/17/89
Saint Vitus, Torino 12/02/90 + L.A. 1984 (2 CDs)
Saint Vitus, Brain Sabbath – Boot
Saint Vitus, Washington, D.C. – 4/2/86 (2 CDs)
Saint Vitus, (Tyrant) Rehearsal 1978
Saint Vitus, Torino, Italy (2 CDs) 3/29/89
Saint Vitus, Tilburg, Holland (2 CDs) 4/24/09
Shine, Washington, D.C.2/13/98
Shine, Hagerstown, MD 5/14/98
Shine, Powertime E.P. + 3 Live + 9/20/97
Shine, Dallas 5/21/98 + Interview
Shine, Live 1997
Shine, Wheaton, MD 12/31/98
Shine, Washington, D.C. 12/13/97 (2 CDs)
Shine, NYC, NY 8/15/98 (Cuts)
Shine, Wheaton, MD 12/31/97
Shine, Washington, D.C. 8/10/97 (Slight Glitches)
Shine, Washington, D.C. 10/29/98
Shine, Baltimore, MD 8/16/98
Shine, Frederick, MD 9/20/97
Shine, College Park, MD 8/21/98
Shine, Washington, D.C. 6/6/97
Sixty Watt Shaman, 6/26/99
Solstice, Demos 1992-93
Spirit Caravan, Long Branch, N.J. 7/8/99
Spirit Caravan, Chicago, IL 4/26/02
Spirit Caravan, San Francisco, CA 7/16/01 (Glitches)
Spirit Caravan, St. Louis, MO 4/23/02
Spirit Caravan, U.K. 12/1/01
Spirit Caravan, Philadelphia, PA 8/3/01
Spirit Caravan, Baltimore, MD 5/15/99
Spirit Caravan, Wheaton, MD 8/14/99 (39 Min)
Spirit Caravan, Baltimore, MD 7/27/00
Spirit Caravan, Maryland 5/18/01
Spirit Caravan, Baltimore, MD 5/4/02
Spirit Caravan, Chicago, IL 7/26/01
Spirit Caravan, Brooklyn, NY 5/2/02
Spirit Caravan, New York City, NY 1/16/00
Spirit Caravan, Old Bridge, NJ 1/21/01
Spirit Caravan, Long Branch, NJ 2/18/00
Spirit Caravan, Cambridge, MA 8/1/01
Spirit Caravan, Munich, Germany 9/14/99
Spirit Caravan, Denmark 9/22/00
Spirit Caravan, Baltimore, MD 5/3/99
Spirit Caravan, Baltimore, MD 7/22/00
Spirit Caravan, Baltimore, MD 10/02/00
Spirit Caravan, Wheaton, MD 12/31/98
Spirit Caravan, Wheaton, MD 1/12/00
Spirit Caravan, Toledo, OH 1/14/01
Spirit Caravan, Youngstown, OH 9/3/00
Spirit Caravan, Youngstown, OH 5/27/01
Spirit Caravan, Toledo, OH 4/27/02
Spirit Caravan, Washington, D.C. 10/4/00 (Gaps)
The Hidden Hand, Pittsburgh, PA 2/12/07
The Obsessed, History Of Vol. 1 (Doom Records)
The Obsessed, History Of Volume 2 (Doom Recs)
The Obsessed, Live At The Wax Museum (Doom Recs)
The Obsessed, Washington, D.C. 3/14/85
The Obsessed, 9 Song Demo
The Obsessed, Various ’80’s Live
The Obsessed, Tucson, AZ 7/31/92
The Obsessed, Tucson, AZ 10/15/92
The Obsessed, Columbia Studio Session
The Obsessed, FM Broadcast December 1992
The Obsessed, Stuttgart, Germany 12/28/92
The Obsessed, Carrboro, NC 4/19/94
Trouble, Stuttgart, Germany 1/2/93
Trouble, One For The Road
Trouble, Aurora, IL 5/4/02 (2 CDs)
Trouble, South Barrington, IL 5/18/02 (2 CDs)
Unida, Chico, CA 5/24/00
Unida, Vienna 11/5/00
Unida, Unreleased 2002
Unorthodox, Asylum Demos 12/15/90
Unorthodox, Frederick, MD 10/14/00
Unorthodox, Frederick, MD 12/31/07
Unorthodox, Baltimore, MD 4/14/07
Wino, Tilberg, Holland 4/26/09
Wino, Athens, Greece 10/12/10
Acid Mothers Temple, 4/22/07 Charlottesville, VA 80 Min Alabama Thunderpussy, 11/4/06 Richmond, VA 62 Min
Asylum, 6/26/88 College Park, MD 115 Min
Atomic Bitchwax, 1/12/99 New York City, NY 64 Min
Atomic Bitchwax, 7/8/05 Baltimore, MD 63 Min
Atomic Bitchwax, 11/23/05 Washington, D.C. 54 Min
Blood Farmers, 4/15/07 Baltimore, MD 57 Min
Brant Bjork & The Bros, 5/21/05 Washington, D.C. 78 Min
Buried at Sea, 5/29/04 Youngstown, OH 30 Min
Clearlight, 8/14/99 Wheaton, MD 49 Min
Dead Meadow, 6/16/06 Washington, D.C. 46 Min
Debris Inc. – 5/29/04 Youngstown, OH 45 Min
Delicious, 5/27/04 Youngstown, OH 33 Min
Dixie Witch, 5/27/06 Youngstown, OH 42 Min
Doomed Nation, Volume 1 2004 65 Min
Doomed Nation, Volume 2 2005 85 Min
Dragon Ass, 9/5/03 Baltimore, MD 38 Min
Earthride, 9/3/05 Frederick, MD 18 Min
Earthride, 11/23/05 Washington, D.C. 34 Min
Fu Manchu, 1/30/96 Los Angeles, CA 38 Min
Goatsnake – 5/24/99 – Eindhoven, Germany 55 Min
Grief, 5/27/06 Youngstown, OH 57 Min
High On Fire, 12/15/04 Richmond, VA 65 Min
Hounds Of Hasselvander, 3/14/08 Washington, D.C. 65 Min
Internal Void, 8/28/04 Washington, D.C. 60 Min
Internal Void, 3/4/05 Baltimore, MD 28 Min
Internal Void, 9/3/05 Frederick, MD 69 Min
Internal Void, 11/23/05 Washington, D.C. 48 Min
Internal Void / Kelly Carmichael, 12/10/05 Frederick, MD 101 Min
Iron Man, 12/31/99 Wheaton, MD 68 Min
Iron Man, 4/15/07 Baltimore, MD 57 Min
King Valley, 9/5/03 Baltimore, MD 31 Min
King Valley, 8/28/04 Washington, D.C. 32 Min
King Valley, 3/4/05 Baltimore, MD 39 Min
King Valley, 5/26/05 Youngstown, OH 27 Min
King Valley, 6/25/05 Newark, DE 36 Min
King Valley, 9/3/05 Frederick, MD 34 Min
King Valley, 2/3/06 Leesburg, VA 40 Min
Kramer, Wayne, 7/13/02 Baltimore, MD 70 Min
MC5 / DKT, 6/18/04 Washington, D.C. 81 Min
Nebula, 6/2/02 Baltimore, MD 50 Min
Nitroseed, 6/2/05 Washington, D.C. 39 Min
Ogre, 4/14/07 Baltimore, MD 46 Min
Ostinato, 5/26/04 Washington, D.C. 48 Min
Ostinato, 10/29/04 Washington, D.C. 40 Min
Pearls & Brass / The Amoeba Men, 1/29/06 Richmond, VA 80 Min
Penance, 4/14/07 Baltimore, MD 63 Min
Revelation I, 4/14/07 Baltimore, MD 63 Min
Revelation II, 4/15/07 Baltimore, MD 57 Min
Revelation, 3/14/08 Washington, D.C. 65 Min
Rwake, 5/29/04 Youngstown, OH 40 Min
Saint Vitus, 7/21/87 Albany, NY 53 Min
Saint Vitus, 1987 Indianapolis, IN 42 Min Saint Vitus, 1993 Florida 100 Min
Saint Vitus, 7/1/03 Chicago, IL 56 Min
Saint Vitus, 4/11/09 New Orleans, LA
Shine, 12/29/96 Columbus, OH 27 Min
Shine, 2/14/97 Baltimore, MD 31 Min
Shine, 4/12/97 Washington, D.C. 54 Min
Shine, 8/15/97 Wheaton, MD 75 Min
Shine, 10/18/97 Wheaton, MD 65 Min
Solace, 5/28/04 Youngstown, OH 51 Min
Solace, 7/3/04 Baltimore, MD 30 Min
Solace, 9/5/04 Youngstown, OH 44 Min
Spirit Caravan, 7/8/99 Long Branch, NJ 61 Min
Spirit Caravan, 7/10/99 Richmond, VA 55 Min
Spirit Caravan, 8/14/99 Wheaton, MD 84min
Spirit Caravan, 2/2/00 Richmond, VA 59 Min
Spirit Caravan, 2/14/00 Cleveland, OH 67 Min
Spirit Caravan, 4/15/00 Youngstown, OH 53 Min
Spirit Caravan, 7/22/00 Baltimore, MD 28 Min
Spirit Caravan, 12/12/00 Hungary 68 Min
Spirit Caravan, 2/9/01 Springfield, VA 42 Min
Spirit Caravan, 5/18/01 Baltimore, MD 70 Min
Spirit Caravan, 8/1/01 Cambridge, MA 65 Min
Spirit Caravan, 1/19/02 Baltimore, MD 50 Min
Spirit Caravan, 5/2/02 Philadelphia, PA 60 Min
Spirit Caravan, 5/4/02 Baltimore, MD 56 Min
Stinking Lizaveta, 5/29/04 Youngstown, OH 40 Min
Suzukiton, 12/15/04 Richmond, VA 35 Min
Suzukiton – 5/29/07 Charlottesville, VA 38 Min
Test Site, 9/5/04 Youngstown, OH 35 Min
Test-Site, 6/1/05 Washington, D.C. 39 Min
The Hidden Hand, 12/31/02 Baltimore, MD 37 Min
The Hidden Hand- 2/22/03 Washington, D.C. 48 Min
The Hidden Hand, 6/24/03 Baltimore, MD 47 Min
The Hidden Hand, 8/29/03 Washington, D.C. 63 Min
The Hidden Hand, 1/16/04 Baltimore, MD 50 Min
The Hidden Hand, 2/5/04 Philadelphia, PA 60 Min
The Hidden Hand, 2/10/04 Baltimore, MD 45 Min
The Hidden Hand, 2/12/04 Lancaster, PA 30 Min
The Hidden Hand, 2/13/04 Washington, D.C. 45 Min
The Hidden Hand, 5/25/04 Washington, D.C. 54 Min
The Hidden Hand, 5/26/04 Washington, D.C. 52 Min
The Hidden Hand, 5/29/04 Youngstown, OH 42 Min
The Hidden Hand, 10/28/04 Philadelphia, PA 56 Min
The Hidden Hand, 10/29/04 Washington, D.C. 67 Min
The Hidden Hand, 1/15/05 Washington, D.C. 52 Min
The Hidden Hand, 2/12/05 Gaithersburg, MD 45 Min
The Hidden Hand, 4/16/05 Washington, D.C. 51 Min
The Hidden Hand, 5/20/05 Hartford, CT 48 Min
The Hidden Hand, 6/25/05 Newark, DE 52 Min
The Hidden Hand, 7/2/05 Washington, D.C. 47 Min
The Hidden Hand, 12/29/06 Washington, D.C. 56 Min
The Hidden Hand, 2/9/07 St. Paul, MN 60 Min
The Hidden Hand, 5/13/07 London, England 60 Min
The Obsessed, 1993 Fort Worth, TX 27 Min
The Obsessed, 4/18/94 Hampton, VA 36 Min
The Obsessed, 4/19/94 Carrboro, NC 40 Min
The Obsessed – Documentary 27 Min
Trephine, 12/11/04 Baltimore, MD 28 Min
Unorthodox, 6/19/04 Tradesmen Party 22 Min
Unorthodox, 7/31/04 Washington, D.C. 44 Min
Unorthodox – 9/4/04 Youngstown, OH 48 Min
Unorthodox, 4/14/07 Baltimore, MD 74 Min
Valkyrie, 3/4/05 Baltimore, MD 39 Min
Valkyrie, 11/4/06 Richmond, VA 37 Min
Valkyrie, 3/9/07 Richmond, VA 41 Min
Valkyrie, 4/14/07 Baltimore, MD 37 Min
Valkyrie, 5/29/07 Charlottesville, VA 37 Min
Warning, 4/16/05 Goppingen, Germany 64 Min
Wino, 1/28/09 Washington, D.C. 25 Min
Wino, 2/7/09, Washington, D.C. 57 Min
Witchcraft, 5/28/05 Youngstown, OH 66 Min
Witchcraft, 11/11/06 Washington, D.C. 45 Min
Wooly Mammoth, 6/16/06 Washington, D.C. 36 Min
Wooly Mammoth, 10/29/04 Washington, D.C.41 Min
Wooly Mammoth, 12/29/06 Washington, D.C. 36 Min
Wretched, 8/28/04 Washington, D.C. 30 Min
Wretched, 9/4/04 Youngstown, OH 24 Min
Wretched, 4/15/07 Baltimore, MD 42 Min
YOB, 5/20/05 Hartford, CT 45 Min
Warhorse, 1978 Rockville, MD 28 Min
The Obsessed, 3/80 Rockville, MD 106 Min (2 DVDs)
The Obsessed, 7/3/82 Washington, D.C. 74 Min (2 DVDs)
The Obsessed, 11/83 Kensington, MD 45 Min
The Obsessed, 2/11/84 New York City, NY 35 Min
The Obsessed, 6/16/84 Long March, PA 40 Min
The Obsessed, 4/17/94 Washington, D.C. 45 Min
Shine, 9/29/96 Wheaton, MD 45 Min
The Hidden Hand, 5/25/03 Youngstown, OH (Bass Heavy)
I’ve taken to calling it The Megabox.
It’s been here more than a week now and I’ve barely scratched the surface of what it contains. A Spirit Caravan show here, some Acid King there. At that rate, it’ll probably be years before I get through everything — if I ever do — and I have no idea how to organize it, because it can’t stay in the Megabox forever, but screw it, there was no way I was going to let an opportunity to own such a collection pass me by, even if it is CDRs in sleeves. Someone poured their heart into getting all of this. I was flattered even to be asked if I wanted it.
Yeah, some of it is available on YouTube or whatever blog or forum group, but considering I spent less than 50 cents for each of these shows and especially considering the human element in the media and the passion that clearly went into putting the collection together, I’m still ready to call it the bargain of the year.
Nebula, “All the Way” Live at the Ottobar, Baltimore, MD, 06.02.02