Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gossip, Erase Errata, and friends

Here is a group of split singles that spiral out of a great four-song 7" put out by Kill Rock Stars in 2002. "Get into the Underground Groove Night School" was curated by The Gossip and shows several of the many ways that the Riot Grrrl ethos transformed and transmogrified in the early part of this century. As you'll see, I've used it as a starting point for pulling together a few other singles featuring some of the same artists - but also pointing off in lots of other directions.

But first, a bit about The Gossip and the other bands on the "Night School" single. The Gossip formed in 1999 in Olympia, Washington, where the band members--Beth Ditto (vocals), Brace Paine (guitar), and Kathy Mendonca (drums)--had moved to from their native Arkansas. They're now based in Portland, Oregon, and have become massively well-known, at least for a queer-punk Pacific Northwest indie band, thanks to their 2006 album Standing in the Way of Control. Ditto's
outspoken body image and support of LGBT causes has lent the band some notoriety within the landscape of mainstream music. Their success is showing in their website design, check it out here.

Erase Errata also formed in 1999, though in Oakland, CA. Similar to The Gossip, their sound bridges early 90s riot grrrl/indie rock and the revival of post-punk in the early 2000s, though they are less interested in Arthur Russell dance grooves than in Wire/Fall-style angular improvisation. The band members at the time of this release were Sara Jaffe, Bianca Sparta, Ellie Erikson, and Jenny Hoyston. They have a website here.

There's not a lot to report about the other bands featured here: The Supreme Indifference is, as far as I can tell, a one-off project comprising Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth, Free Kitten), Alan Licht (Run On, Blue Humans), and Jim O'Rourke (Gatr Del Sol, Loose Fur, Sonic Youth, etc). This is their only recorded output. Sleetmute/Nightmute, who released one single beyond the song here, was a noise quartet whose members were named Lanie, Tan Preston (aka Nate Preston), Colde, and Charli. From perusing the web it appears that they were beloved and played around a lot, but that they broke up in late 2003. Any other info on them would be welcome.

Get Into the Underground Groove Night School 7", 2002
Kill Rock Stars, no. 393

A1. The Gossip, "Snake Appeal" (1:43)
A2. The Supreme Indifference, "A Lick in Time" (2:41)
B1. Erase Errata, "O.M.S.F.N." (1:58)
B2. Sleetmute Nightmute, "The V&V Girls" (1:23)

Jumping ahead a few years, The Gossip put out this split single with Tracy and the Plastics, which is an art-music project by "lesbian-feminist video artist" (thanks wikipedia) Wynne Greenwood. When performing, the band consisted of Greenwood (as Tracy) alongside two pre-recorded versions of herself (the Plastics--Nikki and Cola). A fabulous idea, which you can read all about at the T+TP website.

The Gossip/Tracy and the Plastics, Real Damage 7", 2005
Dim Mak, no. 75

A1. The Gossip, "Left Out Now" (2:48)
A2. The Gossip, "Sleepers" (2:57)
B1. Tracy and the Plastics, "Dawn Feather" (2:58)
B2. Tracy and the Plastics, "Save Me Claude" (0:49)

Next up are a couple of split singles featuring Erase Errata. The first actually predates the KRS comp by a year, containing one of the song's from the band's first album Other Animals as well as a more exclusive track. On the flip side is an instrumental by Black Dice, a Brooklyn-based experimental noise-rock band consisting of Bjorn Copeland, Aaron Watson, Eric Copeland, and Hisham Bharoosha. Read more about them at their website.

Black Dice/Erase Errata split 7", 2001
Troubleman Unlimited, no. 80

A. Black Dice, "Untitled #5.5" (4:55)
B1. Erase Errata, "The Shade" (1:53)
B2. Erase Errata, "French Canadia" (1:47)

And finally, the Erase Errata/Sonic Youth split single. I don't really think Sonic Youth needs any introduction, but it is notable that their song on this single is an alternate version of a song from their album Sonic Nurse (with the glorious Richard Prince paintings), re-written to fit into this single's Mariah Carey theme. Gotta love the Mariah Carey theme. Oh, and also this is Buddy Series Vol. 1 on Narnack Records, but no further volumes ever came out.

Sonic Youth/Erase Errata split 7", 2003
Narnack, no. 2

A. Sonic Youth, "Mariah Carey and the Arthur Doyle Handcream" (5:01)
B. Erase Errata, "Glitter" (2:32)

Get all four singles here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Continuing with the "women in rock" theme:

Squatweiler was based out of Winston-Salem, NC. I believe at least singer Haydee Thompson and perhaps other members as well attended the School of the Arts there. They must have gotten started around 1992 and put this album out the following year, on what I think was their own label. In 1995 their second album
All Tempo Hot Pants was released on the same label. Around this time I saw them play at the Lizard & Snake in Chapel Hill. Unless my memory is all backwards, Cherry Poppin' Daddies (at that point a punk/ska band) actually opened for them! Squatweiler was unbelievable live. Thompson was totally bombastic and had incredible charisma. Apparently she was so good she needed to blow the joint, and left the band in 1996 or so. After that the band went sharply downhill, but released two more albums, New Motherstamper (1997) and Horsepower (1999).

Nothing touches
Full Bladder, though. Female-fronted indie punk rock that still sounds remarkably original and fresh, if certainly of its time--never as programmatic as some of the riot grrrl bands (great as they were) tended to be. The standout tracks are "Willie Fight" which despite its chorus "My willie is bigger than your willie, yeah" concerns a protagonist (Willie) who, much to the chagrin of his girl, decides he is the Lord of Atlantis and wades into the sea never to return; also "4th of July," which is about getting stood up on a national holiday; and of course "Art Fag," which is self-explanatory, and, to this denizen of the art world, still remarkably relevant. Also the Sabbath cover's not bad. And who doesn't love a Sabbath cover?

Squatweiler, Full Bladder, 1993
Huel, no. 001

1. Twofold (3:59)

2. Should I (3:28)

3. Willie Fight (3:12)

4. Full Bladder (3:27)

5. Satan Got Two Thang (3:21)

6. 4th of July (3:58)

7. Art Fag (1:32)

8. Hand of Doom (6:17)

Get it
here. Enjoy.

Bikini Kill

As a footnote to the previous post, I feel it is absolutely essential that anyone out there who doesn't know Bikini Kill learn about the band immediately. To rectify the possibility of such an unfortunate lack of exposure post haste, I am adding here the second of Bikini Kill's mid-90s singles. Simply put, this is the greatest 7" released in the 90s. It is out of print, but has been released on CD along with the two other almost-equally awesome singles the band put out in 1995-96. Buy that disc here. But now, get ready to be rocked.

Bikini Kill, The Anti-Pleasure Dissertation 7", 1995
Kill Rock Stars, no. 250

A1. In Accordance to Natural Law (0:28)
A2. Strawberry Julius (2:17)
B1. Anti-Pleasure Dissertation (2:29)
B2. Rah! Rah! Replica (0:58)

Get it here. Enjoy.

PS. Full disclosure: Although I own this single, I cheated and didn't re-rip it for this post. This is the CD version. Don't worry, there are more scratches and clicks soon to come!

Bratmobile, Cold Cold Hearts, and Frumpies

Over the past weeks, though I haven't been posting, I have been thinking about posting, and considering various options for what to do next on this blog. I can be a bit of a logic freak, so the idea of constructing an overarching organization for future posts holds a certain appeal. The problem is that it also builds up my expectations to an almost unattainable level, where an entire thesis on the history of indie rock springs forth from my fingertips in one fail swoop. So rather than having to get just one post up (already something I have trouble doing), I'll have to conceive of a whole string of posts and actually follow through with the idea. This conundrum explains my silence of late, but I am working hard now to overcome this roadblock. Hopefully what follows will be the first of a group of thematically interconnected posts, which will in turn usher in a new way of approaching this blog, with a bit more order and concept, for your reading and listening pleasure.

I've been knocking around several ideas to base this series of posts around, and since my most recent entries up to this point were focusing on Teenbeat records, I thought I'd start from one of the bands featured on Teenbeat 100: Bratmobile. There's an excellent write-up of their story on Wikipedia, but in short, the band got its start as a duo, comprising Allison Wolfe (guitar) and Molly Neuman (drums), in Olympia in 1991, but almost immediately thereafter moved to Washington D.C., where they met Erin Smith (guitar; also of Teenage Gang Debs) and became a trio. They were one of the fundamental acts associated with the Riot Grrrl movement, along with Bikini Kill, Huggy Bear, Team Dresch and others; but like all indie bands in the early 90s, they operated as part of a larger scene, that in their case included Calvin Johnson, Beat Happening, and K records; Mark Robinson and Teenbeat; and Dischord artists like Fugazi and Nation of Ulysses. This heady mix of politics, punk, and pop yielded some great music that was never too ideologically overdetermined, unlike some of their Riot Grrrl peers. Bratmobile put out one album and slew of singles before breaking up in 1994 (they would reform five years later and put out another album in 2000). This is their first 7".

Bratmobile, Kiss and Ride 7", 1992
Homestead, no. 178

A. Kiss and Ride (1:32)
B1. No You Don't (1:44)
B2. Queenie (1:21)

After Bratmobile broke up in 1994, Molly Neuman moved to the Bay Area and began working at Lookout! Records (which she now co-owns), while Allison Wolfe and Erin Smith remained in D.C. and formed Cold Cold Hearts, at first with Lora McFarlane (drums) and later with
Nattles (future member of Flin Flon) and Katherine Brown (bass and drums, respectively). They put out one single and one album, both produced by Mark Robinson. This is the single.

Cold Cold Hearts, self-titled 7", 1995
Kill Rock Stars, no. 258

A1. Yer So Sweet (Baby Donut) (1:50)
A2. Broken Teeth (2:51)
B. Any Resemblance to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental (3:03)

While all this was happening, Tobi Vail, Kathi Wilcox, and Billy Karren - when taking a break from their more well-known band Bikini Kill - were playing as Frumpies, all singing and playing guitars, with drums helmed by none other than Molly Neuman. They actually formed the band in 1992, not longer after Bikini Kill's and Bratmobile's first records were released, and continued off and on til 2000, around the time of Bratmobile's reunion. This is their last single, aptly titled "Frumpies Forever" - there's a long description of its recording and content at the Kill Rock Stars site, so I recommend you head over there and check it out.

Frumpies, Frumpies Forever 7", 2000
Kill Rock Stars, no. 366

A1. Frumpies Forever (2:24)
A2. We Don't Wanna Go Home (2:40)
B1. Turn Off the Faucet (2:36)
B2. Tell Me (3:19)

Get all three singles here. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


While we're on the topic of Mark Robinson, here are a couple of early compilations put out on his Teenbeat label. Mark founded Teenbeat in 1984 with Andrew Beaujon, Phil Krauth, Tim Moran, and Ian Zack, who all attended Wakefield High School together in Arlington VA. They modeled the label after Factory Records, numbering all their releases starting with the "Extemism in Defense of Liberty is No Vice" compilation tape, which was released on February 23, 1985. The interest in numbering has been tied up with a strong archival impulse, marking special numbers with special releases and often releasing updated "books of numbers" that catalogue all the Teenbeat releases to date.

Teenbeat 50 is the first major retrospective comp the label put out. Originally it was going to come out in 1990, but around the same time Teenbeat signed a distribution deal with Matador, and the comp wasn't issued until 1993. I find it interesting that even though the label had only existed for 8 years at that point, the folks at Teenbeat already felt an impulse to self-historicize by adding the "epilogue" on the earlier version of the release. This historical/archival desire has continued over the past 20+ years as they released first a tenth anniversary box set, and then annual compilation CDs chock full of hidden bonus tracks from the archives, and most recently the Teenbeat Originals releases. I feel like this impulse can sometimes border on self-mythologization, but it's definitely one of the things that make Teenbeat unique--so many other labels have been content to let their back catalogue slide into obscurity, but these guys have kept one eye firmly on the past even as they look forward to new things.

Speaking of the past, it's worth noting that Teenbeat 50 features a lot of early and side projects by folks you may know from other bands: Scaley Andrew is Andrew Beaujon from Eggs and Mark Nelson from Labradford; Bastro features John McEntire of Tortoise and The Sea and Cake; Autoclave features Mary Timony of Helium and Christina Billotte of Slant 6; Teenage Gang Debs features Erin Smith of Bratmobile and Cold Cold Hearts; Superconductor features Carl Newman of The New Pornographers; Helter Skillet is Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening and Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre; Clarence is Phil Krauth from Unrest. There are probably more connections that I'm missing - but still, this is a pretty illustrious group.

Various Artists, Teenbeat 50, 1991/93
Teenbeat, no. 50/Matador, no. 25

1. Teenbeat Theme 1991 (1:21)
2. Scaley Andrew, "Earle Hotel" (2:50)
3. Bastro, "Sketch for Sleepy" (2:51)
4. Circus Lupus, "Marbles" (2:53)
5. Vomit Launch, "Block of Wood" (2:37)
6. Bells Of..., "Strange Pair" (3:39)
7. Unrest, "Capitalist Joyride" (3:49)
8. Autoclave, "Dr. Suess?" (2:32)
9. Jonny Cohen, "Time Loop" (1:58)
10. Teenage Gang Debs, "On Tape" (2:36)
11. Sexual Milkshake, "California" (2:26)
12. Superconductor, "I'm Going to Blow Your Fucking Head Off" (3:22)
13. Velocity Girl, "Not at All" (1:54)
14. Eggs, "It's Hard to be an Egg" (2:56)
15. Courtney Love "Shaniko" (1:52)
16. Teenbeat Theme 1985 (1:59)

17. Krokodiloes, "Sweet Georgia Brown" (1:07)
18. Helter Skillet, "The Look Out" (3:02)
19. Naomi Wolff, "Teenage Suicide" (2:52)
20. Clarence, "Love Affair is Over" (3:47)
21. Coral, "Merry Go Round" (3:03)
22. Jungle George, "The Equator of Her Navel" (3:14)
23. Mark E Superstar, "Holiday New England "(2:16)
24. S.C.U.D., "You Fucking English Bastard" (1:51)
25. Butch Willis, "The 23rd Rocker" (3:23)
26. Wall Drug, "Peace" (4:22)

Get it here.

Around the same time that Matador finally issued the above album, Teenbeat catalogue number 100 rolled around. To mark the occasion, they released a 7" compilation featuring ten new one-minute songs by the lead bands on the label's roster. This is one of the greatest indie-rock 7"s ever released.

Various Artists, Teenbeat 100, 1993
Teenbeat, no. 100

A1. Blast Off Country Style, "Weiner Dude Attitude" (0:57)
A2. Eggs, "Baked Alaska" (1:04)
A3. Tsunami, "Brickbook Building" (0:57)
A4. Butch Willis, "Falling in Love" (0:38)
A5. Unrest, "International Nautical Miles" (1:04)
B1. The Shoetrees, "Collisions" (1:13)
B2. Bratmobile, "There's No Other Way" (0:57)
B3. Sexual Milkshake, "The United States of Arousal" (1:05)
B4. Cobalt, "Saturday" (1:17)
B5. Los Marauders, "Slicker Than Snot" (1:02)

Get this one here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mark Robinson et al.

Here's a new idea (and by "new" I mean really not new at all): blog as release and diversion from work rather than as burden on top of work. Let's try it out!

"Matthew" requested more rare Unrest material. Sadly I don't have much beyond what's already been posted - certainly not Twister, though I have the Cath Carroll single in 7" and CD versions if anyone is interested. What might be more fun to listen to are the following singles from a few of Mark Robinson's other projects.

Grenadine was a sort of Arlington, VA supergroup comprising Mark R., Jenny Toomey of Tsunami and Simple Machines Records, and Rob Christiansen of Eggs and Sisterhood of Convoluted Thinkers. Here's two of their three singles - I have the songs from the other single on old Teenbeat comps but it seems like cheating to post them without having the real thing.

Grenadine, Triology 7", 1992
Teenbeat, no. 88/Simple Machines, no. 8

A. Gillian (4:11)
B. Fillings (3:32)

Grenadine, Christiansen 7", 1994
Teenbeat, no. 166/Simple Machines, no. 31
A. The Barnacle (4:21)
B1. Snuck (3:49)
B2. Srew (2:05)

The Project was another sort-of supergroup, in which Mark R. joined half of Tuscadero (what a great band!), namely Melissa Farris and Phil Satlof. The only released this single and could have only played live a few times, but I was lucky enough to see one of those performances at a Teenbeat showcase at the Black Cat in DC in 1998. For "In the Drink" Melissa played drums and Mark and Phil did a great little dance while they played guitar and bass, respectively. It was a fun time, and so is the single.

The Project, self-titled 7", 1997
Teenbeat, no. 226

A. Celluloid Dreams of Superman (4:15)
B. In the Drink (4:24)

Mark Robinson formed Flin Flon in 1998, as the "real" follow-up to Unrest and Air Miami. They're still putting out records, which means that actually Flin Flon is probably the longest-running project Mark R. has participated in to date. Besides Mark, the band consists of Nattles (formerly of Cold Cold Hearts) and Mark Datesman (also of True Love Always). They're consistently awesome, and a great outlet for Mark R.'s longstanding obsession with Factory Records-style postpunk. This is their first release.

Flin Flon, Swift Current 7", 1998
Teenbeat, no. 241

A. Swift Current (4:16)
B1. Flintabetty Flonatin (2:21)
B2. Flintabetty Flonatin (Version) (1:27)

Get the whole mess here. Enjoy.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Albatross Note

In keeping with the scattershot, semi-impromptu, d.i.y. aesthetic of the Karyo Tengoku record, I thought you might be interested in hearing this record by Albatross Note. Bizarrely enough it is a 9" record, the only one I've ever seen or heard of in this format. The vinyl is a beautiful, marblized green, and the cover art is by the awesome artist Marcel Dzama, who is also the lead singer. There's some info about the band at evilevil, which I am excerpting here:

"Albatross Note is situated in the centre of Canada, in the city of Winnipeg. It is a city of extreme cold, where the temperature can plummet to as low as minus 55 degrees for weeks at a time. The group began as a Yoko Ono and Lee Hazelwood cover band with Marcel's 10-year-old sister, Hollie Dzama, on vocals. This influence can still be heard in the music, which is a mix of honesty and unpretentiousness."

Albatross Note, The Dracula EP, 2005
Trillium Press Record Series, no. 1

A1. Dracula (1:05)
A2. In the Morning (2:52)
A3. Last Winter (3:06)
A4. Stole Your Parents (1:41)
B1. Are You On? (3:18)
B2. Mother (2:31)
B3. The New Crime (2:53)
B4. Please Go (1:55)

Get it here. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Karyo Tengoku

By popular demand, here is the "other" side (ie, the non-Unrest side) of the soundtrack to Jon Moritsugu's film Mod Fuck Explosion. There is virtually no information available about this band beyond what is listed on the album cover. Someone said that the band may actually be Unrest in disguise. Listening to the record again, I am not sure which is better--the possibility that this is an authentic Japanese noise band, or the possibility that Unrest was capable of this kind of misbehavior. As far as I'm concerned, either way it's a win-win situation: 8 songs in 17 minutes; lyrics about the atomic bomb, James Dean, and smoking American heroin; all recorded on pristine white vinyl. It makes for a very happy Tuesday evening.

Note that according to the album cover the members of the band are named HonEE-comb, LaidEE, and TEEna.

Karyo Tengoku, Mod Fuck Explosion original soundtrack, 1993
Ball Peen, no. 10

1. Hiroshima
2. Chuin Gammu
3. Freaky Chick (2:26)
4. James Dean
5. Soul Brother (2:18)

6. Moto-Cancer (1:33)

7. Dragonfly (1:38)

8. Here We Come

Get it here.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Since I seem to be breaking out of my habit (if you can call it that, after just 15 posts) of only putting up old seven inches, I thought I would take a moment to direct you guys toward Workday/Schoolnight, a solo outfit out of Greensboro, NC, home of the now-defunct Rebar and Raymond Brake, who have enjoyed previous posts here. Unlike those bands' mid-90s math rock, W/S creates a solid Krautrock-meets-Synthpop amalgam infused with a healthy dose of found sounds, which arrive courtesy hundreds of audio cassettes discovered while combing through thrift stores and pawn shops throughout the South. Lots of answering machine messages and old self-help tapes. It's good stuff.

Read more
at Experimentallmusic, and check out the latest album, Plastic Ocean, below.

Workday/Schoolnight, Plastic Ocean, 2010

1. Tapes on Tapes 1 (5:03)
2. Be Positive (Subliminal Series) (1:27)
3. People Crusher (4:54)
4. Family Security (1:34)
5. Survivalist's Advice (6:15)
6. Reset (1:12)
7. Health Slave (5:58)
8. Shopping for Poison (7:27)
9. The Talker (2:55)
10. Dead Doctors Don't Lie (3:22)
11. Affordable Living (3:56)
12. Nervous Illnesses (featuring Rhythm 1001) (2:52)
13. Humans and Computers (3:04)
14. My Creation (3:06)
15. In My Voice, It Sounds Like This (1:35)
16. Trash Machine (2:57)
17. Affirmations (3:09)
18. Major Metropolitan Low Ambition (4:13)
19. Plastic Ocean (5:15)
20. Tapes on Tapes 2 (1:22)
21. Words Control (2:05)

Get it here. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Zinnias

Hi all. As you can see, I've been rather inactive on this blog for the past months, due to an extremely overloaded work schedule. When you spend all day in front of a computer it just isn't always that exciting to come home and spend all night in front of a computer. So as much as I love sharing music, I've been losing the desire to do so via the blog.

However, thanks to the good efforts of Michael Williamson over at Aging Spinsters, I have been inspired to upload this gem from Magnetic Fields mastermind Stephin Merritt and company. In fact, it's already posted at Michael's site, and I thought I might as well make it into a post here as well. Maybe I will get The Mythic Signifier rolling again...

At any rate, The Zinnias were an early version of The Magnetic Fields, formed with Stephin Merritt and Claudia Gonson were in high school. They self-released a cassette titled Sand Dollar in 1986, then broke up when Claudia went to college. Stephin then remixed their recordings and released another cassette (with the same track list) as Compost. There's more info and somewhat of a discussion at Aging Spinsters.

I obtained these recordings on a bit torrent site some time ago. Since then they seem to have fallen out of circulation there, and mysteriously have not popped up on the blogosphere. I'll admit I have committed the cardinal sin of the torrent community (of which I am not a member, and about which I have mixed feelings) and compressed the original flac to 320kbps mp3. To remediate this situation somewhat, I am uploading both the mp3 and flac versions so you can take what you want. All thanks go to the kind soul who originally put these up as a torrent.

The Zinnias, Sand Dollar and Compost

1. Leeches (1:57)
2. Bed (1:13)
3. Country (1:55)
4. Otters (1:28)
5. Helium (1:07)
6. Barley (3:05)
7. Kings (2:24)
8. Screech (1:25)
9. Paul Bunyan (3:53)
10. Mindnight Slows (Weekend cover) (1:22)
11. Faberge (3:13)

UPDATE: links have been removed by request of the band.