Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gimcrack / Candy Snatchers Split 7"


Gimcrack / Candy Snatchers Split 7" [Stiff Pole Records, 1995?]

I was fortunate enough to pick up this little gem during one night when Gimcrack played my town back in 1995. I remember popping a dubbed cassette of these two cathartically melodic jams every day into my tape deck when I was 17, on my way to my summer job (also bought a t shirt that was too big, and wound up cutting up and pinning it to the back of my jacket that fall). I understood at the time they were from Birmingham, Alabama, but fortunately for all of us, they've got a Myspace that clears up any speculation. Turns out they're from a tiny town called Atmore which I'd never heard of. The rest of the story, in their own words, is as follows:

Four kids, who grew up in the south, started kicking back at their one horse town. They formed Gimcrack in a rotten old shed in the country and pulled out the sounds that were beating around inside their heads. They played various places around the gulf coast, but gravitated towards Pensacola where they were able to share the stage with many cool local and touring bands. Gimcrack hit the highway two summers in a row to spread the infection and see the country. The band was alive from ’93 to ’96, had an album and an EP on Stiff Pole Records, another EP on Backspin Records, as well as songs on numerous compilations. Moving on as many bands do, Gimcrack was able to leave a deep impression in the thick mud of south Alabama and make many friends while doing so.

The Candy Snatchers also have a myspace, but their bio is way too long to post here. This was a substantially more popular band from Florida, but I never gave their side of this record much of a listen. Not sure why, because listening now, it's pretty damn good. If you want to know more about them, check them out here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Torture Kitty - "The Kid with the Crazy Eyes + 5

Though, I never owned this record before it was generously donated to the blog by House O' Pain Records, I remember this band well -- mostly because I hated them. However, I was one of the few who did, as they played Huntsville rather often to bigger and bigger crowds. Listening to this now, they weren't so bad. I think it's just the same haterade i'm spilling even today when everyone is gushing over a band I can't see the big deal in.

Anyways, what you got herea Knoxville, TN band playing the kind of mildly-threatening hardcore pop punk that was all the rage in the 90s a la The Queers, Screeching Weasel, and Squirtgun. Also of note is that this record was produced by none other than Mass Georgini who has produced and/or played in all those previous influences mentioned.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Beautys - "Sweetheart! Sweetheart!" 7"


The Beautys - Sweetheart! Sweetheart! EP [House O' Pain, 1997]

Another, much appreciated donation from House O' Pain. These guys hailed from Ft. Wayne, IN, which may be slightly out of my jurisdiction, but since when is it punk rock to start following rules and shit? Once again, I'll use this rare opportunity to let the band's Myspace profile speak for itself:

1995-2003 The Beautys are a hot blooded trio of rockers that hail from the seemingly innocent city of Fort Wayne Indiana. They have toured the U.S. several times and have shared the stage with such rock-n-roll luminaries as: the New Bomb Turks, Electric Frankenstein, The Dwarves, The Donnas [the name dropping could go on and on]. The Beautys have also garnered good reviews for their independent releases, as well as their releases for labels such as: Hopeless/ Sub City, Mutant Pop, and House-o Pain records. The Beautys play a wicked combo of sleazy,high-energy punk rock. Whether singing songs about the blue collar angst of living in a soul sucking factory town, or ripping it up in the key of hangover flat, these freaks really mean it. So what if 1/3 of the band is a card carrying estrogen factory? This is no shy, retiring, girly-poo kind of set up going on here. Chica Baby swings from angel to demon as she sings and hammers away on her guitar while Erick and Salsa Dave lay down the beats the old fashioned way, fast and hard!

Stupid Americanz


Stupid Americanz - Lost Cause EP [House O' Pain, 1991]

Stupid Americanz were a hardcore punk band from Nashville, featuring a pre-Teen Idols' Phillip Hill on either guitar or bass. According to its catalog number (HOP-001), this is also legendary Music City punk label House O' Pain's first release.

Somehow this record found a great deal of popularity in my home town 4 years after its release, long after the band had dissolved, and understandably so. It's packing a dangerous combo of fury & melody in the vein of Bad Religion, but instead of politics, their songs are all about zombies, beer, and giving your friends a hard time for no reason. If I were in the habit of rating these records with a star system (and I've considered it), I'd give this thing 4 out of 5.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pink Lincolns - Sumo Fumes 7"

I feel like I'm finally catching up on some Florida coverage lately. First with the Stun Guns, then Load, and now this 7" I picked up once upon a time by the Pink Lincolns. These guys were a very popular band in their day, and are apparently still rockin' it.

From Wikipedia:
The Pink Lincolns are a punk rock band formed in Tampa, Florida in 1986 by vocalist Chris Barrows and guitarist Dorsey Martin. The rest of the lineup has frequently changed and currently includes bassist Kevin Coss and drummer Jeff Fox. The band has released five studio albums and six EP's as well as splits with Screeching Weasel and The Queers.[1][2] The cover for the bands album Suck and Bloat was drawn by Iggy Pop, and their album Pure Swank was produced by Bill Stevenson of The Descendents.[3]
This single isn't very representative of the band. One side has a cover of X Ray Specs "Oh Bondage, Up Yours!", and an uncredited track I'm assuming is an original and possibly called "Monsters". The other side has a cover of "I Got You" by Split Enz.

Teen Idols / Mulligan Stu Split.


Teen Idols / Mulligan Stu Split 7" [Rhetoric Records, 1995?]

If you follow this blog at all, you've probably read enough about the Teen Idols to get an idea of who they are and what they sound like. Mulligan Stu is a little punk pop band from Rockford, Illinois who are apparently still playing. Teen Idols do the original "Peanut Butter Girl" and a cover of Lindsay Buckingham's "Holiday Road" from the Vacation movies. Mulligan Stu contribute the infectious "I Used to Love You" as well as a cover of "Crash" by the Primitives.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009



Lumberjack Death Luge [House O'Pain, 1994]
Sleestack [House O' Pain 1993]

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Load. Given these two gems were donated to us here by House O' Pain Records in the name of preserving their historic value -- and not to mention that it is absolutely impossible to Google a band with a name like "Load" -- I'm afraid I know absolutely nothing about this band. The main reason I'm posting it here regardless is that it's pretty fucking awesome.

What I can tell you about them is that they were a dirty southern rock band from Miami who played some noisy, heavy, reckless 90s style sludge rock in the vein of Jesus Lizard, TAD, The Cows and the like. [more insight provided in the comments courtesy of Donnie OldSchool].

Monday, June 22, 2009

Teen Idols - "Old Days, Old Ways" 7"

Teen Idols are easily one of Nashville's most successful punk bands, and maybe one of the only to actually outgrow this town. Of course, being a successful punk rock band really only amounts to so much, and pretty much no one I know around these parts now has no idea who they are/were. Still, this success is pretty well documented online. Much unlike 99% of the bands I feature on here, there’s no shortage of info on the Teen Idols. They even have their on Wikipedia page.

Musically, they played speedy, poppy punk rock that was heavy on harmonies and took strong influence the 1950’s both sonically and aesthetically, sporting leather jackets, pompadours, and vintage microphones during their shows.

The band had a ton of lineup changes in their time with the only constant being the group's mastermind, Phillip Hill. Hill is an extremely talented guy with a background in the technical side of things. He eventually found himself more useful and successful behind the scenes producing and playing with the likes of Anti-Flag, Rise Against, Screeching Weasel, The Independents, Common Rider, Even in Blackouts and The Queers.

Teen Idols went on to release stuff on Honest Don's and Fueled by Ramen (where fellow Nashvillian's Paramore would find success many years later), but this record here is their very first, released on Nashville's own House O'Pain Records.

According to their Wiki page, the band has gotten back together and signed with Fat Wreck Chords. Their Myspace page confirms at least a bit of this with quite a few shows booked around the Midwest and Northeast.

Stun Guns - "I Can't Believe It's Not Murder" 7"

I just realized last night, that although I ripped it more than a year ago, I've never posted this little gem from Miami's Stun Guns. Since my insight is limited to what little background info I've read online and the two times I saw them in their prime, I'll use the rare opportunity of letting their Myspace tell you their story..

They sure didn't feel like "glory days"... 1992. It was hot in Miami, and the city was wrecked from Hurricane Andrew. George Kelley and Mark Fehan from the Trash Monkeys got together with Paul Lecours of Lethal Yellow. Songs were written, beers were consumed, they soon enough hooked up with another once-Trash Monkey's little brother, Andrew Ross Powell, on drums, and started playing as the Stun Guns. A demo was recorded at Sync studios on Miami Beach, and word seemed to be getting around about the songs on the tape. Word also seemed to be getting around about the live shows, which were drunken blurs of flying bottles and chairs and endless guitar tuning, with a couple of songs in there somewhere. People liked this, it seemed. In 93 or 94 Mark had a good idea. He left the band and joined up with Harry Pussy, a band with yet another Trash Monkey, and did some real tours where they got paid and stuff. The Stun Guns went on a brief hiatus/drinking binge, and when the woke up they had Brian Bush from Chickenhead/Los Canadians on guitar. The people at the shows got drunk, a 7" was recorded and released by Miami's Starcrunch Records, a live song appeared on a comp from Space Caddette records, a small fortune was spent on beer at the store by George's house, AND a tour was planned. Two months with the Shaffers from Dalton,GA, Summer '95. The Shaffers, it turned out, were the coolest people on the planet, and this was probably the best time of our lives, except for that last week, but never mind that. While on the west coast we hooked up with the members of FYP who put us up in San Pedro for like a week, fed us, got us stoned, and eventually released our next 7" on their label, Recess Records. Well, 1996-97 on, some more touring was done, shows were played, and we even recorded again. But after a while things fell apart. I mean, we were a pretty volatile bunch. We even got together for a couple of shows after we all moved away from Miami. These shows were mostly in Chattanooga (the polar opposite of Miami), and ranged from great to so bad we didn't even make it through one song. Well, that's how we rolled.

You can find even more loud, mid-temp, tough-guy punk-n-roll from the Stun Guns over at Region Rock and More.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot: Discography


Oh my friends, how I wish I could whisk you away in a Delorean back to 1994 and allow you to witness the spectacle, the experience involved in seeing the Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot. Imagine, if you will, a stage full of grown men dressed in half-assed drag, one of them sometimes dressed as a Mexican wrestler, playing pulverizing punk rock while a roomful of teenage boys beat the shit out of their peers. It was almost as if this music was chemically engineered in a bathtub full of Sudafed to inspire pubescent males to take out their adolescent frustrations on each other.

I've already said about everything I can about this band in a post I made roughly around this time last year. What that post is missing, though, is two records to complete the total output this band had to offer in their short stay on Earth. Thanks entirely to the band's guitarist Don Kendall, I now possess the missing links in the Fun Girls evolution: their first 7", Hi Doll!, and their last, Diary of a Madwoman. I've posted them here in conjunction with the Lunch Box set and split with The Slackers in case you'd like to snag it all in one fell swoop. I've even tossed in a bonus track, "When I See You Again" from the Nashville Coming Fire compilation just a few posts down. To my knowledge this is more or less the whole of their discography. If there's other stuff out there, I don't know about it.

Rice Harvester

Greg moved to Huntsville by way of Birmingham in a Ford Festiva with little else aside from the clothes on his back. He made a lot of zines in his spare time and found himself in high demand as a drummer, beating the skins for The Grumpies and Joey Tampon and the Toxic Shocks.

Harry moved up from St. Mary's, GA. He had some serious bass chops and made excellent use for them in acts The Wops and The 3D's. He was often unwashed and smelly, but was simultaneously one of the nicest fellows ever to cross paths with most.

Both these guys joined forces with drummer Ben Rhyne (565 Burnouts, The Counterclockwise) to form Rice Harvester-- a scrappy, fierce, care-free and semi-melodic trio named after one of Greg's zines. They relocated to Chattanooga shortly before the new millennium and I personally never heard from any of them again.

Thanks to Region Rock and More for this one, and be sure to check that blog out for more regional Southern punk not represented here.

Booby Hatch


Much like in the 80s, many punks in the 90s turned their favor towards metal in the latter part of the decade. Craving something faster, harder, and more challenging to play, the musicians who had the chops were understandably in need of something just a little more.

Featuring members of then recently defunct bands Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot and Highstrung, came Nashville's Booby Hatch. Combining punk's simple fundamentals, the brute force of hardcore thrash and some choice licks from the intermediate guitar player's handbook, this band brought out a brash, bludgeoning style that makes you want to put on a leather jacket, grab a skateboard and brave a drained swimming pool -- all while swirling your hair in a windmill fashion. In all seriousness, this record isn't fucking around. It's not for the faint of heart. But if you think you can handle it, this is some very recommended listening.

Most of this band went on to form the even more metal Asschapel

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rise of the Nashville Compilatons pt. IV: Opry Outcasts

In this final installment in the Nashville compilation series, I bring you a gem excavated from way back in 1989. Now, back in '89, I was getting my school on in rural Alabama, pumpin' my fist to some Cinderella and Skid Row, trying to grow my hair long like Nikki Sixxx, and sewing KISS patches to the back of my denim jacket. Meanwhile, in Nashville, a mysterious mastermind by the name of Doug Moody was putting out slabs of vinyl full of what (at least he assumed) was some of the best rock n roll in town (on gorgeous purple vinyl no less). Half a dozen posts down, there's a Rednecks in Pain record also released by Moody. Like that one, this record has at least 7 record labels listed here: Superseven Records, Thrash Records, Bootleg Records, Ghetto-Way Records, and Mystic Records -- all under the blanket of Doug Moody Productions. Did he run all these labels? Is this the same Doug Moody Productions listed on the Great Balls of Fire OST?

The aformentioned Rednecks in Pain also appear on this comp with what may not be their best recording, but by far one of their best songs. You also get May-Day who contribute some psychedelic proto-grunge to the mix, Caustic Solutions who've laid down some decent thrashcore, and Word Uprising is a hard rockin' southern band who sounds about like their name would suggest. I recommend getting at least for the R.I.P. track.

And this concludes the Music City compage for now -- at least until I get some more.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rise of the Nashville Compilatons pt.III: Nashville Coming-Fire


Various Artists - Nashville Coming Fire [Vorgo Pass, 1994]

Of all the comps in this series, this is by far my favorite. Upon listening to it, I realized I actually used to crank a cassette copy of this given to me by a friend -- not knowing exactly what it was. I estimate this was released sometime in 1994 -- most of these neglect to put the copyright date anywhere in the liner notes, as copyrights arent' very punk rock. It contains what may very well be Nashville's best known 90s punk bands: Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot, Teen Idols, and The Phanton 5ive. It's also an exponentially poppier record than that scary cover would let on.

I've written a great deal about the Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot before and will post more soon. All you need to know right here is that they were a cross-dressing, hardcore punk ensemble that fared well beyond their home base. Again, a more in depth look at Teen Idols is coming, but for now, just know they were a 50's inspired pop punk group, heavy on harmonies and easily the most successful of any out of this era. The Phantom 5ive are without a doubt the best known - if not only known - instrumental surf group from Music City.

The rest of the bands on this comp actually seem to be little known outside Nashville. I did see Ballpeen Hernia in Huntsville play at some point when I was 15. My memories in conjunction with their Myspace tell me they were kind of a traditional street punk outfit [click those links for more tunes and videos of them playing on the steps of the Nashville Parthenon]. Uncle Daddy is of the upbeat, poppy variety. Not only haven't I heard of Mount, their oblique name makes them impossible to Google. But going from this song alone, I can tell you they were an all-girl trio who played some down-n-dirty Seattle-stlye grunge rock.

As always, any comments you have to fill in the blanks are more than welcome.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hardcore Time Capsule: Old School Huntsville Resurrected


Various Artists - Angry Kids Unite: Old School Huntsville Hardcore Vol. I

While this is for all intents, purposes and otherwise, a blog about the 90s, I recently stumbled upon a goldmine that enabled me to take just a few more steps back into my hometown's humble beginnings in punk rock. Peer Pressure Productions has done an amazing and thorough job archiving Huntsville, Alabama's 1st wave of hardcore punk from the early 80's on up through 1995 or so.

It goes without saying that this stuff was a couple years before my time, though, I was definitely aware of it well before I was able to participate. My first brush with that scene came when I was handed a flyer while waiting in line to see Suicidal Tendencies open for Queensryche at the VBCC in 1991. I wanted very badly to go, but was instantly denied access by Mom. She said it was probably dangerous and that there would be gangs there. Of course, there was no need to argue, 'cause parents just don't understand. The flyer though, featuring the names of bands like I.R.S., Skeletal Earth, and Random Conflict (all featured here) with the headline "Angry Kids Unite", stayed tacked to my wall for the next 6 or 7 years.

Getting back on track, I assembled this compilation myself, cherry-picking some of my favorite tracks from Peer Pressure's overwhelmingly large archive. Though they may have been living in the butt crack of America, kids in 'Bama had plenty to be pissed off about in the Regan era. This collection features tunes by Alabama's alleged first punk band The Knockabouts, and one of its longest running, Random Conflict (both of whom I've deemed important enough to post about separately in the coming weeks). Other bands include Monster God/Dog, Humanicide, Snapdragon, Insomnia, Skeletal Earth and I.R.S.

If you too are interested in this stuff, by way of either nostlagia or sheer curiosity, I strongly suggest you check out Peer Pressure Productions' Myspace profile, where you'll find a great deal of it ripe for the taking.

Rise of the Nashville Compilatons pt.II : Our Scene Still Sucks


This is the sequel to the compilation I posted the other day. The Nashville Scene article I quoted was actually in reference to this release, but revealing that would have interrupted my flow a little. Since I've know idea who 3/4 of these bands were, I'll let the full clipping tell the story:

Our Scene Still Sucks, a brand-new House O’Pain EP arriving Saturday. The record gathers tracks from several local bands, ranging from the pop-punk thrash of Situation No Win to the grinding hardcore of Process Is Dead. This time, however, the music actually shows signs of health in the local scene, according to House O’Pain’s Donnie Kendall.

“What it’s intended to say is that the Nashville scene doesn’t suck,” says Kendall, co-owner and cofounder of the pioneering local punk label. For the first EP, Kendall notes, House O’Pain had to work to scrape up decent tracks. This time around, he had a wish list of 15 bands, and of those he said maybe 10 submitted quality tapes.

Does the scene still have problems? Sure. Press coverage of punk and indie rock in Nashville is usually minimal, Kendall says, and a brief flurry of outside interest in the local scene seems to have abated. “Last year, and the year before, the kind of music we make started to come out a little,”he explains. “But it’s slipped back underground, which is fine with us.”

For a glimpse into the underground, sojourn to Lucy’s 8 p.m. Saturday night for the Our Scene Still Sucks record-release party, which features Brown Towel, The Vibes, Process Is Dead, Situation No Win, and Junkie War Stories. EPs will be on sale at the door, and the cover charge is $5. And if you really want to keep the local scene from sucking, go to a show and make some noise—or pick up a guitar and form your own band. As Donnie Kendall says, “If more people get into it, it’ll only get better.”

Thee Autobots

It’s been easy thus far to write about almost all the bands on this blog so far in that, to my knowledge, none of them have read or are even aware of the stuff I’ve posted here. But given the frontman for this next selection is a regular contributor by way of informative, insightful comments, I’m a bit more self-conscious than usual.

From the ashes of Huntsville’s least understood, but most notable nerd-punk band Themack, rose singer/songwriter/guitarist Jack Themack (aka Jack Renuzit, now Jack Saturn) and his then new ensemble Thee Autobots. While Themack always seemed like they just wanted to rock out while coming off as misfits by default, Thee Autobots took every opportunity to stand out, even adding a saxophone player to the mix. The pop cultures references didn't stop with the Transformers-inspired name, with Jack and Co. cramming ironic, dated hip hop references, tongue-in-cheek odes to heavy metal, admiration for 80s breakdancing, and goofy samples in every open space.

The result is an eclectic pop-flavored collection of catchy heartfelt punk songs that takes me back to a time before “pop punk” was synonymous with whiny bullshit. Each cover was originally black & white with the Autobots logo hand-colored red.

Thee Autobots lasted little more than a year, and allegedly have at least 16 other songs released elsewhere or not at all, which Jack has been promising to put out for a few years now. Maybe this post will increase the demand? Jack lives in Portland now and is involved with such projects as Natural Bridges and The Online Romance. Bassist Doug Lehman moved to Nashville in the mid 90s and plays in the signficantly known garage rock band The Clutters. Their drummer Solomon still lives in Huntsville last I checked, playing in a rootsy bar band called The Cracker Jacks.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rise of the Nashville Compilatons pt. 1: Our Scene Sucks

From the annals of time and the archives of Music City history, I introduce to you now this four part series featuring those sure-fire golden nuggets of punk rock history -- the coveted compilation 7”.

The first is a tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating package titled Our Scene Sucks by House O’ Pain Records. While I like to inject a little personal insight to each of these reviews, I was 14 when this was released and lived about 100 miles south of Nashville, so most of these bands are unfamiliar to me. But luckily, the Nashville Scene is a little more on top of things. They wrote this about the comp in 1997:

Five years ago, House O’Pain Records issued a broadside of a compilation EP under the modest title Our Scene Sucks. The music was snotty, sloppy, and loud—a ragged artifact of underground Nashville in the early 1990s, when House O’Pain and the appearance of Lucy’s Record Shop triggered a burst of local activity. Back then, the EP’s title might as well have been the mantra of the city’s disenfranchised teenage punk audience.
“What it’s intended to say is that the Nashville scene doesn’t suck,” says Kendall, co-owner and cofounder of the pioneering local punk label... [Donnie] Kendall notes, House O’Pain had to work to scrape up decent tracks.

Of the four bands on this comp: Floor, Lethargic, Canibal Holiday and Teen Idols -- the only one I’m familiar with is Teen Idols, who I saw and enjoyed many times in their prime. But, there’ll be plenty more on them later once I gather up a little more of their catalog. In the meantime, enjoy this 7” time capsule and all its DIY glory and anticipate more of them to come.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer Vaction Music: No Fraud

So, it’s summer time. I’m sure lots of you Southerners are prepping for your sunny vacations down in Florida (aka, “the poor man’s California”), so I thought I’d dip down there myself for a post on some FLA punk rock.

Once upon a time, I published a little zine called Urine Idiot. It was a badly written, sometimes funny xeroxed rag full of half-baked ideas I usually half stole from someone else. But despite its flaws, it did make its way into bigger zines like Factsheet 5 and Maximum Rock n Roll, and around the continent via various distros and the like. Well, somehow the guys in No Fraud got a copy. Given the “Baywatch” spoof theme of this record, and the fact that I’d ironically interviewed an actual cast member of the show, they thought they’d send me a copy to review. And hey, 13 years later, I’ve actually gotten around to it. In all fairness, I never actually published another issue of my zine after the point in time they sent me this. I’d moved out of my parents house, gotten a girlfriend, and no longer had the surplus of mind-numbing free time I once did.

As far as background, I’ve managed to find a little on the web -- even a Myspace that may or may not be theirs. It’s also likely the No Fraud I’ve been finding info on is a completely different band, but, if I’m correct, these guys came from Venice, Florida (the "poor man's Venice") and had been around since the 80’s, starting up in that cold, flavorless, spraypaint-and-stencil, late-Reagan orgy of thrash, hardcore, and skate punk.

What you get here definitely sounds descended from that ilk, but a little more light-hearted than the usual. There’s some goofy, ham-fisted skits between songs about Baywatch (“Babewatch”), Milwaukee’s Best (“The Beast”), and the usual anti-authority/society stuff. In traditional fashion, they keep it short, sweet, and cram as many jams into a slab of vinyl as possible (7 in this case). Enjoy it, and don't forget to crank it loud on your way down to Panama city.

Bonus Links:
Early No Fraud 7" courtesy of True Punk Metal
Even more music from what may or may not be the same band.

Thursday, May 28, 2009



Highstrung - self-titled 7" [House O' Pain, 1996?]

So, I may not have grown up in Nashville, but I’ve been here long enough to pick up some clues, pieces, and tidbits about the old days from the folks who were there. Much of this info has come in handy now as I write up this little piece on Highstrung, as I’ve found almost literally NO information on them whatsoever (and of course, I rely on your comments to compensate for the insight that I lack).

Highstrung played my hometown several times in the mid-90’s. And though I never caught them, I did wind up playing a show with them in ’98, opening for The Groovie Ghoulies. Young, obnoxious, and ready to fuck shit up, Highstrung weren’t anything special in the way of their tunes, but their live shows were exceptionally entertaining and their members went on to make some pretty great music in various other bands.

If I understand what I’ve heard correctly, Highstrung actually started out as a band called Fecal Matter. Then only two members, they were both somewhere in the ripe young age range of 13-15. Allegedly, there was a documentary made about them -- and I may or may not have just missed them opening for Propaghandi and Cavity in Birmingham, AL in 1996. Legend has it, their mother did not approve of the “Fecal Matter” moniker, and the band wound up changing the name to Highstrung. After adding a few members, they became the band you hear here on this 7”. The tunes are about what you’d expect from a pack of teenage boys with penchant for speedy beats and beer and an aversion to society, convention, authority, etc.

Eric and Dallas of Highstrung later formed thrash punk outfit Booby Hatch (with Donnie Kendall and Chris Fox of Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot), and considerably successful. full-on thrash metal band Asschapel (also with Chris Fox). Highstrung drummer Roger later joined Pine Hill Haints, Natchez Shakers, and fronted Snakeskin Machinegun.

Rednecks in Pain

As we embark on this foray into Nashville’s 90s punk history, the most logical place to start seemed to be Rednecks in Pain. Since no official information is available to me at current (Google searches are fruitless), the following background info is only what i’ve pieced together.

R.I.P. seemed to be together from about 1988 - 1990 (give or take a year). They released two demos, and two EP’s and remain pretty legendary around these parts. Equipped with a goofy, country boy sense of humor, a nasty disposition, and hardcore punk hooks that could snap your neck, I don’t doubt these guys used to put on a hell of a show.

Singer Cat and guitarist Don Kendall went on to form Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot, who were featured on this blog last year. While the music between the two isn’t a whole lot different most of the time, R.I.P. were a little less focused in terms of style. Tracks like “AK-47” and “Painted a Pretty Picture” stray into hard rock, metal, and psychedelic alternarock territory.

Provided here is 3/4 of their discography. Their second demo cassette, Sick Semen, is mostly there for posterity. I did my best to make it as listenable as possible, but unfortunately, I think this is as good as it gets for 20-year-old DIY cassette release.

Bonus: a little digging turned up this video of a band that may or may not be the same Rednecks in Pain:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Nashville Motherload: Our First Donation

I'm sending out a big thanks -- and encouraging you to as well -- to Don Kendall (formerly of Rednecks in Pain, Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot, Booby Hatch and one of the folks behind House O' Pain Records). Don unloaded a few pounds of old school Nashville punk vinyl on me this morning. So as I make my way through it, this blog is going to be very Nashville-heavy for the next few months.

If you're an old school Music City punker, prepare for a flood of nostalgia and tell all your old homies to stop in from time to time and check it out. If you're like me and heard most of this from a distance - or just enjoy this kind of shit in general, you too are in luck.

bonus link: TMQ Zine Archive has some more info on Don's House O' Pain zine.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Liberty Caps

For a guy who hates ska-punk as much as I do, I sure as hell bought a lot of it back in the day. But hey, I was young. I made a lot of questionable decisions: blue hair, LSD, and super baggy jeans to name a few.

Which brings us back to Huntsville and the skatalogical sounds of The Liberty Caps. The 'Caps were around a good while before I came onto the scene. They were among the first local bands I heard mentioned often in conjunction with Huntsville's long-time rock dive institution The Tip Top Cafe -- which is where I probably saw them each time they played (except for Huntsville's annual music festival, The Big Spring Jam).

I don't know much else about them, except to say they were a reasonably popular band in Huntsville, they were around from 1993 to 1998 (and again from 2006 - 2008), and that they played some unintentionally sloppy straightforward 3rd wave ska fused with other roots-based genres.

Java Christ


I noticed lately, especially with all the Huntsville posts, the Nashville scene has gone a little neglected. This is slightly ironic, I guess, since I now live in Nashville, but actually not so much considering Nashville and Huntsville didn't cross paths much back in the day. Aside from the Teen Idols and Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot, Music City bands didn't frequent Rocket City so much.

Another exception to this is Java Christ. I distinctly remember seeing them on up to three occasions, most especially at Huntsville High School's "Grapefruit Ball" [a public school sanctioned event where I got my first taste of many many classic bands]. The title of this record, Songs to Confuse Slam Dancers, I'm guessing is in reference to the band's tendency to switch it up between ska and hardcore punk -- which of course, isn't at all uncommon in the slightest, I'll try and refrain from slipping yet again into a tangent regarding just how low a threshold I have for ska-punk fusion and focus a little more on this band, even though I know absolutely nothing about them. Fortunately, they have a Myspace that sheds a little more light on their history:

In the Spring of 1995 geoff and nate were in a full-on ska band(w/horns and everything) called Inspector 12.they needed a new drummer so they asked dave to join but there never was a complete practice with all band members present.so geoff,nate and dave decided to just get together and see what would happen as a punk trio.things started to come together and nate recruited ex-bandmate josh (from KY & the Jellies) to sing and so there they were bustin' their chops in a hot-ass garage for a couple of months.the first show was held in the same afformentioned garage along with bands Brazen Youth and Lojaque & the Flaming Nahdbits in dave's backyard at the somewhat legendary(to some anyways) Rosebank residence. As August rolled around there was a series of shows booked at Lucy's Record Shop,The warehouse in Clarksville,The 'Boro,and Haye's House.from there things seemed to take off for about three and a half years the band played shows pretty consistently until 1998.

And that's a hell of a lot more than I could have told you. I will say this title as well as the ska/punk brand isn't all that accurate. The first track, "Gasoline" is actually the only one featuring that special, soulless ska-flavoring bastardized in the way that only suburban white boys can do it. But it's also the catchiest tune on here and one of my faves -- and also the first and last time (thankfully) I've heard the phrase "Gettin' some stinky on my hang-down". The rest of these tracks come straight out of the school of Rancid, with rumbly, musclebound riffs, gang vocals, but sweetened with a little more melody and a dash of humor.

The band has a few more tunes on their Myspace if you'd care to check it out.

Attack of the Huntsville Comps pt. II: Fuck the East Bay

Various Artists - Fuck The East Bay, This is ¡NOK! CD [¡Nation of Kids! 1997]

The Huntsville compilation series continues now with the only other one I own (there were several other cassette-only releases I'm still trying to find). Curated by Joey Tampon, this CD release was originally intended as a split betwixt The Toxic Shocks and North Carolina's Pink Collar Jobs. But Joey was never one to waste perfectly good space on any medium, so he filled the rest of the disc as best he could with odds, ends, knick-knacks and previously released material from a whole bunch of other bands as well.

Most everyone was still doing cassettes and vinyl at the time, so that this was on CD was kind of novel. However, given the questionable choice by Joey to dedicate only one track to each band -- streaming each song continuously, back-to-back -- negates most of the convenience of this format. But it may make for a more interesting iPod experience when the Toxic Shocks' 11 song selection comes up in shuffle mode at your next party.

Some of the bands represented here have already been discussed at length, so if you want more info on The Jawas or The Slackers, look at my older entries.

The 565 Burnouts were a short-lived outfit featuring Neil Delbaccio (The Burning Radios, Toxic Shocks), Jason Burke (Shitboy from Outerspace, Xpia), and Neil's wife Penny. They seemed to be modeled after East Bay faves Blatz, released a demo cassette I never picked up, and played out through the Summer of 1995 before breaking up.

Random Conflict I think it's safe to say Random Conflict have been at it for at least 20 years, save for a short hiatus in the '90s. Coming punk the thrashy skate punk scene of the late '80s, even today, these dudes haven't been changed by the times whatsoever.

The Peeps No scene was complete in the mid-90's without a ska band. While both punk and ska remain enjoyable to me to this day, I've grown to loathe the punk/ska hybrid more than Bill O'Reilly, child abuse, and the Holocaust combined. That being said, I can't help but maintain a special place in my heart of hearts for The Peeps. Subject of a recent, somewhat interesting documentary, this 4 to 8 man ensemble contained members from half the bands in town.

Shitboy from Outerspace This is actually Shitboy 2.0. The first version of the band included J. Tampon, and this short-lived, ressurected edition saw him replaced with Jimmy from Property and The Peeps, Scott Cox from Jabberjaw, and probably someone else I'm forgetting. Also, Elijah Horgan of The Peeps and 5 Star Generals played drums. The band was fronted by Jason Burke, later of The Pins, Paperbox, and now Xpia.

Anyhow. This concludes the Huntsville comp series for now. Hope you've enjoyed,.

Attack of the Huntsville Comps pt. I: Incest is Best

Various Artists - Incest is Best [¡Nation of Kids! 1995]

When in the business of excavating the remains of an extinct punk scene, some of your best nuggets come in the form of the old compilation disc. Typically, these are the work of several bands pooling their hard-earned cash together to put out a singular record, or perhaps a label with more groups on its roster than funds in its account. I'm guessing ¡Nation of Kids¡' Incest is Best comp was a little of both.

¡Nation of Kids¡ was a record label, zine, and music collective run by no one in particular in the early to late '90s. In fact, from what I can tell, Huntsville's The Crypt Kickers were still using the imprint in the early 2000's. What we have here is a healthy sampling that represents mid-90's Huntsville fairly well. The tracklisting is as follows:

Shitboy from Outerspace - "Dead World"
The Jawas - "Pointless"
Themack - "Fight Song"
Property - "Zone"
Puddle - "Astro Chicken"
The Peeps - "Punk Rock God"

The title, Incest is Best references, I assume, either or both the fact we all lived in Alabama and/or the fact that almost all these bands share at least one member. Contrary to popular belief, incest isn't as widespread in the South as one is taught to believe. However, incest among bands in a tightly knit music community is still pretty commonplace.

Bands like Shitboy (old school influenced punk fronted by Jason "Shithead" Burke -- later of The Pins, Paperbox, and now Xpia) and Puddle (another Joey Tampon surf ensemble), had more or less stopped playing by the time this comp made it out. The Peeps* -- HSV's compulsory ska/punk band -- were by far the most popular epresented here with Themack by far the least popular. As misfits within a larger circle of alleged misfits, Themack's glorious lack of conventional cool made the Fonzie hipsters recoil in horror (I mean, really, who the fuck had a computer in 1995, anyway? ) Property may have been Huntsville's longest running outfit (with the exception of Random Conflict) counteracting with pluck and spirit what they lacked in the way of technical proficiency.

So here you have it. Those of you who were there will surely experience at least a small flood of nostalgia. Those who weren't may at least enjoy the long lost spirit of DIY and find a good jam in the process.

* The Peeps track cuts off a little early. As the last track on the B-Side, it runs a little longer than any amount of 7" vinyl will allow.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The 3D's

Photo 593d

The 3D's - Girls Bikinis Guitars and Blood! [1998, Pequeno Records]

The 3D's - Your Heart is Black EP [1997, Arkham Records]

It’s been a long time, friends. But this blog is back in business -- for at least the time being -- with a few more selections of rare Southern punk rock vinyl.

Despite having every intention of being a traditional garagey surf band, The 3D’s stand out in my head as one of the more coincidentally interesting acts in this very narrow niche I’ve targeted -- and believe it or not, it has nothing to do with the fact I was one of the founding members. Rambunctious, barely-tuned guitars banging out basic mod punk riffs that reverberate wildly in and out of sync with a frenetic, virtuoso hippie drummer sounds on paper like it could really either suck or rule, but definitely doesn’t sound anything like the purist rock n roll outfit Joey Tampon intended. For all intents and purposes, it was his band (lots more about Joey in the posts below). He put the group together and it was his vision we circled underneath and inadvertently deconstructed in the process. As much as he wanted to recreate the purist motives of minimalist pioneers like Link Wray, The Sonics, and Nuggets-era Mod psychedelics, he had to rely on a rag-tag personnel of locals with dissimilar interests to see his vision through, steering it slightly off its course of intention. The result is an exercise in immediacy, efficiency, and just not giving a fuck; a reckless, revisionist romp through ‘60s subculture, filtered through modern punk aesthetics and old-fashioned, small-town Alabama angst.

These recordings are rife with mistakes, fuck-ups, and bad choices. The guitars rarely agree on a tuning. Bad chords, sour notes and the like are shrugged off in every song. The band rarely locks together tight with the songs sometimes teetering on the edge of collapse -- but never do. Somehow it all works. Everyone gets from point A to point B, and it’s all delivered with such urgency and certitude that that actually pointing out the shortcomings would just come off pretentious.

Flowery language aside, The 3D's started as an instrumental surf band and shortly moved into more psychedelic/garage territory but were at our very core still a punk band. We had 3 singers (two represented on recordings) total, 2 bassists (a different on each recording presented here), and eventually 2 guitarists when I left the band and was replaced by Robert Daniel (The Peeps, The Slackers, Counter Clockwise). We toured a bit, released some records, and all in all, it was a good time for everyone.

The first recording here is a long out-of-print 7” called Your Heart is Black. Each of the four songs also appeared on our self-released full length Action-Packed. While Joey sings on all of it, we had a new singer by the time this was released, Kevin Wyle. Kevin was replaced months later by Matt Bakula (The Peeps, The Jawas, Counter Clockwise) who sang on the other selection here, Girls, Bikinis, Guitars, and Blood! -- a 16-song, vinyl-only LP which actually features half the songs from Action-Packed rerecorded (we had a new bassist by this point as well). I still haven’t found my copy of Action-Packed, and the band released another 7” (a split with The Runarounds) after I left the band and which I do not own. So these will have to do for now.