After freaking out at how good the record was, I asked Sick Sick Birds frontman Mike Hall to run through their album "Gates of Home" and drop some wisdom about the songwriting process on each track. The record was released on vinyl by Toxic Pop Records in March of 2012.
From the canceled issue #1 of Eighty-sixed Fanzine.
“Pick and Choose”
I think the lyrics on this one are pretty straight forward. Mostly, this is about the idea that it is easy to critique someone else’s words and actions, but much more difficult to be in the position to actually make things happen. Candidate Obama can offer one-sentence definitive statements like “I will shut down Guantanamo,” but President Obama finds out that maybe (for whatever reason, pick a reason) it’s easier said than done.
It’s also a reference to passive, sarcastic snarkiness in the realm of politics. Snarkiness can be an excellent cover for laziness. Just say, “They’re all a bunch of bums,” to mask the fact that this is a topic of which you know very little. This song is about being jaded on the jaded.
Writing this song was really uncomfortable and challenging. I was trying to imagine how difficult it must be for a kid to come to the realization that he/she is gay. Adolescence is hard enough when you are deemed “normal” by the masses. It is an awkward, unsure time. Imagine trying to navigate through that time with this secret growing inside of you. All of the public debates over laws and public policy are one thing. This song is intended for more of an individual and personal level. I was writing not so much about the global level of intolerance, but rather the one-liners that you encounter from people that you love and trust. I imagine that would create an environment where you feel like you have nowhere to turn. How could it not?
I was so apprehensive about writing this song – it felt a little presumptuous, like I was claiming to know how it felt. I was so apprehensive, in fact, that I bounced the lyrics off of a good friend of mine (who would be able to compare the lyrics to his experiences growing up) for quality control purposes.
Great opportunities often come at inconvenient times. This song was based off of a short story by H.G. Wells called “The Door in the Wall.”
Musically speaking, I knew when we wrote this that it was going to sound like an early Cure song. Normally, when I am concerned that a song sounds too similar to another band, I try to address it in the mixing process. For example, “this sounds like a Smiths song, let’s mix it so it sounds like something off of Husker Du Metal Circus.” For some reason, on this one, I decided to just go with it, and let it sound how it wanted to sound. So Dan (see Dan Black, below) mixed it so that it would fit right in on Seventeen Seconds.
This one is about an aging scenester trying desperately to hang on to her social relevance. Same bar, same drink order, same heckling routine for the bands that come through town. The crowd at the bar is slowly getting younger as she is getting older. The more songs I write, the more I realize I am revisiting themes that I have written about before. This one seems like a companion piece to The Thumbs “All Lesser Devils,” that Bobby and I wrote together.
“One Town Over”
This is a punk rock “grass is always greener” story about someone moving from town to town, based on an idealized view of a band or scene. When the person gets to the new town and sees the warts, he moves on, not realizing that the warts are the good stuff. I think it is more rewarding to make something better instead of constantly moving on in search of some dopey, nonexistent punk rock paradise.
The opening guitar line was the first thing that I wrote for this song. I have always been fascinated by the relationship between chords and melodies. Specifically, I like songs where the melody repeats itself even when the chords change underneath it. Take something familiar and look at it in a different way. That’s what I was trying to do in the beginning. Starting out with a bright poppy melody, and then when the words come in, change the chords underneath and it darkens right up.
The first line I wrote for the song was the one about driving past Dahlgren Lab. It’s a reference to the Dahlgren Naval Surface Warfare Center, which I have driven past many times on Route 301 in Virginia. It’s just such a dark-sounding name to me, and I have always wanted to use it for something
“(Cross the) Shipping Lanes”
You know how when you mow the lawn, the back and forth creates a striped pattern? I was looking at the pattern while I was mowing, and the line “gonna’ cross the shipping lanes” kept going through my head.
So then I started thinking about a fictitious old guy contemplating the (lack of any) meaning in his life. He used to dream big – he was going to do big things. Never really got around to it. Never actually had any ideas of what to do, just the idea that he WANTED to do something. So, he gets it in his head that he’s going to invent something to cross the shipping lanes. Well, lots of things (boats?) can already cross shipping lanes, but that did not deter him. I tried to be really vague in my descriptions, because that is how the character would interact with people. He “just built the greatest thing,” but it’s unclear whether he actually built anything at all, or if he’s just a crazy guy disappointed in his life.
We did some shows in California in 2010, and got to spend some time with our friend Anna, a transplanted Marylander living in Hollywood. For whatever reason, in some conversation, Anna noted that olives tasted like tears. I wrote it down in the margin of whatever book I was reading.
"Gates of Home"
This song is based on the short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Pierce. I first read this story in middle school, and always loved it.
The past two records (“Heavy Manners” and “Gates of Home”) were produced by Dan Black, of The Oranges Band fame, among other things. Dan is the first engineer I have ever worked with that really “produced” our records. He has a great, unassuming way of taking raw tracks and, by addition and subtraction, adding to the flavor of a song. Sometimes he helps to build a song based on our descriptions of what we envision, and sometimes he goes off on his own based on where he hears it going. It has been a great relationship.
This is a case of a song that I thought was decent, but needed something to make it really good. I had the idea to mash it together with Olive, but other than that, I had no idea what to do for it. So I asked Dan to work some magic do whatever he wanted with it. If the song ended up just so-so, we would have left it off the record and gone with 10 songs. Dan really completed this song – he added the pounding tom beat, and chopped the music in the beginning so it started with vocals. He also added the Gang-of-Fourish guitar parts and the synth. This ended up being one of my favorite tracks.
During the production phase of the records, it’s always a treat to get an email from Dan with a track that he has been working on. It’s like X-Mas morning. We love that guy, and really consider him a member of the band.
“New Shoe Leather”
A friend of ours was writing a blog called Aural States that was devoted in part to the local music scene in Baltimore. He was embarking on a new project and asked to come over to the warehouse and record some live versions of a few of our songs for a segment on Sick Sick Birds. In addition to recording 3-4 of our regular songs, he asked if we could come up with a short instrumental track that would serve as the Intro for the show. The intro for the show later became New Shoe Leather.
I guess that I have written about Baltimore and Maryland in a number of songs over the years. In this song, there is a line: “A true middle man like Maryland.” Maryland is technically “southern,” as it is the first state below the Mason-Dixon line. But people in the deep South tend to think of Maryland as northern, and a lot of people in the Northeast tend to think of Maryland as southern.
For any historians out there, I highly recommend Maryland: A Middle Temperament by Robert J. Brugger.
Scaffold is the oldest song on the record, with its origins going back to 2000. We had put out The Thumbs “All Lesser Devils,” and were working on writing the songs that would become the final Thumbs record (“Last Match”). I had a couple of parts written that I really liked. So, at practice, we would try to finish this song by coming up with some complementary parts. Then, we decided that the new parts that we had written were strong enough to be a song on their own, so we removed the original parts and finished off the song. This happened maybe three other times – every time we used these parts to write a new song, it turned out that the originals did not exactly fit right. It was like these parts were the scaffold that we used to build the songs for the record. Once the building was complete, we removed the scaffolding and used it to build the next song. This was not our intention, but it’s the way it ultimately worked out.
It wasn’t until Last Match was written and released that the song “Scaffold” was finally finished. We recorded a demo of the song in 2002, but The Thumbs were done and the song was shelved. We played Scaffold occasionally during Sick Sick Birds live sets, but never recorded it until the “Gates of Home” sessions. I really like how different the Thumbs and Sick Sick Birds versions ended up sounding.
The lyrics for this song are a continuation of a Thumbs song called “Where’s the Battle Cry?” that I co-wrote with my wife about a person helping a good friend through a bad break-up. Once the heartache from the break-up dissipated, the friendship suddenly dissolved. It seemed like the relationship had been so dominated by the processing and aftercare involved in dealing with the breakup, that afterwards, the person could not handle the emotional reciprocity necessary for the friendship. Maybe the friendship was a constant reminder of darker times. Or maybe the newly-renovated version of the person simply no longer needed the friendship. This reminded me of the original parts of Scaffold. The lyrics are about being someone else’s scaffolding, helping to rebuild someone, and then being disassembled and stored for the next project.
This is the only song that I have ever worked on where there is such a synchronous relationship between the music and the lyrics.
Lee Blades (drums)
Mike Hall (guitar, vox)
Eric Jacobsen (guitar, vox)
Melissa Jacobsen (bass, vox)
John Irvine (trumpet on Olive, Conversation and Scaffold)
Tim Baier (guitar on Conversation and New Shoe Leather)
Daniel Black (guitar and keyboard on Gates of Home, additional instrumentation and arrangements throughout)
Produced and mixed by Daniel Black.
Drums and bass engineered by Tanuj Kundhi.
Design and layout by Michael Welch.
Other Stuff from cancelled issue of Eighty-sixed Fanzine:
An interview with Gerge from Pretty Bullshit.
An interview with Bricks from C.R. and Phallacy
An interview with Micah from Unwelcome Guests
An interview with Keith from Avow Zine
A track by track explanation from Sick Sick Birds about "Gates of Home" LP
A column by Jeff from Thanks and Lost Cat Records
Here's a column from the amazing Jeff Varner who runs Lost Cat Records and plays in Thanks. After exchanging e-mails about bands, songwriting, punk, etc. for months and reading some pretty great posts on the internet, I got the idea that this dude would be good at writing a column. A few short days after asking him to write something on the topic of songwriting for 86'd zine, this is what showed up in my inbox. I'm sorry about this not coming out in print form, but hopefully someone will prod Jeff into a monthly column somewhere else... MaximumRockNRoll? - Wells
From the cancelled issue #1 of Eighty-sixed Fanzine.
I sit around all day putting off my top priorities. Lately I've been indescribably lazy and lethargic, but I'm getting pretty good at describing the indescribable. When I wake up in the morning (between noon and two P.M.), I take in a couple huge breaths of air. For whatever reason, my lungs and stomach object to the morning breaths, causing an itching painful sensation in my entire torso. This instigates a series of passionate coughs. When my eyes first open in the morning, the first thing I do is anticipate this ritual discomfort. It's a dreadful emotion, but I get over it quickly thanks to my second daily anticipation; coffee. I take a deep breath, then another deep breath, then I go make my coffee. I pour six to twelve cups of water into the stinky and soiled sludge factory, before cleaning out the grounds from the day before. It's nasty, especially when I've been out of town and mold is collecting on the aging coffee flavored dirt. If light can penetrate my brew, it's not strong enough. I fill my stained white "Electric Fetus" coffee mug, and top it off with three ice cubes. These cubes enable me to chug the bile in seconds without burning my stupid mouth. I repeat these steps until I've had four or five filthy mugs worth. Some days I drink six, if I lose count.
Things get interesting after my coffee, but not really. There's only one thing on my mind; working on the new Thanks record. I think about working on the record, I talk about working on the record, I listen to my demo takes for the record, I become frustrated with my preamps and external hard drives not working properly, then I go sit with my friends and discuss other peoples records. I put off my top priorities, like I said. Maybe I'm afraid that I can't meet the absurd expectations I have of myself, and so I procrastinate by talking music. We talk about the music we love, and we talk about the music we can't stand. I don't know which entertains us more, but we talk for hours. Once in a while, when nobody is around, I actually get ambitious and start working on the record. I sit there trying to convert my ideas into lyrics, which often makes me want to pull my hair out. Lyrics "come to me" at the weirdest times, and I write them down on the weirdest things. I've got some pizza hut receipts in my room, from when I used to be a pizza ninja at Pizza Hut. When I was on the clock, I would get an idea, grab a pen, and jot it onto a blank piece of paper. I could summon all the paper I wanted from the receipt printer, thanks to a nifty little manual feed button. When I got home, I would pull the baby song from my pocket, and throw it onto the floor. I've still got a hundreds of these abandon songs scattered across my disastrous room.
My dog peed on some of them a few weeks ago, because my room is his litter box. They weren't important ideas, so I threw them out. In his most recent offense, he defecated a mountain of filth onto my JBL sound reinforcement manual, which had to be thrown out.
My mom calls me creative, I guess this is what "creative" people do. We're about as organized as a bowling ball in the coral reef (but songs have to come from somewhere, you know). One time I wrote a song about Pizza Hut's garlic sauce. Please don't go out and buy this sauce. It's very addictive, yet doesn't taste very good. One time we sold twelve hockey puck sized containers to a single customer. He claimed that he was "a slave to our garlic sauce". He was addicted, but I bet he didn't actually like the stuff. Anyway, I don't know why on earth I would write a song about Pizza Hut's garlic style sneeze condiment. I guess I was mainly inspired by the idea that the sauce was full of preservatives. It was a song about a girls remorse for partaking in science class animal dissection, as well as the horrors of war. I ask myself; how did garlic sauce provoke my creative energies to write a musical piece with this sort of subject matter? There must be something/s wrong with me. My point in short; you can write a song about whatever you want, as long as you're in touch with yourself.
People ask me how to write lyrics, and I usually tell them the same thing; "figure out what you have to say, and then say it". I tell them that songwriting is nothing more than self communication. The better "in touch" I am with myself, the more self relevant and personally significant my songs become. If I'm singing about something I don't really care about, than I usually end up loathing the song. The more I care about my songs, the better I perform them. People can see me more clearly when I write and present my music more accurately with my emotions.
When I talk to people, I don't feel like I'm communicating optimally. I feel like I'm almost always saying the wrong thing or sending the wrong vibe. I feel like I'm speaking in the wrong tone. I feel like my words are misunderstood. I often get the idea that I'm being too dramatic, or too serious, or not serious enough, or too subtle. When it really counts, I rarely utter a sentence which correctly lines up with my intentions. When I'm writing a song, I feel that my emotional accuracy improves.
I want to tell people what's on my mind, but I can't say it all. I can't seem to get it all out. I feel like my ideas are a painting, which sits thirty or forty feet behind glass. Music helps me push it forward. At times I become so sick and frustrated with life that I start to become mentally fatigued (this is when I think my weirdest thoughts). One day a few months ago (back when I had three jobs) I was particularly miserable and sick of it all. I was working with a dying patient as a PCA, among many other patients who were in rough shape. In addition to the stress of PCA work, I was cooking at Pizza hut, teaching drum lessons, working with the band, and overcoming a ridiculously painful heartbreak. I chewed my reality the way caged animals chew the bars of theirs, and came to the following conclusions;
We are natures delusions, scared and confused. We create delusions of our own. Sometimes we call them songs, segregating and manipulating them into albums on various formats. We tirelessly try to communicate our perceptions to others, we modify and repeat the ideas of our musical ancestors, peers, heroes, etc. As both songwriters and humans, we're sprinkled across this gargantuan yet simultaneously microscopic sphere, floating majestically through space. If we have anything at all, it's something to observe. Artists are champions of observation. Songwriting is among the most accurate methods of human communication. We can convert our ideas and emotions into lyrics and melody. I'm going to go clean the house now, because I feel bad about myself.
Other Stuff from cancelled issue of Eighty-sixed Fanzine:
An interview with Gerge from Pretty Bullshit.
An interview with Bricks from C.R. and Phallacy
An interview with Micah from Unwelcome Guests
An interview with Keith from Avow Zine
A track by track explanation from Sick Sick Birds about "Gates of Home" LP
A column by Jeff from Thanks and Lost Cat Records
Just wanted to do a quick update about about Boston, MA's Peeple Watchin' as they just posted their new record as full album stream. We did a couple of records on 86'd for the guitar player/singers' old band The Credentials. After that band broke up Peeple Watchin' popped up first with a demo, then a split 7"with Nona and now the LP "Somethin' Ta Tell Ya" which you can stream below...
The LP is being issued by Nervous Nelly Records which is run by the ever-cool Brian Thompson formerly of the band Dead Uncles (whose posthumous LP will be out on 86'd sometime in 2013). We're printing the LP jackets here at Solid MFG on a nice brown chipboard which should look super-good.
For local homies, Peeple Watchin' is playing on Long Island later this month with Fellow Project, Go Sell Drugs, Crow Bait, and Timeshares.
Hello again Internets!
Here's the conclusion of the Solid MFG's Twenty Twelve Top Twenty-Two! This time we count down from #11 to #1. After going through these I realize I'm showing my age here a bit - as a good number of the records are either reissues or bands made up of oldies like me.
I'm looking forward to more good stuff in 2013. We've added a bunch of new products to the site - so next year should bring some more 10"es and 7"es to the list.
If you missed the first half of the list, you can check it out here.
#11 - MAUSER "ISOLATION" Jacket for 12"
Mauser needs neither explanation nor justification for being on this list. See here. Vinyl Rites is record label and shop located in Gainesville, FL. Dan, the man pulling the strings behind the curtain, was one of our first customers starting out and for that his label will always hold sway over our hearts.
#10 - DISCOUNT "HALF FICTION" Jacket for 12"
This is a reissue of the classic 1997 album by Florida's Discount. The reissue comes courtesy of Meth Mouth Records.
#9 - ARCTIC FLOWERS "PROCESSION" Jacket for 12"
This is the 5-song EP that the band self-released for their Summer 2012 tour. Totally ripper female-fronted four-piece from Portland, OR. Arctic Flowers plays awesome peace/anarcho type stuff with deathrock elements. This was recorded at Buzz or Howl Studios and mastered by our bud Dan Randall at Mammouth Sound.
#8 - ALGERNON CADWALLADER "SOME KIND OF CADWALLADER" Jacket for 12"
I first came across Algernon Cadwallader back in 2008 when they pressed up CDs for this release at the old CD replication place I worked at. I've kept in touch with the prolific Peter Helmis over the years trading records and letters. This is one of my favorite albums of the past bunch of years and I'm psyched to have had a part in the vinyl pressing, now in addition to the CD!
#7 - PLOW UNITED "NARCOLEPSY" Jackets and Inserts for 12"
One of my favorite records from the late 90s is back from the dead, courtesy of the Lehigh Valley's favorite son Chris Reject, over at Square of Opposition Records. I first heard Plow United sometime in 1996 when they played a pizzeria in Levittown, NY. I picked up the awesome "West Chester Rock City" EP. Years later - just before they broke up - they played Cedar Beach in Mt. Sinai, NY. It was before "Narcolepsy" was released, but they played a few songs off the album including the cover of Billy Bragg's "Island of No Return." Helluva show. Helluva band. Download the album for free here.
#6 - THE MAGNIFICENT "BAD LUCKY" Jackets for 12"
There was so much good stuff on Dirt Cult Records this year. For me, this is the album that was stuck at the top of the heap. This is the second full-length from Northern England's The Magnificent. The whole thing is perfect. I could describe it to you, but why? Check it out here. Aside from Dirt Cult, this record was released and distributed internationally by Drunken Sailor Records and Just Say No To Government Music in the UK, and Eager Beaver Records in Japan. Can't wait to see what these dudes do next.
#5 - LIKE BATS "MIDWEST NOTHING" Jackets for 12"
It was probably inevitable that I'd get into Chicago IL's Like Bats, but it took a while. And it was all my fault. I first saw them in March of 2011 when my band played with them in in Boston, MA for Smash It Dead Fest. I missed their set but picked up their 7". In the midst of moving places I never played it. Almost a year to the day later I got my first order for LP Jackets from John Wilkes Booth Records... It was for Like Bats "Midwest Nothing." As luck would have it, my band played with them again a few months later in August on Long Island. This time I caught their set and it was killer. I even caught some of it on video. I gushed to the band, picked up the LP, and it's been love ever since.
#4 - BASTARD NOISE "GALACTIC SANATARIUM" Jackets and Insert for 12"
We did the jackets and inserts for this one and couldn't be more psyched about the whole thing. I've been a servent of the skull since hearing Man Is The Bastard for the first time on the awesome Anger and English compilation 2x7" issued by Long Island label Framework Records sometime in the mid-90s. All these years later it's awesome to have printed the jackets and inserts for Bastard Noise's "Galactic Sanatarium." The release was issued by the ever-cool Yonkers, NY based Haunted Hotel Records and limited to 300 copies on purple vinyl.
#3 - BAADER BRAINS "NEW ERA HOPE COLONY" Jackets and Inner Sleeves for 12"
This is one of those releases that I'm just plain proud to have worked on. The LP jacket was printed full color on extra-heavy stock with a matte U.V. finish and inside black & white printing. The inner sleeve was full color coated stock with a matte U.V. finish. Aside from the stuff we printed, the release also included a poster and a sealed letter to the listener. I worked closely with Spencer from the band to make sure all the templates, colors, etc. came out exactly as the band intended. Released by Clean Plate Records and Ebullition Records.
#2 - SICK SICK BIRDS "GATES OF HOME" Inserts for 12"
We didn't do the jackets on this one, but we were lucky to sneak in and print up the inserts for the awesome Toxic Pop Records. I have a track-by-track album explanation feature laid out and waiting for release in the oft-mentioned but still-forthcoming 86'd fanzine. I loved this record all year long. If you did a job through Solid MFG in 2012, I was probably listening to this record while I worked on your proof PDFs. You can stream Sick Sick Birds "Gate of Home" here.
#1 - TOYS THAT KILL "FAMBLY 42" Gatefold Jacket for 12"
I bought my first punk record on vinyl sometime in 1995. It was the Propagandhi / I Spy split 10" issued by Recess Records. It wasn't long before I was buying more and more records from the prolific label - including, of course, label-dude Todd Conglierre's band F.Y.P. When I started releasing records for Long Island punk bands later that same year, I'd be lying if I said Recess Records wasn't one of the inspirations. I've been manufacturing stuff for Recess since sometime around 2005 - first doing CD replication and now record jackets. Recess Records and the way Todd goes about creating and releasing music remains an inspiration. Oh, and this record rips just as hard or harder than all the awesome stuff Todd and friends have done before... F.Y.P, Toys That Kill, Underground Railroad to Candyland, Stoned at Heart, and the solo stuff!
Thanks for reading! Come back next year!
Our first full calendar year is almost done here at Solid MFG. So, to celebrate, I went back through the list of jobs we printed in 2012 and picked a bunch out for top ten list. I wound up with way more than ten, so I present to you the alliterative Twenty-Twelve Top Twenty -Two!
This is only a smattering of the awesome stuff we did. The list includes the projects I enjoyed working on the most... either because the music ripped, the artwork was awesome, or the customer is just plain fun to work with.
Looking forward to more great stuff in 2013!
#21 - PHOBIA "REMNANTS OF FILTH" Jacket, Insert, Poster
Did this Phobia LP jacket, insert, and huge poster for the legendary Deep Six Records. Very cool that this classic grind band is still grinding. I grew up buying a lot of different stuff on Deep Six, so I was especially pumped to work on this release.
#20 VICTIM CACHE 7" Folder
The Victim Cache guys are some of the nicest people I encountered doing Solid MFG in 2012. I first hooked up with Tim from the band on the DIY Labels forum on reddit. This 7" is Victim Cache's first vinyl release and I was proud to be involved. You can check out stuff from the band on their website here.
#19 - WOOLLEN KITS "FOUR CHILDREN" LP Jacket
Trouble In Mind Records is one of the more prolific labels we work with. I mentioned to Bill that my girlfriend was really into Wollen Kits and BAM! Just days later, the 7" and CD showed up in the mail. After we printed and shipped the LP Jacket BAM! again. A few weeks later the LP showed up. I'm really glad to have hooked up with Bill and Lisa from Trouble In Mind this year - great people and a great label.
#18 LA ARMADA "S/T" LP Jacket
We've done two printings of the La Armada "s/t" LP for Memphis, TN's Fat Sandwich Records. The band, originally hailing from the Dominican Republic, has been touring the U.S. nearly non-stop since recently relocating to Chicago, IL. Cool release! Check it out here.
#17 - SWEARIN' "S/T" LP Jacket
Detroit, MI's Salinas Records issued the debut LP by NYC/Philly's Swearin' in June of this year. Good stuff! Check it out here. Or better yet, pick it up here.
#16 - ODZ MANOUK "S/T" LP Jacket
California Black Metal on the awesome Final Agony record label from Los Angeles. Originally released on cassette in 2010 and reissued on LP with sick packaging in 2012. The record is beautiful heavy black vinyl in solid black dust jackets. We printed the LP Jacket on extra heavy stock, solid black on the inside, and black with metallic silver on the outside with a U.V. Gloss. Killer! Check out a track from the album here.
#15 - LIPSTICK HOMICIDE / BILLY RAYGUN "SPLIT" LP Jacket
The Lipstick Homicide / Billy Raygun split 12" is a ripper of a split, with killer artwork by Bill Pinkle, put out by the awesome John Wilkes Booth Records along with Bloated Kat Records. So ripper in fact that it was pressed twiced... so far! We liked it (and David from JWB) so much that we picked some up for the 86'd Records distro. Alas, it's not listed yet, so pick it up here.
#14 - NUDE BEACH "II" LP Jacket
It was pretty cool to be able to do this jacket. We handled the first pressing, which was self -released by the band, before being issued by Other Music. These dudes are originally from Long Island, so it was cool dealing with drummer Ryan Naidau on getting this jimmyjammer set up. And hey, that reminds me: Check out Ryan's little brother's band Giant Peach and his record label Life on an Island. I like 'dem Naidaus.
#13 - FAILURE FACE "DISCOGRAPHY" LP Jacket
This is the discography for killer fast and screamy 90s hardcore band Failure Face from Brandon, FL. The record was issued by the mighty Give Praise Records. I first heard Failure Face on their 1994 split 7" with Ulcer - a record I've worn well over the years. Hearing the rest of this stuff definitely doesn't disappoint! Stream some tracks here. Pumped to have worked on this release and nothing but praise for Give Praise Records.
#12 - O INIMIGO "IMAGINARO ABSOLUTO" LP Jacket
O Inimigo is a longrunning hardcore punk band from Sao Paulo, Brazil. This LP was issued by Nada Nada Discos (Brazil) for their 2012 US tour. Ripper stuff and a cool layout. We're very proud to have been able to be a part of this release in our small way!
Check back in a coupla days to check out #11-#1 on my Twenty-Twelve Top Twenty-Two. Stuff from Sick Sick Birds, Bastard Noise, Mauser, and more!
A bunch of Stupid Plots stuff
Just a short post with some great news... well for me anyway. The amazing Japanese pop-punk band from the late 90s Stupid Plots will be releasing a discography CD in the coming year.
I don't think many people in the U.S. know about Stupid Plots (a search on discogs comes up empty). To be honest, I don't even know if they were very known or toured in Japan. But to me, they were best Japanese band of the 90s. Between 1995-2000 I exchanged a bunch of letters and record trades with Shogo from the band, who also ran a label called Roadside Records. I'm sure a quick search of my old letters box would turn up more than a few kind letters from Shogo.
I was happy to hear from him again earlier this year when he posted some Stupid Plots videos on Myspace.
Stupid Plots "Mr. Official" Video
Stupid Plots "Escape" Video
Roadside released mostly Stupid Plots stuff, but also had a couple of releases from the awesome band Silky that featured Shogo along with his future wife Akiko singing.
Silky "Leave The Nest" Video
Logo from Little Hand shop
It's been 12 years since Stupid Plots or Roadside Records has been active. Shogo and Akiko now run an antique shop in the city of Fukui in the Fukui Prefecture of Japan called Little Hand. You can check their website here.
I'm not sure of the details on the discography yet, but I am sure that I'll have copies available for distribution here stateside through 86'd Records and Distro. I'm very psyched for this! I'll be digging out all my old Stupid Plots, Silky, and other Roadside stuff later today to give them all proper re-listens! Thanks to Shogo and Akiko for being so nice and awesome!
More details can be had at the Little Hand site: http://ameblo.jp/littlehand/entry-11423738691.html
Screenshot from updated Solid MFG website.
Finally! After an unprecedented amount of both hemming and hawing I got the new products up on the Solid MFG site! I've been doing inserts for 12" vinyl for people almost since the beginning of the company. And some of the other stuff like like folders for 7" vinyl and stuff has been rolling for a couple of months. But none of it has been listed for instant quotes or automatic template downloads until now.
But I think I'm most excited about the newsprint stuff. We're now offering newsprint posters / folded inserts. I haven't done any of these yet (unless you count the one I did for 86'd back in 2010) so I'm itching to do one. Newsprint posters also enjoy the distinction of being the only products listed that I don't have the templates done for... so getting the first order for newsprint would edge that particular to-do item over the it's current hump of looking at this picture of a newborn baby in a basket of 20 dollar bills surrounded by Jurassic Park VHS tapes.
It looks like 2013 is going to be a monster year for 86'd Records. I
only did one record in 2012 and that was under duress! I was broke as
shit, but utterly unable to pass up helping release the first record by
Through the miracle of massively multi-label split releases (MMLSR?) it
didn't set me back too far - and I can sleep knowing that when I croak
my footnote in the grand and storied history of Krupted Peasant Farmerz
AH! But enough of the past. The future holds a bunch more records... and gulp... the fanzine? We'll see.
barring any other too-good-to-pass-up releases I'll be doing 5 vinyl
releases in 2013. All of them are split releases with other labels... a
network of friends as they say.
Rubrics "Apathy is an Institution" 12" LP
I first met Ryan and Kerri Beth from Rubrics when Ryan's old hardcore band This Mountain Is Man was on tour and played Dead Broke HQ. His wife Kerri Beth was along too. This Mountain Is Man was fucking killer. I bought a tee-shirt, a hand screened CD-r demo, and exchanged phone numbers with Kerri Beth. After a few texts we lost touch. Flash forward a year or so - I hooked up with Alex from Get Better Records to trade some records and help book a show for his band Burning Bridges here on Long Island. I came across Rubrics on his bandcamp page and was hooked. I traded for as much Rubrics stuff as I could. When word went out about the LP in late 2012 I wanted in. Get Better Records and the band were organizing and pressing the record and assembling a group of labels to help with funds and distribution. I bro'd down on the phonewith Ryan - figured out it was the same dude from This Mountain Is Man - and the rest is herstory!
Check out some older Rubrics stuff below.
bugger should be out sooner rather than later and will come in a B+W LP
Jacket and will be stuffed with a huge newsprint poster and probably
some other goodies.
Dead Uncles "Stock Characters" 12" LP
photo by catherinepeyton on flickr.
Uncles from New Haven, CT is one of my favorite punk bands of the past
bunch of years. I first heard 'em when I was looking to do a record for
The band suggested a split with Dead Uncles. I checked out what I could
online and fucking loved it right off the bat. I wrote to Brian, the
bands drummer, and got my hands on everything I could - the self
released "Cut Down To Sighs" 7", a self-titled 7" on
Shock To The System label,
and a split cassette with Dylan Bredeau. All killer, no filler. I put
out the now classic (in my own mind) Dead Uncles / The Credentials split
7" and was fortunate enough to meet the guys and play a show with them
up in Cambridge, MA for Smash It Dead Fest.
Check out the Dead Uncles track from the split 7" with The Credentials below.
Sometime between Smash It Dead and now the band broke up. But not without
recording an EPIC full-length first. The album was released in limited
quantity on cassette - but never available online for sale. The band
resigned to the fact that "Stock Characters" would be filed in the
dustbin of history.
My reaction was "this aggression will not
stand, man!" Mark my words, I am going to will this masterpiece into
existence on vinyl in 2013.
Rations "Martyrs and Prisoners" 7" EP
is back. Out of about 20 songs that we had written we picked out 6 and
recorded 'em with Tia's brother Ian. We recorded live on reel-to-reel
tape (overdubbing vocals and lead guitar) in Ian's cavernous shed in the
woods of Fort Solonga, NY. On our last record (How Much Land Does a Man
Need? 7") we worked with 10 different labels in 6 countries to get it
to the masses in the most decentralized and personal way available to
us. This time around we're aiming to double the number of labels
involved and try to hit a few more countries too.
Our goal is to
get small quantities of our records to as many local scenes as possible
to encourage hand-to-hand purchases and trades among labels and distros.
Our hope is to use the occasion as an opportunity to strengthen our
relationships with the international D.I.Y. punk conspiracy and to help
further connect the network of ideas, music, and trade that happens
outside the mainstream. We aim for counter-culture, not sub-culture.
Here's a song from the new 7" live on Long Island in August of 2012. Hosted by the awesome Razorcake zine.
Utter Failure 12" LP
Utter Failure will be heading back to the studio with the inimitable Bart Thurber (Spazz, Swingin' Utters, KPF, Fifteen, J-Church, Capitalist Casualties, etc., etc.) to record their debut full-length. This will be the follow up to last years debut 7" and the currently planned 4-way split 7" with Fast Asleep, No Mistake, and Rat Bastard. If the songs from those two records are any indication this record is going to FUCKING RIP.
pretty well established that Krupted Peasant Farmerz is my favorite
punk band of all time. And Utter Failure is continuing in that mighty
tradition. Helmed by the brothers Fraser from the Farmerz and joined by
members of Shitkickers, Saros, Apeface, and more, the band expands on
the KPF pantheon without re-treading or betraying what it was. Fuck it,
I'm floored. Check out the 7" below.
Here's a bit from the rumor mill: The album might have a cover of the awesome KPF song "Fuck Your World" that appeared on the Farmhouse '94 compilation. The bands been playing a bunch of shows around hometown San Jose, CA and are shooting to have the record out by April.
Thanks 7" EP
Thanks is a garagey lo-fi pop-punk band from St. Cloud, MN. It's got Ryan and Jeff from the awesome Lost Cat Records making up 2/3 of the trio. Their 2010 demo tape is killer as fuck. I first hooked up with these dudes when they kindly asked Rations to contribute a track to their "Box of Sand" cassette/CD compilation. I've never met either of them in person but that hasn't stopped me from pestering them with creepy e-mails with requests for new Thanks demo tracks and late-night calls for digital affection. I consider these guys buddies, even if only through the ether. Jeff, who I surmise is the primary songsmith, has a column written for the perpetually upcoming 86'd Fanzine issue #1. I'd been hearing grumblings about a Thanks 7" for a while, but always kinda vague and non-committal. When it came time to budget for my 2013 releases I sent the guys an e-mail demanding the record come out. I pleaded with them to let me send them money. It worked: 86'd Records will be chipping in on the split release along with Lost Cat Records and others!
Ill Fated... But Still Ill
yeah, yeah. The fanzine will be done shortly. I know I always say that,
but I always mean it too. So, we'll see. Interviews with Gerge from
Pretty Bullshit, Bricks from C.R. Phallacy, Keith Rosson, and Micah from Unwelcome Guests. It's got a track-by-track run album explanation of "Gates from Home" by Mike Hall from Sick Sick Birds,
plus columns and other bullshit. The original idea behind the "fanzine"
in the record label logo was to compel me to actually finish a fanzine,
as I've started and abandoned as many as I have actually issued over
the years. Mark my words!
Another oft delayed project is the
"Celebrity Internment Camp" instrumental hip-hop concept album from the
beat collective of Urban Sasquatch, Hindsight Genius, and the Red Carpet
Hobo. This is gonna be an extremely limited CD release that will
include a DVD and fold-out comic. Ayayay.
Oh, and the Traffic Violation digital re-issues. FUCK. I think I've bitten off more than I can chew here.