IT'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #10.5
The Occasional J Church and Honey Bear Records Newsletter
June 2002 - Here comes the Summer
Well, summer is fuckin' here and I guess I'm gonna try my best at being
something of a productive guy in the next month and a half. As some of
you may know, Liberty is spending the next couple of months in China so
I'm here at home all alone and very prone to depression. I'm gonna try
to keep real busy to fight the boredom. Expect a lot of stuff to be coming
out of here in the next few weeks.
STORM THE TOWER
Finally, the fucking Storm The Tower 7" is ready and you can order
it for $3.50 postpaid. This young hardcore band from here in Austin is
one of the best things going today in that genre. After seeing some of
their great live shows I was lucky enough to get them to want to release
some music on Honey Bear. Their debut four song EP includes the tracks
Song For FM, Gods Of War, Intravenous
and Plan Zero. Send cash or cashiers check / money orders
to Lance Hahn at 1071 Clayton Lane #506 Austin, TX 78723.
SINGLES CLUB HAS FINALLY STARTED
Remember that last newsletter when I said the new singles club was done
and in the mail? I lied. They were done but they were also sitting in
my living room. Now they are going out and you should be getting them
real soon if not already.
What were they? Two 7" EPs. The first is a four song live record
from Hard Skin. The second is a five song EP by J Church with all unreleased
songs. Ours includes covers of All The Wars by Anthrax
(the UK band) and Sacrifice by Rudimentary Peni.
Yes, you can still join the club and get both of those records. If you
are in the states, send $45 to the above info. If I can get enough people
to join, I'll make it seven records instead of six. Next up are singles
from Cringer and Semiautomatic.
NEW COMP WITH A HALF ASSED SONG
Okay, there's a new compilation CD out and it's got an unreleased J Church
song. 1157 Wheeler Avenue is an anti-police brutality
CD that also features unreleased stuff from Strike Anywhere, Anti-Flag,
Common Rider, Lawrence Arms and Squirtgun. Our song is out of the vaults
and is titled Off The Pigs: Nobuyoshi Araki And William Vollman
As Personified Arguments Against the Vice Squad and it sounds
like it. Yeah, now that I hear it, I really wish I could have taken the
time to go back and re-record the vocals. They were done just as a guide
track for this demo recording. They're pretty terrible. That guitar solo
is a little, uh, presumptuous? Anyway, if you really want this, you can
order it right from me for $8 post-paid.
The singles club should take me up to HB038 and the Storm The Tower EP
is HB039. HB040 is going to be the DFI CD. DFI is the amazing Dave Didonato
in a project that is equal parts Orthrelm, the Fucking Champs and Thrones.
He's also been known to play shows (once opening for the Fucking Champs)
of just amazing Eruption-like solo after solo. It's a brilliant sounding
record as well. We're shooting for an October release.
In conjunction with that will be HB041 which is the J Church CD Palestine.
This is the title I've been talking about for the past few months. I think
I've finally got it all edited and the layout mostly together (or at least
together enough to send to Revolver).
I'm going to do as much of a full court press as possible on these records
so if you have any suggestions on ways of promoting these puppies let
NEW E-BAY AUCTION
Yeah, I've gotta find a way to offset the costs of all this stuff (especially
the promo / advertising aspect) so I'm pimping back catalog stuff and
various collectibles that I just can't justify hanging on to anymore.
To find them all, go to E-bay and search under HONBR. I'll be adding things
over the next month as well.
HONEY BEAR RECORDS STREET TEAM
No, I don't have the cash to start a skate team (but after seeing Dogtown
I'd really like to try…). What I am trying to sort out (and this
seems to be what a lot of people are doing these days) is a street team
to help promote Honey Bear Records in different cities. In a nutshell,
when a band on the label comes through your town, I'd like to send you
a bunch of fliers and whatnot to post up. In exchange, I'll give you some
free stuff and a shirt and whatever else I can think of to help compensate.
There is so much to do, if you are interested at all, just let me know
is kind of cool.
Jeff is one of my favorite old roommates so you should check this
out. His artwork might be San Francisco's best kept secret.
site is also cool with artwork from folks from the Subtonix (RIP…
such a fucking shame they split up) and Phantom Limbs.l
STUPID PUSHY BANDS
Oh, and Forstella Ford can go to hell. They came to Austin and their
drummer and roadie were complete assholes. Hey, it ain't our fault nobody
turned up to see your band. Fuck off.
Okay, it's the start of summer and even though I'm living in an unbearably
hot climate and my world would probably be a lot nicer if I never once
saw sunlight, I still love the concept of summer. In a tribute to that
I'd like to write something about what I think of as
MY SUMMER MUSIC.
I guess I should start by defining what I think of as being "Summer
Music". I'm not necessarily talking about songs with the word "summer"
in the title or in the lyrics. I'm not even really talking about songs
with lyrics about the summer. I mean in it partially in the English sense.
You know, it's songs that have really summed up great things about certain
summers gone by. It's a feel and hopefully you'll know what I mean. The
songs aren't necessarily fast or slow. They're not disposable or profound.
I guess they're all songs I would love to hear booming out of a boom box
or a stereo while at a summer afternoon party. Think of it this way: if
I were making a mix tape for the summer, here would be my picks.
Too Late by Snuff - Might be my favorite song of theirs
and I'm not totally sure if it's about the girl from Lush. But this is
a great, jump-around-the-room kind of summer song and is quintessential
Snuff. When that first mid-tempo change-up happens ("That's why I'm
still thinking about the times and places…") I feel like I'm
right back in the moment at one of their gigs.
Don't Wanna See You Cry by the Hard Ons - Side 1 of
Love Is A Battlefield starts off with a hopping pop punk
number long before pop punk had so many negative connotations. Buzzing
around the room, pop that can be as meaningless or meaningful as you like.
Like a lot of the songs I'll be mentioning, this is the kind of tune that
you'll wanna hear while on a road trip to nowhere.
Inbetween Days by the Cure - People always associate
the Cure with Goths and all that dark stuff and related silliness. I never
could understand that. Probably it's just because fans of both the Cure
and Specimen wore big shirts and make-up and broaches. A lot of songs
are light and breezy and that's when I think they might be at their best.
Oblivious by Aztec Camera - That last one made me think
of the sweeping acoustic guitars of this, the ONLY thing I've ever really
enjoyed by this band. Still, it's worth finding the record in the dollar
bins for the one track. Put it on a comp tape and you'll never have to
think of this record again. I mean, this almost verges on being a wine
cooler type of summer song. But I like to think of it as more of a drinking
on the beach sort of ditty.
William, It Was Really Nothing by the Smiths - It's
hard to only pick one song by the Smiths for this category. It would be
just as right to choose Cemetery Gates or I Want
The One I Can't Have or Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now.
But this one seems to round off the trio of sweeping acoustic guitars
nicely. It's about rain. But I always think of rain songs as taking place
on an otherwise sunny day. It's with the understanding that rain is a
Through The Flowers by the Primitives - I know most
people only know this band because of Crash which is
great. But this is probably the first thing I heard from them. It's a
shame they couldn't follow through on all of this pop music promise. I
dunno. I guess Through The Flowers is nice to me because
it's a really sort of sad song about walking in the sun and sort of reflects
how depressing that can be.
Cool Guitar Boy by Heavenly - I still think that Heavenly
Vs. Satan is the best thing they ever did. Everything on this
record is great. But this one is really about running around London with
friends eating and drinking myself into bankruptcy. London really does
live for its seasons in a strange way. For such a modern city, it's all
strangely… I dunno… almost pagan in it's interconnectedness
with the seasons. This is the Sarah indie pop version of that.
I Could Be In Heaven by the Flatmates - In the similar
vein of girl pop but more along the lines of the Ramones, it's hard to
believe America never caught on to the Flatmates. I guess that would also
explain why the Muffs first album didn't go platinum (like it should have
done!). Either way, one of those sweet songs about hopelessly fleeting
love. The best summers of your youth are those where you had been able
to sustain a crush for all three months. Unrequited or not, the chase
is usually better than the catch.
Los Angeles by X - Maybe it's got something to do with
the scene in the movie The State Of Things by Wim Wenders
but I do associate this song (and a lot of stuff by X) with driving around
LA (always observational on my part as someone who doesn't drive). This
song makes me think of the heat wave I lived through back in '88 (I think)
while living in Hollywood and Kingsley.
Corona by the Minutemen - It's obvious as hell. But
all of Double Nickels on it's own could be a great soundtrack
to LA in the summer. Something about the production of that one in particular,
the twang of the guitar, captures something about LA for me. It's almost
corny. It's almost abrasive. The whole record makes me crave Mexican food
for some reason.
I Remember by Naked Raygun - again, it would have been
equally just to pick Soldier's Requiem or Wonderbeer
or Vanilla Blue. But this one is especially nostalgia
inducing while the song is completely propelling. All Rise
is definitely my favorite record of theirs. Something about Naked Raygun
was always so able to catch that feeling of déjà vu that
only a few others are able to induce. There best songs stir you inside
and leave you not really knowing why.
Let's Get Tattoos by Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine
- I still maintain that whatever good there might be in Andrew WK or whatever
stems from Rocket From The Crypt and Carter. A really underrated single
by the once loved band, it's a slightly classier version of Let's
Get A Party Started or whatever the hell that song is called.
Just What I Needed by the Cars - It's not rock and
it's not new wave and you couldn't totally call it pop music. What were
the Cars? This is everyone's favorite song and you are always happy when
it comes on the radio.
On Top Of The World by Cheap Trick - hidden behind
Surrender is another great pop gem on Heaven
Tonight. Almost written like a Randy Newman song, another great
song that reminds me of staying out late as a teen and pre-teen taking
advantage of my parents lax attitude. This is like driving around with
a bunch of your friends in their parents car late on a week night with
nothing to do `cos it's July.
Do Ya by ELO - one of their straight forward rockers
and a leftover from the days of the Move, this song is mostly three BIG
power chords. There's not even much of the strings on this one. Still,
not as corny as Ma Ma Ma Belle. Definitely cruising down
the road music.
Jet by Wings - I know. I'm a loser. I just love Wings
and this songs is just another summer song for me. In fact, it's a perfect
summer song. It doesn't fucking mean anything and yet it tricks you into
feeling sentimental for something that never existed. It's catchy as hell!
Young Americans by David Bowie - I'm not really a huge
Bowie fan. There's a lot of stuff that I think is okay and some stuff
that I think is interesting. But I think all the dress up stuff was always
pretty dumb. So I have no shame in saying that I love this record and
found it infinitely more interesting than all the Ziggy Stardust crap.
Truly a bar-b-que anthem for the hipster jet set.
Shining Star by Earth Wind & Fire - What a rippin'
band! Brutal guitar solo from outer space! The chorus is as smooth as
a cool breeze. Earth, Wind & Fire's Greatest Hits
is a must have. Shining Star is for me about being a little kid and hanging
out with my Aunt listening to cool shit on the radio. She may not have
thought it was cool. But it made me think of a childhood crush of sorts.
All Day Music by War - Ditto for this band's amazing
greatest hits. Way the hell laid back, this one makes me think of backyard
parties from the afternoon and into the evening. There's nothing like
some lazy horns in a major key to make you think of the joy of that brief
time where the sun is going down and it's still light out. It's a relief
and the bugs haven't started buzzing around yet.
One Of A Kind Love Affair by the Spinners - I love
the album that also includes Could It Be I'm Falling In Love
and I'll Be Around. If you gotta pick one, I guess it
would have to be this one as it's not as well known as far as the hits
go. Great off-speed drumming that I never really noticed as a kid. It's
a sad little song with a really funny piano break.
Tell Me Something Good by Rufus and Chaka Khan
Ooh, its so hard just picking one song for my summer mix tape. I almost
equally want Hollywood to be here. I guess I have to
go with the raunch over the mellow this time. Chaka Khan, I don't know
what else there is to say. Great vocoder/talk box as well preceding the
summer sounds of Daft Punk.
When You Were Mine by Prince - Not the cover version
by Cyndi Lauper, but the original. Dirty Mind is one
of Prince's best records and at least as raunchy as Controversy.
But hidden with all the songs about incest and casual sex this little
pop song was tucked away. It almost sounds like Helen Love or something.
Overkill by Men At Work - Seriously, who would have
thought that these dorks could come up with something so touching. Their
most understated single is really the only thing tolerable about this
band. I think some alt. rock type band did a bad cover of this a few years
ago. Maybe picking something by such a useless band is obscenely sentimental.
Even the sax is about letting you get out your secret David Sanborn fetish
that first surfaced back on Young Americans. It's really
a warm night time song fueled by Vodka.
My Old School by Steely Dan - Man, those horns are
just like the last day of high school. I guess the whole song is about
reminiscing and taking an early summer vacation to Mexico. It's funny
how even looking back in anger at ones youth can be a joyful experience.
I Want You Back by The Jackson Five - Okay, kind of
an obvious one to end on. But you have to go out big. I think I've heard
this song at least once in every great summer I've ever had in my life.
IN THE J CHURCH LISTENING ROOM
FEEDERZ - Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss? CD
FEEDERZ - Teachers In Space CD
I first remember hearing the Feederz on KTUH's punk show back when I
was a kid. People just couldn't get over the song Jesus Entering
>From The Rear off of the Let Them Eat Jellybeans
compilation album. It's funny that with a line-up that included Black
Flag, the Circle Jerks, the Bad Brains and more, the Feederz (and Really
Red) stick out more for me.
So, it's a brilliant coup that Broken Rekids sorted out a re-release
of these two classic and sadly collector item records. Included along
with most of the original packaging are the complete LPs showing the bands
evolution as well as capturing the raw nerve of music that even now seems
like "caustic" personified.
The neo-Situationist bent seems contemporary along the side of so many
current bands (from grindcore to Shiner) that have to varying degrees
shown an interest in the movement. Yet, their approach to the artist /
audience dynamic (as is obvious with the record titles) is less about
projecting a dystopian image and more about playing the trickster.
The result is a smart bunch of music that doesn't talk down to you and
at the same time doesn't "dumb down" it's content. The music
is solid `80s style punk rock. At times, there is a real garage element
to it. Other times it is almost like improvisation. Generally speaking,
it's amazing how memorable all of the tunes are. Though part of the charm
is the low tech production (and I mean that only in comparison to the
over-production of the last 10 years) this is not just an archival curio.
These are classics and it's nice to see them back in circulation.
LAST OF THE JUANITAS - Time's Up LP
I just saw these guys a few weeks back with the Fucking Champs and Drunkhorse.
I'd heard some cool things about them. I didn't realize until that night
that John who used to drum for Aminiature was in the band. I hadn't seen
him since the Ear of the Dragon tour with them, J Church, Seam and Venus
Cures All. Whatever happened to them?
A funny thing happened as the band were finishing their first song,
the last few seconds of a Lakers / Kings playoff game wound down with
the Kings victorious. Just as the band finished the last note, the buzzer
sounded and the whole audience cheered. The band must have thought it
was the most emphatic responses ever.
Last of the Juanitas do deserve that kind of response. With some really
messed up arrangements comforted by three powerhouse players playing in
an intense, verging on pathological style, it's funny that the band often
get compared to the Melvins. The heavy parts are heavy and the Melvins
are sort of the yardstick for heavy (mostly because nobody knows who Harvey
Milk were). But there's a bit more to this pie than just the crust.
San Diego as a concept is being maintained be a few great bands progressing
and calculating in scientific fashion as if distortion and noise were
mathematical philosophies that could be infinitely compounded. There are
many different versions of this theory in practice. Hot Snakes are certainly
a good example of one. Black Heart Procession would be another. Last of
the Juanitas find their own wave of quantum roar. Not that this is math
rock, but more like ontological noise rock with it's inexplicable interconnectedness.
They just might be psychic.
Of course if you're not ready to make any attempt at finding higher
meaning in interplay of three rockers having a night on the town, then
the rock can still get ya going. I was almost taken aback at how rock
this record was. Sometimes they are gonna challenge you to think (crazy
"version" of Max Roach). Sometimes they pay the bills.
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