IT'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #14.5
J Church and Honey BearRecords – Month of Goddess Maia
She's a killing machine…

 

I'M BACK
Oh, sweet civilization! I lost the internet for a whole week and I felt like I was regressing to a hunter/gatherer. Anyway, I'm back. I'm sending out the J Church live records. I'm catching up with all of my emails. It's fucked at the moment. But I'm getting there.

  

CILANTRO TAPE

I've started a little tape label for fun. It's just something to do to keep some weird little things available. I'm sort of at that point where I can't really stand CDRs, so I've made the live J Church items out of print. I sold about 200 of each, which seems like plenty.

The tape label is called OTP Tapes or Off The Pigs Tapes. It's the same name I used to use when I used to bootleg live recordings of the Clash and give 'em to friends. The first tape release is a collection of Cilantro recordings that wound up on J Church records. It's titled Amounts Of Nothing and features Birthday, A Letter To A Friend, I Can't Be Nice To You, My Lie, Asha Blake, Harvest, Indignation, Earthquake Song, Star Of The Show, Jazz Butcher On A Work Night, Tricky, Enemy Of Satan and Time. Harvest is a Neil Young cover and Time is a Richard Hell cover.

Speaking of upcoming Cilantro projects. I am remixing the lost tapes for the second EP, so hold on if you wanted one. I'm also gonna put together a second tape of all new Cilantro material for a second tape at the same time.

Amounts Of Nothing are $4.00 ppd and you can Pay Pal me at honeybearrecords@....

 

SEISHUN ZANKOKU MONOGATARI US TOUR 2005 part 2

July 3rd – Milwaukee, WI

We all meet up for lunch at the Chicago Café. The fake meat Ruben is unbelievable. I get that, the tea and the soup. Cissie winds up ordering the exact same thing accidentally. We are in synch with the Pedestrians. Love that band. Nice little patio out back too. We leave Virginia and company and hit the road for old Milwaukee.

Robert is running the show tonight so it's gonna be cool. Basement shows can rule if the person in charge knows their shit. It's always a relief to show up at a gig and see someone like Robert around. You can relax right away.

Lots of great bands tonight. Crucial Attack from Reno are great. Old school sXe hardcore, Skeeno style even doing Young 'Til I Die. Classic. Cool guys too. It's great to find poison free kids that are cool and smart and not a bunch of right wing douche bags. They got added to this show at the last minute when the basement they were meant to play got shut down. It sucks for them, but I'm really glad we got to see them.

Lots of bands. Lots of fun. Best of all? Birthday Suit! One of the guitarists from Sweet J.A.P. and a fucking amazing drummer do what truly makes me think of that first great Some Velvet Sidewalk LP. Hanging out at the backyard bar-b-que, I find out that not only was the drummer born in Hawaii, but at Queen's Hospital just like me! That's totally wild!

Hung out all night with Robert and Karoline. We did what we could to help with their bathroom / art project (if you have to ask…) and basically feasted on piles of amazing food they always seem to be surrounded by. I like their house too. I always look forward to hanging out. It's like Gypsy Hill or Yoichi's old place in Shimo-Kitazawa. It's a little relaxing refuge from tour.

July 4th – Minneapolis, MN Robert rode with us today. We also picked up Justin from Chinese Telephones. He's cool too. Robert brought along an amazing CD of Patton Oswalt. It's the funniest thing I've heard in ages. I saw him live once years ago back when I was still in San Francisco. I wanna say it was something with Janeane Garofalo or something. He's the king. He's so funny. I've gotta get a copy of this CD.

The Triple Rock is amazing, right? Of course it is. Now imagine playing there on America's birthday with Dillinger Four. It was a wild time.

Words can't describe the pleasure I got from watching Metallagher. Believe it. They're a surprisingly solid Metallica tribute band fronted by a Gallagher impersonator. While the band ripped through their material, the Gallagher frontman was smashing watermelons and other fruit with a sledgehammer. In between songs he told some classics. "They shouldn't call it 'social security'. They should call it 'so-so' security." all with that nasal Gallagher voice.

Our pals in Heads and Bodies were next. They are another one of those bands who almost have a familiar sound. But because of their instrumentation, there's nobody like them. I've always dug them. But they are especially amazing with the new drummer. At one point I thought he was playing double kick. Nope. He was just powering through.

Dillinger Four were wastedly amazing. They were shotgunning beers and doing shots between songs. At one point, Billy was so gone he didn't even bother playing the song just pounding beers all the way through. He was pretty crazy and obliterated by the end of the night. We were meant to crash at his place. But Paddy saved us from that fate. Got some snacks and went back to his pad and chatted into the wee hours. that was cool as we never seem to usually have the time for that.

July 5th – Carbondale, IL

Lost Cross in Carbondale is like a deleted scene from Suburbia. A punker house barely held together with duct tape for the last decade or so, it was nice to be even the smallest part of that legacy. I mean, it's fucked. The toilet is a disgrace. I don't know if there's running water in the pipes. There is running water on the floor of the basement where the bands play. It's crazy but cool, y'know?

Panic Button were fucking great. Excellent '80s OC style punk with a couple of snotty looking teen punkettes for good measure. A really solid set and it was exciting as you really felt that this was one of those bands that has a time limit. They'll never make it out of Carbondale so you've got to be as lucky as us to ever get to see them. You've gotta appreciate it too as you may never see them again. I've gotta get their demo.

We stayed in the attic of a different punk house. It was dark and I always have a hard time sleeping in these situations. First of all, I really am at the age where I need to shower after playing a show. But also, dark cluttered attic? I always feel like I've set up my sleeping bag on a nest of spiders or something. The girls who lived at the house were cool and at least one of them was arty farty. I mean that in a good way. We were surrounded by big brightly colored canvasses with somewhat disturbing imagery. Now that I read that back, it sounds like I'm making fun of her art, but it was really pretty cool.

 

IN THE J CHURCH LISTENING ROOM

A STATE OF MIND / CHUMBAWAMBA split 7"

For a long time, this record was the template for me. It was catchy punk with a heavy anarcho slant with beautiful packaging that was unlike what most punk looked like at the time. The fact that both were exciting up-and-coming bands made the record seem sort of urgent. It was one of those records you thought was going to be historic.

It turns out that it was mostly forgotten. A State Of Mind only ever got it together to do one more record. Chumbawamba took a different musical path and became superstars. This little split record quickly became a fossil.

But it's great. With the original versions of Invasion and Isolation, Chumbawamba turn in two of their best songs. Fast, guitar pop with rudimentary versions of those vocal harmonies that are their signature. Reflecting what they were doing on their early demo tapes, the recording quality is much better.

A State Of Mind were Bay Area peace punks though not so much of the Crucifix / COP variety. Like Chumbawamba, they weren't so much thrashy and even tried their hand at vocal harmonies. In some ways they were more like Flipper or even Proletariat.

Despite everything, this record has something of a cult appeal though the collector scum have mostly ignored it. I'm kinda surprised none of this stuff ever made it to disc. (Agit-Matter Records)

 

BRAIN HANDLE - s/t EP

First of all, what a great looking record. It's cool and it's punk without looking like your stereotypical hardcore 7". They get the feel of it, which is most important.

They get it musically too. Three great hardcore tracks on the first side. At times, the melodic guitar lines and intense (but not screamed) vocals bring to mind early Articles of Faith and Neon Christ. Other times it's the more straightforward attack of groups like N.O.T.A. or even the Adolescents. Side two is filled with one, long, and painful number that is more reminiscent of one of the slower songs off The Kids Will Have Their Say. It's a great transition for the band. I can't wait to hear what they do next. (Brain Handle, PO Box 10223, Pittsburgh, PA 15232)

 

CONCRETE SOX - Your Turn Next LP

Okay, stay with me now. Concrete Sox were the Mudhoney of the '80s UK thrash scene. Remember when Mudhoney came out and everyone thought they were gonna be the next big thing? For a while, they were the hottest SubPop band. They're still my fave of the original SubPop stable. But all of a sudden they got run out of town by the Nirvana-machine. Ditto for Concrete Sox.

This is the album that really brought that scene to international attention. Children of the Revolution were doing some interesting things and there were rumors of this back to basic hardcore scene happening. Then this album came out and it was everywhere. Awesome stripped down lyrics with a heavy animal rights angle, they were born out of the scene that produced Conflict, the Sears and Anti-Cimex (all bands they namecheck on the thanks list). The cover depicts a fox aiming for revenge on a hunter. They were taking a musical form that had otherwise become more and more thug-like and macho, giving it an intelligent edge that answered a lot of people that couldn't get with '80s straight edge policies though maybe couldn't get with Chumbawamba's music either. It's a ferocious record that, in retrospect, is not nearly as metal as people claimed. It's sort of the epitome with the genre. It even starts with a sample from Suspiria and has an awesome shitty collage on the lyric sheet!

Within a year, Concrete Sox would be overshadowed by the first Napalm Death effort. But they remained a solid band through the good and bad times with this as a powerful starting point. (C.O.R. Records)

 

DEEP PURPLE - Made In Japan 2xLP

I love Deep Purple. Richie Blackmore is one of my main guitar heroes. You can keep your fucking Sabbath's and Zep's and whatever UK '70s hard rock you listen to. For me it was Deep Purple all the way and this record is their finest moment.

Look, this whole seven song double LP is fucking great. Child In Time is fucking insane and I even enjoy that tired old Smoke On The Water. But the one song that is totally worth the entry fee is Highway Star. A great moment on the Machine Head LP, it's a whole new thing live. That song exemplifies at how ferocious the band must have been at that time. They're playing the song at breakneck speed and not missing a phrase. The drums are insane, the keyboard solo is fantastic and the bass is fucking flowing. Gillan belts out the notes that might have got him the Jesus Christ Superstar gig. But most of all, the solo is amazing. Blackmore lets go like never before perfectly blending lightning fast classical passages with Hendrix-like blues breaks to form a solo that's both unusual and jaw-droppingly complex at the same time. This guy was the king. (Warner Brothers)

 

FAITH/VOID - split 12"
FAITH - Subject To Change 12"

When the Faith/Void split came out, it seems like everyone took sides. It was one or the other. Me and my friends went with Faith. In fact, I don't think I listened to the Void side more than a couple of times. It just seemed so sloppy. I probably thought it was too metal at the time. The Faith side still sounds great to me if not a lot rough than I remember. It's Time is like their theme song. Along with Marginal Man, this was a big transitional album for me with the angry guy hardcore lyrics that typified the first wave getting slowly replaced by equally angry, but more introspective words.

Faith's only other record was Subject To Change and it furthers the ideas of the debut. The first wave East Coast hardcore is still there but with open chords and melodic parts that would later define the two bands that came out of Faith's split: Rites of Spring and Ignition. Aware is a fantastic opener with Alec setting the pace with manic vocals somewhere between brother Ian and Crucifix. The chorus of Untitled is an unusual sing along that sounds like Government Issue trying to work out something by the Byrds. It's a real shame that this band didn't do more. (Dischord Records)

 

GORILLA ANGREB - Bedre Tider 12"

First listen and I sort of thought this record kinda sucked. It seemed so powerless and half-assed compared to the energy of their previous recordings. But I gave it some time, came back and really absorbed it. Now it might be my favorite Gorilla Angreb recording.

I think I read a review that Paul wrote in MRR saying that it was the first record of theirs where he really noticed the X influence. I guess I see that to. The first song has a Real Child Of Hell type riff and the downbeat guitar riff of the second song can't help but be a reference to Los Angeles, right? Did the band read any of their own press and let that influence them? Either way it sounds good and they ultimately don't sound anything like X. What I mean to say is that the singers don't sound anything like John Doe or Exene. They've got their own thing and their own odd but engaging harmonies going on. The loose phrasing of the back-up vocals are almost reminiscent of the Au Pairs where as the main vocals are more in the Euro punk tradition of Life… But How To Live It.

Five solid tracks on this record on really nice vinyl. Funky cover art of black humor and sentimentality. I hope they never sing in English. They should be the biggest thing ever. But I kind of hope they stay the underground's best kept secret. (Feral Ward)

 

ZOUNDS - Go All The Way EP

No, the first (and possibly only) offering from the restoration version of Zounds is not a tribute to Eric Carmen and the Raspberries. This self-released EP is what's left of from what I understand was a full-length LP session. For whatever reason, the band weren't too happy with the results and only these three songs are coming out.

I have to say that I really like this little trio of tunes and it makes me really wanna hear what the rest of the recordings are like. It's not typical Zounds. The band is different. Drummer Stick is more known for his work in groups like Doom and E.N.T. Bassist Protag is more known as the Mob's driver. The group has a much heavier sound with bigger sounding guitars and more "punk" sounding drums. In some ways it's more straightforward than the old stuff.

But the vocals and tunefulness is still there and that's what reminds you that you could only be listening to Steve Lake. The songs are three bitter songs about the war and US manipulation. It's great to hear a perspective from someone in the UK that doesn't just feel anti-American, but feels like their government was manipulated by ours.

C'mon guys! Don't split. Get that album to sound how you like and get those songs out! (Zounds)

 

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