Friday, December 10, 2010
The Twistworthy label made its first impression in April '95 with a Houston band called Trigger Quintet, dished on 1,000 copies of clear seven-inch vinyl. And the three songs included would represent 60-percent of the band's recorded work, which is such a tease. The band, of which Mark was a part, was great and its music found me right as I was buried under bands like Constatine Sankathi (with which Trigger Quintet shared space on Slave Cut's great Use This Coupon compilation). But they didn't have a long life.
"Everything that happened with Trigger Quintet seemed to happen so fast," Mark recalled. "We were together for about nine or ten months total."
Calling themselves simply "Trigger," the band marked its first show in October 1994 at a community center in The Woodlands, Texas, Mark said. Noting so many other same-name bands, they added "Quintet" by the second show, but "despite the name change, people still referred to us as 'Trigger,' and as a result we were billed that way on every show of our six-week midwest/east coast tour with Carbomb in June 1995."
"The tour was an amazing experience," he continued. "In a stroke of luck, we received our seven-inch just a day or two before leaving for tour. It was the first vinyl release on my own label (the only previous release being a demo by a band I was in prior to Trigger Quintet). We shared equipment with Carbomb the whole tour, following their van in our drummer Tim's Honda Accord (touring in a Honda Accord wasn't so amazing)."
Carbomb perhaps might not've experienced the same amazing feeling: They broke up about a week into the tour, in Chicago. "Their drummer, bassist and roadie ended up taking a bus back to Austin, so in order to continue with the rest of the dates, Jeb (TQ's fill-in guitarist for that tour) and Tim learned all of the bass and drum parts to the Carbomb songs in a few hours. Chris from Carbomb taught them all of their songs while parked in a park along Lake Michigan in Grand Haven, Mich., and they ended up playing all of the rest of the shows the rest of the way, including the show that night."
While on tour, Trigger played shows with the who's-who. "We played multiple shows with Braid who had just released their first LP (who hooked us up with Fred from Divot Records, resulting in our being included on the Ground Rule Double compilation), multiple shows with Impetus Inter from Minn., and single shows along the way with many other bands we liked like Ezra Pound, Rye Coalition, Action Patrol, Spirit Assembly, Boys Life, the Make Up, Cap'n Jazz, Cornelius, Eagle Bravo, Hellbender, Spanakorzo, Boy Sets Fire, and others I'm forgetting.
"One of our last shows of the tour was in Lake Jackson, Texas, with Daredevil, a band comprised of ex-members of Indian Summer and Ordination of Aaron. This meeting would result in our being included on the Use This Coupon compilation on Slave Cut Records, run by one of the members of that band."
Six weeks of touring through major metropolitan areas should've surfaced some action, right? Well:
"The lowest point of the tour," Mark said, "was being a no-show for our show at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago with Braid and Rye Coalition after witnessing a drive-by gang shooting right in front of the Fireside, just a few feet away from us--and then subsequently getting pulled over and surrounded by cops with their guns drawn for fleeing the scene immediately afterwards. This, along with the fact that Carbomb was in the middle of breaking up, forced us to regrettably not go back to the Fireside that night, so both Carbomb and Trigger Quintet cancelled the show."
The band landed back in Houston with a glad-you're-home-safe show that included Fisticuffs Bluff and the great Nuzzle before another home-state show with Crownhate Ruin, in College Station. "This show, in July of 1995, would end up being our last show," Mark said, explaining Mike decided he was moving to San Francisco, where he joined the band Lonely Broken Radio, which may have included some former Ordination of Aaron and Indian Summer folks. They saw a seven-inch released on Chrysanthemum Records.
Mike appeared in Austin a few months later and formed Desert Jet Set with Tim and Jeb before returning to Houston and initiating Curses All You Vampires with TQ guitarist Brian. Mike's in the Windy City now.
Tim was in the each-accomplished Hades Kick and Rhythm of Black Lines and currently plays in the Austin-based Golden Calf.
Mark moved to Austin in 1996 and has lived through numerous bands. Twistworthy Records is still active (pick up the Flesh Lights debut single, out now!). His current band, Come And Take It, should have a seven-inch out this month.
Here's the Trigger Quintet discog (I posted the Use This Coupon cut a long time ago but these tracks came straight from Mark, who said he got them through another blog, so if you're responsible for digitizing them, thank you, and hit me up so I can give proper credit).
TITLE: (tracks from Trigger Quintet's s/t seven inch and the Ground Rule Double and Use This Coupon compilations)
LABEL: Twistworthy, Divot and Slave Cut, respectively
TRACKS: Senseless in Drowning / A Return Home / Kill Me Before I Die / Slept For Seven Days / Crash Course
Sunday, December 5, 2010
One day in the early '80s my dad lugged a personal computer through the door, which, as early as it sounds, was a long time coming. Our bookshelves were already loaded with code books and program guides, my dad had been part of a local computer club and long before that was involved in amateur radio. Whatever had circuit boards, colored wires and blinking lights had a place in our home (bombs excluded) and although I, at the time our first PC starting glowing, wasn't conscious of all the intricacies, I knew we were a computer nerd family.
Jumping to an evening in the mid '90s, I was, I dunno, working on homework or something while my dad immersed himself in a PBS special called "Triumph of the Nerds," which chronicled the rise of the home computing industry, highlighted its quirks and introduced us to the nerds whose mornings-to-midnights were/are comprised of nothing but producing computer code and the process of steadily eliminating the whites of their eyes. I became immersed after seeing a very familiar t-shirt. Pay attention, it's right off the bat:
Monday, November 29, 2010
From UBF, October 26, 2006: After disbanding in 1996, Action Patrol singer Dave Grant, bassist-turned-guitarist Tom Baisden and drummer Rich Green formed the Episode, which neighbored AP stylistically but couldn't quite deliver the same greats. To my knowledge, they only released one album.
Posted on UBF some time later: I still hang onto the editorial part of that first sentence, but not like I used to. I picked up their eight-song s/t as soon as it came out in 1998, and, after a few semi-enjoyable spins, I shelved it. Action Patrol, I thought, was so much better. The Episode wasn't bad, no, not remotely. But something was missing from their sound. It didn't have--I dunno, something. The crazy, snotty factor? That was probably it. But I never sold the record, just in case something, at some point, popped and I was able to find new bond with it.
Well, about three months ago, I pulled it off the shelf and HOLY CRAP WHAT WAS I THINKING ALL THESE YEARS? What's wrong with this recording at all? I had no complaints and I replayed it time after time and again. More darkness and (here comes that word) introspection (maybe), but, again, complaints none. It wasn't AP's blast of confetti, yeah, but the Episode was in a different mood, and hey, maybe because they were a different project and AP was dead. So simple.
AP fans lacking this release need it. The old spirit resurfaces in "Ronald Reagan Memorial Wing." The rest is boss either way. I'll close by saying that I really hate it when 'critics' review a band based on what its members' older band(s) sounded like, and boy am I guilty here. Why not go back and rewrite it? Ehe, well...
Really is true: The best releases are the ones with which we don't click at first.
P.S. "Good Fear [Up 1/4%]" is just as catchy as all heck.
Oh, and looks like I, in the earlier posts, failed to mention the band was based in Richmond, Va.
Oh, oh, P.P.S. As for the nowadays, Dave has new band with a forthcoming (or potentially out already?) seven-inch. I'll provide details soon if you haven't already learned them. Or, perhaps, a knowledgeable employee can carry that out in the comments area.
Fer now, here's the Episode.
My Cartography Internship / Ronald Reagan Memorial Wing / All The Chickens In Hong Kong / Good Fear [Up 1/4%] / Mercy Trophy / Enameled / Fleering / Palindrome
Friday, November 12, 2010
Well--wait, no--actually my first exposure to Small was seeing a low-budge video on the local access or university channel while at my grandmother's house in Raleigh, and I'm looking for that video on YouTube sans success. I recall it was a music video show, though I don't remember the name. I do, however, remember the following show was called "Club Mix" and a cheap Waterlilies promo canned my attention from there. Weird I can remember that bit of it. Any help, folks?
Anyway, the show with Archers was my first live exposure to Small, was certainly the chief admiration kicker, and I remember I wanted to race home afterward, rip off their sound and present new, blaringly-Small-influenced songs to my then band (the same band that I mentioned in a previous post had done an hilariously inaccurate version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog," which I'll surely upload under a lapse of judgment). Small became my absolute fave in the state (until I heard Cornelius a short time later) and I continue to render their seven-inches unplayable (the needle's gonna cut right through one of these days).
Trouser Press did an excellent job documenting the band's history (read it here), which began in 1991 with early Superchunk drummer Chuck Garrison, Matt Walter, Mike Kenlan and Eric Bachmann, who not so long later rolled off to start the more gruff Archers of Loaf. The Trouser Press piece also explains the temporary Small 23 nameplate that confused the heck out of my then-14-year-old self.
As Fred Mills wrote, the band "didn't plan on duking it out, record-bin-wise, with several other similarly named combos: Rhode Island's Small Factory, Canada's Smalls and Oregon's Small. The northwesterners' threat of legal action prompted a rechristening to Small 23 for a time during the True Zero Hook period (advance tapes of Chin Music also bore the numerically augmented name), but the group reclaimed its original moniker and released its 1994 album as Small."
One release that seemed to wink at fans was the "Toastmaster" / "Pincushion" seven-inch, with the "Small" sitting an awkward distance from the "23," as if communicating "Yeah, we gotta do the '23' thing on this release, but..." (and I don't know what the case was on this one, I'm just sayin').
These are also two of my favorite Small songs (the CD version of this single held a third track, which I regret I don't have), "Toastmaster" being the blatant hit from the 1994 Chin Music album, while flipside "Pincushion" was probably the best of their 1992 yearbook. And it features Eric Bachmann on guitar.
Here you go.
TITLE: "Toastmaster" b/w "Pincushion"
Toastmaster / Pincushion
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Good things in the processor presently. Really. Can't wait, but while we do, here's one of my most frequently played-loud seven-inches. 'Thing is wonderful. Below is the language from an old post on the original UBF:
I first posted this in November of '06, and I figured I'd reconvey that this 7" is one of my absolute favorites. It's just so great. Take a look at the cover for the sake of Christ. They've gotta be one of the best trios I know of. Here's stuff from their website:
POPDeFECT has released seven singles, three EP's, a 10", three CDs, six compilation tracks and been the subjects of "Live With This", a full length documentary film chronicling their tours across America. They have recorded songs for two different movies as well and appeared in a television pilot as the "House Band" (!) Bassist Charlie was even on TV's Jones and Jury program to stand trial for spitting beer on a wormy little photographer who dared come to one of their shows!! (He deserved it). Their last CD release, "LIVE IN BIG BEAR" showcases sixteen live tracks including a number of weird cover songs.
As I wrote in my first Popdefect post from November 2006, one of those cover songs is "Can't Escape Myself" by the Sound (not to be confused with the much lesser Sounds, from Sweden), which, other than being an album highlight, is a great bullet to go on their we-know-our-shit resume.
TITLE: (Puro Desmadre b/w That Was It)
Puro Desmadre / That Was It
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
A bit of time later, I happened across a flyer that made me think: “Someone else had the same idea.”
On a good-looking sheet of paper was, yes, “Hardware,” a band billed among others to play some upcoming show. They were local. And I had no way of knowing at the time that some of its members were concurrently writing my favorite ever North Carolina music in a trio called Cornelius.
By 1996 I had a good enough map in my head regarding who was who (I saw the Cornelius guys around town but didn’t know them yet), what labels mattered (Assorted Porkchops, for one), what bands they put out (Cornelius), and so on. In 1997, when I saw the Hardware seven-inch hit the bin at CD Alley in hometown Wilmington, N.C., and when I turned it over to see the Assorted Porkchops name dance across it, I claimed it.
I’d already seen Hardware play at the Exchange in Wilmington, recognized the faces and dug the music, so. Oh, and a note about that: guitarist Dave Hause told me recently that show might have been the band’s final.
I also recently learned by way of drummer Chris Murray that the seven-inch was essentially put out by Dave and thus was not an official Assorted Porkchops release (AP was Chris's label).
And after recently conducted interviews, I further learned all three Hardware members had some colorful—not always cheery—memories of the band.
Regarding the seven-inch, “Dave wanted to use the cover of the Police's album, Regatta de Blanc, as the front of the sleeve--unaltered!--but I talked him out of it,” said Chris, who also played guitar and screamed in Cornelius. “Didn't want to get sued. He went with the three bike gears instead.”
Five-hundred copies hit in 1997. “I really like the songs on the seven-inch. I think they were our best ever, but I hate the sound of the recording,” Dave said. “Part of it is my fault for messing with the mix after recording.”
“I remember thinking that it sounded pretty good,” said Hardware bassist Mike Dail, who also played bass for, yes, Cornelius. “There was one problem with it,” he said of the seven-inch. “I decided to use Dave's high end--higher end than mine anyway--fretless bass because it sounded so nice. That made the recording go a little longer than it should due to me hitting the wrong notes, and I think some bad notes can be heard on the final product.”
For the record, nothing's ever sounded amiss to me and I always thought the songwriting grand.
“I was never too thrilled with any of the recordings,” Chris said.
“The few people who actually bought the record thought we had a girl singer, and seemed into it until I told them it was a dude,” Chris continued. “Then their enthusiasm went flaccid.”
Said Dave, “I played for a short time in Suburban Propain with Chris. So when I returned to Wilmington from college in 1991 we started jamming together.”
A short piece and a bass player later, they had enough songs for a demo and a few shows. At this point, the lineup included Dave and Chris with Dave Wells on the low end.
“Dave (Wells) was younger; he must’ve been around 17 and still in high school,” Dave Hause said. “It was a pain because playing a show on a weekday out of town was a no-go.”
After a year or so, Dave Wells dropped out and Hardware welcomed Mike Dail.
“I had actually been friends with Dave Wells because we started playing together my freshman year—I played drums and he played guitar—and I would go with him to Hardware shows,” Mike said. “I started playing in Cornelius and getting very into the scene and Dave Wells sort of disappeared. Maybe he was working a lot. Anyway, Dave (Hause) and Chris asked me to play and I was reluctant. I had liked Hardware. I had actually sat through their entire first recording session. I just didn't think it was my kind of music.
“But then," Mike continued, "when I gave playing with them a shot, they had scrapped a lot of the pop-punk I wasn't real excited about for more just garage-y power pop, which I much preferred. I think that the fact that I was obsessed with Unwound at the time made playing in Hardware very fun for me since Hardware's pace was much closer to Unwound's than Cornelius’s--Cornelius's pace is closer to Assuck--and that allowed me to rip off Vern Rumsey more often.”
While Dave said Hardware experienced more cancellations than actual performances (three no-gos in one day, he recalled), Mike said he essentially cancelled his consciousness for some of the shows they did play.
He recalled a house show with Eagle Bravo on the corner of 23rd and Market streets in Wilmington. “I had decided to trip on acid earlier in the day, a couple hours before that show,” he said. “It turned out to be STRONG shit. By the time we had to play I had pretty much lost my mind.”
“The music sounded like a bunch of chainsaws running simultaneously. I am not sure if I was playing what I was supposed to or not. And I have no idea how the show went.”
Mike remembers better a show Hardware played at Pointdexter Records, which in its heyday, before CD Alley opened in 1995, was Wilmington's best record store. Next door, at the famous but bygone Mad Monk, Cornelius and Fugazi shared a bill. It was the only time Hardware and Cornelius played on the same night, Mike said.
Hardware broke up in the summer of 1997, evidently right after the aforementioned Exchange show.
Chris does, however, still possess a box of those seven-inches if anyone’s interested.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The only show my aforementioned 1993-era band played, alas, was to our drummer’s girlfriend, who I suppose had nothing else going on that afternoon, and the cops showed up, but we thought that part was pretty cool and couldn’t wait to tell our fellow 8th graders. Hey, maybe I’ll post one of our boombox-recorded songs one day. After we’d recruited a bass player, we did an hilariously inaccurate version of “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”)
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Plenty in the works: posts of great ol' records, yeah, but enhanced with contributions from the bands' members. I won't name those bands until I have the material in hand, but for clues, some appear on the ABCs of Punk compilation Richmond, Va.'s Whirled Records released in, I think, 1997.
Per the concept, each of the alphabet's 26 letters are represented. I guess the X-Rays were a shoo-in, as perhaps was Quadiliacha because the Queers didn't really fit the bill, but selections for their respective first initials included Action Patrol, Braid and Cornelius onto Rye Coalition, Sleepytime Trio and The Fresh-O-Matics (yes, that's the 'T' band and that's cheating), et cetera.
Eagle Bravo's cut, I will note, is a supreme cover of Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out."
I consider Whirled Records one of the time period's better labels, having released, for example, Action Patrol's full-length and other comps including Attaining the Supreme, which bore one of the funniest ever concepts for cover art. I'll get to that one one day, but for the moment:
Enjoy the ABCs of Punk. Here's part one. And here's part two.
TITLE: ABCs of Punk
LABEL: Whirled Records
Action Patrol - Benign
Braid - Bridge to Canada
Cornelius - Novels of Our Grandfathers
Doc Hopper - Iron Fist
Eagle Bravo - Steppin' Out
Four Hundred Years - Sequence
Gus - Hand to Mouth
Hellnation - Information Barrier
In/Humanity - Super Plan B
J Church - Socialist Newspaper
Kerosene 454 - T-Minus 100
Less Than Jake - Son of Dick
Men's Recovery Project - Fresh Frankness
Norman Mayer Group - Albeit L
Oblivion - Hey Chewbacca
Pezz - Mokunker
Quadiliacha - Ben Burton Park
Rye Coalition - We Have Ridden
Sleepytime Trio - Flake City
The Fresh-O-Matics - Death on I-85
Unsettled - Genocide
Vanderbuilderass - I Think I Can See
Wesley Willis - I Can't Drive
X-Rays - Totalled Baby
(Young) Pioneers - The Marching Blue Ants (Of Strongarm Robbery)
Zoinks! - Pedestal