C-90 split tape of two free-improvisation outfits, released on Minneapolis-based E.F. Tapes in 1995. Wrong were a guitar-based free-noise-rock outfit, sometimes a duo, usually a trio (when they had a drummer) from Minneapolis, which included E.F. tapes co-proprietor Emil Hagstrom otherwise known for Cock ESP. I was really into these cats at the time. Dragged my girlfriend at the time up to Minneapolis once to see them play at The Red Sea once with The Amputease and some other EF acts. She didn’t get it at all. Jeph Jerman played drums on one of their tracks here via mail collaboration; the first 6 tracks are a live recording with Chad Popple on drums (see also this). Finland Subterraund were from Italy and this tape is pretty much all I know about them but I think currently I actually like their side better. Jacopo, the leader of this group, plays a lot of wild saxophone and a little bit of atonal guitar. They cover Archie Shepp and Sonic Youth on here and dedicate a track to Cock ESP.
A compilation by the short-lived DIY label started by The Eggnogs, which besides this only ever put out Eggnogs stuff and the Rianisis CD The Binocular Twist as far as I know (Rianisis being the solo recording project of Frodoe bassist Ryan Hutchinson). The title was suggested by my good friend Noel Isley. An interesting slice of late-’90s eastern Iowa rock. Tracks by The Eggnogs, Speed Of Sauce, Rianisis, A Is Jump, Autocrash, Jacob Mathis, WorstCaseScenario, Volumen, Fear Of Falling, The Bassturd, Frodoe, Vernon, Shane & Doug, Lunastar, No Consensus, Polyorchidman, Rusty Metal Primer, and a couple extra bonus bits of fun.
I’ve written a bit here about the renewed interest I’ve been experiencing of late in the people and sounds of the 1990s home-tape/lo-fi/music/noise(core) scene and as it turns out I’m not alone. Social media has brought me back into contact with many of its key people and bunches of them are still making interesting music or noise to this day. Brian Noring himself seems to mostly stay out of that stuff, but a Facebook group called The F.D.R. Recordings and Brian Noring Tribute Page, set up to disseminate and exchange information, discussion, and reminiscences on the music of Brian Noring, has lately shown signs of sprouting a resurgence of mail-based trading in the homemade experimental musical arts. In that sprit, even though I have a lot of my own output (and some merely related to me by friendship) available online (such as on my bandcamp page and the Ragman Records Archive) I am strongly considering re-issuing certain items on CD-R for mail-order/trade.
So here’s a file of mp3s from an old tape that I actually have gotten permission, for a change, to share here at the Farm, since I had already whipped up the 256Kbps files for my own personal use: a classic 1995 cassette release by some-say-legendary Des Moines home-recording/lo-fi/noise artist Brian Noring, one of many he created and released under the name E H I on his F.D.R. Recordings tape label. Brian, via a 1993 issue of a zine he did called Friends Of The Draft Resistance are primarily responsible for my adventures into the tape scene and noisecore everything related to that.
The music itself is some of the best lo-fi postindustrial music to come about in ye olde tape scene, ranging from harsh distortion noise to a kind of Casio take on industrial electronica. Check it out.
Make It Stop came my way via the noise tape underground. I first heard them via the inclusion of the track “Breadfuck” on the original Audio Terrorism compilation on Chaotic Noise Productions, an early incarnation of what is now CNP Records, home of such excellent noisy projects as Mutwawa, Bermuda Triangles, and Suppression. “Breadfuck” was easily my favorite track on Audio Terrorism, so I wrote the contact address listed for Make It Stop in the cover insert to see how I could get more of their stuff and told them how it reminded me of early Swans. Got back this tape and a note saying “thanks for the comparison to Swans, they rule!” and this tape became one of my all-time favorite and most-played musical possessions.
Apparently Make It Stop sent out quite a number of these, all with the same first 4 or 5 songs but the remaining content subject to some variation, sometimes including snippets from The Boredoms’ Pop Tatari. Make It Stop’s own stuff here is some great sludge-noise-rock with lo-fi 4-track production many of the tracks instrumental, other with vocals consisting of seemingly random series of spoken phrases; the conspicuous exception here being “Buzzfuck,” a sort of mystical stoner-doom tune with more traditional vocals/lyrics.
A download of a slightly different version of this tape is available over at Sluggisha but I think the sound is better on mine, which also has a couple more tracks on it. I later got a second Make It Stop tape that included the contents of their side of a split tape with Tub Of Noise, also available at Sluggisha, and which I highly recommend. Make It Stop’s tracks on it are even more trudging and fucked up, whereas Tub Of Noise is all tight, dissonant, and riffy like the best 90s AmRep/T&G style post-hardcore rock. In another twist of chronology, two of the songs from Tub Of Noise’s side were included in a mixtape that the Make It Stop folks included for me as the B side of this first Make It Stop tape; also in that mix were Breadwinner, Boil, Geezer Lake (whom I later managed to dig up two awesome full-length CDs of that I still like a lot), and Shiny Beast, which included some current member of Red Fang, who are playing here in Des Moines at House Of Bricks in a couple weeks. Perhaps I’ll put up that and some of the 2nd Make It Stop tape (which had some cool live stuff) in future posts.
Among the acquisitions from my used tape trawling at the old Cedar Falls Co-Op Records was this odd little item. Obviously the cool-looking cover was a factor in the decision. Musically it’s a horny concoction of electronic drums, nicely grooving bass lines, gauzy washes of shoegazey guitars reminiscent of Curve evoking deep-summer heat and steam rising from grates over humidity-glistened city streets at night, and a deep-voiced lead vocalist, mixed right up front, who mostly speaks, sometimes half-sings, occasionally moans, sexually-charged lyrics like Leonard Cohen on a mix of ecstasy and painkillers. Listening to it gives me a bit of that “what if someone walked in right now” feeling like being alone watching some cheezy softcore Cinemax shit on TV — if only they had thought to work in some echoey saxophone while they were at it — but the rhythms and swirly guitar give the music some great atmosphere. Working from clues on the tape and packaging I figured out that this was a project of a guy named John Hanes, well-known in the Bay Area as a drummer who was in Romeo Void and Chrome and is still up to some pretty interesting projects to this day; he’s got a website at purelovepower.com.
I was totally about to post Slughive’s self-titled self-released 1995 cassette EP as part of The Centipede Files, but found that one of the band members, Joel Anderson, later of The Vidablue/Ten Grand and then Tornavalanche, had beat me to it putting up a Facebook page for Slughive containing a link to a downloadable Soundcloud set of aforementioned cassette. These guys were local regulars of the mid-’90s Boat House scene in Cedar Falls that I mentioned in the earlier Behemoth post, and one of the most loved therein. They started out under the name Wormhole, and after catching one of their early shows I wrote in Clipper Gore something to the effect that they were awesome and sounded kinda like Season To Risk gone off the rails. Get set for some heady, aggressive noise rock and check it out.
One of my favorite pastimes in the 1990s was hanging around Co-Op Records in Cedar Falls picking through the used cassette racks looking for stuff that looked interesting, or especially anything that looked self-released or like a demo tape. Part of the reason for this was that I had a startling lack of ability to hold down a job consistently in those days so funds to spend on music were limited, and I could score a lot of these sorts of tapes there for $2 each. I probably drove the management of that place nuts hanging around but maybe they were glad I was there to clear out some of this particular inventory.
Anyway it was either by this means or by its being mailed to us for review in the zine I wrote for, Clipper Gore, that I came into possession of this 1993 cassette by something called Daas. The package is immediately eye-catching as the cover insert is a plastic transparency with black printing on it, such that the tape itself is visible through it.
The music more than holds up to the expectation this creates that you’re in for something interesting. Four tracks fill up a 60 minute tape with electronic drums, ominous clashy synths, abstract samples, and noisy guitars. Some of it sounds like it could make good soundtrack music for some apocalyptic 80s action movie — you can almost see an Apache helicopter silhouetted against a heat-shimmer sunset by the middle of “The New Happiness.” The B side is entirely devoted to a single 27-minute piece “This Depth Venom” which features the closest thing to lyrics on here, a guest spoken-word appearance by someone named Alva Svoboda.
About the only information related to this that I’ve been able to turn up online is this home page for one of the two main members, Art Simon. It looks from that like he’s had other music projects, including at least one more Daas release that I’d love to hear but can’t begin to imagine where one would find a copy of now; Art hasn’t seen fit to put much in the way of his music up on his website, which is rather a shame — and this MySpace profile pertaining to the other member, Dan Harris.
There was this place in Cedar Falls we used to call The Boat House. The Boat House is actually the colloquial nickname for the North Shore Boat Club Beach House in Island Park, a little building on the river with some boat docks behind it that you could rent half of from the city for about fifty bucks during the warm parts of the year, and that was a common place to put on shows until it was badly damaged in the flooding of 2008 and torn down. Black Flag played there in ’86. In the mid and late 1990s, guys from a local band called Thinner used to book all kinds of really cool noisy-heavy bands to come play there. Iceburn played there a bunch of times. So did this band out of Minneapolis that called themselves Behemoth — not to be confused with the metal band, in fact I think they even modified their name to Bohemiath upon getting wind that the name was also claimed by a more famous band, but I also think that was about where the band started to fizzle out. This Behemoth was a power-trio with oddly detuned instruments that played a really unique style of heavy dissonant instrumental progressive rock. Their drummer was a guy named Chad who went on to play with Wrong for a bit, followed by The Gorge Trio, which I think involved some guys from Sicbay and maybe Dazzling Killmen, and who even later may have been involved with the Iceburn Collective, it’s hard to say and my memory of things could be scrambled.
To my knowledge, Behemoth only had one release and it was this five-song cassette. By the time I got around to buying one they had run out of cover inserts for them. This tape rip is taken from my copy and this stuff rules. I’ve never heard another band that sounds like this.
Came across this at a thrift store some years ago. Amway and thing like it have been kind of an obsession of mine for many years, something I arrived at by finding lots of their tapes when mining thrift stores for sampling material. It was a big recurring theme/element in Flight Attendants, but before I found this I hadn’t realized that there was already such a thing as music about Amway.
The Sanborn Singers were a singing group of whom all members also happened to be Amway direct distributors and which performed at Amway conventions. My lazy-ass research (read: “Googling”) has uncovered one other album by them, 1969′s Sing Out For Free Enterprise, released a good eight years before the date on this tape. From the track listing it appears that this album may have reused a couple songs from the older album. Most of the Sanborn Singers’ repertoire on that album was old-fashioned standards and patriotic songs, but this one has more of their original Amway propaganda songs, which take up pretty much all of side A in fact, and are definitely what makes this worth your time. (Some other fun Amway sound bites can be found here.)
Around 1994 or 1995 a bunch of copies of this homemade cassette album appeared in the “local artists” display at the since-defunct Co-Op Records in Cedar Falls, Iowa. It’s awesome — old-school industrial electronica with a dark sense of humor, seemingly made on an old Macintosh with really grungy low-bitrate sampling. It’s all glitchy and dirty and noisy and kicks all kinds of ass. I played the hell out of my copy back in the day, and I made this 192Kbps mp3 digitization from that copy with my computer. A few years ago I managed to track down online the Robert Williams credited, exchanged some emails, he imparted that he made this album while a student at University of Northern Iowa, made mention of possibly putting it up online, then nothing came of it and I lost all track of the guy. So now I’ve gone and done it myself because this is too good not to share.