Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Armageddon Records: Singles Volume 2

Armageddon was a three-headed label: its founders were Richard Bishop, Peter Dyer, and David Loader. Dyer apparently spent a lot of time in Atlanta: his US label Press Records once shared an address with Danny Beard's DB Recs label (as well as Beard's venerable Wax & Facts record store). 

This is why Armageddon's roster included a number of Atlanta and Athens musicians (Kevin Dunn, Method Actors, Pylon, and the Swimming Pool Q's). Some Armageddon releases appeared in the US on the Press and DB labels.

When the three founders parted ways, Richard Bishop* started Aftermath Records* and briefly continued Armageddon's numbering scheme with 12" EP's by Paul Roland (fka Midnight Rags). David Loader started the labels Quiet and Shout

Watteau Music, the publishing arm of Armageddon, also released a single by Rhythm Method (a pleasant ska version of Paul Anka's "Diana"). An LP by Rhythm Method was slated to be ARM 13, but was not released.

Prior to the aftermath of Armageddon, another dozen singles appeared, featuring everyone from Adrian Munsey and his orchestra to the brothers Bruce and Guy Woolley; Amsterdam's Schlaflose Nächte; and -- unlikeliest of all -- Geordie's take on "Nutbush City Limits" (recorded after Brian Johnson left Geordie for AC/DC). You'll have to find that last single yourself, if you really want to hear it.

It was when Mythkoz recently posted The Optimists' rousing Oi version of McCartney's "Mull Of Kintyre" that I was inspired to collect the rest of the Armageddon 7" discography. A tip o'the tam o'shanter once again to Old, Weak, But Always A Wanker!

* - not that one. 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Armageddon Records: Singles Vol. 1

Armageddon Records' debut single was intended to be "Zip Zip" b/w "Unpleasant Stain" by Maureen And The Meatpackers. An acetate of these pre-Soft Boys recordings exists, and was assigned catalog number AS 001. 

Among the very first actual Armageddon releases were The Soft Boys' masterpiece Underwater Moonlight and the monumental Half Japanese box set 1/2 Gentlemen/Not Beasts.

An astonishing assortment of 7", 10" and 12" records was issued by Armageddon between 1980 and 1982, including Thomas Dolby's debut single, Blurt's phenomenal live album In Berlin, and solo recordings by Robyn Hitchcock and Kimberley Rew (plus the debut of Rew's band Katrina And The Waves.) Not to mention one of rock's first guitar/drum duos, The Method Actors (who emerged from Athens GA around the same time that The Furors appeared in New Haven).

A few interesting bits of trivia: Adrian Sherwood produced The Last Words, an Australian punk band that briefly relocated to London. Thomas Dolby's single was co-produced by Andy Partridge. Knox played on Alex Chilton's Live In London album, and Alex returned the favor by guesting on Knox's version of "Alligator Man".

Some copies of the Robyn Hitchcock single included a flexidisc with two more songs. If the blog Albums That Should Exist didn't exist, I couldn't share those songs with you. (Thank you, Paul, for your incredible work!) 

Herein please find Armageddon AEP 001 and singles AS 002 through 009. Stay tuned for the next volume of the Instant Armageddon Singles Collection!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO PUNK: Subterranean Postmodern

Carol Detweiler and Judy Gittelsohn
Writing about the Subterranean Records label reignited my obsession with San Francisco punk and post-punk. Now it comes full circle with an imaginative exercise: records by Bay Area artists that could have found a home on Steve Tupper and Mike Fox's label.

This mix includes Pink Section, Noh Mercy, Factrix, Ki Di Me, Ixna, Psyclones, Arsenal,  and more. The download includes liner notes (forgive me) that attempt to connect the dots between the folks involved in these records: people like Dan Houser, Matt Heckert, Jed Speare, Tommy Tadlock, Cole Palme, Monte Cazazza, Jo Jo Planteen, Carol Detweiler and Judy Gittelsohn.

Thanks to my main man Nathan Nothin for Eazy Teeth and the Good Samaritans, and to Stadtführer AJ, who shared a well-worn copy of Earcom 3 on his blog. A kind reader send me the Dada-Pop EP by Dennis C. Lee And The Living Daylights. Thank you, JB! "White Heat" is a tasty jam.

If you grabbed last month's SF Hardcore mix, please replace it with this one. An eagle-eared reader named New York Shitty helpfully pointed out that it was missing two tracks.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO PUNK: Hardcore '81-83

In San Francisco (as elsewhere) the first wave punk bands were subsumed in the early 80's by the rising tide of hardcore. The DK's survived by transforming themselves into a hardcore band, while Flipper pursued its own path, with little regard for trends. (As I write this, Flipper is on a 40th anniversary world tour.)

Penelope Houston started a solo career. Chip and Tony from the Dils formed the Rank And File with Alejandro from the Nuns. Members of the Sleepers and Negative Trend combined their talents in the Toiling Midgets. Mike Fox (Tools) and Johnithin Christ (Society Dog) started the hardcore band Code of Honor. Fox and Society Dog members also backed Nicki Sicki in the group Sick Pleasure.  

Bands were moving to San Francisco: the Lewd, MDC, DRI, the Dicks, Toxic Reasons, Verbal Abuse, and Red Rockers among them. A lot of punks moved into The Vats.  

Here are three dozen tracks by homegrown SF hardcore bands Crucifix, Social Unrest, Urban Assault, the Fuck-Ups and Bad Posture. Sothira, Creetin K-OS, Marc Dagar, Bob Noxious, and 4-Way were all memorable frontmen. 

These bands from 1981-83 were soon followed by Bay Area groups such as Whipping Boy, the Sluglords, Fang, Trial, Rebels & Infidels, Christ On Parade, Victims Family, Attitude Adjustment, Faith No More, Neurosis, and Tales Of Terror. Gilman Street opened at the end of 1986, home to a third generation of SF punk.

If you want more SF sounds, Dr. Drunk has (Impatient) Youth and the Code Of Honor album. AJ at Themen Aus Großen Städten recently reupped the Avengers' pink albumOld, Weak But Always A Wanker has Factrix, the Teenage PhD's, the Alive Rock City compilation LP and the Units. Lots of Voice Farm reposted at My Vinyl Dreams blog for you SF synth fans. Deathbürger has a smorgasbord of punk platters from NoCal, SoCal and elsewhere. Excellent blogs all of them, well worth you while!

I'm Excited: Upcoming Releases and Recent Favorites

The Figgs' triple album Shady Grove comes out soon on their own Stomper Records label (watch the "Grab Your Pack" video here)... 

Redd KrossBeyond The Door opens August 23 on Merge Records (stream the title track here).  A two month US tour with Melvins starts on September 3rd...  

Braindrops by Tropical Fuck Storm also out August 23 on Joyful Noise (with US tour dates August 28 through September 14!) ...

On September 6, Iggy Pop will release a new album called Free ...

Magnapop's "The Circle Is Round" will be released September 27 on HHBTM (preview the song "Need To Change" here) ... 

The Mark Lanegan Band will release Somebody's Knocking October 18 on Heavenly Recordings.  The "Stitch It Up" video features Donal Logue reprising his character “Jimmy The Cab Driver” ...

I'm also excited that early recordings of The Embarrassment have surfaced online, including a rehearsal tape and demos from 1979, studio tapes (1981-83), and much more audio and video of the legendary blister pop pioneers from Lawrence, KS!

I can't stop listening to the 2018 self-titled debut by Rotterdam punk-pop band Lone Wolf.  You may think "the band name is generic", or "the genre has been done to death", but rarely is it done this well.  The songs stick in my brain like bubblegum, and they are performed with passion: anthemic vocals and guitar by Ms. Merel Schaap (ex-Bat Bites), and an airtight rhythm section that kicks like an MMA champ.

Another newish band I'm stuck on is Upper Wilds, a power trio led by the enormously talented Dan Friel from the late great Parts & Labor.  You can stream or buy their 2018 album Mars on Thrill Jockey's website or on Bandcamp

Monday, July 8, 2019

This Ain't No Funhouse

The Stooges' classic second album, Funhouse, is almost half a century old? Hard to believe. And who would have guessed that Iggy would outlive all of his original bandmates? Not with that lifestyle. And yet, here we are: it's 2019, and Iggy is 72.

Funhouse was released on 7/07/1970. All of its songs (with the exception of the freeform "LA Blues") have been covered by numerous artists. A few years ago on another blog I compiled two sets of Funhouse covers. Here's an update -- with a third volume -- to mark the album's 49th anniversary.

But how to address the lack of "LA Blues" cover versions?  John Zorn and Yamatsuka Eye's "TV Eye" sounds as unhinged as "LA Blues", as does the music of Billy Bao (whose album Buildings From Bilbao isn't truly a Nigerian emigrant's song by song cover of Funhouse, as it was purported to be.) 

I included an unrelated "LA Blues" from Iggy's solo Acoustics KO, and one of the Stooges' freeform jams from the Complete Funhouse Sessions box set.  In addition to Iggy and the Stooges themselves, Ron Asheton appears (with Scott Morgan's Powertrane, New Race and Dark Carnival), as do Scott Asheton (Dark Carnival) and Steve Mackay. And there are a couple of Funhouse inspired tunes by Sour Jazz and the Spacemen 3.

If you're an Iggy fan, don't miss my "Guest Spots" collection of his many collaborations with other artists. Iggy most recently appeared on hip hop singles by Pan Amsterdam and Fémina, and he played a zombie in the film The Dead Don't Die.  Hopefully he will stick around for next summer's 50th anniversary of Funhouse.

Friday, July 5, 2019

More Stinky Songs Of Lipstick!

Hope you liked Stinky's last Homemade Record of songs on the topic of lipstick, because here comes Volume 2! I am tickled to see a couple of my own suggestions (the last two songs) as part of this set. 

Lots of lovely womens' voices in this volume: Cyndi Lauper, Kate Bush,  Rihanna, Marianne Faithfull (with John Prine), Blondie (with Beth Ditto), Susanna Hoffs (with Matthew Sweet); even Britney Spears appears. 

If you want to get esoteric, Stinky's got the girl group sounds of Yumi Matsutoya, the soulful Chicano Batman, and a ska version of "Lipstick On My Collar".

There's country music (Dan & Shay, Rockie Lynne, and Elvis Costello's take on "Good Year For The Roses").  There's rockabilly, standards (Nat King Cole), classic rock (The Animals) and indie rock (Imperial Teen, Danko Jones, Rocket From The Crypt).  Allen Toussaint sneaks in a sly reference to Ernie K-Doe's "Mother In Law" during a live solo piano version of "Lipstick Traces". 

In the words of Elizabeth Taylor, "Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together." Let's all go downtown to Lipstick City and listen to the girls talk with Stinky!
Walt Kelly made a skunk (Mam'selle Hepzibah) look pretty with lipstick and a skirt, but Mam'selle couldn't do the same for poor Miz Beaver...