Friday, January 20, 2012

A-Z PROJECT: #258-275

275 days ago I started listening to all of my CDs in alphabetic order to see if I could do it. I found myself bored with what I was listening to and spending more and more time deciding on what to listen to. I realized I had a lot of CDs I never listened to, stuff I never had the urge to put on, and decided to just listen to all of them in order instead. My goal was to listen to everything in a year, or at least to see how long it would take me to accomplish this. I don’t consider myself to be a writer, a music critic or an authority on music. I'm well aware of the fact that I contradict myself often. This is simply a way to alleviate boredom at a job in which very little is expected out of me. I’m also not posting these playlists to brag about my music collection and I’m not burning copies of this stuff for people, so don’t ask.

(*) asterisks note things that are burned copies and not an original release. CDRs without asterisks behind them were originally issued as CDRs.
Day #258
SLAUGHTER - "Fuck of Death" CD (Recorded with Evil Chuck from Death while he was in Canada looking for new members for Death. Apparently, Slaughter thought he was there to join their band. I suppose this is a piece of death metal history, but the sound is so terrible it's difficult to enjoy. This is probably only my second time listening to it, and I wouldn't have done so had it not came up in the line up. Download this, don't buy it. It's pretty shitty.)

SLAUGHTER - "Not Dead Yet / Paranormal" CDR* (Slaughter only released one album during their long existence, but they recorded a lot of demos. This CD collects two of their later demos and was released on Nuclear Blast. This sounds way different than "Strappado" and those early demos. The songs are longer, thrashier and less messy compared to those earlier recordings. It's equally as good, just different. I'd like to find a "real" copy of this some day to purchase, but this shit's so hard to find.)

SLAUGHTER - "Paranormal" CDR* (Nothing like listening to the same material twice in a row. I have this on a separate CD that I got in another trade. I guess I can throw it out now.)

SLAUGHTER - "Strappado" CD (This shit rules. Total dumb, clunky proto-death metal with some of the cheapest riffs ever written. This stuff sounds especially primitive after listening to their later stuff. It's a classic for good reason, nothing else sounds like this except maybe NME, who are also considered to be classic. I still prefer the "Surrender or Die" demo over this album, but this kills. Tom G Warrior would be proud of their heavy "ough!" usage. This version has a full live set tacked on the end as bonus tracks. Bonus tracks are nice, but I usually stop this CD when it gets to the live stuff. 77 minutes is a lot of Slaughter for one sitting.)

SLAUGHTER - "Surrender or Die" CDR* (I don't know if this has ever been released on CD or not, but it's been bootlegged countless times. This is my favorite Slaughter stuff, but all of it is great. The guitars sound like a fucking chainsaw, it's the sickest guitar sound ever. Great stuff!)

SLAYER - "Haunting the Chapel" CD (This is my favorite Slayer release. The first album is great, too, but this is the first one that really sounds like Slayer. Great riffs, stripped down production, etc. "Chemical Warfare" is probably Slayer's greatest song. Awesome.)

SLAYER - "Hell Awaits" CD (This CD is so old it's probably from the original first run. It was among the first CDs I ever bought. A great album, but a slight step back in quality from "Haunting the Chapel". Aside from "At Dawn They Sleep", the songs aren't nearly as memorable and the production sounds as if they ran out of money in the studio. Normally production isn't an issue for me, and I'm probably picking this apart, but listening to them back to back the difference in sound is really apparent. Still wholly enjoyable, lots of great riffs and stupid satanic lyrics.)

SLAYER - "Reign in Blood" CD (I've listened to this so many times I figured I would be at complete saturation point by now, but I'm enjoying the shit out of this today even if I know every word/note/beat of this album. Writing a detailed review of this seems silly, so I'll just say that Rick Rubin is the fucking man and everything he touches sounds amazing. There's never been a better guitar tone captured on a thrash metal album, ever.)

SLAYER - "Show No Mercy" CD (Straight out of the gate with one of their greatest albums ever. This albums gets better the older I get. I remember not being so into it as a kid, but it's awesome now. It's probably my favorite after "Haunting the Chapel". It's weird, I felt the same way about Metallica's debut as a teenager, but it's my favorite now, too.)

SLAYER - "South of Heaven" CD (This was the first Slayer album I heard, so it holds a lot of nostalgia for me. As great as it is, it's the last Slayer album I can get behind 100%. I've bought the next 3 albums after this one but didn't keep any of them.)

Day #259
SLOTH - "Collection 1" CDR* (Years ago I ripped all of my Sloth vinyl to CD because I wanted to listen to it in my car. I ended up with two discs of stuff. I tried my best to arrange them in chronological order, or at the very least group them by style. At one point I really liked Sloth. Not only did their music get really terrible after a certain point, but I grew tired of playing the record collector game after a while, wised up and just stopped buying their releases. Most of their releases are limited to 100 copies, but there are easily 500 or more people who would buy Sloth releases. This bullshit of underpressing records to create demand on the after-market is fucking stupid. I really think bands do it so they can sit back and watch how much their releases fetch on eBay. This doesn't make them "cool" or "cult". It just fucks over fans eventually causing them to lose interest like I did. I wouldn't have such a problem with this if Sloth made this stuff available again down the line, but when I wrote Dom and asked him about releasing a collection of their old 7" material on CD he said he wasn't interested and would rather focus on new material. Fair enough, I guess, but I'm not willing to spend $60+ on one of their 7"s to hear it. I considered myself a fan at one point and felt cheated as a result. The material on this collection is great, though, especially the tardcore stuff. I'm not going to detail what's on here because it's not available anywhere and I'm not copying it for anyone. It would have made a great CD, though, and more than 100 would have had the chance to hear this stuff.)

SLOTH - "Collection 2" CDR* (There's still some good stuff on here, but it's nowhere near as good as the stuff on the first disc. I don't know if Craig quit by this point, but most of this has a drum machine or is drum-less. Black metal influence has crept in and the recordings are mostly saturated and noisy, but not in a good way.)

SLOTH - "Collection 3" CDR* (I had a couple of 7"s I ripped that didn't fit on the other two discs, so I burned them here along with some of Sloth's earliest 7"s I downloaded, stuff I'd given up on finding on vinyl. A couple of the 7"s I ordered as they were released but were lost in the mail are on here, too, as I found downloads of them as well. That was the breaking point for me. Stuff I ordered before they were even released were lost in the mail. When I emailed and and asked where my package was and found out it was lost in the mail he couldn't re-send my stuff because they were already out of print 3 weeks after they were released. I did get my money back, but they were already fetching three times what paid for them on eBay. Fucking stupid. The old stuff on here rules, newer stuff is pretty crummy.)

SLOTH - "Collection 4" CDR* (Some of their old demos I downloaded.)

SLOTH - "Lack of Sleep Volume 2 No Pun Intended" CDR (I think it was with this release that I decided I didn't care about Sloth anymore. Before this I had given up on collecting everything, but this was the last shitty release I plunked down money for. Distorted blackened doom with Casio drums just isn't my thing, I guess. I've heard lots of their stuff after this CD, but haven't liked any of it.)

SLOUGH - "Procreation of Penile Disgust" CDR (Slough were one of the first gore/grind bands I got seriously into. One of the first people I contacted in the underground was Ace from Dismembered Fetus. He took a bunch of C3L tapes for his distro and because I didn't have any idea who the bands were in his catalog, I just told him to send me whatever he thought was good in exchange. I got tapes from Festering Puke, Dismembered Fetus, Vomit Spawn, Catasexual Urge Motivation and Slough among others. All of it was great and defined the scope of my musical tastes for years to come, but Slough sounded the most legit of the bunch, like they might legitimately have mental problems. Ace assured me they were cool and somehow or other I started corresponding with Naked Rick Diamond. Rick and I exchanged a few letters, traded a few tapes and he would call me randomly on the phone with ideas he had for C3L samples, stuff he wouldn't use for his bands but thought it would be perfect for us. During one of those phone conversations I told him I was thinking of starting a label and asked him if he wanted to do a Slough / Warsore - split 7". He agreed, but only sent me three minutes of music. When I told him it wasn't long enough, he apologized, but said he couldn't send me more material. I ended up releasing it on the "Three Bean Salad" tape instead. This was Slough's last release. I had a cassette dub of it years before it was finally released. They were supposed to release it as a CD, but when I finally got a copy it was a burned CDR with a sticker label and an inkjet insert. The sound is cleaner than their previous releases, but it's just as sick and disturbing as the old stuff. It's a shame Slough didn't get more attention than they did. They're heaps better than loads of shitty bands that got way more attention.)

SM 70 - "Bleibt" 2CD (The spine and cover of this 2CD set doesn't have a title on it, but I've seen it listed as "Bleibt" online before. This was difficult to acquire as it was never for sale. The band made them to give to friends and fans who were still interested and there's no contact info anywhere on the cover. I'm not ever sure how I found out about it's existence, but I ended up buying a copy from R.S.R.. SM 70 were an excellent fast HC band from Germany that existed from the mid 80s to early 90s before changing their name to Pink Flamingos. I had their great "Krank" 7" and the "Cabuk! Cabuk!" live 7" already, but the rest of this stuff escaped me. The first disc is slower, mostly demo stuff. Things really speed up on the second disc into Lärm territory. This shit is great.)

SNAKEFINGER - "Chewing Hides the Sound" CD (The first "solo" CD from long time Residents collaborator Phillip Lithman. Snakefinger's guitar style is instantly recognizable. These songs are quirky, but poppy and catchy. It's rumored the Residents were his backing band on this one and "Greener Postures". Starts out with a great cover of Kraftwerk's "The Model". This whole album is awesome and loads of fun to listen to. Really unique stuff, worth checking out.)

Day #260
SNAKEFINGER - "Greener Postures" CD (Equally as great as the first album, but slightly less Residents sounding. More of this album sounds like standard rock stuff, as standard as Snakefinger can muster anyway. The guitar is way heavier on this one and plays a more prominent role. I probably listen to this one more than his debut.)

SNAKEFINGER - "Manual of Errors" CD (There's definitely a different backing band on this album. I didn't like it much at first because of that, but eventually grew to like it. I have another Snakefinger album released after this on vinyl, but I never listen to it. I should probably give it another listen. "Manual of Errors" is a lot less quirky than his previous two, but still pretty weird when compared to other music of the time. The music is more fluid, less jarring and angular. It's like a less proggy Frank Zappa, maybe a little like Zoogs Rift, too, but less annoying than both.)

S.O.B. -"Early Years" CDR* (A few years ago someone bootlegged a couple of S.O.B. albums with their earliest recordings on it. Before those I had only heard their split EP with Napalm Death which I had a bootleg of and their "What's the Truth?" album I had a dub of. Neither of those really did much for me and I didn't really understand their appeal until I bought these two bootleg LPs. They don't even sound like the same band. A lot of those old violent HC and early grindcore bands turned into shitty death metal bands, S.O.B. included. This old shit is totally manic, fast, angry and somehow fun sounding. With the exception of maybe the UK Tour EP (don't know without checking) this has all of their releases from the 1986 "Leave Me Alone" EP to 1990's "What's the Truth?" LP. I can even get behind that album now after hearing it in the context of the earlier stuff. I'm glad someone bootlegged this stuff. I would have lived my life in the dark re: S.O.B. if not for them.)

SOCKEYE - "Barf on a Globe: 7" Vinyl Collection" CD (This was my first CD release on Mortville. I was thrilled when Food agreed to do it and both of us were really happy with the results. It took some work tracking down the original tapes and I probably exhausted way more effort than most would for music this dumb, but I wanted it to sound as good as it possibly could. We were able to track down all of the tapes but one, so those songs were sourced from vinyl. I really felt like I had pieces of punk rock history in my hands taking the original 1/4" reels of tape to the local recording studio to transfer them to DAT. The engineer had to do a lot of searching to find a machine that would even play them. I took all of the pieces to Blakk / Angelkill's home studio in LeClaire Iowa and edited all of the gaps, normalized and assembled everything. Blakk was totally cool that day. I'm sure he thought I was pissing my money away on the stupidest music ever, but he didn't say anything. We transferred tapes and assembled "Where's Your Beard?" that day, too. My friend Cole rode up with me to LeClaire to help keep me awake after working an overnight the night before. I've never forgotten this, and I've always been appreciative of his help throughout the years. Cole also helped cut out the traycards, fold the lyric sheets and assemble all 525 copies of this CD, all in one marathon night. My friend Patrick Duplaga in Texas is equally as crazy about Sockeye as I am having grown up in Ohio, so he co-released this with me on his Happy Puppy label. We both sold out of all of our copies in under six months. It fetches a pretty hefty sum on eBay now, but I'm confident there aren't enough people interested in them to warrant a repress. It was because of these quick sales I took on the CD release of "Retards Hiss Past My Window".)

SOCKEYE - "Retards Hiss Past My Window" CD (It took me a while to get into Sockeye. I got a flyer for one of their tapes in the mail from Chaotic Noise Productions and ordered it, but didn't think much of it when I listened to it. The letter Food sent along with the tape was friendly enough, though. C3L had just released our first demo at that point and I just wanted people to hear it, so I sent him a copy and he mailed me their newest release, "Beefing Ting Ting", in trade. For reasons unknown this one clicked for me instantly and with it I became a fan for life. This LP was totally hard to find back in the mid-90s. I saw it in Fudgeworthy's catalog, but when I went to order it he had already sold out of them. I looked a couple of years before I finally asked Food if he had an extra copy and he graciously sent me one. Before that he had given me the label's address so I could try and order one directly, but I never got a response from him. It seems he was happy sitting on 100s of these things. After the success of "Barf on a Globe" and because of how much trouble I had tracking down this LP, I decided to do a reissue of "Retards Hiss..." with bonus tracks on CD. Before I did so, I wrote the label again telling them of my plans and offered instead to buy the remaining copies of the LP at wholesale to take them off of his hands. This time he wrote back saying if I wanted them, I could buy them at full price. It was cheaper for me to do the CD, so I went ahead with it. Again, the master tapes were used for the transfer, done at the same ill-equipped studio and assembled by Blakk in LeClaire. Because "Barf on a Globe" sold out of the 525 copies so quickly, I made 1000 of these CDs. As soon as the CD was released Jettison, the label who did the LP, started selling copies of the original LP on eBay. He wouldn't respond to my letter attempting to buy a copy years earlier, but here it was available for purchase again. Over a decade later, I still have 100s these things for sale. I can only assume that everyone who was looking for the LP bought a copy from him at that point making my CD obsolete. I trickle out 10-15 copies a year to people who have only recently discovered Sockeye, but at this point it will take another 5-10 years to sell the copies I have left. As far as I know, it's the only Sockeye material on CD that's still in print. The band hated this LP and claim it was a bad idea, but I think it's great. I play "Barf on a Globe" way more often, but this still gets played often.)

S.O.D. -"Stormtroopers of Death" CD (One of those albums that blew my mind as a teenager. It was faster, heavier and stupider (not a word, I know) than anything I had heard up to that point. S.O.D. had a lot to do with shaping my musical tastes over the years. Short songs and blasts were there in the beginning and that Megaforce crunch is here in full effect. This album sounds just as powerful and fresh as it did back in 7th grade. I can put this on any day of the week and completely enjoy it. It's one of my favorite metal albums ever.)

SODOM - "In the Sign of Evil / Obsessed By Cruelty" CD (Of the big three German thrash bands of the 80s, Sodom comes in dead last for me. A lot of that has to do with availability, though. Aside from a couple of tracks on compilations I didn't really get to hear Sodom until I was well into my 20s. None of the local haunts carried their stuff and when I bothered to do mailorder I always went for the most extreme shit ever. As a teenager, why would you buy Sodom stuff when bands like Lawnmower Deth, Bloodcum and Gaye Bikers on Acid existed and, judging by their names alone, were probably better? My friend Ace was big into Sodom, though, and he dubbed me all of their albums in the mid-90s, but at that point I had already moved onto noisecore. I bought this CD from a friend last year for $5.00. It's okay, but not something I listen to often. Had I heard it when I was discovering Kreator and Destruction in the 80s I'd probably like it a lot more, but they'd still be third in line after those two bands.)

SOFT BOYS - "Underwater Moonlight" CD (I discovered these guys on a music blog a few years ago and immediately liked their first album, "Can of Bees". This one took a few more listens before I took to it. It's a lot more mellow than the first album, but the music is more multi-layered on this one. There's hints of Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd throughout. Lots of interesting guitar work, pleasant vocals and nice melodies. I need to pick up their other album now that it's in print again.)

Day #261
SOFT MACHINE - "Noisette" CD (This is a live album recorded in 1970. Most of it is instrumental and it sounds pretty similar to their "Third" album. By this time they had moved a great deal away from their psychedelic rock sound and have moved into more of a jazz/fusion direction. I love this CD and "Third", but I haven't bothered checking out any of their stuff after drummer/vocalist Robert Wyatt left. He has one of the most unique voices ever; fragile, funny, playful and lots of character. I miss his vocals on this album. The sound is excellent on this set of songs. It was recorded slightly hot and the horns are a little too loud, but doesn't suffer because of it. Well worth checking out if you're a fan of their early albums.)

SOFT MACHINE - "Third" CD (A double LP with four side-long tracks. All but one of the songs are instrumental, and even then there are only vocals on the first few minutes. "Moon in June" is the highlight of this CD because of the vocals, though. Wyatt's vocals sound particularly pained on this one, like he didn't want to do them and was put up to it. After nearly 40 minutes of instrumental jazz they leap out at you and really capture your attention. Really makes me wish he stuck it out longer in The Soft Machine. This album was an important transition from their psychedelic days to their jazz/fusion sound, and they certainly recorded more stuff like this than their first two albums, but the quirkiness of their old stuff is what appeals to me. This is a great album, but it's like a door closing on that era of the band.)

SOFT MACHINE - "Volumes One + Two" CD (On one of my many 1990s trips to Iowa City with my friends Brian and Spence to go record shopping this was playing in the Record Collector while we were there. By the time "Why Are We Sleeping?" came on, Spence was intrigued enough to ask the guy working what we were listening to and Spence bought it. I was as immediately taken with it as Spence was, but when I finally got around to properly listening to "Volume Two" I was blown away by it. It still gives me goosebumps today. "Volume One" is very much psychedelic. Maybe not as much as Pink Floyd who were around at the same time, playing the same venues, but this would still be difficult listening to a lot of people. It's a lot jazzier than Floyd ever were, the song structures are all over the place and overall it's fairly primitive sounding by today's standards, but that same sort of excitement and innocence that made the Syd-era Pink Floyd great exists on this album, too. "Volume Two" is the real gem, though. Everything has been tightened up, the writing and arrangement is more complex, the sense of humor is greater and the contrast of that fucking fuzz bass over the rest of the band is amazing. The fusion elements have already began creeping in, but this is still primarily a psychedelic album... just played by dudes who really knew their shit. It's an amazing album.)

SONIC YOUTH - s/t CD (I had friends growing up that were hugely into Sonic Youth. Very close friends, so I was exposed to their music fairly regularly. It's never done a fucking thing for me, personally. I can see its broad appeal, but it's never connected with me. Between high school and now I've developed an interest in no wave and learned that early on Sonic Youth were involved with that scene and that their first album was released on Glenn Branca's label. It sparked my interest enough to give them another listen. I even went as far as buying some of their SST releases on CD used , but aside from "Confusion is Sex", I still didn't like any of them. This first album, however, is a different story. It's the only album in their catalog that sounds like this. Like a lot of the other no wave bands of the time, this takes on a heavy funk / dance feel. There are moments that sounds like Liquid Liquid. The clean guitars jangle over steady drum & bass grooves, and the liner notes sat this is the only album that features standard tuning. The original release was only 25 minutes long, but this has been expanded to 68 with bonus live tracks, including some songs not on the original release. I listened to this heaps when I bought it, but this is my first time playing it in a couple of years. Still sounds good.)

SONICS - "Boom" CD (Their second album, released in 1966. I first heard these guys on the great "Nuggets" box set, their tracks were among the best on a 4CD set filled with great music. Loud, raucous garage rock recorded with everything in the red, the kind of stuff John Waters and the future Dreamlanders probably sat around sniffing glue to. It's fitting there's a Little Richard cover (among many other covers) on here. The whole album sounds like trouble making teens blasting through Little Richard songs on amplifiers cranked to "10". What's not to like about that?)

SONICS - "Here Are the Sonics!!!" CD (The thing about The Sonics is unlike today where recording equipment is everywhere and bands exists for two weeks before releasing a demo, there were probably 100s of bands as good or better than The Sonics that nobody heard of outside of their region. There's been a great deal of work done in preserving obscure garage bands from the 60s, but I wonder what the ratio of bands that were recorded was to bands that never had the opportunity to do so? One can only guess, but I would assume at least 90% of those bands went undocumented. That's pretty shocking, really. I'd trade this heaping mountain of Fruity Loops goregrind garbage and baby thrash metal bands for suburban teens trying to sound like Little Richard any day of the week.)

SONICS - "Maintaining My Cool" CD (I found this used somewhere, had no idea what it was. It's pretty good, but they seem to have a different vocalist at this point and the recording isn't saturated like on the other two. I think I was recorded after "Boom", but I can't say for sure. It's worth the $6 I paid for it.)

Day #262
SORE THROAT - "And We Don't Care" CD (This was the first CD I ever owned, in fact, I owned it before I even owned a CD player. I owned this, the Grindcrusher comp and Kreator's "Out of the Dark..." CD before I had a player. I still have all three of those discs today. As a teenager with a steady diet of thrash metal, Sore Throat were a life changing event for me. I stumbled upon Sore Throat after seeing their LPs in Metal Disc with a description of "101 tracks". I bought it because I thought it would be funny. I was wrong. It was mind-blowing instead. They were the exact opposite of what I had been listening to up to that point. They discarded song structures and redefined what a song was, or could be, to me. Blast of noise for 3 seconds? That's a song... Record your LP while getting progressively more drunk? What a great idea! Completely abandon the verse/chorus/verse formula and do whatever you want? It's about fucking time. As soon as I started playing music myself I was doing noise parts in songs and recording songs that were 10 seconds or less. I'm still doing this now and haven't outgrown it. Other than Sore Throat, I had no idea noisecore even existed. They weren't the first, but they were my first, and they started my now 20+ year obsession with shitty music. This CD came out in 1990 and collects their "Death to Capitalist Hardcore" 7", their "Unhindered by Talent" LP, the "Nevermind the Napalm" 12" and 1 bonus track. If you play the bonus track backwards, you'll hear them talking shit about pretty much the entire Earache roster. 112 songs crammed on to 99 trax. This was a one time pressing and I've seen copies sell on eBay for well over $100 now, even more than the original vinyl sells for. It's hard to believe that this material has been out of rotation for 20 years now. With all of the bullshit getting reissued these days (fucking PSYCHO SIN even has a discography CD now), this has been left out of print. Maybe the band doesn't want this stuff in print now? I don't know. When they resurfaced in the late 90's, they were doing electronic noise, not the sloppy stenchcore they built their name doing.)

SORE THROAT - "Death to Capitalist Halmshaw" CD (This cool CD was released by Area Death Productions in China. It came and went in a matter of weeks and I wouldn't have known about it had I not already been in contact with the guy on Soulseek. The bulk of this CD comes from their "Death to Capitalist HC" 7" (which is also on the above CD), but their "Aural Butchery" demo is on here along with a couple of other demos that had really limited release and a full live set from 1987. The CD looks really nice and came with a sticker, patch, poster and some other stuff I can't remember now. I'm really happy I was able to get my hands on one of these.)

SORE THROAT - "Disgrace to the Corpse of Sid / Unhindered by Talent" CD (This is the 2006 reissue of the long out of print Earache classic. This was released through Disk Union in Japan in a limited edition of 1000 copies that sold out pretty much instantly. Even before this hit the streets there were eBay auctions for it that were selling for over $150. The CD is rarer and probably worth more than the original vinyl is. If it wasn't for my friend Hagamoto, I wouldn't have gotten a copy. The 90 trax on side one are all on one long track here. The "Unhindered by Talent" LP is tacked on as a bonus. Unlike the "And We Don't Care" CD, the indexing is correct on this CD, one song = 1 track ID. However, because some of the songs were too short to constitute a track they had to add silence after some of the songs for this to work. Growing up hearing them they way they were supposed to sound, the gaps of silence on this CD are a bit frustrating.)

Day #265
SOUL CARAVAN - "Get in High" CD* (Soul Caravan started out as a soul group playing Motown and Stax/Volt style soul music. They released this one LP before changing their name to Xhol Caravan (and released one of the greatest krautrock LPs ever), then later to just Xhol. I'm a huge fan of Xhol Caravan and looked for this one forever eventually finding it on a music blog. It's straight up soul music with no psychedelic or progressive elements at all, but it's done really well and you'd have a hard time discerning this from American soul records of the time. I was already a fan of this kind of stuff, so it was a win/win situation finally filling in the gaps of my of my favorite German bands' catalog.)

SPAZZ - "Dwarf Jester Rising" CD (It seems I've spent most of the past 15 years or so complaining about Spazz, but I do like some of their music. I don't think they were good enough of a band to warrant the kind of attention they got, but Chris was a key player in bringing that kind of music to the world's attention, so it makes sense that people went ape shit over his band. Too bad Stikky didn't get that kind of attention instead as they were by far the better of the two. My problem with Spazz has always been the bullshit "fun" samples, stupid lyrics and goofy imagery that adorned their covers. This kind of violent HC is supposed to be dangerous sounding and played by people with questionable backgrounds who you wouldn't want to interact with, not scene darlings who grew up watching cartoons for way too many years, writing songs about pizza. I realize, of course, that these are the very things that broke them to bigger audiences, but fuck it. This kind of goofball stuff works great in the right context, but when I want something brutal, fast and truly pissed sounding I'll never choose Spazz over bands like Rupture, Crossed Out, Despise You and Dropdead. I've spent enough time with this CD and a few of their early records to want to hold on to them, though. I did like it at one point and am enjoying it okay today as it's been years since I've listened to it, but the same things that irritated me about it then continue to irritate me today.)

SPAZZ - "Sweatin' to the Oldies" CD (I've owned most of the records collected on this CD in the past, but a couple of them escaped me. I'd probably enjoy this a lot more without the samples, but people probably say the same thing about my band's recordings. Anyway, this is all the Spazz anyone really needs. I kind of lose interest after the first batch of live songs on here, though. Poor sequencing...)

SPAZZTIC BLURR - "Befo Da Awbum" /" Bedrock Blurr" Demo CDR* (I have both of these on vinyl, the latter as a split LP with Brutal Truth, so I didn't feel like plunking down change for the CD reissue. I bought the LP from Mitch / Gasp who hated it and was happy to find a new home for it. They had one of the most memorable tracks on the Grindcrusher compilation and were always a mystery to me. That particular song makes sense in the context of the rest of the album, but stuck out like a sore thumb on the compilation. Spazztic Blurr was a short lived side project of dudes from Wehrmacht playing way goofier thrash metal with loads of silly stuff going on throughout. Wehrmacht was an amazing super fast thrash band and I guess they felt limited stylistically within that band, but this sounds like an insane progression of second Wehrmacht album. There's some amazing musicianship on this album, no denying that. I'm not sure why this level of goofball is okay with me and Spazz irritates me so much. Usually "wacky" just pisses me off, but I can think of a lot of exceptions. Most of the people I know who shit their pants over the classic Earache releases hate this album, but I've always liked it. The demo sounds kind of rough, but it's the same style of nonsense with the same high level of musicianship as found on the LP.)

SPERMBIRDS - "Something to Prove / Nothing is Easy" CD (Spermbirds are a recent discovery for me. I've heard the name before and when I stayed with Paul / Warsore years ago they came up and he was amazed I hadn't heard them before, but I forgot about them again when I returned to the states. It was a few years ago that Castle Records (of all labels) released a compilation detailing the history of grindcore and bands that influenced grindcore that I finally heard their amazing "Americans are Cool". I was Googling for more info on Killercrust, a great early grind band from Ireland, when I found them on the "Grind Your Mind: History of Grindcore" 2CD compilation. Spermbirds were a late 80s German hardcore band fronted by an American GI while stationed there. Their music was crunchy and metallic and occasionally ventured into blurr territory, but I doubt they had any influence on the grind scene at all. Their vocals were really angry, snarling, sarcastic and sometimes offensive. The first album on here is the better of the two, but both are good. I listened to this a bunch when I bought it. Sounds great today, too.)

SPINAL TAP - "This is Spinal Tap OST" CD (aka "Smell the Glove". Man, what's not to like about Spinal Tap? It's probably the greatest movie made about being in a band. It's funny on so many levels and I don't think it can be fully appreciated unless you've spent some time playing in a band yourself. Even without the movie, though, most of these songs stand on their own just fine. They're cheesy rock with heavy metal overtones and lyrics that don't aren't too exaggerated and easily could have been lifted from other "real" bands albums. Subtlety is what makes this great, but being decent musicians and song writers doesn't hurt.)

SPK - "Auto DaFe" CD (the first half of this disc is great. Totally primitive and noisy psychotic industrial musical destruction. But, like so many other earlier industrial groups, they eventually turned into a dance band. There is nothing enjoyable about the second half of this CD, not for me anyway. I'd like to find more stuff like the first 5 songs of this disc. Maybe someone will make recommendations?)

SPK - "Information Overload Unit" / EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN - "Kollaps" CDR* (This CDR has the first full-length albums by both of these early industrial groups. Both of these albums are great. Great noisy headache music.)

SPOONFUL OF VICODIN - s/t CD (27 songs in 14 minutes. Nice lo-fi noisy grind stuff with screaming vocals. Really sloppy and crummy, just as I like it. I saw these guys in Pittsburg years ago with Rotten Sound and Bodies Lay Broken, but I don't remember liking them much then. I heard them on the "C5" compilation after that and loved them, prompted me to write them for a track for "Small Doses". Because of their name, my spam filter kept sending their email to my spam folder. Bummer. I checked it often, but I think I may have missed one of their emails as they didn't sent me a track after they said they would.)

Day #266
SQUASH BOWELS - "The Mass Rotting - The Mass Sickening" CD (I listened to this while getting ready for work today, so I don't have a whole lot of time to write about it. Polish gore grind band that's been around forever. I've been a fan since buying their "Something Nice" 7" new in 1995. Their older stuff is better, but this is sort of a return to form after their "Tnyribal" CD. Solid release.)

SQUASH BOWELS - "Tnyribal" CD (They ventured a bit from the standard gore grind sound with this one. There are weird instrumental passages between the songs not unlike the stuff Antigama and Cerebral Tuburlency did in the late 90s. The whole production sounds sort of mechanized, but not in a bad way, I guess. I prefer a little more slop in my grind, but this is still really enjoyable.)

STAB! - 3 way stuff + stuff for Niggers split CDR (I don't remember who the third band was supposed to be, but the first six songs were released on the split with Feculence. The intro to the Danzig cover is different than on the finished split, but the rest is the same, I think. The Niggers didn't come through with their side of the split, so it didn't happen. These tracks were released on "The Birkenau Tapes" instead, but these versions are different.)

STAB! - "Black Stabbath" CDR (The first Stab! release, but their second recording. Downtuned, feedback soaked sludge, totally primitive and unrehearsed. Imagine "Stick a Cross Up a Nun's Cunt" era GG Allin mixed with Flipper and Brainbombs, but stupider and noisier than that. Recorded while getting progressively more drunk, so the songs towards the end are sloppier and more stupid than those at the beginning. There are cover versions of People Haters, Flipper and Judas Priest on here. The recording is abysmal, easily the worst of all their releases, but I don't think anyone bought this expecting any sort of quality. Some of their best songs are on this release, though. One of the least popular Mortville bands, but people are stupid. They're one of the best bands on the roster.)

STAB! - "Live @ CBGB's" CDR (The most brutal Stab! recording hasn't even been released yet. Because I released 3 of their released they send me advance recordings all the time. I folded the label before some of their stuff could be released. It's sad, because no other label will touch this stuff. It's too stupid for the skinhead labels and too offensive for everyone else. Stab! exists in that middle ground of bands that don't give a fuck how their music is accepted and are offensive for the sake of being offensive, because it's fun being stupid. Anyway, these seven songs are pure insanity. One of the heaviest recordings ever, totally blown out with some of the angriest vocals ever. You could spend forever trying to duplicate this kind of brutality, but it's the kind of thing that only happens on accident. You guys don't know what you're missing out on. If the other Stab! releases sold better I would have released this, too.)

STAB! - "Stab! Macht Frei" CDR (This was recorded during the same drunken session as the Feculence split. They sent me an advance of this, too. I passed on it because I wasn't doing the label anymore. Mike from Tea Party Violence was supposed to release it on his label, but it didn't happen. Same problem as the above disc, nobody wanted to touch it. Maybe it will see a release eventually, but it's already 7 years old at this point. There's some fantastic guitar work on "Shit Sandwich". It's a shame nobody will ever hear it.)

STAB! / BEARTRAP - split CDR (The first Stab! recording, and the only one done sober, so I'm told. I believe there was a different drummer on this one, too, but nobody listens to these guys for the great drumming. I haven't listened to this one in a few years, I forgot how great it is. Beartrap is Tim from Cadaver Feast's band after he moved from Germany to Japan. Beartrap is easily the better of the two bands on this disc. They play sloppy noisecore, but each song on this live recording has a spoken introduction. At one point I had all of these introductions memorized. I wish I had the chance to hang out with Tim while I was in Japan. He seems like a really funny guy based on his intros and what little interaction I've had with him.)

STAB! / FECULENCE - split CDR (Second time listening to these Stab! songs today, nothing more to add. I've been in contact with J Shithead from Feculence since their first demo. We always seem to lose touch every 5 years or so. I haven't written him since I left myspace, so it's been a while. Feculence is kind of hard to describe. They have a lot of different styles, sometimes even on the same release. There's sludgy stuff, thrashy stuff and even some punk sounding songs on their half of this split. When the recordings aren't too terrible they're a great band. I think they were pigeonholed as a gore band because of their "Shitfaced" CD. It's too bad, they deserve a wider audience. Aside from Rupture's "Soapfarm" EP, this is the only release I've had mailed back to me from someone saying they didn't want anything to do with this piece of shit.)

STEEL POLE BATH TUB - "Butterfly Love / Lurch" CD (I found this used at an outlet mall in Osage Beach of all places. For $4.00 it was worth taking a chance on it. I didn't know anything about them before that, just knew the name. They were on "The Thing That Ate Floyd" compilation, but I couldn't tell you which song was theirs. I think I only listened to it once before today. I'm still not sure what to make of it. It has some lengthy interesting noisy parts with a lot of samples, but I've never really been into this sort of grungy, noisy, indie/alternative rock. I was balls deep in grindcore when this stuff was going on, so I never paid any attention to it. Nothing about this grabs my attention, but at the same time I'm not disliking it. I wouldn't have bought it had I heard it first, though. I did find myself getting into it more towards the end of the disc.)

STERBEHILFE - "47 Menschen, Ein Wunsch" CD (One of the great unsung German grind/fastcore bands. You never see anyone talking about them, but they're awesome. Their music often crosses over into full on blurr territory and the vocals sound genuinely angry in the same way Seth Putnam's did. 21 blasts of angry noise in 18 minutes. Awesome.)

STEREOLAB - "The First of the Microbe Hunters" CD (I didn't always like this album. In fact, it was this CD that made me stop following Stereolab. It was so different from the other albums I had of theirs I didn't know what to make of it. I've since came around on it 100%. It's no secret that I hate female vocals in rock music. Somehow, Stereolab are an exception for me. I'm not sure you'd be able to call Stereolab a rock band, though, especially at this point. Their droning krautrock style gave way to funky lounge music. I don't think it was an overnight change, though. I still haven't heard the 2 or 3 albums before this one, so a gradual transition could have happened and I just missed it, but listening to this after "Mars Audiac Quintet" was quite a shock. This synopsis isn't going anywhere. I'll wrap it up by saying I thoroughly enjoyed this today and I'm glad I didn't sell it years ago.)

STEREOLAB - "Mars Audiac Quintet" CD (I'm having a difficult time finding things to say about this one. It's a great album, fun and filled with catchy songs. It's not one of my favorites, but it's a solid release. I'm burned on writing about music for the day.)

Day #267
STEREOLAB - "Peng!" CD (I lived at home with my parents well into my 20s and they both were subjected to mountains of horrible music coming from my bedroom. One look through these A-Z posts will give you an idea of what they had to put up with, but the only two bands they ever complained about were Fossil Fuel ("What in the FUCK are you listening to!?!") and Stereolab, specifically this album and "Switched On". My mother hated this album, always complained that the droning organ reminded her of funerals. She never asked me to turn it off, but she complained about it often. "Peng!" is Stereolab's first full length album and it's filled with droning one part songs that sound like a poppier version of Can and Neu!. The "motorik" beat even makes an appearance, but they would explore that further on another album. They changed from this droning sound pretty quickly, but this is still my favorite period. This album is great.)

STEREOLAB - "Refried Ectoplasm: Switched On Volume 2" CD (My friend Mike sent this to me years ago along with some other stuff he thought I would like. I got this after "The First of the Microbe Hunters" and had already given up on checking out new Stereolab stuff, so I didn't really give it a fair shake until several years later. Once I did, I really liked it. This is a collection of singles, B-sides, remixes, rarities, etc, not a proper album. It plays just fine as an album, though. There's lots of krautrock sounding stuff on here, in fact, "Exploding Head Movie" sounds like it was lifted directly from one of Neu!'s albums.)

STEREOLAB - "Switched On" CD (This is a collection of their first three releases from 1990. It's the most stripped down and somber sounding of the releases I've heard, and one of my favorites. This was the CD my mother complained about the most. I really have nothing to say about them I haven't said above, though.)

STEREOLAB - "Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements" CD (This was the first album I heard of theirs and because I've spent more time with it than the others it's my favorite. Jon from Green Beret dubbed this for me on cassette in 1995 and it didn't really click with me until I got to "Jenny Ondioline". That was probably first time hearing the "motorik" beat and music that repetitious. The minimalism of it really spoke to me for some reason. Stereolab were my gateway into the world of krautrock and I'll always appreciate them for that. I listened to that dubbed copy enough times to buy this CD and the others listed above. I still get chill bumps when I listen to this albums, it's that good.)

STIKKY - "Demos 1, 2 + 3" CDR* (I bought this from someone, but I'm sure it's an unauthorized bootleg, thus the asterisk. There were some personnel differences on the earliest recordings. I don't think Chris Dodge was in the band at that point. They didn't start sounding like Stikky until demo 3 and a 1/2, but a lot of the songs that made it to their records are on this disc, but much slower and more HC sounding. I wish the sound was better on this stuff.)

STIKKY - "Demo 3 and a 1/2" CDR* (This is the second disc of a set with that above disc. Loads of songs that didn't make it on to their records, some of these recordings ended up on a couple compilations and aren't on the "Spamthology" CD. Sounds like the Stikky we know and love, just a bit sloppier. Too bad this didn't get a proper release.)

STIKKY - "Spamthology Volume One" CD (I first heard Stikky on "The Thing That Ate Floyd" 2LP. They were my favorite band on the compilation and I wrote Lookout for a catalog only to find their LP was out of print. I learned later that there was an argument between the drummer/singer Todd and label head Lawrence Livermore re: Todd's reggae band Inka Inka that resulted in "Where's My Lunchpail?" LP never getting reissued. I searched for that fucking thing forever and finally found one in 1996 for $30.00. Lookout must still own the master tapes, but there was a rough mix on tape recorded as they were doing vocals with all the chatter between songs that was used for the LP reissue and this CD. If you've never heard the LP you wouldn't know what you're missing, bit the Lookout version sounds way better. It's nice having both versions, though. Their two 7"s are on here as well as some compilation tracks and a couple unreleased songs. Stikky played really fast silly HC with sarcastic lyrics and ripping metal leads. Wacky shit, but in the right context. Too bad more people didn't shot themselves over Stikky instead of Spazz. Maybe more of their stuff would have been reissued properly.)

KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN - "Stockhausen: Elektronische Musik 1952-1960" CD* (I know very little about Stockhausen. I know he's considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century, a pioneer in the field of electronics and that he cared very little for traditional methods of creating music. I saw his name mentioned a lot when reading about krautrock, specifically Can, so I downloaded this to see what all the hub-bub was about. It's pretty amazing that sounds like these were recorded this early. The earliest stuff sounds like it's done with tape manipulation. It's not unlike what Tod Dockstader did in the 60s and what the BBC Stereophonic Workshop did after that. It's gets noisier and darker sounding, moving into nightmare territory with the "Kontakte" tracks towards the middle of the disc. This shit's cool. I'd like to hear more of his work.)

THE STOOGES - s/t CD (I like the Stooges okay. I'm not in love with them like a lot of people are, but there are great songs on all of their albums. There are also songs I don't like on their albums, like "We Will Fall" on this one (complete waste of 10 minutes). If you can put the peanut butter and "I invented stage diving" nonsense out of your head, they're a great band when they pick up the speed and rock out. Unfortunately, that only happens about three times on this album.)

THE STOOGES - "Funhouse" CD (This one is more consistent than the first album, but most of it still leaves me pretty limp. The sax is fun, though, and the last song is really noisy. Historically important, maybe, but it's not something I dig a whole lot.)

Day #268
STRANGLERS - "Black and White" CD (One of my greatest musical discoveries of the past few years. My friend Brian is a huge Zappa fan and asked me to look up the Stranglers one day because he read an interview with Zappa that he didn't care about new wave and considered the Stranglers to be the only new wave band worth listening to. I downloaded "Black and White", listened to it once and didn't really pay any attention to it for a while. I'm not sure what made me listen to it again later, but I did and loved it. I downloaded more of their stuff, then ended up buying them all on CD (take that RIAA!). They quickly became one of my favorite bands. "Black and White" is their third album, and my favorite. There's nothing new wave about this, though. They play a blistering mixture of punk, pub rock and progressive rock. Their music is angry, sarcastic, complex, catchy and fun. Their bassist JJ has the most brutal bass sound ever recorded, total thundering power. I've been craving the Stranglers since I started this stupid project. They sound better than ever today.)

STRANGLERS - "No More Heroes" CD (Their second album. It's equally as great as their first album, the same proggy, high energy rock with snarling semi-offensive vocals. The more you listen to this stuff the better it gets. These import CDs are packed with bonus tracks and thick booklets. I'm glad I picked them up. This shit rules.)

STRANGLERS - "Rattus Norvegicis" CD (The music isn't quite as full on this first album, but the lyrics are more mean spirited. They were still a great band this early on, but they got better with time. The epic closer "Down in the Sewer" is the highlight of the album. Like the other two above, this is packed with bonus tracks, all of which are great.)

STRANGLERS - "The Sessions" CD (I was kind of bummed when these guys mellowed out, added a bunch of synths and went in a different direction. I need to give those later albums another listen, see how they sit with me now, but I always wished they recorded more stuff like the first three albums. Searching for demos revealed this CD of stuff they recorded for John Peel, three sessions, I believe. Like the above three, I downloaded this and loved it, then later bought it when I found it used in Iowa City. These recordings don't have the same power and punch as the album versions, but they're cool to have anyway. It's a nice addition to the studio albums, but I don't listen to it very often.)

STRANGLERS - "The Stranglers and Friends" CD (Recorded live in 1980 while singer/guitarist Hugh Cromwell was in jail on a drug possession charge, not released until 1995. Instead of canceling the gigs they had scheduled, musician friends of the band (including Robert Fripp, Nik Turner, Larry Wallis and Robert Smith) stepped in and filled in for two shows. Hugh's vocals are noticeably missing. It still sounds like the Stranglers some of the time because JJ sings on a lot of the songs, but a different singer makes all the difference in the world. It's an interesting document, though, worth hearing once or twice. I found this used in my hometown (an unlikely place) for a couple of bucks. It's not a purchase I regret, but Toya Wilcox's vocals fucking suck.)

STRANGULATED BEATOFFS - "Greatest Hits" CD (This is a purchase I regret, even if I only spent a few dollars on it. I love Drunks With Guns and knew a couple of their members went on to this band after DWG dissolved, but had no idea what they sounded like. I found this used, looked at the song titles and decided it was something I should probably hear. It was pretty terrible. I think I made it 3 songs in on the drive home before turning it off and the CD is 66 minutes long, so I didn't even scratch the surface. It's like lo-fi bedroom industrial with 2 note guitar parts and songs that go on way too long. It's really bad, and not in a good way. This shit sucks.)

STRAPPADO -"Fatal Judgement" Demo / WHITE PRIDE - "Your Loss is Our Gain" CDR* (The guitarist of Slaughter formed Strappado after Slaughter bit the dust. It's more technical, songs are longer, but it's still pretty good. A little too much on the tough guy side of things for my tastes. The sound is pretty great for a demo, too. While Pride were another Drunks With Guns related band (I think?). They only recorded the one demo, but it fucking kills. Some of the funniest stuff ever with great songs to back it up. The sound on this is pretty terrible, but I recently found a great sounding copy of it online on the awesome "Glorify the Turd" blog. Not for the easily offended, but I'm almost certain these guys were just pushing buttons and not legit racists.)

STRETCHHEADS - "Five Fingers, Four Thingers, a Thumb, a Facelift and a New Identity" CDR* (My friend Ace ripped his vinyl and made me a CD copy of this LP years ago when I was still trying to track down a vinyl copy. I eventually found one on eBay after looking for 10+ years and paid $55 for it. It's the most I've ever spent on an LP before, but I didn't think I'd ever see it again. I've seen it only once since then and it the last I checked the auction it was over the $55 I had spent. There was only one pressing of 500 copies of this LP and the label, Moksha, has no intentions of reissuing it. I emailed them about reissuing it and they wanted a ridiculous amount of money for the masters and wanted a percentage of the pressing. I thought about just bootlegging it, but decided against it. I'm sure the band wouldn't have cared. They'd probably be happy to have it in print again. I found all of their other records cheaply and locally, but this one was fucking hard to track down. Stretchheads, from Scotland, were one of the most abrasive bands ever. Imagine Melt Banana without the quirky cute shit and with a madman screaming his lungs out instead of the squeaky female vocals. That gives you an idea, but it's way harsher than that. Rumbling distorted bass, staccato drumming and the thinnest guitar sound this side of a Minutemen album. The whole thing is pummeling, one noisy track after another. The singer, p6, and drummer are both in a band called DeSalvo now. They're also great, and p6's vocals are as brutal as ever. I've exchanged a few emails with him and he seems to be a really nice guy who's appreciative of his fans. Makes his music even better, as if it needed any help...)

Day #269
STRETCHHEADS - "Pish in Your Sleazebag" LP, "23/Skinner" 12", "Eyeball Origami Aftermath Wit Vegetarian Leg" 7" CDR* (I kind of regret not buying that "Pish...." CD when I saw it, but I already had all this stuff on vinyl and bought it all dead cheap in Iowa City. "23/Skinner" still has the $1.00 price tag on it. People are fucking stupid for selling this stuff. Less full-on noisy on these releases, but just as abrasive in a different way. There's more space in their music and their influence from fellow Scots Dog Faced Hermans shows through a little more. The recording is absolutely crushing and p6's vocals are at an a time manic sound. "Pish" is easily my favorite Stretchheads release. This shit gets my highest recommendation. It's better than most of that crud that blew up in the 90s, yet they're mostly unknown. Too bad...)

STUPIDS - "Peruvian Vacation / Violent Nun" CD (This day is starting out great. Another criminally underrated band from the UK, probably because they played US style HC when all of the other bands around them were inventing a new genre called grindcore. Lack of innovation aside, these guys did that ultra-fast HC style really fucking well and with a terrific sense of humor. Unfortunately, they changed up their sound not top long after these recordings, added more melody and slowed things down quite a bit. I heard their "Frankfurter" 12" first, didn't like it much and wrote them off. Years later a tape trading pal of mine dubbed me this CD and it blew me away. If you haven't heard them, this is the best starting place. Their entire catalog was reissued a few years back with loads of bonus tracks. I wanted to pick them up, but I don't have enough green to re-buy stuff for bonus tracks. I enjoy the shit out of this CD, though.)

STUPIDS - "Retard Picnic, Feedback Session + Flexi" CD (The song writing has improved at this point, there's more parts and longer songs. Everything is still really fast on this CD, but the songs that aren't re-recordings of stuff on the above disc are more melodic and make better use of counterparts. I didn't like this much at first, but it's grown on me to the point where I like it about the same as the other. It's just as good, just different.)

Su19b - "Discography" CD (Ryohei from Final Exit drums in this band, originally pretty much a self-professed Crossed Out clone. Aside from there being painfully slow exaggerated slow parts between fast bits, it really doesn't sound all that much like Crossed Out. The vocals are silly, bit this is pretty good. The slow parts would work just fine without the fast parts, too, but they're a pleasant interruption from the monotony.)

SUCK - "Time to Suck" CD (This obscure rock gem comes from South Africa in 1970. It saw a CD reissue years ago, but even the CD is impossible to find now. All of these songs are cover songs but one, Grand Funk Railroad, King Crimson, Free, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, etc. All hard rockin' stuff with strong playing and great vocals not unlike Rod Evans. The band existed for less than a year, didn't get around to writing more music, I guess. How they got a record deal playing covers is puzzling, but this is a great album.)

SUFFOCATION - "Effigy of the Forgotten" CD (This is a solid debut album. Suffocation played a very specific style of death metal, so much so that "Suffo-clone" actually became a semi-legit genre definition. At the time of it's release, this album was fucking brutal, but everything about it has since became a cliche, right down to the Morrisound production and Dan Seagrave artwork that adorns the cover. None of this is Suffocation's fault, though. They just happened to tweak death metal enough to stumble on something hundreds of shitty bands would dumb down and ruin. I haven't listened to this in a long time and didn't expect to like it much today, but I've had enough distance from the death metal scene to enjoy this again. When you're in the mood for this sort of stuff, you'd have a hard time finding better cure for that craving than Suffocation.)

SUFFOCATION - "Pierced From Within" CD (Everything that was great about the first album is even better on this one. I wish I had more of their CDs to listen to now.)

Day #270
SUICIDAL TENDENCIES - s/t CD (I love this album, but it's the only ST album I have. I've owned some of the late 80s stuff in the past, but traded it away. I have no personal connection with this, so there's no story to go along with this synopsis. It's too bad they didn't record more stuff like this. I heard some demo songs on YouTube and they were great, too. They would have made nice bonus tracks for this CD.)

SUICIDE - "First Album + Live" 2CD (My friend Spencer told me about these guys a few years ago. He was friends with a guy who worked at Half Price Books and was privy to all kinds of great music that came through it's doors. I ended up finding this at an outlet mall in Iowa for five bucks a short while after that. Suicide were part of that great 70s NY art/no wave scene. It's stripped down genius, just a guy with a blippy drum machine and a synth belting out repetitive, throbbing noise and another guy crooning over it with his sad, tortured vocals. They came from a different scene, probably had different goals in mind, but some of thus stuff does sound too different than the early industrial bands. You could probably trick some people into thinking a few of these songs were Throbbing Gristle tunes, especially on the live disc that's included as bonus material. Proving Ric Ocasek was cool from the beginning, he was friends with the band and produced this first album. He was instrumental in getting it released, too, using his rock star muscle to land them a contract. The sound is great. It's clean, but the synth has such a gnarly sound it didn't need any help sounding frightening. "Frankie Teardrop" is the highlight. Alan Vega's vocals send shivers down your spine. It's simultaneously frightening and embarrassing to listen to. The live disc is great, and on "23 Minutes Over Brussels" you can hear their set evolve into a full-on riot because the audience hated them so much.)

SUICIDE - "The Second Album" + "The First Rehearsal Tapes" 2CD (Their first two albums were both simply titled "Suicide", so they applied the new titles with the reissues. This second album is a lot more pop sounding, more dancey than abrasive. It's the same minimal instrumentation, but Martin Rev has coaxed more musical sounds from his equipment this time around. It's okay, but I prefer their debut. Theres stuff on here that is straight-up synth pop, not my thing. The rehearsal tracks from 1975 are super minimal and really creepy sounding. I listen to them more than the first disc of this set. I found this for five bucks, too.)

Day #272
SUKORA - "Tower" CD (The most minimal music ever recorded. In the 90s there was a Hermit/ Sukora split tape available for a short while, but Eric/Hermit stopped selling it because people kept sending him their tapes back assuming he forgot to dub the Sukora side. It's easy to see how people would think that if they didn't know anything about them beforehand. I only knew Sukora from that split and I can't say their side was exactly enjoyable. I'm not sure what made me look them up again a few years back, but I found this CD online and ordered it. Like the Hermit split, this is extremely minimal. It's an hour of tape hiss with the occasional tapping sound. Not exactly a tapping noise, it just sounds like *something* happening in the background, like someone shifting in a chair. When I say occasional, I mean once every 5 minutes or so. It's that minimal, and without the volume cranked you'd miss everything. The cover is almost completely white with only minimal text. No song titles, just track numbers with their corresponding times. This sort of stuff fascinates me, but listening to this CD is like sitting in your house alone waiting for the furnace to kick on. It's more fun to talk about this CD than it is to listen to. I'd probably pick up another of his releases, though, just to see if it was like this, too.)

DONNA SUMMER - "This Needs to be Your Style" CD (One of my Canadian tape trading friend's sent me a dub of this years ago. It was probably my first exposure to breakcore, a genre I know fuck all about to this day. I listened to that tape a bunch, though, so I tracked down the CD and bought it. This isn't Donna Summer the disco queen, it's the name Jason Forrest sometimes records under. I can only assume this entire recording is made up of sampled music, some of the sources I can occasionally make out (James Brown, J. Geils Band, Go-Go's, U2, Van Halen). It sometimes crosses into gabber territory, sometimes mash-up, but mostly it's just other people's music broken into tiny snippets and repurposed. This sort of copyright violation stuff sits with me just fine and isn't too different from what ECC, Negativland and John Oswald are doing, just easier to dance to. There's so much going on at once, though, it's a lot to take in.)

DONNA SUMMER - "The Unrelenting Songs of the 1979 Post Disco Crash" CD (Compared to the above CD, this one flows a lot better and is more "musical". It's the same sort of stuff, but with different results. I listen to this one a lot more often than the other.)

SUNN O))) - "ØØ Void" CD (There was a point in my life, not very long, that I considered myself to be a pretty big fan of these guys. I think the rate of which they were cranking out releases and the hype surrounding them put me off to them. I haven't listened to any of their material for several years now. I downloaded "Black One", didn't like it and never bothered listening to anything they released after that. I started feeling stupid for spending money on stuff like this. A part of me felt as if this was some sort of joke I played into. I still feel that way today. Joe Preston is what brought me to Sunn O))) initially and I'm really only interested in their droning "Earth 2" worship. This sounds great to me today and succeeds in sounding like "Earth 2". Taking a break from them may have helped, but I'm not sure I can do 5 of their CDs in a row today and enjoy them.)

SUNN O))) - "Flight of the Behemoth" CD (This one begins and ends pretty much like the above disc, but the middle veers off into some interesting noise stuff that's a welcome change after all of the drone.)

SUNN O))) - "The Grimm Robe Demos" CD (It's a pretty old joke, but this CD really does sound like they're tuning their guitars for 73 minutes. In this instance, the demos were not better.)

SUNN O))) - "White 1" CD (This was the first album I heard and I bought it because of Joe Preston being on it. Julian Cope's vocals over the first track are awesome. This CD is good because they're doing something new instead of just aping Earth's drone period. It's still really doomy and sparse, but in a different way. It's my favorite of the five CDs I have.)

Day #273
SUNN O))) - "White 2" CD (I've decided after listening to all of these again that I only liked "White 1", but because I heard that one first I bought a bunch of their other stuff hoping it would be as good. None of it was.)

SUPER FUN HAPPY SLIDE - "The Undislodgable Nugget Scenario" CD (After a full day without riffs, SFHS sounds like the greatest band in the world. I already thought they were great, but they're better than ever today. I don't know what it is about Australia that produces such terrific grind bands, but there are loads of them. This sounds like Napalm Death with gore vocals, 19 songs in 25 minutes, with a recording that has the perfect amount of crummy sound for this kind of music. It sounds like a 4 track recording with vocals added later. This is an awesome CD, I hope these guys stick it out for a while.)

SUPERCHIEF - "Rock Music" CDR (My friend Joe gave this to me last year. Superchief are a rock band from Iowa. Joe and I went to see them with his brother's band, Snow Demon, in Iowa City. The sound on this disc is great. They either spent some bucks doing it or knew what they were doing, because it's just about the most appropriate recording you could want for this sort of music. I'm not really into this kind of 90s grungy rock stuff, though. There are hints of stoner rock in this, too, which I'm also not into, but I can appreciate it for about 5 songs. The guitarist is really good and it's easy to tell these guys are playing this stuff because they like it, not because it's "cool". I can't begrudge a group of dudes banging out songs and having fun in the process. I saw they had released a new CD recently when I was in Iowa City, but I had already spent more money than I had planned at that point and passed on it. If I saw them live again I'd probably pick it up at their show.)

SUPPRESSION - "Amputated Brain Stem: 1993-2000 Discography" CD (Jason Hodges was instrumental to me getting involved in the underground to the extent I did. I learned about his label CNP in "Book Your Own Fucking Life" and sent him one of my band's demos. The tape he sent in return came with a catalog and tons of flyers for other people's releases and I probably ordered everything in the CNP catalog in the span of a year. Suppression were one of the best 2nd wave powerviolence bands. They were better than most because when they grew tired of ripping off Crossed Out they started adding weird bits of noise. Towards the end, though, the noise seemed to have taken completely over and a lot of people lost interest. I always liked their noise stuff, but I would have liked about a 60/40 ratio of music and noise. After a crummy sounding discography CD their old guitarist authorized on RSR, CNP released this far superior discography CD with better sound, more material and lots of unreleased stuff. He sold them cheap enough that I didn't feel dumb buying it again, too.)

SUPPRESSION - "9296" CD (Apparently one of the old guitarists made this CD of all the material he played on, Regurgitated Semen got a copy of it somehow and offered to release it. The problem is a lot of this CD was sourced from mp3 files instead of the original tapes and sounds pretty crummy. I don't think any of the other members were in on this at all and I'm sure the above CD was released because of how lousy this one sounds. There is a rehearsal demo on this CD that isn't on the CNP release, though, so it was worth holding on to for that. Most of this material overlaps the above disc, though, and with worse sound, so if you had to choose between the two, this one loses out.)

TALKING HEADS - "Fear of Music" CD* (I really liked "Remain in Light" when I heard it and I picked up a bunch of their records for cheap after that. None of them really clicked with me like "Remain in Light" did, so I downloaded them and burned them to CD to listen to in my car thinking that if I spent more time with them I might like them more. It didn't help. This isn't one of their best albums, in my opinion. There are times I find David Byrne's vocals to be really irritating. Today is one of those days. Most of these songs are really funky, but nowhere near as funky as the aforementioned album. The songs that aren't funky are just kind of slow and directionless.)

TALKING HEADS - "More Songs About Buildings and Food" CD* (Their second LP is better than their first and third. This is my second favorite after "Remain in Light". Byrne's vocals are still annoying, but the music is good enough to look past them. The songs are more memorable this time around and while the guitar still has that great thin jangly sound, everything else sounds beefier.)

TALKING HEADS - "Outtakes/Demos/Rarities" CDR* (I found this on a blog site and burned it to CDR because they were flac files and my stupid media player won't play flac. The sound is pretty incredible for being a bootleg. They sound like they were lifted directly from the master tapes. The version of "Life During Wartime" on here with Fripp is awesome. It could be because I'm on my third album in a row and it's finally kicked in, but I'm digging this collection more than the previous two albums. There are acoustic covers of Johnny Cash, Nancy Sinatra and Herman's Hermits at the end.)

TALKING HEADS - "Remain in Light" CD (A great album, probably one of the funkiest albums made by white people. I remember being blown away by this the first time I heard it. I was sitting at a friend's house and someone I didn't know got up to put this on and I had this feeling of "Fuck, I have to listen to the Talking Heads now..." I was familiar with "Once in a Lifetime" from this album, but had never heard the rest of it. My limited exposure to them consisted of what I heard on the radio. I wasn't expecting tight polyrhythmic funk executed with razor precision. At the same time, it's s fairly angry sounding record, though I can't pinpoint what about it makes me think that. Even David Byrne's vocals are pretty good on this one.)

TANGERINE DREAM - "Alpha Centauri" CD (I have this one on vinyl, too, as part of a 6 LP box set with all of their early recordings. This is their second album, well before they became the kings of film scores. Most of the line-up from the first album is gone on this one leaving only Edgar Froese with a new band. This is organ and flute based krautrock with some harsh electronics over top of it. At times the noises are so loud it made me want to rip my headphones off. It's an interesting album, really the one one in their catalog that sounds like it. Later versions of this had the "Ultima Thule" 7" added as bonus tracks, but my copy on Relativity Records doesn't have any bonus stuff.)

Day #274
TANGERINE DREAM - "Phaedra" CD (This is the only TD CD I have that I don't also have on LP. The great thing about TD is nobody gives a fuck about them, so if you look hard enough you can find their LPs for under $5.00. I couldn't find this one, so it was the first one I bought on CD. I read somewhere that Edgar Froese recorded and released his "Aqua" album to finance the recording of this album. I'm not sure how that works as he would have had to of paid to record "Aqua", too, but these albums sound very similar. This is the first of the sequencer driven Tangerine Dream albums, and my favorite period. When I think of TD I think of bubbling synths, repetition and ambience and this one has all of that. The effect is hypnotic. This album is great, probably my favorite.)

TANGERINE DREAM - "Ricochet" CD (Another great sequencer heavy album. This one was recorded live, so it's a little more linear than their other albums and the guitar plays a larger role than on "Phaedra". Everything great about TD is here on this album. Two side long tracks on this one.)

TANGERINE DREAM - "Sorcerer OST" + "Ultima Thule" 7" CDR* ("Sorcerer" is a William Friedkin movie, the same guy who brought us the Exorcist. I haven't seen the movie, but by listening to this soundtrack I'm guessing it's a horror movie. This is some of TD's darkest material. There's some bouncy sequencer stuff on here, typical of their mid-70s style, but there are also some bits that are much darker sounding than you'd find in this period of their catalog, but not too different than stuff you'd hear on their first 4 albums. "Ultima Thule" is an oddity in TD's catalog. It's a fairly traditional piece of instrumental guitar rock with pounding drums and organ and VCS3. The second side is pretty mellow, though, like Ashra Tempel.)

TANGERINE DREAM - "Stratosfear" + "Rubycon" CDR* (While I'm positive I've heard their music on movies growing up as a child, "Stratosfear" was the first time I knowingly heard Tangerine Dream. One of my friend's gave me this LP while he lived in Iowa. It was probably my first experience to electronic music in general. This album marks the beginning of their more melodic period, but there's a lot of tension on this album. Though it's broken in to four songs, the whole thing plays well as one long piece. There's a stream of consciousness quality that really makes this one stand out in their catalog. "Rubycon" was released between "Phaedra" and "Ricochet" and sounds like a mixture of those two. It starts put very ethereal-like, then moves into the sequencer stuff indicative of that period. I bought this LP in Brisbane while I was visiting the drummer from Midget Fetish, ripped both of these LPs and burned this CDR.)

TANK - "This Means War" CD (As a wee lad in middle school I heard the demo version of "Run Like Hell" on one of my friend's compilation tapes he "borrowed" from his older brother. I had forgotten all about Tank until sometime in the 90s when I found their name one a Russian mp3 site I used to download heaps of music from. I grabbed "Filth Hounds of Hades" that day and loved it, but never found a copy of it for sale anywhere. A few years later in Japan visiting a friend I found "This Means War" at Book Off for 800 yen. It doesn't have the same raw energy as their debut and the production is a little weird, but this is a solid NWOBHM album and it's only lane when compared with their earlier releases. The song writing is solid, decent hooks and the vocals are awesome. I need to pick up their other CDs. I'm a Tank poser.)

TASTE OF FEAR - s/t CD (This is the second copy of this I've owned, bought it from some oddball distro in Japan that had a bunch of rare and OOP stuff for sale. I'm not sure what happened with the first CD I had. Daryl's band after Citizens Arrest, more metal sounding and slower than CxA was. Released legitimately by the infamous bootleg label, Lost & Found. This is my least favorite TOF material. The recording sounds kind of flat and lifeless and the vocals have way too many effects on them for my tastes. The songs are all pretty good, but I'd prefer them to sound a little dirtier. The last minute of this CD is pretty silly, even by heavy metal standards.)

TASTE OF FEAR - "Discography: 1991-2003" CD (The first few tracks on this were new when this was released. Since then Justin and Daryl have had some sort of a falling out and Justin released them as a split CD with Voice of Hate without discussing it with Daryl. I guess there are two Taste of Fear bands now as a result, both of which will argue that theirs is the "true" TOF. The 1997 demo is on here as well. I had the pleasure of sitting in on that session. Daryl was living in Iowa and Justin came to visit and record some stuff in this tiny studio in the back of a music store. They asked me to play bass on it, and I tried, but I couldn't pick the songs up at the pace they needed me to. If you listen to the songs, the structures don't make much sense. The riffs weren't a problem for me, just the structures. I'm pretty sure they played those songs together for the first time in the studio that night. You can hear the drums stop more than once to figure out what was going on, then join back in. My friend Brian and I did backing vocals on a couple of songs that were on the demo tape, but didn't make it to this CD. Most of this CD is great, even the messy Iowa recordings. With the exception of the songs from the s/t CD which I just finished listening to, I really enjoyed all of this CD.)

TASTE OF FEAR / VOICE OF HATE - split CD (I had no idea what this was when I saw it in someone's distro list, but they were having a "buy 3 get 3 free sale", so $5 was too cheap to pass up. Surprisingly it's probably Taste of Fear's best material. The sound is crushingly heavy, songs are memorable and Daryl's vocals have never sounded better. Some of the '97 demo songs are on here, too. Voice of Hate are from Spain and play a style of grindcore not unlike Taste of Fear, but faster and more technical. At one point Toñyo from Violent Headache played drums for them. I can't remember offhand if he played on this CD or not, though. There are two different recordings on here, the second is a lot noisier. I'm not digging their part of this split today.)

THE TENANTS - "Drive the Snakes" CD (I have no real interest in traditional Irish folk music, but I recognize quality when I hear it. I met Jake Book through my engineer friend Travis who also recorded this. Jake is a likable, positive, upbeat and talented guy, but don't think I'm being kind because he's a friend of mine. I have no problem shitting all over my friends' music, I've done so often. Jake seems to be really good at what he does. Not only is he a decent guitar player, he has a great voice and sings with such sincerity it's hard not to be interested in what he's doing. I couldn't say how authentic his music is when compared to Irish music of old, but that doesn't matter to me because of how well he pulls this off. The biggest draw for me, however, is that because of this music's limited appeal (even in the backwoods state of Iowa), I'm confident he's playing this stuff because he loves it. Playing music you love with no thought of how "cool" it is is just about the greatest thing ever, even better when you're able to pull it off this well. The playing is concise, the singing pleasant and the recording is excellent. It's short enough to hold my interest, but I've seen them live a few times and have enjoyed them at longer intervals. Recently he's moved to Indiana with his wife, who's also in the band, to have a go at it there. I haven't had the opportunity to hang out with him often, but I'm going to miss seeing him around.)

TERRORIZER - "World Downfall" CD (Some fucker stole this CD out of my car years ago, so I had to re-buy it. Making things worse, the second CD I bought has a huuuuge glitch at the beginning of "Dead Shall Rise". Expounding on the greatness of Terrorizer seems silly. Anyone reading this blog knows them and loves them. It's one of those genre defining albums. Oscar's vocals are what makes this stand out from the other Earache bands, though. They're totally distinct sounding, even today. I've never bothered checking out the other albums, probably won't ever. They accomplished everything they needed to with this gem.)

Day #275
TERRORIZER / NAUSEA / MAJESTY - "Day Zero 4/25/87" - "Split Demo 87-88" - Beastial Vomit 88" CD (This is a bootleg with demos of all the Terrorizer related bands. Packaging is shit and the sound on some of this is pretty lousy, but this stuff rules. The Nausea side of the split is especially great. It would be cool if this stuff was released officially without all the tape hiss.)

TESCO VEE'S HATE POLICE - "Gonzo Hate Vibe" CD (This is my first time hearing this. After finally getting to see the Meatmen live months ago I bought 6 of their CDs and a DVD in a lot on eBay for $30.00. This was one of them and it's just now came up to listen to. When I bought it I was still working my way through the B section. Like most of the later Meatmen stuff, this is just okay. These songs were a blast live, and it sounds like they had fun writing/recording them. I think Tesco plays music because he has fun doing it. He gets a free pass for life for his Touch and Go recordings. I'll see him live every chance I get and if it takes releasing CDs that are just okay to make that happen, fine by me. I probably said the same thing when I wrote about the Meatmen, but whatever...)

THIN LIZZY - "Bad Reputation" CD (Thin Lizzy have kind of drawn the short stick when it comes to great rock band's of the 70s. Historically they've been largely ignored until their recent acceptance by PBR swilling hipsters. It was this recent activity that brought them to my attention. I knew a couple of their songs from the radio before that, but had no idea who the artist was. Their lack of recognition is puzzling, as they were a great band. Phil's vocals are like butter, the songs are catchy, those double leads are killer and, more importantly, they rock really hard. This shit oozes "cool", not try hard or flashy like so many bands from that era that are better known. There's just as much awesome shit going on in their music, but it's smoother somehow, like they can't help but to write great songs, and every song on this album IS great. All of their albums I have are great, so instead of gushing about each individually, I'll probably just list the others by title and let this description cover all of them.)

THIN LIZZY - "Black Rose" CD (Even better than the above album.)

THIN LIZZY - "Live and Dangerous" CD (They're great live, too!)

THIN LIZZY - "The Peel Sessions" CD* (I downloaded this one, I'm not even sure it was released on CD. There are several sessions on here, some live, including the original 3 piece line up.)

THIN LIZZY - "Vagabonds of the Western World" CD

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