23 April 2012

LOOK: Soft Rock Renegade on Bandcamp

I am currently in the process of uploading many of the albums posted to this blog to Bandcamp where anyone can stream and/or download mp3s for free. It will be a simple, organized, all-in-one-place page where I can share all the great music I've been posting to this blog. Share it with your friends.

18 April 2012

DOWNLOAD: Watership Down - Dellicatessin

During this past South By Southwest, I got to reminisce about West Virginia bands with Robert McCutcheon (American Minor). It was Watership Down that Rob mentioned as his favorite band from the state. I remember hearing about this Charleston band, but it wasn't until Rob tracked down this album that I ever heard them. Before playing this album, I had no idea what Watership Down even sounded like. Being from Charleston in the mid-'90s, I presumed they played blend of pop punk and metal like most other bands from the area at that time. Instead what I heard was ramshackle pop rock in the vein of Pavement, Built To Spill or early Flaming Lips. "They were the first true 'indie rock band' I saw in Charleston," said Aaron Crothers (The Emergency), a self-described source close to the band. "It's just sloppy wonderfulness." This album, recorded at Cave Records in the mid-'90s, is truly wonderful and makes me want to hear more from the trio lead by Jeremy Brightbill. I believe it is the last recording by the band, who added female vocals from Jeremy's sister Jaimie on the record which adds a sweet poppy element to the otherwise angsty but melodic style driven messy instrumentation and Jeremy's laconic vocals. This record is really great, so if you're a fan of the aforementioned bands or anything from the '90s lo-fi indie movement, then this comes highly recommended.

Artist: Watership Down
Album: Dellicatessin
Year: mid-'90s
For fans of: Pavement, Built To Spill, Flaming Lips

17 April 2012

WATCH: Diamond Teeth Mary McClain

Born in Huntington, Diamond Teeth Mary McClain ran away from home at age 13, began singing at 15, but didn't receive recognition until she was in her mid-30s. She sang until her death in 2000 and had performed at the Appollo and the Cotton Club and has been billed with the likes of her half-sister Bessie Smith as well as Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and other legendary musicians. Here are a couple videos of Diamond Teeth Mary including a short bio about her in the top video and footage of one of her later performances below.

12 April 2012

LOOK: J Marinelli/Samuel tour photo, 1995

J Marinelli posted this photo today. It was taken in Minneapolis in 1995 and is from the Samuel tour with Avail, Chamberlain, and Colossus of the Fall tour. Marinelli is the fourth from the left in the back row. On the far left is Avail singer Tim Barry who I recently saw play this show in Austin with my good friend Aaron (The Warriors), who gets a shout out from Tim in the video. Oh, punk rock.

09 April 2012

DOWNLOAD - Cave Record (Various Artists) - Songs For The Fruitbat

Songs for the Fruitbat is a 17-track compilation CD produced in 1995 for Elview-based label run by Brian Pauley and Scott Robinson. I've had plenty of posts about Dirt Bear, but the the comp also features four songs each from Charleston area groups Trout, Flood and Sevin (along with one bonus track from Lame). The compilation represents the diversity of music being made around Charleston in the mid-1990s. Fruitbat features a alt-punk-metal (Dirt Bear), heavy alternative in the vein of Helmet and Quicksand (Flood), snotty pop punk (Sevin) and fIREHOSE/Meat Puppets-esque alt rock (Trout). The comp is pretty well produced and features songs not featured on other records by the bands. Members of these bands went on to be in Westbygod, Shindig, Dead Ant Farm and others.

06 April 2012

WATCH: Down Goes Frazier live in Huntington, 2009

I recently traveled home to West Virginia. While there I got the opportunity to hang out with my good friend Ryan. That inspired me to listen to his old band Down Goes Frazier. If you're a fan of Hot Water Music or Planes Mistaken For Stars, be sure to download their discography. Here's a video of DGF playing in Huntington in 2009. They were a good band.

05 April 2012

DOWNLOAD: Complete Strangers - Complete Strangers

I originally posted this album in March 2010, but because I've been listening to it a lot lately, I am posting it again. Every time I listen to Complete Strangers, I am reminded of how amazing they were. If you like rock music along the lines of Talking Heads, Rolling Stones, T. Rex, Elvis Costello or The Stooges, download this. There is nothing I will ever post to this blog that I will recommend more highly.

Artist: Complete Strangers
Album: Complete Strangers
Year: 2002
For fans of: The Stooges, T. Rex, Elvis Costello

DOWNLOAD: Complete Strangers - Complete Strangers

27 March 2012

LISTEN: Spike Jones - I Wanna Go Back To West Virginia

Heading back home to West Virginia tomorrow, so no better time for this 1942 big band number from Spike Jones and His City Slickers.

"I wanna go back to West Virginia. I wanna go back to the one I love," - indeed.

23 March 2012

DOWNLOAD: Stand Accused - Demonstration CD 2004

This record has nothing do with West Virginia or the region, other than I am from West Virginia and I used to go see the singer's other band (Reach the Sky) in Pittsburgh. I am posting this simply because it is one of my favorite ever hardcore demos and it seems impossible to find on the Internet. Stand Accused was from Boston and this demo is the only thing they ever recorded. (I don't know if they ever played any shows.) It is Ian from Reach the Sky and members of Suicide File and Mental, but the band sounds nothing like any of those bands. It is intense, pissed off, political hardcore in the vein of Poison Idea, Agnostic Front or Terror. So good.

Artist: Stand Accused
Album: Demonstration CD 2004
Year: 2004
For fans of: Agnostic Front, Poison Idea, Terror
DOWNLOAD: Stand Accused - Demonstration CD 2004

22 March 2012

WATCH: The Blanket Institute live in 2001

Yesterday I posted the demo from Huntington noise-rock band The Blanket Institute. I mentioned their live performances, which were always tense and abrasive. So here is a video of them playing in what seems to be a gymnasium - maybe at the old Ceredo-Kenova High School - in 2001.

21 March 2012

DOWNLOAD: The Blanket Institute - fearsomeasinmouthwithscapel

Taking note from The Locust, The Blanket Institute played acerbic noise-rock with a heavy hint of irony and sarcasm. Hailing from Huntington, TBI was dual vocalists exchanging roars and screeches overtop of drumming and guitar playing that was equally frantic. Despite never quite being a serious band, TBI did record this low-quality demo in 2001 that quite well represent their bleak but provocative performance. Though this isn't the best or most approachable music I've posted on this blog, TBI was a fun and entertaining group of guys, and it's a rare piece of the Huntington music scene in the early '00s.

Artist: The Blanket Institute
Album: fearsomeasinmouthwithscapel
Year: 2001
For fans of: The Locust, Swing Kids, Melt Banana
DOWNLOAD: The Blanket Institute - fearsomeasinmouthwithscapel*
(Sorry for the lack of track titles.)

19 March 2012

WATCH: Sam Black Church live in Boston, 1994

This past weekend, I saw All Pigs Must Die (ex-The Hope Conspiracy, Converge). At the show I mentioned Sam Black Church, and APMD's singer Kevin overheard me. He excitedly spoke of the days of SBC being the biggest band in Boston, and how good they were live. See what he's talking about in this video of SBC playing a hemp festival in Boston. (Skip to 2:15 for the SBC footage.)

14 March 2012

WATCH: 'I Have a Lot of Faith' from Hollow

I Have Alot of Faith from Elaine McMillion on Vimeo.

The above video is a clip from Elaine McMillion's film project Hollow. It is a project you should 1) pay attention to 2) help support.
Hollow is a hybrid community participatory project and interactive documentary where content is created "for the community, by the community." The project combines personal documentary video portraits, user-generated content, photography, soundscapes, interactive data and grassroots mapping on an HTML5 website designed to discuss the many stereotypes associated with the area, population loss and potential for the future. Members of the community will take part in the filmmaking process by creating 20 of the 50 short documentaries in efforts to build engagement and social trust and empower the community to work together for a better future.
Elaine McMillion is a West Virginia native and WVU grad based in Boston when not working on this film. Follow her on Twitter.

12 March 2012

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of hanging out (and doing some karaoke) with the cast and crew of the Appalachia-based film Pilgrim Song. It turns out that Paul, the husband of the film's director, played guitar in the Charleston accordion-heavy punk band P'u Rens. Though Paul seemed a bit embarrassed by the fact, I'm still reposting this album because I think it's a fun record.

Artist: P'u Rens
Album: Hocus Polka
Year: Mid-'90s
For fans of: The Dead Milkmen, Ween, They Might Be Giants

09 March 2012

LISTEN: Lemont - Summer Salt

Check out this demo track from Lemont, a fairly new indie rock band out of Pittsburgh featuring Charleston native Joshua Gragg of American Minor and Apart From the Projector.

08 March 2012

WATCH: Pilgrim Song [Trailer]

It's South By Southwest time here in Austin. Lots of music, film and panels going on in town. Just found out (I don't pay much attention) that Pilgrim Song, the new feature from Charleston resident Martha Stephens is screening.
Raised in Appalachian Kentucky, Martha Stephens longed to create films celebrating and investigating her land and people. A graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking, Martha's first feature film, "Passenger Pigeons" premiered at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival and won the "We Believe In You" Award.
I really want to see this film, which features music from Andrew Iafrate and Jonathan Wood.

06 March 2012

DOWNLOAD: Mind Garage - Mind Garage

Mind Garage may be best known as the first recognized Christian rock band. Probably best know for their "Electric Liturgy," a Christian rock worship service, this Morgantown band put out some great psychedelic tunes in the '60s and '70s. Mind Garage, dubbed "theo-rock" by Village Voice, released two LPs on RCA including this debut self-titled album. Slight comparisons to the Grateful Dead, 13th Floor Elevators, the Byrds or the Stones can be made, but Mind Garage is a true original, and had an influence on music for decades to come.
Artist: Mind Garage
Album: Mind Garage
Year: 1969
For fans of: The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, Grateful Dead

28 February 2012

WATCH: Rollins Band live in Huntington, 1999

Rollins Band covering Thin Lizzy's "Are You Ready" at the Gyrationz (Drop Shop) in Huntington in 1999. What else do you need to know?

23 February 2012

DOWNLOAD: The Monkey Knife Fights - The Sound Of a Certain Urgency

When I asked Monkey Knife Fights singer/guitarist Travis, what were his bands influences, he responded, "Not sure, something like melodic thrash." That could give you the wrong idea, but it's somewhat accurate. While frequent moments of fast guitar picking could hint at D.R.I. or Motörhead, it is the poppy but still in-your-face melodies ring of bands like Descendants, Minutemen or Sugar. The music from this Morgantown band is intense but playful and the lyrics are provocative. A highlight for me is the album's second track - "This is Where Words Get Serious." It is straight forward and fast; double bass driving forward its ferocity, but with an underlying melody from the guitars and dual vocals making its sound layered and similar to that of Hot Water Music. Best of all on this album, which was released in 2006, is the overt West Virginia pride with songs like "Almost Heaven, Drunk as Fuck" and "Appalachian Rage." Despite an old band of mine playing with MKF in 2004 at one of the first HYAMP shows, I hadn't heard the band much over the last eight years. (I blame that on living outside the state.) This is one of those album I'm glad this blog has put on my lap.

Artist: The Monkey Knife Fights
Album: The Sound Of a Certain Urgency
Year: 2006
For fans of: Minutemen, Descendants, D.R.I.

22 February 2012

WATCH: Esteema: Your Walk of Shame Will Never Be the Same!

My friend, former roommate and fellow West Virginia expat living in Austin, Erica Lies, is part of some pretty funny stuff nowadays. In August, I posted about her web series Freelancers. Most recently, Erica's comedy troupe There's Waldo has produced a commercial for Esteema, a drug that helps women get their self esteem back after a one-night stand. It is quite laugh-worth, which is why it is currently trending on Funny Or Die. In the video, keep an eye out for the curly-haired Maggie Gyllenhaal-looking Italian girl from Morgantown. That's Erica.

20 February 2012

LOOK: Misfits of West Virginia T-shirt

Dana White (formerly of Holden Caulfield) is taking pre-orders for this T-shirt via Kickstarter. A measly $15 gets you the shirt, while greater donations get you even more including a poster, Holden Caulfield albums and more. Check it out.

17 February 2012

DOWNLOAD: Codesven - A Sense of Coalition

A while back in a post about the North Carolina indie/emo band Blankface, I mentioned a hardcore/punk festival Dana White put on at the Common Grounds. At that same festival was this fellow band from the Tar Heel State, and they were one of the more memorable and entertaining groups of the weekend. Codeseven played melodic hardcore with some hip-hop-punk-metal elements that ring of late '90s Deftones - meaning there's no actual rapping, so don't get the wrong idea. The band, which featured sing-scream vocals from two singers, progressed in style on it's excellent follow-up album Division of Labor. But 1998's Sense of Coalition is still a fun listen for fans of Boy Sets Fire or At the Drive-In, especially when you consider the cover of Don Henley's "Boys of Summer," which was released before The Ataris' sub-par version of the same song.

Artist: Codeseven
Album: A Sense of Coalition
Year: 1998
For fans of: Deftones, Boy Sets Fire, At the Drive-In

13 February 2012

WATCH: D. Ray White - Cindy

I have my opinions on Jesco White and the cultural attention he has received over the years, but I'll save that for a dissertation one day. What I can't argue with is the talent of his father D. Ray White. Here is clip of D. Ray tapping and singing from the documentary Talking Feet.

07 February 2012

DOWNLOAD: Librarians - Alright Easy Candy Stranger

When I asked the guys from Librarians a while back if I could post this album, they were a little embarrassed. They've seemingly put this 2006 album them, but I don't see what the problem is. Though a bit dated and certainly not as mature as 2010's Present Passed, this album has some good moments. Alright Easy Candy Stranger is electronic indie dance rock that brings to mind Les Savy Fav, Joy Division or Franz Ferdinand. Recently, Librarians' Ryan Hizer has been doing Good Sport, a "lazy, lo-fi, electronic" (according to their Bandcamp tags) project that is quite good. But if you want to know what Hizer was up to six years ago, whether he wants you to or not, here it is.

Artist: Librarians
Album: Alright Easy Candy Stranger
Year: 2006
For fans of: Les Savy Fav, Franz Ferdinand, Killers

DOWNLOAD: Librarians - Alright Easy Candy Stranger

06 February 2012

WATCH: Brother's Keeper live in Charleston, 2001

Here is a pair of videos of Erie hardcore band Brother's Keeper playing at the VFW in Charleston in 2001. I sure I was at this show, but I don't remember it very well. I do, though, see a lot of friends including Dana White, who put on the show and deservedly receives words of appreciation from BK singer Mike Ski. I wasn't the biggest fan of the music of Brother's Keeper, but the guys in the band were always incredibly friendly and appreciative. Any band that enjoyed coming to play in West Virginia had my respect, and the members of Brother's Keeper always returned with their future projects. That is what I think about when I watch these videos.

03 February 2012

LISTEN: Living Saints - Living Saints

I've known Living Saints' main man Cody Lynch for many years since his days in the skate punk trio Feet First. He then played in Down Goes Frazier before doing his solo project Wine & Water. I have a lot of talented friends, but I've always admired Lynch's work ethic and ambition. In 2011, he formed Living Saints, what I believe is the first full-time full band he has fronted. With Living Saints, Lynch's hard work seems to be paying off with what is his most creative and professional musical outing yet. Living Saints blends many of Lynch's influences including Leatherface, Austin Lucas or Dinosaur Jr., making for some enjoyably catchy folk punk rock and roll. The production of this record isn't top quality (a demo recording in a living room), but I've certainly given it a number of listens. I hope the band can get into the studio soon, as I'm excited to see what is to come from this pretty promising group from Huntington.

02 February 2012

WATCH: WWF introduces Earthquake as "John" from West Virginia

In 1989 at a WWF even in Wheeling, the Ultimate Warrior and Dino Bravo participated in a push-up contest. To show off Bravo's strength, Jimmy Hart picked a random audience member to sit on Bravo's back. The 460-pound man introduced himself as "John," and said he was from West Virginia. John Tenta, who was actually from Canada, eventually became known as Earthquake, and wrestled in the WWF for 5 years. In fact, I saw Bravo and Earthquake take on Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior in a tag-team in Wheeling the next year. Yeah, I loved wrestling, and never forgot seeing this clip when I was a 8 years old, and how excited I was to hear "John" say he was from state.

01 February 2012

DOWNLOAD: The Union Deposit Road - Tapes

Union Deposit Road is a band I found about via a now-defunct page about Wheeling hardcore. From what I can gather, the UDR existed from 1994 to 1998 in Fredericksburg, Virginia, featuring members from Wheeling. This collection includes songs from the band's tapes including "American Rock Classic." UDR followed in the path set by bands like Lincoln and Hoover using the loud-soft dynamic mixed with sing-scream vocals. A WMWC staffer wrote of the band in 1997, "Intense, passionate, balancing that tenuous line between euphoria and rage. In my opinion."

Artist: The Union Road
Album: Tapes
Year: 1997-1998
For Fans Of: Lincoln, Hoover, Jawbox

DOWNLOAD: The Union Deposit Road - Tapes

24 January 2012

LISTEN: Old Poets - Demo

Time for a little self-promotion as I post the demo from my new band. Old Poets is a new hardcore punk band in Austin, Texas. We formed in late 2011 because there is a lack of quality hardcore in the area. Being a band of older guys who haven't played in years, we just wanted to write music that we listened to when we were the age of most people in hardcore bands in Austin. Since releasing this demo, we've had light comparisons to Right Brigade, Black Flag and Youth of Today. So have a listen, or download it, and feel free to drop a donation. We hope you dig it.

20 January 2012

WATCH: Paul Sturgess: Big Man On Campus

I came across Paul Sturgess via an interview on Huffington Post. The 7'8"-tall Englishman was drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters in 2011. Before that, Sturgess was the tallest ever college basketball player when he was a part of the team at none other than Mountain State University in Beckley. Here's an ESPN piece about him from 2010.

18 January 2012

WATCH: Police try to shut down The Radio Beats final show

Speaking of punk rock, here's a great video of The Radio Beats' final show in 2006. Hailing from Pittsburgh, The Radio Beats was a three-piece punk rock'n'roll band, for which my friend and once-Wheeling resident Steve Anderson sang and played bass. They were a great band with a lot of attitude playing music influenced by the likes of the Devil Dogs and Dwarves. Just as they were starting their at The Rock Room in Pittsburgh for their final show, the cops showed up and told them to "shut it off." Check it out, and if you can ever track down some of the Beats' record, do.

10 January 2012

DOWNLOAD: Connie Dungs - Earthbound for the Holiday

This is the third full-length released on Mutant Pop Records from Eastern Kentucky's most successful snotty pop punk band Connie Dungs. By this point, the Dungs were moving their style from sounding like the Ramones into Jawbreaker territory. There are plenty of three-chord hooks and clever lyrics. Holiday also features back-up vocals from Mass Giorgini of Squirtgun. Having experienced quite a bit of success in the region around Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Tennessee, the Connie Dungs also received plenty of praise in Maximumrocknroll, Flipside and Punk Planet over the years between 1995 to 2000. Brandon Tussey later went on to form the excellent A Radio With Guts.

Artist: Connie Dungs
Album: Earthbound for the Holiday
Year: 1999
For fans of: The Ramones, Jawbreaker, Screeching Weasel

DOWNLOAD: Connie Dungs - Earthbound for the Holiday

09 January 2012

LISTEN: Friday Nights Lights and West Virginia

In October I wrote about Friday Night Lights, and how the first season closed with Bright Eyes' rendition of Daniel Johntston's "Devil Town." It was exciting as a new fan of the show that a song by a West Virginia (and Austin) native had been used.
Last night, with bittersweet emotions, I finished the series. (Best ever.) In one of the final episodes, though, it wasn't football that made me sit up and cheer (it rarely is on this fantastic show). Instead it was hearing Daniel Martin Moore's "Flyrock Blues" playing in the background of a quiet scene between two characters. With anticipation, I listened for the line where he sings, "In West Virginia the water's bad, and there just ain't no peace to be had." I was excited to clearly hear the name of my home state on my favorite show. It's a good song, so give it a listen, but if you haven't watched FNL, do.

06 January 2012

WATCH: Sierra Ferrell - Wet Your Whistle live in Charleston, 2010

A few months ago, I stumbled across this video of Charleston-based singer-songwriter Sierra Ferrell performing at the Empty Glass. I had never heard (of) her, but was impressed by her voice and this song enough to want to share it on here. I believe this talented young lady plays with a band called 600 Lbs. of Sin, who are okay. If I was her friend, I would recommend she stick to the solo gig (and probably try a career in a place like Nashville or Austin) as she belongs with the likes of Laura Marling or Elle King.

05 January 2012

DOWNLOAD: Chernobyl Kids - To Spoil Go the Victors

Around 2000, Looks Like Rain from Baltimore began making regular stops in Morgantown and Huntington. We all quickly became friends with singer Mike Riley and the band. It was Mike who introduced me to this fellow Baltimore punk outfit Chernobyl Kids, with which Looks Like Rain did a split seven inch. Mike compared them to Dag Nasty and encouraged me to book them, but unfortunately I never got the chance to even see them live. He sold me this album in 2001 when it came out, and more than 10 years later, I still listen to it. It's lively punk hardcore that is melodic at times with thrashy guitars and rousing vocals, and brings to mind 7 Seconds, Circle Jerks or AFI. Chernobyl Kids recently created a Facebook page, which leads me to believe they're reunited. So get on this. (Note: cover art by me because my the CD case is at my parents' house in West Virginia.)

Artist: Chernobyl Kids
Album: To Spoil Go the Victors
Year: 2001
For fans of: Dag Nasty, 7 Seconds, AFI

04 January 2012