Reading Room + Mixtape – Your Band Sucks

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Not to be confused with Our Band Could Be Your Life, Your Band Sucks chronicles trials and tribulations (and some good times) of former Bitch Magnet/Don Caballero guitarist (and current editor of Inc. Magazine) Jon Fine.

While the plot of Jon’s memoir may not be very different from similar books its the great storytelling and humor that keeps it all together (i.e. the story of Vineland who one night played to a completely empty room, devoid of even a dog who used to be present during their previous shows).

Equally fascinating are the stories of Temporary Residence Limited founder Jeremy deVine, Rjyan Kidwell (Cex), DFA Records, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 and countless others that Jon shares in the book along with his own.

To celebrate the book we put together a mix culled from Jon’s bandography

Bitch MagnetBitch Magnet

On a dark and stormy night in 2011, three of those freaks and geeks are at the Lexington in London. One’s called Jon Fine. He was hairy, he’s now bald, wears elastic to keep his specs on his sweaty head, and looks uncannily like Vector out of Despicable Me. One’s called Orestes Dellatore. He was buff. He’s now mountainous, and looks uncannily like Joe Mama Bess from Spinal Tap. One was called Sooyoung Park. He hasn’t changed at all. None of them are the stars of this story cos if there are stars in this story they last anything from two to nine minutes and they’re songs, not people. These three middle-aged men are in a band called Bitch Magnet that haven’t played together for 20 years. Neil Kulkarni / The Quietus

Dragoon (Ben Hur)
Motor (Umber)
Valmead (Valmead / Pea 7″)


vineland

 

I used to spend a lot more time with Jon Fine, or The Poodles as he is affectionately known. I had heard about his old band Vineland, but didn’t know much about them. Jon had said he would give me a record but never did.

I managed to find the Vineland record but never got around to listening to it, which happens sometimes.

Recently I was in Philadelphia and found myself (as is my custom when out of town) record shopping. Whilst digging through a bunch of poorly organized 7″s in a dank basement, I discovered one with a sticker on it that said “Ex Bitch Magnet”. Since Seam is never really referred to that way, I thought I might be on to something. It was, of course, a second Vineland record!

I came home from Philadelphia and listened to both of the records, taking care to record them for posterity. The verdict? The first record I found (their second) is better than the second (their first). I present them both because that is the kind of guy I am.

Pukekos


Alger Hiss - Graft vs HostAlger Hiss

Co-released in 1997 by the Knitting Factory-affiliated Feldspar label and the band’s own Tangential imprint, the varied Graft Vs. Host compiles a remixed version of Alger Hiss’ 1994 demo along with the final studio efforts by the original lineup of guitarist Jordan N. Mamone, bassist Chris O’Rourke, and drummer Hajji Majer. No wave-influenced squall meets tricky time signatures with flickers of art-metal riffage, punk-rock velocity, and a few easy-to-digest (if totally scuzzy) hooks that would disappear with subsequent changes in both sound and personnel. Follow-up to the acclaimed debut mini-LP,Settings For Nudes, issued by Ba Da Bing! Records in 1995.

Comedy Minus One


Coptic LightCoptic Light

The front cover of Coptic Light’s debut album bears an appropriate image, that of a squadron of planes in tight formation. The band’s neo-prog approach carries a similar feeling of tight control, built on a strong rhythmic framework. It’s tempting to compare the band with fellow New Yorkers The Psychic Paramount, but only in that both bands are rock instrumentalists with a penchant for guitar pyrotechnics and rhythmic complexity. Where the Paramount are led by their hearts, Coptic Light follow a less emotional, more intellectual route; the results are less immediately inflammatory, but reward more careful listening. This is perhaps not surprising, with their pedigree: the trio consists of guitarist Jon Fine (Don Caballero), bassist Jeff Winterberg (Antioch Arrow), and drummer Kevin Shea (Storm & Stress).

Dusted Reviews

Live in Tokyo 2006

 

Further Reading

Pitchfork

The Stranger

Tiny Mix Tapes

PopMatters

 

Further Listening

Bitch Magnet on Bandcamp


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