I call this little batch of tunes “Vowels.” Somewhere I remember in the definition of a vowel there’s mention of a vowel sound originating from the lungs, up through the vocal cords–not blocked by anything in the mouth, so there is no friction. Not that any of these songs lack any level of friction but when I think vowels, I think about how we mis-sound them here in the South and that led me to somewhat of a Southern theme to this batch of noisy nonsense
When I think of the origins of large, punk, and noises music, there are tons of examples…but few are still on this earth doing it. Dead Moon are and this tune is a classic to me. “Going South” has sexual meaning and it was an underrated Jack Nicholson film, who knows which Fred Cole had in mind but I don’t care, I love this song.
“Hate the Police” by Dicks was and is a classic hardcore song but to me this one nailed the vibe, sort of the punk version of CCR’s “Fortunate Son” I guess. It’s also the perfect response to the decadent “Less than Zero” 80s of my youth, where the class war was being battled in the basements, VFW halls and beer bars by bands with obnoxious names and lots to say.
The greatest live band of all time covering the Dicks. This was a 7” b-side when there was such a thing that mattered and the cover art was worth the price of admission.
Not a lot of people talk about Shorty. Al Johnson and Mark Shippy became better known with U.S. Maple. Had the pleasure of being on a bill with them when their “niggerhat” 7” came out on Bovine records (absolutely one of the best noise labels in the 90s, ran out of apartment in Madison, WI by a kid named Sean who let us sleep on his floor and took us to a buffet that had fantastic chocolate milk). Anyhow, through all the feedback and garbled vocals I always thought there was something strangely like “pop music” going on in their tunes.
So if not many know Shorty, even less know IBEX. Again, we were on a bill or two with these folks. Super nice folks. They seemed somehow in a strange rural time warp where they thought they might be Zeppelin but instead of high notes, the vocalist when for low notes. Amazingly they had a gal bass player ala the Pixies and I remember the guitarist had all his pedals in this suitcase from the 50s that made him look like a traveling salesman from an episode of The Andy Griffith show. I remember reviewers absolutely hated the album this one came from but I always appreciated this song because they were such nice people and didn’t have a single pretense about what they were creating.
There have been months on end in my life where I hardly listened to anything more than the Hammerhead catalog. I always put this one on when I want to toe dance like the white guy I am.
This is a Louisville, Kentucky band that isn’t Slint or a Will Oldham project. This was Jon Cook’s best band, he had a lot of them… google him. He’s not with us anymore. He was the first kid from Louisville to make sure my shitty band got on a stage in Louisville. My good friend Bill Widener did the album art for their album “Speed’ (as well as Laughing Hyenas “life of crime” and many more) and it only gets better with age. Find it.
Part of being old and living through the 70s, 80s, 90s, etc is that you have way too much nostalgia when it comes to listening to music. I can’t help myself but I do actually listen to a ton of new music and try to keep up with what the kids are doing… anyhow this is the ring tone on my phone and has been for a couple years now. It’s that damned good.
Another band we shared a stage with a few times. The COWs album “cunning stunts” is in my top 10 of all time and live this song would usually cause me to swallow my tongue. Yes, seizures be damned…it’s just rocks.
When the original Laughing Hyenas line-up when kaput (I witnessed the show first hand) the rhythm section joined the singer of a band called Wig (another band we played a couple times with) and Mule was formed. Wig was opening band for that Hyenas show matter of fact. Pushing and shoving on stage during the final few songs of the Hyenas set left Larissa with a big gash in her knee and she left the stage pissed. The Wig guys took over on guitar and the weird mix of two bands covered “She Watch Channel Zero” by Public Enemy. I hugged Larissa near the door after the show but I was drunk so I don’t recall much else about words or anything. A few months later this 7” landed with all the Southern swagger and guttural glee a boy could want… and included is the b-side cover of the BeeGees classic. Call it cherry on top of this mixtape.