January 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
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Note: since we all know what happend to Megaupload, the previous uploads are missing and for the time being cassettes will be available only in streaming version. Sorry for the inconvenience! I’ll sort it out soon..
This is a double feature cassette that is propably consumed by the hundreds of time I listened to it. Here are two of my favourite bands from the 90ies: the ass-kicking, tampon-shoving, definetely pro-feminist riot grrrls L7 on Side A plus the pro-feminist, animal-friendly, anti-fascist, gay-positive boys from Manitoba (CA) Propagandhi on Side B. Talk about being angry & pissed.
I came to know of L7, as many kids did, thanks to their huge hit Pretend We’re Dead: twenty years later that song still kicks ass by the way. What I immediately liked was their thick heavy fat sound, a perfect match with their flippant middle-finger attitude. L7 weren’t pretty, sexy or delicate girls: they were heavy, rude and direct, but they were feminine nonetheless and didn’t pretend to be boys. I found this incredibly cool and, yeah I found L7 to be quite sexy, in a way.
Fun fact: on their The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum album there’s a song entitled Lorenza, Giada, Alessandra. These are the names of three Italian hardcore L7 fans who came to know them and became friends with the band during the Hungry For Stink tour. L7 were so kind to dedicate a song to them. True story: I knew the girls! I can only imagine how they felt the first time they read the tracklist to the album. Ain’t this a wonderful little story?
How To Clean Everything is Propagandhi’s first album and when it came out I immediately fell in love with it. The lyrics were so smart, angry and funny, and the music was fresh, powerful and original. That said, listening to this record now, you can tell the band was quite young at the time and it can’t but sound a bit naive. For instance in certain occasions they ended up finding themselves entrapped into some kind of catch-22 situations. Everybody loved Ska Sucks, as it was a funny little ska-core song, but as it was intended to be “against” stupid ska songs, it backfired and the band started hating it quite soon. The same more or less applies to Haillie Sellasse, Up Your Ass: a reggae song against rastafarianism and religions in general. The lyrics and message of the song, conveyed once again through the code it’s supposed to be against (you know, like writing a book to express the idea that books suck) though witty are a bit confused and superficial. That and the spelling mistake in the title. Still I can’t do anything but love this record: at the time I didn’t find it naive at all, it was just perfect the way it was, and still is nowadays even with the inevitable hindsight that comes with age. I found out that I’m not the only one who has the same opinion. Here’s what vocalist Chris Hannah said about How To Clean Everything in a 2009 interview:
I dig it. We still play songs from that record. When I hear them and I play them, the message still resonates with me and I can see the 20 year old Chris writing those songs. It’s still fun, I still get a kick out of it. When we play them these days, they seem seamless in the set, with the new songs. There’s a bit of a difference in terms of the depth and dimension, but they’re still fun to play.
I just don’t like when I hear that record, like when I hear that actual record, that recording. That moment in time. I’m just like, “Jesus Christ, turn that fucking thing off”. But I don’t regret it. I’m not trying to hide that record from people. I just can’t lie to people and tell them we’re going to make another How to Clean Everything.
January 16, 2012 § 1 Comment
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Side B of this tape features simply the “best of” two records which I had on vinyl: tipically you would tape some of the songs you had on vinyl or CD so that you could listen to them on your Walkman. The process was much slower than covnerting or transferring files, and the lenght of the tape was another limit to your playlist. I wouldn’t go back to those days, but with hindsight those limits can be seen as qualities: the attention and dedication you put into choosing which songs to record, made for tapes that you’d literally tear apart by endlessly listening to them. Making a proper mixtape would take hours adding meaning and “aura” to the object itself. If you ever made a mixtape for someone you loved, you know what I mean.
I bet almost every music enthusiat could recall where they bought almost every record they have: in fact I clearly remember the day I bought Project Infinity by Man Or Astroman. That day I went to my favorite record shop, New Zabrinskie Point and left with this Lp plus After Dark by the mAKE uP and Dead Cool by Chrome Cranks (check’em out!) having spent all my money. I was happily broke. Later I checked with some friends at a park in Milan where notoriusly people went to buy and smoke weed and hang out. Police knew all about it, but for quite some time they didn’t bother too much. I saw a wallet on a bench. I sat down next to it and let it slide in my pocket. I met my friends, let it out and opened it: a fac-simile driving license with the picture of a north-african guy sporting a funny face and something like 300.000 Liras* in it: I had found the wallet of a pusher. Of course, the thought of giving it back didn’t even cross my mind: we split the cash and had fun. Cherry on top: that day a dealer had paid for my music.
For the record: Man Or Astroman were an American surf-space-age-punk band, but that’s quite reductive, as they were one of the craziest nerdiest bands around in the 90ies. Check out their Wiki page for more infos!
Not much to say about Propagandhi now, more will come soon.
*300.000 Liras (roughly 150€) was quite a sum in 1996, specially for us kids: mind that for the three vynils I had spent less than 40.000 in all and THAT to me was already a lot of money.
Get to Side A
Originally recorded on a DK D-60 cassette.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched.
January 9, 2012 § 3 Comments
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It is my opinion that the years between 1992 and 1995 represented the zenith of melodic hardcore punk before the genre started living on its own cliches and/or being diluted into pop music. Fat Music For Fat People was the first sampler released by Fat Wreck Chords (the label founded by Fat Mike, singer of NoFx) in 1994 and it features some of the best bands of that period. Represented here are samples from Propagandhi‘s How To Clean Everything (plus a non album track), Don’t Turn Away by Face To Face, both Duh and Trashed by Lag Wagon (though being quite good, may be actually the first copycat band of the time sounding more or less like NoFx) For God And Country by Good Riddance and NoFx‘s The Longest Line. Check out the yearly users polls on Sputnikmusic and you’ll find all of these records and many more.
Not much to say about this tape, my friends and I have listened to it so much the memories are just spread over like a thin layer of butter in such a long timespan it’s almost impossibile to recall any highlight. To be fair, only a few friends of mine listened to it: by that time some of the guys were a lot into death metal (I was a bit…) and they wouldn’t even touch anything that stank of punkrock with a Ten Foot Pole (hahaha). They said none of these bands were “technical” enough… Some of them later, but maybe too late, started to pay attention and changed their mind.
A note on the cassette: Sony CDit II tapes sported a “slim case”. Personally, I hated them: the card was usually very small, the case would break even more easily than on normal cassettes and, last but not least, when you were piling tapes on a shelf they didn’t fit anywhere screwing the carefully stocked piles big time!