L7 – Smell The Magic / Propagandhi – How To Clean Everything [TDK F60]

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.


Stream Side-A on MixCloud/Stream Side-B on MixCloud

Originally recorded on a TDK F60 cassette.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched.

Babes In Toyland – Nemesisters [TDK F-60]

January 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

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I’ve been reading on different occasions that the rock world is quite misogynist. I didn’t quite get what this meant until I found out that many of my peers back in the 90ies regarded female rock bands or female musicians (apart from folk singers and such) as novelties/jokes. I wasn’t shocked or anything, I didn’t get it then and I still don’t get it nowaday. What’s so strange about a female rocker? I liked many of the bands that came out of the so called Riot Grrrl movement such as L7, Bikini Kill, Huggy Bear and the Babes In Toyland. While reading White Line Fever some years ago I was happy to find out that even Lemmy, not your average politically correct chap, had the same point of view.

However, liking female bands and all, and having sometimes different opinions than some of my prejudiced peers, sometimes I liked to think of myself as a being quite liberal and open minded. A pretty smart guy, you know?
Up there at my uncle’s I had a very dear friend who was also into music, a lot, but being the closest record shop 30Km away from his village, and being basically the only metalhead/punk around he didn’t have many chances of getting new music. So everytime we met, he was eager to listen all the news stuff I bought up as his Metallica and Slayer tapes and the few CDs he had were almost falling apart from consumption. I was truly happy to share my new findings with him, but I admit I also took a bit of pride in what I regarded as a “mission”:  the city-boy “educating”  the country-boy friend. So then, one winter among the cassettes I brought with me I had Babes In Toyland. He just saw the tape and asked about it and I remember replying something like: “Naah, I don’t think you’d like them, they’re too strange for you I guess. Maybe in some time.”  What did he do? He trusted me of course: I was his friend! So much for the smart, open minded guy. Yeah, we were sixteen o seventeen, but that’s a pretty lame excuse for being an asshole.
I’m sorry Pal.

B.I.T were never exactly a riot grrl band in my opinion and certainly they were not grunge (now that I think about it: what’s grunge?!) but sure they did rock. They were a nasty powerful trio, abrasive, harsh and metallic and they had a terrific drummer called Lori Barbero. Fontanelle was the album that made them known to a greater audience thanks to the association with grunge and a single called Bruise Violet which featured in a quite famous compilation (more will come on this). Nemesisters was their last record and well…let’s say that I do own Fontanelle on CD while Nemesisters is only on a copied tape. Still is not that bad a record in my opinion, not as bad as AllMusic says at least.


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Originally recorded on a Sony HF90 cassette.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched.

[Side B] Man Or Astroman – Project Infinity / Propagandhi – Less Talk, More Rock [A pusher’s gift]

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.

However.

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.

Download Side B –  or Stream on MixCloud

Get to Side A

Originally recorded on a DK D-60 cassette.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched.

[Side A] Arturo – Ar-cor / Anarki og Kaos: Norsk Punk ’79-’81 [Teenage Angst]

January 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

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I remember listening to Arturo on a road trip with my friend Diego. We were 18, it was early november and were speeding on the highway at 140Kmh in Diego’s Fiat Panda, windows rolled down, screaming the lyrics at the top of our lungs. We were coming back from a short visit at my uncle’s in the mountians: four wild days of no sleep, weed, partying and alcohol. Four days of exorcism, trying to forget, trying to mend a broken heart. I can’t imagine a better soundtrack to this than some raw, fast, juvenile, stupid, passionte, angry, desperate hardcore punk.  I want to be speechless / Tears in my eyes, rage in my heart [Senza Parole (Speechless)]. Teenage angst at its maximum.

For the Italians: you may find all the infos you need about Arturo on Wikipedia. For the non Italians: Arturo are (were?) a hardcore-punk band from Turin. Ar-cor was their first album released on Panx Records in 1995. Sorry if you don’t understand Italian: the lyrics sometimes are quite good.

Anarki & Kaos – Norsk Punk 79-81 is a norwegian punk-rock compilation released in 1992 on Voices Of Wonder records. I bought it in Olso in 1996, during my first trip to Norway. If you’re into early punk-rock and like digging for rough gems I strongly recommend it. It’s still possible to find it here and there, legally or not: you choose. Featured here three of my favorite songs and a fourth which I wonder why I taped.  Diego used to say that Monster by Front Page reminded him of  Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show: in fact he’s right…  Du Er En Dritt (more or less: You’re An Asshole) by Rough Trade says it all in 22 seconds, while I suspect that Holocaust by Sjølmord may have “interesting” lyrics: it’s sung in German, so it’s hard to tell. About the last song…I think I should have taped this one instead.

One of best things about C-60s was the fact that you could tape a full album and you had some blank space to fill at the end of each side: main course plus a dessert. In this case I could tape a full album on one side plus four more songs: ask a punk about economy.

Download Side-A  or Stream on MixCloud

Get to Side B

Originally recorded on a TDK D-60 cassette.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched.

Pearl Jam – Ten / Dogs D’Amour – Straight??!! [Sony HF 90]

January 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

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I don’t really know how the first Pearl Jam album ended up sharing a tape with one of the sleaziest bands of 80ies/early 90ies. I can’t even recollect who lended that album to me in the first place. I remember why I taped it though: everytime I stumbled into some pictures of  Dogs D’Amour on music magazines such as Flash or Metal Shock I was like “What the fuck?!” They had a funny if not grotesque name and a very peculiar look, they reminded me of a sleazier version of Guns’n’Roses, or what Motley Crue would have looked like if they were tanning in the English rain instead of  bathing in California sun: see for yourself. I understood from interviews and articles that the band was a creature of the lead singer Tyla, the only ever lasting member of the band, a natural born loser with a fondness for alcohol and Charles Bukowski: not surprisingly, their third album is entitled  A Graveyard Of Empty Bottles. This record in particular was their biggest success, entering the charts and allegedly making them stars in…Finland! Or at least this was Tyla’s version of the story, who was usually quite foggy about the details. I was intrigued to say the least and was quite eager to find out what these weirdos sounded like. Unluckily at the time it seemed  impossible to find any records in the usual shops where I used to go, so I was never able to satisfy my curiosity until somebody gave me a copy of Straight??!! years after my first encounter with the band. Aaand…well, I didn’t exactly fell in love with Dogs D’Amour as their music didn’t impress me that much: it’s a bluesy glam rock! But I can’t deny I still have a true sympathy for this bunch of perfect losers and particularly for Tyla, whom I shall always be grateful to, for making me discover one of my favorite writers of all time. Mr. Charles Bukowski.

What about Pearl Jam and Ten?! The truth is: I never liked that record, it didn’t mean much to me and I never quite got Pearl Jam, sorry. I liked better Vs., but more about this record and about Pearl Jam will come in one of the next posts. Finally I find surprising how decorated this cassette is compared to the times I have listened to it, which are not so many in fact. Some strange form of reverse logic I guess.

A note on the tracklist: Release, the last track on Ten is missing. It was recorded on SideB, which, before Dogs D’Amour, featured the first album by The Clash as you may see from the back card of the cassette.


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Originally recorded on a Sony HF90 cassette.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched.

Daft Punk – Homework [TDK FE 60] – [The day rockers turned disco]

January 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

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Before 1997 it would have been almost impossible imagining a rock fan dancing to a techno beat, or even dancing at all. Before 1997 rockers would hardly come close to any kind of music that didn’t involve a guitar and a real drummer. Electronica and rock music would never mix. Three records in particular changed all that almost overnight: Dig Your Own Hole by Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy‘s The Fat Of The Land and Homework by Daft Punk. Incorporating dance music into rock didn’t work out (even bands such as Ministry and Nin Inch Nails were not beyond suspicion of being “disco” among some of my peers) but it seemed to work perfectly the other way round.
Djs and knobtweakers turned into rock stars and went from playing clubs – “play” being a term that was still postponed by a huge question mark by us rockers –  to playing arenas. We wouldn’t know exactly how to call these people, as the term “band” didn’t really fit, but we liked the loudness, the heaviness, the attitude of this music which sounded so new, so fresh: The Prodigy in particular, with the look and the sampled guitars, were the ones to whom the majority of long-haired leather-clad metalheads could rely to.

For me it was Daft Punk that did it. I was already timidly starting to poke into the unknown realms of electronic music merely following a timeline that led me from punk to new wave. Then I stumbled into Kraftwerk and finally realised that electronic music didn’t necessarily mean the silly annoying disco tunes that I despised. Until one afternoon, listening to the radio the DJ announced the next track: “…Aaand this is Rock’n’Roll, by Daft Punk”. It was the stupidest, most ignorant and raw rhythm I ever heard, followed by nothing more than a screeching looping sound which slowly became unbearably louder and even more irritating and it seemed to go on forever. It was all true: it was daft, it was punk and it was rock’n’roll. I loved it!

Listening again to Homework it seems to me it has aged better then the other two records mentioned some lines ago: maybe being the least “futuristic” of the three, it retained some of the allure from the decades it was already preying upon? Anyway, oddly enough, I never bought any records by Daft Punk or the Chemical Brothers (I never liked The Prodigy that much) I just taped them! I can’t remember who taped this for me: looking at the back card I can’t recognize whose writing that is. Sure enough the person who did this made a bit of a mess with the tracklist, managing to cut both Oh Yeah and Burnin’ and leaving out Indo Silver Club, Alive and Funk Ad due to lack of space. Well, it happened!


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Stream Side-A on MixCloud/Stream Side-B on MixCloud

Originally recorded on a TDKFE 60 cassette.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched.

VVAA – Fat Music For Fat People [Sony Cdit II 46]

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!


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Stream Side-A on MixCloud/Stream Side-B on MixCloud

Originally recorded on a Sony CDit II 46 cassette.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched.

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