underground since'89

send vinyl, tapes and zines for review to:

tobi vail P.O. Box 2572 Olympia, WA 98507 USA

email mp3's, links, photos and flyers to:


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Germs Interview, Flipside #2 1977

bobby: you know what's fun, you take like 10 hits of acid and drink a 6 pack of beer and you go down to santa monica pier, there's a bridge that goes to nowhere cause they're supposed to lower it for boats and you go out to the end and jump off right, and you can swim and it's so great cause it's dark you know and you can just swim and it doesn't matter if you live or die or anything just swim and swim and you can feel the fish nibbling at your feet.......





more here

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Three Guitar Attack: Go Team Live 1989

This Go Team footage surfaced today on youtube. I think it's from a show we did with the Melvins on July 20, 1989 at the Reko Muse Gallery in Olympia, WA. If so it was in between tours and Billy was living in SF so he isn't in this line up. Note Calvin's Death Squad T Shirt

The line up was me, Calvin and Brad.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Respect is Due: Mitch Mitchell

Mitch Mitchell's obituary in the New York Times was a disgrace. They showed virtually zero understanding of his historical significance. It was disrespectful and daft. Let it be known, MM was one of the greatest rock-n-roll drummers of all time.

I can watch this stuff for hours.

Doom Town

From a Final Warning interview in MRR, 1984

Pushead: What's it like being a Portland band?

D: Boring.

T: Cliquey.

S: Stagnant.

When I'm In Your Life, You'll Be Loved

ET on The Return of 1980's Twee

TV recites her favorite Pastels song:

Not Unloved
When I’m in your life
You’ll be loved
And I want you here
You’re not unloved

I want your picture
The one where you smile,
I’ll make you smile
Cos you’re not unloved

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rip It Up and Start Again!

Scotland's Postcard Records is in the news today Edwyn Collins has risen from his near death experience and rumor has it, Orange Juice may reform.

Coincidentally, last night we saw this song performed live on an Old Grey Whistle Test DVD:

Obscure Scottish post-punk in the Olympia Public Library? That this shocks me is a reminder of how much things have changed.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cause Co-Motion!, Crystal Stilts in Olympia Tonight

The Olympia All Ages Project Presents:

Cause Co-motion!, Crystal Stilts
508 Legion Way SE, Olympia, WA 98501

Friday, November 7, 2008

l'etoile de mer at the 25th annual Olympia Film Festival

l'etoile de mer (1928) is a short film directed by man ray

it showed at the olympia film festival society's capitol theater tonight

this is opening night of the 25th annual Olympia Film Festival. i can see the new marquee half lit up through the rain

i wanna encourage you local types to check out the movies tomorrow, especially the bridget irish curated Cine-X series

now that the election is over, i should have time to write about some of the awesome records that came in the mail last week.

in the meantime, see ya at the movies!

Yma Sumac

Yma Sumac obituary here

Yma Sumac sounds here

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dolly Mixture: Everything and More

from the women in punk blog:
On 4 November, The Barbican, here in London, is screening the film “Take Three Girls: The Dolly Mixture Story.” The evening will also feature a Q&A session with the director Paul Kelly, and two former members of Dolly Mixture - Debsey Wykes and Rachel Bor. In the spirit of the event I thought it fitting to post songs from two of Dolly Mixture’s 7″ singles for your listening pleasure.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Witch

we are going to see the sonics and girl trouble up in seattle tomorrow night. too bad it's not in tacoma! the last time i saw girl trouble on halloween it was 1985. they played at Olympia High School. you had to go to oly in order to get in, but since it was halloween, everyone dressed up in a costume and snuck in. i went as a beatnik, which was not too different than my normal attire, glad to have an excuse to wear my sunglasses at night, cramps style!

Yo! Majesty Interview

Yo! Majesty were recently interviewed here

from the interview:

I know that expressing your sexuality is very important to the music and that promoting your spirituality is also very important. But a lot of people in hip-hop would charge that those two worlds are contradictory. How do you respond to that?

SK: It's not even about that. It's all about being who I am. I'm not going to go through on a mini-skirt and some heels just to sell a record, just because that's what the industry stereotype tells me what to do. I'm going to create my own path. If you don't want to give it to me, I'm going to take it, even if by force. Each and every day people all over the world want to know about what exactly Yo! Majesty is all about. When people ask me why we preach about religion I tell them that I'm not religious. I can't even stand for someone to refer to me as a Christian even though I believe in Jesus Christ because the name has been slandered. Christians are out there poking little boys in the booty and molesting little girls. I don't want to be associated with that. Just call me a believer. Yo! Majesty sets the people free.

The Heartless Martin Cassette

Old School Jigsaw readers will remember the Heartless Martin, a tape Corin Tucker and Becca Albee recorded in Olympia back in the early 90's. It's archived on the Women in Punk blog here, MP3 stylee so hear it while you get yr chance.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blatz/Filth Split Reissue out on Alternative Tentacles

Alternative Tentacles is reissuing the Blatz/Filth Split record, I think it is coming out Tuesday October 28. This classic punk LP came out on Lookout in 1991. I somehow lost my copy to my roommates record collection a few years back, so I am psyched. In case this record passed you by the first time, don't let it happen again. Blatz is seriously one of the greatest punk groups of all time, perhaps the greatest of the 90's, although these things are hard to measure. Footage of them seems to be hard to come by for some reason, but here is a taste of the chaos.

Blatz-Fuck New York
live at Gilman Street, 1991

Brontez Says

Hey Jigsaw Readers, Brontez (Gravy Train!!!!, the Younger Lovers, Fag School) wrote this cool coming of age spiel for us- It's pretty awesome, maybe he'll write a regular column? We hope so!!! xo TV

Im sitting outside the "recording studio" part at my warehouse, the extra band room outside by the back allyway. Oakland. I'm stoned to the BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE and trying to write new Younger Lovers songs. I think im gonna call the LP Im Not Waiting On My Man or something dramatic like that. It WILL be groovy. It's beginning to hit me that i mostly just get stoned, talk shit and play music in this big dusty warehouse (i try to ditch schoolwork too).9 straight boys+ 1 KOOL rocker lady +me. Sometimes i take a break from the peace pipe. How did I get here? I have my theories. My boy Caleb is a fag who lives here (SF). We're friends cause I fell madly in love with him at a Gossip show 10 years ago. He explained that me + him are "post-Gen X'ers" like, we weren't old enough to hang out but we got all the "trickle down"=MEANINGS+MESSAGES. I admit with equal parts pride and shame that i'm totally 90's damaged. I remember when MTV different. As a tween I would stay up to watch a million indie (and major) bands on 120 MIN. that I didn't give a shit about just to get to the one video in the rotation that would get me through the week. Me and one of my homegrrrrrls were on the phone TRIPPING OUT that there was a time when you could turn on MTV and see Kathleen Hanna dancing in a Sonic Youth video. I remember older punks thinking it was lame. I thought it was groovy. Does magic like that tranlate in todays modern world? LETS EXAMINE THIS. Today you turn on MTV and their either trying to convince you that you should give a shit about some horrible rich kids birthday or trying to brainwash you into believing you really have something in common with Paris Hilton or Shitney. WEAK. But fuck that. Lets rewind and examine this notion-"the trickle down". As an adolescent being POLLUTED by the punk gene (it what some argued NOT a very punk way) I got slipped SPECIFIC subliminal messages= Being a slacker is cool+being a rocker/playing music cool+shit like that.I had it explained to me early that punk rock is a personal revolution and it's only ever truly "over" when it's over to you. I hold tight to that. I don't feel "over it". Now Im sitting here! Now the whole time I was haveing the revolution sold to me not many of my older heads spelled out to me things like "health insurance" or how the longer you stay a weird musician person the harder it is to get dates (unless your some random straight dude. all sweeping generalizations aside they seem to get away with that shit more and some RANDOM GIRL will ALWAYS date them. you know it's fucking true.)WHATEVER. I did my THANG. CONNECTIONS i've made as a result of being a rocker who hangs out and TRUE and FLAWLESS to me. It was almost a decade ago that I wa wasted of my ass in a punk house in Chattanooga TN (it was the town for it) an meet ADEE(future New Bloods drauma) for the first time and stole her "heartbomb" tattoo. It was almost a decade ago i meet my bandmate Seth and exchanged zines+tapes. I remember he was the first gay punk i knew and he was the firt person i ever came out too. I was happy when our paths meet. Then Chris+Steve XBXRX. We all moved from Alabama to Oakland with no license plate, no insurance/registration, +no speedometer (and 2 dogs). We made it across the country with less than 250 bucks on all three of us. Gas prices went up and that trip is a thing of the immediate past. I look at all my bro+sis's. It's not that i think we're "old" we're just OLDER. And its only the beginning. In my lusty older age i try to stay punk and up too date. Im going to buy that Vivian Girls LP cause i keep hearing that they're da bomb.

Brontez's Top 5 Bands for the Jigsaw Underground:

1. New Bloods
2. Bare Wires
3. Vivian Girls (i've only heard a 7inch but i'm down)
4. Shannon +theClams Shannon+the Clams SHANNON+THE CLAMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5. The Younger Lovers (I'm that fucking gross)

Mystery 45: Cheap Time Handy Man b/w Wildlife

Mystery 45 is a new column in Jigsaw where we talk about 7" singles, new and old. The 7" single or 45, is my preferred format as an artist, listener and DJ. There's no room for filler, you have to stay alert--plus you get all those wacky B Sides where the group uses the under-5-minutes perimeter to "express themselves" beyond the constraints of the pop-song minded A Side, creating totally exciting usage of dialectics. Also, the 7" is the perfect size for artwork, as well as being lower in price than a full album, so it's ideal for us economists. Warning: I fear that 2009 will usher in the era of the $7 7". Can we afford it? Fingers crossed that a single 7" won't increase in cost faster than minimum wage!

Being that it's almost November, year end lists are coming together and we are already looking towards 2009. There are a bunch of records that came out in 2008 that we haven't gotten a chance to write about yet, so I'll try to stay on top of it.

Here is today's pick:

Cheap Time Handy Man b/w Wildlife

Cheap Time are a stunningly awesome sounding young rock-n-roll group from Nashville, TN. Their song, "People Talk" ,is easily one of the best rock songs of the decade-a total hit- and their righteously snotty mastery of subtle dynamics and minimal aesthetic celebrates constraint by punctuating wild sounding moments with one note guitar solos and staccato yelps. Vocal tones twist as notes squeal up, revealing the underlying emotion lurking beneath the surface. Cheap Time are probably young enough that the first rock they got into could have been White Stripes, but their versions strips out the hard rock zeppelin moments, replacing heavy blues with melodic punk. You don't get the best of the band on this 7", but it's an ok intro to the group if you haven't heard them before. Think early Red Cross, power chords, puberty and you get the picture. "Handy Man" has this Brian Ferry vocal hook thrown onto a Stooges riff that goes up and down the neck. "Wildlife" reminds me of the Dickies or maybe the Didjits, the combination of which brings the Weirdos to mind...what if the Weirdos wrote songs like Wreckless Eric! I hear it playing in the other room! Wow.

The first time I heard this group though, I thought of the first Love Child 7" I promise to dissect that gem for a future mention as soon as I can dig it out of the archives, to celebrate the mighty Will Power...
thanks to joaquin for help with the review

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Vivian Girls - Vivian Girls LP

Vivian Girls-Vivian Girls LP
Lately talk amongst people who play in underground bands is about whether or not Vivian Girls "deserve" all the hype they've been getting. Someone in a touring band I recently spoke to cynically commented on their use of a publicist to 'make it big'. When I replied that I had seen their first show, which was at a Brooklyn punk house party with the Old Haunts in 2007 and they didn't seem to be contrived in the slightest, but actually to be a part of the punk scene there, my friend was like 'that was all a part of their plan from the beginning', as if they were only playing that show to get punk cred but had bigger plans from the start. I was dubious, but kept it to myself. I remember the show--it was up several flights of stairs and full of punx. They didn't strike me as posers at the time, nor did they strike me as anything special. I actually spent most of their set hanging out with my NYC friends in one of the back bedrooms, trying to make the most of a room full of people I hadn't seen all in the same place since the early 90's--Carlos, Molly, Rop, Billy, Joaquin, Aaron Cometbus and more people I know less well but was still psyched to see. Since they were a new band made up of all women I made a point of checking out their songs when tour was over.
I was instantly amazed by Tell the World. Musically it sounded a lot like a song I wrote in 1986 with my teenage all girl group, Doris. I loved it but didn't expect anyone else to. So when it became apparent that they had mass appeal, I was confused and like everybody else, got distracted by the hype. Why is this music big all of a sudden?
Fast forward to a few months ago and the Old Haunts are playing (what would end up being our last show) with Vivian Girls at Craig's house in Olympia. I wait for them to play Tell the World. It's a basement show the PA is bad. I can't hear the vocals and the impact of the rest of their songs don't fully hit me. I continue to wonder what the big deal is, almost forgetting my initial reaction to hearing Tell the World.
That's the problem with hype. It distracts you from actually listening to the music. This week I finally had the album and the time to sit down and hear what they are doing musically. By now I have read the reviews, heard them get called C86 and read the rebuttal-they don't understand why people think they sound like the Shop Assistants, they are trying to sound like Dead Moon and the Wipers. This informs the way I hear the record. At first I dismiss the fast melodic songs as sounding too much like Tiger Trap. This made me revisit what I didn't like about Tiger Trap--they were trying to sound like the C86 bands and there was no edge to it, it wasn't punk. Some of their songs were well constructed and even good, but it left me with the same feeling that a lot of pop music does--emptyness, wanting more. I never felt that way about the Shop Assistants or Talulah Gosh. David from the Shop Assistants was listening to the Ramones. And as David Feck and Jon Slade recently argued in a 26 page interview with Comet Gain, Talulah Gosh was a punk band. Not to mention that Huggy Bear was influenced by Crass! So this makes sense when listening to Vivian Girls. They sound like C86 because they are a pop band who listens to punk. Or maybe they are a punk band who happen to write pop songs. Either way, they aren't like Tiger Trap, who were self-consciously cute and listening to Beat Happening and Talulah Gosh. Doris was a band in 1986 and we were listening to all this stuff. We couldn't play our instruments and didn't know how to write songs, but one of our better songs does actually sound a lot like Tell the World, but without the awesome harmonies.
Bringing me back to the actual record at hand. It's classic. There are three totally amazing songs on this album. Tell the World still being my favorite: "Keep it to myself no way/I'll tell the world about the love that I've found/He sees what I see/He feels what I feel" the song is about an obsession that becomes so immense it can't be contained and has to be openly declared. The song then becomes a testimony for us all to witness; a performance of authenticity. The tremulous vocals and uncertain-but-willful playing is the hook. When they hit all the notes and you notice that they almost miss a couple but don't, you start to listen to them playing together, drums and guitar, as if you are in the group yourself--a drummer listening to the bass player, a guitarist listening to the drummer--and as it all comes together, it starts to sound perfect and by the end you are convinced that it doesn't matter that they are relatively new at playing together, maybe at playing instruments at all, you are just totally grateful that they took the time to learn how to play well enough to play the songs all the way through without stopping and actually get them documented, on vinyl no less! Turn the record over. The first song on Side Two, Where Do You Run To, is so amazingly sad and good sounding. The lyrics ask "where do you go/where do you go/why do you leave me all alone?", then the harmonies take it up a notch for the chorus and the guitar lead is reverb-fueled and notey, melodic, really great. My brain is like, 'yeah where the fuck do you go', feeling betrayed, angry. Then I realize, wait, this is only a story, not my life and I don't need to get upset. Instead I sing along and imagine writing a song like this as soon as I get a free day to sit down with the 4 Track. A few songs later, when they sing "I'm having a really hard time walking down the street" and in the next verse "I'm having a really hard time getting out of bed" in Never See Me Again you believe them. There is an emotion there you just can't fake. We've all felt it. It feels like the Wipers. Yet, unlike the Wipers, who are resigned to things being dark and doomy, there is a hopefulness here-- at least she wants to be walking down the street and getting out of bed. She is trying to overcome her situation, to move on, that's the point of the song. By the end of the record, which comes together with the incessant refrain "I Believe in, I Believe in Nothing" you have to turn it over to re-hear the songs where they do believe in something, because you now understand that nihilism is as fleeting as any emotion related to obsession. By this time you are hooked and will be listening to this record on repeat. That it's possible to hear it three times an hour ensures that you will listen to it at least six times a day for the next several days.
This is not the sound of pop music that is disposable, materialistic and shallow. It sounds like real people writing songs about their lives. Consequently, there is a necessity to it that is missing from most modern music. The Vivian Girls should not be dismissed because they are soft-sounding, too feminine or getting popular. They may live in Brooklyn but I hear them in a continuum with the Shaggs and the Carter Family. But who cares about genre-when people write songs about their lives and don't polish it up to sound perfect there is a kind of authenticity in it that we experience in our everyday lives but is increasingly rare in popular culture. In making this wonderful record, a reflection of life as it is lived and imagined, they are giving us something we need; an artifact that encourages us to tell our stories, to make our own records, to document our own lives. It's important to remember that "Participate!" was what was good about the C86 aesthetic, and 80's underground music in general.
The final question is the one we started with-- are Vivian Girls consciously trying to create the illusion of authenticity or are they 'for real'? These kind of questions, often unanswerable, are interesting, but maybe besides the point. Their record is real, whether or not their 'realness' is a pose. Isn't that non-knowing, that wondering, that searching for authenticity the essence of American folk music? And isn't the best folk music often a performance of the real? Isn't that what art is? It starts to make sense that they are named after the Henry Darger drawings. I suggest you stop talking about why they are so hyped and just start listening to their music. It's really good.

Bush Tetras Benefit Sunday in NYC

Benefit For Laura Kennedy

Original Bass Player of Bush Tetras

needs an immediate liver transplant

Sunday October 26th

Cake Shop

152 Ludlow Street • LES NYC

The Bush Tetras

James Chance

Certain General

Band of Outsiders


Radio I-Ching

Deborah Frost

Sediment Club

Bell Hollow

ivan Julian (VOIDOIDS)

Mikey I-Q

Julian Stockdale

Pat Irwin

Rob Norris (BONGOS)

DJ dirtytrickpony

Admission $15 minimum donation


Donate to the Laura Kennedy Liver Fund here

“You Can’t Be Funky

If You Haven’t Got A Soul”


Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Alice Bag

maybe you saw this, but Alice Bag is writing her autobiography and posting it as a work in progress here right now she is stalking elton john and it's the 70's.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Japanther, Joey Casio Show Review 9/18/08

photos by joaquin

I don't really like japanther, but they are an objectively good band, meaning they are really good at what they do....ha. they played with joey casio at hall of the woods on september 18...ira djed...we drove out there to see the spectacle...hall of the woods is located where tumwater and the westside meet. i'm convinced you can only get there at night. i don't know where it is during the day and couldn't explain to anyone how to drive there but we looked on three maps and drove up and down the road and then walked for awhile in the pitch black wooded highway without anywhere for pedestrians to hide, fighting off dogs and racoons and bears and dodging on coming traffic speeding by.

once finally there, here are some things i noticed:

1. during japanther. i counted 20 young guys with shirts off. women were wearing clothes. it made me miss tribe 8. where did all the boobies go? remember scream club 4th of july party where everyone got topless???

2. ian vanek, olympia high ex pat and japanther drummer made some comment demanding some girls get down in front to shake their asses, then self-consciously but with attitude as if to prove he has balls spieled on about how in olympia they don't like that sexist shit but that he doesn't care he's from brooklyn now, da di da di da bla bla bla and then mumbled something about ass shaking. the girls who were wearing clothes screamed and got in the front to dance for mr. drummer boy

3. they still sound like pop-punk to me, and not the good kind either --good kind being fyp and the grumpies--oh and pinhead gunpowder!

i see why people like it but i don't like it. i was kind of into the energy at first (except for 1,2 and 3) but then i just was waiting for it to be over. i think they are pop punk kids who tried to get arty but just ended up playing what they love, which is cool.

i go see them play when they come to town because i remember when ian vanek was 12 years old and played drums with karp at the backstage of the capitol theater. he was a chubby little geeky kid who looked like he had no friends and he beat the shit out of his drums. it was like augustus gloop turned into the hulk. if you are wondering why scott maniac wasn't drumming, the story i remember goes like this. karp set up a show and forgot to tell scott. scott said, i can't play that show, we aren't playing, i have to work. jerad and chris were like, you work at the state tri it's a block away, you can come over and play the set and then go back to work. he said nope, we are not playing, i have to work. they started playing without him, drums were set up, of course he doesn't show up. the drum stool being empty, ian vanek sees his big chance and seizes the opportunity. of course scott refused to believe this show was actually good. little did he know, it was a great show. well he might have been able to hear it from down the street, but it was one of those things you have to witness i think.

it was one of the coolest moments at the capitol theater ever, watching this dorky little kid become monstrous. there isn't much of the little kid monster left in his drumming--snare bashing is about all we get-- but he was certainly ambitious and genuinely gutsy as a little kid, so it's kinda neat to see him living out his dream or whatever, even though it's not the kind of music i like. too bad he's not more of a feminist! maybe if riot grrl had been more inclusive of young male perspectives we could have had more of an impact, it's hard to say. but i digress.

here's another photo.

basically the show was like riot grrl never happened until joey casio came on. not that joey is a girl or said anything feminist but his songs are political and his vibe is inclusive. joey got some less than dudely action going on the dancefloor. either all those shirtless men put their clothes back on or they left, i'm not sure if you can tell by looking at the pictures, but check out all the energy ghosts:

We left towards the end of the set because we wanted to catch Shearing Pinx at le Voyeur but alas, they had played early hoping to catch Joey Casio at Hall of the Woods. Oh yeah we missed the Mean Beanz. Again. Gotta try harder to see them.


speaking of hyped local bands we hope last long enough to document the moment, check out sixx's t-shirt in this photo of the vibrarians!!! rumor has it, all the remaining spider and the webs t-shirts were given away at the phoenix house show back in '07 during another band's set. we must've left a box of tour leftovers in the basement when sutton moved out.
word on the street is that sixx is in a new group called ten little indians, which is a little, uh, weird if you ask me...hoping there is a good reason for the name?

Explode Into Colors

Fingers crossed that this new portland band won't break up before they make the best record of the decade!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Alice Bag

Bags review forthcoming. Until then check out Alice Bag's piece where she talks about her friendship with Darby Crash here

It was published in an art magazine recently, but appears to have been written for her blog, Diary of a Bad Housewife

Cynthia Connelly, a big inspiration to me as a young woman, cited Alice Bag as an early influence on her, as a teen in the LA punk scene. I always liked the Bags, but never had an LP by them, until now...more soon!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mecca Normal recorded live; film by Jean Smith

This Comforting Thing -- Battle Ground

jean smith writes songs about what it feels like to be a woman in a male-dominated society. her art is truly necessary to me, in a way few things are. she had an enormous impact on what was to become 'riot grrl' in the early 1990's and is still writing great stuff.

recently, i posted some of my old go team tour diaries from the 80's; a west coast tour from 1987 with mecca normal, spook and the zombies and rich jensen and a u.s. tour from 1989 with mecca normal and some velvet sidewalk.

for more mecca normal, start here

The Long Blondes-Couples LP

The Long Blondes-Couples (Rough Trade) this record is already old in blog years, but it came out this summer and I just picked it up last month, so it's new to me. The Long Blondes are of that 2003 school of groups that are technically genre-d "indie-dance" or "dance-punk" or maybe even "indie-pop", but that doesn't condemn them in my mind. Nor does their new romantic leanings (duran duran, spandau ballet, ultravox, etc)...although I universally hated that shit as an 80's teen...i guess i would call them post-romo, romo being a brief 90's revival movement of the club decadence/style if not sound of new romantics (see: orlando/plastic fantastic)...when I first heard Long Blondes way back in 2005 I kind of gagged at the name and cringed at the girls' voice...I didn't wanna like this 80's looking/sounding pop music...but for some reason I did end up liking it. I still am not sure why. I like to try and over-come my genre-prejudices and generational bias, so maybe I'm just trying to prove something to myself, like when I forced myself to reconsider Depeche Mode (in 2003) by ritualistically listening to their first album and asking young people who were into gay club music what was good about it. I never liked it, but at least I kind of understand where people are coming from now. The Long Blondes remind me of Bowie, Blondie and at times Roxy Music. Other echoes: Postcard Records--when Scottish post-punk went disco; when British post-punk got dancy; when the Human League was kind of good. So, it's kind of hard for me to admit I like this. Am I forcing myself to like it then, or am I just embarrassed that this JFA loving 80's underground purist actually likes this 'trendy dance music'? Bringing me to question, what does any of it mean? It gives me the same feeling that listening to the Go-Go's did as a pre-teen. I liked Bananarama, the Fun Boy Three, Altered Images, Dolly Mixture, Motorcycle Boy, the Jesus and Mary Chain and even the Smiths....so it's not like I was anti-pop music. I just hated the 80's dance club kids. We would endlessly harass them, "why are you paying $6 to dance to pre-recorded music when you can see three live bands made up of teenagers on tour for just $3 AROUND THE CORNER...not to mention al the rad local bands made up of kids just like you", etc. Of course we also hated their clothes and haircuts. Funnily enough, we were friends with some of these "duranimals" at school, we just didn't hang out with them downtown. So we recognized that new wavers were weirdos just like us punkers, but in order to "be cool" we had to denounce each other. In the early 90s I actively renounced this division as arbitrary and called for new wave/punk rock girl unity. However I still would get annoyed at the trendy aspect. So as the 90's went on, I hated Elastica and even Blur (at first) and certainly thought Garbage was terrible. But then I reconsidered it. I think meeting Huggy Bear and going to England made me unashamed of my pop leanings, though clearly I still have issues coming to grips with it. So this dichotomy is there when I listen to the Long Blondes. I think they are good, I like this record, but I fear it's trendy and doesn't mean anything. I'm pretty sure I'm right about the latter and not sure how well this music will hold up over time, but I'm enjoying it a lot right now. The best moments remind me of recent Glass Candy, Debbie Harry solo and the Au Pairs. For me it's all about the singer. I like her voice a lot now and imagine she's a cool new wave girl that I should have been friends with outside of school, but was "too cool" or maybe not cool enough...sometimes I don't wanna always be such a hater. I value the idea of popular music and dancing...I reject the shallowness and the emphasis on surfacey concerns and materialism...fashion vs. style...I don't believe that market commodification=populism, but I do think it's rad to have accessible music that unites people, and I know that can happen purely based on a catchy chorus of nonsense, see the Beatles Yellow Submarine. The Long Blondes are an underground pop group (for the most part), they aren't the Beatles, but liking them still brings up all these concerns for me, bringing me back to my question: does is really mean anything? Why does it exist? I still don't know, but today it sounds good to me. It's like, I know melon is good for you but I resist eating it. Why? Is it because it's too expensive and therefore decadent/ostentatious or is it because I'm secretly allergic and it actually makes me sick. I don't know, but sometimes I eat it anyway even though it turns my mouth numb. Is this music like a honeydew melon then? I could fully extend the metaphor, but I would insult your intelligence and test your patience. Suffice to say, even if it is nutritious it's not enough to keep you alive.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Spider and the Webs

Spider and the Webs
Enchanted Castle
Ten Year's Old
Polar Tangerine

will play le Voyeur
Tuesday Oct 14

OPIUM list deleted

the OPIUM list was deleted today, so there will be more OPIUM posts here of events

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mutators-Secret Life LP

Vancouver BC's punk trio Mutators aren't your average post-everything screamers punx, though they are of that generation...and what i mean by that (in case you are not getting the grandma lexicon) is those younger adults known as "kids" who are into really cool shit that used to be hella obscure but in the past 10-15 years got integrated into the cool shit underground music canon, ie no wave, avant garde classical music, noise, industrial music, post-punk and just in general regional groups that never toured or put records out so remained unknown to those of us who grew up before the obscure history of everything was so instantly accessible ..(in this case the SCREAMERS are the example of this salvaged punk band that was so obscure that, if i remember correctly, they didn't release anything besides a demo tape and a Target video, which was supposedly their album, and so while their name was fairly well known on the west coast, most people didn't hear them until the late 90's when a well circulated bootleg was released on vinyl; if you wanna google them you'll know more about it than me because untill right now i never did that, but here you go)....well enough about generation gaps...this is all to say that in many ways, most of them formal, punk is better now than it used to be, but it sometimes means less and just seems like pastiche. mutators are one of those groups, but they have amazing energy, presence and possibly the best punk girl singer-i-mean-screamer of all time. you might trace it back to Lydia Lunch's early group, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks or a more recent reference like VIKI (LOAD RECORDS/ANIMAL DISGUISE RECORDINGS) from detroit but that's not why you would care.
last night i listened to this record twice in a row, lying on the floor, not doing anything else. this is how i used to listen to music all the time, but rarely does something command my full attention these days. having seen mutators live a few times, i was pleased to be able to hear lief's vocals full force. so many times i have wanted to hear a sound like her voice...to make that sound come out of my own mouth...it is a monstrosity, but so familiar in feeling as to make you wonder where all the other bands are that make rad sounds like this. to be fair, the other musicians in the group are wild and furious too. the music is minimal (a two piece?) noise-core with echoes of black flag my war era type abandon; but with no wave/noise leanings and minus the metal. fucking rad. i wish there was a lyric sheet. this is the best sounding record in awhile, so i wanna know what the songs are about, if they are about more than sound, that would be killer, but if not, this sound itself means a lot to me; it replaces the silence of my own unrecorded screams....which is incredibly comforting. it hurts to make this sound, but it also sucks to never be in a situation where making noise like this is a possibility...you could go in the woods or get on stage and i don't really wanna do either of those things right now, but i do feel like making this sound, or attempting to rather, almost every day all day. ok go listen to them now and try not to be as cynical as i sound about 'the kids these days' because this is an awesome record.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tonight at the Brotherhood: dj "wild man" james

dj james plays records every sunday at the brotherhood 21+

Two Shows on Thursday September 18th







also this night: Shearing Pinx w/ Wisdom Teeth and Octagon Control at le Voyeur (21+)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

jessica esp & me

i'm listening to jessica's set and she's playing frozen roses by spider and the webs. here we are hanging out in LA during the most recent old haunts tour, April/May 2008


OPIUM stands for Olympia Punk Indie Underground Music. to join the OPIUM list-serv send an email to opium-on@killrockstars.com

All local events will have the subject heading: OPIUM so that you can find them easily.

Jessica ESP DJ set

Jessica ESP's (of ESPS fame) Dublab dj set is archived here

Show Tonight







This Saturday at the Big Room (508 Legion Way Olympia, WA)

party with me punker

"Tonight at the QB Lounge, DJ Books and DJ Miss U (who just returned from an epic 30-mile canoe trip in the north cascades!) will be hosting another installment of PARTY WITH ME PUNKER! We'll be playing tons o' soul/reggae/funk/psych/??/punk, so grab a side of guacamole and meet us on the dance carpet.. berets, flip-flops, and brand new haircuts encouraged. SEE YOU TONIGHT! 10-2. "

from sarah utter OPIUM post