Monday, February 27, 2012

Wax Nostalgic #1: Green Day - 'Warning' 7''

11'' x 17'' poster

By Jason Duarte

Artist: Green Day
Title: Warning b/w "Scumbag"/"Outsider" (Ramones)
Inches: 7
Label: Adeline Records
Pressing: First?
Color: Gold
Release date: December 11, 2000

Since this is the first Wax Nostalgic entry, I thought I'd start with the first 7'' I ever ordered via mailorder.
I just started high school a few months prior to this release, and had been a Green Day fan since Dookie. One of the Green Day CDs I bought that year had a mailorder catalog for Adeline Records in the case. I remember lying on the floor of my bedroom in the basement of the house I just moved to five months prior. I remember examining everything on it and getting totally sucked in because it was stuff I'd never heard of, or Green Day stuff I knew I'd like and want, but had never seen in places like Best Buy or Tower Records or even Disc Replay.
At 14, I owned no vinyl or turntable - only a few cassettes, CDs and a big stack of mix tapes I made by recording songs I liked off the radio and affixing stickers to them with tiny handwriting to tell what was on them. I knew vinyl was an older format, and had always heard things at record stores or from older people who said things like, "music sounds better on vinyl." I brushed it off as mindless nostalgia crap - older people refusing to accept a new format, a better format; the digital format. Why read grooves pressed in plastic at 33 rpms when you can read it at 5,200 rpms and cut out all the scratching and fuzz? Plus it was way smaller and easier to buy.
I still wanted to know why, so even though I didn't own a turntable, I made it a mental goal to one day get one, and I'd invest in vinyl until I got one.
I think the Warning 7'' cost $4 ppd, and it came with an 11'' x 17'' Green Day poster, so I was sold. I knew it was risky to send cash in the mail, so I gave my mom the cash and asked her to write a check to Adeline Records for $4. I stuck the check and the order form in an envelope and ran out to the mailbox and flipped the flag up.
It seemed like weeks (it probably was) until I received that flat 7'' x 7'' brown cardboard package in the mail. "FRAGILE - DO NOT BEND." I carefully opened one side and pulled out the 7''. It smelled like fresh ink and plastic. There was no insert or liner notes or even dust sleeve - just the yellow/gold record in its cover and the poster. I unfolded the poster, admired it, then carefully folded it back up, trying not to get my oily fingerprints on it, and stuck it back in the cover with the record.
A year or two passed and my mom's husband said he had an old turntable in storage somewhere that I could use if I was careful. I dug for it through boxes in the room where the water heater, furnace and mice resided, and finally found it. I brought it to my room, attached the wires to my stereo and gave it a spin.
It was beautiful. I couldn't believe I was listening to a Green Day song I had on CD on this newly discovered format, with new songs (to my ears) on the other side. "What the fuck do these songs sound like?" I thought to myself since the day I cross-referenced all my CDs to see if they were on any of them. They weren't. A Ramones cover? "Scumbag?" I finally knew, and this turntable was the key to decoding these treasures I hung on to for what seemed like forever.
As soon as I flipped the record over from the song I'd already heard hundreds of times, I was trekking a new frontier. Why were these songs never on any of their albums? What could they have done to this Ramones song, and really, who the hell were The Ramones? I was so excited to hear what I only inferred was super ultra mega rare Green Day material. Keep in mind, this was before you could hop online, run a search and get instant gratification. I had to withstand time, my own excitement and patience for two years before I could unlock these treasures. Even if there was a way to hop online and get those songs, I didn't know how (that would soon change).
The rest of the world stopped when "Scumbag" started, and I remember lifting and dropping the needle repeatedly, playing side B over and over again. I don't think I ever flipped this 7'' back to side A. A whole new world was opened to me because of the Warning 7''. None of my friends sought out vinyl, and it seems this was several years before its big comeback. As a 14-year-old with and no record shop within walking or biking distance and no friends in my new town anyway, music evolved from being just a passion to becoming my new hobby. CDs were so easy to get, but this vinyl stuff was hard to find.
So began my quest and passion for vinyl.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Mondays inherently suck because of one thing and one thing only: work after a couple days of enjoying your life. So being the two loves of my life are music and writing, I'll be kicking off Wax Nostalgic Mondays tomorrow. Let me explain! I will peruse my collection of vinyl new and old, common and obscure, warped or get the idea. Instead of a straight-up review, it will be more of a personal narrative about the record like how it came to my possession, where I got it, why I love it (or hate it), etc. I'm not limiting this to punk, because if I were, most of you would probably own all the same stuff and wouldn't be interested. Anyway, stay tuned tomorrow for the first entry! My hope is to solicit comments from readers sharing their stories too.

Tune in tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Don Giovanni Records Showcase 2012: Screaming Females, Laura Stevenson & the Cans, For Science, Shellshag, Black Wine

Words and blurry photos by Jason Duarte

Saturday night was the night of THE Don Giovanni Records Showcase; the night when For Science played its reunion set and bands like Black Wine, Shellshag, For Science, Laura Stevenson & the Cans and the Screaming Females joined forces and delivered a sonic tapestry, not to be forgotten any time soon.

There was a line outside of the Williamsburg Music Hall in Brooklyn of excited fans waiting in the frozen February night air for the doors to open. While in line, I met a tall guy from New Hampshire who was none other than Servo from John Wilkes Booth Records, and his girlfriend as well! It was great chatting, and putting a face to the guy behind a great indie label that I ordered from a couple days after that show, had I met him or not.

My favorite Don Giovanni band, Black Wine, played first and they were incredibly orchestrated. The band rotated singing duties throughout the set. I love bands with multiple singers because it adds such depth. Two vocalists is typically tops, but I can't think of any other three-piece band that equally distributes 100% of its lead vocal duties. Black Wine played a new song, that I can't wait to hear on record, and were incredibly tight throughout their set. Jeff, Miranda and Jason are incredibly talented and fun to watch live. It was a perfect set to kick off the night. Watching them go nuts and rock is one of my favorite things ever.

Miranda Taylor (drums/vocals), Jason Nixon (bass/vocals), Black Wine

After Black Wine was Shellshag. The male/female two-piece played facing each other on either side of a custom flying saucer-looking gizmo which held a mic stand shaped like a Y, housed speakers and may have lit up. They also shared vocal duties, but guitarist/vocalist Shell had a majority of vocal duties. Shag was a standing drummer, and she had bells affixed to her ankles and around her waist, making her a one-person, wiggling vocalist/percussionist. At the end of the set, the two made a pretty tall monument of the drums, and knocked it over. It was pretty awesome and they totally embodied that grungy Nirvana-esque way of destroying their stuff.

Shell (guitar/vocals), Shag (drums/vocals), Shellshag

For Science's much-anticipated reunion set was sandwiched in the middle of all the bands Saturday night. The crowd went ape shit for them, particularly when vocalist John Slover began to throw $300 in singles into the crowd. I caught $7, and gave it back to them by buying their freshly-pressed album, Revenge For Hire, as well as Laura Stevenson & the Cans and Screaming Females vinyl after the show. Toward the middle of the set, Mikey Erg jumped up on stage and joined his former band on backups. Vocalist John Slover had to stop and puff on his inhaler between songs because he was getting that into it. I've never seen someone with asthma be a lead singer, but it occurred to me during For Science's set how incredibly hardcore that is. John could have fucking died! Their set was rad, and I want to catch them again. People lost their shit, and it was fun to be a part of that.

Mikey Erg (backup vocals), For Science

John Slover (vocals), Brian Gorsenger (drums) and Zach Gajewski (bass), For Science

A lot of the younger crowd and indie folks lined the front of the stage for Laura Stevenson & the Cans. They're not a punk band, but their involvement with labels like Asian Man and Don Giovanni Records creates this sort of 'scene crossover,' which is really cool in a 'Mods vs. Rockers' way. The show was 16+, so there were a lot of younger girls and dudes alike, which was awesome because it's been a while since I've been to a show that wasn't 21+. There's a different kind of passion and excitement in the air, and I love witnessing that raw emotion and giddiness. Laura Stevenson has a great voice, and her band was very talented. They were captivating, super held together and the set had a lot of depth. Their lead guitarist embodied this folk-y slide guitar style, and they had an accordion player, who was cool to watch. Their set was magnetic, and their dedicated fan base hung on every word and note.

Laura Stevenson (vocals/guitar), Laura Stevenson & the Cans

Screaming Females headlined the Don Giovanni Showcase, and rightfully so. Don Giovanni is releasing the band's new Steve Albini-produced album, Ugly, this year and Saturday night, the band released its 7'' single from Ugly, featuring "It All Means Nothing" b/w "A New Kid." The 7'' was only available at that show, and then the week-or-so-long free record store tour that followed. It has no cover, only a dust sleeve. The new song is incredible, and already a fan favorite at their shows. They made a video for it, which is both hilarious and disgusting. I suggest spending the 4:24 watching it.
Anyway, their set was amazing. They played a lot off Power Move and Castle Talk, my two personal favorite Screaming Females albums. Vocalist/guitarist Marissa Paternoster shreds, and has a horrifyingly addicting scream midst her fragile voice. She plays these intricate lead guitar parts while harmonizing vocals over them, and it rules. Bassist King Mike is memorizing; he utilizes a lot of bass chords and by synchronizing with Jarrett Dougherty's drumming, they keep the song driving forward; perfectly orchestrated. The band has a dark presence. Most obviously, they're all clad in black, but there are other subtleties like Marissa's signature; simply "Marissa," with two upside down crucifixes on either side of her name. Of course, they received an encore, and the crowd lost its shit once more, and the band left the stage after throwing down their instruments. The set ended the same way the new video does, with instruments and gear left behind.
The whole show was awesome, and it seemed like every single person in the venue that night was completely enthralled at at least one point throughout the night. The Screaming Females' set really left me looking forward to Ugly, coming out April 3.

King Mike (bass), Screaming Females

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Don Giovanni Records Showcase 2012: Dirty Work and Death By Audio

Words and photos by Jason Duarte

This year was our first attending the annual Don Giovanni Records showcase.

I flew from Chicago to Laguardia, in Queens early Thursday morning, met up with my buddy Mikey Erg, and we made our way to NJ to take care of some business, rip CDs and talk all afternoon about Black Flag shows, Def Jam Records, Kraftwerk, touring, bands and other relevant topics of interest. He showed me this rare artifact:

He showed me the studio where his dad, Mickey Erg - I mean Yannich - worked on Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet album, and I saw Bon Jovi's (and Eric Truchan's) high school:

We walked past THE grocery store where Mikey wrote most of the songs for The Ergs!' DorkRockCorkRod and Upstairs/Downstairs. In the parking lot, he recalled writing "Stinking of Whiskey Blues," one my favorite Ergs! tunes, and a highlight from his solo show the following night.

We took our second bus to New Brunswick, where I was introduced to the 'Fat Sandwich.' At first, I pictured a generous amount of lard between two slices of bread, but what I got was much more delicious, and filling. Exclusive to the Rutger's University campus, the Fat Sandwich wears many masks. Mine was called the 'Fat Elvis (Jason),' and consisted of gyro meat slices, mozzarella sticks, lettuce, French fries and tzatziki sauce smashed into a hoagie roll. It was amazing, and quite filling.

From there, we took a train a few stops over to Metuchen, NJ, where the infamous Forum Theatre (see the cover of Night Birds' The Other Side of Darkness below) is located.

In fact, that album hangs framed in the theater lobby. Anyway, we arrived before anyone else and anticipated the theater employees to put Dirty Work on the marquee, but Hugo remained. I was hoping they'd put 'Men In Black Who Like To Have Sex With Each Other,' but some things are too good to be true. In a way, it felt cooler with Hugo written outside, while Norm MacDonald was making dead hooker jokes on the screen inside. The movie was more incredible than usual. It was a cross between a Rocky Horror Picture Show theater experience, Dirty Work and the Pop Punk Message Bored. It was awesome. After the movie, I went back to my friends in Brick Mower's apartment with friends, Jeff and Miranda. I had some delicious Yuenglings and hung out for a bit before finally crashing out on their couch. The two days of being awake got to me. Dammit!

So the next day I walked outside and saw the band, Thursday's old house. I think this was it...

Then I walked to the New Brunswick train station and took an expensive ride back to NY Penn Station. From there, I bummed around NYC like a tourist and took the subway to Brooklyn, where I grabbed a coffee at Black Gold Records, and some pizza at Vinny's Pizza. Then I visited with Mike Hunchback at his record store, Co-Op 87 Records, easily one of the best record stores I've ever been to. Their selection was diverse and ventured into obscurities that anyone who fits in a particular niche would be delighted to find. Everything was so reasonably priced, and Mike threw in free vinyl (The Ergs' 3 Guys, 12 Eyes 7'' and Screeching Weasel's You Broke My Fucking Heart 7'') Hell yes. The best part was hanging out and chatting with him again about music, movies, shows and the like.

Then it was time to head to Death By Audio, a 1.1-mile walk from Co-Op 87. I grabbed my backpack and records and walked over. First up was Plastic Cross. It was their first show, and the band features Fid (guitar) and Tim (bass) from The Measure [sa]. They were good - more hardcore than punk, but I'm stoked to see what they sound like on record. This is them playing "Future Science" from the show:

Nuclear Santa Claust had For Science's bass player and I'd never heard them before. They sounded like hardcore Ramones-core, if you can imagine that. Check them out below:

House Boat was a good time. All four original members were there. They didn't play the tightest set, but were fun. They played the new song that will be featured on The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore compilation album, coming out later this year. Check that out below:

But first, they opened with "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Also they also played "Real Life As a Metaphor For Real Life."

After House Boat, Mikey Erg! took the stage for his second set (for those who don't know already, he's House Boat's drummer/backup vocalist), the final one of the night. He played his solo songs off the heart-shaped 12'' released last year on Paper + Plastick Records, "Permanent Solution" by Psyched To Die, "Fuck You" by Cee-Lo Green, a new solo one, Ergs! songs: "Stinkin' of Whiskey Blues," "If You Don't" and "Books About Miles Davis," and others. The latter was the closer. Joe Keller (Ergs!/bass) and Fid (The Measure [sa]/guitar) jumped on stage to back him up and everyone lost their shit towards the end of the song, where it gets electric. You know the part. Fid played drums, and Joe did what he does best; bass. Check out "If You Don't" and a still shot from the show:

Friday night was a great time. It was nice meeting some people from the PPMB, and buying Chadd's 7'' vinyl! Stay tuned for the Don Giovanni Saturday night review. I wish I had more time for this to do it right now. I love you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We're headed east to attend the Don Giovanni Showcase 2012!

From Don Giovanni Records:

"Our showcase is just one week away and there will be four brand new records available there:

For Science - Revenge For Hire LP
Noun - Holy Hell LP
Noun - S/T 7"
Screaming Females - It All Means Nothing 7"

It's going to be three awesome days and I hope you can join us for at least one of them:

Saturday, February 11th, 2012
Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Screaming Females
Laura Stevenson and The Cans
For Science
Black Wine

$12 advance [] »
Friday, February 10th, 2012
Death By Audio, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mikey Erg
House Boat
Nuclear Santa Claust
Secret Police
Plastic Cross

Doors at 8

Thursday, February 9th, 2012
Forum Theatre, Metuchen, N.J.

DIRTY WORK (35 mm print)

Doors at 7:30 p.m.
Movie at 7:45 p.m.

$10 / $8 in costume"

Stay tuned for pictures and words...

Monday, February 6, 2012

'Midwest Nothing' by Like Bats

By Vito Nusret
LP: John Wilkes Booth Records/Bloated Kat Records
Rating: 4/5

Those old scars scratch open and bleed anew, dripping off your fingertips. The drained bottle follows suit shattering glass into a cymbal crash. That familiar pain feels ludicrous without the angst of youth, but you still handle it the same way: you drink, break bottles and listen to a gravely punk band mash their own hearts up between its teeth. Wash, lather, rinse, repeat.
But this one's different somehow. The band, just like the latest one who broke your heart, has its own hurts, hopes, highs, lows and identity but you hold them up to the crucible to be compared to all those who came before anyway. Who can resist? A turn of phrase or nervous gesture breathes new life into those long lost heartaches while simultaneously augmenting the acuity of your current dolor. Good thing there's those languid guitar outros because it's gonna be a long night. You turn up the volume and enjoy the well worn territory of gruff vocals, power chords, driving bass and frenetic drumming, each with the desperation of Ghost Stories and dissonance of Fuel for the Hate Game, but with a rawness that only a couple of years at the bottom of a bottle pouring out into the basement can yield.
Cynics could say that we went though all of this a over a decade ago; that we should learn from our past and move on. Just get over it, to put it succinctly. But getting over your crush is a whole lot easier when you have a record not unlike Like Bats' Midwest Nothing to scream along to; to pour your drink out and your heart into. It's at least a lot easier to carry around that way.

Stream Midwest Nothing:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lemuria released first music video for "Wise People"

Lemuria released its first music video for "Wise People," off Pebble, the band's latest album (which made our top albums of 2011 list). Check it out!