Before they disabled comments, this was the most priceless one left. The Indie Cred Test is available worldwide in about two months. Get pumped!
Penguin: Why Are You Posting This Pollution? A Man Getting Shot With Blood Splashing On His Face? Disrespecting A Young Child? This Is Really Disappointing.
Man or Astro-Man? return with their first new material in well over twelve years. In 2010, the original lineup of Birdstuff, Coco and Star Crunch reformed to play a series of live shows, and since then, they have been putting on some of the best performances of their career. This record jumpstarts a series of singles that will culminate with a full length release in the beginning of 2013. Recorded with longtime Astro cohort, Steve Albini, this first installment in the Astro Analog Series finds the band bringing their unique brand of Science Friction back to the masses in supreme form. As all their recent live shows have proven, Man or Astro-Man? haven’t missed a beat, and the newly recorded material finds the band being as inventive and propulsive as ever. “Defcon 5” and “Anti-Matter Man” will appear in some form on the impending full length and “Mr. Space” is exclusive to this release. Now put on your space helmet on and strap in.
Packaged in a custom chipboard, die-cut cover with an acetate window and sealed with a foil sticker.
Recorded by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio
Cut direct to lacquer at Chicago Mastering Service
Artwork by Aaron Draplin (fieldnotesbrand.com)
PREORDER!!!! SHIPS MID TO LATE AUGUST!!!!
Before the Melvins Lite set a Guinness World Record by playing all 50 states (plus DC) in 51 days (which really doesn’t seem that impressive compared to their 2006 American tour), they’re playing Canada. And before Canada, they stopped by NYC for a special Amphetamine Reptile show celebrating the opening of Haze XXL’s Post Moral Neanderthal Retardist Pornography art gallery centered around a Melvins/Hammerhead picture discs done by various artists.
Tickets came printed on the back of a very limited Melvins/Seawhores 12". Essentially we were seeing the Melvins in a packed basement. Apart from being no room to move, unbearable heat, and limited vision (I’m very short and didn’t even realize that Trevor was dressed like Angus Young until I saw the pictures), it was a pretty awesome show. Luckily the Melvins played first and a few people cleared out and made it slightly more comfortable for the other bands of the night: Gay Witch Abortion, Seawhores, and Hammerhead.
The Post Moral Neanderthal Retardist Pornography is at the Toy Tokyo Underground in the East Village through this weekend. If you can’t make it you can check out the art here.
We have a lot more pictures of the gallery and the bands that I’ll link up when they’re ready.
Below is a download of a few songs from AmRep’s 25th anniversary CD:
Gay Witch Abortion – Human Composting (The Wave of the Future)
Melvins w/Haze XXL – Paraquat Plus
HOF w/Gay Witch Abortion – Die You Fuck
Tar. The Chicago four-piece packed it up after a set at the Lounge Ax in 1995. And here, seventeen years later, they’re returning to perform this summer at the PRF BBQ in Chicago. To honor the occasion, Chunklet Industries and Tar are proud to bring you a limited 7" featuring two previously unreleased songs. "Feel This" and "Hell’s Bells" were recorded during the Over and Out sessions and have been unheard since. "Feel This" is practically two Tar jams crammed into one (and that very well may be the case) and yes, "Hell’s Bells" is an AC/DC cover complete with service desk bell. Much like the magicicada, Tar is back for now. But get in on it now or you’ll have to wait another seventeen years.
Two exclusive, previously unreleased tracks from 1995’s Over & Out sessions.
Cut direct to lacquer by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service
Download code for 320kbps MP3 and FLAC files included
Limited to 300 sellable copies worldwide
Purchases from the Chunklet site include a free pack of Tar matches.
Aluminum guitars sound best.
(paypal is also available)
Supergroup is a pretty ubiquitous term that I find to be kind of silly. I mean unless you’re a teenager, you will probably form a group with professional musicians. And if you’re a professional musician, you’ve probably played in a band. What’s so super about that?
Austerity Program frontman Justin Foley described Old Man Gloom as “a chimpanzee-themed band that makes Christmas albums” which I think may be a more apt description (although wouldn’t make sense if applied to Asia).
Supergroup would be better applied to something like the FantomasMelvins Big Band which is two four-piece bands combined to form a juggernaut of a seven-piece band, much like the Constructicons.
Toys and etymology aside, Old Man Gloom consists of members Isis, Converge, and Cave In. The whole sounds somewhat like what you’d expect from the sum of their parts, but along with noisy experimental psychedelic tones. There’s also some kind of esoteric simian cult thing going on which I don’t fully understand, but you should check out their fantastic and very redacted bio on their MySpace (I checked. It’s still a thing).
It’s been eight years since they’ve released an album and I’m not sure when they last played a live show. The little documentation I found suggests maybe four years ago and they definitely (there’s video) played NYC 10 years ago. So maybe it really is the end times with Old Man Gloom touring and a new album NO both in the same year.
I caught them in Brooklyn and the show was great. Even after the ten year buildup, they totally exceeded my expectations. They opened with Gift and played for about an hour with a pretty even mix of songs from each album, including three new tunes and a portion of the epic 27-minute Zozobra.
Although this was only a seven-day Northeast tour, there is talk of more live shows in the near future. I don’t think anything was announced but at least it’s something.
And I don’t know if anything’s worth an eight year wait, but NO is definitely a pretty rad album. It’s really heavy with and abrasive rather than melodic. Even the ambient parts are noisier. The guitar sound reminds me of the early Isis EPs (which a perusal of liner notes show were also produced by Kurt Ballou).
In relation to an album’s construction, their writing’s matured a lot. The changes and multilayering on the new songs could have easily been broken into three or four shorter songs on an earlier release. After my first listen, my impression was that it was more straight-up metal and less ambiance. Which seems very silly now after weeks of listening. There’s tons of variety that meshes seamlessly and is therefore less noticeable.There’s not a feeling of the ambient track and the thrash track and the fast track and the slow track. It’s all there though.
Anyway, NO will be released by Hydrahead Records next week. I briefly spoke with guitarist Aaron Turner about the future of the band. He says they hope to be active a little more regularly whatever that entails. As a fan that gives me a little optimism that their sixth album will drop before 2020.
Below is a download to the Christmas Eve I and II + 6 = 3" EP. It was released a little before Christmas on one of those little CDs that won’t play anywhere except in my computer, and the last track always fucks up at the end.
Christmas Eve Part I
A.L.E. Makes Accident, or the Slow Advance of Now Liberated, But Virally Contagious Chimps
Skull of Geronimo (Featuring the vocal stylings of James Randall)
Masami’s Music Box 1
Branch Breaker (Live in NYC)
Masami’s Music Box 2
Christmas Eve Part II
Gratuitous Bonus Track Made by Sensible Musicians Doing Questionable Things
If you’ve been on the internet finding things out about music recently, you might have noticed that it’s a big worldwide mini-trend to interview King Tuff. It makes some sense. Kyle Thomas, the guy who calls himself “King Tuff” when he makes some of the music he makes, is a good guy to talk to. He’s funny. He makes good music too. Not just when he calls himself King Tuff, but also when he calls himself “the guy from Witch” and “Happy Birthday.” He still makes good music those times too.
Kyle Thomas made a music album in 2008 called “Was Dead.” A lot of people liked it a lot. In fact, more people like it a lot probably like once a day. It’s the kind of album, in terms of being good, that you’d have to be pretty crazy not to like at least a little bit if you also claim to like rock and roll music. Musically, it sounds like a good example of that kind of a thing. Have you heard of the King Tuff rock and roll album “Was Dead” from 2008? I bet you have if you’re reading this. If not, I bet you would like it if you listened to it. That’s kind of what happened with it. Not a lot of people had heard of it until slowly a lot of people did because most of the people who heard it liked it.
But then: guess what. This guy, Kyle Thomas, what did he do? He made ANOTHER whole album. It JUST came out. And you know what? It’s also pretty good, maybe not as good, but maybe instead of good/bad it’s just different. This guy. Can you believe it? He made this new album and called himself King Tuff right on the cover of this new album! Like “hey everybody, this is the same guy who made that other old album that most people like!” But it sounds kind of different even though it’s the same guy! Can you wrap your head around that?
I kind of almost couldn’t, you guys. I thought that was weird. Actually, I didn’t really think that. What I really thought was “this guy seems like a cool guy, I hope nobody thinks it’s weird that he made two different music albums that sound different.” I thought “if I could just talk to this guy and get him to tell me that he is a cool guy and that it’s not weird for these two albums to be different, I could tell that to the world!” That seemed like a good idea to me, because I don’t want to live in a world where people think it’s a great idea to live their lives not being a cool guy or being okay with it when somebody makes two different albums that are different. Also: maybe somebody will give me money from this.
And so I decided: I am going to interview King Tuff.
You guys. It’s so easy to interview King Tuff. All you have to do is call or email the record label his new album is on and tell them you want to interview him. Then: they will tell you when to call, and you can ask him questions. What questions? All kinds of questions about his life and how he decides what kind of music to make! I should know about this: I did it!
But then guess what. Then you will be done and you’ll start writing down all the questions you asked King Tuff and all the answers King Tuff gave to your questions, and you will think to yourself “wait a minute.” And then you will have a very hard time convincing yourself that you did a good thing. Maybe that’s because you didn’t ask any of the right questions. Maybe that’s because King Tuff is good at talking to you like you’re having a good time talking and then you realize that you just had a regular conversation with a dude and there’s not really anything more interesting about it than there is about having a conversation with any dude. Maybe that’s what interviews are, no matter what, unless somebody wants to get all crazy with it, and maybe you don’t want to get all crazy with it if the guy is just a cool guy who happened to make two albums that are different from each other and that’s pretty much the whole story on the guy.
You’d better be careful when you’re thinking all this stuff, because if you got all excited about interviewing King Tuff, it might bum you out a lot if you just spent $60 on devices that record phone calls and it turns out you didn’t learn anything you didn’t already know, namely: cool guy, made two different albums. You might get further bummed out about it if you asked Henry from Chunklet who has some content-distribution deal with Vice Magazine Online to see if anybody else from Vice might also be currently interviewing King Tuff and getting money from it, and he said “just go for it” and you did and it turns out somebody else from Vice also DID do an interview with King Tuff, and in THAT interview it is revealed that King Tuff is a cool guy who made two records that sound different. These are all things that will bum you out a lot if you’re the type of person who gets bummed out whenever you do something that results in you feeling like you kind of just didn’t do anything.
Anyhow, you know what I think about King Tuff? I mean, Kyle Thomas, the guy who calls himself King Tuff when he makes two albums that sound different? I think he is a cool guy, and I think he made two albums that sound different, and I think that’s great. I think everybody should be a cool guy and, if they want to, make two albums of music that sound different from each other. And I think it’s nice to talk to people when they ask if they can talk to you, even if they are kind of just wasting everybody’s time, and that means that Kyle Thomas is a nice guy, too. Man, this guy is cool and nice, and he makes good music that sounds different from each other.
Here’s the best part of my interview with King Tuff:
ME: What does J. Mascis smell like?
KING TUFF: Guitars.
Social Anxiety is my new drug of choice, and it has destroyed my will to party in a room full of sweaty, drunken strangers. This is my takeaway from the HoZac Blackout Fest this weekend, which I did not attend. Here’s a complete rundown of a whirlwind 55-hour stretch during which I spent $60 for the privilege of not seeing all but three “hot” underground bands:
Friday, May 18th, 5:00pm: It is a gorgeous day in Chicago. I’ve bought a 3-day ticket to this Blackout Fest in a rush of vague, blind ambition. I intend to be here for the entire thing, and take notes, and come up with some kind of generation-defining rant about “the illusory power of the emergence myth” or something like that. But first: experience it. Really dig in. Be a journalist about it. Take it seriously. Then: really understand it. Really sum it up.
E.T. Habit: The frontman-less version of E.T. Habit consists of three people gamely supporting a drum kit large enough to assume prescience. The kit dwarfs everything else in the room. It blocks out the sun. I am aware of noises coming out of it. They are possible attempts at language. I focus my energy on resistance. I do not want to come under the sway of this monster. Some augmentations to its vocalization pattern are made by some other instruments I assume are nearby.
The “people” in the “band” are themselves instruments, played by the drum kit, through a relationship that is clearly parasitic, though it’s impossible to tell who is harming who. The sub-lingual noises coming from the drum kit organism could be construed as “music” to somebody who wanted to head down that road. I do not. I am standing here watching a drum kit, and it is dangerous. It is the root source of a giant fungus for which we are all (there are maybe 20 people here) in serious danger of becoming one with, against our individual will.
The soundtrack for this horrifying loss of identity is an Emerson, Lake and Palmer cover band that has been deprived of all sound except DRUM KIT. DRUM KIT NO KILL I. As the maracas and wood blocks come out in support of an extended drum solo clearly designed as a sort of psychic call to a not forthcoming dramatic entrance by their AWOL hairbeast of a vocalist, I’m having Trans Am flashbacks. It’s in the way I’m wondering if this band is more accurately interpreted as a comedy or tragedy. It succeeds at neither, but is clearly not meant to be taken on its own merits. No drum kit grows to that size without an agenda of some kind.
There are at least two photographers with professional-grade camera equipment documenting this hideous deformity of the “live music” format. That is a total of ten percent of people currently in attendance with a visible vested interest in documentation. My hidden intentions boost this to fifteen percent. Who knows how many more are lurking in the shadows, tweeting and blogging. I stumble out into the sunshine, gasping for breath.
I want a burger. I want to sit in the sunshine and eat a cheeseburger and watch a baseball game. I do not want to stand in a dingy rock club co-documenting some horrid mental enslavement process by which this incantation of “E.T. Habit” is falsely regarded as a “band” that is “part” of “something” that is “happening” rather than a comically large drum kit that has a bone to pick with your precious time.
Friday, May 18th, 6:15pm: As quickly and whim-based as my ambitions were formed, they are similarly broken. I go to a burger joint nearby and flip through the Blackout Fest program. This entire event seems to have been pre-documented. I am extraneous, both too early and way too late to the party. The evening continues to be gorgeous. I decide to go to my nearby apartment and watch the baseball game with the windows open.
Friday, May 18th, 6:15pm Plus 11 Innings Of Entertaining Baseball: That was an entertaining baseball game. I sat down on my couch in my own home for the entire duration. No oversized drum kits attempted to destroy my humanity. No photographers with professional-grade camera equipment placed themselves between me and the TV screen and desperately repositioned themselves like some hype-seeking species of spawning salmon. It was just a baseball game. I like watching baseball games.
I am now considering not going back to Blackout Fest. I have recently quit drinking alcohol in what is likely a pointless personal attempt to not be an asshole. Oh poor me. I’m not sure there is a way to enjoy Blackout Fest without alcohol. It’s called Blackout Fest. Enjoying Blackout Fest, or even going to Blackout Fest, seems less important to me right now than not being a drunken asshole. I decide on ingesting potentially abusable over-the-counter drugs in my medicine cabinet as a compromise. Mucinex is basically speed. Maybe this will help. Something has to. I can’t do this alone.
Video: This is a great band. The guitar sound is loud and simple. The front man is doing the arrogant-antagonistic schtick I always think people should do more often. It seems more honest than the meek thanks one usually hears in between songs. Putting a band together and playing music in front of other people who have paid money is an inherently arrogant act. The subtext of the impulse is “I deem myself worthy of your attention.” Might as well say it, too. This guy is maybe trying too hard at it. His banter is halting, like he’s convincing himself with every word. He might actually be more believable at meek thanks.
Several more documentarians have arrived on the scene. This time I spot as many as seven photographers with professional-grade camera equipment among the audience. These are joined by countless others who are documenting with less-professional cell phone-based equipment. The club is at maybe 40% of its capacity, but a majority of current occupants have deemed Video compelling enough to draw them to the stage, iPhones a-blazin’.
This band is not being experienced. It is being obliterated like Mike Teavee into millions of tiny pieces. It is being dissected, soaked in formaldehyde, and jarred in real time. The Mucinex has left me unduly sensitive to the constant camera flashes. Although I am enjoying the band enough to want to get close and dance and maybe heckle the halting banter and elevate and explore the experience for myself, I am forced to duck out and observe from the rear of the room, from which the band and its attending horde of amateur paparazzi look like some distant music-based electrical storm.
This guy’s patter is failing to account for this. What a tremendous missed opportunity to take this audience to task for, apparently, fawning over him. He, the “he” as presented, should be eating this up. That this development has not cracked through the shell of “we’re the best band ever” repetition is a failure of theatrical promise-making. He is instead wallowing in flimsy references to the NATO Summit protests. The guy needs schtick lessons. The band senses this. They interrupt with feedback, hoping to draw him back into the songs. This tension, too, is uncommented upon. The cameras flash away as if to encourage a kick to the face that never comes. The cameras are devouring the evening like swarming death-addicted piranha. All unaccounted for. The perfect crime.
The ghost of Jay Reatard enters my body and forces me to leave the club.
The Mucinex has me antsy. I do that thing where I go to the bathroom just to have a place to go. I reinvestigate the merchandise table which has not changed in five or six hours. Up next is Spider Fever and then Davila 666. The water buckets are dry. I think I remember vaguely liking that one Spider Fever 7”. I think I remember vaguely liking the idea of Davila 666. Everything is half-remembered and vague.
Smoking people are looking at me. I go down the street to buy gum because I don’t want to buy cigarettes. Nobody is smiling. The vibe is uptight and snarling. These people mean business. They are responding to the break between two bands like that one gag in Airplane! where the reporters run and push over the bank of pay phones. I never really got that gag until now. These people are silly. They look like they might be accomplishing something, but they are not enjoying themselves. I am not enjoying myself either. Before I realize what’s happening, I’m home in pajamas watching a movie.
Saturday, May 19th, 2:30pm-9:30pm: A friend has invited me to his house for an outdoor-based food and beer party for which the descriptor “barbecue” is accurate but factually inappropriate, and that’s where I am. More people arrive. The progression of events between meeting, socializing, imbibing with, and finally eating with strangers unfolds very slowly but amicably. I drink water and become, over time, comparatively more lucid than the rest of the crowd. This is a comfort. I have nice conversations with pregnant women. I find these people pleasant and welcoming.
In my idiotic-but-correct-at-the-time 20’s I would confuse these qualities with “boring,” pocket a couple of road beers, and split for Blackout Fest the instant I was able to fill up on free food, having through a series of loud faux pas extinguished whatever noncommittal hope I had of realizing a dimly held and impossibly debaucherous impulse to “smooth talk” my way into sexual intercourse with one of the pregnant woman. This is the sort of lifestyle-operation that Blackout Fest seems most fit to glorify. There was a time when I executed this program to near complete perfection.
At present I am not especially tempted to go back to Blackout Fest. There are no chairs. But seven hours is a long shift in patio furniture, and the Fest is close to my house.
The Homostupids: My timing is excellent. The Homostupids are just now playing the DJ off, and launch into some tremendous 4/4 punk. Tonight is much more crowded. I have a decent spot with space ahead of me to fliter into, but I’ve still got my bag. I ditch it and come back but there is no space. I attempt to penetrate, but it’s not much use. I lean against the wall in the back again.
The crowding seems to have cut down on the sheer volume of documentation, but those still documenting, and there are several, are necessarily displaying greater resilience. These must be the true, few balls-to-the-wall originals among the hardcore documentation scene. Searching for the root of this sneering mock admiration leads me to an intense feeling of vertigo as I can no longer tell who the audience is. It’s possible that all this music is just some kind of a clever ruse engaged in by a few people who are simply huge fans of being photographed by strangers. In the future, seedy rock clubs will be replaced by seedy take-a-picture-of-you clubs.
The band is great but my mind is clearly wandering. I ponder what could possibly be done to prevent my mind from wandering, briefly consider that there might be such a thing as a perfectly orchestrated set which the Homostupids as constituted are not capable of bringing to fruition, realize that this is the insane inner babbling of a Dave Matthews superfan, and actually prefer to conclude that the real problem is I am no longer capable of the human emotion of joy during a live performance of music. During this bout with introspection, I notice that I am behind an old guy. He is standing and watching just like me. I wonder what we’re getting out of this.
After the Homostupids are Gentleman Jesse & His Men followed by a special performance by Red Kross, doing their early material in an intimate club setting for the first time in Jesus Christ I am tired. I’m going home.
Sunday, May 20th, 12:30pm: I get a text from a friend about another cookout. I say damn right I would be interested, and could we please schedule it to conflict directly with the Blackout Fest? I have some important bands to not document.
Sunday, May 20th, 6:30pm: I talk to some dude’s Mom about Japanese weather patterns for 50 minutes. I am in heaven.
Sunday, May 20th, 8:30pm: Looks like I have free access to Election starring Matthew Broderick thanks to Amazon Prime. I was just thinking about this movie the other day. I think it was the part where it just cuts to a caveman’s dick for like 10 straight seconds while Matthew Broderick talks about moving to New York. Man, everybody is so perfect in this movie. I remember loving it, then overwatching it and getting over it, and now it’s great again for whole new reasons. What a perfect display of casting. Just a complete 10 out of 10 for everybody being exactly who they’re supposed to be.
I am currently in the middle of not feeling guilty because of not enjoying Roky Erickson as much as I would feel obliged to pretend to. I am currently enjoying the death of my own ambition to document something that I know for a fact is being overdocumented. I am currently not trying to claim my part of anything “emergent.” I am currently washed up but still alive, no longer fighting the riptide currents of Hype Ocean, and I am currently planning to fire up the grill and have people over on Monday. I am scheming up a way to profit from my documentation of the Chicago underground barbecue scene. Music is cashed. I am dead cold sober and nothing is currently bothering me.
by ALEX KOENIG
If you’ve been following Chunklet back to the days of yore when a physical magazine was actually released once in a blue moon, you may know that we are very fond of poking fun at everyone’s favorite outsider musician Jandek. After all there’s nary a discography in sight that’s seemingly as bleak and humorless (although there was that Houston funk show, which was absolutely hilarious) and thus so ripe for plucking from the comedy vine. And the man seems so incredibly fixated on maintaining his own mystique that he insists on dressing like a turn of the century mortician at every show, it’s a small wonder that so few people in the world don’t find the humor in Jandek.
But we kid because we care, well speaking personally anyway. Here’s a minor confession. About a few years ago, in a brief fit of record buying/Ebay searching mayhem, I acquired every Jandek release on vinyl, I even doubled up on the first two releases due to the reissues. I do not mean to brag, if anything I deserve your pity. I even decided, for some reason now unknown to me, that my collection would be well served if contained a healthy chunk of the very recent Corwood studio output (in which an older, wiser, Sterling Smith hollers and rambles, seemingly making up lyrics as he goes along for 20 odd minutes a track, captured with all the warm sound of a single microphone plugged into Garageband) So if we are to believe Mr. Cobain’s adage, I suppose I may be open to being labeled as pretentious. To that, I will offer no reasonable defense, but what I will say is that collecting those albums was very much an addicting process. You simply couldn’t own ONE album, you had to have FIVE! Then you couldn’t just be satisfied with those five, you had to have all the albums with his face on the cover, then all the albums that are in color (Ooh! What a treat!) And before you even realize it, you’re left with 22 records worth of blissfully atonal gobbledygook. And although I may be damning them with faint praise, I still have listened to all of them more times than I can count.
Also, as an added bonus to now having all the records, I now found myself a new member of a fairly exclusive club of Jandek vinyl completists. But when I found one of my fellow members, I wasn’t sure if beginning the process of membership was necessarily the best idea…
Here we have one Naythen Wilson and his Jandek collection. Perhaps you remember his name popping up rather frequently on the Jandek message board? Or maybe you recall him from his brush with fame nearly a year ago when he appeared on Conan in a fan submitted video complaining about the position of a bass clef appearing in the show’s opening credits. Perhaps there is still a small (and likely vocal) minority of you out there for which his is an entirely new name. If you have the patience to make it through the entire video, it’s clear before the end that I have at least been matched in terms of my collection, so let us all applaud Mr. Wilson. But before long it becomes apparent we may be dealing with an entirely different beast. A self made Jandek shirt is quite frankly a bit odd, but one could suppose not entirely out of character with safe degrees of obsessive fandom. Then near the end, he pulls out the Jandek puppets and not only am I outmatched, but now entering territories no one would dare trespass.
Part 2 of Mr. Wilson’s Jandek memorabilia saga takes us into even deeper waters and we enter a room lined with Corwood correspondence. One could only imagine the exchanges contained in those letters, but it must have been really something, from the looks of things he actually got the guy to write a full blown paragraph. There’s also his Ready for the House album cover tattoo idea. Not the actual living room from the cover mind you, but rather his conception of what the other half of the room may have looked liked. Good luck explaining that one to lookers-on, “Ooh…it’s a picture of half of a couch!” There’s also Jandek fan fiction posted on the wall, which I would feel it best we just all tried to forget about right now.
Part 3 is quite frankly where we begin to enter probable Mark David Chapman territory. First we are immediately introduced to the Jandek clock with the Six and Six artwork, and somehow no “Can I See Your Clock” joke is made, we then proceed to the unfortunately eaten remnants of a former Jandek birthday cake. From there we go onward to the apparently “famous Chindek” which combines his love of Jandek and his love of chinchillas. The previous two items were both made by his girlfriend (that is indeed a shock) who appears to be the real enabler in the man’s Jandek fixation. Then it all ends with a rather mysterious 1950’s era Houston area phonebook, its precise meaning unknown, making its placement as the video’s final item all the more unsettling.
If all this Jandek memorabilia makes you curious about Mr. Wilson, or perhaps concerned for his well being, you can even take a stroll though his youtube page and listen to his (not too big of a surprise here) Jandek cover album as well as a plethora of other “bands”, art projects, all building up to a staggering body of videos that could even rival Mr. Let’s Paint in the videos to actual views ratio.
I do not mean to make fun of Mr. Wilson for simply loving what he loves, but I am indeed astonished to the degree that he takes it. After all, the world of outsider music is a funny thing, particularly in terms of how people relate to it. If the first thing you think of in relation to the genre is The Shaggs, you might be inclined to write off the whole Corwood catalog as some sort of poorly conceived joke. But if you start with Jandek, suddenly even Wesley Willis could appear as a serious gone too soon artist. I believe Naythen Wilson to be a product of that type of seriousness.
So, are we to make it official and declare Naythen Wilson as the world’s biggest Jandek fan? Only if we fail to make a distinction between “world’s biggest” and “most dangerously obsessed”. So, yes. Yes he is.
If you are a music fan and you looked at this list of Record Store Day releases for 2012 you probably thought to yourself "my goodness that is a load of crap I don’t want." But let’s be charitable, borrow a little PR-lackey spin-talk, and say that’s because of the "incredible diversity of this year’s releases." Let’s also go so far as to paraphrase an imaginary press release addressing this issue and say that: "At 284 officially sanctioned exclusive releases, Record Store Day’s annual offering of incredible music has evolved to the point where you simply can’t like ALL the amazing music out there!" Right guys? I mean, that’s as nice as we can possibly be about this.
What if there was some objective way to quantify exactly how crappy this bloated corporate fleecing of vinyl fans has become? Enter the number crunchers at Chunklet Co. with this handy breakdown:
Out of the 284 "exclusive" Record Store Day releases this year…
82 or 29% are listed as released by a major label or major label subsidiary.
72 or 25% are listed as released by an independent label which is currently distributed by a major label or major label subsidiary (this includes major-indie labels like Merge or Sub Pop or Domino or Thrill Jockey)
34 or 12% are self-released or vanity-label projects controlled by an artist who currently or formerly appeared on a major label
Throw those numbers together and you’ve got 188 or 66% or two thirds of all Record Store Day releases from which at least a part of the proceeds go to somebody who probably has plenty of money already. Does that equate directly to the music being shitty? Don’t ask us. We’re just spewing facts here. We’re not judging.
If we were judging, we’d say that of the remaining "true independent" releases, many are on "rip your balls off and shove them in your eye sockets"-level bad labels like Victory, Bloodshot, Omnivore, Dangerbird, and we swear we are not making this one up, Jealous Butcher Records. If you’re not familiar with Victory Records, they very clearly wrote their own Wikipedia page including a hilariously feeble publicity-grab over their signing of “the worst band ever,” and are putting out a limited-edition Snapcase reissue. Snapcase has sucked since way back when Snapcase was Snapcase.
To get an idea of the caliber of organizations now getting involved in Record Store Day, check out this quote by the "CEO" of Brookvale Records, which actually has major-label distribution: “I started this little record label a few years ago but never dreamed I would be working with such amazing bands as 311, Dream Theater, and Ace Frehley.” -Karl Groeger Jr., CEO/President Brookvale Records. That is a direct pull from the guy’s own website. He wrote that down and put it on the world wide web for all to see without a hint of irony. THIS IS WHO IS PUTTING OUT RECORD STORE DAY RELEASES.
What’s left that we might actually like? There’s a reissue of the first Pussy Galore 7”, a Nobunny EP on Goner that’s like medium interesting, the Trouble In Mind covers 7” EP with Apache Dropout doing a Monkees/Nilsson cover on it, The Dan Melchior 12” on Moniker, a Sacred Bones comp, some Sundazed 7”s that seem initially exciting until you realize you’re standing in line for 45 minutes for a Blue Magoos 45, some Vanguard folk/blues reissues that might float your boat or get your hopes up about a Japanese insano-dude overbidding on eBay, some reggae your favorite record store probably won’t have anyway, a Devo live LP (just kidding, we don’t want it), a Lee Hazlewood comp, a reissue of Little Richard’s first album that’s already been reissued a bunch of times, a Tinariwen double LP you could buy if you don’t already have more Tuareg Rock than you know how to listen to, A Deep Fried Boogie Band/Colossal Yes split 7” on Jackpot, a 4-way split 2xLP on the Expo 70 label if you’re into “experimental” (read: boring pretentious) music, a Jeff the Brotherhood live 7” and a Smoke Fairies 7” on 453 Music, a v/a comp on the Bardo Pond label, a “lost” Joey Ramone solo 7” of stuff he recorded in the 90’s, and an electronic covers of Dinosaur Jr. thing that we can only assume is a novelty record. That’s (probably) it. Like 20. Out of like 300. Just a hair over 7%.
And those are just the “does not immediately induce coma” releases. We’re not saying we’re over the moon excited about any of these. There might be other good stuff in there too, some of which falls into the highly subjective “already have it” category, some in the less subjective “just not into it” category, and much more in the “additional investigation would cause me to break down and cry at this point” subdivision.
Is that list exciting enough to make you want to deal with the crowds of consume-o-nerds that you’ll have to wade through if you want a chance (none of these is guaranteed) to get your mitts on one of those releases?
Keep in mind that the crush of humanity surrounding your nearest and dearest record store will likely also contain people who might be interested in, most egregiously, a limited 311 (yes, the aforementioned 90’s band) 12”, a Black Keys “limited to 6,000 numbered copies” version of the album they already put out 6 months ago, a Common (the rapper) LP, a 12” by the drummer from the New Bohemians (of Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians – because the drumming on “What I Am” is “start up a new band 20 years later” level intense), a 7” from the new band formed by the singer from the Deftones, a Coldplay 7”, a fucking Jamiroquai double 12” with CD, a Bruno Mars 10” for fans of both mainstream radio and 10” records, some Widespread Panic and Phish LPs, three 7”es on the Pearl Jam vanity label, a reissue (!) of Lou Reed’s “Transformer” (!!) that is “exclusive on Record Store Day (!!!) but will be released to other retailers in the future,” (which is an EXTREMELY odd way to use the word “exclusive”), and a MOTHERFUCKING GARBAGE 7” by the band “Garbage” and not by a probably much better nonexistent band called “MOTHERFUCKING GARBAGE.”
This list of the worst offenders (20 or so, or 7%) is of course accompanied by the “maybe I could buy this and flip it for $50 on Discogs real quick” limited Arcade Fire 12”s and “I guess I’m glad Leonard Cohen is getting into this whole Record Store Day thing but I’m not sure this record needs to exist” Live EPs and “Hey, it’s the fourth best Destroyers album, that’s cool, I guess” or “I guess somebody out there likes Uncle Tupelo” reissues that make up the bulk of the not 100% horrendous/not exciting middle part of the Record Store Day release spectrum. Which, scientifically if we’re still keeping track, is 86%.
So there you have it. Mathematical proof that Record Store Day is 93% horseshit.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t support your local record store, here. This is a really big sales day for some of the best local businesses in the country, and you should by all means get out there and have fun with it. What we are saying is that it’s also a really big sales day for some of the worst local businesses in the country, and if you don’t believe us, try record shopping in some shitty record store full of $30 Smashing Pumpkins reissues and entire sections full of Brian Wilson “That Old Lucky Sun” LPs, located in a giganto state school college town near you. You will find plenty of Bruno Mars 10”es there well into 2015 if they haven’t, as they would so richly deserve, had to close the place the fuck down by then. We’re waiting for that collapse with baited breath, because we can’t wait for Good Record Store Day.
Y’know, having a baby makes it really hard to just throw stuff up on the Chunklet site to entertain and amuse you, but that’s not to say that I’ve not been busy. The Codeine box set is done (!!!!) and The Jesus Lizard "Book" project is nearing completion. Also, the Indie Cred Test [Penguin edition] is due out in August…..
So how do I try to encourage you and yours to help free up some space here at Chunklet HQ? With a 25% discount at the Chunklet store, that’s how!
Until the end of April, enjoy a 25% off discount on all purchases at the Chunklet site. Vinyl. Books. Mags. Shirts. Everything.
All purchases will also receive "We’re All In This Together. Except You. You’re A Dick." and "Vinyl Is Killing the MP3 Industry" stickers for FREE. Yes. We’re that stupid nice here.
Or just stupid. Your call.