Soundtrack to the March to Keep Fear Alive

Tomorrow,  thousands will descend on Washington DC for the March to Keep Fear Alive. For all of you unemployed idiots out there like me, you might need a soundtrack to keep you shuddering in your boots. KYS has got you covered here with ten great songs about fear. If you ask nice, I might make you a CD.

1. The Years, The Fears, The Sleep – Defiance Ohio
2. You Are Right To Be Afraid – Beauty Pill
3. Fear is a Man’s Best Friend – J. Robbins
4. Too Scared – Del Cielo
5. The Fear – Lilly Allen
6. The Fear is Back in Town – Milemarker
7. I’m Afraid of Everything – Braid
8. Fear of Commitment – The Measure (SA)
9. When I Was Afraid – The Thermals
10. Let’s Get Terrified – Dead Mechanical

If I had my shit together and all my music was on one hard drive I’d have mediafired this for you, but well, I am not that well organized. Suck it.

Notes by The Measure (SA)

The Measure (SA)
Notes
No Idea Records

I try not be a fan boy about ladies in punk rock. I do a pretty good job of that actually. While I am certainly not immune to a lady that catches my fancy, generally I take ladies in punk rock at face value, a person who likes the same music as I do. But sometimes I get unrequited crushes. Much like about 100 other  old fart, 33 year old punk geeks, I now have a crush on Laura Measure. It is not because she plays in a really good pop punk band, or does really great art work utilizing old dictionaries as her canvas. Those things certainly don’t hurt. But it’s pretty much because she played my beloved des_ark on Razorcake Podcast #127 (which you can find here). There was something about that moment when she started talking about des_ark that I was just all like “awwwww”. I mean, I get excited about a lot of bands, but I get REALLY FUCKING EXCITED about des_ark and I get really excited when people know who they are. So yes, that’s kind of a way to induce an unrequited crush. Luckily, I am pretty lazy and  such emotions don’t overcome me with any inkling to any type of  action. Mostly I just go “awwwww, she likes des_ark, that’s so cool” when I encounter anything doing with The Measure (SA).

So what did those following 230 words have to do with this new album, Notes by the Measure (SA)? Well, said podcast and said love for des_ark led directly to me purchasing said album from iTunes on the fine evening when this post was crafted. So yea, if you were taking notes (zing, thank you folks, I’ll be here all night, take your wife please, no really, hahahaha) you’d realize I’ve written about The Measure (SA) in the past. They’ve done a few splits on some rad labels lately that ran across my computer/ipod and into my ears. You would think that would be enough though right. I mean, I said nice things about them in the past. But seriously, my cash flow is kinda gonna be limited real soon (like today when you read this, I will be unemployed) and buying albums is gonna be a thing of the past until I get another job (so seriously, gift me some fucking iTunes, send me records in the mail, hook me up). So, this is probably the last album I will be buying for a long time. Seriously.

With all that said, it’s pretty awesome. I mean, it’s a pop punk band from New Jersey. Ergs drummer Mikey Yannich played the skins on it (though he’s not in the band anymore). It was recorded on reel to real (hahahaha) tape and sounds like it. I mean, it’s such a crisp and wonderful recording. You kind of actually realize hearing it how shitty everything else sounds when the main source is digital. It’s true. I don’t consider myself a purist. But fucking tape is the only way to go if you’re putting your music down. In a sea of endless punk bands, part of what is endearing about The Measure (SA), aside from their infectious, complex, sweat pop punk music, is the absolute warmth as the headphones vibrate against your ears. There is a bit of Discount in the music, but it’s actually more pronounced because both bands laid down their magic on magnetic tape.

Having said all this, the album could use a few less songs. 14 is just a lot of songs to digest, even in a half an hour. In fact, that’s kind of too much. Granted the Assholeparade 7″ I got this weekend is 14 songs, but it’s only like ten minutes. There is a happy medium. And Notes doesn’t quite get it. There isn’t enough diversity in the song writing to sustain this kind of a presentation and some of the nuances get lost. The other thing is that with such a large output, Laura Measure is only now beginning to really display her emotional range as a singer. In fact, if I wasn’t on my third consecutive listen to this album, closing track “Timburkulosis” probably would have passed without notice. But damn, the beginning part is a really strong vocal performance, unlike anything I’ve heard yet. Fans love productivity from bands, and I get that this record was done so long ago that the band really wanted to get it out to the public and tour. But I’d rather have 11 or 12 shining moments then 14 songs. I want to be able to hear some distinction and range. No band can sustain cohesion and detail over 14 songs at a time. I don’t care who they are. The Measure (SA) has a sound unique to them, but it’s only got so much a range right now.

Never mind though, Notes is still yards beyond a lot of other bands in the race to get that shit out in front of the kids. The Measure (SA) is really establishing themselves as the next generation of solid, awesome pop punk bands. Quick vocal delivery, crisp guitars, plodding and thumping drums. They sound cute, but not without substance. If you’re feeling like dancing in your underwear in your bedroom alone on a Tuesday night, Notes will give you the needed soundtrack so you don’t look like a crazy person.

You can read some great interviews with Laura Measure at punknews.org and Amp. Laura Measure’s art work can be seen at Black and Red Eye. It’s really cool.

On Riot Grrrl Books and White Male Privalege and Getting Older And Not Going to Punk Shows

Girls to the Front:The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution
Sarah Marcus
Harper Perennial

I’m a little fucked up at the moment. My anxiety has kicked itself into high gear tonight for some reason. There was this show in Columbia Heights tonight featuring Canada’s Burning Love who I really like and DC’s awesome and underrated and probably dead Deathrats. It’s probably Deathrats last show. I really should go since I am leaving Washington DC soon. People I want to see are gonna be there and it would be cool to see their faces one last time, enjoy some punk rock and try to relax. But seriously, just thinking about driving my car into yet another DC neighborhood that I don’t live and have no vested interest in on any kind of immediate level that are filled with people that have less privilege then I do just makes my heart race.

Originally this was not gonna get reviewed until I finished reading this book about Black Flag. I wanted to compare and contrast them, but this suddenly feels very urgent. As it’s been pretty well documented, I am a 33-year-old white, male from the suburbs of Washington DC in Northern Virginia. I went to a pretty great high school, got a college degree, worked a straight job for a decade and at one point owned my own home. I worked for a lot of this, but by no means did I struggle (at least not in the sense that the cards were stacked against me. One day, I will write my missive about the psychic destruction that a 9-6 office job induces on a soul, but that is for a later day, but still worth mentioning) to get to any of the standard, middle class milestones I managed to achieve. I think I may have successfully dropped out of these things now, the future will tell. However, punk rock leaves me in this very complex place. I am tired of my privilege continually contributing to the displacement of ownership of people who actually occupy the communities that punk rock exists in.

In the 18 or so years or so I’ve been going to shows that are off the beaten path, a great deal of them are held in spaces that are part of communities the organizers are not actually vested in. There are a lot of basement shows in houses filled with 20 something white kids that are surrounded by non-white people. These white kids often come from similar backgrounds as myself (not exclusively and it would be idiotic of you or me to assume that) but their race, and when it’s a bunch of white boys especially, provides them with certain allowances in society that their neighbors don’t often have. There are also a lot of spaces in these neighborhoods that are re-appropriated without exploring the traditional avenues. Now, I am not against the concept of squating or utilizing collective resources to create space out of abandon, neglected or forgotten buildings. I think it’s one of the beautiful things that punk rock ideas have. But in fact Sarah Marcus does a really great job of exploring just these facts with early nineties DC collective The Bee Hive.

For those not in the know, the Bee Hive was a dilapidated house on U Street in Washington DC that was “collectively” run by a bunch of idealistic punk kids. What these “radicals” probably failed to see is how their presence would ultimately effect that neighborhood. U Street in the 90’s was plagued with crime and drugs and basically forgotten by Bureaucratic Washington. But droves of white kids going to punk shows changed that. Now U street is mostly condos for the resurgence of white people who are now taking over DC. Marcus retells tails of this DC collective in her book. Her main point was to explore issues of race within the Riot Grrrl movement, but she easily shines a light on the bigger problem of race and punk rock. White kids entering into neighborhoods and fucking it up for the people who live there. Often they rarely actually integrate or attempt to be a part of the community. They just set up shop, implore upon each other with radical ideology, and watch as the neighborhood out affords even them.

Punk rock is idealistic, but it’s not realistic. It remains a white boys club of hedonistic, musical violence. It’s never really been about creating space, it’s always been about taking space. Any exploration into The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Black Flag or any of those mother bands is ripe with rhetoric about pissed off kids taking space. And while this is a grand and romantic gesture, the fact is this always comes at the expense of someone else. Usually non-whites and women. This book review has barely hinted upon the actual arguments  (which is good, and really you should read it) but this is kind of what got me thinking and spun me into a sea of anxious bullshit. Riot Grrrl wasn’t perfect by any means and Marcus does a really great job of talking about the pros and cons of Riot Grrrl and she does it with a good deal of objectivity. It does seem now, in hind sight, a group of white women trying to take space without realizing what privileged they  did have, often at the expense of non-white women. By no means do I think the women involved in Riot Grrrl were oversimplifying matters or ignoring race and class. But when the violence is daily and real and profound against you just for your gender, just getting over the psychic death is a struggle. It’s hard to occupy every aspect of every person when self-preservation is key to survival.

The Riot Grrrl movement taught me a lot as a young man growing up. I still have a lot to work on. I attempt to be cognizant when I fuck up and behave poorly. Sometimes people are cool enough to point it out, sometimes very harshly and without forgiveness. I have learned to accept that because often we think it is a woman’s role to point out to shit head men when they are being assholes. But it’s clearly not. I still very much love and believe in punk rock. It’s imperfections far outweighs it’s glory, even after 33 years (yes I believe I was born in the same year as punk, eat shit) there is still a lot of learning and changing to do. I will never stop believing in punk rock or everything I have learned. But tonight, I just can’t be that adult, white male in a community where I am a stranger. I can’t occupy physical space when I do not have anything invested in its actual growth. I can’t occupy that physical space when there are kids that live in that neighborhood who need that space to exist in and to express themselves. The suburbs make me crazy and are choking my soul as I sit here. But tonight, this is where I need to be.

Japan Has a Skyline

Envy
Recitation
Temporary Residence

There are just certain bands that slowly evolve over time, creating this seamless musical narrative that is almost impossible to extrapolate the subtle changes that occurs between albums and songs. Lungfish of course is the most obvious of these bands. They are often accused of writing the same song over and over again, but the changes over time are enormous between Necklace of Heads and Ferrel Hymns. The Post Rock genre is filled with bands of this nature. It seems on the surface that Explosions in the Sky sounded the same when they started as they do now. But clearly, careful examination of the sounds presented shows evolution. Much the way changes in animals and the surface of planets happens slowly, almost without notice. Japanese rock band Envy has such a sonic template that matures with that kind of care and preservation.

Recitation finds Envy four years later since their insane Insomniac Doze which was an album filled with epic movements. In that time they have released two mind bending splits with emo darlings Thursday and the sonic death drone of Jesu in that time.  The music from both those splits was pretty outstanding and played chronologically, made for a pretty solid set of music. Recitation however, finds the band once again in the throes of change.

Any fan of Envy will find themselves in pretty familiar territory. There are crushing explosions of hardcore/metal inspired breakdowns to be sure, and the cool, crisp clean guitar playing that defines the band. You will get the beautiful and the aggressive sides of Envy. But this is an Envy that feels pretty constrained. Each of their divergent movements are not built slowly, but instead the changes come rapidly and more drastically. “Last Hours of Eternity” which follows soft album opener ” Guidance” displays that typical Envy build that ends with a brilliant drum decadence, it’s haunting, the way we love Envy. But some songs just feel constricted, like “Piece of the Moon I Weave” or “Light and Solitude” where the changes come without warning and seem to end with the same type of violence. It’s very difficult to find out where Envy is going or where they want to be with Recitation.

The part of Envy that I love most, and this is very ignorant of me, is the vocals. Sung purely in Japanese, it becomes this new and unfamiliar layer. For the untrained, unlearned ear, the vocals become a true instrumental. It’s a bit shitty to put it this way, seeing as they make perfect sense to anyone who knows the language, but without that confusion, it is a unique layer of music added to fabric already weaved by the instruments.

You aren’t going to hear any band that sounds like Envy. They have their contemporaries sure, but none of them sound nearly as distinct and intense as Envy. None of them have the vocals Envy has employed over a nearly 20 year career. None of them are going to have the international recognition and devoted fan base. Recitation may not be Envy’s greatest work to date, nor its most exploratory or experimental. But it’s in a language that can be understood and enjoyed by any fan. Considering too that it’s more compact than any other release prior, it’s possible it will bring in more fans. If you are a long time supporter, definitely through your favorite track from this record on mix cd’s for your friends. It’s totally gonna change their day.

What’s Going On

Yea, so I am listening to Kate Nash’s great album from this year, My Best Friend Is You which I don’t remember actually doing a review of.  As much as I want to write (poorly) about music all the time, I don’t get to touch on everything. Over the last two months I’ve actually had the mental space to update this blog thing about three times a week like I kind of always wanted to. So I’ve got to write (still poorly) a lot more about a lot more music. Readership has doubled (thanks kids) to include people I don’t know personally. So I must be doing something right.

I am currently reading a couple of books about bands or musical/social/political movements at the moment. Both these books (and I hope to do reviews of them on this blog here when I finish them, I am a slow reader, IE, I don’t read daily) talk about the bands in a historical context. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Music as a construct of history. I loved history when I was in college, so I became an English major, learning about the world and history through the context of literature. Music and the birth of musical movements can tell a lot about history. Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, which I managed to finish after misplacing the book, did a fantastic job of telling the story of a post-vietnam New York through the narrative of Hip Hop music’s birth. Music is a key that can unlock history, especially modern history, which we are so plumb to forget.  So, I’ve been thinking about history and context and the pressent quite a good deal. I have another post I am working on about a pretty well known punk band where I actually hope to get other people’s insight. We shall see.

In about two weeks I will be flying to Albuquerque, New Mexico to find an apartment. I have no immediate plans to spend money on internet services once I settle myself. I’ve been wanting to break up with the internet for a while and being unemployed in a new city is a good excuse to not have internet services. I don’t plan on abandoning this blog or the on hiatus podcast (which will prove to be difficult) but I am not quite sure how all of this will work come November 2nd. Also, this last weekend was a pretty big emotional drain. Death kind of fucks with the living. There was already a lot of self-doubt in this whole moving to the desert in a small city where there doesn’t seem to be a lot of punk kids or any friends which makes for a daunting situation for a ranting loner such as myself. I am feeling this desire to plant roots somewhere. Being on Long Island with my extended family I see some settlement in their lives, a settlement I don’t really have in my own life. 21 years in Dixie and I just don’t feel my roots have sunken into the soil. There is a lot of craziness going on in my brain. Kate Nash makes me feel a lot better about that. Seriously, this album is pretty awesome. It makes me forget about the relationships I’ve fucked up, ten years working at a shitty job, failed homeownership in a time when everyone fails, bad tattoos, poorly healed piercings, weight gain, failed attempts at veganism, shows I didn’t see. Kate Nash is pretty wonderful.

So seriously, I have no idea why anyone would read this. My Indie Rock Post was so shitty with lots of errors. I was a bit out of it when I wrote that though, so I hope you will forgive such trespasses. Anyway, I appreciate the small bit of attention here on the internet. I’ll try to be less neurotic and hopefully even crank out a few more posts by months end. Be Cool, Don’t Be A Fool, Brush Twice to be Sure.

Are Reissues Cash Cows?

Recently, Punk News posted an item that Bad Religion was reissuing all of their albums, 15 in all as a vinyl box set. On said website, a member of the .org community posted, with eloquence that only the internet allows for, “Bad Religion loves money”. You can read the exchange that followed by clicking the link. I wrote to the argument:

That equals $600K in generated income. If you assume that each of these costs about $80 dollars to make you are looking at $360,000 profit for label and band. Split that six ways (assuming it’s an even split) that’s $60K for all parties involved. This isn’t a dis, but just putting some (assumed) perspective on it. Most people don’t even make $60K a year.

This is based on a list price of $200 dollars per set for a pressing run of 3,000 sets. Not an astronomical amount of money. Later on down the line another user said this about my comment:

That’s a pretty naive way of looking at a cost breakdown. Manufacturing costs (the $80 in your example) represent a tiny portion of the cost of doing business. Take the iPhone which has, for example, $200 worth of materials in a $600 phone. That doesn’t mean Apple clears $400 in profit each time. There are many, many sunk costs which have to be amortized over time. In the case of something like this, there is any licensing costs to the specific labels, producers, songwriters, performers who aren’t in Bad Religion any more. There were at least 14 members of Bad Religion over the span of 30 years, not including producers, etc. Last of all, even if they individually cleared $60K, that’s about $2000 per year. This is a 30-year history, it’s not something that can just be released every year.

Now, before we go further, this is not me trying to one up some dude on the internet. There are some good points here that my initial post doesn’t address. Basically, this whole argument got me thinking about music and money, which I do quite a bit these days. So I first responded as such:

Actually, I’d say that overall costs are pretty low. Depending on their various deals with majors and producers, it may not be totally accurate but I’d say it’s a pretty sound hypothetical example. One person said this was a cash grab, and in a sense it is. Bad Religion is re-releasing, mostly available music (everything but Into the Unknown) at price that is not equivalent to the lowest amount available, which would be $9.99 on iTunes most likely. All of this music has been available and has been bought hundreds of thousands of times over.

Most of the producers have probably been paid already. Most probably don’t collect points on records like this. Most independent producers don’t ask for points, but get paid in cash, in full at the time the session is completed. Most of the licensing on Major Labels (if Bad Religion is dumb enough to not own their masters, something I doubt Graffin and Gueterwitz would do) is already paid for. All other albums have been paid for in full I am sure. Advertising costs are minimal at best, probably a posting on their own web site, which is probably already covered in Epitaph’s budget and word of mouth press releases which is covered by web sites like this, at their cost.

Further, it’s an AVERAGE of $60k between five bands members who were in the band at any given time, but lets face it, most everyone post-Recipie for Hate that joined this band was a hired hand to which, realistically you have four core members, Graffin and Guerwitz  (who will both probably reap all profits because they share or own all song writing and publishing of the music most likely) Heston and the bass player whose name escapes me (Jay Bentley). Anyone else who was in the band or is in the band has either been bought out, pushed out or signed a contract.

The only part of my argument I would call naive is to assume that they have a even split between label and band. Most likely label clears cost plus 25%. But I don’t know that for sure.

Some posters first doubted that six dollars per record for cost is a bit low. So let’s first go to No Idea Records FAQ and find United Pressing, a fairly well known vinyl pressing plant. This is my math based on their charts for 45,000 records pressed (15×3,000):

Cost of Records – $40,5000
Masters – $4,800
Plating – $2,925
Test Presses – $1,725
Labels – $1,485
Standard Vinyl – $18,000
Jackets – $22, 455
Total: $91,890 dollars or $30.63 per box set or $2.042 per record.

Mastering is covered in these figures and remember there are no pre-production costs. All of these albums have been paid for the recording, mixing, original mastering. They have all generated revenue (we’ll get to this). As for production, there are no other costs. Again, advertising for this will be pretty limited as stated. The cost of that for the label should be rather minimal. Also, someone mentioned shipping, however, the webstore indicates shipping will be added to the purchase which is thus covered by the consumer.

So, I like my $80 per set argument better, because I am not trying to shit talk here (just prove I am not naive) and assume that shipping, production of boxes and the assumption that Epitaph went for a more higher quality vinyl. $80 dollars does not seem so bad and makes up for any bad math that could probably be added here. But I want to further extrapolate on this. First of all, I mention that many of these albums have sold in the hundreds of thousands of copies. So lets assume that all albums prior to 2000 were financially successful as this was before the internet (we’ll get to that). According to Wikipedia, Bad Religion has sold 5 million records world wide. Lets assume that these retailed for a total of $10 a piece. I think we can agree universally that this is fair and accounts for fluctuation in the market place in the thirty years they have been a band. This is a Gross Income of $49,950,000 over 30 years. So we can assume, that should they not have entered into any crappy deals, they’ve generated an income that could cover the $40,000 dollars in estimated totals to buy the masters back from Atlantic on four major label releases, assuming they did not already own them, and that they only licensed Recipe For Hate since it was originally issued on Epitaph. Further we can assume the earlier part about the production of early albums, payment to engineers and producers etc has, at this point been covered and this box set release is not going to pay out to any of these people, including management.

There are a few more points however I think worth mentioning. First, Napster was introduced in 1999 and effectively changed the game. One might assume that the releases from 2000 on (The New America, The Process of Belief, The Empire Strikes First, New Maps of Hell and The Dissent of Man) under performed the other albums. However, a look at chart rankings actually have some of the later albums doing better. This could be do to the fact that music sales over all are down and Bad Religion is a trusted brand. But it’s possible that one or more of these albums did not break even.  So the band, mostly self sufficient at this point, made bigger profits and suffered more personal losses on these albums.

Secondly, a Post Mr. Brett (Gurewitz) Bad Religion has had only two further members, Brian Baker and Brooks Wakerman. Neither of these members are generally counted as song writing contributors. Prior to this, surely the financial interests of the other members have been settled by contracts or buy outs. Gurewitz and Graffin are the main song writers, who most likely own the publishing rights to all the songs by Bad Religion ever released. So The $60,000 profit per member continues to be generous because, at this level, most non-writing members are essentially touring members and are generally only compensated on the road and for studio time, most likely at the union rate. Again, it depends on the contracts that have been signed (probably during the Atlantic days) between the members. My original argument gives Graffin and Gurewitz the benefit of the doubt that they pay at least Bentley and Hetson equally. We can probably split that last $60k between Wakerman, Baker and former drummers Bobby Schayer and Pete Finestone. That’s about $15k each. Which, admittedly sucks if they aren’t getting money from touring, merch or don’t have other jobs. Also, I doubt Baker is getting much Minor Threat or Dag Nasty money.

I think, though not explained initially, I have fully assumed the prior costs to these albums and profits based on some agreeable, public information. The math of the cost of each record may be totally shit, but by my calculations, $80 cost per box seems reasonable, even if you assume other, unseen costs Epitaph put up. My initial figure of $360,000 was the net profit expected from this. Also, I generally operate under the assumption that people don’t even pay for music anymore. I can imagine a ten year output that has slowly declined in revenue potential for Bad Religion because their own fans are probably thieving crooks. Do the members of Bad Religion and Epitaph deserve to make up this revenue by offering what is, after all, a pretty nice package to die hard fans? Absolutely. Vinyl seems cost effective and this will sell out. Also, the appeal of having an out of print album is pretty enticing, especially for collectors and completists who did not have an opportunity to purchase this album initially.

Bad Religion, I am sure, was fairly compensated from the sale of five million records over the last 30 years. All told, they probably live very comfortable lives and hopefully they will generate enough income off back catalog sales and touring that when they finally retire they won’t be worrying about if their 401k sunk in 2008 or if someone cleaned out the pension plan. Does reissuing albums on vinyl and charging $6 dollars over the average retail price seem a little much for an active, touring band? Perhaps. I mean, I won’t be buying this. I haven’t bought a Bad Religion album since Recipe for Hate and last time I saw them live, I got in for free. So it’s hard to call this a sell out, but they could probably shave $20-$50 bucks off this set and still feed their kids or pay for the bandwith for all the internet porn Graffin’s downloading, probably for free. Dick.

Dischord, Old and New

Dag Nasty
Dag With Shawn
Dischord

25 Years Ago, four smelly dudes went into a studio and recorded their nine songs. One of those dudes was in Minor Threat and it was probably a big deal to hear on the streets of DC. Seeing as most post-Minor Threat activity was not quite up to par or that long-lived, the prospects of any of those dudes doing something new and potentially dangerous was probably quite stirring. Among those four dudes was a lanky kid named Shawn Brown. He could yell, boy could he yell. A pair of pipes had not been heard in that town since Ian Mackaye to be sure. They made something awesome and epic. Then Shawn Brown left the band.

In the years following, Dag Nasty would record a few more albums with a couple different singers that would have an undefinable and lasting effect on untold generations of punk rockers, some of which who would measure a lot greater legion of fans than Dag Nasty. Shawn Brown joined up with Swiz that is beloved by those in the know, but feels relatively unknown as time’s handles continue to churn. But what of the music these people made together?

These tapes are kind of legendary in the DC circles that I have wandered in for the past two decades. A very odd, crappy bootleg CD existed and has been copied by many completists. I even recently saw said disc at a used store in Seattle, proof that the legend extended beyond our little backyard swamp. But now, Dischord records, quickly proving the doctrine of archivists Ian Mackaye has stated for years, has pressed this fine bit of history onto vinyl.

Never seeking to be confused with being verbose or chatty, this nine song album is presented with no frills, and no tales of the humble beginnings of this seminal band. The Dischord website itself has just one short paragraph on the subject with an end post stating, “This is essentially the same album that was later re-recorded and released as Can I Say.”  This nearly undermines the project almost completely, if it weren’t for the strength of the record itself. For the first time Dag Nasty sounds like a gritty, no holes barred punk band, and it isn’t only thanks to the gruff stylings of Shawn Brown, whose approach was not mimicked by future vocalists. Instead, the song writing chops of Brian Baker are showcased in their rawest form and we get a powerful, aggressive and fast punk rock record. In fact, this is the link between the early years of DC hardcore and what would follow, in large part thanks to Dag nasty themselves.

The Can I Say album showcased a more polished, oiled sound with a dynamic singer in Dave Smalley. It has often felt, in hindsight to encapsulate a more career minded Brian Baker whose musical history includes a hair metal band and the inclusion of being a hired hand in Punk Rock grandfathers Bad Religion. Here however, we find a version of Dag Nasty that was hungry to be heard. As the music scene of DC seemed to slow and calm down, Dag Nasty still wanted speed and fury to be a part of the equation. And it isn’t just a repeat, because Baker’s catchy sensibilities are showcased in perfection.

This is Dag Nasty as I always wanted them. True, had they stayed the course and had Brown continued along with the band, they probably wouldn’t have had the impact they did on the legions of followers. Dag Nasty’s influence seems so often unnamed, but is so obvious to my ears, even now, when new bands add harmonies and slick riffage. But Dag With Shawn is a truly great piece of history and thankfully not lost.

Zomes
Improvisations 1 & 2
Imminent Frequencies

About a year ago I dropped fucking astral, metaphysical science on you by introducing you to Zomes. But you didn’t fucking listen to me. I know you didn’t listen to me because somehow Asa Osborne is still not on a cosmic tour about the galaxy and beyond throwing down his sonic awesomeness from a fucking space ship. Because if you did what you should have, you would have bought the CD, told your friends, they would have bought the CD and so on and so on and then he’d have like ten billion dollars to build an intergalactic space craft with amplifiers and speakers and shit and he could just fly around in the vastness of the celestial offerings way up in the sky. So seriously, this rant is a FUCK YOU. Why? Because you can’t get this fucking tape anymore, because some dude only made 150 of them and their aren’t gonna be anymore made. And yea, I did in fact transfer this tape to digital, but I’m not gonna share it with the internet. You know why, because you don’t deserve it internet. You don’t. You fucking don’t listen to me, and because of that really cool shit, like Asa Osborn in a space cruiser playing keyboards, doesn’t happen.  And that disappoints me. It disappoints me a great deal. It gets my blood pressure up. Which I don’t appreciate. I’m glad this tape is rare, I am glad it’s on a dead format that only shit heads like me care about, and I am glad I get to be withholding to you internet, because you pissed me off. You can redeem yourself, barely, by purchasing his full length that is still available from Dischord records, right now.