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Month: August 2016

Ninewood: Six songs, 1997

Ninewood: Six songs, 1997

Angela Coon: Vocals
Chris Papa: Bass
Karen Roze: Bass, b. vocals
Mat Kolehmainen: Drums

Recorded by Dan Rathbun at Polymorph
Produced by Ninewood and Rathbun

All songs by Ninewood ©1997 except words of Elephant Cadaver which were taken from Pachuco Cadaver by Don Van Vliet and words of Marginal Lullaby which were taken from Mark Strand.

1. Eaglet Shaper
2. Marginal Lullaby
3. New Can Of Ice
4. The Flume Atrocity
5. Elephant Cadaver
6. Bone Dirge

“With two basses, no guitars, spastic-fantastic drumming and a creepy chanteuse, Ninewood create a spooky clatter. Lurking in an art-noir alley between Morphine and the Magic Band, this Bay Area foursome (Angela Coon, vocals; Chris Papa, bass; Karen Roze, bass, backing vocals; and Matt Kolehmainen) lift lyrics from Captain Beefheart (“Elephant Cadaver” reworks the Captain’s “Pachuco Cadaver”) and Mark Sandman (whose poetry invigorates “Marginal Lullaby”) but turn their own fine phrases in such vividly named tunes as “Eaglet Shaper,” “New Can Of Ice” and “Bone Dirge,” the latter of which is a Bradbury-esque tale of a man who “had no bones in his body.” — Demo Universe, 1998

“Staples of the Oakland music scene in 1997 – 2002. Toured western europe in 1999 and again in 2000. Release three albums: New Can Of Ice, American Salt Lick, and Wake. All recorded at Polymorph in Oakland. Ninewood played their last live show on August 24th, 2000 at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. In 2002, a final set of tunes was released on the EP, Wake. Angela and Karen continue to make music in the Bay Area. Mathias has moved to LA to go to back to school, and Chris is in Seattle carving wood.” —

As of 2016, Angela is an acupuncturist and Karen is a tattoo artist. They both make their living sticking needles into people. Chris Papa is still carving wood. Mathias Kolehmainen is now in Louisville, Kentucky, has played with Dropsy and Parlour, and is gainfully employed as a software developer.

Formaldehyde Blues Train: Six songs, circa 1992

Formaldehyde Blues Train: Six songs, circa 1992

Hollis Fitch: vocals
Dave “Jake Rancheroo” Weiss: guitar
Richard Jean: guitar
Murray Compton: bass
Jim “the Lieutenant” Petropoulos: drums

1. Backroads
2. Capt. Dog
3. Voo Doo Nectarine
4. Devil’s Eyes
5. St. Louie
6. The Swamp Song

Way back when, in a very different Brooklyn, there was a red-hot music scene in, of all places, Park Slope. Centered on Lauterbach’s, a sketchy basement dive on Prospect Avenue, the Brooklyn Beat embraced an insane variety of musical styles, played by bands of uniformly high quality. I can honestly say I never saw a bad show at Lauterbach’s.

Among the kings of the Brooklyn Beat scene was Formaldehyde Blues Train, purveyors of swamp-rock supreme. FBT had only two formal releases that I know of: the 1991 Friday The 13th 7″, and the 1993 CD EP Dig; both are long out of print, but there are used copies to be had. Given that four of the songs here appeared on one or both of those records, I’m figuring this super-rare tape surfaced sometime in between. Or maybe it predated them; I can’t be sure.

Anyhoo, if yer hankering for some volcanic, yowling swamp-a-billy, grab a bottle of hootch and crank this ‘un up! As an added bonus, here’s a fun old video that will give you a taste of what TBT were like in their prime:

Not Mystery Friday: Chaos Oblivion

Not Mystery Friday: Chaos Oblivion

It’s Not Mystery Friday in this Universe, but we do have a mystery here. No J-card, just a cassette with the number 2 and “Chaos Oblivion” scrawled in pen on a gray sticker. Not in the DU DemoBase™, so pre-Internet. What does the “2” signify? Side 2? The album’s title? The band’s name? It’s ambiguous.

I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda excited. Let’s assume the 2 means side 2, flip the tape over and listen to the (un-stickered)…

Side 1:

Hmm, OK, I guess I should have expected that. Fine, let’s go on to…

Side 2:

Well. Alright, then.

I feel like my past self is pranking me.

Zone Of Control: Sunrise Sunset

Zone Of Control: Sunrise Sunset


1. Take Back Myself
2. Judgement
3. We Got Unity
4. One Life To Living Dead
5. Slave Away

This tape kicks ass! Fierce metalcore, mostly, although “Take Back Myself” has that Nirvana post-punk/surf-rock vibe. Who were they? Where did they live? Where are they now? So many questions. TURN IT UP.

Thrillcat: Thrillcat 3, 1992

Thrillcat: Thrillcat 3, 1992

Doug Grober: Drums
Mike Brayton: Vocals, ?
Cam Brennan: ?
Bill Rocamora: Vocals, ?

Produced performed and recorded by Thrillcat
Recorded during January 1992 at the MacColl 8-track studio in Providence, RI

1. Somebody Hold Me
2. Honeyface
3. Will You Be There
4. Give Me The Reason
5. You’re Jaking Me Around
6. Don’t Make Me Blue
7. It’s Only Love

“The band doesn’t play much anymore, to my dismay. Billy, one of the lead singers has moved to Philly and became a doctor. Mike, the other singer, moved to the San Fran Bay area a couple of years ago. The last I heard of Doug, the drummer, he is still in the NYC area. I think their music is much better than 90 percent of the crap on the radio today. Too bad.” — christine on, 2003

Top-notch pop-rock, vocal-focused and seasoned with funk, jazz, and blue-eyed soul. Think Little Feat, Squeeze, Posies (quite a think, I concede). “Honeyface” appears on the band’s 1993 CD LP oneword, which I owned at some point. “You’re Jaking Me Around” was included on 1995’s Green Thumb, which I didn’t. Another worthy outfit that didn’t catch a break. So it goes. Grober seems to have moved to Iowa and married a stunt woman. Brayton is a web designer and sound engineer in SF. Rocamora is, indeed, a Philly physician. Cam Brennan, I dunno.

Thrillcat 3, 1992

Cessna 21: Noise Ethic, 1995

Cessna 21: Noise Ethic, 1995

Shane Baker: Everything

Side A
1. Song For Neal
2. Do You Think Of Me?
3. When You Go Home, His Hand Comes Down Again
4. 1st Aria

Side B same as A

“Cessna 21, a/k/a Shane Baker, is an old friend of Demorandum, having appeared in issues 66, 69, 77 (as Loveseat Glider) and 78. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard from him, though, so I was happy to get these two tapes in separate mailings a week apart. Shane is now married to Jennifer and the father of Sylvia Marie, and these cassettes represent his return to music after a period of inactivity. Like his earlier efforts, both are very lo-fi, having been recorded on a Singalodeon; but past timidity has been replaced with unfettered noise, especially on Noise Ethic: with its dinosaur bedsqueaks and softly entombed vocals, “When You Go Home” gives MBV a run for their money, while the wordless “Aria” features the nastiest guitar I’ve yet heard from Cessna 21.” — Demo Universe, 1995

Loud and noisy and crudely recorded on a cheap karaoke cassette recorder, Noise Ethic will be too much for some listeners. I find it fascinating and real, and exciting — which is why I’ve held on to it for 20+ years! What can I say? I love the sound humans make, even the ugly, painful ones.

I never heard from Shane again. Hope he’s doing OK.

Big Monster Fish Hook: 6 songs, 1995

Big Monster Fish Hook: 6 songs, 1995

Lisa Blanchard: Voice
Mark Massaro: Acoustic and voice
Brad Rigney: Electric guitar

Engineered by Dave
Produced by Brad/Dave

1 – Big Monster Moon
2 – Cloud
3 – Super Ego
4 – Doll Face
5 – Vienme
6 – Discrete

“A uniquely original band from Boston, MA. Formed by Mark Massaro around 1995, the group consisted of Mark (acoustic guitar, vocals), Lisa Blanchard (lead vocals, piano, pianosaurus, and acoustic guitar), and featured Brad on electric guitar on the first and second album and Scott Anderson played electric guitar, slide dulcimer, accordian, xylophone, and toy organ on the second album.

“With a large Boston fanbase, Big Monster Fish Hook gained momentum and started playing outside the Boston area as well as opening for respected independent artists like His Name Is Alive, Ida, Spain, The Magnetic Fields, and others. Live performance success brought record label interest and after much deliberation the signed to an independent label (Milk Crate Records). However, shortly after recording their 3rd and still unreleased album during the summer of 1998, the band split up due to internal issues.” —

It’s funny how bands end. Big Monster Fish Hook had it all going on, until it didn’t. Where are they now? Are any of them still making music? I’ve no idea. Big Monster Fish Hook left behind barely a trace. Hopefully someone can help fill in the blanks.

“Big Monster Fish Hook was a Boston band. They were friends of mine. I thought they were the greatest band ever. Their names were Mark and Lisa, sometimes accompanied by a gentleman named Brad. People LOVED them. We thought they were going to be huge. Apparently Mark had sent a demo tape to 4AD and Ivo liked it, but Lisa had other goals in life. My friends Noah and Andrew founded a record label (called Milk Crate Records – such a great name) just to put the record out.” — Music from my past

Was this the demo Mark sent to Ivo? Could be.

“There are three Boston bands that 4AD should have signed if Ivo had still been on his game in these year: Mistle Thrush, Difference Engine and Big Monster Fish Hook. Lisa and Mark created something truly special, and you could tell be the crowds at their shows. Drawing in people from the goth, folk, boston rock and LGBT scenes. Everyone loved them. I miss them something fierce, and still listen to them constantly.” — Rick Webb

This is an extraordinary recording. Intense, shadowy, blurry, at once stark and lush, dreamy and all too real. “Vienme” (later released as “Ven A Mi”) into “Discrete” is a powerful closing pair. Dang. You gotta listen this one, trust me.

“‘No hype, no pictures — just a tape.’ So writes Mark. Mmmm, what a tape! Simple and elegant, quiet but emotionally powerful in its directness and sonic intimacy, Big Monster Moon draws from springs as far removed as the Marianne Faithful and My Bloody Valentine and creates an incomparable sound. Everything is strong here, from the sensuous interplay of Mark and Brad’s guitars to the indelible presence of Lisa singing words like this: “I always pick the ones that eat me up/They grind their teeth into the dirt/It will all come back to you/And fill your empty head with rotten jellyfish/And things that make you squirm.” Tender, erotic, beautiful and weird, it’s the best tape I’ve heard in a long month.” — Demo Universe, 1995

Jeff Krebs: Crash Ballads EP, 1995

Jeff Krebs: Crash Ballads EP, 1995

All songs by Krebs except * by Krebs / Taylor / Rohrbach

Recorded live to DAT at Black Eyed Pig, SF
Engineered by Kyle Statham
Cover illustration by Jeff Krebs
J-Card graphics by Philip Keppeler

1. Them Beautiful Strangers
2. Tuscaloosa Sam And The Crazy Pit*
3. Magdalena
4. Nothing
5. Another Piece

Hailing from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, singer/songwriter Jeff Krebs played in numerous bands and trekked across North and South America in the early ’90s before setting down in San Francisco to start a solo career with this unaccompanied, unadorned, intimate and arresting self-released 1995 cassette. Fleshed-out versions of “Beautiful Strangers” and “Nothing” appeared later the same year on his debut CD, Songs of Love and/or Death, with Krebs backed by Matt McCarthy on drums, and Philip Keppeler on bass. A follow-up, Keep an Eye Out, was released in 2001.

Sometime after that, Krebs made his way back to northern Michigan, started a family, found his calling writing music for kids, and reinvented himself as Papa Crow. Heads up to his contemporary fans: there’s some cussin’ in these songs!