Saturday, August 30, 2008

NORTH OF DEAN - s/t 1995

NORTH OF DEAN was a short lived band from Ottumwa that, to my knowledge, only released this one cassette. Released on the Mighty Feeble Lo-Fi label, Mike and Greg work give us 23 tracks hovering around the genres of punk rock, alternative, indie rock and folk, all done with plently of conviction and charm. Re-listening to this recently, I picked up on a strong fIREHOSE vibe.

I'm not familiar with this project's history, so I'm unable to share any amuising anecdotes about their past. Before North OF DEAN, Mike and Greg played together in GHOOM. Both band shared a similar style, but NORTH OF DEAN is more focused over-all and a better release.


Friday, August 22, 2008

V/A - "Jack Mackerel Casserole" - C-30 compilation 1995

If you've been downloading the stuff I've upped so far, this post will be a bit redundant. With the exception of some audience noise and a BEEF STEW song, all of this material has been posted already.

"Jack Mackerel Casserole" was assembled as a sampler tape to send out free with orders. I don't remember ever getting one order by mail, so none were sent out as intended. This was a botched attempt at marketing. I don't remember, but I suspect these were probably given away at shows. I don't think too many were made, maybe 25-30. We ordered the shittiest quality tapes we could buy from the Full Compass catalog we ordered our nice tapes from, threw together a crappy cover and made no attempt to make the overall volume level through out the tape even. While ripping this to mp3 just now, I made a small attempt at fixing the volume problem, but it still leaves some to be desired.

Despite what the cover says, this tape features 17 songs from 5 bands:



BEEF STEW - "Chung-Ky" 1992

My musical offerings from the 90's were all done with a core group of friends under different band names. At the very beginning there were two bands that made up the majority of these friends, all of whom I would eventually play with, some I still play with today: SPEIL BOX and BEEF STEW. SPEIL BOX recorded some stuff, but never got around to releasing anything. BEEF STEW recorded and released "Chung-Ky" in the winter of 1992, making them the first "real band" from Ottumwa to release something. BLACK MAGIC technicaly were first, but as stated earlier, it wasn't clear A.J. intended for those recordings to leak out. He was an import anyway, so BLACK MAGIC only half counts. BILL BASSETT BAND released their first tape before BEEF STEW, but I'll be the first to admit that B.B.B. wasn't a "real band".

BEEF STEW evolved from DARKFACE & PALEBOY, a short-lived project Spence and Chris did, their only proof of existence being the song "You Know What's Best for You" added as a bonus track on the "Beef Stew Anthology" reissue done in 1994. I wasn't there, so I don't know how it happened, but somehow Brian got involved and BEEF STEW was formed.

BEEF STEW's music was a mixture of metal and punk rock, played by a guitarist with adequate talent, a drummer who was just learning how to play and a singer who wrote songs about the stupidest shit you could think of and screamed it as loudly as possible until it sounded as if his throat would start to bleed. I'm reasonably sure they recorded songs as they wrote them and didn't play them again once they were comitted to tape. "Chung-Ky" was released, sporting an awesome spoken introduction by Chris' mom and creepy keyboard transitions Chris did that he would later flesh out into a full project of it's own, TRIGGABONE.

I remember someone coming up to me in gym class telling me "There's a new band in town called BEEF STEW, and they're going to kick you guys' ass. They're way better than you are", referring to SPEIL BOX. I responded by telling the guy that we weren't in competition with any other bands in town and I didn't care if they were better than us. The story goes that Mike went to one of the members of BEEF STEW and told him that "There can only be one band in this town", insinuating that BEEF STEW should call it quits. To this day Mike denies ever saying anything like this to them, and anyone who'd met Mike would have a hard time believing he would do anything like that, but BEEF STEW retaliated later by recording the song "Only One Band" calling Mike a "fucking baby", complete with simulated crying. Mike and I had a good laugh talking about this on the phone a few months ago.

Shortly after releasing "Chung-Ky", they recorded another 20 songs that were released post-humously on the "Beef Stew Anthology" reissue, then called it quits. SPEIL BOX broke up around the same time. Brian and Spence joined Mike and I and formed a new band - UNISEX, then a year later Brian and I formed THREESKIN with Chris.