Friday, May 8, 2009

Non Compos - The Rats Know Him & Smile When You Hate




Recently, a friend of mine emailed me asking about a band he was sure he heard from me and that he hadn't heard in a long time. Great...this ought to be fun. Let the guessing game begin! He then said the only thing he could remember was a line that repeated over and over... "I see the stars in your eyes...I see the stars in your eyes".

Easy! Non Compos!

I knew nothing of this band when I bought "The Rats Know Him" except it was on Tortuga Records and was some how affiliated with Hydra Head. At the time that was a stamp of approval in my realm and I was left with my jaw dropped. Shit...left with my jaw ripped straight off my face lying on the floor! Ahhh...the satisfying sound of hate. Noisy, heavy, sick and unforgiving...in-fucking-tense. Kind of like the most demented aspects of Today is the Day; the honed, chaotic perfection of Deadguy; and the filthy, sludgy goodness of Cattlepress all rolled into one. This makes "broootal" hardcore metal bands these days look like uninspired pansy assed chumps. (I know, I know, that's not saying all that much anymore.)

It's hard to find much info about this band via the ol' inter-web. They were from Burlington, Vermont and I guess they used to wear orange prison jumpsuits and black masks when they played live. (Easy up, this is before those d-bag Slip-Not turds!) After taking in the greatness of "The Rats..." I discovered their earlier album "Smile When You Hate" on Wonderdrug (when they still had the "Mentis" attached to their name) which is also great, though not the classic I feel that "The Rats..." is. I talked to some of the Tortuga guys at a Krazyfest a long time ago about them and they said they we're trying to talk them into doing another album. More recently I heard rumors of a reunion and new album via their Myspace. Yet, even that was a while ago now and seems unlikely to happen.

"Thank you and die slowly."

Here's a video for the song "58", the opening track from "The Rats Know Him".

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

Jaks - Here Lies the Body of Jaks



I first found out about Jaks the good "ol' fashioned" way... live. I saw them on (I believe) a New Years Eve show (95/96-ish?) at the Reptile House in Grand Rapids, MI opening for my local favorites at the time 9-Volt Tongue. (As a quick side note I'd like to say that I have a 9VT 7" that'll make it's way on here eventually but unfortunately I lost their killer demo tape along the way. If you some how stumble upon here and have a copy of said 9-Volt Tongue demo tape please, please, PLEASE contact me!) I remember thinking Jaks were really weird. Different from anything else, locally anyway, and also thinking they were just plain "weird". 

In retrospect, Jaks pretty much spews forth the Jesus Lizard/The Birthday Party flame just to turn around and piss it out with vinegar. No surprise that two of their recorded efforts were indeed "recorded" by the one and only Steve Albini. Live they were complexly bombastic yet sloppy and, well...creepy. I remember the drummer being really good and singer Katrina Ford doing one of the best Dave Yow vocal impersonations. Not in a "girly" way either...just period. Shit, she sounds like a dude for the most part. Only in recently discovering The Birthday Party have I noticed how much they borrowed from their sound as well. Especially in Jaks "eerier" moments. The vampire themed lyrics don't hurt those eerie aspects either. There's something strangely vaudevillian going on here...huh. 

Huh?

Anyway, these guys (and girls...sorry); alongside Morsel, Mule, Wig, and Philo Beddow (who I believe also played that same said show and will also be covered here soon); made up a pretty cool Ann Arbor, MI scene at the time. I think two (the Albini ones) of the three releases covered on this Three.One.G collection were on the tiny, short lived, Chicago noise rock label Choke Inc. Records (home to the likes of Craw and Milkmine) which makes perfect sense.

Oh yeah, I also threw in a couple of tracks I found on random compilations. One I found on itunes from a comp I couldn't find out much about. It does sound live though. The other is apparently a cover of a Sesame Street song. 

"Here" lies the body...

*Link removed*