Friday, April 16, 2010

Kittens - Doberman (re-mastered....sorta)

Well, it goes like this... My iPod has died from "complications" after a long, troubled battle with Garbageitus (ie: iPod cancer). Needless to say, I'm back to burning cds for my listening pleasure for the time being. I've been on an Kittens kick again lately so it was time to get tah burnin'.

Now, this cd has been posted various times on the internet at higher traffic sites (namely here and here) but if you've "checked out" those versions you've noticed something. It was either a bad dub or the recording was pretty rough and slightly unmastered (at least by todays volume levels). Since the speakers in my car suck I decided to be proactive and do something to the copy I found on the net. More or less, I just took the individual tracks and "mastered" them (using the term loosely, of course) in Garageband, recompiled them and *voila* here ya go! A louder, sorta remastered version of "Doberman"!

If you don't know about Kittens first off, I'm sorry and secondly, you are missing the fuck out! Kittens were a three piece noise rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba that owned and were fairly unknown in the States up until what seems more recently. An amazing mix of the Melvins, Jesus Lizard, Unsane, and Fudge Tunnel that actually aged very well and virtually sounds better with time. They fit nicely in the confines of the style while carving their own sound and niche. Later they would come to incorporate some elements of country music that would further define their unique take on what AmRep was known for. Speaking AmRep never released an album by these guys is weird to me. Strange given the fact that Winnipeg and Minneapolis are less than 8 hours apart.

Any way, some of these tracks show up via different versions on "Lo-fi Classics and Other Rarities" though I think I prefer these ones. Stand out track here is definitely "Jack Knife" though they all completely satisfy. I included two versions of "Hocus Pocus", one being the original I downloaded just so you could run a comparison if you were curious. There was talks of actual remastered, reissued cds and possibly a dvd release on Cursed singer Chris Colohan's label High Anxiety though now little info can be found on the matter. There is a Kittens Myspace page with a bunch of video that looks like it gets checked once in a while.

Here's a video for before mentioned "Jack Knife":

"Gotta face, gotta face, gotta face like a.... gotta face like a jack knife."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mog Stunt Team - 555 and King of the Retards

Shit! Almost a month has gone by with out some much as a squeak around here. Better make it a tasty ass post then...

"Enigmatic Detroit, Michigan based trio, which was formed in the winter of 1995. They released two full-lengths – 1996 “555″ on Small Stone Records and “King Of The Retards” on AmRep in 1997.

Nothing was heard from them since, with some reports suggesting that the band died in a van crash and other reports suggesting that they simply changed their name to El Guapo Stuntteam." -As lifted from our friends over at "I Heart Noise"

I think this sums it up nicely (though I'm not so sure about that El Guapo Stuntteam or died in a van crash part). As you can see this band wasn't around too long but they seem to make a name for themselves within that amount of time. Especially with the whole "John Tesh is an alien" thing. I never had the chance to catch these guys live but from what I've seen through Youtube, they looked like they put on a rolickin' good time! Their song titled "Boredoms vs. Sabbath" fits as a nice description of their sound. That coupled with the covers of Kiss and Motorhead (featured in these two releases) and a heavy handed dose of Detroit influence via the Stooges and MC5.

Did I mention they dressed in homemade stuntman/astronaut costumes? It fit right along with their irreverent lyrical content. Not nearly as angular, Mog is more straight up punk rock n' roll with out being completely outta place with the rest of the AmRep fair. Still noisy, still fun. These albums have definitely aged nicely and are well worth a first or re-visit.

Here's the vid for "Boredoms vs. Sabbath":

And here's a vid for "King of the Retards":

Here's one for "Avenger":

Here's a video showing some of the "hub bub" they got from the "john Tesh is an alien" stuff:

Here's a trailer for a documentary about the "demise" of the band that will hopefully see more light of day with a dvd release:

Another, slightly different trailer can be found here:


Monday, January 25, 2010


Just a quick note to plug my dear friend Chantal's new blog MixedWithLove. You may remember her from the Morsel post a couple posts ago. She's also a designer extraordinaire, an amazing song writer, a great mother, a Jill of all trades and my all around ace in the hole. (Not to mention one of my nearest and dearest friends.) On top of all that, like it wasn't enough, she is a mighty fine crafter of mix tapes. Her new blog is dedicated to some she's made in the past (a couple of which posted were for me) and I'm sure will be updated with newer ones frequently. I haven't asked her yet but maybe (just maybe) she'll let me throw my hat in the ring with her as well and post some of my comp concoctions.

Any way, pop over there and get yo mix on!

Monday, January 18, 2010

9-Volt Tongue - It's Lonely at the Top


Fuck yes!!! I'm so stoked! If there was anything I could've hoped to gain from doing this blog it would've been one thing...and it's happened! Did you see the post I made a while ago? The 7" by a band called 9-Volt Tongue? The one in which I begged and pleaded for a copy of their demo tape I lost some 10 to 12 years earlier? Well, some how 9-Volts drummer (referring to himself as Navin) stumbled upon and left a comment on that post. A couple of emails back and forth later and *voila* here ya go!

"Satan Drives a T-Bird" starts with one of the best sound bites ever! It's also one of 9-Volt's catchiest and heaviest due to dynamics. A straight up heavy as hell, mid tempo rocker! Next, "Get Down and Choke on Me" brings a heavy dose of their down-tuned, swaggering punk RAWWK boogie! (as well as another classic song title!) "I Left My Jimmy Hat in Yo Butt" follows and damn it, this was the song that stuck with me the most from this for all these years. It was just so heavy and fucking raw! I remember this song always killed live! This song is pretty appropriately named I suppose... Rounding things out, "Breathing Heavy for the Wong Girls" is another perfect example of 9-Volt's signature four bar sludge punk which starts with a very Entombed "Wolverine Blues" sounding riff. Did I mention the killer fuck solo? So good!

Have you noticed how many times the word heavy was used in that last paragraph? Hmmm...

The sound quality is pretty lo-fi and the files are small but fuck it! I'll take what I can get! Besides, it punk rock at heart anyway. I'd like to thank Navin so much for checking out the blog but most of all for hooking me up with one of my favorite recordings ever! It brought back an ass load of memories and, right behind the two Jesus Lizard reunion shows I went to, made my year! Like I said before Navin, if you have any more 9-Volt Tongue recordings you'd like share we'll be here waiting...rather impatiently.

"That shit ain't mine... Don't know how it got there."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Morsel: Raise the Noise Floor

Howdy, readers of First and Foremost.

Usually, I’m reading this blog…or working on the graphic end of things. So just a quick word on me: I’m Chantal, an old friend and fellow musician of this awesome blog’s author; Ben. As a fellow guitarists and music junkies, we’ve shared about a billion cups of coffee and even more opinions on bands—local, global, imaginary, whatever.

In fact, Ben asked me to write about a band that I saw about 15 years ago in Ann Arbor, Michigan…and the funny part is, after relentlessly searching for the album for a year or so (remember, folks, these are the good old days of poring over REAL records in a store—you know, the ones you can touch), he was the first one to find and give me their CD! Wonder if he knew how long winded I'd be? Haha. Without further ado, the tale of the band in question…


In 1996 I traveled to Ann Arbor to a little club downtown. I’m pretty sure it was called “The Basement” (didn’t every town have one?). It was the basement/parking garage for a series of buildings downtown and had sort of a maze-like quality to it. Walking through the corridors and around the beams you were never sure if you would find indie kids sharing liquor or transients. I mingled with both for plenty of shows there.

Anyhow, I had never heard of any of the bands before and wasn’t incredibly interested in too much of what I saw, so I had wandered down some corridors and was hanging with some kids, smoking cigs, chatting. The next bad started sound checking and I was pretty damn sure that I heard a flute. Being a flautist myself I was immediately interested. Ten seconds later I heard a buzz saw. Aha. Attention grabbing. I wandered back in and what I had heard was the 4-piece band Morsel preparing for their show, which was 30 minutes of somewhat mathy, grungy, post-punk/prog juiciness that included super flangy vocals, guitar, flute with distortion and…yes, bandsaw solos. Beats a pentatonic scale any day of the week, my friends!
Vocals were fantastic; the perfect mix of female-led (Miriam Cabrera) screaming, breathy, minor-melodic and screaming. I was immediately hooked. As a woman and a musician I am actually ALOT more critical of females in music; so a love-at-first-listen connection was quite rare for me.

Turned out they had recently signed to Choke Records (Chicago). Already a fan of the label (Ben is as well—in fact, the player this month is sporting other Choke gems like Jaks and Phil Beddow), I thought it was a perfect fit for them. They released the album Noise Floor which was super tasty. A few years later, the label crumbled (boo-hoo) and they released an EP with Small Stone records out of Detroit. Didn’t dig that record as much, though it had a few decent tracks.Other releases followed, but none that intrigued me much.

I still rock Noise Floor all the time though…and it turns out that no matter how many years pass, when I put it in…I listen to the whole CD all the way through. Somehow it is like Thai food to me…the perfect combination of every flavor. Power tools included. It is heavy, minor-melodic and even has a few sweet instrumentals with trumpet, flute and interesting twists.

Here’s a track from Noise Floor for anyone interested. Know that it kills me to choose one, but I'm too lazy to include more. I’ve also added more links at the bottom.

Noise Floor

Choke Records, 1994

Morsel on Myspace
Wiki On Morsel

Link removed per band request. You can now purchase a digital copy w/ a bonus track at their new Bandcamp site here.