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.