Tuesday, August 5, 2008

08-07-08 playlist (delayed DEBUT!)

So here's this week's playlist. I don't plan to always do this much explaining, but since the show is new and some of you will be new to some of the bands I've included a bit of info about the tracks and links to bands or band member websites when available. (NOTE: this isn't definitive, just some random notes... sometime I'll mention other bands a person has been in, the reality is that most local musicians have been in many bands and I don't know everybody's complete history).

NOTE: Sorry for the glitches this week... thanks to those who listened. The last few songs were cut off, so we'll make sure to include the tracks by The Unicorn Feather, Kid Corduroy and Halo Benders toward the beginning next week!

Stuntman - "Esquincles"

GREAT old Boise band active in the mid-90's. After recording a final album as the Treepeople, Scott Schmaljohn (the last Treeperson standing) and John Polle (Pullman, WA import) headed from Seattle to Boise and built Stuntman from the ground up with Boise go-to drummer Mike Rundle and another Pullman pal, Sean Lennon. Stuntman borrowed some of the energy and the idea of intense guitar interplay from Treepeople, but carved their own niche as one of the most intense indie guitar bands of the late 90's. But after a couple albums on minor indie labels the band splintered into separate projects and 3/4 of the band left Boise. Scott now plays with Boise bands The Hand and Gladness, John fronts Tuscon's Solace Bros., Sean plays in San Fran's Off Campus and Mike is back in Boise playing with Low-Fi. This song is from their final and appropriately titled 1996 lp, The American Fadeout. The album was dedicated to recently fallen Replacement Bob Stinson which pretty much sums it all up.

Raspberry - "Twin"

This Moscow band was a favorite of mine around the time I moved to Boise in 1994. This song was on a 7" with 3 other bands. Lewiston/Clarkston's Sugar Daddies and Purr, and Spokane's Motherload. Singer Scott Garred and drummer Tom later started playing more acoustic indie pop as Crogan before moving to Austin, TX and having success as Silver Scooter. Scott began recording solo material as Super XX Man and now lives in Portland, OR playing with a band of the same name.

Splinter - "Mangle Me"

I only saw this band once or twice and didn't hear the bulk of their recording until after singer/drummer Andy Capps death a couple of years ago. Andy played on Built to Spill's classic "There's Nothing Wrong With Love" along with fellow Twin Falls transplants Doug Martsch and Brett Nelson. In Splinter Andy shared vocals with Elyse Thorpe (bass) and Trent McNair (guitar). I was surprised to learn that Splinter recorded three "albums" (probably cassettes) and some other tracks in the early 1990's. I know Andy and Elyse later played in 10th St. Hornets, and Andy played in Butterfly Train and the Falldowns.

Le Fleur - "Grooming Song"

Here's a new Boise band... this song is from the e.p. they released last year... and it kills. It reminds me of Lonesome Crowded West era Modest Mouse with an intense, delicate female vocal. Check these guys (and girl) out... I think Le Fleur are playing at the VAC on Sept. 3 with The Invasion and The Universal.

Caustic Resin - "Creedence Jam"

Caustic Resin was a Boise institution from the early 1990's into the 2000's... they are often associated with Built to Spill because Caustic guitarist and singer Brett Netson is often on their records and is now a permanent member. This song is from their outtakes record, The Afterbirth, and sounds like a mellow detour during the sessions for their monstrous, The Medicine is All Gone. This is the core line-up responsible for most of their recorded work Netson on guitar and vocals, Tom Romich on bass and James Dillion on drums.

Discoma - ".SEQ"

Discoma is the beguiling electronic music of Jake Hite who was been playing under this moniker since the mid 90's. Jake also pounded the skins for legendary Boise bands Graveltruck, Fury III and Lowbelly.

The Left Coast - "What? Nothing But Black?"

One of the best singles to come out of this town, in my humble opinion. The Left Coast were Craig Chambers vocals/guitar, Jeff Albertson vocals/bass, PJ Rogalski drums and Sean M. Lennon guitar. After ruling Boise and being labeled "kings of difficult listening" by the Weekly, the band, minus Lennon, moved to Seattle and morphed into the more minimal The Lights. The song by Albertson is quite the opposite of minimal... I'm not quite sure what it is about... goth girls? This single came out on Bug's 208 Records and was also on their Fort Hazel Magic casette release.

Lovey - "Pocket Girl"

I'm not sure if Lovey is still active, but I love this band. Co-frontwomen Gina Gregerson (Dirt Fisherman, fourgirldrive) and Anna Fell (Hive) plus drummer Judy Wheeler conjure powerpop gems with ease, but they ease off a bit for this smaller song. UPDATE: This just in... According to drummer Judy the band's newest cd is done and titled Should've Kissed You.

25 Wheeler - "Sinkhole"

This relatively short-lived band was comprised of Eddie Gutierrez on bass, Sam Counsil on drums and Rob Isozaki on guitar with all members sharing vocal duties (Ed is at the mic here). Not sure why they broke-up, but Ed and Sam moved on to Plumb Bob which later morphed into Sam's Central Boise Library (now Central City Music Company). Ed is now in Oakland performing as Ed G. Music Man. This song is from 25 Wheeler's 1998 cd "Your Shoes on My Feet."

Treepeope - "Hide and Find Out"

If Built to Spill is Boise best known indie band, Doug Martsch's earlier band, Treepeople, is probably our most legendary. 3/4 of the hardcore band State of Confusion switched things up a bit and added Martsch to create this seminal band. Scott Scmaljohn shared lead vocals and lead guitars with Martsch, Pat Brown played mean bass and Wayne Rhino Flower drummed frantically. This single is one Wayne Flower short of the original line-up (Eric Akre plays drums here), but it shows them at the height of their powers. A muscular bass line, a twin guitar attack and a spoonful of angst...

The Very Most - "Sod Off"

I think it is safe to say that The Very Most is Boise's preeminent indie pop band. On their latest record, Congratulations Forever, mastermind Jeremy Jensen and his rotating cast of Boise musicians have created a sweet, layered, hummable masterpiece. Jeremy's vocals would have sounded great on this song, but he shows his talent as a songwriter and producer by borrowing Boise singer Kris Doty to sing lead... the results are nearly perfect. The Very Most has solidified its current live unit and if you keep your eyes and ears open you should be able to find them on a stage near you. Oh, and get that cd. Jeremy Jensen also runs the Coming in Second record label.

The Suffocation Keep - "Bona Fide Regret"

Brett Nelson has long held the position of bass player in Built to Spill, but he's built up an impressive catalog of his own music with two albums each by Butterfly Train and The Suffocation Keep, plus his fantasic Suffocation Keep demos - Brett Not Netson - which alludes to the confusion between Brett Nelson and Brett Netson, who also plays in Built to Spill. This great track is from The Suffocation Keep's second record and FREE ONLINE DOWNLOAD A Few Minor Modifications of the Stars. The line-up for this album was Nelson on vocals, keyboard and guitar, Grady Kimsey on guitar, Scott Beazer on bass, Joe Hensley on drums and Jon Mullin on keyboards.

Narcissus Isthmus - Monrail

This band was active in the mid to late 90's in Boise and I never knew too much about them. I only caught Narcissus Isthmus live a couple of times and say their great pre-cursor My Mother the Iconoclast once, but I loved the two self-recorded, self-released cd's they put out. This song is the opener on their first lp, Mercator Projector. According to their myspace page two of the members moved to Portland and started a band called Case Study.

Geyser - "Man's Best Friend"

Geyser was comprised of 1/2 of the final Dirt Fisherman line-up (KT Shanafelt vocals, guitar and bass and Glenn Newkirk drums) and 2 members from a trio I saw perform as Stuffed Animals (Chris Bock vocals, guitar, bass and Anthony Richetella guitar). They were active in the late 1990's and played many shows alongside bands like Stuntman, The Left Coast and Slim. This is probably my favorite songs of theirs, both live and on tape... I think it is about greyhound racing, but Chris Bock's awesome double-tracked vocals and the "woo-hoo" vocal breaks will hook you. KT and Anthony are playing together again as Craters of the Moon.

el Dopamine - "Two + One"

This is the title track from el Dopamine's 1994 album on Anneliessa Balk's Screemin' Fez label. John O'Neil always performs in a suit... the man means business. Rock business. Here colleagues bassist Mike Waite and drummer Joe Hensley back Mr. O'Neil's ragged riffs and meandering leads. These guys were active in the mid 90's and then went into hibernation for awhile before resurfacing in 2006. I hope they are still on the "active" list.

Central Boise Library - "Car Sides"

Led by ex-Plumb Bob members Sam Counsil and Lorie Broumand Central Boise Library crafted a couple of albums worth of oddball pop and played a bunch of shows before departing for Portland and becoming Central City Music Company. Sam has returned to Boise... check out his stuff and catch a show if you can.

The Invasion - "The Madness"

I finally discovered The Invasion this year, or maybe they found me, but regardless I really dig these guys. They build their ambitious rock songs around guitarist/piano player Aaron Brown's pop songs and distinctive vocals and pull in influences from classical music and classic rock to create indie rock songs. The debut lp "How I learned to stop worrying and love the madness" was produced by local grammy-winning producer Art Hodge and has an epic sound. They swing from delicate and moody to jaunty pop to edgier guitar-based rock moments with ease. Check them out.

One Fantastic Bind - "Carbonation Sickness"

This 7" came with a sticker that said, "As seen in SPIN" - that still cracks me up. I wish these guys would have stuck around longer because the brothers Samuelson, Rick on bass/vocals and Mike on guitar/vocals, plus Meridian Steve Fisk on drums had a unique, raw sound. The vocal performance by Rick on this song is crazy... I think both Mike and Rick work at the Garden City Public Library.

Fury III - "Autumn Leaves"

This band was fronted by the guys who ran the Fort Hazel Magic label, Jeremy Miller and Tristan Andreas. The earlier incarnation of Fury III was a three-piece with Miller and Andreas switching between bass and guitar and sharing vocals. By the time they recorded their debut, Marco Polo, they were joined by bassist Debi Agenbroad and drummer Jake Hite. Miller, Andreas and Hite also played in Lowbelly.

Dirt Fishermen - "People in Trees"

Alongside Caustic Resin and Treepeople, Dirt Fisherman were one of the Boise bands from the early 90's to tour outside of Idaho and release a cd of Seattle's CZ Records. The Dirt Fisherman went from a jangly, college rock five-piece to a tighter, fuzzier four-piece over the course of their life. This is the first track from their debut album, Glenn's Car. The line-up is David Grapp, Gina Gregerson and KT Shnafelt on vocals and guitar and Dan Krejci on bass and Glenn Newkirk on drums.

Built to Spill - "Lie for a Lie"

This band really needs no introduction. Led by Doug Martsch, Built to Spill have recorded five albums, a singles comp, an ep and a live record. It's easy to forget that this band set the blueprint for NW indie pop and wrote blank checks for Death Cab and the Shins to take to the bank. This track is from their first album, Ultimate Alternative Wavers on Seattle's CZ Records.

G. America - "Rocket"

Grant Olsen led the three piece rock trio, Grant Ave. through the early and mid 1990's before writing a batch of songs on a piano and turning into G. America. His 1999 album Fake Love found Grant stretching his sound and creating some quirky piano pop with his Dylanesque vocals riding on top. This track, despite it's organ-y bookends is one of the albums rockers and actually features the Grant Ave. line-up of Mike Stivers bass and Ryan Heise drums.

Graveltruck - "Yes Again"

This is one of those classic Boise bands that I don't know a lot about... I believe they were active in the early 90's. I saw them once and remember that they played an cool cover of Liz Phair's "Divorce Song" ... I had a class with bassist JR Marson a couple of years later and he gave me a copy of their 1994 Screemin' Fez release "Gives Me The Creeps". David Lenz played guitar and sang, Jake Hite (see Discoma above) played drums.

Falldowns - "Belt Loop"

This Boise group was comprised of veterans Eric Penny (guitar/vocals) and Andy Capps (drums/vocals) who had played together in an incarnation of Butterfly Train, along with bassist Matt Perkins from Godzounds. This is from their terrific, but too short Trafalgar cd which was produced by Seattle producer Phil Ek (Built to Spill, Band of Horses, Modest Mouse).

State of Confusion - "I-84"

This band is from way before my time, but 3/4 of this band went on to become the Treepeople, so they are worth a listen. The Schmaljohn brothers, Pat and Scott, lead the attack on vocals and guitar, respectively, and Wayne Rhino Flower plays the bass. Textbook hardcore, but it is interesting to hear the roots of a whole slew of bands: Treepeople, Violent Green, Built to Spill, Stuntman, Halo Benders, The Hand, etc.

Pajama Party in a Haunted Hive - "no more nu wave"

Pajama Party in a Haunted Hive was the title of a classic Beat Happening song and the recording name of Nampa/Boise artist Elijah Jensen. This track is from his extremely lo-fi collection, Central Canyon. Pajama Party released a handful of cd's, got a review on Pitchforkmedia.com and went through a couple of different line-ups during their lifespan and then Elijah resurfaced as The Unicorn Feather and now With Child.

Bovalexia - "Ginger"

It seems like Bovalexia has been around for most of the 2000's with their pop/heavy rock. I like the way singer/guitarist Tod switches from his regular singing voice to his scream/holler... not unlike a certain N-band that no small band should probably be compared to. This is from their 2007 record, When Good Went Bad. This band is really fun and always entertaining.

Butterfly Train - "Undiseased"

Another old band of Brett Nelson (The Suffocation Keep, Built to Spill). This incarnation of Butterfly Train featured Nelson on vocals, guitar and bass, Eric Penny on guitar and vocals on a couple tracks, Andy Capps on drums and Ambrose Richardson on bass. This is from their second UP Records release, Distorted, Retarded, Peculiar.

Booth Sitter - "Those Are Not Real Monsters, Just Robot Parts"

Singer/guitarist Brian Mayer has fronted H is for Hector, 10th St. Hornets, Mayerforceone and now Mayerforceone Academy of Arts and Sciences. This band was Brian and Judy Wheeler from Lovey. This is looong song, but stays true to it's hook and doesn't wear out it's welcome...  great melodies and singing, rad title.  From the Idaho Greentracks compilation from the Idaho Green Party.

Black Happy - "Dry and Confused"

If I saw a band described as a 9-piece rock band with horns now I'd probably cringe, but when Coeur d'Alene's Black Happy dropped a box of 7" records off in Lewiston in the late 80's and then played a couple of shows there (no bands played Lewiston!) they won over a legion of fans... me included. This may have been one of the first, if not THE first, vinyl singles I ever purchased. I'm not a big fan of their later material, but I love their debut single and album. They didn't like being called funk and that label doesn't account for their hardrock/metallic guitar sound, but they were... well... funky. This song served as their introduction and borrowed some lines from a Public Enemy song.

Sugar Daddies - "Lewiston, ID"

How could I not include an anthem about the town where I went to high school? The Sugar Daddies featured Jeff Albertson (The Left Coast, The Lights) on bass and vocals and Dan Beloit (Seattle's The Valley) on guitar and vocals. They morphed into Gow and released a cassette before splitting. This is from the same FEED records 7" as Raspberry's "Twin".

The Treatment - "Built for Love"

Fronted by Scott Schmaljohn (Treepeople, Stuntman, The Hand) and Angela Schmaljohn (Doublewide), The Treatment married insistent driving rock with danceable groves... The Treatment had a few different line-ups including Boise musicians Chris Bock, Jason Serna and Dave Redford. Although this band is defunct the Schmaljohns have started a new band called Gladness featuring Boise guitarist Eric Penny (Butterfly Train, Falldowns) and the drummer for the punk band Moral Crux.

Clock - "Plan D"

Another band I only saw a couple of times and heard their records after the band had split. Their textured, dynamic rock reminds me a bit of Pinback. Not sure what happened to all the members, but singer Leviethan Cecil is making music in Portland and later member Thomas Paul plays around Boise as a solo artist and has been in several bands.

Bock - "All Alone"

Chris Bock was the singer/guitarist/bassist for Geyser (and played in other earlier bands like Big Mud Wagon). His solo material as Bock is bit lighter and looser than the full band assault of Geyser. For his first album he was backed by Grant Olsen on piano and Ryan Heise on drums. Chris played with The Hand and The Treatment in the last few years and is now playing the Bock material and new songs with drummer Jason Serna as Revolt! Revolt!

Caustic Resin - "Station"

See Caustic Resin entry above. This song actually works better on the album (The Medicine is All Gone) where it flows into "Mysteries of..." but I thought it would be funny to play "Station" before the station ID.

The Unicorn Feather - "Math Rock"

I also thought it would be goofy to play "Math Rock" after a Hard Math station ID. Unicorn Feather is Elijah Jensen - see Pajama Party in a Haunted Hive above.

The Halo Benders - "Sit On it"

The Halo Benders are really more of a NW supergroup than a Boise band, but three of their members, Doug Martsch, Wayne Flower and Ralf Youtz are originally from Idaho and have played in important Boise bands... so they are in. Of course, that deep voice belongs to Olympia, WA's Calvin Johnson, legendary singer of Beat Happening and head honcho of K Records. I've heard rumors of a new Halo Bender record after a reunion show last year, but I don't think anything has happened yet. This song is from their 1994 debut, God Don't Make No Junk.

Kid Corduroy - "Make Believe"

Another release from Screemin' Fez records. Kid Corduroy was a long running, underappreciated Boise band throughout the nineties. They were comprised of Ian Waters guitar/vocals, Dave Wall bass and Mike Rundle drums. Although Rundle played in several bands at once  - most Boise musicians usually played in more than one group - Kid Corduroy ended when Wall and Rundle became the rhythm section for System & Station and relocated to Madison, WI. Ian has played solo shows and released an ep, he has also played with Kris Doty.


th said...

This is crazy! I haven't thought of these bands in a while. Nice work, keeping it alive.

tom (Raspberry, Silver Scooter)

Mike said...

This is great! I still have recordings of a lot of these bands, but do you know how I can get some more? I've got Graveltruck, some Treepeople, Boise Central Library, some Splinter somewhere, Kid Corduroy (and Ian Watters EP), and Low-fi (who is keeping the Boise rock alive!). A lot of these bands are after I left Boise for Moscow ... I knew who Raspberry was when I moved to Moscow, but think they had broken up or moved by the time I got there. Anyway, if you're interested in trading some recordings, you can reach me at mlast77@yahoo.com