Friday, November 7, 2014

Matt Carlson, pt.2 - Schlaze Cubed

Schlaze Cubed was an instrumental trio consisting of Matt Carlson on keys and synths (an Arp Odyssey in particular, as I recall), Jim Paschall (The Past, Display) on guitar, and Matt McLemore (also of The Past) on drums. I believe this CD-R from 2005 was their only official release. Fans of This Heat's first album take note. This will absolutely scratch that same itch.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Matt Carlson pt.1 - Early solo work, plus Portal live sets

Before he was a prolific modular synth experimenter, releasing solo music on such labels as NNA and Draft, before he was one half of the synth + bass clarinet Thrill Jockey duo Golden Retriever, before he was in Parenthetical Girls and did much of the orchestral arrangements for their Entanglements album, Matt Carlson was basically your average prolific music-obsessed intellectual merv. We've already covered his high school output with the band Portal, but this post is about the various home recording projects he worked on in the post-Portal years.

He was always working on something. There was Aerboxe, an instrumental experimental synth project, and Vertex, which I believe was a concurrent project, a duo consisting of Carlson and The Past drummer Matt McLemore. In the link below, I've included 3 songs from each of these projects. I'm guessing they're from around 2002.

In 2005, Matt self-released a solo CD-R, exploring his interest in pop by way of Jim O'Rourke on his debut solo album, Making Time, which features Matt singing, and playing acoustic guitar, synth, drums, dulcimer, and more. This was the first release on his own Bucket Factory Records. You can see what Matt's up to these days by going to

Download Making Time, plus songs by Aerboxe and The Vertex here.


Download three live Portal sets from 1999 and 2000 here. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Dance Imperative

Let's get crazy. Come with me now, on a journey of sound. A Eastern Washington. Yeah, I know.

The Dance Imperative was an early 2000s Tri-Cities indie rock band of the Seldom or Pedro the Lion variety. They were fronted by Ryan Phillips, who would later play in current Fleet Foxes bassbeard Christian Wargo's post-Scientific project Crystal Skulls, along with Casey Foubert and Yuuki "I'm in the Shins, now guys" Matthews, both of the great and aforementioned Seldom. Crystal Skulls were buddies with and toured with Pedro the Lion - actually every Skull except Phillips also played in Pedro at some point. So it all makes sense, at least if you can follow that poorly structured run-on sentence.

This was TDI's only record, a self-released 6-song EP called Empty Tracks. Ryan Phillips on guitar and vocals, Nathan Lowe on drums, Joel Waltrous on bass and keys.

Along with the embedded videos below, I found a fun 2002 write-up of the band (titled "Mallrats Rock Out"), who'd just shared a bill with Joy Electric and Rand Univac, a band notable for briefly featuring Stones Throw Records' James Pants, and for spawning the jazzy dance band/analog gear repository Velella Velella.

Download The Dance Imperative's EP Empty Tracks here.

"I Left the Platform: Took the Stage"

"Making Up My Mind"

Sunday, April 13, 2014

All That Was Built Here - Ten Years At The Old Fire House

If you grew up in the greater Seattle area and attended all ages shows during the era that this blog covers, chances are you spent some time at the Old Fire House teen center in Redmond. Today's offering is the Old Fire House benefit compilation that was released in the early 2000's and features 24 blasts of nostalgic noise. The track listing features pretty much every amazing local band I remember seeing there in those days: The November Group, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Sicko, Botch, Gas Huffer, Teen Cthulhu, Undertow, Waxwing, Akimbo, Automaton, Murder City Devils...etc

All That Was Built Here

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In Praise of Folly

Benjamin Verdoes is a busy guy these days, between his new solo record and the upcoming debut record from Iska Dhaaf, his duo with Nathan Quiroga (better known to many by his Mad Rad nom de mic Buffalo Madonna). Before these ventures. Verdoes was the frontman for Mt Saint Helens Vietnam Band, but this post goes back further, to a little band called In Praise of Folly.

IPOF were essentially a melodic indie rock three piece, consisting of Benjamin and Peter Verdoes of Stanwood, plus Wisconsin transplant Matt Dammer, who would later co-found Mt Saint Helens Vietnam Band. There was always a fourth member, but it was a revolving door of drummers until Benjamin moved from guitar to drums, at which point the revolving door become one of guitarists and bassists, depending on which of the two instruments Peter was settled on at the time.

They put out two albums on Lujo Records, in 2003 and 2005, the first, The Present Age, being melodic, intertwined guitar focused, reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate's How it Feels to Be Something On LP. Somewhere between the first and second record, Means/Ends, they discovered math rock, and thus added to their sound a lot of shifting time signatures, angular guitar riffs, and generally more complex song structures.

Here's In Praise of Folly playing at The Paradox in July of 2004. For those extra interested, there's a few minutes at the end of short candid clips during a recording session for their second album, Means/Ends.

And here's another set from the same era, performing at the Graceland in August of 2004.

Download In Praise of Folly's CD-R EP here.

You can listen to both In Praise of Folly albums on Spotify, as well as Benjamin Verdoes' new album, The Evil Eye.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Personal Message from Zardoz, Plus Video Roundup #2

We got 99 posts and, uh, this is one. I'm going to let Mr. Rambo have the centennial post, but before the videos, I just want to say a little something in the holiday spirit.

I'm not sure when exactly I found Arthur Rambo's blog. Back then it was called He/Sheattle. I think it was around the time of the Doomsday 1999 post. I'd loved that band, and was trying to find out what became of them. (I did find, eventually, that the charismatic frontman Zack Carlson moved to Texas, worked with the amazing film fans at the Alamo Drafthouse, and, oh yeah, WROTE THE BOOK ON PUNKS IN FILM.)

I poked around the previous posts, and added it to my Google reader. It didn't take long for me to notice that Arthur was posting about a lot of bands that I knew at some level personally around high school and college. Raft of Dead Monkeys, The Prom, Drowning in Lethe, The Vogue, Soiled Doves, Suffering and the Hideous Thieves. The list goes on. Once he posted about March 15th and Portal, I knew something was up. Either I knew Arthur or I WAS Arthur. I contacted him, and as it turns out, I wasn't him, but I did indeed know him. Let's just say we had once shared a fleeting affinity for lawn bowling. Longish story. So anyway, before long I was in the proverbial Wonkavator, posting about my favorite things, from the lone album by Display (who, unbeknownst to me when I wrote the post, were actually back together after nearly 10 years and a few months away from playing shows) to the Christmas EP by Fishboy and Carleen Jean Death Machine.

Of my 19 posts, the most popular one is clearly the unreleased Jough Dawn Baker LP. As far as I know, this had only been in the hands of friends of the band, and we were fortunate enough to be the first blog to post it online. This is the kind of thing that gets me excited about posting here. It's our hope that those of you who like this blog will check out and like our Facebook page (we post extra stuff there), tell your friends, and mostly importantly, SHARE YOUR STUFF WITH US. Demos, unreleased/unfinished albums, self-released records, scans of flyers, stickers, photos of shows, VHS tapes, whatever you have. If you can't get it into a digital format, we can help. We just want to be a conduit for all the amazing post-grunge music. This is for everyone who spent their nights at the Old Firehouse, The Grange, Ground Zero, The Velvet Elvis, RKCNDY, and The Paradox.

So, I guess this has turned into my Thanksgiving post. I'm thankful for Arthur for inviting me to write here, for all the people who've made the great music we get to share, and for you, for sharing our love of this stuff.

Now, as inferred by the title of this post, for those who don't haven't liked us on Facebook or may have missed some posts, here's the second batch of videos I've posted from my own VHS tapes.

Raft of Dead Monkeys - Reunion show 1-03-04 at Studio 7

Suffering and the Hideous Thieves - Las Vegas 9-23-03

Roadside Monument - Vancouver 11-13-97 (plus the set that night from the band they opened for, The Promise Ring.)

Pedro the Lion - Vancouver, B.C. 1/31/98 

Pedro the Lion - Vancouver, B.C. 10/11/98

Pedro the Lion - Seattle 6/25/99

The Rapture 10-01-2001 at The Paradox. A bit of a cheat, but they were a Seattle band a couple years before this show.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rats and Children - Demo tape

Rats and Children or Dovetail or whatever name we happened to be arguing about during our brief existence was a sloppy political punk band that I played in with a some high school friends during the Winter of 2000. I remember I was sitting at home one weekend, probably watching t.v. or something when I heard a knock on the door. Four of the buddies that I ate lunch with every day were standing there. "You wanna play drums in a band?" one of them asked me. "Sure," I said. And with that they unloaded a bass, a guitar and a couple of practice amps and we set up next to the drums and p.a. in my basement.

Musically, we were all coming at it from totally different places - the singers wanted to be The Blood Brothers and one of them also seemed dead set on being the next Jello Biafra, the bass player had been obsessed with Rancid & was really into the Subhumans, the guitarist was into Melt Banana, Judy Garland & the opera Carmina Burana and I was on an 80's new wave, San Diego screamo and The Doors kick. We'd all met each other at various points leading up to forming the band over a mutual love of punk rock, rebellion and feeling like social outcasts, the typical high schoolers-forming-a-band cliché.

When the group got started, we were all hanging out, reading zines & Zinn and sharing tapes. I remember us listening to stuff like Crass, Conflict, Flux of Pink Indians, Zounds, EC8OR, maybe even some Prince... we had vague intentions of being a 'peace punk' band but, aside from some of the patches we'd sewn to our clothes and the overtly political lyrics, I don't think it ever really ended up being that. Basically, it was a weird mix that kind of worked for little while.

The first five tracks on this tape were recorded on a strategically placed boombox during one of our early practices - Dec. 3rd, 2000 according to my notes on the tape. The highlights include our cover of "Breakin' the Law" sandwiched in between a Spice Girls medley and, arguably, our best original song "Pickled Babies." The sixth and final track, "Socialists For Nader," is from a different tape and it serves as a very rough idea for a new song that never fully came to be - before devolving into an impromptu partial cover of Atari Teenage Riot's "Revolution Action." I think it was probably recorded at our final practice around the beginning of '01.

The reasons the band fell apart were numerous and also pretty typical but in the end we just weren't getting along. I've heard it said that the best way to ruin a friendship is to live with someone but, in my experience, another surefire way to test that bond is to play together in a band - especially one in which there's no clear musical direction and several clashing egos. Though we tried, we never played any shows and only a handful of people ever saw us rehearse or even heard this tape. I don't know if there will be much interest in this slice of goofy, amateurish, noisy punk rock but for me it's something I'm still glad to have been a part of.
-Oliver aka Arthur Rambo

Rats and Children demo