Archive for January, 2011


Eat Cheese or Die

post #13

Damitol EP 1993

This is another cool old Milwaukee hardcore 7″ I fished out of ye olde bargain bin.  Four tunes of fairly straightforward early 90’s style hardcore.  The songs are a sort of midwestern melange of the prominent American styles of the time.  Definately some east coast hardcore chug and straight edge style mixed with some west coast influenced thrashy parts and attempts at melodic singing and some flashy bass lines and groovy riffs, all swirled in with a hefty dose of early Wisconsin emo.  We also get a lot of samples which are played over the music, some spoken parts (total Milwaukee/Chicago accent), and some nice shots at switching up the vocal styles. I like the drawing on the cover.

I’m sure these guys were pretty young when they put this out… I really like the raw recording and slightly loose playing. The sometimes out of tune vocals are a little off-putting at first, but like most idiosyncracies of punk music they quickly grow on you and become essential to the sound.  The bass stands out as the most entertaining instrument on the record, partly because some of the more interesting guitar parts are rather difficult to hear.  The band as a whole has a real cohesive sound with some really cool songwriting. 

I like this record a lot. It has kind of a dark, slightly depressed sound. Lyrics are vague, but interesting, about stuff like masculinity, church, punk and friendships. The sleeve has some pictures and a brief essay from each band member… The sound of this record is very reminiscent of early Jawbreaker and Hickey, and some other bands I can’t think of now.



Firehouse 5 + 2

Schizophrenic Melodies

post # 17

Firehouse Five plus Two – Alabama Jubilee bw Tuck Me To Sleep In My Old Kentucky Home

When I was a kid I would watch a show on television called ‘You Can’t Do That On Television’.  I still think that was a cool show (much better than most of the stuff my kid has to choose from these days), but one of my absolute favorite things about it was the whacky, frenetic instrumental music of the theme song.  Many years later I learned that the interesting style of music is called Dixieland Jazz. Much more recently, I’ve learned that Dixieland is actually just the modern name for the original form of Jazz music from New Orleans; Dixieland was used to differentiate that original style from later versions of Jazz.  I’ve found in the last couple of years that Dixieland Jazz records can be some of the best music available for dirt cheap from thrift shops and record stores.  The music is often loud and obnoxious, fast paced, and played with phenominal musicianship while not being overly pompous like a lot of Big Band Jazz, nor is it gag-inducingly sappy or cheesey like orchestral music from the 20’s through the 60’s often is.

On the A-side of this record, we have The Alabama Jubilee, which is just such a great tune. It’s one of those songs that makes me buy any record I can find that has a version of it.  The best part about it is that I’ve yet to hear two versions of the song that sound the same – it seems to be a tune that bands love to embellish and put their personal twist upon.  This version by the Firehouse Five plus Two is one of my favorites.  Every stanza is different than the last; at least one instrument is soloing throughout most of the song; it’s filled to the brim with foot stomping, hand clapping and caterwauling, it’s played fast and tight and is uplifting and funny and infectious and I just fucking love it already!

This mid-tempo song has a great old-timey feel and is just fantastic to bop along and whistle along to.  I had never heard of this group before I found this record, but since I recently found their 20th anniversary LP and this webpage I’ve learned the following interesting factoids: these guys were in fact a group of Walt Disney animators who, in the late 40’s, started playing old time Jazz for fun.  Eventually, they rode around to their many gigs in an old fire engine and wore fire fighting outfits, and according to their multi-talented leader, Ward Kimball, they “spearheaded” the Dixieland Jazz revival of the 50’s.

Goood Time Jazz was apparantly an important and influential independent Jazz label during the 50’s and 60’s, and The Firehouse 5 where their flagship group.  It is certainly very rare for all of the players to be listed by name on the label of a 45, so that’s pretty cool.

Here’s a video I made for Alabama Jubilee:

Have a Good Time!

7 inch Polka

post #2

Eat Cheese or Die

post #12

Happy Notes Orchestra – I Love You Waltz b/w Drinking Man’s Polka

Here’s a fantastic slice of Wisconsin polka that I dug up from a dusty old bin at the thrift store. The Happy Notes were a good times styled party band who might still be playing even today.  According to this short history, founding member Norm was a drummer who was influenced by Rock n’ Roll and Li’l Wally to start a rowdy, upbeat party polka band. 

 The I love You Waltz is ribald and funny and completely catchy.  You will surely sing it to the one that you love! Best of all, it’s:

A Drinking Man’s Polka seems to be the musical lament of a group of cuckolded men, “We left our Wives at home. We left our Skirts with 6 other Jerks, that’s why we’re drinking alone.”  Nice straight ahead Polish style Polka, with a verse in Polish.

Get drunk and listen to this.