Archive for the ‘Alcoholism’ Category


In a post from a couple of days ago, Rebecca Kushner mentions a bunch of punk bands that she either knew or hung out with.  I was amazed at how many of them I’d heard of but didn’t really know.  So this seemed like a good opportunity to go punk surfing.

Of all of the bands that Kushner mentions, Gorilla Biscuits were the only one that I knew pretty well.  I seem to recall a gimmick of this CD was that here were 99 tracks on it–possibly the first CD to have maxed out the track numbers?

Gorilla Biscuits released an EP and this album and then they broke up–although they do still tour and play a lot of punk festivals.  Start Today is considered one of the great albums from the New York hardcore punk scene.

It’s a pretty classic hardcore record, with almost all of the songs two minutes or less.  That’s fourteen songs in 24 minutes.  And there’s some great lyrics in these songs too.

“Degradation” was a pretty straightforward attack on the Nazi skinheads infiltrating the punk scene.

True, they’re always at our shows
It doesn’t mean we fit in with their hatred and racism shit
They ruin our name, you know what I mean
Racial supremacists, they degrade our scene
You know you can kiss my ass before I read you ‘zine
There’s no good side to this white power scene
Kids beat down for standing up
Your turn will come because we’ve all had enough

But the album also plays around with expectations a bit.  The album opens with a 20 second horn fanfare.  Despite the brevity of the songs, many of them stick in some (short, simple, melodic) guitar solos.

Plus, the title song “Start Today” has a cool heavy breakdown in the middle that tacks on a harmonica solo (!).  “Competition” includes a bit of whistling, too.

The album has two bonus tracks “Sitting around At Home” which is a Buzzcocks cover.  The vocals are very different on this one.  So much that I’d have guessed it was a different singer.

[READ: February 10, 2021] “The Butcher’s Wife”

This story is about the daughter of drunken Polish man who lived on a farm in Minnesota.

Roy Watzka loved his wife with all of his heart.  She died when their daughter Delpine was very young, and Roy fell apart.  He devoted more of his love to photoshop his deceased wife than his daughter.  Despite Prohibition, Roy found ways to drink and he drank a lot.

Delphine tried to get away–she went to secretarial school. But as her father’s health began to fail, she returned home to care for him.

When she went into town to get some food, she entered the meat market and met Eva Waldvogel.

Eva sensed a kindred spirit in Delphine and invited her behind the counter to taste the lard that she had prepared. Eva’s husband had been trained as master butcher in Germany and he had a special process to render his fat.  As they spoke Delphine mentioned her father and Eva knew of him (everyone did).

Soon enough Delphine was working in the shop.

Eva treated her like a sister.  Eva’s husband Fidelis was a tougher person.  He could haul hundred pound slabs of beef.  He was abrupt and barely spoke to Delphine.  She decided she would avoid him as much as she could while working in his shop. (more…)

Read Full Post »


oceanToday, Darlingside announced the release of a new song–a wonderful surprise–and an upcoming new album.

The basic sound of Darlingside doesn’t change (thank goodness), but on their last album, they mixed things up by throwing in some electronic sounds.

There’s no electronic sounds on this song (which doesn’t mean there are non on the album) but there is a lot more percussion than usual.

It opens up with some thumping drums.  Is there a drummer?  It’s more than the kick drum they usually use.  Then comes the mandolin and some clapping.  A smooth grooving bass slides in and then, as the voices come in, everything settles down into pure Darlingside.

The verses are individual voice but the bridges are gorgeous harmonies.  The song moves swiftly with a percussion backing as the lead voices sing.

Then the surprise–the middle is practically a drum solo–with rumbling percussion and some kind of low pulsing note (is that secret electronics after all) that adds almost a sinister feel. But that segue leads right back to the mandolin.

I love that this song can sound so much like Darlingside and yet also shows them changing things up. In some ways it’s a step back since their first album had a drummer and their later ones did not.  But this drumming and percussion is a very different sound.  very exciting–how will they do it live?

[READ: July 10, 2020] “Black Mountain, 1977”

This issue of the New Yorker has a series of essays called Influences.  Since I have read most of these authors and since I like to hear the story behind the story, I figured I’d read these pieces as well.

Donald Antrim’s essay is considerably shorter and much more harrowing than the previous one.

Antrim tells of the horrible situation that his mother grew up in.  His mother’s mother was a cruel parent, carrying out “an aggressive campaign against her daughter’s body, even going so far as to advocate unnecessary surgeries for her only child,”

His mother’s father was a meek and cowed alcoholic who never stood up to his wife. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACKRHEOSTATICS-Le Colisee, Quebec City QC (November 30 1996).

This is the 16th night of the 24 date Canadian Tour opening for The Tragically Hip on their Trouble At The Henhouse Tour. This is the same show that the Double Live version of Saskatchewan was taken from. It is also the show Dave wrote about in On A Cold Road.

The site has recently added a DAT version of the show in conjunction with the existing fan-recorded version (which is quite different and an interesting perspective).

The show opens with a recording of (maybe) a French-language hockey game?  I love how the opening guitars of “Saskatchewan” just start during the cheering.

Obviously this is a great version if they chose it for their live album.

It segues right into “Fat” which opens a little funky.  It runs to about seven minutes with the rocking ending being fun as usual.  “Fat” segues into a quiet and beautiful “Digital Beach” with great guitars from Martin and then, surprisingly into “Claire.”  Martin’s solo sounds very different–single notes played in a unusual (for him) style.  I like the change and it works well for the song.

Dave asks: Whats the shouting?  more shouting.  Martin: WHAT!?  (on the other recording you can hear that some guy is shouting: “Bad. Time. To. Be. Poor.”  The guy then deliberately shouts: “We came here to see you guys.”  Shame it’s not acknowledged).

Dave says, “We’re gonna do four songs in one from our new album, The Blue Hysteria.  Thanks to the whistling bats over there.”

“Four Little Songs” is goofier than usual.  And then Don, ever the salesman says “this next song is the current single from our brand new record which you can buy here at the venue.”  When they do play “Bad Time to Be Poor,” (those guys must have gone nuts), it sounds great.

Dave: “Thanks very much.  Save a bit for The Tragically Hip.  I don’t want you to….”

On “Sweet Rich, Beautiful, Mine,” Martin hits a slight wrong note before the roaring midsection which is kind of shame, but he recovers fine and the rest of the song is spot on.

A lovely “Dope Fiends” ends the show with a cool acoustic guitar and drum middle.  Martin has some fun with the “dark side of the moon” ending growling it somewhat and Dave says “By Pink Floyd.  Side two.”  Just before Martin roars his awesome guitar ending.

The song and show ends with Martin playing and then singing “You Are Very Star.”  It’s a very sweet ending.

[READ: June 2018] Start Without Me

I really enjoyed this story.  It was funny and dark and played with all kinds of twisted family portraits.

As the book opens Adam wakes up in the house he grew up in.  But in the basement.
A young child sizes him up, “Who are you?”
“I’m Adam.  Uncle Adam.”
The boy shakes his head. “My uncle’s Travis.  He lives in Texas.”
“I’m your other uncle.”
“Why are you on the couch?”

Indeed, why is it?  It is Thanksgiving.  One of his siblings or their offspring is in his old room.  They weren’t sure if he would show.

Finally it dawns on the boy, “Are you the uncle who smashed the pinata?”
“Jesus, that’s what you remember?”  Did he actually owe apologies to the kids, too? (more…)

Read Full Post »