I first met Marc McCoy when he was working in a hut outside of a TGI Fridays punching holes in coed spring breakers’ punch cards. He ate a lot of steamed vegetables. I think that was around 1999 and he’s since then, as far as I know, he’s continued to put out music/media artsy projects as well as continued to eat bland steamed foods.
Below is a run down of my thoughts on his most recent releases:
SNARLING HATE • How To Kill EP
This has a nice little head-bobbing groove to it. The first tune, “Takeover”, is a call to arms of sorts to our under appreciated sanitation workers. The chorus repeatedly shouting, “Keep the Streets Clean” over a hooky little melody, I think, proudly reinforces how we tend to overlook some of our truest heroes. The second number, “Asphyxia”, starts with a straightforward bass intro to set the tone. The song quickly turns to reflect the seasonal allergies that many of us tend to go through this time of year. The lyrics “I need, scratch till I bleed” and “the bloom, build yourself up” is clearly about the struggle of man’s imprisonment by pollen, well done and very thoughtful. The title of the E.P., How To Kill, at first seems misleading since it isn’t so much as a manual on how to kill something, but rather an example of how to do something well. As the kids say, “you killed it” meaning you’ve done a terrific job at this thing you’ve tried.
MANGLED STATE • Stigma EP
The first thing I noticed was that this record is smaller than other ones. I think this one is around 6 inches versus the standard 7 inches. Really, not even kidding. I bet you’re wondering if the smaller size affects the play? Let’s find out together. There are 5 songs on this little thing and are all straightforward, powerful and aggressive hardcore. It is the no frills quality that I dig about this but what about their lyrics? Let’s dive in. “Stigma” lyrics start off with “believe in your own shit”, so I like the message but not the potty mouth. Song 2, “Scowl”, lyrics kick off with “take back my life, ripped to fucking shreds”. Hmm, there’s that potty mouth again. Let’s look at the song “Price You Pay”, track 3, “Call yourself a man, conceited, self serving fuck”. Well we almost made it through without the gutter words. “Cast Cut”, on the B side has no potty words. However, the final song “Façade” does. In the end, this is a raging 5 song, 6 inch, record that any fan of straightforward, unabashed hardcore will definitely love. Just be warned though, if your mom hears it, she might wash your mouth out with soap.
ARTS • Graveside Summoning EP
Wow, this is spooky. The very first line of the very first song, “Daemonomie”, is “I am in the grip of evil”. Heavy. However, it takes a boyish and sparkling look into the world of fantasy like the Tale of King Arthur. The packaging in remarkable and if you look at the picture I’ve included, I think that the inside of this envelope is Marc McCoy himself doing some cosplay as the Wizard of Greenpoint. This record has equal parts fiery swords, dark and damp chambers, a thing with scales and eyes, celestial crypts and more. I’d say that this Arts release is a very uplifting record that skips down a little boys dream journal. Sure, there is some scary ass metal-death-creepy-dark-core (MDCDC) but it is creative in a way that doesn’t come off as goofy as some of this style often does.
LIFE SUPPORT • Die Like A Man EP
First off, this is an incredible looking triple gatefold package filled with artwork of wizards and metaphysical healing crystal imagery. However, Life Support band couldn’t be further away from chakra energy points or what your aura color says about your study habits. This is a tornado of sound and hostility and even has a few slow down “mosh- able” parts. This isn’t going to be an awakening for anyone but is most certainly worth checking out and spinning a few times a year. I just wish I knew what they were so angry about.
COMBAT FORCE • Never Stray EP
The cover drawing is of a helmeted knight with sword and shield. I have no idea what to expect but I’m enjoying the TSR arc to this batch of Youth Attack releases. I drop the needle and was hit with a the sound of a fun-time-in-a-bar-crowd that breaks cleanly into a catchy guitar rock-n-roll riff with the memorable and sing-able repeating chorus of “never stray, this is the way.” This record has a thuggish and almost pub-rock/Oi feel to it. Don’t get me wrong. This is, as these all are, a hardcore record. This is a bit more mid tempo and even has a “whoa whoa” part in a song. I thought that with the cover that this would be more about slaying dragons and love potions and a path to become a master of beasts. The song “Breached” touches upon an epic battle on a great field. The final song on the 6 song EP weighs heavily and sits clearly on their feelings about people that prey on children and I’m right there with them. If you’re curious as to the direction they’re leaning on that song, the answer is in the title, “Give ‘em the Chair”. This is a great record.
Well, that’s it for this plop of Youth Attack stuffs. (JD)
Lost System was born from a band called Black Monuments (3 tapes and a 7″). When their bozo bass player decided to hitchhike to Portland, OR, they picked up with a new bassist and moved forward with a different name and sound. After that I’d thought that dark synth wave died for a while. I think it got too far away from its truer roots and became some junk that, like most things I enjoy, was eventually coopted by fashion and art school students. To be honest, I could be making all of this up. I really don’t know a lot about Dark Wave at all. It’s not disjointed like post-punk, and it doesn’t talk extensively about Dracula and spirits therefore avoids the “Goth” moniker.
A year ago, No Bails (the band I’m in) played with Lost System and Trampoline Team in a Grand Rapids, MI basement. Having 3 different sounding bands on the same show made for a terrific night. I remember standing next to my pal Justin Farrar and us both entranced by Lost System. I got a bad feeling from their synth guy. He played terrifically and his dark wave keyboard playing was on point dark wavy keyboard playing, but something about him seemed unctuous and made me feel uneasy and annoyed. Maybe he had a mustache and was looking for people to look at his mustache. Also, I could be remembering a totally different person. I could have also just been hoping to see Matt Maier (Black Monuments, Legendary Wings) as the keyboard operator and not ready for a new face. Nevertheless, this new guy brought the glum aural ambience needed to make this a memorable night.
But it’s not just the keyboards that make this LP work. I’ve always been a fan or Lost System’s drummer, Michael Housman, because of his simple, concussive, driving style. Housman knows how to hold back and precisely when to change into a dynamic that makes me sit a little straighter, and focus a bit. I’ve skipped back through parts of these songs because I had thought I heard the drums do something, but I had to make sure. Guess what. They do something. It’s almost like he’s playing for a single person in the room that’s in on a personal joke. Jesus, it sounds like I have a crush on the guy and I don’t at all. I just like his drumming. While all of this is going on the bass rumbles just beneath the surface almost like watching a storm front slowly move in across Lake Michigan. Adam’s bass playing is instinctively and lead with his heat as the metronome and I don’t mean that in an artistic way. I mean that his steady, pensive, rhythmic addition might be what holds this entire thing together. Oh yeah, this LP might have changed my mind on my third most hated thing behind jazz and modern country, and that would be saxophone. I pretty much hated the saxophone, but it’s used in such a sincere and stylistic way that it complements the songs. When I read that saxophone was on this LP I pictured it ruining things the same way that it’s done for the Cure and countless other good bands songs. Not in this case though. The saxophone added a coat to make this LP more complex and layered. Though, for me, the glue that binds this together is Michael McFarlane’s lyrics and delivery. The lyrics characteristically mirror life in the Middle West in a way that can only compare to the way Joy Division mirrored their working class, cloud covered factory town. To be clear, I’m not comparing them to Joy Division in sound but moreover in authenticity. McFarlane’s lyrics hit to the center of the Rust Belt wherein they pull together a longing, aggravation, concession, despair, hope, introspection, biting humor, and a look at tomorrow.
In the end, I’m almost never surprised by music but this did make me take notice and really listen to all of the musicians separately and then again altogether. But where most of these bands fall short for me in the way that most LPs have 3 good songs and the rest could have been split up or dumped altogether this holds interest throughout and any one of these songs could have been a single. My hope is that anyone reading this is in a personal financial place and willing to take a chance on this LP.
I’ve known Michael for a chunk of years. We are the kind of friends that always say we should hang out more, but we never do. My good pal Curtis and me went over to Michael’s apartment a couple times and spent the evenings popping jokes and drinking Four Roses booze. I hope that that will happen again sometime but until then I have this record and the text exchange of me asking if the Lost System synthesizer person ever had a mustache. (JD)
You know you can always count on Bad Transfer to be timely. Set your broken clock to it, and it will be right twice a day, guaranteed! Here it is April 2020, and we are now bringing you our (well, two of us) top ten best of 2019 lists. Dig in, make comments, and write some comments to us as well. We’re lonely, and in need of cyber companionship.
In order for me to move to Brooklyn, NY in 1998 I needed to get rid of a ton of stuff to be able to pack my life into a Ford Econoline van. The van was named Tom. Some of those things I gave away, some I threw away, and some I sold. Of all things that I regret getting rid of none are bigger than dumping nearly all of my cassettes. Over the past few years I’ve been trying to find some of the things I tossed out as well as keep up with the new, great things that are coming out. Home recording is killing the music industry, thankfully! Without further ado, here are 10 tapes that I picked up in 2019 but not necessarily from 2019.
1. Flush Productions Comps – 1986-1990 (ish)
If I was a third grade teacher I imagine this might happen:
Billy Boogerface – Mr. Dratson do you like Flush Productions tapes?
Me – Billy, I love Flush Productions tapes!
All the Children – Why don’t you marry them?
(Then the children burst into giant laughs)
Me – Shut up you little fuckers! You can’t tell me how to live or what to love. Keep your grubby shit stained hands of my body and my Flush tapes and go eat some dog shit you little space taking disappointments.
Ok, maybe not exactly like that but somewhere in that ballpark. I had them all, or at least the 18 I knew about. The tapes started coming out around 1986, during the height of the “send well concealed cash or money order to…” era and, to me, captured a perfect slice of underground music going on at the time. Many of the bands on those tapes became some of my favorites. For example; Christ on a Crutch, Dissent, Sewer Trout, Pink Lincolns, Corrupted Morals, Humidifier, No Fraud and many more. For full transparency, this number 1 encapsulates 13 tapes. I poked around and found a guy that was in one of the bands and he was happy to rehome them. I’m currently hunting for 1,2, 5,6 and 9. If anyone is holding these or can make copies please let me know!
2. Neutrals – 2016-17 (cass) 2019 LP
I can’t remember how I stumbled on to these. I’m certain it was some dumb late night internet dive that led me to Bandcamp, wherein I clicked a track and thought that the duder’s voice reminded me of the duder from Giant Haystacks. These tapes are fuggin’ terrific but here’s what’s even better, these were combined onto and LP and released as an LP on Emotional Response records in 2019 and reviewed here by our very own Matt Average. Also, guess what. It is the dude from Giant Haystacks.
This came out a while ago, 2017, but I didn’t open it and listen to it until 2019 and I completely missed out. I should be slapped on the mouth. This is great UK/anarcho/HC but what catapults this to the next level is the singer’s voice. Her speech is clear, crippling, distinct and the driving force that tips this over the edge from average to incredible. I’m such s jerk for waiting 2 years to play this tape.
I’ve heard their guitar player can be a real jerk sometimes. There is even a rumor that he was a stage manager for Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid and they got pissed off at him because he wouldn’t let them snort coke off his ass. Whatever, I don’t judge. There isn’t much to say about this that you probably don’t already know. This cassette captures some of the most frenetic, intense, impenetrable wall of sound of one of the HC essential band of mid 90s HC. They definitely carved a path for many others to follow. Although I have bunches of this stuff on vinyl it is nice to have it all right here so I don’t have to keep getting up and flipping over plastic. 25 or so tracks and a rad fold out poster with lyrics and the whole shebang. The only thing to remember is, at all costs, avoid the guitar player.
I’ve loved the song “Jam on It” since I heard it in 1984. I still love it today. Sometimes me and my friend Curt will play the song and sing all the words. I found this tape for $1 in Columbus, OH. I’m hoping that by the end of 2020 that our band No Bails will learn this and play it out at least once.
I Love Kissing/Shattered Dreams. If I’m remembering correctly, my pal Nate knows these Albany, NY dudes and he told me that he thought I’d like it. He was right. It sounds like it came from the 80s mod revival/power pop era. Think Pointed Sticks and Exploding Hearts and you’d be hitting the target pretty dead on. They have a couple vinyl eps too. Maybe I’ll get around to reviewing those at some point.Buy Mystery Girl – I Love Kissing here
These last three are from Michigan, my home.
8. No Bails – No Baios. 2019
I know it’s not the usual to talk about your own band on a review blog but fug it! I’m in this band and I think this thing we did is pretty darned OK. I was going to post a review from another site but maybe I’ll just send a tape to one of the guys on this blog and they can tear it apart. We made 3 different covers.
There was an amazing and horrible band from Tawas City, Michigan named Afterbirth. There has been a ton written about Afterbirth however not many know about Anarchy. You see, Anarchy is the same band as Afterbirth but they started to get “better” at their instruments and decided to try and make it as a band. The music sounds sort of like if the Dictators were super drunk and out of tune and had drunk baby quadruplets with the band Kiss and then made those drunk love babies be in a band and play for their supper before they were locked back under the stairs. I couldn’t find any Anarchy songs but I have linked the Afterbirth EP. Please use the “Show More” on the link.
I was walking through a local record store and from 20 feet away the words “THE SINATRAS” caught my eye. The Sinatras were West Michigan’s answer to Hüsker Dü, the Replacements, Twin/Tone etc. They’d been around since 1985 and even put out a record 5 years ago. This came out a few years before their Imaginary Singles Collection tape they put out in 1992, to which I’ll mention that they cover a Latin Dogs tune on that tape. All I could find on the internet was a song off the Imaginary Singles Collection that was written in 1985 and originally recorded in 1987 by Paul Mahern of the Zero Boys at the same session as the songs that made it on this. So at least you get an idea of what they were about. There is an earlier tape called Tater Tots that I’m desperately searching for as well.
That’s it. Send me things to have an opinion about and maybe you’ll get on my 2020 list.
Top 10 of what I experienced in 2019.
Aero Horrorthon: I remember reading about the Horrorthon in the LA Weekly when it first started happening, but for some reason didn’t go until the 9th year, and last year was the 14th one. Why I waited so long? I have no excuse. However, I’m fully committed to going to these as long as they have them, and I hope that is for years to come. Old horror films all night long with strange skits and trailers in between. A recent fond memory is watching Anthropophagus with Devon, and his response during the scene where George Eastman takes the baby out of the pregnant woman and begins to eat it, “Brutal.” I imagine Devon likes how the waitress at the vegan bakery across from the Aero thought I had an attitude problem last year when we stopped for breakfast after Horrorthon let out. “Do you have a problem?” she sternly asked with a glare. My favorite night of the year.
2. The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue at Beyond Fest : Most people go to Beyond Fest for the newest genre films, I go for whatever Cinematic Void programs. The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue is one of the big highlights for me of 2019. Fully restored. See it by all means.
3. Godzilla movies at the Vista : Summer mornings watching Godzilla movies on the big screen is good living. Devon and I met up many a Sunday morning to see things like Godzilla v Hedorah, Destroy All Monsters, Mothra v Godzilla, and others. There was also a Godzilla marathon at the Egyptian back in May as well. Great times they were.
4.The New York Ripper at the Egyptian: One of Fulci’s last great films. Kind of strange to say something as sleazy as The New York Ripper is great, but it is. A movie you will never forget.
5. Pink Flamingos at the Aero: It’s one thing to watch Pink Flamingos at home, it’s an entirely different experience in a movie theater at midnight. See it in a theater if you ever get the opportunity.
6. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at the New Beverly: The New Beverly is the place to see this movie. So the screen’s small, however, they try to make the experience more immersive with the BOSS radio broadcasts playing over the house PA before the film starts, trailers and ads before the movie are from the time the movie is set in, and there’s also set pieces in the lobby. The movie is pretty good as well. I would love to see movies, or books, expanding on the story of Cliff Booth.
7. The Tom Atkins triple feature and Q&A at the Beyond Fest: Outside of the Cinematic Void programming at the recent Beyond Fest, this was the other high point. Three movies: Halloween III, The Fog, and Night of the Creeps. Then there’s the interview with Tom Atkins afterwards. Dom Atkins also made an appearance. A truly historic moment in genre cinema history.
8.Dolemite is My Name: I expected to hate this movie. However, I have rediscovered that Eddie Murphy is great, and it was time Rudy Ray Moore was given some much needed attention. Hopefully when the quarantine is lifted we can get to paying visits to the last remaining sites where his movies were filmed.
9.Phantasm, Three O’Clock High, and 10 to Midnight at the Aero: This triple feature celebrated three years of Cinematic Void. Don Coscarelli was also there signing his book. Phantasm is one of my all time favorite films, and I see it every chance I get. It’s that good. Then you add in Three O’Clock High, and Charles Bronson in 10 to Midnight (featuring the men’s room at the Aero!), you can’t go wrong.
10. Repo Man at the Egyptian: I may have missed out on the Severin secret movie marathon in the Speilberg, but I was able to see Repo Man and a great Q&A with Alex Cox instead.
THE ELDER GODS • A P.O. Box Bomb and a Fire Hat 10″ EP
In short, the Elder Gods are pure id.
What in the world is this? Oh, it’s from Kalamazoo Michigan. Now it makes sense. Kalamazoo was/is home to such bands as Violent Apathy, Thought Industry, Phil A. She-ohh & the Wet T-Shirt Contest, No Bails, etc. The Elder Gods fit perfectly into that family tree of the city’s underground musical heritage.
Of the six songs on here, two of them are covers (Circle Jerks “Red Tape & DOA “The Prisoner”). Two of their originals (“It’s Good For You” and “1981”) are straight forward early 80s style punk hardcore whereas the other two (“I Am Satan” and “You Should Gnaw Your Own Neck Off”) lean more toward Th’Inbred or almost NOMEANSNO’s faster songs. The best part is that these six songs clock in at under 10 minutes total so you don’t even have time to get bored before one is over and another begins. The song “1981” sounds like it is from 1981 and fits perfectly onto any of the Master Tapes or Charred Remains comp(s). Also, the last line of the song leaves you on a positive message to never quit trying to do your best, “You might never be Lee Harvey Oswald but you can still be someone’s hero”. Keep this in mind, just because they do a couple classic 80s punk covers this band is not a retro rehash of the glorified good old days. I think it is pretty clear that they have a sound that reminds me of that time because it’s honest and they wouldn’t be able to do anything differently. In short, the Elder Gods are pure id.
They have a facebook presence but their band link shoots you somewhere creepy so if you want to pick up this 10inch you have to hit them up on Discogs. I think there are only 3 or 4 left, so act quickly. https://www.discogs.com/seller/zenandpinyin/profile