Monday, March 26, 2012


Some time early in the last decade, my friend Nora gave me a CDR with the word "Miso" on it.  She told me it was just one guy up in New York.  After one listen, I knew this guy was going to be a monster.  The next Beck.  No, bigger.
I don't really have my finger on the pulse of what kids these days are listening to.  It's been like that for a long time.  I can really only speculate why this guy didn't become an international superstar.  It might be because being able to seamlessly go from Britpop to dance to country to folk to punk to metal - while being amazing and impressive to me - is just too much for most people to stomach.  Maybe it happened in the late 1990's, but it seems to me that versatility became more of a liability than an asset.  This makes a lot more sense now in the digital age.  I like garlic.  I like chocolate.  I like sweet potato fries.  I like blueberries.  But I don't necessarily want them all on one plate.
The market value for songs in the past decade has completely bottomed out.  If you have the ability to go to, you can hear almost every song that was ever recorded in a studio (and hundreds of thousands that unfortunately have not).  While this is all well and good in the short run, I'm fairly convinced that the world is running out of decent rock songs.  They're like paper clips.  They're everywhere.  You can use the ones that already exist, there's no real reason to make any more (unless you really happen to like bending thin bands of metal {like I do}).  Every album that comes out now is up there against Led Zeppelin IV, and they both cost the same amount (free).  Having all this choice is overwhelming, and in the long run will make us listeners more conservative and less adventurous.  Hell, this week I've listened almost exclusively to Def Leppard. 
Yes, Def Leppard (pre-Pyromania, but still.).
My point is that if this Miso album had come out 10 years earlier, my prediction would have come true.  I guess it doesn't matter.  Maybe if this album had gotten the attention it deserved, it would have compelled the artist to make more like it (or unlike it even).  Artists nowadays aren't given the chance to develop in the same way they did in the 70's and 80's.  This guy was a genius and no one will ever know.  Well, except for you and I.

There's a lot to sort through.  I'd recommend starting with maybe track 10 or 26?   28 cracks me up too.  Oh hell, just listen to them all.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Stinking Lizaveta

One night maybe in 1996, I went to the Biograph in Richmond to see this band called Stinking Lizaveta from Philadelphia or somewhere that I've never heard of.  The Biograph was an enormous venue on Grace Street that nobody ever went to.  I don't remember who else played the show, but I remember Stinking Lizaveta.
The guitarist was a crazy-looking Greek leprechaun with a Les Paul that looked twice as large as it should have.  The bassist (his brother) played an upright electric fretless bass - something I didn't even know existed.  The woman playing drums might as well have been John Bonham's twin sister.  They played a style of music called "doom jazz" - very heavy, very complicated, and with a strong improvisational streak.  Sort of like a tighter late-Black Flag instrumental style.  Naturally, I was hooked.  I saw them whenever I could, and once they let me record one of their shows at Hole in the Wall.  Two overhead mics into a 4-track.  It doesn't sound great, but what the hey.


Another thing about this band is that when I saw them for the first time it was 15+ years ago, and as far as I know they are STILL always touring.  They were old then!

Monday, March 12, 2012


Migas are easily in my Top Five All-Time Bands in Austin.  They play out about once a year because one of their guitarist lives in the Pacific Northwest.  Once I saw them at Room 710 and the Metal Zone to shirt ratio was two to zero.  I've been drinking and I have people over, so that's as far as this is gonna go.

01 Fred Jackson
02 Space Docking
03 Let's Make Out
04 Sweet Lady
05 The Quad
06 Fangs Vs. Wings
07 Trout

Monday, March 5, 2012


We all remember our first time.  The hearts pounding in anticipation.  The bodies moving together in unison, faster and faster until... Of course, I'm talking about our first High School Talent Show.  Or in this case, the audition for the High School Talent Show.

February 1992, Bruton High School.  Saturday early afternoon was not a usual time to be at school, but there I was.  My band was auditioning for the Stockwood (get it?) talent show, and I wanted to see the competition.  I was a fan of the band Killing Cycle, and they were trying out, so I wanted to see them.  Also, my friend Erik's band Koro was playing. 
Koro (if memory serves) is the name of a mental disorder where the sufferer has a fear that his genitals are retracting into his body.  Erik Sugg played guitar, Billy Memmoli sang, Dave Flanagan (?) played bass, and Scott Joyner played drums.  They were one of two of the fifteen or so bands that played that had the "home team advantage" - kids that actually went to Bruton High School.  Some of the other bands had members that looked well into their twenties, which in hindsight is very sad.
Now, to put this into historical context, Nirvana's Nevermind album had only come out maybe 4-5 months before this.  Bands like Poison and Warrant were just beginning their final descent.  Williamsburg, VA wasn't exactly Washington, DC - in other words, people weren't really all that hung up on originality.  My band only had about half original material (I justified this in my mind by harkening back to early Jimi Hendrix shows, in which he had about a 50% rate also), and that was considered a fair mix.  Some bands played only covers.  Koro was the only band that played all original songs.  They never had a chance.
It's hard to describe exactly what Koro sounded like.  Fortunately, I don't have to because their recording is here:
Koro Stockwood Audition
One of my favorite memories happened at their performance.  Their drummer, Scott, was just starting out on drums and hadn't yet mastered the art of playing the kick drum.  I kept looking back at the soundman (the late, great Bob Gurske), who seemed completely vexed about something.  During the set, he actually ran up to the drum set to see if the kick drum mic was plugged in.  He must have had the level all the way up, because for part of one of the songs, the kick drum came in and it sounded like a Jovian thunderstorm.  It was awesome.
Anyway, the moral of this story is that while some bands felt it was enough to warble through Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight", Koro took the high road.  Their reward is that you're listening to them right now (hopefully), and virtually everyone else that tried out for - and eventually played - that talent show are wallowing in obscurity.  Except of course for the guy in Killing Cycle.