We’re stoked to announce the forthcoming release of Frater Set, a new EP by the Vancouver, BC band Night Court.
We first heard Night Court last year when we stumbled upon their excellent Greatest Hits cassette, released by the equally excellent Discos Peroquebien label of Valencia. Featuring 25 songs culled from two prior releases, just one song clocked in at longer than 2 minutes, each delivered at a blistering pace, loaded with hooks. It was one of our favorite releases of last year.
Their latest release, Humans! (released in the US by the Snappy Little Numbers label) is another favorite, and true to form, just three of the album’s 16 tracks last longer than 2 minutes, but each is laden with hooks and energy, another punk masterpiece for fans of Marked Men, Connections, Sonic Avenues, or dare we say, Cathedral Ceilings?
Frater Set is a five-song EP that will be released digitally as well as a limited-edition lathe-cut 7″ on Halloween. Today we’re releasing the EP’s first single, “Little Darkness,” a power punk masterpiece that lasts just 20 seconds from beginning to end but with more hooks per second than you can imagine.
Today is the long-awaited release day of the expanded reissue of Das Damen’s debut EP. Originally self-titled, the expanded version has been titled 1986: Keeps Me Wild, a statement on the gritty, grimy NYC proto-grunge the band became known for as the 80s turned into 90s. Subsequent records with SST, Twin/Tone and Sub Pop established the band’s indie cred; shows with the likes of Nirvana, Soundgarden, Black Flag and Sonic Youth added fuel to the fire.
When the band conceived the idea for this record, they reached out to friends to help augment their work. Damen drummer Lyle Hysen recruited Brad Cohan to create an oral history of the band, which was combined with liner notes from Tom Scharpling, Thurston Moore, and others to form a brand-new issue of Damaged Goods, Hysen’s long-lost zine. The band then recruited pals Thalia Zedek (Come, E, Uzi), Gary Lee Conner (Screaming Trees), Dez Cadena (Black Flag), John Robinson (The Fluid), and A Girl Called Eddy to add vocals and instruments to long-lost demo tracks from the album. Ace recording engineer Tom Beaujour (Nada Surf, Aeon Station) mixed it all together. The result is a staggering slab of influential indie rock from before its halcyon days.
The digital version of the LP is available now, and comes with a PDF copy of Damaged Goods Issue 10. The deluxe vinyl version is in production now, on target for a late October finish, and includes a printed copy of the zine, some killer images of old gig flyers, and of course, the entire original EP plus all the outtakes, demos, and reimagined tracks. If you buy the vinyl LP from our Bandcamp site, you get the music and digital zine via high-resolution download, and we’ll ship you the vinyl LP just as soon as we’ve got it.
Late last week we received a phone call we were dreading: our pals in Monsterland had to drop off the lineup for the Drom30 festival. Nothing serious, but some last-minute, uncancelable obligations came up and they had to drop.
Coordinating an event that spans three days with 19 performers, a bunch of DJs and five different locations, I sort of anticipated that there would be some sort of snag – somewhere – but losing Monsterland really bummed me out. Suffice to say they were the second band I asked (Stuyvesant was the first), and the first to confirm, and I was really looking forward to hearing them blast out some of my favorite songs ever, as they’re truly one of my favorite bands.
Regrouping, I was reminded that just the week before, I became aware that NYC indie rockers Madder Rose had just dropped a brand-new album. No One Gets Hurt Ever was released on August 4, their first record since 2019’s To Be Beautiful. I searched around, looking for any sign of a tour or a release party and found nothing.
So I held my breath and fired off an instant message via social media.
Within a few hours I’d received a response from guitarist Billy Cote’, asking a few questions. And while I slowly fell in love with No One Gets Hurt Ever, we worked out the details and Madder Rose officially agreed to join the bill! They’ll appear in Monsterland’s slot at the Avalon on Sunday night.
Billy told me this week that it’ll be Madder Rose’s first show in 24 years with this original lineup. That’s pretty exciting, and I am beyond thrilled to be able to add a band of this caliber to our little party.
When Lyle of Das Damen explained the reissue to us, the thing we had the most difficulty understanding was the “reimagined” tracks. These were tracks dating back to 1986 – unfinished studio recordings that, for whatever reason, were incomplete. And the band wanted their friends to help finish these 37-year-old tracks. How was that going to work?
In practice, though, their pals – some of whom they’ve known since these songs were recorded – breathed new life into the music. Gary Lee Conner’s (Screaming Trees) guitar solo to open “Trick Question” transforms the song, from the slow burn of the original to an explosion of energy, right out of the gate. Dez Cadena (Black Flag) and John Robinson (The Fluid) add blasts of hardcore and thrash to the proto-grunge of “Behind My Eyes.” A Girl Called Eddy adds experimentation to the previously unreleased “Tsavolution #9.”
But it’s Thalia Zedek (Come, Live Skull) providing a new lead vocal on “How Do You Measure” that’s revelatory. The immediacy of her voice, singing over tracks nearly four decades old, is stunning. It’s almost shocking to know that this track is as old as it is, with Zedek’s voice capturing the almost desperate pleas of the original, and wrapping it in the wisdom of experience.
If you buy the entire album from our store, you get the download of “How Do You Measure” now. Or, you can listen to it on this visualizer.
We are beyond stoked to announce that we’ll be releasing a deluxe, reissue of the legendary Das Damen’s debut ep, titled 1986: It Keeps Me Wild. Newly remastered and augmented with an array of previously unreleased demos, reimagined tracks, and a brand-new issue of drummer Lyle Hysen’s legendary fanzine Damaged Goods (featuring a comprehensive timeline, show flyers, oral history, testimonials from Tom Scharpling, Thurston Moore and more), the LP will be released digitally on Friday, September 8, with deluxe vinyl and digital download available in October. Pre-saves and preorders are available now.
In addition to two never-before-heard demos, It Keeps Me Wild is highlighted by reworked versions of cuts culled from the EP’s original 1986 recording sessions, featuring new contributions from such friends and fans as Dez Cadena (Black Flag), Thalia Zedek (Come, Live Skull), Gary Lee Conner (Screaming Trees), John Robinson (The Fluid), and A Girl Called Eddy. A video for the song “Trick Question,” directed by Dave Rygalski, is streaming now on YouTube.
“When we got the tapes baked several years ago, upon listening to them we discovered we had a few unfinished alternate takes from the original EP sessions,” says drummer Lyle Hysen. “We didn’t feel we could bring the same 1986 enthusiasm to finishing the tapes, but by bringing in a few people who we respect or are pals from back then, the re-imaginings would have a new energy of their own.”
“In the spring of 1991, we did our first US tour as a major label band after the release of Uncle Anesthesia,” says Screaming Trees’ guitarist Gary Lee Conner. “As the tour began, chaos ensued. A van wreck that should have been fatal led to Mark Lanegan falling off the wagon to start drinking again after nearly six years sober. My brother Van and our drummer at the time, Dan Peters, enthusiastically joined in the alcoholic debauchery which began in Chicago and ended the tour prematurely in Pensacola, Florida a month later. Our good friends and former label mates Das Damen were the opening band for most of the tour. Watching them play every night kept me sane. They have some of my all-time favorite songs, like ‘Grey Isn’t Black’ and ‘Bug.’ Now I even get to play on one of their songs. Pretty fucking cool!”
Das Damen will mark the release of 1986: It Keeps Me Wild with their first live date in more than 30 years. The one-time-only performance is set for Drom30, Dromedary Records’ weekend-long celebration of independent rock in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley, on Saturday, September 16.
Founded in 1984 by singer/guitarist Jim Walters, guitarist Alex Totino, eight-string bassist Phil Leopold Von Trapp, and drummer Lyle Hysen, Das Damen immediately proved themselves to be the electric children of the Stooges, MC5, Cheap Trick, and the Beatles, whipping up a glorious cosmic swirl of stadium-sized proportions that flattened East Village clubs while earning them a hardcore following of devoted fans across America and around the world. Originally released on Sonic Youth co-founder Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace! imprint in 1986 (and later reissued by SST Records), DAS DAMEN remains an earth-scorching touchstone in the downtown NYC underground movement and a milestone recording in the annals of American indie rock. The six anthemic songs contained therein remain as fist-pumpingly huge and evocative as ever, dripping with the grit, grime, chaos, and sludge of the 1980s downtown scene where the band members first converged as fledgling teenage punks attending New York University. But while Das Damen certainly shared an affinity for jacked-to-11 amps and ear-busting volume akin peers like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., songs like “Trick Question,” “Slave Bird” and “How Do You Measure” stand alone with otherworldly singalong harmonies, tasty hooks, monster riffs, and miles and miles of paisley-draped, hair-exploding style.
Originally recorded with iconic noise-rock producer Wharton Tiers (Sonic Youth, Glenn Branca, Pussy Galore) in the narrow, concrete-lined confines of his famed Fun City Studios in NYC, the EP’s ecstatic maelstrom expertly mirrored the tension, frenzy and white noise that earned Das Damen a reputation as a mind-blowingly epic live band, as heard on tours alongside Nirvana, Soundgarden, Black Flag, Green River, Screaming Trees, and DC3, amongst other like-minded luminaries. Remastered from the original Ecstatic Peace! tapes by Sean Glonek at SRG Studios and overseen by Walters, Hysen, and best-selling author/producer Tom Beaujour (Guided by Voices, Juliana Hatfield Three, Nada Surf), the new mix of DAS DAMEN brings a fresh layer of sheen even as it retains the signature primitive din that was the band’s trademark, its Stooges-on-speed rippers rife with King Crimson-esque time signature intricacies. Almost four decades after its explosive arrival, DAS DAMEN remains as thrilling, explosive, and forward-looking as ever before.
(Photo: Naomi Petersen, courtesy of Chis Petersen Images/Punk Life Naomi)
OLD, CRANKY AND LOUD – Noisy pop music for weirdos like you.