Friday, October 11, 2013


Now that they've let this loose on the net I might as well pass it along. Big Zit have been tearing up midwest basements over the past year and it's about time you heard em. Other people have already said this but I'll repeat it in agreement: these are some of the most freaked-out vocals I've heard in quite a long time. Really excellent tunes, especially the first one; it's no surprise that this band shares members with Ooze because they're both so fukkin groovy. To add to my general disorientation upon first popping this in my tape deck, the last song on my copy is a magnetically-degraded version of "Voice of Q" ... this band is a total cultural assault.

Tommy Jay - Tall Tales of Trauma [1986]

Here's a bit of weirdo psych-folk for the proud losers to jam on this Friday night. Tommy Jay is one of the pioneers of the Central Ohio underground. He and a few other outsiders like Mike Rep formed some of that state's first punk bands in the early-mid '70s, carrying the torch of Lou Reed and the 13th Floor Elevators on through the '80s to light the way for everyone from Guided By Voices to Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments to Pink Reason. But don't take it from me, take it from the anonymous crowdsourced writeup I found on lastfm:
Tommy Jay is legendary — whether writing songs and playing drums for Mike Rep & the Quotas (or The True Believers farther back), or collaborating on a number of Nudge Squidfish self-releases — but even as an equal in the now legendary Ego Summit, his contemporaries' main projects (V-3, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, Bassholes) outshined Jay’s dark horse status. Only now does one realize that his "Novocaine" was the fulcrum of the entire project. He was the poignant, coherent, folkie among a barn full of well-medicated genius.
The balance between these crisp psych-folk nuggets and direct contact with the lunatic fringe (be it “little black jelly beans,” blotter, or blue oyster cults) make cult record Tall Tales Of Trauma a rewarding time warp through twelve years of Central Ohio lore. In the record’s earliest documents (circa ‘74, Timberlake) The Velvet Underground’s influence is obvious, not just on the cover of Ocean but also in "I Was There," a jangly, kaleidoscope of bittersweet pop that never edits his repeated guitar freak-outs. Into the 80’s the specter of Lou Reed (or perhaps more referentially precise, the echoes of Mayo Thompson) loomed large in Jay’s voice, phrasing, and tragic moods evoked, still the mysticism of Harrisburg is the overwhelming resonate. May I be crucified for such statement, but Tall Tales is infinitely more colorful and strange than any Reed solo venture (save Berlin), because it’s the quirky folk record Reed never made. It tip-toes around Indian burial grounds, abuses cheap-drug in dingy basements, chronicles the lives of gypsies, tramps, thieves, murderers, the village idiot and the quintessential anti-hero in all of us (who may or may not still live on Weber Rd.). 
Back to that lunatic fringe — the cast of characters Jay surrounded himself with give the songs their creepy (and often beautiful) skin. Squid’s pedal-steel synth on "Memories" transforms it into dim-lit neon honky-tonk or the flute and harmony provided by Jennifer Eling and Mike Rep respectively on the Joni Mitchell cover "Dreamland" is the closest thing to Laurel Canyon sunshine these ears have heard in the Columbus Discount Records pantheon.
Fans of the more acoustic-y side of J.T. IV would be well-advised to get ahold of this one. For more on the Central Ohio underground, see this post on WFMU's Beware of the Blog.

Total Trash - You Don't Try CS [2013]

Total Trash came thru town a coupla weeks ago on the tail end of their recent tour. They slayed the room with crunchy riffs and winning stage/floor presence. Their 7" is out right about now, and while it's good, this tape from earlier in the year wins out coz it's a little more raw and angry (to my ear). Plus they do a Germs song on this one. Besides Wild Child, Total Trash are probably the best thing Minneapolis has going right now as far as this ignorant monk can tell. Shambling punk with dynamic (a)-melodic vocals and a guitar that sounds inspired by Bitch Magnet. And they know how to draw you in with a slow tune without it getting stale, as evident on the last track "Know." All-around solid release. 

You can get through their bandcamp, pay-what-you-want for digital or cough up a few bones for the actual tape.