Secret Punk and Basement Pop mixtape from Street Eaters + interview
By Everett True
You don’t get offered the real good stuff very often. A rad free mixtape of MP3s from basement pop bands that don’t usually trade in the currency, compiled from tapes and vinyl-only releases by Bay Area band Street Eaters. Scratchy, wired, beautiful. Brutal. Vulnerable. Passionate. Full of names that you might not be familiar with right now, but you sure as Bangs will be once you’ve download this mixtape.
Drums rattle and clatter. God Equals Genocide sing plaintively in Spanish language over rolling anarcho rhythms, laden down with harmony and good humour. Shellshag move on down and fuzz it good, pausing only to whomp the volume button up another few notches, and throwing in itinerant brief harmonies that recall the hidden side of Olympia WA circa 1993 (Unwound). The inspirational Songs For Moms lose themselves in the moment and burst loose, driving forward. Future Virgins could be something from The Legend!’s secret treasure trove of bedsit mates, sharing floors and experiences in ’84. Street Eaters are just symmetrical/asymmetrical girl-boy beauty, clambering over the scratched remains of a thousand worn-0ut seven-inch singles and parading their love for POP and love for PUNK (the two are synonymous here) for those who care to see. Surrender don’t, they really don’t.
There’s nothing horrendously macho about any of the music present: far from it. Secret Punk and Basement Pop is a celebration of the influence of femininity on punk rock, distilled through countless house parties and abused home stereo PA systems.
As John Mink from Street Eaters puts it:
These bands possess serious knowledge of the long heritage of powerpop + rock + punk music but don’t get bogged down in straight-up emulation, playing music that is very much a product of and reaction to these dirty, sharp, and bittersweet times we live in. Their music is like the huge, crumbling Victorian right next door getting squatted and transforming overnight into a wildly-painted palace; a place where outsiders sometimes stumble in by accident, only to be shocked how many people are packed inside who know all the words to all the songs. Sometimes these outsiders end up moving in, and they are no longer outsiders. Most of these bands have released multiple albums, hang out together, share members, and rock the hell out of basements, living rooms, warehouses, and certain bars + better-known DIY spaces across the US and beyond; what they do is secret by design, accident, or more often some combination of both. A lot of this stuff was a pain in the ass to get on digital format since most of these bands are a bit purposefully luddite, putting stuff out mainly on vinyl and cassettes.
Here’s the track-listing:
STREET EATERS – Ashby and Shattuck
LANDLORD – Insomnia
SONGS FOR MOMS – These Songs That I’m Singing
SHELLSHAG – Kiss Me Harder
FUTURE VIRGINS – Bitter Eyes
SURRENDER – The Future
ADD/C – Paradigm
BLACK RAINBOW – Pinpricks
TUBERS – In The Snow
GOD EQUALS GENOCIDE – La Yerba de los Caminos
And here’s the link (you can download everything via here – you need to click in the top left hand corner of the screen, where it says “tracks”):
To celebrate , next week I’ll be running a week-long Song Of The Day featuring my five favourite bands from the mixtape (no one asked me to do this, but there’s no way I’m going to ignore such righteous music) … it might well have to go on for a bit longer.
In the meantime, please click on page two of this post for a great Street Eaters interview by Bianca Valentino, and page three for Street Eaters’ track-by-track rundown of the mixtape.