Secret Punk and Basement Pop mixtape from Street Eaters + interview
LANDLORD – Insomnia
Landlord are from Blooomington, IL., home of Plan-It X Records (who put out the new Street Eaters LP) – but they are also “from” Athens, GA and probably other places too. We’ve been familiar with the members’ various projects for years but we first played with them at the Purple House in Oakland in 2009, where they blew us away and gave us a couple tapes that we have listened to ceaselessly ever since. To me, there are hints of early Built To Spill and The Undertones, but Landlord is ultimately a genius American power pop band that has a sound all their own. This song is one of their best tracks and you can hear it on their old MySpace page, but be aware that if you go there you will first have to find and stop the awful bling-bling hip hop song that was embedded in their comments on auto-start, dating to sometime in 2010. I don’t think Landlord spends much time on the internet.
SONGS FOR MOMS – These Songs That I’m Singing
Songs For Moms are from right here in Oakland but spend about as much time on the road or in Olympia, WA as they do here except during Girls Rock Camp in the summer – then, they are here full-time and devoted to teaching very young ladies to learn the rudiments of starting their own bands. We have played with them many times and they are brilliant every time, deftly mining a difficult-to-ply middle ground between blistering queer lady punk, pretty + sad indie pop, and a musical virtuosity that almost borders on progressive rock. Their records are great, too.
SHELLSHAG – Kiss Me Harder
Jen Shag and Johnny Shell of Shellshag are our good friends and some of the finest and most inspirational people we know, with a genuine mastery and understanding of songwriting that is very hard to come by – they write songs that people will be singing along to for many years. Though they have been in Brooklyn, NY, running Starcleaner Records for the last six years (?) or so, they spent most of the 90s and early 00s in San Francisco as important pillars of the seminal Secret Punk scene in the Mission District that centered around venue/store Mission Records and Starcleaner Warehouse. Shell and Jen’s old bands, 50 Million and Static Faction, were playing head-to-head with legends like Hickey and making buzzy noiserock and fuzzed-out lo-fi pop a decade before anyone else picked it up, and they are even better at it today in Shellshag.
FUTURE VIRGINS – Bitter Eyes
Future Virgins, based in Chattanooga, are Secret Punk veterans of the DIY circuit, with years of touring both in their current band and in their other bands. They produce some of the best modern punk-pop to be found anywhere, with miles of grit and bile and power and none of the glossiness or sappiness that can sink others who try to write music this catchy. One of the main singers, Ashley, has East Bay origins that include his guitar presence in the legendary Dory Tourette and the Skirtheads. The members of this band also help run vegan restaurant/venue Sluggo’s (both in Chattanooga and Pensacola, FL), recording studio Revolution Sounds, and record label This Here!
SURRENDER – The Future
Surrender is a band whose members are scattered widely about geographically, but since their music and lyrics are so globally-focused that is largely irrelevant. A genuine peace punk band, Surrender’s music relies heavily on dynamics and manages to be both abrasively angry and bittersweet, often within the same song. Their lyrics are just the kind of pointed, anthemic assaults on hypocrisy and the evils of Capitalism that we desperately need to hear in a time when such anthems are in short supply. Street Eaters have been friends with the various members of Surrender for many years, and have worked with them not only in other bands but under their coordination at community-based projects such as 924 Gilman and long-running collective institution Maximum Rock N Roll Magazine.
ADD/C – Paradigm
Like the Future Virgins, ADD/C are based in Chattanooga and play a distinctively-Chattanoogan take on power punk-pop that is centered around the label This Here! Records. ADD/C are total masters of the form, and add to the mix some powerful bluegrass/country aspects and a darkly Orwellian lyrical focus mixed with the most bittersweet of love songs. All this is going on while the band is going batshit wild onstage, whipping audiences into a frenzy and baiting them with some of the most hilarious between-song banter you are going to hear south of Chicago. We’ve played and partied with them many times and never get sick of them, except for maybe one time when they screwed with the audience by playing a marathon set for almost 2 hours at 3am in a basement in Bloomington, IL, all while using our bass amp so we couldn’t leave. But we still love them.
BLACK RAINBOW – Pinpricks
Black Rainbow is another gloriously bi-coastal band, with members scattered between Brooklyn, Asheville, and San Francisco. This doesn’t stop them from getting better every time they get together to play live, write, and record some new material, however. Driven by the raw, throaty power of Ivy’s voice, Black Rainbow plays punk that is infused with passion and ferocity, as well as a driven sense of purpose and larger-than-life personality. They are a perfect balance of musical tightness and the raw melodicism of a powerful, distinct woman’s voice with some important things to communicate to you. Black Rainbow started in the Bay Area, and all the members were very much part of the important Secret Punk scene in the Mission District that Shellshag also helped drive.
TUBERS – In The Snow
St. Augustine, Florida, is the oldest continually-occupied town in North America, boasting a Spanish Fort that dates to the early 1500s. They also possess a veritable hive of talented musicians, centered on the independent label Bakery Outlet, which released the CD version of Street Eaters’ new album, as well as our first EP, and also Landlord’s first album. St. Augustine and Bakery Outlet also play home to the angular, sometimes-abrasive sometimes-beautiful post-punk of Tubers. Street Eaters and Tubers did a west coast tour together in early 2010, and it was probably the most family-like atmosphere I’ve ever felt on a tour; they are genuinely good people with great music and some powerful things to say.
GOD EQUALS GENOCIDE – La Yerba de los Caminos
The members of God Equals Genocide are super-involved in the DIY community in Los Angeles, setting up shows at their Highland Park house, helping to coordinate vital scene organ Razorcake Magazine, and playing some raw, melodic, and distinct punk-based music. This song is sonically unusual in their catalog but still fits nicely into their overall weird oeuvre, its plaintively-beautiful Spanish melody strongly reminiscent of experimental Dutch Anarchopunks The Ex. Street Eaters really hope to play another show together with them soon.