GRIM TOWER is the collaborative project of Stephen McBean from Black Mountain (vocals/guitar/synths) and Imaad Wasif (vocals/guitar). The album, called Anarchic Breezes, was written around the central idea of a New Acoustic Death Folk, yet could be heard as equal parts Harry Smith and Harry Pussy. Both songwriters come together on “Anarchic Breezes” to explore a mutual interest in the darker traditions of song and detuning found in the American Primitive Archives. The album features the ancillary rhythm section of Rob Barbato (bass) and Dan Allaire (drums), also L.A. musicians with roots deep in the modern psych movement. The two voices on this album serve as mediums to a yet unheard music. Let the free ride the breeze.
DUSTY SKULL is rock, plain and simple. Featuring Isaiah Mitchell from Earthless & Howlin' Rain, Graham Clise from Annihilation Time, Lecherous Gaze and Witch, Dave Sweetapple from Sweet Apple and Witch, Terri Christopher from 27 and Craig Behrhorst from The Ruffians, Dusty Skull play that mash-up of Thin Lizzy, Pink Fairies and Abrasive Wheels that you've always wished existed.
In June of 2011, DINOSAUR JR recorded a legendary performance at the 9:30 Club, a blistering set consisting of their classic Bug LP played live from start to finish. Professionally recorded that night and now mastered exclusively for vinyl, the record comes in a beautiful silkscreen cover designed by Marq Spusta. BUG: LIVE is now available in an insanely limited run of just 200 copies on - what else could it be but j's favorite color - purple vinyl!
It was the summer of 1984, and a teenage j Mascis was bored. Sure, his band Deep Wound were still playing shows and melting faces. That band would prove to be one of hardcore’s seminal influences, but j didn’t know that then. Disillusioned with the direction that most of his hardcore heroes had taken, he wanted to start something new. He wanted to shed the pretentiousness and elitism that had risen around him - to slow things down and turn the volume way, way up. This new band would influence generations of disenfranchised youth while tipping their hat to their heroes of years past, before punk existed. And so: he needed a band.
He remembered a couple kids from his early high school days – stoner kids he’d always admired for their “who gives a shit” attitude. Those kids, Johnny Pancake and Pete Cougar, had been kicked out of marching band for smoking weed out of a tuba. Way better musicians than the marching band deserved, they’d formed a duo that was all rhythm section – no vocals, no guitar, a sick, punchy brew of Band of Gypsies and Japanese hard psych (Johnny’s uncle was a US Marine stationed on Okinawa in 1973. From his frequent visits to Tokyo, he brought home a killer psych record collection. And a mean dose of the clap). These were the guys he needed. He rounded them up and it soon became obvious that the heavy rhythms they created were the perfect backdrop to young Mascis’ insane, fluid ability on the guitar. The trio came up with six blistering tracks, named themselves Heavy Blanket, and set a date to record.
But then, tragedy struck. Johnny hit his head and nearly drowned while swimming in an old stone quarry in southern Vermont. His recovery was… incomplete. He gave up playing altogether and became something of a recluse, retreating to the relative safety of his grandmother’s basement. Disheartened by Johnny incapacitation, Pete moved out to Ohio to work in his uncle’s second-hand furniture store. He later did a stint in federal prison for repeatedly passing low-denomination counterfeit bills at the local Stop’n’Shop. Mascis went on to form Dinosaur jr, and the rest is history. The boys lost touch, and those blistering tracks were lost to history.
Fast forward to the winter of 2011. While on his semi-annual ski retreat to Stowe, Mascis runs into an old friend. Johnny had emerged from his grandmother’s basement (having been forced to, once her demise stopped the flow of milk and sandwiches to his underground lair) and taken a job grooming the ski trails with a Snowcat. Convinced his long-ago accident was the handiwork of those schemers in Pearl Jam, Johnny begged j to reform the band. It was the only way to get back at them, he insisted. A quick search of Ohio prison records turned up Pete, living in a halfway house in Columbus. After securing the proper permissions from his parole officer, Pete boarded a Greyhound with the only recording of Heavy Blanket in existence – an old practice cassette. Building off those old tune structures, the boys – now men – have finally succeeded in fulfilling the promise of that long past summer.