Thursday, September 22, 2016

What's (Re)New?: TAD's God’s Balls, Salt Lick, & 8-Way Santa

In the early 90s, following Nirvana's rise to fame, the Sub Pop label had enjoyed some notoriety as Seattle's premium Alt-farm for the record industry majors, many of whom were clamoring for the next flannel adorned malcontent with a shitty guitar and an impassioned yell.  Having essentially birthed Seattle's rock scene via Green River, (whose members would later form other seminal acts such as Mudhoney, Mother Love Bone, and Pearl Jam), Sub Pop was also the label that offered Nirvana and Soundgarden their earliest opportunities as recording artists, a move that eventually led both bands to worldwide acclaim.  As regional devotees, Sub Pop curated and, consequently, informed what would be called the "Seattle Sound."

With that said, TAD, whose muddy distorto-rumblings were certainly demonstrative of the scene's penchant for aural grit, I feel gets overlooked.  Started by guitarist/vocalist Tad Doyle in the late 80s, TAD was among the earliest of Sub Pop's then-budding roster.  As all things "grunge" and Seattle garnered more and more attention, TAD responded with having a video banned from MTV ("Wood Goblins," which is featured in the band's 1990 EP, Salt Lick) and acquiring a lawsuit due to the original cover art for their 1991 release, 8-Way Santa, (which you can find here.)  

Sub Pop has seen fit to reissue the three albums TAD recorded for the label, 1989's God's Balls, Salt Lick, and 8-Way Santa, as deluxe editions built out with a heavy amount of extras.  The reissues will be out November 4th and all the below info has been provided by Sub Pop along with a link for pre-order.  There's also a bonus compilation of tracks available for free if you purchase the albums on vinyl directly from Sub Pop.  A tracklist for the bonus material can be found below. 

Read about the albums and check out some videos:

Deluxe editions of God’s Balls, Salt Lick, and 8-Way Santa,
TAD’s classic early discography, will be released worldwide on Sub Pop November 4th

All painstakingly remastered from the original tapes by Jack Endino

With new images from Charles Peterson, full liner notes, and gatefold jackets

Bonus material includes rare, unreleased, and alternate recordings

“Stumbling Man” (from
Salt Lick) [link here]
“Wood Goblins” (from
8-Way Santa) [link here]

The long-unavailable, classic discography of beloved and iconic Seattle band, TAD -- God’s Balls (1989), Salt Lick (1990), 8-Way Santa (1991), and assorted singles from the band’s 1988-1992 run -- finally receive the deluxe reissue treatment. Producer & engineer Jack Endino (who produced God's Balls, TAD's first full-length) has remastered all of the recordings from the original tapes. God's Balls, Salt Lick and 8-Way Santa will be available on November 4th worldwide on Sub Pop.

These deluxe editions of God's Balls, Salt Lick, and 8-Way Santa feature new images from celebrated photographer Charles Peterson, bonus tracks, and expansive liner notes from the band and Jack Endino. The bonus material associated with each release will be included on the CD and digital formats. And each of the gatefold vinyl LPs will include that album’s bonus material as part of its free, associated download. All of the bonus material, from all three of these monumental heavy rock/punk albums will be collected on an additional bonus LP available for free with purchase of all three (3) albums on vinyl from the Sub Pop Mega Mart [preorder here] and also from select independent retailers.

More on TAD from Tad Doyle [read here].

God’s Balls (1989)
God’s Balls, TAD’s punishing, noise-drenched debut album, was recorded with Jack Endino at Reciprocal Recording in Seattle in 1988 and released early the following year. In addition to their usual arsenal of guitars, bass, and drums, the band employed a variety of unusual instruments – an empty gas tank from a car, a hacksaw, a large brass tube from a microwave transmitter, CB radio mics, a cello bow used on cymbals to emulate guitar feedback – to thunderous effect, adding a Neubauten-esque clang to the band’s rock riffs. After releasing God’s Balls, TAD flew to Europe with Nirvana for both bands’ first European tour. The now-legendary, month-long tour took the bands to the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy, Denmark and Sweden.

This reissue of God’s Balls features bonus tracks from TAD’s 1988 debut 7”, plus the previously unreleased “Tuna Car” from the 7” session. God’s Balls has been out of print on LP/CD for many years, and this is its first digital release.

1. Behemoth
2. Pork Chop
3. Helot
4. Tuna Car
5. Sex God Missy (Lumberjack Mix)
6. Cyanide Bath
7. Boiler Room
8. Satan’s Chainsaw
9. Hollow Man
10. Nipple Belt
11. Ritual Device - (from “Daisy” 7” single) **
12. Daisy - (from “Daisy” 7” single) **
13. Tuna Car (Unreleased) **

** w/ CD / Digital / LP Download Card only

Salt Lick (1990)
After their 1989 debut album, God’s Balls, TAD continued to write and record, releasing a string of singles and the Salt Lick EP between 1989 and 1990. Salt Lick features the single “Wood Goblins,” the video for which MTV banned because it was, to the delicate eyes of MTV programmers, “too ugly.” The sounds of Salt Lick are, indeed, wonderfully ugly, thanks in part to the involvement of noise-rock technician Steve Albini (Big Black, Shellac, Nirvana, The Jesus Lizard), who recorded the EP. The band continued to release singles and gain momentum in the press. As TAD himself puts it: “Lyrically we had a lot of subject matter that was meant to be tongue-in-cheek from the beginning but that was presented by both Sub Pop and us as true-to-life. The press took it all seriously and began to feed on and ravenously devour the mythology we created.”

This reissue of Salt Lick includes tracks from the “Wood Goblins” single, a split 7” with Pussy Galore, and the “Loser” 7”. This material has been out of print on vinyl/CD for many years, and this is its first digital release.

1. Axe to Grind
2. High on the Hog
3. Wood Goblins
4. Hibernation
5. Glue Machine
6. Potlatch
7. Loser (from “Loser” 7” single) **
8. Cooking With Gas (from “Wood Goblins” 12” & “Loser” 7” single) **
9. Habit Necessity (from “Dope Guns N Fucking in the Streets” 7” single on Amphetamine Reptile) **
10. Damaged (from Pussy Galore split 7” single) **

** w/ CD / Digital / LP Download Card only

8-Way Santa (1991)
In 1991, after tens of thousands of miles on the road in support of God’s Balls and Salt Lick, and a run of powerful EPs/singles, TAD released their second full-length album, 8-Way Santa. Recorded at Smart Studios in Madison, WI with Butch Vig, whose work with Killdozer the band admired, 8-Way Santa finds TAD pushing their sound in new directions. Not a band to rest on its laurels, TAD began to add melodic touches to their sound, as evidenced by the lead single, “Jinx.” 8-Way Santa was the last record with the original TAD lineup, and their last album for Sub Pop before jumping to a major label.

This reissue of 8-Way Santa includes tracks from the “Jinx” single, a 1990 EP, and a handful of unreleased album demos recorded by Jack Endino. This material has been out of print on vinyl/CD for many years, and this is the first digital release for the bonus content.

1. Jinx
2. Giant Killer
3. Wired God
4. Delinquent
5. Hedge Hog
6. Flame Tavern
7. Trash Truck
8. Stumblin’ Man
9. Jack
10. Candi
11. 3-D Witch Hunt
12. Cranes Café
13. Plague Years
14. Pig Iron (from Jinx 7” single) **
15. Nuts ‘N’ Bolts (Unreleased) **
16. Delinquent (8-Way Santa Jack Endino demos) **
17. Giant Killer (8-Way Santa Jack Endino demos) **
18. Wired God (8-Way Santa Jack Endino demos) **
19. 3D Witch Hunt (8-Way Santa Jack Endino demos) **
20. Eddie Hook (from U.S. “Jack” CD & all German “Jack” releases -- 7”, 12” & CD -- and from 8-Way Santa Butch Vig sessions) **

** w/ CD / Digital / LP Download Card only

Bonus LP Compilation Tracklist:
(Available free with purchase of all three albums on vinyl from the Sub Pop Mega Mart [preorder here] and from select independent retailers)
A1. Ritual Device (from “Daisy” 7” single)
A2. Daisy (from “Daisy” 7” single)
A3. Tuna Car (Unreleased)
A4. Loser (from “Loser” 7” single)
A5. Cooking With Gas (from “Loser” 7” single)
A6. Habit Necessity - (from “Dope Guns N Fucking in the Streets” 7” single on Amphetamine Reptile)
A7. Damaged (from Pussy Galore split 7” single)
B1. Pig Iron (from “Jinx” 7” single)
B2. Nuts 'N' Bolts (Unreleased)
B3. Delinquent (8-Way Santa Jack Endino demos)
B4. Giant Killer (8-Way Santa Jack Endino demos)
B5. Wired God (8-Way Santa Jack Endino demos)
B6. 3-D Witch Hunt (8-Way Santa Jack Endino demos)
B7. Eddie Hook (from U.S. “Jack” CD & all German “Jack” releases -- 7”, 12” & CD -- and from 8-Way Santa Butch Vig sessions)

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, September 19, 2016

KEXP Celebrates Nirvana's Nevermind...

Something for us old heads nostalgic for an era when music was still an experience people shared...

Info courtesy of KEXP.  

KEXP Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind

Listeners Invited To Share Stories at (412) 4-GRUNGE

Week of Special Programming Begins Monday, September 19
Seattle – September 19, 2016 In 1988, Kurt Cobain drove to KCMU (now KEXP) to drop off Nirvana’s first single, “Love Buzz”. Anxious to hear it, Kurt tuned in to his car radio all day, finally pulling off to a pay phone to request it himself. He then listened as Nirvana was played on air for the first time. Less than a year later 90.3 was also the first station to play Nirvana’s debut album, Bleach. Three years later, Kurt and Nirvana returned to the station in person to premier the band’s second album, Nevermind. As this classic observes its silver anniversary this month, KEXP celebrates with a week of special programming—and we invite everyone to participate.

Beginning Monday, September 19, KEXP’s daytime shows will feature new and archival interviews with artists and experts connected to
Nevermind, including Charles R. Cross (author of Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain), Marco Collins, Damien Jurado, and from the EMP Museum Oral Histories Archive bassist Krist Novoselic, producers Butch Vig and Jack Endino, Bruce Pavitt (Sub Pop Records), Alice Cooper, and more.

Kurt Cobain was the last rock star… That stardust you only see a few times in rock history. You can’t manufacture it,” said Charles R. Cross in his exclusive interview with KEXP.

Nirvana fans are encouraged to share their personal Nirvana stories by leaving a message at (412) 4-GRUNGE (412-447-8643). KEXP will edit the best listener memories into short segments that will air during daytime programming the week of Monday, September 19.

On Friday, September 23, KEXP kicks off its Fall Fundraising Drive with twelve hours of music from 1991, including classics by My Bloody Valentine, R.E.M., Massive Attack, A Tribe Called Quest, and Primal Scream. The week culminates on Saturday, September 24, at 6:00 p.m. with a special edition of Audioasis dedicated to the legacy of

KEXP’s ties to Nirvana pre-date
Nevermind. Sub Pop co-founder, Jonathan Poneman, was a KCMU DJ and the original host of Audioasis. In fall 1991, he convinced afternoon DJ Riz Rollins to debut Nevermind and discuss it on-air with the band members. Later, Rollins was the DJ at the notorious Seattle album release party that ended in a food fight and Nirvana being kicked out of the venue.

We are proud of our role championing emerging bands. This station was the first to take a chance on Nirvana when we played “Love Buzz,” the first song by Nirvana heard on the radio,” said KEXP Morning Show host John Richards. “We then had the band up and were the first to play what would become one of the most important albums ever made, Nevermind.”

For more information, check KEXP’s Nirvana event page.

ABOUT KEXP KEXP is one of the most influential listener-supported music radio stations in the country. More than 200,000 listeners from around the world tune in to the station each week over the air and online. On KEXP's YouTube channel, videos of exclusive in-studio performances garner more than 1.7 million views per week. KEXP produces over 500 live performances each year. For more information, please visit

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Conrad Schnitzler & Schneider TM: "Doozer"

If reading or hearing the name Conrad Schnitzler garners sudden and inescapable interest, it's likely that you'll want to check out the Con-Struct series.  Schnitzler was a founding member of Kluster, (before they were renamed Cluster), co-owner of the Zodiak Free Arts Lab, (which was a haven for the artistic and experimentally minded people of Berlin in the late 60s), and an early member of Tangerine Dream.  The man was directly responsible for the facilitation of a very prolific and creatively rich period of musical exploration, a period that he himself contributed to in various functions as either collaborator or composer.

With all that said, the Con-Struct series was conceived by Jens Strüver, half of the electronic group, Borngräber & Strüver.  After gaining access to an extensive sound archive that Schnitzler had built, Strüver proposed that new music be developed utilizing this archive and that musicians of a similar ilk helm each installment in the series.  For this new release, Schneider TM was handed the keys.  You can check out the track "Doozer" below. 

You can also sample album snippets from the Schneider TM release. These were provided by Bureau-B.

Information on the release was provided by Sean Newsham at mutante-inc.

Who is Conrad Schnitzler?
Conrad Schnitzler (1937–2011), composer and concept artist, is one of the most important representatives of Germany’s electronic music avant-garde. A student of Joseph Beuys, he founded Berlin’s legendary Zodiak Free Arts Lab, a subculture club, in 1967/68, was a member of Tangerine Dream (together with Klaus Schulze and Edgar Froese) and Kluster (with Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius) and also released countless solo albums.

Who is Schneider TM?
Schneider TM has been involved in various musical fields since the late 1980s. Between 1989 and 1997 he played and sang in indie/noise rock and pop bands like Locust Fudge and Hip Young Things, before focussing more on electronic music from 1997 onwards, starting up his project Schneider TM. In 1999 Dresselhaus formed the duo Angel together with Ilpo Väisänen.

What is the concept of the Con-Struct series?
Conrad Schnitzler liked to embark on daily excursions through the sonic diversity of his synthesizers. Finding exceptional sounds with great regularity, he preserved them for use in combination with each other in subsequent live performances. He thus amassed a vast sound archive of his discoveries over time. When Jens Strüver, the producer of the Con-Struct series, was granted access to this audio library at the outset of the 2010 decade, he came up with the idea of con-structing new compositions, not remixes, from the archived material. On completion of the first Con-Struct album, he decided to develop the concept into a series, with different electronic musicians invited into Schnitzler’s unique world of sound.

A few words from Schneider TM on his con-structions? 
I am very happy and honored to be invited to do an album for the Con-Struct series and wanted to do something special and genuine in this posthumous collaboration with Conrad Schnitzler. I wanted to get as close to his spirit as possible, so I created a musical situation as if we were actually collaborating together in the same room, with Conrad playing his pre-recorded sound-files or modular system and me dubbing and processing it live on the fly… almost as if it was a live-concert situation.

Next to many other aspects of Schnitzler’s vast oeuvre, I am fond of the noisy, polyharmonic, polyrhythmic and sometimes quite humorous minimalism of his music, as well as his way of using chance, which often leads to magical and raw beauty. There are no other sounds on this record except for ones created by Schnitzler, sent through my system and processed live. During the sessions I had the feeling of being in a conversation with him. And when I met his widow, Gisela Schnitzler, she told me that they still talk every evening, more than five years after his death, and that he’s still around for sure. So, Conrad, thanks a lot for this experience!

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Daughter Of A Tapehead: Faith No More

Faith No More
We Care A Lot (Deluxe Band Edition)
Koolarrow Records
Released: 8.19.16
Originally released: 1985 via Mordam Records

* This is probably very true.

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

No Ripcord: Bangladeafy

Nefarious Industries
Released: 8.26.16

Letters From A Tapehead

"Gotta Read The Labels:" Constellation Records

For today, I have an avant/ambient treat directly from Constellation Records. In anticipation of three new debut releases from Jason Sharpe, Off World, and Automatisme, the good people at Constellation saw fit to compile and share two tracks from each release.  I gave the tracks a listen earlier today and very much enjoyed the lengthy, dystopian chill of Automatisme's "Simultanéité 1," and the infestation of plucked strings that carry Jason Sharpe's "A Boat Upon Its Blood (Part 1)."  I was also taken by the very loose "Wonder Farm" from Off World, its frontier-ist twang strange against the seesaw tumble of artificial swats of percussion.  

You can sample the tracks below:

Release information and links were provided by Rarely Unable.  If you like what you hear, please head over to Constellation and spend a couple bucks.


Constellation’s three new Autumn releases by Off World, Automatisme and Jason Sharp shall land on September 30th and are now available for LP and CD pre-order.

These new releases are wildly different yet satisfyingly leftfield albums that share an electric thread of sorts. Electronic music strategies, technologies, histories and sensibilities come into play, in very diverse ways, with each of these debut records – making them stand out a little differently in the context of the Constellation catalogue perhaps, but also informing one another and making a lot of sense to the label's ears as an album trio (somewhat in the spirit of their Musique Fragile series). Find out more about the individual releases below...

Introducing the debut collection of roving, semi-improvised, collaborative song deconstructions by Off World, featuring long-standing Constellation artist Sandro Perri and a coterie of fellow-traveling producers. Off World is the moniker under which a stockpile of primarily electronic, studio-based instrumental works will be issued over the next couple of years – this first volume rounds up music that emerged from a 2-day session in London orchestrated by producer Drew Brown (Lower Dens, Blonde Redhead, Beck), between himself, Perri, Susumu Mukai (Zongamin) and M J Silver (Mickey Moonlight) after learning that Perri was a huge fan of both Mukai and Silver’s work.

Off World 1 resists easy categorisation: not ambient “easy listening”, not strictly “improvised”, not “retro” – but eccentrically absorbing and soothingly mischievous electronic instrumentals, where vintage synthesizers and drum machines bubble and lurch, testing boundaries of melody and structure, with occasional accents from traditional/acoustic instrumentation. The result is genuinely exploratory, peculiar, warm and sui generis electronic music that sounds like it could have issued from any time in the past 40-50 years.

Momentform Accumulations
Momentform Accumulations is the debut album by rhythmic electronic/glitch/drone artist Automatisme. Taking cues from minimalist electronic pioneers of the late 90’s and early 2000’s – Pan Sonic/Maika Vainio, Alva Noto/Carsten Nicolia and Raster-Noton, Pole/~scape recordings to name a few – Ste-Hyacinthe, QC-based producer and visual artist William Jourdain has been self-releasing an impressive body of work over the last several years. The label are thrilled to be working with this promising producer and look forward to Automatisme tracing new affinities within the Constellation catalog.

Taking site-specific field recordings as his starting point, and with nominal reliance on synthesizers, Jourdain samples, signal bends, and transforms his source material into deliberate and elemental soundscapes of white and pink noise, spatial drone and methodically additive beats.
Momentform Accumulations compiles much of Automatisme’s most recent and most rhythmically-driven work.

A Boat Upon Its Blood is from Montréal-based improviser, composer and reedist Jason Sharp; a fixture of Montreal’s avant-garde and improv music communities, and an alumnus of Sam Shalabi’s Land of Kush orchestra and Matana RobertsCoin Coin Chapter One ensemble. With this debut recording issued under his own name, Sharp presents a highly compelling suite of contemporary electro-acoustic music that reveals the shape and scope of his vision as a composer and bandleader in his own right.

Inspired by Robert Creely’s poem “The Heart”, and using custom-built equipment to translate breath and heart rate into variegated sonic triggers, along with other modes of signal processing and in tandem with traditional instrumentation,
A Boat Upon Its Blood features Sharp’s own reed playing and contributions from a few guest musicians, particularly Josh Zubot on violin and Joe Grass on pedal steel guitar. The work is a tour-de-force of genre-defying, immersive, accessible and deeply satisfying modern composition.

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, September 05, 2016

Buried in a Good Mix Tape: All About "Work"…

Happy Labor Day, everyone.

With this being an election season, expect that much of today's best wishes and recognition to working people is going to be delivered alongside campaign slogans and false promises.  So, while politicians patronize and attempt to relate to those who go out everyday and help make this big machine called America "go," maybe listen to this selection of tunes instead.

 R.E.M.: "Driver 8"

Subhumans: "Work-Rest-Play-Die"

John Handy: "Hard Work"

Frank Zappa : "Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station"

Tom Waits: "I Can't Wait to Get Off Work"

Howlin' Wolf: "Work For Your Money"

Minutemen: "Working Men Are Pissed"

Replacements: "God Damn Job"

Talking Heads: "Found a Job"

Primus: "Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers"

Black Flag: "Clocked In"

Saccharine Trust: "Mad at the Co."

Dead Kennedys: "At My Job"

Leadbelly: "John Henry"

Letters From A Tapehead

Guerilla Toss: "Meteorological"

I was elated to find out that Guerilla Toss will be releasing a new LP this September called Twisted Crystal . Last year's GT Ultra sp...