Thursday, July 10, 2014

Don't Bite Your Strangetunge


No one deserves accolades more than perhaps Strangetunge. Bringing decades, real decades, of musical ability to the forefront, they have recently released their third full-length CD titled Tunge In Cheek following-up How About Some Strangetunge? (2011) and 2008s On The Edge that was originally released under the band name Talken Tungs. I asked Strangetungs front man, David M. Fischer to answer a few questions and thankfully, he obliged.

Tung In Cheek is for listeners that don’t mind turning on the local classic rock station every now and then/ Strangetung takes it to a newer level, especially with Tunge In Cheek… Imagine front men Van Morrison and Dave Thomas (Pere Ubu) with more of the ‘new’ pub rock styling of classic and contemporary rock backing them up. As maybe a lost Rocket to The Tombs release  is maybe the best jumping-off point that I can start with.

One of the greatest wonders I have since my introduction of Strangetunge into my music rotation is why isn’t these guys playing more local shows? As a musical community I feel as if this band could work nicely into almost any show of any greater scale. You can learn from bands like BPA, Mudlarks, Wolverton Bros. and Strangetunge. This band deserves your ears, respect and attention. Thanks

Questions by Shawn Abnoxious 
Answers by David M. Fischer

David inform the desperate readers of THWART who you and Strangetunge are.

We are rock band that plays original songs with a wide range or influences.

That sounds pretty 'company break-room safe'... Can Thwart get the unabridged answer? Line-up, band history... Ect

Oh sure, we pretty much play what we like, write what we like, do what we like.  We started back in the late 80's playing a few parties and gigs and recording on this small 4-track recorder.  The band included me, Chris Basham, Jack Bryd and this short, cool drummer named Little Jimmy.  We played together for three or four years and then went on and started living regular workaday lives.  We got back together about 12 yrs ago, ferociously recording music with the advent of DAWs.  We had the same members except Little Jimmy and added and subtracted over time Tony Mann on drums, Don Stephens and the late Robby Elkins.  Tim Crawford, also with Haymarket Riot plays drums now with Alan Thornbury on guitar. We have released three CDs since 2009, On the Edge, How 'bout Some Strangetunge? And Tunge In Cheek to international indifference which is exactly what we were going for.  We have a received some notice and do have a small but going fan base.  We just wrapped an EP that include the last bass parts recorded by Robby Elkins.  We wrote a song for him too which the EP is named after, "Rest Easy, Brother".  It's different than most of our work which is, of course, what we go for sometimes.  Also, I have a solo EP coming out in about a month, followed by a full CD a couple of months after.

How is it continuing after Robby's passing? How different does it feel?

It's really weird.  It kinda took the drive out of us.  We wanted to do this EP for him and we want to continue but it's hard to get your bearings after this kind of tragedy.  I think its like losing one of your limbs, you're depressed, you try to do things the way you used to but it's not the same.  You have to find a new way.  That's where we're at.

So this last effort was a sort of a 'clearing'?

I guess you can say that. We have some other songs we have worked on but there isn't really a clear direction at this time.

Being without 'direction' seems scary on different levels. Does it scare you?

There is always a little fear of the unknown.  I don't want to see things fall apart after all we have invested.  I don't think it will but it will be different. We just don't know how right now.

Getting scarier and scarier. Where, mostly, would you say Strangetunge plays?

The last show Strangetunge played was in January of this year at Southgate House.  It was our Winter Rock'n'Roll Party.  Mike Grimm, the drummer from The Tempers filled in on bass.  We haven't discussed playing another show.  There will probably be one in early fall.  I will be playing a couple of times before then in some pick up bands.

Wow. It sounds like Strangetunge is coming to an end? Is it?

A couple of the fellas don't want to play out much anymore and the other three are itching to play.  You may see some variation of Strangetunge out there with some of the members.  Bride of Strangetunge or something like that.  Will it end?  Who knows what tomorrow brings.

What do you think of the current Cincinnati scene?

Well, I think there are a lot of exciting things going on.  Lots of great bands and some of the nicest people you could know.  Then, there are a few; I said a few, that are just indifferent to fellow musicians.  They are on their own trip but you have that everywhere.  I am wary of festivals that are built on the backs of musicians with their submission monies only to be slowly eased out of festivals so that bigger national acts can come to town.  Wouldn't it be nice if a big music festival could start somewhere and always and forever be 100% local music.  As for local music I have found that 80% of the music I buy are local bands.  I love a lot of them.  There are hundreds of absolutely fascinating and talented local musicians.  It is a world unto itself.

Has Strangetunge stark belief in highlighting original music helped or hurt you in the long run? I'm sure Strangetunge could do well playing covers at some bar right?

Well, there a lot of local bands that play original with only a couple of covers here and there.  Yes, if we were a covers only band we would probably make more money playing parties and shit but we were never about that.  Since, the time we started it was about our songs.  The band was the vehicle for our songs to be heard.  I think we would be more successful if we had continued as a band through the 1990s but rather than starting families and working for larger companies sucking at the corporate breast.  Our demographic is older and just doesn't go out to see shows like they used to.  We have had some younger people come out and see us and they usually like us and dance some.  One time we did a cover of Georgia Satellites "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" and this young couple thought it was a great original song of ours.

I'm part of that old contingent you mentioned... So what's your version of success? This is one of my favorite questions to ask.
In a musical sense it's to play our music, have people come to the shows and have people come up after a show or even later and say I love that song.  That's happened with songs Crazy Mavis On Speed, Hot Like Alice and Boogie Queen (Disco Fail) and maybe a couple others.  That it is always a kick and makes you feel successful as a band or artist.

What do you want people to know about your newest release?

That it is probably the most personal Strangetunge release to date.  It deals with the loss of a friend and bandmate and gives three songs that he had recently performed on, one of those he created the initial music for and he is playing the instrument he loved the most.  It's ironic that the song was entitled "Walking Dead" but life is full of ironies, isn't it?

Yes, it is... Life, essentially, is one hard fucker after another. We think we win, but really, we lose. It's not how well you surf the waves when they're high, but how you handle it when it's low, when shit is bad and tugging on every thread of your existence. Any last words for those who read this?

Yeah, Support Local Music.

Strangetunge RIYL: Classic Rock, Mudlarks, Buffalo Killers
Tunge In Cheek MFJD: “All The Happy People”

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

OLD CITY: Story with Sound

In anticipation of a new bonafide long-player, OLD CITY (OC) sent a slew of releases that above all, tells a story. A success story.
Lets do things in order shall we? Firstly there's Three EP’s Alas, A Lass, Hot Horse and Freezerburn which collect shorter efforts of Old City with much beard-nodding to those earlier times, just as the one-guy project was becoming more than than just the one-man solo himself, Sammy Mckee. Dave Cupp was working more and more into the frey making OC a duo and soon enough, a three-piece including a sorts of on/off rotating bass player that has included Robyn Roth (Knife The Sympony) and Gabriel Molnar (Sometimes) proving that if you close your eyes and wander around, there's a good chance you would stumble across a band before you would step in a urban sidewalk pile of dog shit.

Three Ep's is a repertoire disc that tells the tale of Old City from a duo side-project and chronicles their rise and inevitable evolution to becoming full-functioning three-piece unit, telling their story with sound... Three EP’s contains twelve tracks (plus a rocking bonus hidden track) including my personal favorite OC tracks, “Romantic Comedy Trandsends Genre” and “Simple Solution” (two versions) plus an expertly done Velvet Underground cover of “Ill Be Your Mirror” that not only is good, but maybe preferable to the original Nico was on*
Three EP’s sets up the scene nicely and tells the first part of their story with sound. Their transistion from what was, to what is. Lo' there is yet another step in the transformation… Walk with me…
Part two of what is Old Citys journey is a verily special release… A live CD featuring their set recorded live by a OC reserve/bassist Gabriel Molnar at MOTR PUB (or just plain MOTR to you insiders.) MOTR is one of Cincinnatis most priemeir venues to pop up due to Cincinnatis thriving underground music community. On this December evening (19th) in 2013, OC play nine energetic tracks that compare nicely to their other performances that I've seen. This live CD is a great ‘for fans’ release… Old City only benefit from the stale beer and questionably violent atmosphere** that exist in greater and lesser amounts of The Queen Shitty from time to time. There's no doubt, OC played a great show and captured it that evening. The performance was packed full of energy, atmosphere and bite. Many of the songs from the set  aren’t included on Three EPs which shows not only a grand progression of their sound, but development too.
I've personally recognized a (somewhat disturbing) trend for the underground music scene I first noticed in 2001... In Spring (May) and Fall (August) there's band that mysteriously stop and start. This phenomenon, I declare, is centered around University of Cincinnatis school schedule… So with this OC activity hitting in the middle 'nether-zone' and getting things together for an LP, I'm  nervous.... The amount of [my] bands that understand the 'harmless' amounts of show-fuckery I can share, is growing smaller. I don’t wanna scratch more off my list.

Old City's vinyl offering reminds me (again) of post-hardcore era Dischord stuff like Soulside or Jawbox. You would expect to see local label Phratry Records behind this one but that just isn't so. This album was self-released by the band....

Exhibiting great amounts of the big Dinosaur Jr. sound imbedded, there's also bit of a shoe-gaze element to this release but at the same time, OC dispense that with a harder offering. On one track, reserve bassist Robyn Roth welcomly steps up to the mic bringing forth a latter era of a Sonic Youth feeling . The album, as a whole, plays extremely well and, in fact, is so expertly produced that it may serve a new template for future bands coming and going. 

Sammy (Guitar/Vox) reflects about this release as compared to their others saying "It is definitely the best recordings we have done to date... Hopefully we can continue improving with each release." Dave Cupp (Drums) delivers maybe one of the most encouraging thing anyone could say about a band they are personally part of "It is definitely the best recordings we have done to date though. Hopefully, we can continue improving with each release."

My uneasiness and worry has slacked a bit...

Old City step things up on this new LP and plow forward destroying space on an exra dimensional axis, the twist and turns of this album are greatly wonderous… The cryptic lyrics, by themselves, could serve as ample enertainment in a book-like form.Yes, it's that good. That witnessed bite from the live CD is evident in this recording and I cant stop thinking that if Roger Waters was a kid from the suburbs and had just maybe a couple more fiends, he would have formed a band like Old City… 

Assurances from the band include a sale price of their LP to float around $15 
RIYL: Dinosaur and Thunder, Dinosaur Jr., Phratry Records,

* I'm not a fan of the Nico.
** MOTR was once a white-hat dank spot called CHAMPS (or sonething as stupid) where Jenny Fever of The Hypochondriacs punched a rather drunk patron in the face as asked by a deranged college graduate that was looking for a fight.
***Im reading E-versions of comic books again so Im drunk on speculation.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Liberation of Western Civilization Begins by Way of Art

Matt the Junglecat (or just plain JUNGLECAT to you newbies) is a Michigan irregular and current Chicago troublemaker (artist) by way of Cincinnati Ohio*. Junglecat dedicated much of the early millennial years as front man, not only of the Gazelles where he honned his pioneering of 'fountain diving' but also later as a member of THE WHITEGIRLS... Then he 'grew up', 'settled down' and infiltrated the jowls of urban life itself with wife and child in-tow.

Now, remade as an urban disrupter, he unveils EXPO CRYPTO into the frey by way of the system itself.  Behind enemy lines and without oversight. Junglecat has become a near mythical Kurtz-like figure amoung the city drones, spires and other concoctions that thinks they are safe.

No ones safe. 
We are at war.
We been at war.
You no longer need your secrets... Liberate them and build new ones.

Visit the website. Learn. Lean. Sit. Fight

*Chicago suburb? You decide.

Monday, June 9, 2014


I love football even though I never really watch it or much-less play it. So I suppose I should just say I love the concept of football... I cant say that I appreciate the game or even remotly understand the particular feel or sprit of the game (I live a non-competative lifestyle) but that's the truth. The real truth of the matter.

The other day my friends and I were seeing how much weight each of us could bench-press... We searched for our max-out weight. Even though I felt as if I could do more, I stopped after lifting the bar once. It weighed 55 lbs. alone. I declared my great feat of strength acomplished and took up residence in a bean-bag chair across the room and resumed my Walgreens store-brand beer drinking. A brand I re-named Ghost Wheel due to the fact that the cans label art features a stand alone water-wheel in the middle of a river not attatched to a visable structure.

You can get a sixer of this Ghost Wheel for $4 and change. Any beer that you can get a six pack for less than six dollars is, as I say, priced to move.

A hard pull of my sixth, and final wheel brings a little escaping splash that lands on my shirt. I rub it in for good measure. A little spilt beer never hurt anything. As per my ritual, the six pack yoke is still connected to beer number six. It tickles my nose and face everytime I take a drink.

This beer will not last forever. The sixth beer of a six pack is the most desperate beer of the whole six pack. The last one. The last beer that brings about the first step to getting more beer.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Thwart...! Chores Playlist Early June 2014

Things are weird around the THWART...! HQ. Call it a writers block or whatever else the kids are fucking calling it, but I just don't really feel like I have anything to say. Sure, I gots loads upon loads of stuff I wanna write about music wise but something is keeping me from reaching a writing apex where things just come easy... So, for now,here is a playlist.

Hoped Destinations cover artI'm hoping 'music therapy' will kick me back in full gear...

BOLD= from Cincinnati      Italics & Bold= from Ohio Proper

Black & Blue THE SPITS "Spits II"
Eyesore Subverts 
VA - You Weren't There A History Of Chicago Punk 77-94
Fat Back Thee Headcoats Elementary Disc 1
Heavenly Charm TOM VERLAINE "Songs And Other Things"
Butcher, Future trins-trans     Darth Vadar
Gonna Make You THE TROGGS "The Best Of The Troggs"
When The Macines Rock TUBEWAY ARMY "Replicas"
3 Important Domestic Inventions THE BEAKERS "Four Steps Toward A Cultural Revolution"
Pop Doormat THE DANCING CIGARETTES "The Gulcher Recordings"
Lifespan THE EMBARRASSMENT "Heyday 1979-83" [Disc 2]
Godfrey Harold Hardy THE EMBARRASSMENT "Heyday 1979-83" [Disc 2]
Corona MINUTEMEN "Double Nickels On The Dime"
O.D. Receiver TUBEWAY ARMY "The Plan"
Sickness BY-PRODUCTS OF AMERICA "Moving and Storage"
On Again/Off Again THE CLEAN "Anthology"
Wet Work Q AND NOT U "Power"
To The Kill VIOLENT FEMMES "Violent Femmes (Deluxe Edition)" [Disc 1]
Without Limbs 100 FLOWERS "100 Years Of Pulchritude"
Below This Level CAN "Anthology 1968-1993" [Disc 2]
Takin' Retards To The Zoo THE DEAD MILKMEN "Big Lizard In My Backyard"
Silver Ponds FIGURINES "Skeleton"
Red/Green BIG BOYS "The Skinny Elvis"
Holidays DESPERATE BICYCLES "Title Unkown from Unknown Source"
Meat Eaters Dikes of Holland 
Live at WFMU on Talk's Cheap, Aug 28th 2012
Apocalypse Rock Dinosaurs and Thunder Hoped Destinations
When The Flesh Hits GO GO GO AIRHEART "Exitheusa"
Spot In My Heart JOSH RITTER "The Historical Conquest of..."
Rumors JOSH RITTER "The Historical Conquest of..."
The Old Laughing Lady NEIL YOUNG "Decade" [Disc 1]
Missy Neonates Untitled Self-Released CD
Can't Get Clean Night Birds The Other Side Of Darkness
River Run Philip Glass, J.La Barbara, I.Nisky, G.Rickard, D.Landry Analog
Crazy PYLON "Hits"
Do It Again QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE "Songs For The Deaf"
Street Fighting Man THE ROLLING STONES "Through The Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2)"
Negaman SHEARING PINX "Haruspex"
THE SPITS "self-titled #2" LP cover artSpace Guitar THE SPITS "Spits II"
Bring On The Nubiles The Stranglers No More Heroes
Touch Me SUICIDE "The Second Album"
Between The Lines Synthetic ID S/T EP
The Creeper UNNATURAL AXE "Is Gonna Kick Your Ass"
Brazil WIRE "Pink Flag"
Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie BLACK FLAG "Everything Went Black"
The Red Telephone LOVE "Forever Changes"
Alan Is A Cowboy Killer MCLUSKY 
"McLuskyism [Disc 1] A-Sides"
Witch Hunt THE MOB "Let The Tribe Increase"
Romantic Me POLYROCK "Polyrock"
Inhuman SONIC YOUTH "Confusion is Sex"
The World Looks Red SONIC YOUTH "Confusion is Sex"
Confusion Is Next SONIC YOUTH "Confusion is Sex"
Making The Nature Scene SONIC YOUTH "Confusion is Sex"
Gone Missing Wussy Wussy
Adult Books X "Wild Gift"
Rock vs. Single Parents MCLUSKY "My Pain And Sadness Is More Sad And Painful Than Yours"
The Morning After MY DAD IS DEAD "Shine(r)"
Karen THE PERNICIOUS KNIFS "Amond Extract"
Beautiful Beats Q AND NOT U "Power"
Give The Beaches To The People S PRCSS "Tastes Like Daughter"
(She's In A) Bad Mood SONIC YOUTH "Confusion is Sex"
Shaking Hell SONIC YOUTH "Confusion is Sex"
Ghost Town FIGURINES "Skeleton"
Back In The Day FIGURINES "Skeleton"
Protect Me You SONIC YOUTH "Confusion is Sex"
Devil Doll X "More Fun in the New World"
Red Scab Adam & The Ants "Basing Studios Aug. 1978"
Satisfied Burning Itch Burning Itch
Butthole Surfer BUTTHOLE SURFERS "Psychic....Powerless....Another Man's Sac"
Who Are The Boys? Buzzards VA - You Weren't There A History Of Chicago Punk 77-94
Pickney Gal DESMOND DEKKER "The Best of Desmond Dekker"
Daddy's Little Girl John The Conqueror The Good Life
Fireside Chat KASPAROV "Tiny Machines" (final mixes unmastered)
Baby's Lost Touch KILL THE HIPPIES "Erectospective"
Open Your Heart The Men Open Your Heart
Bombshelter NAKED RAYGUN "Basement Screams"
Jumpin' Jack Flash THE ROLLING STONES "Through The Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2)"