Category Archives: Garage

Iron Chic/Low Culture – Split 7″ – Color Variant Pre-Orders Up Now

This is a friendly heads up to all of you Low Culture and Iron Chic fans out there.   Pre-orders are up today for the upcoming Iron Chic / Low Culture split.

Low Culture / Iron Chic Split

(anyone recognize that location????)

This is not your typical split.  This is a label/split 7? between Mike from Iron Chic’s Dead Broke Records and Chris from Low Culture’s Dirt Cult Records.

Brilliant.

At this time this split is set to drop in November.  The color variants will sell the hell out.  I guarantee it.

Where To Pre-Order:
Dirt Cult Records
Dead Broke Rekerds

Pressing info:
-200 on orange vinyl (Dirt Cult exclusive)
-200 on blue vinyl (Dead Broke exclusive)
-400 on green
-100 FEST test pressings
-700 on black

EP Review: Low Culture & Needles//Pins – Split EP

Low Culture - Needles//Pins SplitPower-pop, garage-punk rockers Low Culture and Needle//Pins have both been on my radar for a while now.  When I heard that the two were putting together a split release, it just made complete sense.

Low Culture won me over hardcore when I was introduced to them while staying in Las Cruces.  Featuring members of Shang-A-Lang and Marked Men, the foursome blends in the perfect amounts of rock and punk making for tunes that can easy fuel a good time by all.

British Columbia’s Needles//Pins are more of a power pop garage act that I have recent been getting into thanks to their latest release Shamebirds.  This band is to me the saviors of old school punk pop.  You know, the good stuff that did not get suffocated by talentless acts with more t-shirts for sale in a Hot Topic than quality songs.

Low Culture hammered out with “Reservations”, a fun, infectious garage rock track with plenty of drumming and distorted guitar.  I loved the break downs at the end that eventually led the song into a climax of sorts only to drop more signing that sounded like a new song, but alas, it was still the same track.

“Don’t Tell Me” was equally as fun to listen to.  The guitar solos were quick at times but also memorable on this track about a solitary man.  This track was not nearly as scattered as the previous but just slayed in a good good way.

“Hateful” by Needles//Pins was gruff yet thoughtful to listen to in regards to a crashed relationship.  I felt like some of the lyrics were plucked out of my past thoughts in regards to crap relationships.   “And I hope you don’t think that I’m hateful, it don’t matter very much to me” were lyrics that stuck to me especially.

“Bored” followed and pretty much could either have continued talking about poor relationships or perhaps just being old in the scene.  The more I listened to it, the less I thought it was about an actual relationship with someone and more so with some other form of attraction.  Clearly I think weird.  Deal.

It is no surprise that the two acts decided to release a split together.  Both bands really compliment one another’s sound making for a great listen.  Currently available on iTunes and also on Spotify, the split was put out by the amazing Dirtnap Records and the 7″ should be available very soon for purchase on their site.

If you like classic bands like the Ramones, The Ruts, and The Weirdos, do yourself a favor and get into both of these bands now.  They are both too good to not know about.

Album Review: Baby Ghosts – Maybe Ghosts

Baby Ghosts - Maybe GhostsWhat happens when you take your unforgotten obsession with  late-90s pop punk rock and mix it with the styles heard in female-led DIY punk / garage rock jams of today?

The answer is Salt Lake City’s very own Baby Ghosts.

Warning: This band has the full potential to become your new favorite band and I’m pretty sure you’ll be kicking yourself for not getting into them earlier.  It’s ok.  I am in the same boat.

In a perfect blend of pop punk and garage rock, Baby Ghosts have been doing their thing since 2010.  At one time, the band could have been considered a local act, but those barriers have long been broken.

Baby Ghosts recently dropped Maybe Ghosts, an all new album full of poppy hooks, sneaky guitar solos that could make J. Mascis blush, and plenty of just straight up fun.

“Ghost Boyfriend” completely floored me when I heard it for the first time.  I adored the garage rock sounds tucked behind the blaring pop punk goodness.  I am reminded slightly of RVIVR in a way with the female / male singing style, but this jam is way more fun to rock out to.

Baby Ghosts“Tumblr” had the band taking on at least 3 decades of different punk rock styles in under three minutes.  I was so wowed that I had to listen to it over and over again.  Maybe the band did not intend this, but listening to this track alone was something special.

“Oil/Sunshine” was a pop punk gem with forward intentions of moving onward.  “Crash” went a little dark for a moment but it did not change the way I felt about this album at all.

I loved the guitar shredding that was hidden behind the singing in “COOKIES”.  Coincidentally this is also one of my favorite kinds of treats.  “alien.edu” easily was one of the best tracks on the album.  “Computers” was very riot grrl sounding in a good way.

“Oh, a Surprise” should have been titled “This is What Rancid Would Have Sounded Like if Tim and Lars Were Females”.  That is all I have to say about that.

I had a hard time not thinking of Juliana Hatfield and Kim Gordon while listening to Kar and Kat sing throughout this album.  I hope to hell that was the idea.

I’m glad Baby Ghosts was suggested to me by a swell guy (Thanks Chris).  I would hate to have missed out on this band even longer than I already have.  These talented SLC punks deserve to be heard by all.

Baby GhostsTruth be told, I can not keep up with all these bands today.  Perhaps this music lover is just too preoccupied with fighting off being an adult to take notice to every single act out there throwing down good music.

If you do find yourself digging this release as much as I did, don’t be shy and snag a copy of the LP.  Lost Cat Records, Drunken Sailor Records, Dirt Cult Records, Hip Kid Records, and Waterslide Records all have assisted with releasing the album.  I doubt it will be a challenge to find but I know the 1st pressing will be gone sooner than later…

Album Reviews: Upcoming Dirt Cult Records Releases

If there is one thing about New Mexico that I miss, it is the breakfast burritos from the Santa Fe Grill located in those Pic-Quic gas stations.

Actually I am lying.  I miss living down the street from the Dirt Cult Records headquarters.  Chris was a rad dude and I am glad I got to know him even if just for a brief moment.  His band, Low Culture, remains one of my favorites to this day.

Recently, I learned that Dirt Cult relocated to Portland, Oregon and I thought I would check in with Chris to see how things were going with the big move.  He advised everything was going smooth and shared a few new releases his label is putting out in the upcoming months.

I thought I would do a quick review on all of them them.  Enjoy!

Autonomy/No Sir I Won’t – Split
Autonomy/No Sir I Won't
I blame Chris for getting me into Autonomy before I even became pals with him.  This split is pretty bad ass crust-ish punk act that to me sound way better than Crass.  I loved the samples throughout.  Autonomy’s “Ashes To Ashes” was a pretty kick ass song that just started almost psycho-garagy and turned fizzled out with a Cure-sounding bass riff.  No Sir I Won’t were cool to check out and full of aggressive punk rock that reached into the 80s style I grew up loving.  Definitely will be checking them out some more.  

Apocalypse Meow! – Baseball and Alcohol 7″
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Featuring Off With Their Heads’s Justin Francis as well as members of Sundowners, I knew I was going to adore this 7″ before I even listened to it.  With songs relevant to the 7″‘s title, Apocalypse Meow take two of America’s favorite past times and mix them into pure pop-punk goodness.  The track “MVP” ruled with the lyrics “all I want to be is a goddamn MVP” repeating throughout.   The title track though is what did it for me.  Loved it.

Blank Pages – Blank Pages LP
Blank Pages
Straight outta Berlin, Blank Pages proves to have one hell of a release with some serious garage rock layered with a old school punk rock feel.  These guys really remind me of the Marked Men in a good good way.  Great song writing added with vocals that could easily fit in with the 70s/80s punk scene.  “We’re All Broken” was just amazing with almost a surf-punk sound in the middle.  I was beyond impressed with the clean sound throughout the release and just full on togetherness of the band.  It just works so well.  “All In Due Time” was another great track.  I am really glad Chris threw Blank Pages my way, I am totally loving what they do.  If you call yourself a fan bands like the Ramones and the Dickies, I have the feeling you will like what Blank Pages have to offer  Ich bin ein Fan von Leerseiten.

For more info on Dirt Cult releases or to check out some other amazing release on the Dirt Cult label, head on over to http://dirtcultrecords.bandcamp.com.

 

Interview: Chris Mason of Dirt Cult Records

Dirt Cult RecordsAs many of you know, I spent about a year in Las Cruces, NM for my paying gig.  I left last June and just recently returned to my state of birth.  My time out there was mostly spent on working at  said paying gig, thrifting for fun finds, and more or less being a hermit.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my time out there, but I just did not do a whole heck of a lot for the most part.  Home is where the heart is right?

About a month before I packed up and moved back to my beloved Ohio, I ordered the brand spanking new Rumspringer album from the Dirt Cult Records website, and label owner Chris Mason sent me an email suggesting that I just stop over and pick it up as he lived close to me.

I decided to head on over to the Dirt Cult headquarters to pick up my purchase later that day, and he wasn’t kidding – I lived literally a mile away from him.

We hung out for a few hours that evening and he introduced me to a good portion of the Dirt Cult catalog including the band he was in.  I have heard of some of the bands before (including his own band), but never really checked any of them out entirely, sans Rumspringer of course.  Chris was great company and was quick to share with me a bunch off his label’s roster.   I loved what I heard and am just stoked I had the opportunity to kick it with him that night.

Before I said adios to Las Cruces, I was able to check out Chris’s band play a July 4th party and even hang out again while helping pack up some records.

Running a record label has always been something I have wanted to do.  I know there is cost and time involved in it and hopefully one day I can make that happen.  For now, I just will live vicariously through others.

Even though I am out of the desert and back in Ohio, America, I still keep in touch with Chris as he is just a solid human being.  Recently, I had the great idea of interviewing Chris for the site.  He was all about it.  Check out the fun interview we did via trading emails and such recently:

Dirt Cult Records

BHP: Can you give me a little history about how Dirt Cult Records got its start?

CM: I always thought that running a label sounded like a lot of fun, so in 2006 after my band at the time, Shang-A-Lang, had recorded our first 7″, I figured it made sense to start a label and put that record out rather than “shop around” for someone to do it. I also figured that if I completely fucked up somehow that at least I’d be fucking up one of my own band’s records.

Why Dirt Cult? Is there some specific meaning behind that name?

I had some friends, Ronnie and Adam, who ran a zine in the early 2000’s called Dirt Culture. Those same dudes also opened up a record store here in Las Cruces called The Dirt that was really the catalyst for the creation of a DIY scene here. It’s where we all cut our teeth booking bands and playing shows. I also helped Ronnie (or he helped us I guess) release a split 7″ between my band The Answer Lies and another local band called 10 Seconds To Liftoff on “Dirt Culture Records,” but the zine kinda went on hold because Ronnie took a job in California. So when I needed a name for the label I thought I’d use Dirt Cult as an homage (or maybe blatant rip off) to the zine. It’s the reason that the first Shang-A-Lang 7″ is DC-002. I always kind of considered The Answer Lies/10 Seconds to Liftoff split our first release, even though it was released a couple years earlier.

Chris MasonWhen did you first start appreciating vinyl?

When I was a toddler I’ve been told I used to throw my dad’s vinyl collection around his room like frisbees. When I got a bit older (around 5 or 6), I was obsessed with that medley on side B of Abbey Road. I would play it over and over again. I think I was as excited about the mechanics of it all as I was about the music. Of course, as a child of the 80’s and 90’s CDs were pretty much what I listened to, and I didn’t rediscover vinyl until I started going to punk shows that had DIY distros in the mid-90s. I loved flipping through records and buying shit that looked cool, hoping it was good. Unfortunately, around that time, I was still buying primarily CDs for convenience’s sake, which is a shame because I missed out on a ton of cool records that now I just have shitty scratched up CD versions of. I kept buying a mixture of vinyl and CDs up until sometime in the early 2000’s. Around then, I decided that I wasn’t a huge fan of CDs as they always ended up scratched up on the baseboard of my car, gave most of them away, and bought my music on vinyl pretty much exclusively.

That pretty much sums up my relationship with vinyl too.  Well said.  So did you start with records or cassettes early on with Dirt Cult?

Dirt Cult’s first five releases were 7″s. Our sixth was a tape comp featuring a bunch of my favorite bands. That’s probably a pretty accurate representation of how things progressed: 75% vinyl, 25% cassettes.

Were there specific bands early on that you knew you wanted to work with?

I don’t really know if I set out to work with anyone early on. Though I’m sure I had a “short list” of bands I would have liked to ask, I’m not sure how many of those bands actually ended up releasing records with Dirt Cult and how many releases just kind of fell into my lap.

About how many albums have you released on your label to date?

By the end of the year I should be at right around 70.

You’ve already had some great releases this year, especially Rumspringer & New Swears. Care to hint about any upcoming releases?

Sure. I’ve currently got five records at the plant; a new Canadian Rifle 12″, a new Unwelcome Guests LP, Sweatshop Boys LP, VVHILE 7″, and a Free Machines 7″. I’ve also got some tapes of the new Muhammadali out this week for their upcoming tour. That LP will be sent to the plant soon, but I’m betting it will be a 2014 release. I’ve already got a list of 2014 releases lined up as well and it’s going to be an epic year for me.

Nice.  Looking forward to hearing some of those.  This is probably not a fair question, but do you have any favorite Dirt Cult releases?

I’m always most excited about whatever I just released, which is a great sign I suppose. But I try not to play favorites.

Typically, how long does it take for you and a band to get from talking about releasing a record to actually having it in hand?

It just all depends upon my release schedule and the band’s organization. Lately, I’ve really tried to avoid sending anything to the plant until I have the music and all the art. It just saves me from headaches later. So some releases happen quicker than others. It does take about four months to get a record pressed these days, so the timeline has definitely gotten longer. Gone are the days when you could have a record out in a month.

Chris MasonDirt Cult is more or less a one man operation right?

Yeah. I pretty much do everything. Though every once in a while I bribe my friends with beer to come over and stuff records.

Did you ever think your label would last this long? Ever feel like giving up?

I never really had a game plan going into this, so I’ve never given it much thought. I suppose there has never been a reason for me to stop putting out records because I enjoy it. I never really had hopes of being a “successful” label, so I’m sure I’d be doing it even if it wasn’t going well. So giving up? Naw. Slowing down? EVERY FUCKING DAY!

Let’s hope things speed up again.  How gratifying is it to be able to say you run your own record label? I know I am jealous of what you have.

I certainly love that I’m always busy and creating stuff, and I’m also pretty proud of what the label has been able to accomplish in the past few years. But it’s certainly not as glamorous of a job as people might think. I spend a lot of time repairing art files, uploading music to servers, assembling records, and playing with packaging tape. I also think it took me six years of making constant mistakes to finally get to a place where I’m doing a few things right.

Dirt Cult isn’t even your full time gig right? Where do you find the time?

I’ve always been a person that doesn’t really like downtime. After a few nights of staring at the TV, I start panicking and thinking I’m throwing my entire life away. So I spend most of my free time either working on Dirt Cult stuff or working on band stuff. I’ve also got a fairly flexible work schedule that allows for trips to the post office and other odd jobs throughout the day.

Speaking of band stuff, care to tell me about the band you currently play in?

I am in a band called Low Culture. We’re just under two years old and have released records on Dirt Cult, Dirtnap, Dead Broke, Rad Girlfriend, Drunken Sailor, and Cut the Cord that… and have toured the Northeast and Canada with Iron Chic, Europe, and have done a ton of regional trips.

Europe huh?  How was that?

It was amazing. Really makes me question if I’ll even do an extensive US tour again. Bands are just treated so much better over there…breakfast, diner, as much beer as you can drink, and sleeping arrangements always planned out well in advance.

Any plans for an upcoming US tour with Low Culture?

We’ve got plans to play Awesome Fest 7 in San Diego at the end of the month as well as the Dirtnap showcase in Portland and Seattle in mid-September, but otherwise we don’t really have anything lined up. I’d like to make it to the Midwest sometime in 2014 if we can.

If someone asked you what Low Culture sounded like, what would you tell them?

I don’t know, I think I always have different ideas about what my own music sounds like than other people. I’ll bring a song to the table thinking it sounds like Elvis Costello and someone will say it sounds like Shotwell. Maybe “garage pop?”

When is the next Low Culture release expected to drop?

We pretty much have it written. We just have to record it. So I’m expecting it’ll be out in 2014 sometime.

Can’t wait.  You helped create Trainyard right? Can you tell me about that little DIY operation?

Trainyard is a DIY practice/show space in Las Cruces that has been around for several years now. For years, after the Dirt went under, shows in Las Cruces primarily occurred in houses. Unfortunately, we don’t have basements so shows would take over people’s entire houses. It became increasingly difficult to convince people to open up their houses to a raging party once a week, so we set out to find a stable venue. There have, of course, been pros and cons. It’s great to have access to a space where we can do whatever we want, but since there isn’t really an alternate venue in town, it can feel somewhat stale at times. People don’t want to spend most of their nights hanging out in a shitty warehouse with weird wood paneling, and I can’t say I blame them.

Do you feel you have helped ramp up the music scene in Las Cruces, NM?

Yeah, when I moved here there wasn’t all that much going on outside of a shitty bar scene crowded with Tool wannabes and cover bands, but there was a small group of us who set out to make our own fun and build our own scene. That’s one of the cool things about living in this town. People complain all the time about how there is nothing to do, but it’s really not that hard to build whatever the fuck you want to.

So from one music lover to another, what bands are currently on your radar?

This list is always way too long. Let’s see, some bands whose records are currently piled up by my record player are Nona, No Sir I Won’t, Needles//Pins, Dark Rides, Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band, Nervosas, and Chandeli’ers.

If there was one band out there that you wish you could release an album under your label, who would it be?

Superchunk

What do you like more? Being in a band or being that guy who slings records for bands?

That’s a tough question. They can both be rewarding and frustrating, but honestly, I being in a band is more “fun.” I just love creating music and traveling and playing shows and everything that comes with it.

Chris Mason


Some Dirt Cult releases you really should check out:

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