SongPreserve is a new site that's building up an excellent archive of out of print punk, hardcore and indie music and they're encouraging you to download it for free and to share these previously hard to find gems. Today, the man behind the site, Jeremy Ampe, has selected his 10 favourite songs that have been added to the collection thus far. A self confesseed music nerd, Jeremy's embarking on a labour of love which will eventually become a must visit musical treasure trove. As well as adding comments to his selections, he's also added links so you can easily locate the songs.
Many thanks Jeremy, over to you.......
SongPreserve.com is a site we started to archive out of print Punk, Hardcore and Indie music. It's myself (Jeremy Ampe), Matt Frederick and whoever else we talk into helping dig this music up. So much of it is in boxes of tapes and stacks of records that are a basement cleaning away from disappearing and the little bit that's shared online is spread across blogs, band sites and Bandcamp pages. I started a similar project with a friend focused on our home town scene of Milwaukee that's archived over 450 releases and people get lost exploring from band to band for hours. That's the experience we're looking to create here for music from any scene. It should feel like digging through a friend's record collection.
Everything is shared by the band with their approval. Our general approach is that nothing is too obscure because as music nerds we know someone, somewhere is looking for your bands demo tape because it means something to them and we want them to find it. You also have a lot of great independent labels going out of business. A few of the releases will be reissued elsewhere but a bulk of them will be gone. We want to create a space for all of those to live together. If you have music you'd like to add to the archive please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are 10 of my favorite tracks from the site so far.
1) BIG RIG - Expansive Heart (1994)
Big Rig is best known as being Jesse Micheals' first band after Operation Ivy but members also went on to Screw 32 and Pitch Black. Musically Big Rig is more of a precursor to those bands and Jesse's future projects like Common Riders and Classics of Love than it is a look back.
2) ARM - Astrolab (2003)
Arm is a band from Minneapolis that played with a bunch of bands that I like but I hadn't actually heard them until we got this release for the site. I've been making up for lost time by listening to it a lot since then. It's mathy post hardcore that still has plenty of hardcore in it. So good.
3) DEMISE - It's All Lies (1991)
Demise were a hardcore band from Milwaukee that played with bands like Filth, Spitboy and Econochrist. For me they bridged the gap between 80s and 90s hardcore.
4) DOGS ON ICE - Bucs (1994)
This came out on John Yates' Dekota Records. John Yates is one of my graphic design heroes for his work with Dead Kennedys and Alternative Tentacles as well as his own labels Allied and Dekota. Dogs on Ice are from Florida but this track sounds like the kind of melodic hardcore you'd hear out of Chicago in the vein of Naked Raygun. Plus I love Joe Popp's gruff vocals. He's still traveling around the US and Europe making music.
5) 8 BARK - Sit & Spin (1991)
Douglas from 8 Bark also ran Underdog Records which captured the variety of music coming out of Chicago in the 80s and 90s from hardcore to pop-punk to emo. The start of this track is one of my favorites. My description won't do it justice. Give it a listen.
6) GAUGE - Flognoth (1993)
Gauge had a strong D.C. influence but became a huge influence themselves particularly in the Midwest and their home town of Chicago. Unfortunately, they broke up in 1994 around the time bands similar bands from the area like Cap n' Jazz and Braid started getting recognition outside of that scene. There is a documentary called Gauge:153 that you can stream free online that tells their story really well.
7) MIJ - Algia Butterfly (1995)
I loved MIJ because this band grew with each other really well. They started in high school playing hardcore and release by release it got more melodic. I think every step in their evolution was still called some sort Emo because it was the 90s and that's what everything was was being called. After MIJ Jeff continued as a singer songwriter and released three albums on Kill Rock Stars before his untimely passing in 2009. This song and album is my favorite as it captures the band blending soft and pretty with loud and noisy in a way that feels just right to me.
8) NUISANCE - Nicotine (1991)
Larry Livermore calls this album "One of the greatest Lookout Records releases." They didn't have the pop-punk sound that made Lookout famous with bands like Green Day, Screeching Weasel and The Mr.T Experience. Instead they're a great example of the wide range of sounds that made Lookout an interesting label to follow. Nuisance is often called "County Punk" which is a completely accurate description.
9) ZIPGUN - Together Dumb (1992)
Zipgun were a punk band from Seattle during the height of the grunge era. This is a band I was lucky enough to get exposed to early in their career. Together Dumb is an essential Punk love song and I personally put it many mix tapes back in the day.
10) SUPPORTING ACTRESS - Desi Arnez (1997)
This is another great band I hadn't heard until we got it to put on the site but I've listened to it a lot since I got my hands on it. They played jazzy post-hardcore which I'm a sucker for. Most of the band went on to form Inlantic which is instrumental, more experimental and also quite good. That's also up on Song Preserve and worth a listen.
Bonus : RHYTHM CHICKEN - Live At National Liquor Bar
Razorcake columnist and drummer Rhythm Chicken is known for showing up (mostly uninvited) and playing drums until he is chased out. He's played bathrooms, bars, abandoned zoos, on top of a train and to passing cars by the side of the road in Los Angeles. The only thing that could make any of that weirder would be recording it and putting it on a 7" so he did.