In the several times I’ve seen them live. The Massachusetts band Shakusky have managed to become one of my current favorites. Impassioned vocals sung over intricate rythms and leads. A potent mix that reads like emotional hardcore meets the eccentricities of math rock. I often catch myself saying “If I started a record label. Shakusky would be one of the two first bands I’d reach out to. Thursday nights set was by far, the best one yet. JD
My third time seeing New Jersey’s Basement Beers. Two of those times headlining a Meatlocker show. While I might have a hard time pigeonholing their sound. Their live sets are hard to match. Fun, engaging and all inclusive. Sometimes you can judge a band by the people standing around you in the pit. If that’s the case. I guess the middle picture below tells a pretty good story. JD
Last night I had the pleasure of experiencing New Jersey’s Mr. Pink. A band named after what is arguably one of the best characters in one of the most iconic films (Reservoir Dogs) in movie history. Any band or person with an apprecition for actor Steve Buscemi has to be pretty awesome. Opinion? Maybe. Fact? Most definitely. JD
The fact that I only managed a few photos of the Massachusetts melodic punk/hardcore band Agree to Disagree does not, by any means diminish my reaction to their set. This was my first time seeing or hearing the band. A lot of the bands I’m listening to these days seem to be coming south from Massachusetts (Snowhaus, Shakusky) and since their set, Agree to Disagree. I picked up a CD on the way out and have all but finished my review. So, keep a look out. JD
For me personally, record collecting has always been somewhat of a tribal ritual. As someone who has collected, owned and yes, hoarded everything from cassettes to vinyl, to CD’s and ultimately, back to vinyl. I have been a part of this tribe. As both a member and a a curious observer. I strangely find that I am often more at peace thumbing through friends collections than spending quality time enjoying my own. My quest and my feverish quest to replace the record collection I sold some fifteen years ago has more than quadrupled that of the original. Regardless of any retainment. I constantly find myself digging, searching and investing time and money for records new and old. I have come to realize that the hunt is just as, if not more rewarding than the capture. How, there is no end, completion or end to the ultimate race to acquire. So, in what I hope to be a running feature on this blog. I plan on reaching out to some of my favorite vinyl junkies. Ask about their collections, favorite records and just what it is that fuels that endless quest.
The following interview was done with long time friend Ted Dougherty (aka Teddy Spaghetty) An avid record collector, DJ and the man behind the newly formed ‘Spaghetty Town Records’.
James: What was the first band / record you really gelled with as a kid? Does it still hold up?
Ted: I actually remember this pretty well. I remember making cassette copies of my sister’s records like the Cars and Bryan Adams. But the first record I remember buying with my own money was Van Halen “5150”. I don’t know why picked that record specifically. Does it hold up? Eh, not so much. Had my first record been “1984” the answer would be a big yes. That record is still great!
James: You were born in Australia. Did you form any connection to the music that was coming from there? I can recall countless Australian bands who influenced me early on. The Divinyls, The Easybeats and the Church immediately come to mind, but there are so many more.
Ted: Oh yeah totally. I got into the Easybeats and Church in my 20’s. But growing up AC/DC of course, INXS and Midnight Oil. I’d read about The Saints and Radio Birdman in MOJO and I remember going to Mondo Kim’s to buy the CD’s. When I would visit Australia I’d look for the vinyl, it’s a little easier to find there. Cosmic Psychos, another great Aussie band.
James: What’s your usual method of acquiring records?
Ted: Ha, the first thing I thought when you asked this was “by any means necessary!” I still prefer the old fashioned way, going to record stores, flea markets and yard sales. I’ve found some amazing records at yard sales. I’ll still check the record section at the Salvation Army. Occasionally mixed in with Christmas and polka records you can find something. I travel quite a bit, so I pack an cloth LP bag in my luggage. My customs form is usually just records. I do use discogs.com occasionally. But it’s all about the thrill of the hunt and that feeling you get when you finally got your white whale record.
James: What’s the most obscure, rare or valued record you own?
Ted: I have a few that are rare. I’m normally not even aware when I get them that they are hard to find. But my favorite story , I was at the Englishtown flea market and this guy had stacks of records in a wagon. I started flipping through them and he had some pretty solid stuff for sale, Stiff Little Fingers, X, The Clash , stuff like that. But i’d noticed a Misfits “Walk Among Us” record. I’m from NJ and it was one of my earlier punk cassettes, so I was pretty excited. At the time it hadn’t been repressed for a while, so it was hard to find. I brought about 20 records to the guy , he said he brother in law had been a DJ in Staten Island in the 80’s and asked him to sell the records. They were $1 a record. So i paid him $20 and carried on with my day. It took a while, but I gave the Misfits record a good look later. It turned out to be a first pressing, it’s pretty valuable to Misfits fans. I’m not sure what they go for now, but I have no plans to sell it.
James: The most elusive. (Something you have been unable to attain.)
Ted: I’m always on the lookout for first pressing Hellacopters, Zeke and Turbonegro reocrds. When i got to a record store I check the H, T and Z sections first. My white whale of a record is oddly the “Fire” by Electric Six, the first album. There are a few really great songs to play when you DJ, Danger High Voltage, Gay Bar and Dance Commander. It’s a crowd pleaser. I’ve never seen it in a store , aside from when it came out. I can buy it online, but where is the fun in that.
James: The most you ever paid for a record?
Ted: Really man! I try not to think about it. Ummm, somewhere close to $100. Probably some Soul 45. I’m not sure.
James: As a DJ what type of music are you generally known for spinning?
Ted: Usually a little bit of everything really. Punk, hardcore, RnB, Soul, glam, garage, 80’s new wave, metal, whatever is appropriate for the crowd. I’ve been collecting records for over 20 years and I’m still surprised by things I’ve acquired over the years. I do a monthly night here in Atlanta. I usually do RnB and Soul for the first half. It’s fun, people seem to enjoy it and it sets a nice vibe. As the night progresses I usually transition into more garage or punk. I could do a 4 hour set of just punk or hardcore but most of those songs are short. A lot of those RnB songs are 3 to 5 minutes. “Sailin’ On” is less than two minutes long!
James: You’ve mentioned due to your overflowing stash of records, there was no available flat spaces in your home. How do you go about or, perhaps in your case, avoid properly storing your records?
Ted: It’s true! There are records everywhere. I have one of the big ikea record shelves. But between buying records, DJing and just playing records at home I have a bad habit of not putting them after I play them. My 12 inches are alphabetical, the 45’s are by genre, kind of. It usually makes is easy when I’m looking for something though. There are those times when I’m looking for a specific 45 and I have to go through nearly every stack of records to find it. Oh, that’s the other thing. It’s bad to stack records on top of each other, so they are all sitting upright and on every flat surface in the house. We also have cats, so if I leave them on the floor they’ll likely pee on them, or use them as a scratching post. If I could leave them on the floor my life would be so much easier.
James: Is there a particular genre that dominates your collection?
Ted: 20 years ago the answer would be largely punk and hardcore records. But now it’s a lot of everything. There is still a lot of punk and hardcore records. You’ll also find a lot of RnB and soul records, metal and garage I guess is the bulk of it. I own a bunch of Yes and Grateful Dead records, which is weird because I don’t even like those bands. I think someone just gave them to me. I said earlier that everything is alphabetical, but I had to make a section for sound tracks, compilations and twelve inch singles to help keep my sanity.
James: You recently decided to start your own label. What inspired you to invest your money and time in this quick and easy money making scheme? Tell me about the band?
Ted: Yeah, I’m really excited about it, Spaghetty Town Reccords. My nickname is Teddy Spaghetty, so it just made sense to name it Spaghetty Town. I’d been telling my wife that I always wanted to have my own record label. I said I needed a band though, if I could find a band then maybe I’d do it. It took a while, but I remembered this band I’d heard at a friend’s house in Lima Peru the year earlier, Motosierra. They’re a sleazy punk band from Uruguay. Remind me a bit of The Dwarves and Turbonegro. Latin America has so many raw punk and metal bands. Just tiny scenes with hardcore fans. It’s amazing. So, I started messaging Motosierra on Facebook. Turned out they were looking for a label, they’d never had a release in the US before. They just finished recording some songs and we should have a 7 inch out by the summer of 2016. The dream is to get them to North America, but I’m focusing on getting the record out and trying to build a fan base in the US. It’s going to be a labor of love. But it’s exciting to turn people onto a band they’ve never heard before and otherwise may have never heard.
James Five records in your collection you could not live without?
Ted: I’m going to list a few, and later change my mind. Misfits “Walk Among Us”, you know the story. Cro-Mags “Age Of Quarrel”, it was kind of hard to find for a while and just a classic.
Queens of the Stone Age , the first album. It still blows me away.
Saints, the first two records. Early Aussie punk, and two awesome records.
Bronx, the first record. I had fallen out of love with hardcore and then I heard this. All records should sound this good.
James: So, in the end, when it comes to collecting records. What’s more exciting? The chase or the capture?
Ted: The chase, all day. Lemmy knew it, the chase is better than the catch. The capture is satisfying, but the chase, the uncertainty, that feeling of not knowing what you’re going to find, that’s where the excitement is.
With the annual Record Store Day less than a month away. Revelation Records have announced this years exclusive, limited edition color reissues of several classics. Included are Kill Holiday – “Somewhere Between the Wrong is Right.” Shades Apart “Save it” LP and BURN’s “Last Great Sea” 7″. Whether or not you already own these. It’s still a great opportunity to upgrade your old copy with some sweet looking/sounding slabs of vinyl. While I’d rate each pretty high for musical content. I highly recommend not sleeping on that Kill Holiday record. More the Smiths than Youth of Today. “Somewhere Between the Wrong is the Right” is an under the radar classic. JD
Just as fanzines and music blogs serve as the CNN of underground music. It’s the Independent Record Labels that provide the vehicle for which we enjoy much of the current music that comes out of our often thriving music scenes. For bands that cannot or do not wish to beg for crumbs from the all consuming music industry. Independent labels such as Sniffling Indie Kids serve as a home and comfort zone for many bands. In my years as co creator of United By Rocket Science and now with Document. I was happy to find that the D.I.Y. (Do it Yourself) ethos I grew up on was still alive and thriving. In a relatively short time. SIK has served up plenty of evidence and musical inspiration. I recently reached out to Frank and Eric to get an inside look at what makes this label such a integral part of New Jersey’s independent music scene. JD
Despite the musicality and quality of the labels releases. The name Sniffling Indie Kids as well as the labels logo have a very juvenile look and sound. What’s behind the term “Sniffling Indie Kids” and the logo?
Frank: I’m stealing a quote from Eric on this one…”The name Sniffling Indie Kids comes from the Hold Steady song “Positive Jam” and it very much signifies our perspective on life and music. Take the music very seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously.” Plus, being able to use the acronym “SIK” has been a lot of fun because we’re putting out the “SIK-est” indie records in NJ. Basically, the name sounded cool, funny and memorable so we just kind of went with it. As for the logo, we had one of our favorite cartoonists make it. His name is Steven Darden (http://www.stevendarden.com/) and he rules. We now however have a new logo that we are using that was based on the original text, but re-imagined by YJY’s Steve Sachs (http://cargocollective.com/stevesachs/).
You had attempted and somewhat succeeded to create something very inspiring with the Tiny Giants Collective. What became of that and do youn think there were any lessons to learn from the experience?
Frank: The Tiny Giant Artist Collective was more or less an experiment. It was an unbelievable learning experience. It was a friendship builder, a network expander, a musical opinion forum and a self destructing nightmare. Basically, we wanted to build a network to expand communication of great bands and people passionately involved in the music scenes throughout the tri-state area. We kind of achieved some of that, however in the process, the move towards attempting to be purely democratic somewhat destroyed it. When the original five people started it, it was very content driven, and held a high standard for quality as well as the people we would have involved. But as time passed and more people got involved, it was a standard “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario which overall degraded the quality of the group. It also had become filled with too many people with a focus on “me” and not enough on “we.”
Sniffling Indie Kids is the direct punch back at what we initially tried at building. We now have jobs and some (not a lot) of money to work with, so we figured we could take the mistakes we learned from the TGAC and build something better with SIK as a record label instead of a collective. Not to sound like a pompous control freak, but I’ve always felt the three of us who run SIK have very good ears and more often than not are on the same page in regard to who we would like to work with.
2015 was a very busy year for SIK with a number of noteworthy releases. With all the urgency. Is there any fear or burnout?
Eric: No. Well maybe. Who knows? We are involved in a lot of musical projects ourselves, besides the bands that we work with, so there definitely is the possibility of burning out at some point. However, at the moment we are going to kick ass while there is ass to be kicked and let the future bring what it will.
You’ve been releasing material at a somewhat frantic pace. What is it about these bands, their music, or both that inspire you and makes you feel they need such immediate attention?
Eric: The majority of the bands are people that we have known in the scene for a long time in various other musical incarnations. Occasionally, we hear someone new that we want to work with, but it’s always organic as far as finding out about them.
Frank: Also, a lot of the bands we are working with are very prolific song writers. It makes it easy to continually put out new material when bands are putting out 1-2 full releases a year.
With the overwhelming amount of noteworthy acts in the current local scened. How do you maintain a quality over quantity?
Frank: Since we’ve known the people we work with for quite some time, we try to keep it a close knit family circle. The people currently in the circle have yet to disappoint our ears.
Eric: At the same time we won’t release anything that doesn’t align with our personal tastes.
Aside from yourselves, (Frank & Eric) Who else is involved, both creatively and monetarily?
Frank: So the label is run by Eric Goldberg, Joe Lanza and myself (Frank DeFranco). At the same time, the label somewhat operates in the collective way that TGAC did with people pitching in here and there to help further achieve our goals (like Steve with the logo).
Eric: Also, there have been multiple blogs (such as this one) that have been loyal to helping support our cause. Jim from CoolDad Music was gracious enough to go so far as co-hosting an Indie Pop Winter Formal with us in Asbury Park.
How hands on are you with the recordings and mastering? Who else, besides the bands themselves, are involved with the process?
Frank: So as far as recording, often Joe will lend out his hand in helping get music tracked for anyone on the label. There are others involved such as Max Rauch (LKFFCT & NGHTCRWLRS) and Erik Romero (Dollys) who are in bands on the label who record/mix/master a lot of other bands involved with the label. Additionally, our long time close friends Jeremy Cimino and Skylar Adler have played a behind the scenes role in making a lot of the records released on the label sound as good as they do. We ourselves tend to not get too involved in the making of the records (except if Joe is involved), however we do make sure that all of our releases are held to a certain standard of quality.
You recently celebrated your first vinyl release with Rocky Catanese’s “New Day Old Night”. Was there something special or unique that influenced you to go the extra mile by pressing it on to vinyl?
Frank: Obviously we dug the record, but besides that, there’s a few reasons why we did. One, he really wanted to do it, so much so that he offered to put up half the funds to help make it happen. Two, we wanted to put out something on vinyl in our first year of existence. Three, we’ve known Rocky for a long time and he was a reliable person to do this with. Four, we knew that when Rocky said he would be playing out a lot and touring to support the record, we could trust his word. If it were financially possible we’d put out everything on vinyl, but that just is not an option for us at this time.
Eric: We look forward to doing more vinyl releases via our upcoming limited edition Sniffling Indie Singles series. These will be 7″ lathe cut splits of two bands on the label.
You mentioned that while you’re not seeking out bands to sign. You definitely have plans in place for future releases. Care to fill us in? Or is it a deeply guarded industry secret?
Eric: Our next release is Delicate Flowers in April. The rest is a closely guarded secret.
To order or find more information about Sniffling Indie Kids. Click the link below.
Like most, I have a few boxes full of music related mementos I find myself rummaging through from time to time. These boxes serve as somewhat of a time capsule, often revealing my history of passion and obsession with music. Pictures, stickers, band art and ticket stubs serve as a GPS tracking my journey in life. As I’ve recently taken to pulling boxes from the shelves of my living room closet. I’ve come to find some of my earliest musical influences, outings and missteps.
Dahlia Seed (1992-1996) was and is a perfect example of how it was always the lesser known bands that left the biggest impression on me both musically and personally. The ones that carved out their reputation playing VFW Halls, the basements and homes of friends even more often than the stages of local clubs, dive bars and venues. While I was able to catch Dahlia Seed live numerous times at places such as Maxwell’s, Tramps, ABC No Rio and a few scattered basement and VFW shows.
My interaction with the band often focused on singer Tracy Keats Wilson who I had interviewed for a never published fanzine. Aside from the interview and a scant few exchanges at shows and her employment at the not so local, yet thoroughly awesome Flipside Records in Pompton Lakes, NJ. That was it until years after Dahlia Seed disbanded.
During the years of Dahlia Seed’s very influential existence. I consumed every release, wore the shirts and even had one of my images of Tracy adorn the cover of their split 7′ inch with Greyhouse. While each remain vital to both my wardrobe and ears. It’s the little, makeshift piece of art created and passed to me by Tracy herself that remains most special to me. Maybe it’s because neither myself nor it’s artist have any recollection of how or why it was made and just how it came in to my possession. Questions that remain unanswered. Ones that perhaps best remain unanswered in order to preserve a hint of mystery. Needless to say, pulling this from a random box brought back a lot of good memories. A scan of it shows it in it’s almost original condition some twenty years later.
Years later I’ve remained in contact with Tracy while forming friendships with former members Darin, John and Chris. Dahlia Seeds music still inspires me and Tracy remains the one and only performer who can give me the chills while making the hairs on my arm stand on end. That’s pretty damn impressive. J.D.
Essex County’s Archie Alone have posted two stellar tracks from their upcoming split 7 inch with a mystery west coast act. While there is no telling when the split will be released. Or on which label. The two songs “Broken” and “Mend” do an amazing job in displaying the bands power and ability to blend post core power with emotive lyrics and heartfelt vocals. Having seen the direction the band has been taking it’s sound. This just might be their best material yet. Don’t sleep on this. JD