He will be DJ-ing tonight at Big Freak." /> L.A. Record


April 3rd, 2011 | Interviews

ben hoste

Guitarist Andy Coronado (Wrangler Brutes, Monorchid, Skull Kontrol) presents here his list of “Beltway Outsiders”—DC-area bands that were never a part of the famous Dischord-and-friends hardcore punk world. He will be DJ-ing tonight at Big Freak.

Pentagram Relentless LP (Pentagram, 1984)

“Probably the 3rd or 4th lineup of this (now) highly revered Virginia band, this record was their first official album more than 13 years after the band had begun. Victor Griffin lays it down thick here. The songs are simple and superb. Pentagram always claimed to be disciples of Blue Cheer, but revisionist history has placed them alongside the likes of Saint Vitus, Trouble, Witchfinder General, etc., as part of some budding doom metal movement that doesn’t seem like it was really happening at all. Each band was an anomaly in its own area. Modern day metal archaeologists have connected the dots and cherry-picked certain aspects and bits of imagery to create a picture of an imaginary seminal scene that seems far fetched and less ridiculous than it actually was. Remember Wino’s leather top-hat on the back of Mournful Cries? Ouch! What about all those titties on the Witchfinder General records? Titfinder General is more like it. The one thing that I can see these bands all had in common is they were making amazing music and no one gave a shit. Until 25 years later. But you get the feeling that, unlike their hardcore peers at the time, they WANTED to be loved. Pentagram woulda sold their souls to be Priest. Today you feel smug satisfaction when you put on a Pentagram record knowing that they were underdogs and that if you’d been there then, you would surely have had the good taste you have today and you’d be on the inside to partake in the “Doom Genesis.” In reality you’d have just been some pesky fan at the show who was getting in the way of Bobby Liebling’s hand on its journey to rummage around your girlfriend’s ass crack as you’re all waiting in line to piss in the one working toilet at the Bailey’s Crossroads version of the Boar’s Nest.”

Nuclear Crayons Bad Pieces … LP (Outside, 1984)

“This is the band from your high school where the only freaks in the entire school formed a band because there was no one else to play with. It’s like, “OK, the “Duckie” guy from Pretty in Pink will play guitar, piano tie guy will play drums, hippie “Neil from The Young Ones” guy will play bass, and goth girl from drama class, you sing.” Nuclear Crayons are that band that make you feel awkward and embarrassed at first but then you quickly realize that you are the asshole and they are all that is beautiful, honest, and devoid of ego. Remember Nightmare of the Elf? “Overpopulation” is the jam, but every song here grows on you. Looking at the pics of them in Banned in DC when I was a teenager, I really just wanted this band to go away. Laura Lynch “Lavoison” was a total boner killer and the rest of the band just stood there yawning. I wanted the Faith to just jump over from the other page and beat the stuffing out of these charlatans. Anyway, they managed to put out a single, an LP and a comp all on their own Outside Records without help from the eye-rolling rein-holders of the DC scene at the time. Bernie Wandel went on to play bass in the first incarnation of the Henry Rollins Band, only to be unceremoniously dumped when Henry poached Andrew Weiss from Gone. A few years later Bernie made an appearance in Henry’s dream journal “Black Coffee Blues,” where he was unceremoniously punched in the fucking face when he came knocking at Henry’s front door.”

United Mutation Rainbow Person EP (DSI, 1985)

“Name: A+….. Art: A++….. Music: ehhh……. When I first heard about UM as a teen, I expected them to fully live up to their name and blow my balls apart. United Mutation? The most bad ass name ever. How could it not be good? I picked up a copy of the Fugitive Family EP and was expecting Void’s little brother. I mean, the record scraped in to becoming a part of history with it’s catalog number: Dischord 10 7/8. The “7/8” is kinda telling … it’s like, “We really don’t wanna besmirch the family name, but you guys are our friends and all—how ‘bout this?” I’ve listened to Fugitive Family 70 times and I couldn’t hum one song to you. Mike Brown’s vocals are distinctly original for the time, somewhere between Pushead’s Septic Death screech and Cannibal Corpse’s cookie monster ridiculousness, but predating both. The art on the record is top notch—I made a shirt I still wear to this day that is graced with the cover image. They made great strides by 1985’s Rainbow Person EP. The music is way better … more complicated and memorable, and Mike Brown’s singing bears a strange resemblance to HR’s at this point. They petered around for a couple more years and then faded away …”

White Boy “Sagittarius Bumpersticker” 7” (Doodley Squat, 1977)

“One of the area’s first “punk” acts, White Boy were the father/son team of James and Glen Kowalski taking the stage names Mr. Ott and Jake Whipp. A notoriously aggressive live act, the band released this record themselves and were cited by many of the DC laureates as an early life-changing experience. The record came out when punk was less defined by a certain sound—it sounds like a bar boogie blues band with a dude singing about how wants to puke all over things. Shock value was trading at an all time high, it seems. The behind the scenes exploits of White Boy proved to be more scandalous than anything Mr. Ott ever sang about when he ended up being thrown in prison for a string of child molestation and child pornography charges. Baaarrrrffffff …”

The Hated No More We Cry EP (Vermin Scum,1985)

“The title of this record couldn’t be worse suited for this particular bunch of Maryland crybabies. Apparently they actually did CRY while they performed live. Guh. These guys fall perfectly betweenZen Arcade-era Husker Du and Rites of Spring, with the whining notched up a bit and the lyrics a bit more hippie-drippie. If you’re a sixteen year old boy, everything they ever did will sound amazing to you, even when they kinda started sounding like Rush at the very end. I’ve never met a woman that could stand this band. What does that say?”

Death Piggy War EP (DSI, 1984)

“Hailing from Richmond Virginia, Dave Brockie’s pre-Gwar outfit Death Piggy surely suffered from the fact that they were trying to be funny guys in a climate that was distinctly humor-unfriendly. Songs with titles like “Ceramic Butt” and “Bathtub in Space” make me chuckle as I type. Brockie’s vocals here are a dead ringer for Gibby Haynes, and the music is less psychedelic than the Buttholes but comes from the same “making fun of punks” school which is always a good thing.”

No Trend When Death Won’t Solve Your Problem LP (Widowspeak, 1985)

“The ultimate DC outsiders, No Trend were notoriously hostile towards the entrenched DC hardcore/Revolution Summer establishment and took their anger nationwide. Lydia Lunch“>Lydia Lunch saw they weren’t just another band and put together this collection of tracks from several records. Singer Jeff Mentges belts out the most believable, thoroughly disgusted first line you’ve ever heard on a record; “QUICK!! TWO SECONDS TIL NONEXISTENCE! SO WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WAAAAAANT!!!!” It still gives me chills every time I hear it. I love No Trend as much as they hated all of us. Their ultimate “Fuck You” was their terrible final album they shit out for Touch and Go, which was intended to fuck with their audience’s expectations and managed to do so quite effectively.”

9353 To Whom It May Consume LP (R&B, 1984)

“Where do you begin with these guys? They shoulda been bigger than Jesus Jones but have completely been excluded from the history books. Total weirdo goth pop with lyrics that are so dark and funny and are delivered between Bruce Merkle’s bizarre alternating falsettos and baritones. Former Double-0 axeman Jason Carmer’s brilliant guitar playing is stripped away of it’s hardcore roots and delivers wonderful delay pedal psychedelia. Like No Trend, these guys were antagonizers and you got the impression that something just wasn’t quite right with the singer. I found that out firsthand when I met him at my friend Chris’s place in DC. He had been living in a wooded area by the freeway in Arlington with four dogs. He told us he had just been evicted from his camp by the cops and he’d had to shoot two of his dogs in the head because he couldn’t care for them. He had the other two dogs with him and after he told the story he split and left the dogs with us. Right after he left both dogs started violently vomiting and they collapsed. He’d poisoned them. Sick motherfucker. Great band though!”

Wicked Witch “Fancy Dancer” 7” (Infinity, 1985)

“When I lived in DC you could find this record anywhere for 50 cents. They even had it at Safeway. Everyone I knew had it. You had to buy it because it looked awesome. And everyone displayed it, too. If you went to a party it was always deliberately placed in the front of the host’s pile of 7”s. But did we listen to it? Hell no! Richard Simms was a one-man band who apparently pressed a shitload of these things. The A-side’s “Fancy Dancer” is a freaky funk number that is almost uncategorizeable. The B-side’s “Y Wood U Call It Rock?” is a heavy metal rock jam from another planet that sounds like it was recorded at the wrong speed. Awesome!”

Fury Resurrection EP (THD, 1989)

“These guys were in Swiz and Ignition, who weren’t beltway outsiders in the least, but this side project deserves special attention. It was 1989 and Fugazi were king—skillfully played post hardcore was the sound du jour. This record came out of nowhere—pure shambolic hardcore bombast that barely stays in time and then completely falls apart at the end. They never played a show and never practiced. Chris Thomson’s first attempt at singing in a band and his finest moment, he sounds like he’s ad-libbing the whole thing. Shawn Brown’s bass playing sounds like someone handed him the instrument and a giant question mark appeared above his head like if you had handed a caveman a cell phone. I was living in San Diego at the time and amongst my friends this record became everyone’s “I’m a fucking lunatic, this is what I listen to!” badge of pride. Everyone wanted their band to sound like this band but they couldn’t cuz they PRACTICED.”