Sunday Listens: Reliving My Youth With Late 90's Crust Punk

This post is part of the Sunday Listens series where I post about music that's exciting/interesting to me.  Sometimes from the perspective of a voice teacher and usually on Sundays.  Get your week started right with awesome tuneage.

Texas band Bread and Water circa '99

Texas band Bread and Water circa '99

Last week I attended the Denver premiere of the movie Bomb City.  It's based on the true story of Brian Deneke, a punk kid living/skating in Amarillo, Texas who was murdered in 1997.  He was murdered for being a punk, and so the movie featured late 90's punk prominently.

For more on what it meant to be a punk in a small town that elevated the status of jocks, and why being a punk was something that might get you killed, read the wikipedia article, and then follow that up with this brief but timely analysis from Vice News.  Definitely go see the movie (you can pre-order it on iTunes).  Failing those efforts, ask an old punk friend (everyone has one, right?) about the late 90's.  It was a thing.

I was a punk in the late 90's and watching the movie felt like a time warp in many ways.  During one of the scenes from the court trial, a punk who is testifying is wearing a Bread and Water patch.  "Wow, that's an obscure band reference," I thought.  Later my friend (and fellow old punk), Sascha reminded me that they were a Texas band and Amarillo punks would have surely been into them.

Late 90's/early 00's crust punk: liberally applying a distinct d-beat, with a notable scream, periodic slow parts with some guitar picking, multiple vocalists employing a call and response motif, mostly unintelligible lyrics, with perfectly understandable choruses that serve as a call to action against such things as the state, the system, racism, patriarchy and capitalism, meant to be danced to with ample headbanging and thrashing of limbs, fosters a strong sense of community amongst fellow show-goers and bandmembers, linked to the ongoing anti-globilization movement at the time.

That's my best attempt at a definition, but please judge for yourself.

Here's the Bread and Water album that got me hooked:

This list isn't complete without a band that was highly influential on my musical tastes and my political beliefs: Anti-Product.  This live video says it all, especially singer Taína Asili saying it all at the beginning.

The Subhumans groundbreaking album, "The Day the Country Died", was released in 1983, which predates my timeframe by a lot.  But, there wouldn't be 90's crust punk without the Subhumans.  (Who, by the way, still actively tour and release albums.)  Go ahead, dig back into the vaults and listen to the entire album, "The Day the Country Died".  It's only 35 minutes long!

So, what do think?  Has crust-core played an important role in your life?  Should it be mandatory listening for the youth of today?  Does it sound like a chainsaw in a dumpster?  Let me know in the comments below!

[Hey, music fans! Did you know that purchasing albums, from digital platforms or your local record store, help support musicians who sacrifice pretty much everything for the sake of creating life-changing sounds?  Don't stream; Collect!]


Lots of Newness in My Musical Life

This summer has been productive!  Although my family had to temporarily sacrifice our vegetable garden due to moving, I would say that my musical garden has been robust!

I was honored to be asked by CBS Denver to give Wednesday's Child LeShea a voice lesson.  LeShea was so earnest, sweet and hard working that it was a pleasure to work with her.  I wish for her to find the family of her dreams.  Anybody would be lucky to have LeShea in their lives.  Watch the clip that aired on the morning show on channel 7.

I've also been busy working on a deeply personal musical endeavor, The Molly Growler Project.  What started out as an outlet during a difficult time has morphed into a three-piece band.  I'm the primary songwriter, something new for me, but the other band members have powerful musical voices to contribute.  We played our first show as a full band recently and it felt empowering, uplifting and communal.  All the good stuff about putting a band together and just getting out there with it.  Check out the bandcamp page for recordings.

I also put together a little jazz duo that consists of myself and guitarist Aaron Summerfield.  It's a mellow, stripped down sort of jazz that's been really fun to perform.  We played a few gigs at the ModMarket in Highlands Ranch and I made a short video of it.

The full jazz band (which is now between band names) I've been singing with for a few years finally finished mastering our demo.  Crazy how these things can take a while to complete!  Two of my favorite tracks are loaded on the sounds page of this here website.  Here is the direct link.  Listen to the tunes at the very top.

If you would like to catch any of my performances be sure to check the regularly updated calendar.  Be sure to say hi when you stop by.

I'm feeling especially grateful for all these opportunities that have come my way recently.  Many friends, students and family have come out to support my performances.  I feel all warm and gooey inside thanks to them.  It makes me want to keep on keepin' on.