Monday, October 19, 2009
American Standard - 1987-1992 Demos and more
American Standard were a great punk rock band from New Jersey. They were kinda grouped into the NYHC scene (the song "Away" even appeared on the "Sunday Matinee: The Best of NY Hardcore" comp LP released on Another Planet Records in 1994), although the band's sound was pretty far removed from the NYHC scene. They took influences from the DC scene, and the emo sound that evolved from Rites of Spring, gave it a bit of a harder rock edge, added some pop hooks, and created some unique and catchy music. This is a collection of material recorded prior to their amazing first album "Wonderland". Thanks to Jon Shiver, Jeremy Dean and Scott Bilbrey for the music. Enjoy.
American Standard: 1987-1988
William "Bill" Dolan - vocals
Matt Dolan - guitar
Scott Bilbrey - bass
Jay "J" Colangelo - drums
The "Thank You" demo (tracks 1-5) was recorded at Inner Ear Studio in Arlington, VA sometime in early 1988. These are my favorite versions of these 5 songs, and the sound quality is excellent. Versions of these tracks appear on other demos posted here, and all 5 were re-recorded for the "Wonderland" LP in 1989.
Tracks 6-9 are rough mixes of the Wonderland sessions recorded at Chung King in 1988. The opening track "Grin" is the only track exclusive to this session, as "It Comes Around" and "Building Blocks" are on the "Thank You" demo, and "Without Asking Why" is on the 1987 demo. Still, these are great renditions of these tracks, and definitely worth hearing. I cleaned up these tracks as best as possible.
Next up (tracks 10-16) is a great set recorded live on Pat Duncan's show on WFMU in East Orange NJ (at the time, the WFMU studio has since moved to Jersey City, NJ). This version of the set is strictly the music. I cut out all the in-between song banter because while de-hissing the set made the music sound much better, it made any talking between tracks sound much worse. You're not missing much though, the band introduces a few of the songs and makes one show announcement. The music sounds much better than any of the other copies you'll find, and that's all that counts. To me anyway.
Tracks 17-21 were the band's very first recordings, known as the "Paul Noser Demos". Some great exclusive tracks on this demo like "Blind Leading Blind", "Shadows" and "Love and Trust".
Scott Bilbrey on the "Paul Noser Demos":
Paul Noser was a friend and musical mentor of the band (and amazing musician) who had a small studio in his basement in suburban NJ, not far from where we lived and formed as a band. This was recorded in early 1987. Just some context, Matt and J were 16 years old -- juniors in high school. We were still finding our way musically and as a band, so go easy! :)
We played all of these songs in our real early shows (1987) but by mid-1988 the only one that survived was Away -- which we played pretty much to the end.
This is actually a rough mix of the demo, so there are a couple glitches (vocals fade in on Shadows; a clown horn that Bill was goofing with can be heard on Away -- was supposed to be edited out).
Blind Leading Blind was the first song we ever wrote.
I know we played Shadows at our first CBGB's gig in January 1988 (with Swiz) but I don't know if we played it much beyond that.
Away made it onto Wonderland -- this is the first recorded version.
This version of Where'd They Go is pretty much how we played it live, unlike the other version from the first Inner Ear Demos, which was a bit experimental. We played it live only a few times.
To read the full story behind the demos, check out the comments section of this post.
Also check the comments section for the original upload of the "Paul Noser Demos" (before i cleaned them).
Last in the collection are 4 demo tracks recorded at Inner Ear Studios in 1987. The quality varies from track to track, but considering these tracks were buried under so much tape hiss, i think they came out really well. The original '87 demo had 5 tracks. I didn't include the song "Thank You" due to horrible sound quality that was beyond repair. But that song is already in this collection twice, so no harm. Thanks to Scott Bilbrey for the info on all these recordings.
Matt Dolan on American Standard:
Washington DC. That was where our biggest influences were- the DC scene. Dag Nasty, Fugazi, bands like that. We were really inspired by that because it wasn't as 'aggro' as the New York scene was. There starting to call bands Emo-core now, and they were calling them Emo-core back in '95.
You can read the entire interview with the band here.
And check out the American Standard page on the Maggadee Records site for lots of great band pics.