Thursday, December 6, 2012

Crumbsuckers - Life Of Demos 1983-1985

These are the early Crumbsuckers demos with David Brady on vocals. They were posted about a year ago on the band's facebook page, from David Brady's personal stash of recordings from when he was in the band, These recordings, and a couple others, have been circulating the web for a while now, but i was never happy with the quality on any of the links i've come across. Some were loaded with tape hiss and recorded at an incredibly low volume, while others were so cleaned that the sound was completely washed out. So i decided to clean the tracks myself, as i tend to listen to this stuff a lot and wanted it in decent quality. Hope you like it.

Life Of Demos

The Crumbsucker Cave demo was recorded in June of 1983 at Nino Studios in Baldwin, NY. At the time of these recordings, the band had a 15 song set (roughly), including a cover of Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf", Chubby Checker's "The Twist" (included on the demo), and the them to Inspector Gadget. A great mix of these songs and early versions of Life of Dreams songs can be heard on the New York Ave. 1984 Rehearsals (check out the Old, Fast & Loud blog for that). Like most high school hardcore bands, the music was pretty basic and the lyrics were kinda juvenile. The evolution of the Crumbsuckers is amazing considering that they had written some of the material for Life of Dreams less than a year later. Listening to the Cave demo you'd never think it was the Crumbsuckers, but it's worth checking out. A long-lost piece of hardcore history for sure.

1983 lineup:
Dave Brady - vocals
Dave Wynn - guitar
Gary Meskil - bass
Kevin Carroll - drums

In early 1984 Chuck Lenihan is brought in on second guitar and Dan Richardson takes over on drums. By the summer on 1985 all the band's old material is scrapped and the band records their incredible second demo. "Working the Magic" is recorded at CBGB on a 16 track. The progression from the first demo to the second is like night and day, and now the band have a super tight, metallic and very unique crossover sound. After listening to this demo about a dozen times during the past few weeks, i have a great appreciation for it. At this point i may actually prefer Dave's vocals over Notaro's. Probably just because this is new to me, so the difference in vocals sounds fresh. Dave's vocals are more of a raspy yelling, as opposed to Chris Notaro's growly, almost death metal approach (much different than his vocals on the first Krakdown demo). I'll say Working the Magic is up there with the best of the NYHC classic demos of the mid-'80s. Glad it's finally out there, and hopefully one day this stuff gets a proper release.

1985 lineup:
Dave Brady - vocals
Dave Wynn - guitar
Chuck Lenihan - guitar
Gary Meskil - bass
Dan Richardson - drums

I don't have any info on the last batch of tracks in this collection. Pretty sure they're rehearsals from sometime in 1984. Much different sounding than the New York Ave. Rehearsals. Probably some of the earliest versions you'll hear of some Life of Dreams songs. There's also a great version of an early unreleased song called The Solution. I'm guessing this is one of the last songs they cut before moving entirely in their new direction.

A few weeks after the recording of the CBGB demo, Dave splits, Chris joins, the band signs to Combat, and the rest is history.

Unfortunately i never got to see the Crumbsuckers in their prime, but i did get to see them when they played a reunuin show at BB King's in NYC on August 3rd, 2006. The show was in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Life of Dreams. I'm not much for reunion shows (although i've been to my share), but this show was amazing. The entire 1985 lineup played (plus Tom Klimchuck from Pro-Pain), and even David Brady and Dave Wynn came out for a few songs. Some of the band members even had their young children on stage, it was just a really fun show. They played LOD in its entirety and it was flawless. Seriously. If you closed your eyes you'd swear they were playing the album over the PA system. Easily the best reunion show i've ever seen, and just one of the best hardcore shows in general.

Excellent Crumbsuckers website here.

Also, i think Beast on My Back kills. Underrated ripper.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Funeral Oration - The Demos 1983-1984 revised

I first heard songs from the early Funeral Oration demos on WFMU back in the late '80s. These demos went straight to the top of my want list, and within a few years I was lucky enough to score original copies of both demos from a collector who was selling off his demo collection. I quickly made copies as not to put any wear on the original tapes, and they became a huge part of my soundtrack through the early '90s. The 1983 demo is in my top 5 hardcore demos of all time. In the mid '90s, when i had the technology, i ripped both demos to CDR (i remember back then CDRs were like 5 bucks a pop), and when i started this blog in 2009 i ripped the CDR to mp3s as part of a Funeral Oration anthology i posted that year. I've always wanted to upgrade the demos, and figured it was about time. So here they are in much better quality. These crucial recordings, aside from a couple of songs, were left off the incredibly incomplete Funeral Oration 2xCD released on Hopeless Records in 1999. I'm pretty sure all the records and sessions on that collection were incomplete actually, and if they hadn't filled the second disc with live shows (from the late '90s no less), i think they could have put together a nice discography. Oh well, that's the decision of the band (and whoever else was involved). Hopefully at some point the band decides to release a proper discography, and hopefully even include the demos in their entirety. For now, here's the upgraded demos collection. Re-transferred, re-cut, cleaned up and ripped at 320 from the original first generation cassettes. 100% mandatory listening. Enjoy!

Funeral Oration Demos

There's Nothing Left To Laugh About - 1983 demo
The inside demo cover, reads "Recorded on a gray afternoon somewhere in September '83. It was our seventh practice." The demo cover was printed on pink card stock. A fold-out lyric sheet was included, printed on front and back. According to the lyric sheet, the song Sinking Down was written in 1981 by Peter Zirschky's former band, Last Warning. The demo title "There Is Nothing Left To Laugh About" is printed nowhere other than the top of the lyric sheet. These are by far my favorite Funeral Oration recordings. This is raw, fast, yet extremely catchy basement thrash punk. Most of these songs were re-recorded for the second demo, The Godsend, but for me these are the definitive versions. Amazing from start to finish. If you've heard Funeral Oration before, and it's not your thing, keep in mind this demo sounds absolutely nothing like anything the band recorded since. This is the band at it's most aggressive and most raw. The most drastic difference between this and that came later are the vocals. While still being slightly melodic, the vocals here are angry. With growls at times that are closer to early death metal than the super melodic, almost DK like vibe that the band became known for. This tape has always reminded me a bit of Husker Du's Land Speed Records album, and that's pretty much the only point of reference i can think of for a description. The tape only slows down to catch it's breath during one minute for the song Walls on side one (kinda the way Land Speed only slows down for Data Control). Anyway i'll stop now. I can ramble on about this demo forever, i've probably played it a hundred times and i'll never get sick of it. A classic, and a ripper from start to finish.

For the record, i'll take this over Land Speed any day.

1983 lineup
Zirschky - vocals
David - guitar
William - bass
Ferry - drums

Funeral Oration II: The Godsend - 1984 demo
Inner flap of demo cover reads "Recorded on a wet day in young '84, soaked through we were. Cover printed on light blue card stock. Apparently the cassette also came in brown bag with a decal and included a 2-sided insert, a folded poster, and a sticker. Unfortunately my copy didn't come with the bag, decal or sticker. The majority of the tracks were written in 1983, aside from Send From Heaven and For Miles (my 2 favorite tracks on the demo), which were written in '84. Also included is a re-recording of the Last Warning song from '81, Sinking Down. In fact, of the 16 songs included here (not including the intro and outro), only 7 were not re-recorded tracks from the previous demo. These versions are much different though, and was pretty much the foundation for the bands sound that followed on the Shadowland ep in 1984 and the Communion LP in 1985. They traded in the raw basement thrash for a much more unique sound, with echoey guitars and much more melodic vocals. The energy of the music is still in full force here, but there are poppier, and also darker elements. When the band are at their best it sounds like some bizarre hybrid of fast-paced hardcore punk and The Cure. The song For Miles is a good example. An unofficial 12" vinyl release of The Godsend came out in 2008 on Neder Again Records. It included a lyric sheet. In 2011, Gummopunx Records in collaboration with Pain Of Mind Records reissued the demo as an LP. This one came with a printed insert with liner notes and lyrics, and completely new artwork. Intro and Outro not included. 500 copies pressed.

1984 lineup
Zirschky - vocals / guitar
William - bass
Ferry - drums

For my previous Funeral Oration post, which includes 2 of the band's first vinyl releases, go here.

Funeral Oration formed in 1983 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. They released a nice sized discography, including a split cassette with Gepøpel in 1985, which included tracks from both demos, as well as rehearsal and live recordings.