LAB039 – Think Globally, Act Locally, Vol. 2: Louisville, Kentucky (by Ryan Patterson of Coliseum!)

Not that Coliseum ever follows, but they have recently made the rather intriguing move over to Temporary Residence, putting them alongside kid brother’s Young Widows. Fucking fantastic, I say. And, well, that’s really all I have to say about that. House With A Curse drops in exactly three weeks, with the TR treatment glossing the top nonetheless. I wanted to go on about how great! it is, but the music, again, speaks for itself. Here is the new, fantastic song, “Blind In One Eye” by Coliseum:

http://www.divshare.com/flash/playlist?myId=11560103-c94

Now what that has to do with LAB039, is Sir Patterson himself, of Black Cross, Coliseum, Auxiliary Records & Design, etc, is hereby my first guest mix-taper. For the second installment of the ‘scenes’ series we go to Loo-a-vull, Kentucky, likely my favorite place I’ve never been, home of baseball bats and Papa Johns and more importantly Slint and the Oldham’s and Breather Resist. For any unfamiliar, Louisville is a city in the heart of the American Midwest, nestled into the shores of the Ohio River and hardly as cute and cuddly as to what that description lends itself. I know Louisville for its music, and consider it one of the Big Three in the US––alongside Richmond/Fredericksburg, Virginia, and Gainesville, Florida. (And Orange County, See-Eh, hey-hum.) I was more than happy to hand LAB039 over to a native Louisvillian for most bestness, and you can’t really beat a Patterson at that. With no further ado:

Ryan Patterson of Coliseum:
Nearly thirty of my favorite songs from Louisville

1. CRAIN “Car Crash Decisions”
2. BASTRO “Tobacco In The Sink”
3. PHANTOM FAMILY HALO “Blackouts And Runaways”
4. CEREBELLUM “Fire”
5. SECOND STORY MAN “Clocks”
6. SQUIRREL BAIT “Thursday”
7. BREATHER RESIST “Tongues”
8. THE ENDTABLES “White Glove Test”
9. KINGHORSE “Brother Doubt “
10. OUT. “You Destroy Me”
11. LORDS “Let It Divide”
12. DYBBUK “Heroless”
13. SHIPPING NEWS “Axons And Dendrites”
14. WOLVERINE BRASS “Prayer”
15. ELLIOTT “Miracle”
16. HEDGE “Shackles On My Feet”
17. MOUNTAIN ASLEEP “Smile Medicine”
18. GUILT “Off White”
19. LATHER “The Draw”
20. FALLING FORWARD “Twenty Nine Sixteen Magazine”
21. BONNIE ‘PRINCE’ BILLY “Strange Form Of Life”
22. METROSCHIFTER “Whatever’s”
23. PRIDESWALLOWER “Nerveswallower”
24. RODAN “Shiner”
25. STARBILLY “Heather”
26. JASON LOEWENSTEIN “Transform”
27. THE FOR CARNATION “Emp. Man’s Blues”
28. YOUNG WIDOWS “New Forest”
29. ENDPOINT “Brown County”

1. CRAIN “Car Crash Decisions”
From Speed album, Automatic Wreckords 1992, reissued by Temporary Residence Ltd. In 2005

One of the best records to ever come from Louisville and, without a doubt, the least dated of anything to released in Louisville in the early 90s. Incredible tunes, awesome production, killer cover art by Bill Widener. Of its time, yet almost twenty years later it feels somehow timeless.

2. BASTRO “Tobacco In The Sink”
From Sing The Troubled Beast, Homestead Records 1990, reissued by Drag City in 2005

The only song here that’s not exactly from Louisville. Bastro bounced from DC to Louisville to Chicago, but it’s just too damn good to pass up. This was the brilliant post-Squirrel Bait outing from David Grubbs and Clark Johnson, also featuring future Tortoise member John McEntire. I have to admit that I came to discover Bastro ten years late, but like Crain, it could be released today and sound just as current and vital.

3. PHANTOM FAMILY HALO “Blackouts And Runaways”
From Monoliths & These Flowers Never Die, Karate Body Records 2009

One of Louisville’s best current bands and best new labels. While their swirling psych rock is of the highest caliber, their dark and pulsing tunes like “Blackouts And Runaways” are always the highlight of their live shows.

4. CEREBELLUM “Fire”
From Cerebellum cassette, Slamdek 1989, reissued by Noise Pollution in 2010

Cerebellum captured the sound of the joy of making music in your youth, but did it in a way that didn’t seem childlike. They wrote songs that could only have been written by a group in their late teens or early twenties, but aren’t immature. Cerebellum didn’t last long and soon morphed into Crain, with member Drew Daniel forming Matmos years later. Luckily for all of us, Noise Pollution just gave Cerebellum the deluxe reissue treatment and these songs can finally be heard on vinyl.

5. SECOND STORY MAN “Clocks”
From Screaming Secrets, Noise Pollution 2009

Second Story Man is one of Louisville’s longest-running bands, playing their unique pop/indie/rock hybrid for over a decade. SSM’s Carrie Neumayer lent her voice to Coliseum’s “Year Of The Pig” in 2005 and I bought their newest record, Screaming Secrets, during the recording session
s for House With A Curse. As soon as I heard “Clocks” I knew we had to have her join us again. Carrie sings on “Lost In Groningen” and it’s quite possibly my favorite song on House With A Curse.

6. SQUIRREL BAIT “Thursday”
From Squirrel Bait, Homestead 1985, reissued by Drag City in 1997

Louisville’s best band and among the most essential mid-80s bands. Their influence is ever-reaching, this band and its many off-shoots changed independent music forever. Peter Searcy has one of the best voices in rock music of the last twenty-five years.

7. BREATHER RESIST “Tongues”
From Full Of Tongues 7″, Auxiliary Records 2005

The first song on this list from a record I released on my Auxiliary Records label. It would’ve been great to hear an entire album of Breather Resist songs of this caliber, but just as the band hit their stride, they split with singer Steve Sindoni and formed Young Widows. So it goes. By this single, Breather had finally managed to shed anything resembling metallic hardcore and focused their heavy post-punk leanings, a sound they perfected with Young Widows.

8. THE ENDTABLES “White Glove Test”
From Bold Beginnings: An Incomplete Collection of Louisville Punk 1978-83, Noise Pollution 2006, and The Endtables collection, Drag City 2010

Essential and brilliant Louisville punk. A rare occasion that “iconoclastic” is actually a deserved description of the music.

9. KINGHORSE “Brother Doubt “
From Kinghorse, Caroline 1990

I can’t say that Kinghorse has ever been my favorite Louisville band, but their influence in town is pervasive and for my money, “Brother Doubt” is their finest moment. As a kid, I was blown away to hear their songs on Santa Cruz’s Risk It skateboarding video, it was the highest echelon of punk success I could imagine at the time. Their bassist, Mike Bucayu, worked at Louisville’s wonderful ear X-tacy record store and among other things, I can thank him for single-handedly turning me on to the first Lungfish record.

10. OUT. “You Destroy Me”
From Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Songs, Noise Pollution 1997

I walked into a Southern Indiana high school auditorium on Halloween 1997 to see Guilt’s reunion / final show and Philadelphia-based Ink & Dagger. Louisville’s OUT were opening, I knew very little about them, other than they featured most of the members of Hedge. They completely annihilated the place. The house lights were still on, the room was filling up but people were still filtering in, and the band was on fire. It remains one of the best sets I’ve seen from any Louisville band. I never felt like their recordings quite did them justice, but “You Destroy Me” perfectly fits my memory of that performance. RIP Tony Bailey & Chad Donnelly.

11. LORDS “Let It Divide”
From Moral Darkness 7″, Auxiliary 2005

The next rung in the lineage of the influence Kinghorse, Lords continue to shred relentlessly. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for this EP, as it was released while Lords are Coliseum were constantly on tour together, but I think what they’re cooking up next could be their best stuff yet.

12. DYBBUK “Heroless”
From Breakfast T., Self Destruct Records 1992

An all but forgotten melodic hardcore gem that was released on Self Destruct, the label run by Kinghorse bassist Mike Bucayu. I had no idea what a dybbuk was until I saw the Coen Brothers’ A Simple Man.

13. SHIPPING NEWS “Axons And Dendrites”
From Flies The Fields, Touch & Go / Quarterstick 2005

Another top contender for my favorite Louisville record of all time. Shipping News has always been a great band, but with the addition of the masterful bass player Todd Cook and a darker turn in their songwriting, they completely floored me with this album. Shipping News’ Jason Noble is Louisville music incarnate and I was so excited to have him sing with us on a few songs on House With A Curse.

14. WOLVERINE BRASS “Prayer”
From Wicked Witch, Auxiliary 2007

One of the countless band from town that burned out too quickly live up to their potential. I this album holds its own with just about any of Louisville’s vast array of classic indie rock records, unfortunately the band weren’t able to survive long enough to reach the people who would’ve loved them. Some of the members are still making great music with Shedding and Trophy Wives.

15. ELLIOTT “Miracle”
From U.S. Songs, Revelation Records 1998

I somehow ended up with a cassette of U.S. Songs months before its release and I wore that fucker out, listening to it over and over in my crappy Third Street apartment over the course a summer with no air conditioning and no job. Elliott was always a powerful live band and with Chris Higdon’s incredible voice, this could be their finest moment. “Calm Americans” from False Cathedrals is a pretty great one as well.

16. HEDGE “Shackles On My Feet”
From Every Blessing Is A Curse, Damn Entertainment 1995

Hedge started out as a ska band, complete with trombone, eventually adopting a Fugazi-esque musical style, while not sounding at all like Fugazi due to singer Dave Bird’s unique vocal approach. Another awesome drum performance by Tony Bailey.

17. MOUNTAIN ASLEEP “Smile Medicine”
From Smile Medicine 7″, Kid Sister Records 2010

Part of Louisville’s new breed of up and coming hardcore bands, Mountain Asleep funnel some of the loose energy of Cap’n Jazz with a heavier rhythm section and darker vocals. They are an awesome group of people who are part of spearheading Louisville’s next wave of sincere hardcore/punk bands.

18. GUILT “Off White”
From Synesthesia 10″, Initial Records 1994

Guilt was the band that introduced me to heavy music. Prior to their Empty 7″ in 1993 I would dismiss any band anywhere near this style as “metal.” Because of their dual members in Endpoint and ability to be crushingly heavy without any ounce of machismo it turned me, and many other kids at the time, on to a different avenue of hardcore. Definitely one of the defining local bands of my teenage years.

19. LATHER “The Draw”
From A Modest Proposal, Self Destruct Records 1994

Yet another nearly forgotten record that I can still listen to occasionally without cringing. After the death of Dybbuk member Tim Wunderlin, two of Dybbuk’s members formed Lather and mixed their former melodic hardcore with earnest 90s alt-rock. I think it was Spin that reviewed the record and said it sounded like the drummer was playing seven drum kits at once, which stands as being pretty accurate.

20. FALLING FORWARD “Twenty Nine Sixteen Magazine”
From Split 7″ with Metroschifter, Doghouse Records 1994

I loved Falling Forward in the mid 90s, but most of their recorded output suffers from the poor production choices that plague a lot of the melodic hardcore bands of the time. Regardless, they were definitely one of my favorite bands at the time. The last two songs they released were part of an acoustic split single with Metroschifter and showed the band moving into the direction they eventually explored further in Elliott.

21. BONNIE ‘PRINCE’ BILLY “Strange Form Of Life”
From The Letting Go, Palace Records / Drag City 2007

It’s hard to pick a favorite song from Will Oldham’s massive catalog, so I picked a song from The Letting Go, one of his darkest. I listen to his music and find it timeless, as if I’m hearing something now that I know will be admired and loved for as long as the recordings survive. The main recurring guitar line is just incredible.

22. METROSCHIFTER “Whatever’s”
From For The Love Of Basic Cable 7″, Foresight Records 1995

This song has always moved me, without a doubt Scott Ritcher’s finest moment.

23. PRIDESWALLOWER “Nerveswallower”
From Lifeswallower, Auxiliary Records 2007

Outside of Young Widows, my favorite Louisville band of the last few years. Louisville bands don’t often rock in this way, grungy and noisy but still melodic. I loved this band, and of course they broke up way too soon.

24. RODAN “Shiner”
From Rusty, T
ouch & Go / Quarterstick 1994

Not much to say that hasn’t been said better elsewhere – a classic. You should own this!

25. STARBILLY “Heather”
From Master Vibrator, Buzz Records 1995

As I mentioned earlier, I love Peter Searcy’s voice no matter what the context. After Squirrel Bait he formed Big Wheel and followed a more college-rock path, which I dig, but his post-Big Wheel band Starbilly received relatively little attention before Peter embarked on a solo career. For my money, outside of Squirrel Bait, this is the best song of his extensive catalog.

26. JASON LOEWENSTEIN “Transform”
From At Sixes And Sevens, Sub Pop 2002

Probably not considered a “Louisville Record” by many, nonetheless Sebadoh’s Jason Loewenstein completed this killer album while living in Louisville, playing every instrument himself. This is the last song on the record and I love it… It’s got that perfect American indie rock vibe, fuzz bass, earnestly drawled vocals, a driving beat, perfectly noisy melodic guitar lines, and lyrics that sum it all up. I love this song. Having Jason produce the first Coliseum LP and the Goddamage EP was a great experience.

27. THE FOR CARNATION “Emp. Man’s Blues”
From The For Carnation, Touch & Go 2000

In this list, you’ll notice the glaring omission of the most of important of all Louisville indie bands, Slint. While I certainly enjoy Slint, it was Brian McMahan’s follow up, The For Carnation, that really spoke to me. Anchored by Todd Cook’s incredible bass work and McMahan’s spoken/sung vocals, this song is especially transcendent.

28. YOUNG WIDOWS “New Forest”
From Settle Down City, Jade Tree / Auxiliary 2006

This is the highlight of Young Widows’ first LP, from here they’d go on to an entirely new level with its follow-up, Old Wounds. Obviously this is my younger brother’s band, but I’m not overstating when I say that Young Widows are one of the best live bands on the planet. Absolutely wonderful.

29. ENDPOINT “Brown County”
From The Last Record, Doghouse Records 1995

Endpoint was the quintessential Louisville hardcore band of the 90s and the defining band for a generation of Louisville kids. At the time, they were neck and neck with Fugazi as my number one favorite band. Of course, as I mentioned with Falling Forward, the passing of time can be a little cruel to the musical choices and production values of bands from this era, so I can’t say it’s something I still listen to as often as Fugazi, Jesus Lizard, or other bands of the time.

Regardless, Endpoint was the ultimate to me for a few years there. At some point in the months after they’d broken up, I ended up hanging out at the apartment shared by Endpoint / Guilt guitarist Duncan Barlow, Falling Forward’s Benny Clark, and Enkindel singer Mark Brickey. Mark was a bit of a mentor to me for a few years, helping my high school band get on shows and eventually recruiting me to join the Enkindels on bass, “bringing me up to the big leagues,” as he put it. (Which in some ways he did, it was the first band I toured with and pretty much kickstarted my life in touring bands, those guys set me off on the road I still follow to this day.)

The entire apartment was like a holy shrine to me… There was a broken Gibson SG from Endpont hung on the wall, a small Kinko’s-printed Guilt banner hanging above a door, in Duncan’s room he showed me the original pressing of the Teen Idles 7″. Mark, Duncan, and I sat on the floor and Duncan played me a cassette copy of Endpoint’s final EP, unreleased at the time and unheard by anyone outside of their circle of friends. I was dumbfounded by how awesome it was… The songs were slower and darker than anything they’d done before and the last song, “Brown County,” was an anthem that merged their melodic hardcore with Southern rock elements and Rob Pennington’s most powerful lyrics yet. It seemed as if all of Endpoint’s entire history and mission was summed up in that one song. At least it seemed that way to me when I was 17!

After we listened to the cassette, Duncan said I could have his copy as long as I promised not to copy it for anyone else. I couldn’t believe it! I had an Endpoint recording in my possession before it had been released, and not just any Endpoint recording, this was the Last Record. That cassette was played countless times and meant to the world to me. That band meant the world to me.

About five years later, I formed a band called Black Widows, later called Black Cross, with Rob, and we became great friends. Nearly a decade later, Endpoint reunited to play a string of benefit shows to aid Rodan / Shipping News’ Jason Noble in his fight against cancer. Endpoint was better than ever before and solidified their standing as the best Louisville hardcore band. They played a final “secret” show and Coliseum played directly before them… Nearly twenty years after I first discovered Endpoint and they became the favorite Louisville band of my high school years, I shared the stage with them as their friend and peer.

I love Louisville music.

––– ––– ––– ––– –––

To download LAB039, click here!

For more information on Louisville hardcore, check out the website devoted to just that.

And to put the kibosh on all your apparel needs, visit Shirt Killer.

2 thoughts on “LAB039 – Think Globally, Act Locally, Vol. 2: Louisville, Kentucky (by Ryan Patterson of Coliseum!)

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