Monday, February 16, 2009

Twitch Party - Twitch Party

My first band. I did vocals, Aidan Flax-Clark was the guitarist, Travis Erwin played bass and JC Ehle was the masterful drummer. We formed in the fall after I graduated high school. I was the oldest, at 17, and in my first year of college, but I had made friends with Aidan, who was a sophomore at my old high school, and we kept in touch over the summer. We had several interesting experiences when I got back from NY and decided to form a band on our shared love of The Jesus Lizard, Slug, Tool's Aenima, The Stooges and old punk rock.

Aidan was already good friends with JC, who I kind of knew from high school. We had been in some music classes together and I knew he was an excellent drummer. (Little did I know how amazing he really was.) Originally, we had a mutual friend, Mark on bass, but he wasn't that great of a player and, in a band where the guitarist and the drummer were both virtuosos, that mattered a lot. So Aidan brought in his friend, Travis, who proved not only to be an excellent bass player, but a real asset to the Twitch Party sound.

I was into The Jesus Lizard, Six Finger Satellite, Slug and old hardcore, while Aidan loved all of those, but added Tool and Pink Floyd to the list. Travis was into "alternative" rock, like REM, Nirvana, The Foo Fighters, The Pixies, stuff like that. JC loved Coal Chamber and other Nu Metal bands, but also shared my appreciation of straightedge hardcore bands like Earth Crisis. Somehow, we all spoke a common musical language.

We played a few shows at places like The Whiskey-a-Go-Go, Cobalt Cafe, Raven Playhouse and even Al's Bar. Our first show, ever, at Cobalt was a complete disaster. We were relentlessly heckled by the "punk" crowd who went so far as to unplug Aidan's amp, throw a full cup of water at Travis and cover the stage with balled-up LA Weeklys. (Aidan and I renounced punk after this show.) At an odd show at some Rec Center in the Glendale valleys, the sound guy, Mike, said he wanted to record us, saying we reminded him of Flipper, which was a huge complement to me. Thus, we recorded this "official" demo. (Mike has since gone on to record bands like 400 Blows.)

Eventually, our singular vision splintered, due to egos and asshole behavior, most of which was mine. I got into Karp and back into old punk and hardcore with The Germs, while the other guys were going in what I saw as an Emo direction. Aidan didn't like the guitar riffs I suggested and I didn't like where his ideas were taking the group. In hindsight, there was room for compromise, especially on my end, but at 19, I didn't see that, and basically bailed in favor of another band who brought me on as vocalist called Leopold (who will be posted here, hopefully).

The real end came when JC moved to Santa Barbara to go to school. He said he'd come back to the San Fernando Valley to practice, but it was such a hike for him, it didn't happen very often. Besides, like I said, we'd gone our separate ways musically and mutually decided to call it quits. Aidan remained friends for a while, but cut things off after I had severe drug problems and he hasn't responded to me since then, which really bums me out because I really valued our friendship and his talent. Travis and I have kept in touch through the years and it's always good to hear from him. JC and I were never close. I think he thought I was a stuck-up, weird asshole, and he was probably right. I totally respect him as a musician, though, and I wish I could have gotten over myself enough to have had a real conversation with him.

I'm really proud of this band and the music we made. I have some live recordings and rehearsal tapes laying around with songs that didn't get recorded properly, so if you like what your hear here, leave a comment and I'll post some of that stuff.

About the songs:
(note: songs that are linked can be downloaded as samples)

01. Ode - Aidan wrote this one. It really showed the direction he was going musically. I remember practicing this song and JC saying he loved the way I did the vocals, which meant a lot because I thought he couldn't hear me most of the time.

02. Song - I wrote this on my mom's acoustic guitar during a brief winter visit to NY. Aidan immediately latched onto it and beefed it up, and with the virtuoso drums from JC and excellent bass playing from Travis, it really became something. One of our earliest songs.

03. Instrumental - This was where we really started to split. Travis came up with the riff, Aidan moved to drums, JC played an African drum called a Djembe and I switched to guitar. These kinds of changes in bands always annoyed me (and still do), so I wasn't happy to play this one out - I think I wanted to keep it as a studio recording. I was uncomfortable with my guitar playing at this point and really didn't want to be put in the spotlight with the six-strings, so I tried to avoid this song. In hindsight, seeing where the others were going with the music, I really should have stuck it out, but hindsight is 20/20, as the cliche goes, and I really didn't appreciate the band for who and what we were.

04. At Peace - Travis came up with the bass line and Aidan and JC linked right in. I added lyrics and this quickly became one of my favorite TP songs. After hearing this recording, Aidan wanted me to play guitar in the band, but, again, I wasn't comfortable with my guitar playing, so I fought against it, which, again, was a mistake. I should have listened to them, but I wanted to be Iggy Pop/David Yow/Darby Crash, so instruments would only get in the way. They were right, though; they really were.

05. WWII - Our friend, Earl LeMay, from the MPAE recordings, came up with the title for this song. This was another case of Travis playing something at practice and the rest of us following through on it. To me, this is what we were - heavy, emotional, loud and unforgiving. I still love this song and the time in my life that it represents.

06. Stretched - Another one of our earliest songs. I remember Aidan doing feedback during practice and JC doing the cymbal thing that was so perfectly Slug. Then the song kicked in and Travis did his thing while I used an old poem that just magically fit for lyrics. This song gives me chills to this day. Unfortunately, where the other guys were more geared toward "Instrumental," I was more into "WWII" and this song. Again, in hindsight, there certainly could have been a balance, but, try telling that to a couple of teenagers and see where it gets you.

Twitch Party
Twitch Party CS
(Twitch Party)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

MPAE - Mixdown 2

Here are the outtakes from the Anokist Antiquity sessions. Many of them were purely experimental in nature and were a far cry from the punk rock that was my main focus at the time. There are some covers that I did just to see if I could do them and the beginnings of an unfinished MPAE punk album as well. Not all of it is good; in fact, I'd say most of it is quite awful, but it's an interesting document of where I was at the time, musically. Hey, I was 17 and just figuring out how to use my four-track. Everything was recorded in NY, unless otherwise noted.

About the songs:
(note: songs that are linked can be downloaded as samples)

01. Sluggish - While I was into punk and hardcore, I was also getting heavily into the noise rock of the time, like The Jesus Lizard, Unsane and Slug, who were the inspiration for this track. Their final album, The 3 Man Themes had just come out and I thought it was the pinnacle of Western music. I still love it now as much as I did then. I used the bass that my uncle lent me and I kept it as an instrumental because I was too lazy to bounce down tracks. All the instruments were improvised during their respective takes.

02. Slugger - I had some tape left over, so I recorded this really quickly. Another attempt at being Slug.

03. Organ Instrumental - For some reason, there was a crappy, out-of-tune wind organ in my grandmother's house on LI, so I used it on this track. The result sounds like the soundtrack for a Sega video game. I can't remember if that was conscious or not, but I had both a Master System and a Genesis growing up, and I always loved the music on the games.

04. Dance Industrial - I'm not exactly sure why I called it that, because it's dancey, but not really industrial. Maybe it was my idea of it at the time. Probably just a riff I came up with and didn't know how to use.

05. Experimental Instrumental - Experimental my ass! It's more like crappy no wave. I'm really not sure what I was thinking when I recorded this.

06. Reggae Ska Dub - This came from my love of Culture Shock and Citizen Fish. I tried it once and vowed never to do it again.

07. Untitled Instrumental - Conflict-type song that I never wrote lyrics for, so it ended up here.

08. Punk Instrumental - I can't tell if I ripped-off this riff, or if the vague vocal part I have in my head is what I intended to go along with the music. If you think it sounds a lot like another song, please let me know in the comments.

09. The Mr Phreek Cheer - This one speaks for itself.

10. I Wanna Be Your Dog - Stooges cover! Duh! They were basically my favorite band then and they still are today (even though The Weirdness was absolute garbage). I think this was recorded in NY, but I'm not sure.

11. Dead Souls - Joy Division cover. I would listen to Still occasionally while I made collages or did stuff on the computer, so it would end up in the background. I remember hearing the Nine Inch Nails cover and thinking, "That sounds so familiar." The next time I listened to Still, I realized why. I loved the riff, and I could play it, so I did it. Recorded in LA.

12. Anarchy in the UK - The Sex Pistols, and especially Johnny Rotten, were a huge influence on me as a teenager. I met Mr. Lydon once at a book signing for his memoir. I looked him right in the eye and told him he was really great when he was in The Damned. He doubled over in laughter and I left with a big smile on my face, mission accomplished.

13. I Hate (Waste of Time) - These were some lyrics that I wrote while bored in class. I later figured out the music I had in my head and recorded this in LA.

14. Pounding Nails - The idea for this song came from Eric Bogosian's monologue play Pounding Nails into the Floor with my Forehead. That title is the chorus. My voice is particularly disturbed here - a real reflection of what I was feeling at the time. I meant everything I said, and it shows. It's a little uncomfortable to hear this again and remember the feeling. Recorded in LA.

15. I Don't Care - This is basically the first song I ever wrote long before I ever even learned how to play guitar. The original lyrics were really awful and didn't make any sense. I rewrote them and recorded this in LA. The lyrics were rewritten yet again and the song was re-recorded for the FPOS album.

16. That's Me - More lyrics written while bored in high school. I always liked these a lot - they really encapsulated the way I felt about everything. Again, I figured out the music I had in my head and recorded this in LA. This was also re-recorded for FPOS with slightly altered lyrics.

17. Nick Cave - I improvised the music, and then I improvised the really bad pretentious lyrics, hence the title. I think I was serious when I recorded this, but when I mixed it down, I thought it was ridiculous.

18. No Me Gusta - I liked the idea of Brujeria, so I did my own version of Mexican grindcore using my limited high school Spanish for lyrics.

19. No Creo En Nada - More Brujeria influence with limited high school Spanish.

20. Phil's Death Metal - This came from a friend in high school who never said much, but when he did speak, it was usually something strange. One day he was sitting there going, "When you're dead, you're not alive, hahaha! When you're alive, you're not dead, hahaha!" I took it and made a death metal song, though I don't think I had really heard any death metal yet. It's actually not too far off. Check out the dual vocals!

Mr Phreek's Anokist Emporium
Mixdown 2 CS

Sunday, February 8, 2009

MPAE - Anokist Antiquity

MPAE has been many things over the years. It started as a crappy zeroxed zine ("circulation of only 20") that I'd try to sell to freshmen and sophmores for a quarter. In my strict Catholic prep school, distributing something like that could have landed me a suspension. I saw it as a more intelletual rebellion than walking around with my shirt untucked, which would get you a detention. Besides, that was the preferred rebellion of the popular people.

My mom got me a Fostex XR-11 four-track for a graduation present and I spent the following summer holed up in my grandmother's house on Long Island recording a punk album, among other things. I actually lugged all my equipment from LA to NY, and I'm glad I did. It kept me sane.

I was listening to a lot of Crass and FYP at the time, and I think it shows in the songs, although there are elements of all the punk and hardcore I had absorbed up to that point, especially The Angry Samoans and Circle Jerks, who were the first two punk bands I ever bought. You'll notice a lack of bass. I didn't own one at the time. My uncle lent me one, but I wanted two guitars (like Crass) and I didn't feel like doing the slightly more complicated engineering involved in getting the bass bounced onto one of the four tracks. Instead, I recorded one guitar as all treble and the other as all bass. Hey, I was 17. I've toyed with the idea of going back and putting bass in these songs, but it's usually bad news when people mess with their old music. What do you think?

After this, MPAE became a homerun mailorder punk catalog, and then a cassette-only noise label (look for those releases here in the future). Eventually, it became my defacto label name for my CDR releases (look for those here, too) and now it's this blog. I wonder what it'll be in another ten years.


01. Thinking - Before I learned how to play guitar, I used to write notebooks of lyrics while bored in class. I think this was the first song that I successfully converted to fit with the music in my head after I discovered the magical bar chord.
02. The Boy's Amibition - The title was suggested by a friend who said I should write lyrics based on titles he liked from short stories in our Literature text books. There's a heavy influence from Conflict and Bad Religion here. I actually did two vocal tracks to get that Conflict sound. Fancy!

03. No Friends - This is the first song I ever wrote when I was first learning how to play guitar, swiped from Eater's "No Brains." Some of my favorite lyrics.

04. The Goat Song - My high school offered an "Intro to Guitar" class, so I'd have an acoustic guitar with me every other day. One day at lunch, I spontaneously came up with this awful riff that I thought sounded like Radiohead (I still don't like them) and my friend, Little Squirrel, started singing about fucking a goat. Thus, "The Goat Song" was born. This was recorded in LA with him doing the vocals. I later recorded a much better version.
05. All Dumb - A lot of these songs were written on the spot. I'd quickly pull a song out of my ass, record the music, go in the next room and scrawl lyrics about how much I hated everybody. Thanks FYP!

06. Army Song - Yay FYP!

07. I Hate Cock Rock - Can you tell I liked FYP?

08. I Really Hate You - One of my better FYP bursts, I think. This was later re-recorded for the FPOS album that I'll post at some point.

09. Nazi - Heavy Crass influence here. Catchy riff. I always liked the way this turned out.

10. Movies - Trying to be The Circle Jerks.

11. Fucking Awful - A brief foray into pop punk inspired by, you guessed it, FYP. Thankfully, it didn't last long.

12. Blah Blah Blah - This is basically what bands like The Exploited, GBH and Discharge sound like to me.

13. Let's Get Optimistic - Lyrics written by my best friend in high school, Earl LeMay. I actually performed this at a school talent show with some edits to the more colorful lyrics, but got disqualified because the teacher who organized the night hadn't bothered to read the lyrics I gave her and some parents got offended. She claimed that I sang different lyrics than what I gave her, which was an outright lie. I hated that school.

14. The Search - Can you detect some Bad Religion here?

15. All You People Should Die - Something I used to sing to everyone in the cafeteria at lunch time.

16. AWOL - Lots of Fugazi with a little bit of Sonic Youth. And there's a bass!

17. No Way Out - My attempt at doing a political version of The Derelicts, who are still one of my favorite punk bands ever.

18. Hahaha - Definitely influenced by FYP, but with more thought put into it. I always liked this one.

19. I Like Bad Music - Don't we all?

20. I Wanna Close Your Shutters - Stupidity FYP style.

21. NRA Song - Lyrics given to me by Little Squirrel. I don't think he really liked what I did with them, but he played this whole tape on the dorm cafeteria radio station at Columbia University, along with The Two Felipes. I went to visit him and I actually had fans!

22. One Time - More Little Squirrel lyrics.

23. Fuck - My answer to the PMRC.

24. It Could Have Been Me - Written after I busted two tires and the oil pan on the car my mom was borrowing from my uncle while we were in NY. Mudhoney influence.

25. Burn Down Your School - This was my number one favorite song that I had written up to this point. I later re-recorded it for FPOS, and I think that version's a lot better.

26. Kill Your TV - Written around the same time as "Burn Down Your School." Also re-recorded for FPOS.

27. X-5 - I think the was the second thing I ever recorded on my four track. It was based on a joke I had with some friends in my Earth Science and Astronomy class. The teacher would disappear into his ham radio closet and Earl LeMay said, "He's talking to the aliens from Xaxxon 5." It gave me a chance to play with the pitch control on my four track.

28. Fucking Awful (Alternate Version) - I don't know why I did two versions of this song, but I did. This one has a different guitar solo.

29. All You People Should Die (Reprise) - The first time I recorded this, the tape ran out, so I tacked it on at the end.

30. The Goat Song 97 - This is the definitive version with bass and everything! Sounds more like Flipper for some reason. I actually performed this song at an open mic night once and people remembered me for it: "You're that guy who did the song about the goat." Yes I am!

Mr Phreek's Anokist Emporium
Anokist Antiquity CS

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nightmare Mode - The Eht

I first met Nightmare Mode in October of 2007. My band, Ultrabastard!, took a trip to Cleveland, OH to meet up with Libyan Hit Squad for a show that, we hoped, would be a showcase of sorts for Tom at Dead Beat Records. He pointed us to his friend's venue, Now That's Class, and said he'd try to make it down. He didn't show, but Nightmare Mode opened.

At first, we were worried that Nightmare Mode would totally suck. They were very nice people, but when you see a band that looks like them on Long Island, it means you're in for some really shitty three-chord Oi-infused punk crap, and when you see bands who look like them in NYC, it means boring, generic crust thrash. Boy were we wrong! We were in Ohio, after all...

Nightmare Mode blend '80s hardcore with metal and grindcore, like Damaged-era Black Flag crossed with early Carcass. Check out the odd time signatures laid down by Nikki Nightmare - she's one of the best drummers I've ever seen in my life! Bassist Danny Desolation lays down heavy grooves, or, in the case of "The Slow One," he plays his four-string like a lead guitar. He also provides the alternating vocals. Ammo wails like a crazed, cracked-out maniac and provides the awesome six-string riffage.

My jaw dropped as I watched them - seeing this band made up for the flaking Dead Beat. After they played, and I got to tell him how amazing they are and Ammo gave me this CDR. They've evolved a lot since this was recorded, but it's a damn good start. (Actually, now they kinda remind me of the early Bad Acid Trip 7"EPs.) Amid the manic hardcore, there's a really odd, almost straight cover of The Police's "Message in a Bottle."

Nightmare Mode are one of the most original bands I've ever had the pleasure of sharing a stage with. They tour a lot, too, so be sure to check 'em out when they come to your town and buy their Sally CD! It rocks!

The images and music were uploaded with Ammo's consent. Thank you, Ammo!

Nightmare Mode
The Eht

(Nightmare Mode)


Sample track:


Visit Nightmare Mode on MySpace!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Libyan Hit Squad - Death Metal in Jerusalem

My time as a reviewer for Under the Volcano was a mixed blessing. I'd typically get 20-30 CDs in the mail that I had to review in 10-14 days. I hated most of them. Between the relentless barrage of emo, the constant stream of crappy punk and the odd indie-rock/singer-songwriter disc, I was lucky if I found 5 CDs that I liked. On the other hand, it was a respected punk zine that asked for a higher standard of writing, and I got to interview Jello Biafra and Buzz Osborne from The Melvins. I also learned a lot from my editor, Rich Black, and I still write for him at

I remember when I got the CD version of Libyan Hit Squad's 7"EP, with the above letter, in my UTV package. Honestly, I rolled my eyes - "Oh, no, not ANOTHER shitty punk band! Ugh!" Finally, I dredged my way through reviews to the L's. I cringed as I put the CD in the player and...well, here's what I wrote:

Holy fucking shit!!! This way-too-short four song EP kicks off with an amphetamine-fueled cover of "The Witch" by The Sonics, and doesn't let up until the end, by which time the Hit Squad has left your body full of drill holes as food for vultures somewhere in the Sahara. The following three songs rage alcoholic blasts of early '80's Hardcore Punk fury, like the MC5 if they had been influenced by Black Flag's Damaged. Just when I was afraid of what the next crappy Punk Rock album would bring me, I got this slab of intense raving genius. Thank you, Libyan Hit Squad.

I think I contacted the band through MySpace and, next thing I knew, bassist/vocalist Craig Englund was calling me from Florida to shoot the breeze about music, our relative "scenes" and whatever else we had to say. We quickly became friends and my band, Ultrabastard!, took a trip to FL to play a mini-tour set up by the LHS guys.

We couldn't have asked for better hosts. Craig, drummer Shawn Starkey and their friend, Ryan, let us stay in their house. Guitarist Chad Puntel didn't live there, but he'd stop by to hang out. They're some of the nicest, most genuine people I've ever met and I feel very fortunate to have them as friends.

The images and music were uploaded with Craig Englund's consent. Thank you, Craig!

Libyan Hit Squad
Death Metal in Jerusalem 7"
(Bony Orbit)

Sample track:

Mirror Ball

Visit LHS on MySpace!

The Two Felipes - Eat Your Fill

(The Two Felipes live in Milwaukee, WI circa 1986)

Considering this is my first music post, I thought I'd upload one of the most influential recordings that ever came into my life.

When I was in my mid-teens, my dad and I used to frequent Aron's Records (RIP) in Hollywood. Actually, frequent is an understatement - it was like a second home. They had a 99-cent tape section that we'd always carouse; my dad would find high quality tapes that he could erase and re-use and I'd look for all the tapes with handmade covers, which were either demos by unknown bands or homemade recordings.

One day, my dad went to Aron's during the week without me (I lived with my mom) and he called me to tell me he found a tape for me. He told me
it was really awful, but it had a song called "Explosive Enemas." He gave me the tape and, for whatever reason, I ignored it for a while. Anyway, a few weeks later, I was on the phone with a friend and I mentioned that my dad had given me this tape, and my friend suggested that I put it on. I did and my life was changed forever.

The Two Felipes were vocalist/lyricist Dan Vebber, Steve Marchese on baritone sax, Kris Desch on alto sax, Karl Desch on keyboards and percussionist Jay Tollefsen. The result probably most closely resembles very early Negativland or Residents, but these five Cheese Heads had a sound that was completely their own: screaming sarcastic vocals, bad saxophone playing, cheesy Casio keyboards and metronomic beating on a bucket for drums. If I didn't know any better, I'd say this tape was utter crap, but I do know better, so I recognize the sheer genius of The Two Felipes.

The tape quickly became an obsession. I'd play it for anyone who'd listen, each person becoming as obsessed as I was - everybody wanted a copy of it. (One friend eventually went to Columbia University in NYC and he played it on his lunchtime dorm radio show.) The tape became regular listening in my car when I'd drive to and from school during mid-terms and final exams. I even wrote a fan letter to the address in the tape, but I never got a response. For a long time, The Two Felipes remained a mystery.

(Original lyric sheet.)

My first real job was at a computer chip distribution company. One April Fool's Day, I convinced the receptionist to re-route the hold music, so when incoming callers were placed on hold, they'd listen to The Two Felipes instead of Michael Bolton or whatever the standard hold music was. Oddly enough, nobody said anything about it at all...

Over the years, I'd hear snippets of information about Dan Vebber. A good friend of mine, who worked for Comic Con in San Diego, told me Vebber's number was in the Rolodex, but he wouldn't give it to me for some reason (something about professionalism). I saw Vebber's credit on Futurama and I had no doubt it was the same guy - that sense of humor is unmistakable.

Finally, my friend, Ackronomicon, did some searching and found out that Vebber's wife worked next door to him at NBC. He spoke to her, she spoke to her husband and finally I spoke to the man himself, Dan Vebber. He told me that The Two Felipes were his high school band and that his family had taken a typically mid-western whitebread vacation to Los Angeles in the late '80s. Seeing his chance to promote the band, he brought tapes with him and handed them out on the Boardwalk in Venice Beach. I guess it's one of those tapes that ended up in my hands so many years later.

Dan Vebber edited The Onion for a while. In addition to his work on Futurama, he has written for American Dad!, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Daria. From what I understand, the other Felipes went on to be doctors, lawyers and respectable businessmen.

The Two Felipes story isn't quite over yet, though. There are two other full length studio "albums" and some live recordings as well, so leave some comments and let me know if you want me to post that stuff in the future.

The images and music were uploaded with Dan Vebber's full consent. Thank you, Dan!

The Two Felipes
Eat Your Fill CS
(Flaming Cow Productions)

Or try out some sample tracks first:

Rick the Drunk

Explosive Enemas

You're a Bird

Evil Robyn

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Word from Your Blogger

Hello, and welcome to Mr Phreek's Anokist Emporium!

I suppose you may be sitting there asking, "Who needs another music blog?" It's a fair question, but I think I have a fair answer. I really started this blog to promote my own music. I've been recording music since I was 17 (as of this posting, I've been 30 for two months) and I like a lot of it. I'm not one of these people who can't listen to my own music - on the contrary, I don't see the point in making music if I don't want to listen to it myself. To paraphrase Johnny Rotten, I make the noises I want to hear.

Over the years, I've recorded everything from punk and hardcore to noise to spacerock to black metal to industrial to free jazz to weirdo improv music - basically, anything that reflects my mood at the time I'm recording. I've also been in a number of bands, and I'll be posting recordings of them here, as well.

As for other bands, I'll be posting some of them, too, but only as long as I have the blessings of one or more members of the band and/or label. It's important to me that the artists support what I'm doing here, and I don't feel right posting music without permission. Of course, this self-imposed ruling is subject to change, especially if I can't locate members of a band. In that case, I'll remove any music that the band doesn't want posted. Just send me a message and ask nicely.

In the unlikely case that you own a label and you would like to release some of my music, I'll be happy to replace direct download links with links to where people can buy the music.

It has always been my dream to have a label of my own, and this is probably the closest I'll ever come. I hope you enjoy some of what I have to offer.

Stop by anytime!
-Mr Phreek.