CD Review: Straight To VHS - Rewinder

CD Review by Adam Wujtewicz

New London’s garage punk trio, Straight To VHS, are back and they’ve got a new album.  Rewinder is lo-fi sprint through 11 spirited agro-pop anthems.  Informed by 60’s garage rockers like The Standells and modern punk icons like the late Jay Reatard, Straight to do traditional 4 chord rock n’ roll sped up and entirely distorted. 

Even with the speed on Rewinder the rhythmic nature of the songs is what set Straight to VHS apart from the pack of punk bands playing today.  Songs like "One Thing" and "Your Face" call out to you to pogo.   While some may consider singing "WOAH" and hopping up and down to guitar rock a thing of the past, Straight to VHS are trying to make believers out of you, and my guess is they’ll succeed.

Cassette Review: Wrist Like This - Self Titled

Review by Adam Wujtewicz

Wrist Like This! is probably one of the most schizophrenic sounding hardcore punk bands ever.  They are, in some ways, a perfect mix of all of the members other bands Todd Romanella (Estrogen & Tonic), Matt Potter (Fatal Film/Street People), Christian Moore (Estrogen & Tonic/A Honey Wagon), and Jay Curland (We Got Mouths /A Honey Wagon), only sped up and cranked.  In other ways they sound like a bunch of crazy people thrown into a room with instruments and amplifiers.  The self titled cassette, (yes that’s right… cassette tape), by WristLikeThis! is 8 songs, 15 minutes and one of the most intense aural beatings you’ll take ever.

Front and center of this freight train of lunacy is Todd: screaming, yelling, shouting and grumbling.  Most of the vocals are done in a sort of Keith Morris, “spit out as many words as I can before this minute and a half is up”, sort of way but there are bursts of bizarre singing and full on hardcore screams scattered throughout each song.  The variations make things much more interesting but you still have to have pretty thick skin to listen to Todd yell at you for 15 minutes straight.

Matt’s guitar provides the melody for the album.  With far more high end and far less thick distortion than most punk players the guitar becomes cutting and jangly.  This works incredibly well to break up the complete destruction of Todd and the rhythm section.  When he wants to join in with the super fast strumming it also turns into a complete noisy dagger.  “EMT Polka” is a great example of the polar opposite sounds he’s making work throughout the album.

Feeding this beast is one of my favorite rhythm sections ever.  Jay (drums) and Christian (bass) play together in A Honey Wagon as well... and even though WristLikeThis! isn’t even the same ballpark sound wise, they play off each other in very similar ways.   I feel like Jay Curland studies a style of music to death before he joins a band and then adds his own take to it when the songs are written.  This is some of the most solid punk rock drumming I’ve heard in a long time.  It’s fast, yes, but it’s also varied to help the songs along and that’s something punk rockers tend to forget.  Christian is playing much more of a traditional punk rock bass player role but still doing an exceptional job.  His tone and attack is what gives this album all its heaviness.  He plays completely in the pocket and allows Matt and Todd all the room in the world to work.  On “Uh, Dragons”, my personal favorite song on the record, Christian shows off the melodic bass playing he’s known for without sacrificing even the smallest amount of intensity.

Jason Banta (Recur Occurrence) had his work cut out for him recording these maniacs and he was able to capture their madness without ever making them sound caged.  If you’re into off the wall hardcore punk or are a complete masochist then this is your perfect band making your perfect album.  If you’re a sadist then you should sneak this cassette into your grandmother’s car when she’s not looking.

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Contact Jay Curland from Wrist Like This to purchase the cassette tape -
or stream/purchase and download the tracks here:

Recur Occurrence to Play Final Show @ 33 Sat Nov 17

33 (33 Golden Street)
9:30pm, $5, 21+
with Wrist Like This 
(Cassette release)
and Power Blessings 
(Northampton, MA)
Facebook Event Page

By Adam Wujtewicz

Purveyors of rock Recur Occurrence, (Jason Banta: guitar, Corina Malbaurn: bass and Ben LaRose: drums), are calling it quits. Other opportunities have been presenting themselves to all members and it seems as though time constraints and divergent paths have caught up with them. Since 2007 RO has been playing big, high energy, rock music unheard in New London since the late 90's. More than nostalgia, they were a sign that the style never died it just was just vacationing (probably in the mid west). Aggressive but still holding great pop melodies, RO was a shining example of making music that was artistic yet still applied to a large audience. Playing bills alongside Life and Times, Riddle of Steel, and Traindodge, they showed that they could keep up with some heavy hitters within the genre. Come out and give these guys a sendoff to remember because they deserve it for sure.

The show Saturday is actually a cassette release party for NL rockers Wrist Like This. Also on the bill are Power Blessings from Northampton, MA. Sure to be one heck of a rock show. Don't miss it!

CD Review: She Said He Said - In The Dark

CD review by Adam Wujtewicz

SheSaidHeSaid is a collaboration of Anne Castellano and Hugh Birdsall, (of The Reducers, Dogbite).  The aptly titled In the Dark is a 4 song EP of melancholy folk melodies and somber acoustic rock. What it lacks in good cheer it makes up for in atmosphere.  The style is somewhere between a folkier version of Anne’s solo work and a darker version of Hugh’s other band, Dogbite.  Wherever you land, it’s easy to hear that neither of these two are outside their comfort zones.  The songs are simple, airy... and because of the superb melodies, they are likely to get stuck in your head very quickly.
Another surefire way to know that that they make a great team is how well they sing together.  Hugh and Anne’s voices pair together like pizza and beer, peanut butter and chocolate or coffee and cigarettes; sure you can have one without the other but you might enjoy them both more together.  The vocals are what move these four songs along and make them what they are.

The music on In the Dark should not be downplayed though.  It's mostly soft and atmospheric but always with purpose.  The single note guitar melody and guitar solo on "Shame" are great examples of the dimension that is added.  The organ sound on "Everytime You Cry" is a sound you don't hear on the rest of the EP which makes it stand out even though it's not very high in the mix or doing anything more than following the guitar melody.  Making a lot from a little is a good way to sum up what SheSaidHeSaid is doing musically in these four songs.

If you’re in to melody, In the Dark by SheSaidHeSaid is something you should be excited about.  This is a great example of musicians showing how well collaborations work when there is no ego or pretense. 
Contact Anne or Hugh to purchase the CD - or check into The Telegraph!

FEATURE INTERVIEW with Nick Johns of Gone For Good

Interview by Corrine Jensen
June 26, 2012

Gone for Good is not just another New London band, they represent New London's spirit. They've endured lost and heartache but have never given up, instead they've continued to grow smarter and stronger through the years and their music has reflected that.
In 2006, Nicholas Johns (guitar and vocals), Ryan Perkins (Bass and back-up vocals), and Josh Lecce (drums), formed Gone for Good, a high energy, edgy, garage pop-rock trio, that soon became a favorite on the local music scene and beyond.
Then, tragedy struck, and the spirited and fun-loving Lecce passed away and Johns and Perkins decided to take a break from the band. A year later, joined by their good friend and skilled drummer Gene Miller, Gone for Good returned to the scene and have been steadily impressing fans with their eclectic rock sound and entertaining live shows.
This Friday, June 29th, at The Oasis Pub, the band is having a record release show for their highly anticipated second full-length album, Marvelous Liar, which will be available digitally on their bandcamp page. Sadly, this show will also mark the band's last performance, as Perkins is set to move out west and Miller and Johns are pursuing other ventures. Practice space roommates and long time friends, Bedroom Rehab Corporation and Recur Occurrence share the stage with Gone for Good one last time, creating a powerful farewell line-up that no one will forget.
Recently, frontman Nick Johns took time to answer a few questions for

WC: Nick, so, tell me your story. When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
NJ: I have several stories, but the first real time I knew that I loved music and wanted to play was when I was a kid. I had just gotten a Dire Straits tape and my mom made me go clean my room and she came in and I was rocking out to "Money for nothing". I mean, like, swinging from my coat hangers at 5 years old. After that, my mom bought me an acoustic guitar and she says I used to jump off the top bunk of my bed and I would slam my acoustic guitars into pieces. I would just smash all my guitars.

WC: Why did she keep buying you guitars??
NJ: I don’t know. I couldn't even play. I didn't start playing guitar until was 13 or 14 and broke my wrist and I couldn't play basketball anymore. I would sit around and play "Just What I Needed" by The Cars and, of course, Nirvana back in the day. The birthday I received my first electric guitar was also the day after Kurt Cobain killed himself, so that was a big deal.

WC: Definitely. What other music did you listen to growing up?
NJ: I used to love the hell out of Huey Lewis and the News. I was a really big Beatles fan as a kid. I had Sgt. Pepper’s when I was around 7 and I listened to it over and over and I couldn't get over how amazing it was. I listened to Are You Experienced? By Jimi Hendrix. I have just always loved music. No matter how shitty my day is, or my life is, just like Jim Morrison said, "Music is your only friend". Music really is my friend. It's very comforting and I can always come back to it, no matter what I feel like or what's going on in my life. Jim Morrison knew what he was talking about and he's definitely one of my heroes. I'm devoted to The Doors.

WC: Your band, Gone for Good, has been steadily rockin’ the music scene since 2006, tell me how you guys got together all those years ago.
NJ: Ryan (Perkins) and I used to be in a 3-piece almost grungy-punk band together called Ebb with our buddy Matt. Then Ryan moved to the Virgin Islands so we stopped playing. While he was gone, I had been working on a bunch of songs that were a lot different from what we had been doing. I listened to a lot of Queens of the Stone Age and was obsessed with Josh Homme. And old Weezer influenced me heavily, Pinkerton and especially The Blue Album. When Ryan returned, I had him check out the new songs, which were swingy-er, like "Dinner Date". We decided to start playing again and started looking for a drummer.

Originally, I had wanted to find Gene Miller and ask him to play in the band because I knew him in high school and he was always the premier drummer at NFA. He was awesome. But it didn't work out. Then this guy said he had Josh Lecce's phone number and we should give him a call. I called Josh and we met up after hours at a store he was teaching drum lessons at. I brought my amp and Ryan brought his bass and I had written the song "Happy" and we were playing and things started clicking. Josh was really nervous to be in another band because he had just been in a band that had broken up but we were into it and we totally wanted to play. After a few months, we had enough songs to play out and we started playing shows in Norwich but the music scene out there was dead and no one wanted to hear rock music at the time.

WC: You obviously overcame that. How did you guys eventually break into the music scene?
NJ: It was funny, at one show in Norwich, I won't say any names, but the booker was a real tool and he pushed our set back to midnight because he didn't think we were going to show up. We were upset and the guy started screaming at me and Josh literally jumped over me to defend me, and I had to pull him away from the guy. That night, I had a friend suggest we head out to New London and The Royale Brothers were playing. It was the coolest thing ever, just the close-knit music scene and everyone hanging out. And I’ll never forget I went up to talk to Joey Royale to tell him that he blew my mind, just blew me away. So, I walk up to him and I’m like "Hi Joey. My name is Nick Johns and I'm in a band and we're looking to play up here and I just want to tell you that was one of the best performances." and even before I could finish he's off stage and now I realize it probably wasn't the best time to go talk to him.

WC: Ha! You’re that kid.
Yeah, exactly but I must have been around 25 at the time. So, I walk over to Sean Murray, I didn't know who he was but my mom had read his articles in the newspaper and she had told me about him so I knew to look for him. I had this really shitty demo with me and I gave it to him. Ryan, Josh and I went back to Norwich and back to the drawing board. We got money to record an actual EP and put the songs we wanted on it and then we had our EP, Drawing Board. We went up to Sean with some real music in our hands and a couple days later I get a phone call from him asking if we wanted to play a show and I was, like, “Hell yeah”. I think we opened up for Recur Occurrence and Sean loved us and thought we were great. Looking back, Sean is probably extremely disappointed in me because I never listened to anything he told me to do. I still don’t even though he has some awesome ideas. He was trying to groom me into a better stage performer but I’m real stubborn.
We started playing more and it felt like all of a sudden there was this huge wave and the sky was the limit. We had real motivation and started booking shows in Boston and New Haven and Sean was helping us a lot. He was boosting our self-esteem but also keeping us in check. I really have to give him credit because he really took me under his wing for a while.

He hooked us up with Andy Stackpole and we headed into the studio and recorded Bright Lights. We had just submitted it into a mastering company and then Josh passed away. It was going to cost us $600 to get it mastered but we didn't have any way to raise the money because we couldn't play any shows. And we didn’t even want to cut the damn thing because of how many memories we had. So, for an entire year we left it at the mastering company. Finally, we got money and decided to release it. We called up Gene and asked if he wanted to play with us for a couple of shows. Then I roped him into sticking around. It was only supposed to be 1 or 2 shows and the guy has played with us for 2 and a half years.

WC: Obviously, he was committed. How was the whole adjusting to a new band member?
NJ: It was good. We’ve known each other for a long time, like 14 years, and we’ve gone to concerts together. Josh was a really jazzy drummer. He would improvise whole songs from scratch sometimes, which is really cool and he kept it interesting. Gene is the other end of the spectrum, he is very precise and much more calculated. I know exactly what to expect from Gene every time we play. He’s a solid, reliable drummer, and Josh was reliable too, but with Gene, I know he will play the song exactly the same way every single time. We all get along together. We never argue with each other. We have good chemistry.

WC: You’re about to release your new album, Marvelous Liar. Tell me about it.
NJ: For our last record, I was really depressed and that comes out. It just sounds like a darker album. This one, I’m not so depressed any more. This time it was really about getting back to writing guitar riffs and bumping drums and that nice walking bass line. Also, I yelled a lot on the last record so I really made sure this one is a lot more of me singing. There’s a lot more harmonies and the songs are more edgy, more in your face. I always try to write really catchy riffs with really weird lyrics. My lyrics are not as happy as the music feels; it’s all a bit ironic.
And this record isn’t so real life or personal for me. “Ride to Nowhere”, that was a really personal song. This time, I wrote interpretations from other people’s points of views. I have a song called “Last round in the chamber” and basically it’s about a guy pulling a trigger, and breaking up with a girl over a long period of time and her never thinking he would do it.
For “Marvelous Liar”, I had been watching a lot of Mad Men and thought it would be interesting to write about how if a guy sleeps around it’s accepted but if a woman does it she’s a slut. I wanted to make sure it would be classy from a woman’s point of view.
This was also the last song Josh and I collaborated on together. I wrote the music and worked out the rest of the parts, like where the chorus will be, with him before he passed away.
I figure this is my ‘last bang’ so I produced this record because, besides Ryan and Gene, I didn’t want anyone else’s ideas or outside help. I didn’t want “you should do this” or “this would be cool”. But I do have to give credit to Jason Banta (Recur Occurrence, Burnouts From Outer Space) for all his help. I used a few of his ideas and he did all the mixing and mastering for the album and it came out great.
I want to listen to it 10 years down the road with my children and be proud of it. I just have a good feeling about this record. It’s not so gloomy. There is a tighter drum sound. The guitars are much cleaner. This record sounds really good. We put our all into this.  

WC: Tell me about the show coming up at The Oasis Pub in New London on June 29th.
NJ: Yeah, our last show and also our record release. What I’m going to do is have a combination promo code for bandcamp printed on a card and people can download the record when they get home. We figured that was the best way to do it because we’re all realist here and we’re not going to put $1000 into a record to have them sitting around because with no opportunity to play, how is anyone going to get them?

WC: Smart. Ok, what has being a part of Gone for Good meant to you?
NJ: It has been extremely important to me; it’s given me an identity and a purpose to be creative. The band represents me and I represent the band. It took me a long time to come to grips with being a frontman and I was a lousy one.

WC: Ha! I don’t know about that. So, what does the future hold for Nick Johns?
NJ: Now I have my adult life coming up. I’m moving into a house with my lady, my fiancé is great, and she is letting me take one of the rooms and turn it into a recording studio. I’m recording my own record. I play drums, and bass and dabble in piano too. I’m going to record a full-length rock record of just myself, much like Matt Mahaffey of Self.
And another thing I’m going to do is hopefully talk Meghan Killimade into joining a rockabilly band with me. And possibly ask Corina Malbaurn if she is down to play some upright bass. That’s one of my ultimate dreams, an all 50’s rockabilly band. I need to find a piano player who can play like Jerry Lee Lewis, that’s one of the big things.

WC: I vote Eric Stevenson from Pocket Vinyl! I’ll give you his email.
NJ: I wonder if he could play the piano like that? Yeah, that would be so awesome! I don’t know how feasible it’s all going to be but I gotta keep something going on in my mind. If I don’t have something coming up I’m going to get really depressed. I’m not ready for the reality to set in.

WC: So, can we ever expect a Gone for Good reunion?
NJ: I don’t know. Ryan is moving to Hawaii and Gene is really busy at work and wants to take a break from music. Who knows? Maybe with some of my savvy I can convince Gene to play one more show with me and then maybe we can make that turn into a two-year stint again?

WC: That would be awesome! Last question: What’s your advice for those kids at home, smashing their guitars and listening to Marvelous Liar, to those singers, bands, musicians just emerging onto the scene?
Just be true to your form and don’t let other people sway you into things you don’t want to do. Stick to your guns and create some art. I’ve always been into the art form of it. If you can’t draw or paint, go write a song. And remember to have fun and enjoy everything that you do because it’s a great experience to play with other people. It’s a bonding experience. Music is a part of life.

WC: Nick, anything you want to say to everyone reading?
NJ: I have nothing but admiration for the real backbone of the music scene: the people going to the shows every night. I’m guilty. I don’t do that. I have a lot of stuff going on. But some people have so much devotion to the music scene and it’s very inspiring and nice to see people that committed to creating and cultivating that culture in town. And I want to thank everyone who has ever given us a chance or a listen and have enjoyed the music we have played.

Also see Adam Wujtewicz's CD review of Marvelous Liar:

CD Review: Gone For Good - Marvelous Liars

CD Review by Adam Wujtewicz
June 26, 2012

Gone for Good are calling it quits and going out with a bang.  At their final show they will be releasing their farewell record Marvelous Liar.  While we'll all be sorry to see them go, rejoice in the fact that they are leaving us with this record to remember them by.
Since the release of their The Bright Lights EP Gone for Good has moved in a decidedly more straight ahead, full tilt style of rock n' roll.  Now drawing more comparisons to Queens of the Stone Age and the Foo Fighters than the Stray Cats, they've still managed to maintain a healthy amount of pop in their more aggressive songwriting.  While there are surely some people who will say that Marvelous Liar is a great mix of the swingin' rhythms of The Bright Lights and the fury of Lightning Behind the Grace; I say that the song "Marvelous Liar", which is a clear throwback to Bright Lights, is the anomaly on a record that is far more about sharpening and polishing the sound they developed on Lightning than about mixing the old and the new.  There are no jagged edges or stones left unturned here.  They could have called this album Meticulous Slickness and I don’t think that anyone would have thought they were exaggerating.

The heavy sound on this album is all drawn from the huge guitar sound.  The distortion is laid on thick and is a near constant in every song.  While this makes the quiet moments all that more powerful it also pushes the record in a much more forceful direction.  While many bands would then use a more cutting, punk style bass sound to cut through the guitar Ryan Perkins acts to further round out the sound with even more low end.  Most of the bass is felt more than it is heard which is further testament to the fullness of the recording.  Gene Miller's drums are where the punch lies. This is a tight and calculated sound.  There is no wash of cymbal and thunderous echo of toms; the drum hits are singular and powerful.  Even when he’s whirling around the kit the precision is what’s showcased.
With the instrumentation providing the brute force, the finesse is found in what is placed on top of all those distorted chords.  The vocals are super clean and full.  Most of the record sounds like there are an entire choir of lead singer Nick Johns recording the vocals.  Harmonies and secondary vocal lines always make songs more appealing to audiences.  Being that the vocals are the only "human" sound on a rock record the more vocals there are the more comfortable the listener usually feels.  Nick can also push the anger a level further with his voice as evidenced in the verses of "Round in the Chamber"; while during the chorus he uses a more melodic touch and less of a snarl.  In this way Nick becomes the ying to his own yang in a similar way that Jerry Cantrell complimented Layne Staley.
Marvelous Liar will allow the members of Gone for Good to tell people they went out at the top of their game.  This is something that everyone wants to say and few truly get to.  Whether you've heard all their previous recordings or you came late to the party and this is your first taste of Gone for Good you will not be disappointed with what you heard.

To purchase and download:

Also see Corrine Jensen's interview with Nick Johns of Gone For Good:

2012 Whalie Award Winners


Pocket Vinyl
Daphne Lee Martin & Raise The Rent
Uncle Flatty
DJ Seaneho
Art Of Kanly
Flowers & Kain
Ferocious Fucking Teeth
Chasing Trinity
The Hempsteadys
Catfish Phillips
Steve Elci
Bad Manners Bassment Thursday @ Oasis
Pocket Vinyl “A Little Joke”


The Suicide Dolls Prayers In Parking Lots
Pocket Vinyl Monsters Talking
The Swagger Jackers The Life Aquatic
Erik Lamb Blow Up Dolls
Daphne Lee Martin & Raise The Rent Dig & Be Dug
Ferocious Fucking Teeth Ferocious Fucking Teeth
The Weird Beards Arreaka
Pocket Vinyl "Quiet Epiphany"
Camacho, Poe Swayzie & Jaszmine Viciousz "Duke Westlake Cypher"
Herff Jones


Suicide Dolls "Smash"
Daphne Lee Martin & Raise The Rent "Pull My Daisy"
Franklin Brothers "Mike's Backyard"
Burning Beneath "Son Of The Apocalypse"
Alumni "I Am Me"
Erik Lamb "Sky Masterson"
Chumzilla "F*ck The Pain Away (Chum's Horny Mix)"
Ferocious Fucking Teeth "Hinkly"
Dead City Riot "Break Down The Walls"
Gone For Good "Calm Down, You're Joking"
Carl Franklin "Waiting For The Summer To Come"

CD Review: John Fries - U.S. 50

CD Review by Adam Wujtewicz

U.S. 50 is no longer just a highway that spans the country from Ocean City Maryland to West Sacramento California.  It’s now an EP from long time New London guitar guy John Fries.  For those of us familiar with John’s work U.S. 50 is a nice mix of new songs and old favorites.  For those unfamiliar with John, I suggest you buckle up, sit back and enjoy the ride.  While the highway gives a feast for the eyes U.S. 50 the album is a feast for the ears.

While John has a very distinct style of singing and playing the guitar, he does one like he does the other.  There is similarity in the runs in his solos and the runs in his vocals.  There is a certain amount of tremble and quiver in his voice when he’s drawing notes from within.  The long high notes on the guitar come from the same place and end up having a similar sound.  John isn’t a virtuoso that plays or sings the way he does to impress, he does it because it comes out of him that way whether it be presented by his hands or by his voice.

John’s virtuosity doesn’t get in the way of his song writing either.  Instead of long drawn out “progressive” songs with multiple arbitrarily placed solo sections and countless different time signatures, Mr. Fries and Co. stick to 4 to 5 minute pop songs with hooks so big they could pull swordfish from the water.  The chorus has always been more important to the masses than the guitar solo.  Sure the musician has more fun doing the solo and there are fans that love them but you can’t sing along to a guitar solo.  You can, and should, sing along to the choruses on U.S. 50.

“My Dearest”, the album’s 3rd track, showcases what makes this album great all in one song.  Granted it’s one of the longer songs on the album but the flow of the song makes it seem shorter.  The rise and fall of the volume from verse to choruses is always a good way to break up a song and keep people attentive.  The choruses are 4 lines with an easy melody for singing along with enough volume and energy to carry a crowd.  The use of the guitar solos as building blocks of the song rather than just a place to showcase talent is key to the song.  They cause the song to build and to retreat never leaving the song in the same state it was in before the solo started.  “My Dearest” is a clinic in songwriting.  Even if you’re not a fan of the sound, the arrangement and the craft would work in any genre.
Even though John is the man in the spotlight he’s far from the only great musician on the album.  The Heat, John’s regular backing band, is complrised of Pat Perry on bass and Ron Lewis on drums and percussion.  Both of these guys are accomplished players and keep this recording tight and grounded throughout.  There are also a few guest apperances on the album.  Most notably Curt Ramm on trumpet during “We Can Lie”, who was on Bruce Springstein and the E Street Band’s latest album Wrecking Ball.  Local favorite Nancy Parent plays pedal steel and sings sweetly on the album’s title track.  The contribution she makes to this song is no small one; her voice along with Johns and the immediate sadness that is portrayed with her pedal steel bring this song to a completely different level.
John Fries & the Heat’s U.S. 50 is what I’d call roots rock.  While influenced by the blues, country, the 60’s and 70’s it is none of those things.  It’s schooled in what made “classic rock” classic and what made “pop music” popular but with an identity that is it’s own.

For more info:

CD Review: Good Sponge Sampler

CD Review by Adam Wujtewicz

"I like to think of Good Sponge as more of an umbrella than a label; no one's release is exclusive to Good Sponge; it's more a 'strength in numbers' kind of thing to help folks get a bit more exposure.” says Ben Parent, the brains behind Good Sponge Records. 

While it may not keep you dry in a storm, the forthcoming compilation album would certainly make a good rainy day listen.  The primarily Roots Rock/Americana release boasts some of the best musicians that South Eastern CT has to offer.

While Good Sponge Sampler Vol. 1 may boast 15 tracks from different artists, or combinations of artists it feels like a very cohesive unit.  The 60’s hippy pop of bands like Moby Grape and Love, along with softer side of Neil Young are things that all of these artists have in common. The image of a group of friends sitting around a fire with a menagerie of acoustic instruments, passing the bottle, and singing songs is undeniable.  So if you like great harmonies, thoughtful lyrics and short jumpy acoustic songs you’ve hit the jackpot.

While the color palate on this compilation definitely is heavy in the yellows and oranges it only makes the deep blues and reds pop that much more.  John Fries & the Heat’s "U.S. 50" is a heartfelt tearjerker of a tune that, for my ear, boasts the best production out of all 15 tracks.  Anne Castellano & Hugh Birdsall do a sort of morbid-space-folk song, "Every Time You Cry", which is probably the most stand out thing on the compilation.  While that’s charming in and of itself, the way that Anne and Hugh’s voices compliment each other in constant harmony is what makes the song stand on its own.
The bright colors are not without their stand outs.  Dave Rave’s "Looking out My Front Door" is probably my favorite track of all them.  It’s a standard blues riff with an interesting vocal melody and a familiar lyrical concept.  There is hardly a better recipe for success in pop rock.  Amalgamated Muck’s "In Spite of Me" is a solid little bluegrass ditty that has such a lush instrumentation that you can’t help but listen intently.

There are 11 other tracks on Good Sponge Sampler Vol. 1 from bands like Dirt Road Radio, Sue Menhart Band and The Rivergods who will all be performing at the Eugene O’Neil Rosebarn in celebration of this compilation.  If you’ve tested the waters of the southeastern CT Americana scene then this is the perfect opportunity for you to dive in head first and learn what you really need to know.

For more info on the Good Sponge Sampler Vol. 1, visit:

FEATURE INTERVIEW with Ferocious Fucking Teeth

Interview by Corrine Jensen
February 28, 2012

Ferocious Fucking Teeth is the kind of band you don’t forget. From their name (shortened to FFT for those easily offended), to their ear-ringing, head-pounding sound, to the way they challenge their fans to “come out and face them” at their energetic live shows. This five-man band is led by the vocals of Daniel S. Boroughs with Brian P. Smith on baritone guitar, Joshua M. Houser on guitar and Sgott Mackenzie and Steven K. Buttery on drums. Yes, you read correctly, FFT has two hard-hitting drummers and no bass. It’s hard to put them into a genre but what can be said is that these guys know how to be loud, how to rock, and how to entertain a crowd. Recently, Daniel, Joshua and Steven took some time from touring, preparing for their LP release show (March 3rd at Café Nine) and working on a future full-length album to talk with

WC: How did Ferocious Fucking Teeth (FFT) come to be?
DSB: It happened in the winter of 2009.
SKB: We all had bands that were kind of failing on us. We were all friends anyway, we all played music and there was a place at 420 Williams St. where we could play music, like a practice space.

DSB: It was very organic in a way because we didn’t really discuss it. We didn’t say one drummer one day and one another day. We wanted to make a combine force of sound. We just started jammin’.

WC: So, your sound is definitely unique. How would you classify it?
SKB: The sound at the beginning was inspired by everything we had previous done in other bands. Total Bolshevicks was a very minimal type band, they did all improv noise stuff. Brava Spectre was pretty chaotic, noisy, loud, fast-paced. Then Mike Slyne (original FFT member) did A Trillion Gallons of Gas, which was super punk. We knew we wanted to do something of a combination, something straight forward and meaningful with big riffs but we also wanted to have that element of feedback noise and all while making the loudest, heaviest thing around.
DSB: We definitely wanted to use all of the noise elements and chaos of previous bands and find a way to stream it and contain it. Not rein it in but streamline the sound and make it even more powerful. We’re like filthy, sludgy stoner jams.
SKB: It sounds like we’re wearing dirty jeans.
DSB: Yeah, it does sound like we’re wearing dirty jeans! I never wash my jeans by the way. I just wear them all the time and they’re filthy, sludgy stoner jeans.
JMH: Even before I was in the band, I really, really loved the band. And when I go see bands or hear bands play I try to really pay attention to what the band makes me feel, what mood it puts me in, what scene or location the music puts me in. FFT always made me think of being lost in the desert and having absolutely no hope and knowing you are going to die. So for me, I would call FFT ‘desert metal’.
DSB:: Desert stoned out blues-rock!
SKB: But we’ve got drone elements and noise elements too.
JMH: I think the most important thing when you’re playing music is to not be able to explain what your music sounds like. I’ve never been in any band that has sounded like another band. I think one of the most important things is to have your own sound and not rip someone else off.
DSB: And that translates with other art forms too. When you do visual art or writing or poetry, you want your own voice, which is like having your own sound in a band. I think that is key with us.
SKB: No matter what style of music you play one of the most important factors is make it believable and make it worth your time. I’m not going to be in a band that is playing half ass. You have to be believable and really appreciate what you’re doing. Playing music is supposed to be about doing it as well as you can, playing your heart out.

WC: How did you each get involved in the New London music scene?
SKB: I played a lot of shows as a teenager in Norwich and Willimantic area. My first show in New London was with Brava Spectre at I AM Fest. We had never played New London before and we refused to play on the stage and started playing on the ground and we actually started playing while the previous band was still performing. We ended up with about 200 people surrounding us and somehow bees got released.
JMH: Yeah, I hit one of the poles on the pier and released some nests of Mayflies and they attacked Sean Murray. Ha! That was pretty cool.
SKB: That was our first welcome into New London and I thought we would never be asked to play here again.  But we got invited to play the Oasis because I guess we made a big splash.
JMH: My first band was a Band called Ladykillas and my first show in New London was at the El-N-Gee in about 2007. Nothing became of it and I didn’t really get into the New London music scene until after I was in Brava Spectre.
DSB: I have an awesome memory of seeing Total Bolsheviks at O’Neill’s Brass Rail and they had the techno duo Hnatiw play as well and I got a shirt and everything. I met Mark, who was in Total Bolsheviks and I helped try to book them shows. I became more and more acquainted with living in the New London scene, kind of as an outsider and not being totally accepted. Eventually, I was slapped with a bass and told I was the bassist for the Total Bolsheviks. I played very minimal, sparse chords all by ear. Thru Mark, I met Brian (the baritone guitar player for FFT).

WC: How has your experience been with FFT and the local scene?
SKB: It’s been great. It’s been a lot more supportive than we thought it would be.
DSB: Definitely started out here in New London. Our first shows were The El-N-Gee and The Eclectic (now Pigeon Hole Gallery) and a couple things in Willimantic. I really enjoy playing around here. I like The Oasis and the El ‘N’ Gee; actually the last time we played there it was really fun. Also, The Backstage has a really good size stage and a really good sound system.
SKB: We hang out in New London at night and you can frequently find us at places like The El ‘N’ Gee, The Oasis, The Dutch Tavern and The Telegraph but FFT can’t play New London all the time.

WC: You guys do tour a lot.
JMH: It’s the only way to survive as a band. It’s the only way to go anywhere if you’re serious about it. You can’t over saturate one area and play the same venue twice a month and expect to extend your fan base.
DSB: You need to expose your sound to new people.
JMH: I was just natural for us to be out playing shows in other cities.
SKB: As for the previous bands we were all in, none of us played New London extensively. We’ve been playing Brooklyn, Philly, Providence, Boston, we’ve all played those places a million times. We had those connections to get out of town. When you quit a band or a band breaks up you don’t loose those contacts.
DSB: You just join forces.

WC: Tell me about some of your best shows, either locally or on tour.
SKB: New York is really good to us and fun to play. We’ve played with a ton of friend’s bands in New York and elsewhere. There are so many bands that have helped us out or played with us. Locally, our last Oasis show was really solid and sounded good.
DSB:We also played Don Pedro’s in Brooklyn recently and that was wild. I had a good time playing that show. I had a long working week and I let a lot out during that show. Having a band like this is really cathartic. And I really enjoyed an older show where we played with the Body. We’ve also played on the same bill as Liturgy at Daniel St. and that was fun and even for a sparsely attended show, I still got really wild and felt the music and I fell off the stage.
JMH: You never know who is going to be in the crowd. It could be 200 people or it could be 2. You still have to give it your all and play like it is your last show
SKB: We’ve played some cool shows in New Haven too. Elm Bar was fun and Café Nine was really fun.

WC: Okay, so tell me about your new LP from Safety Meeting Records.
SKB: The LP was actually recorded in November 2010 during Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago with Steve Albini. We toured out, 2 days of actual recording and 1 day of mixing sound with Steve Albini and then we toured back home. It was really intense.
DSB:Sgott called and woke him up in the morning and asked if he had any dates open and rates and such. We like Steve Albini, he has a certain ethic where he records for a cost effective rate and it’s still pricey but for an independent band its very reasonable. He’s so well known in the music industry. He’s recorded Nirvana and The Pixies and so many bands.

WC: What advice do you have for musicians/singers/bands out there who want to break into the scene or are just getting started?
DSB: When I’m in this band I’m doing it like it’s my job but it’s work that I love. I’m passionate. You’ve got your 9-5 and then you have your 5-9. I go to work, I’m an artist and that’s my job. I still feel like I’m in training but the advice I would give is you gotta love what you are doing and you have to do it as if it’s your job. Also, Albini said something along the lines of the only one who has to be satisfied with the way the record sounds like is the band. Audience or no audience you gotta live with what you record and play.

SKB: Yea, you have to live with what you record and if you don’t love it that’s a problem. As for advice, logistically here is how you do it, use technology to your advantage. You have more places than ever to host your music for free. No matter if you’re going to break it with the band you’re currently in or the next one, you need to build up the fan base. Bandcamp is a really good thing. Realistically, write good music, write what you think is good and believe in it. And if you’re in a band with people you don’t like, get out of that situation. You’re going to spend a lot of time with people you don’t like and that’s going to suck and you’re going to be turned off from music forever. Play a lot of shows for free and don’t expect to get paid. We spent a really, really long time where we didn’t get paid either. And the cruel side of everything is you’re going to be spending a lot of money getting to shows, buying a van possibly, buying the gear, buying gas.
DSB: Don’t expect to break even when you’re in a band.
SKB: And think creatively about how to actually physically put out music too. Don’t depend so much on demos online all the time. If you have something that you are really proud of you should present it physically in some format. You can burn some CD-Rs but if you package them really beautifully, you can charge a couple bucks for them.
JMH: First thing, you have to be serious to be a musician on any level but especially in an assigned band and in a touring band. It isn’t something you do “whenever”. If you want it to be successful it has to become your life, needs to be your life. It’s so emotionally, physically and spiritually consuming that you should be ready for that if you want to make it.

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Check out Adam's review of the LP here:

CD Review: Ferocious Fucking Teeth - Self Titled

CD Review by Adam Wujtewicz

New London’s own Ferocious Fucking Teeth are releasing their long awaited, self titled, Steve Albini recorded, LP on Saftey Meeting Records Tuesday February 28 with a celebratory release party at Cafe Nine in New Haven on March 3.  This doom/sludge quintet has been garnering a lot of attention lately and with good reason.  Not only did they record with one of the most respected names in the industry but with their unorthedox lineup, (2 drummers, guitar, baritone guitar and vocals). Making enough noise to be heard easily within a 4 state radius and playing music that runs the gammot from slow melodic drone of Earth to the breakneck speed and big riffs of Buzzo*ven this is a band to watch for sure.

FFT’s instrumentation makes for a very polarized sound on record.  With each drummer and each guitar hard panned to a specific side, the only thing heard in both headphones is Danny’s voice screaming out from what sounds like the 4th demension.  It’s a crushing feeling being in the middle of that sound but it’s a feeling most coinesuers of heavy music have grown accostomed to.  The tonality of the guitars isn’t all that different being that it’s usually a big distorted chord but they are distinguishable.   When they’re playing different things the polarized nature of the recording comes back into full view.  This technique makes FFT sound almost like 2 bands that are playing off each other.  Neither side is leading this dance and without one side the sound would be thin.
Another striking thing about the songwriting is changes in speed throughout the album and even in single songs.  A song like "Don’t Go" seems like it would be building to a breakneck almost grindcore pace but instead after 2 big buildups breaks down to a mid tempo stomp.  The opening track "One Bright Light" has the almost the oposite effect going from very quick but distant guitar hits to a rocket powered noise fest with an ending that almost crawls to the completion of the song.   My personal favorite track on the album "Daytona" is a semi melodic dirge from beginning to end but grows in and shrinks in volume rather than speed.

Despite the noisey nature of the members previous bands (Brava Spectre, Total Bolshevicks, Trillion Gallons of Gas) the noise on this record is much more of a texture rather than a selling point.  This causes FFT to be far heavier than all of the other projects.  While noise is good for grabbing attention and abrasiveness it doesn’t give you the thud and bang required to bring home a heavy sludgey riff.  FFT’s self titled LP is well worth listening to if you’re a true fan of heavy music or casual fan of the big riff.  There is more there then a cursary listen will allow you to hear so strap on your headphones turn it up and brace yourself.
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Check out Corrine's interview with the band here:


Interview by Corrine Jensen
January 9, 2012

Pocket Vinyl has certainly evolved over the years. Originally a three-man group based out of New York, going by the name The Series, the band now calls Norwich home and features a married couple performing on stage. Meet Eric Stevenson and Elizabeth Jancewicz, they are Pocket Vinyl and they’re adding a new dimension to New London’s already diverse music (and art) scene. Eric sings and plays the piano as his wife Elizabeth paints original artwork, which is then won, a la silent auction style, to the highest bidder at the end of every show. These two recently took time from touring in support of their newest album, Monsters Talking, to be ridiculously cute together and chat with Wailing City about their music, touring and being the new band in New London.

WC: You’re Pocket Vinyl and the concept of your show is very unique, how did that come together?
Well, I didn’t want to tour by myself.
And I’m not musical. What can I do? I’m a painter. I’ll paint because in Cloud Cult they paint. It all accidentally fell together.
Eric: Cloud Cult is one of our favorite bands.   
WC: It’s just the two of you on stage and you’re both doing very different things, how do you make sure you’re putting on a good show for people?
: It’s hard to put on a live show for people. Sometimes you see a band that’s been doing it for years and they just know what they’re doing and it’s a great show. We’re always asking how can we make it better? I want to keep it spontaneous and mix up what I say every night but you need a little bit of structure and a style of how you compose yourself. It’s all about creating small moments on stage. On our song "My Brother’s Time", there’s a pause and Elizabeth does a ‘Woo’. She wasn’t in the studio for the album so we recorded her ‘Woo-ing’ over the phone. At the live shows she’ll turn around and let out a big ‘Woo’ and go back to painting and it’s great because a lot of people always smile at that.
It’s a moment. You need something to stand out in your songs so people remember and it doesn’t all flow together.
Yeah, I feel like we need to come up with more moments like that.
Elizabeth: I don’t want it to be me doing my own little thing over here and he’s doing his own thing there. We try to somehow have a connection to each other.

WC: How did you two meet and how did you wind up in New London?
Elizabeth: I was born in Norwich but moved to Northern Canada when I was a baby. You drive North for two days to the end of the road and then take a train for a day. I mean, like, really Northern Canada. I moved back here for my last year of high school and went to Norwich Free Academy.
Eric: We met at Houghton College in Houghton, New York and I grew up in the town my entire life. In college I did a lot of stage stuff and there was a variety show every semester and a buddy and me would always make up skits. She kind of knew me from seeing me on stage.
Elizabeth: Yeah, you would be making fun of people and I didn’t want anything to do with you! I thought he was a complete jerk and I didn’t want to get to know him. He graduated the year before me and at my senior year art show he showed up and we clicked. We moved back down here in July 2011 about 2 weeks before our wedding.

WC: What do you think of New London and the local music scene so far?
Elizabeth: We really like New London. It’s way cool. Our first exposure to New London was The Telegraph because as soon as we moved here we needed to find a record store. Immediately we were talking to people in there and we met Daphne (Martin) and Karrie (Bulger).
Eric: We did our CD release show there.
Elizabeth: We’ve been to the co-op and walking up and down the street and…
Eric: Sarge’s! I’ve gotten into comic books recently.
Elizabeth: We saw a few of the films in the summer at the Hygienic. It’s just a nice art community and area. I want to help it and be a part of it as much as we can be.

WC: You’ll be playing at The Bean and Leaf on January 11th again, looking forward to it?
Elizabeth: It’s a cozy little place and they feed us. My grandmother always comes and everyone is always really nice to us.
Eric: This will be our third time at The Bean. We really want to build our local fan base and be a presence in New London and to add to the rich musical community already. I don’t think anyone really knows us yet.
Elizabeth: We’ve had small crowds here because we’re local but nobody really knows us yet. The people we have played to have been super welcoming and nice and want to help us out. I feel like a lot of times we need to prove ourselves so we’ll talk to people and tell them to let us play a show for them and make their own decision but usually people like us.

WC: I heard you guys do house concerts, what is all about?
Elizabeth: House concerts are nice. People invite their friends and they come over to listen to us. It’s a lot of fun. The most important part of any show is getting to know the people we’re playing for, from the audience to the sound guy. I guess some call that ‘networking’ but for me it’s just building relationships and getting to know people and making friends and we don’t really know people here and we want friends, so we play. We’re interested in doing more house concerts, we’re small, it’s just the two of us.

WC: So do you bring your own piano or do they have to provide one?
Eric: I never want to use anyone’s equipment because I like to bang on it and hit it. One time we were playing at The Buttonwood Performing Arts Center in Middletown, CT and they have a grand piano and asked if I wanted to use it. I was like “No, I don’t. I mean, well, I do but I really for sure don’t want to break it!”
Elizabeth: Our stuff it bangs around in the car and we bring it everywhere and we won’t feel as bad if it breaks.

WC: You just came off a 2-month tour all over the East Coast and Midwest, how was that?

It was "The Synesthesia tour". I feel like we need to bring back naming tours because bands don’t do that enough anymore. I think it romanticizes it a bit. The tour was a good learning experience.
It was really good to get out there and we received a really good response in some places. We went to parts of the country I’ve never been to and there was a point we kind of just realized that we were so far from home, from anyone we know, out in the middle of the Midwest with fields everywhere.
The Midwest was tough, we had a lot of great adventures and the road trip was fun but some of the shows were tough. Our 75th show, in Iowa, was our first show where we didn’t sell the painting. It worked out well because we gave that painting to my aunt in Indianapolis who we spent Thanksgiving with. We still met some good people there.
Also, he got sick 3 times on this pass tour. Every place we went we asked do you have tea or lemon water or something?
I could hardly sing. At a house concert in Toledo a friend gave me a bottle of Jim Beam and after every song I’d do a shot and keep going and each swig would last for a song. I don’t remember getting too tipsy and at the end of the set I was actually feeling ok.
Elizabeth: Thankfully, we were staying there and didn’t have to drive.

WC: You’re starting "The Sister Tour 2012", what else is going on for Pocket Vinyl?
Elizabeth: We’re going to take half of February off so I can work on art but we’ll probably still do a few local shows.
Eric: We’ve played with some great bands and I’m trying right now to make a charity album with them. I always thought about maybe doing this when we became bigger and have more fans but then I thought ‘Why can’t I do that now? What’s stopping me?’ I hope to get 10-15 tracks and put it together for the charity WarChild.Org. They’ve put out several compilations themselves with a bunch of huge bands on them and I always bought those albums and liked them. We’ll release it digitally on bandcamp and it should be coming out pretty soon.
Elizabeth: We definitely wanted to focus on a charity that was kid centered. I grew up with a lot of foster brothers and sisters and it’s really on our hearts a lot because kids can’t stand up for themselves.

WC: What do you hope for Pocket Vinyl?
Elizabeth: Biggest goal would be that we could live off this and have a steady income and pay our bills and fill our gas tank. We don’t need to be famous. We just want to do art and music full time and continue to constantly enjoy doing it.

WC: Last question, any advice for bands, musicians, artists just starting?
Elizabeth: Definitely be grateful for every little blessing you get. Savior it.
Eric: Yeah, if someone buys a CD, be thankful because they really didn’t have to or even come out to your show.
Elizabeth: And be a nice person. I’ve talked to so many bands on our level that are grumpy and I don’t want to talk to them. Remember that people came out to see you so be nice and friendly and make them want to keep talking to you and come out and see you again. It’s funny to realize that in this business, there really aren’t big breaks and no one is going to find you and make you. It’s really just so much more talking to people and then they talk and then they talk. I feel like I just realized recently it’s really the people at shows talking to their friends. It’s hard work and a whole network of friends.

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