marble stature The Offense we trust! Rural bullshit from the heart of Fox Point, Providence, RI 02906

Wednesday, September 27, 2006



Ya hear that the great Jay Hinman has called it a day over at Agony Shorthand? Yeah, it kind of took me by surprise as well. Agony Shorthand was one of the best; a great source for digging up great bands and albums from the past and present, and the writing was fantastic. Hinman’s serious devotion to quality writing day after day on Agony Shorthand has pushed blogging to a new level of credibility; leaving traditional music websites crying in the dust. If you were not a reader of the site, please follow the link here and peruse through his archives, you’ll find three and a half years of album and single reviews, fanzine reviews, “overrated” call-outs, interviews and more. I’m just glad that he’s going to keep the site up so that we can all enjoy Agony Shorthand’s great legacy. Ok, on a bit of a brighter note, IT'S MY BIRTHDAY… and it looks like Sub Pop doesn’t suck no more.

Dead Moon Echoes of the Past (Sub Pop, 2006)

I don’t know where this one came from; releasing a two-disc “Best-Of” compilation of the Oregon-based Dead Moon. I was completely in the dark about these guys until a friend from Boston told me about them two years ago. He hadn’t heard them either, but said that he heard they were great, so he wondered if I had any of their shit. I didn’t, and I completely forgot about Dead Moon until I saw Mike Rep and Mac Sutherland from Siltbreeze sporting matching black Dead Moon tees at the Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments reunion show in Columbus this past summer. When I saw this compilation hit the shelves this week, I couldn’t hold out any longer. Hey, this thing is great! I went home and did some digging on Dead Moon, and found out that the singer Fred Cole had been in a garage band that had a track on Rhino’s Nuggets (the first one… cheese!). He then formed Dead Moon with his wife Toody, who plays the bass, and Andre Loomis on drums, in the late 1980’s, some twenty years after the Lollipop Shoppe’s “You Must Be a Witch.” It’s an interesting back story, so read up on it over on AllMusic or something, because my time is too valuable to waste on retyping.

Back to the good shit, and there’s plenty of it… Echoes of the Past was compiled by Fred Cole himself, and despite being deficient in the liner notes, they were nice enough to include a discography, ie guidebook for the soon to be obsessive. I count six LP’s and a ton of singles and compilation tracks, almost all from the Dead Moon’s own Tombstone (with the rare exception of a Sub Pop and a SFTRI), but my eyes are what they used to be, so don’t count me on it. I’m going to end up owning all of this shit sooner or later, because this compilation is fantastic; full of rock ‘n roll rituals and pitfalls. You can hear a little MC5 here, a little Love there, and a little Roky, but Dead Moon ain’t imitators. There is something so primal about everything on here despite covering a great span of years (1988-2004), the production, or lack thereof, just hits the nail on the head. Gritty and warm, yet so delicately mixed so that nothing gets lost or shortchanged, and they are such a great rock band that this formula is just as successful on the slower numbers as on the rockers. The thing I like the most about these guys, er… I should say the thing that surprises me the most about these guys are that they are actually quite a versatile band; their material isn’t really based in the Blues, or in Punk, or in Surf, Noise, or Hardcore, they are a band that play songs from the soul, and you can’t ever fake that. It’s completely unmistakable from the start of Echoes of the Past. I really can’t believe that Sub Pop went all-out on this, and even expanded it across two-discs (49 songs!), but I’m really glad that they did because this is sure to turn on a hell of a lot of people to the great Dead Moon, who are somewhat of an untainted, uninhibited living treasure. Oh yeah, and they probably should've called the thing Echoes of the Future.

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