A multi-label release (or I call them split releases) are a great way to put out more records with less of a risk with a smaller amount of money put together and damn did I do a lot of those between 2007 and 2009 so lets call these the split release years.
I started talking to the skate thrash punk band LxExAxRxNx from Italy about doing a crazy dozen plus co-release for their EP First Lesson. This whole thing went over pretty easily and quickly without much of my involvement, I think I got something silly like a dozen black copies and less of the red copies for my minimal money thrown in. Definitely a cool record. Good artwork, fast music. I was excited to work with a good band from Italy! I know there was at least one less in the world because the postman epically broke a copy and someone emailed me to show me how badly it was broken. The irony here was how it survived the trip overseas and got destroyed within the country here.
This next album is one that I was and still am in love with. My friends from Shitstorm, who as you remember from part I have been a critical part of my label from the beginning, started a new band called Mehkago N.T. This band has been termed a lot of genres that I don’t really associate them with exactly, specifically crust and d-beat. I really think they are like a deconstructed and more raw and less grindcore version of Shitstorm… which I think is perfect and original. Very memorable parts. It seemed weird to do a CD-EP type thing but I loved the songs so I definitely signed up to help them out. It was good to actually do a split release with them after having talked about doing the first record with their labels. I wasn’t asked to help on the vinyl release or I would have been all over that. I had the luck of seeing them at This Is For You Fest (not the year I mentioned previously but another year) and then they played in Raleigh two years after this.
You know how I fan-boyed out to a 625 co-release before? Well the second chance happened for a release with an interesting story. Athrenody was an old Bay area grindcore band that Matt Harvey from Exhume stepped in and did vocals posthumous about fifteen years later. I think this one surprised me at how much it cost to master and get the artwork done for but it sold and in the end I have no complaints.. I was just starting to learn the fact that you should put money in to make something worth it which is something I still have to remind myself of today.
It all came back around to me needing some money for another release and 2007 was a hard year on money so I basically talked two separate friends into doing labels and thus began Bullshit Propganda and there began and ended Pile of Bile. My friend who ran POB didn’t end up giving me all the money she was going to go in on it and I was sort of miffed on that but I guess that happens. Will who helped on the Skate Attack tape started BSP and did about twenty releases up until 2012 until he decided that putting out records was terrible and I agree it’s not for everybody. I made some silly tinfoil with rocketship spraypainted stencil covers for the test presses of these which I cannot find a picture of easily off hand but I assure you they looked crappy and not many people luckily have them. Of course back then I was amped to do an Agathocles record and SMG from Malaysia is a pretty killer band. Glad to have my hands more in the pot on a release again and to put some more unlistenable stuff out there for people to have to collect to keep up with the never-ending AGx catalog. I’m sure people joke that ever label has done a release for them so here is my one release for them. Don’t worry, I’ll also put out Unholy Grave records too.
Another 625 co-release was the Bloody Phoenix – War, Hate, and Misery CD. I said no to doing the vinyl which was talked about a few months after talks about the CD started and already felt it was a stretch of my budget to throw in on the CD. BP is ex-members of Excruciating Terror, Jerry is a super nice guy and I had the luck of doing a small DIY show in Raleigh for them as seems to be the pattern of the early years. Show was fun and the one thing I remember is that no one moved from Bloody Phoenix but then the applause was huge… everyone was just astounded by their sound and how fast they played. I saw them again this year in 2015 and everyone stood around but in a bad way but there was a competing more popular show later in the day that was free so not everyone was a trooper like me and drove to Greensboro and went to both shows.
Matt Gauck drew a nice flier for the Raleigh show and I want to say he might have actually been in town and was able to go, but that may have been a future XBRAINIAX show.
Everyone standing around for them but I’m glad to see that Eartworm who played in MWDH in the flier above, is there front and center watching them stoked:
Unfortunately shortly after this video, the band broke up so BP is no more.
As stoked as I was to put out SMG from Malaysia, I was pretty stoked to work with Proletar from Indonesia. The first pressing of Back to Hatevolution, which is a discography at that point, came as a CD in a 7″ sleeve. I remembered (not in a racist way at all) the sleeve smelling like curry or some kind of delicious spices, which I thought was awesome. Future pressing of the CD came as an actual CD in a jewel case and was less-curry flavored. Very cool release, very many labels involved on this one. I was impressed at the contrast of how full the recordings are on a portion of this compared to SMG. Again not in any kind of racist way but I know smaller countries in SE Asia have less access to recording studios and I think the first batch of songs on here sound like it could be a Magrudergrind recording..
After I helped Will Toftness start BSP, I got called in to help with his band Hip Cops and a band from Japan called Gate. Hip Cops came through and we did an unfortunate show for them in Raleigh and then I went down with them to Columbia SC and the show there was a ton of fun at my friend Kelly’s house and we all went swimming after it. I don’t have much more to say about this one, it’s a quality grindcore split EP.
The Final Draft EP I love a lot. I quickly formed a friendship with Luis after the split with ARM and quickly said yes to Hirax Max to do this. Since I didn’t have my hands in the mix of this too much, I don’t have much to say. I think I remember there being a California release show for this and being excited about it.
Much as I had formed a friendship with with Luis from a previous release, I had kept up with Vasko of FxPxOx from Macedonia via email and said yes to helping on their 2003-2007 discography CD which also had enhanced material on it which is super cool. I’m actually uploading it right now, now that I remember that it exists. Vakso still pops up every few years which is amazing! Last I heard from him a few year ago is that he had just booked a Beatrap show there via his promotions called Junk Cola. Glad I got to do another amazing long discography (Magrudergrind and Proletar ones had done so well so far!).
TLAL #20 was a sampler CD. I’ll skip over this because I feel like this post is getting pretty long. Pro CD-R, it looked super good. Artwork colorized by me but drawn by none only but Matt Gauck aka Skater Action Matt aka Next Stop Adventure aka Circle Takes the Square merch guy.
So I had distroed at a weird fest in the town of Wake Forest which no one has ever heard of except for the fact that Wake Forest University was once located there but then moved the hell out and I was next to a nice band called Kakistocracy. I got to know Jason from the band pretty well and still run into him and talk to him every once in awhile. He is the one guy everyone knows in the punk scene in Asheville. Their band killed it and their first record was on Profane Existence. I then had the chance to do either or both their newest EP and/or their split with Nux Vomica. In retrospect I love the tracks on the EP and should have done both or maybe just that EP but I’m also happy to have worked with Nux Vomica from Portland. This record is a great piece of NC history as Kakistocracy is an amazing representation of crust punk. Last I heard a bunch of years ago is that they recorded a full length and was shopping it around and then they were no longer a band. I heard that full length and it sounded heavy, wish it saw the light of day.
The fist Archagathus split I did was annoying because the primary label was super flaky so I was glad to help with a split between them and Sakatat from Turkey and not have to deal with another “am I getting the records I paid for” situation. I guess I have a lot of similar patterns with music… much like FPO, Semih from Sakatat pops up every now and then. Last I hear from him is that he is booking in Istanbul under the name Atom Kule Collective. I personally got pretty into making sure I had all the Sakatat records as they were a killer band.
Holy crap I finally found a release in all these that isn’t a co-release and it is AMAZING. I approached Mesrine about doing a split and they were super excited and asked me who I thought would be a good band to do a record with. I mentioned a number of Texas grindcore bands and mentioned both P.L.F. and 50/50, to which they replied that they’d love to do it with P.L.F. I hit up P.L.F. aka the band who hates to go by their original name, Pretty Little Flower and they were excited too so this split was born out of nowhere. I, as normal, got Matt Gauck to do some really good art. I told him I’d love to have something crazy with plague doctors on it and that is exactly what he came up with. I’m super proud of putting this record together and putting it out. The only bummer that happened is I was doing a special repress for a tour one of the band was going on and the screen-printed covers ended up looking exactly like the normal covers.
Some years ago I met Corey from Halo of Flies/Protestant who is in Party by The Slice and have or had after then talked to Carlos from ¡Malparido!. Seemed to make sense to help them both out on a cool yet funny record. I consider the PBTS material really good and heavy but definitely joke band material as far as the content is. Carlos helped me put together the enhanced material later on the Hummingbird of Death CD+. He is currently doing really amazing illustration if you look up Carlos Patino Artwork you will see his stuff that is much like the graphiti artist Nychos, with cross sectioned chopped up characters.
So, working on this CD was amazing but about killed me and Justin. The A Product of Six Cents II CD was the continuation of Justin Abare’s baby (I mean other baby besides his very real physical child). The first comp was incredible with some amazing OG pv bands and we came up with the idea to do a sequel LP which hasn’t happened to date but we did the CD version of it. We both found bands and I obsessively put the order of the bands together. The cover concept I came up with in the shower and wrote a huge email detailing an antisocial powerviolence toddler or middle school kid which Scott Bentz drew to a T. I’m sure I have a ton of stories to this comp as Justin and I talked for hours and perfected everything on it. The cherry on the cake was getting a brand new Assholeparade song, I have always been super into that band and that was amazing. Coke Bust gave us a song, PHC somehow is on there, we got an exclusive live Spazz song? I don’t even understand how any of this happened but Justin pulled his OG NoComply strings and made it happen!
Illegal Grinding CD was another crazy co-split release with a ton of labels. International grindcore where I honestly don’t love every single band but if I remember the way it worked out is labels were matched with bands from that country so TLAL and Goner were paired up which I’m fine with. Goner was a two-piece (I think?) band from Cali which is a ripping grind band.
This last co-release is a banger. XBRAINIAX challenged themselves to do a 101 song album but I think realized how impossible that would be so their discography ended up being a 99 song rager. I had helped on the NoComply split and they specifically wanted me to help along with 625 which they were totally nerding out about Max helping on any of their releases which I was in the same boat. Hail Fastcore sold like a wildfire and we did probably two pressings and then when those were gone people kept asking about that CD. The band played Maryland Deathfest pre-fest and played second to an unfortunately small crowd but they were happy to be there and play and see a bunch of metal. I see Sean at MDF anytime I go. Lucas does some really amazing art these days. I believe Zach still does a label which name escapes me but was always putting out killer noise/grind stuff.
In case you missed Part I of this post, please rewind to the first portion of TLAL history.
The second year is still when things were brand new, 2006 was full of fresh newness and peach fuzz of a greenhorn rookie. I had the luck of living in a house next to a house that could put on shows, which was incorrectly called Flint Street House. Life those days revolved around simple things, biking around, hanging with friends, doing stuff with music, and I had the unfortunate predicament of becoming a 8-5er, so I was the boring one of the batch because I couldn’t party that much… but that first IT job out of college in 2005 was the seed money that started and grew the label. Anyhow, started throwing some shows for bands I liked and had the luck of book I Object! along with a handful of other bands (including tight friends Magrudergrind who took me on a few day tour down to This Is For You Fest with them).
I Object! had a super cool veggie fueled decommissioned ambulance they drove around and I thought I was lucky to not be stuck in the vehicle that smelled of french fries. I Object! wasn’t signed to Alternative Tentacles yet but had adopted a similar touring pattern as Magrudergrind… tour as much as possible and also go to the ends of the earth with your music because DIY friends in places like SE Asia for instance, are so happy to have music come through to see. I became friends with IO and they asked me to do a split record for Macedonian band Forever Positively Obsessed (FxPxOx) with Ryan from the IO’s label and my newer friend Josh from Dead Tank. I became friends online with FxPxOx who tried to tour the US but couldn’t get over here due to the government there not allowing them over. The record is awesome and special, the one thing I was a little bummed on is the red/yellow copies were supposed to be one color on one side and another color on the other but they just look like a haze around the center of one color and the other outside of it.
After the IO/FPO jam I had been talking to a band called ARM from California about doing a record and then all of a sudden it became a split with one of my favorite labels, 625 Thrashcore. I wasn’t very familiar with Final Draft at the time (sometimes listed as FinalDraft) but compared to Apathetic Ronald McDonald’s weirdo off-the-wall spazz punk, I think the heavy nature of Final Draft ended up being the stronger portion of the record for my personal tastes. Working with 625 is a bit different in a few aspects but also nice in some others. Max has an artguy who gets things done and that record’s layout looks rad. The other side of that is the price of getting an artguy to do things. TLAL has had and continues to have a good history of doing layouts myself, and maybe I should either get better (although I’m self taught to keep the prices of my records down, so I basically do layouts for free) or hire a graphic designer myself. Any way around it, it was amazing to work and communicate with Max Ward aka Hirax Max aka Max from Spazz aka Max 625. In 2015 I’m reflecting on it and I’d do those splits with 625 again and again and again. In those days I had free reign to do trades and Max had Ebullition be his distributor so I traded them away and sold them direct and built up my distro hardcore with those.
At some point I formed a friendship with two people from New England… Will Toftness from CT and Paul Sunderland from Cape Cod area. These two guys were like if I had a formal business and had a board of directors. I’d add Ralph from Haunted Hotel in NY in that too, but that doesn’t related to this story. Paul and I tossed around an idea to do a skate comp tape. Paul magically had some cool artwork and I jumped on it to ask bands and I knew that Will is pretty active with skating so I asked him to give me some skateboarding sounds for the tape and that is what you hear opening and closing the tape.
Here I am with Sandro from RSR and Paul at This Is For You Fest and below that is Will with a TLAL sticker on his bass:
Paul nerded out and got Killed in Action on the tape, I got my friends from Shitstorm (Ricky pops up multiple times in TLAL history, but he plays drums on the Temper track, and apparently this kid who sings, this was his first time singing on anything ever), Street Sharks are friends from my town (one went on to the Sorry State Records band Whatever Brains who just broke up), I was approached by Indonesian band Makhlok Perosak and they ended up on there, homies ANS (Annihilate New School) of course made the cut as they are a great skate band and all of them pop up throughout TLAL and Raleigh punk history here and there, Nicktape gave me some Bail Out! songs (Nick is now in Coke Bust and a number of other bands), Concrete Evidence who I am totally spacing on who that is.. I want to say it was a band with Dub from Shitstorm in it, Common Enemy when Pat from Backslider was in the band, Badeatinghabits who had Dan Rossiter who did the Rhino Charge artwork and went on do keep doing awesome artwork, and finally one last band from Raleigh called Media Circus. Wow I guess I gathered all but KIA on this one. Paul got the infinitely long j-card printed for these and we got the tapes printed up for too much money in the US because neither of us wanted to give our SSN to get them made in Canada. Very cool tape, wonder when volune II will come out.
Nick from Bail Out! Skateboard action:
It would make sense to do a skate LP after a skate tape right? Right. Ended up putting a four way split LP together called Four Bands to Drain Your Pool LP featuring Badeatinghabits, ANS, NoComply, and Rat Byte. All homies bands and I think this is the first time I had talked to Justin from NoComply who stay a TLAL major supporter and bandmate. I feel like this also relates back a lot to This Is For You Fest because almost all these bands played the fest. Funny story I remember is how limited the red copies were and then ANS came through and played Raleigh and almost left a whole box of the red copies in the middle of the road.
This is for You (TIFY) Fest, there is Paul from Give Praise Records and Ryan from I Object:
Justin pops up again and so does Max Ward. This is my second 625 co-release of XBRAINIAX and NoComply. Solid release. I believe there was some major controversy with this release in the fact that somehow some weird information got snuck into the layout by the person doing the layout. I don’t really want to stir the pot here, it was a pretty juvenile thing and was overlooked in printing the record up. I have little to say on this one, was a great jam.. very interesting matchup of bands. I guess the 625 releases I didn’t touch as much because I was mainly just tossing in money and the pressing and art was handled. Glad I did this record though, its so good.
Last of 2006 was the Terminal Youth LP. I was low on funds and got this screenprinted promo for the band. I was familiar with the band previously because I knew their split from Moo Cow Records. When I tossed this into the CD player I was 100% expecting to say no and when I heard this I knew I had to say yes yes yes. Amazing Boston hardcore LP (the band went on to do Boston Strangler, Brain Killer, and Chain Rank to give you an idea). I so amped on this but so low on funds but was able to get Give Praise and De Rok to toss in. You know I should have done this myself because this was the first record I did that I sold out instantly of. So the pressing was supposed to be 400 black and 100 on actual metallic silver but guess what going through a new record pressing GZ broker gets you… “oops we didn’t communicate well enough with the Czech plant so there are no metallic silver vinyl copies”. So major disappointment there but the spot color metallic silver on the covers look great and we did some 11″x17″ photocopied inserts to save money. I could not have been more happy and proud of this jam. Funny story, Ryan from the band really sold me on doing a show for them in Raleigh. I was very excited. He told me he’d have a bus of Boston punks roll down with them and it would be a great show. It was a great show because not only did Seasick play, but Blank Stare ended up playing too if I’m not mistaken. It was a terrible show because not many Raleigh punks or much of anyone else showed up at all. Will Butler show booking failure for a band where this was supposed to be their big record release show in my hometown. You can tell I’m bitter about that even today. I got this cool full color Matt Gauck artwork for the flier too:
That pretty much sums up year two of TLAL. Definitely a great year of music and really making connections and staying in touch with some of my favorite people who would continue to make my label become an organic thing of supporting friends bands and putting out new bands that would become friends.
August marks ten years of running my label. I honestly don’t know how to start this post because as I’ve said time and time again, DIY has been a huge part of my life as soon as I discovered punk at the ripe age of 14. I loved skateboarding, I loved computers, I loved punk music and everything else didn’t matter as much. I got involved directly with DIY when I was 16 and I started a band with some of my friends I skated with, here is me on bass at a show I booked fifteen years ago:
It took trial and error to establish ideas and ideals of DIY back in those days growing up in Winston-Salem. My band first tried recording ourselves but then realized we should pay and get legitimate recordings. We put out our own CDs, did our own merch, I did the website (which I resurrected from the Wayback Machine here: http://dbm.tolivealie.com/), booked our own shows, etc. During those days, the band was what mattered and people around town started to seem to be on board with us. We lost Philip on drums which was a huge bummer to me because he had been a childhood friend but I liked Phil on drums and near the end we lost Chris on vocals and our friend Will sang for one show. The band dissolved when we went off to college and that was the end of that era for me and for us.
The First Year of TLAL:
I became infatuated with vinyl when I was around that age and had a good slew of records but then I went off to college and DIY dripped away. I went to Virginia Tech and the house that had shows called the Solar Haus, had a show where people fell through their window a year before I was in town and the whole place got shut down so I tried to find punk and skateboarding where I could there but ultimately failed. I transferred to NC State and found DIY in the form of emotional hardcore locally and started a distro selling both punk records (Spazz, Charles Bronson, etc) and for the lack of a better word… screamo records (Orchid, Neil Perry, etc) under the name of Stronghold Distro. That connection with screamo lead me to meet the guys in Shitstorm throught their screamo band Tunes For Bears to Dance to. Those guys tried talking me into putting out a Tunes EP if I remember correctly and I wasn’t that sold on the idea but then there was talk of them starting a label and putting out a split between Godstomper and Magrudergrind which I had a major interest in. I remember talking to Avi shortly after I met him (went to see them at Charm City Art Space) and he got me jazzed on how it would help my distro to put out a record and trade records, I did and he was right. Actually that release I hardly traded it sold super well and went onto a second pressing. The label I put that out with showed me the ropes of record pressing and I think a lot of the early ethos I learned from these first releases and communicating with peers in bands and labels.
From there I put out the Rhino Charge EP on my own with some help here and there from other label friends (Paul from Give Praise helped me get the covers printed up at his printing shop). I couldn’t believe it but I think between some Internet hype surrounding Rhino Charge, them getting the cover of the last issue of HeartttaCk, and the fact that Ebullition helped unload more than half of them onto the world… the first pressing sold out pretty quickly. Second pressing came out right around when the band broke up but it sold through steadily. I remember being so new to it that I asked my mom her advice and she told me to not put anything more into it that I wouldn’t mind never seeing again which was good advice. Honestly, looking back on it… Ebullition (the combined efforts of Kent and Lisa) had a profound affect on my label sustaining itself through the early years and I can’t thank those two enough.
The last release of first year of my label was the Magrudergrind discography CD called 62 Trax of Thrash. I had no idea what to expect out of a CD release but we did our best to pack as much music into one place as we could and although Magrudergrind had only been a band for three years, they had a stockpile of songs and releases. This release was a three way co-release and I think we ended up doing two runs of 1000 so there are 2k of those beasts floating around. Putting out CDs is a different story but they are oh so swell to trade overseas when you can break them out of the jewel cases and ship them cheaply. Magrudergrind had always been super active and this was around the time when they started to go through some guitarist changes I believe but the guys were actively touring and had done some European/SE Asian trips. I never wanted to go out of my way to do a CD ever but my outlook has always been to put out releases that I myself would be stoked to own and the prospect of having all the early Mgrind stuff in one place was a major interest. I’m not sure this CD put me out there as a new label as much as the first two but it definitely got the name overseas and also into the hands of people where vinyl isn’t as accessible to them.
Honestly the first year was a whirlwind. I was so amped on everything and I was so into making cool friend editions, and test press covers, and putting weird little inserts into each record. I drew on every mailer and usually taped weird pictures on them. It was a special time where everything was so new and exciting and every order was someone I wanted to communicate with and share with. Today is no different but the time I have to do those things is far more limited. Also at this time I lived at 1306 Flint Place, which was a super low rent house near NC State and people were always around and wanting to help out and be involved. Next door at 1304 Flint, they had shows pretty regularly but I will leave that for part 2 as that is further down the timeline.
Jay Tichy reporting in on the status of the new Sidetracked LP: The writing for the Sidetracked lp is complete. 28 songs were written and I am planning on using all of them. I’m just working on an order and to ensure the flow. The title “Hired Gun” will most likely not be used. As of now, there is no title, but there will be eventually. As for what you can expect, this won’t be our most chaotic release to date and there are quite a few songs that go along more at a hardcore pace as opposed to a fastcore pace, but worry not, there is still plenty of manic energy and enough short songs to keep the most impatient happy. This summer, we’re planning on recording a couple EP’s, then in the fall diving headfirst into the LP.
An update to that update: Plenty of Lack of Interest inspired chops as usual, along with songs that carry a Chain of Strength “Let Down” feel in the riffs. Some even hint at the off-kilter side of Double Negative. For 12 inch records, I always admired the way Extortion, Low Threat Profile, and Running for Cover came across on their long players. I don’t know if any of these were direct influences, but it definitely helped me maintain the spirit of “keep it all fast”. Only one song plods along at a slower pace (but it’s GOOD).
To bum some of you out, TLAL’s 2015 is looking pretty quiet. In that same sense I’m excited to say that some of my favorite labels are picking up some of my slack… Deep Six will be doing the next Cave State EP and A389 will be doing the Sex Prisoner full length. Good news is while not producing as much as I have in the past, I will be putting out some heavy hitters in 2015 and 2016.
Very next release I have on the books is Greensboro, NC’s own Holder’s Scar with their debut EP. Holder’s Scar plays intense hardcore punk with no remorse and no gimmicky breakdowns:
Shortly after this EP, TLAL will be releasing Backslider‘s discography on CD.
Last for the near future will be a repress on purple picture disc of the ACxDC discography LP
Six Brew Bantha, along with Archagathus, have been the leaders of the Western Canadian Grind Campaign for World Domination. They’ve been touring constantly, releasing killer records constantly, and honing their craft of ‘blurring grindcore’ to a razor-sharp edge. This second LP is their most refined and matured work to date.
The songs got a little longer, but don’t be scared (I know I was until I actually listened to them). The blurring aspects and chaotic arrangements that made me fall in love with Six Brew Bantha are still the primary aspects of their sound, only now the songs have enough meat on their bones to become memorable and powerful statements in and of themselves. With incredibly tight and precise playing caught with a powerful, hard-hitting production, the record captures an ideal Six Brew Bantha at an ideal setting.