Blue Skies Above Us

Mexican Power Authority

mexican power authority

My typing fingers are a bit tired after adding all 116 song titles from this CD, so this will be short. Of course, a short message would be appropriate for this band – ‘cuz they mostly play really short songs. Mexican Power Authority were from the giant country of Canada, and were around from 1991-1997. This CD compiles a number of releases into one: More Discipline (cassette, from 1991, Break Even Records); Salmon Mask Mctallica (cassette, from 1992, Break Even Records); Haiku… Gesundheit (1992, cassette, Break Even); and the January Sessions (7″). This CD was put out by Ragamuffin Soldier Records.

It’s a bit hard to classify them, as they have a lot of range.</audio>

The ‘zine Short Fast + Loud describes them as such:

MPA remain one of the least understood and most underrated bands from the ‘90s underground. Their style was entirely unique, borrowing from hardcore and grind, yet adding so many off the wall elements that the end results never quite equated with their contemporaries. Imagine Muppets who studied free form jazz playing punk rock songs with the RUINS at a high school music recital with students playing recorders. Odd clarinet sounds and yipping vox offset the spastic punkiness that abounds. Kev from the almighty NEOS is in this band, but don’t go expecting straight forward thrash. Maybe someday MPA will get the recognition they deserve, but for now check out this cult favorite if you want something completely beyond the radar.

Songs average around 30 seconds in length. There’s a swell mix of trash, rock, grind, and even, toward the end, some jazz grind with clarinet. Topics are light, and sort of humorous. A few songs reference popular rock songs within them. Some of the tracks on this are doubled up, since CDs don’t allow more than 99 tracks.

I find this to be catchy and fun to listen to. It can be a lot to take in at once.

Totally notable is the fact that they recently got back together and played shows, and are now working on new material. Stay up to date via their myspace page. And it looks like they have a double lp version of this CD still available.

Mexican Power Authority

side note: I added a plugin for the archives of this blog. Now they are easier to browse – browse by title of post (which is always the band(s)), and view them all without much scrolling.

Another side note, even less related to the MPA post: portland pinball map flier

My housemate and I launched our new website the other day.

Last spring I created a google map to keep track of all the pinball machines in the city. It went well, and we had a lot of data on it, and lots of friends and strangers helped keep it up to date. My h-mate/business partner (Sassy Moves Today) and I had dreams of turning it into a bigger site, with search functions and other neat features. So we’ve spent the last many months working on just such a site. Scott did all the perl and javascript and all that tough technical stuff. I was mostly just in charge of data, but I ended up doing (plenty of)  the text, html, css, and images (which is why the site appears as simple/awesome as it does).

So, if you live in Portland and like pinball (which I realize probably amounts to like two to three readers of this music blog), I hope you check it out and I hope you like it! I think it’s rad.


Thanks for the feedback, homies. And so here are three seven inches by Manumission.

Manumission Tremor on the Line

All of these came out in 1993 and 1994, I believe. Binary Lung was put out by Ebullition, Tremor on the Line by Repercussion, and Diego Rivera was a split release by Sovereignty and Ebullition. Manumission was from Goleta, California. Some of the members were attending UC Santa Barbara at the time. Jose (from Struggle, etc.) drummed for some of the songs, and I believe he lived in San Diego still.

Manumission Binary Lung

They are one of my all time favorite bands. I was too young to ever see them live. The Binary Lung seven inch was the first Ebullition record I ever bought, and it basically turned me on to the rest of the catalog. They profoundly changed my perception of hardcore. I poured over the insert of this record and discovered sincerity, politics, and emotion. Hardcore wasn’t just brutally fast music with a bunch of screaming. The last on this record, “Humanity,” ends with Ani speaking the lines he had been screaming in the last verse. At first, through my lense of irony, I thought it was sort of goofy. But then a friend stood up for it and declared it to be the best part of the record. I then reevaluated my perceptions of the music, and I took a real look at the words and the ways in which it is all presented, and I recognized that it was sincere and substantial and should be taken seriously.

distance Manumission is a political band in many ways, but at the same time they are intensily personal. In high school I photocopied the lyrics of “Distance,” and had it tacked up on my wall. It seemed to perfectly capture my thoughts on relationships and gender.


There are somewhat disparate styles at play in their music. The drums are extremely fast, snappy, and tight; the guitar and bass are at times catchy and melodic, and during fast parts often played slower than the drums (or at least it sounds that way), but at the same time there can be some seriously crunch; the vocals are absolutely ravaged and brutal. All of it comes together for what I think is a unique interplay. They are tight, controlled, but also cathartic and blistering.

Check this song, “Guillotine,” off the Diego Rivera seven inch:</audio>

So, download it all, and enjoy! Geno from the comments recently posted the Manumission side of their split with Los Crudos, so I included that in the zip, too. All inserts are included, as well. The second side of Diego Rivera is live from a radio show. “Hawthorne Effect” is originally on the 3/12/93 compilation (which I have, but it seems to have a small scratch).


Manumission Diego Rivera

Reach Out / Honeywell

Ricardo requested the insert/cover for this split (sorry for the delay!). But I couldn’t just post the insert and not the music! So here’s the total package.

Reach Out / Honeywell

Two songs by both bands. Easily one of my all-time favorite records. Reach Out continues right where their 7″ left off. Two vocalists, one shriller than the other, both punctuating a shared story. The guitars practically sing with them. The songs are progressively structured, not stuck in verse/chorus repetition. Both songs blend together (with lovely feedback), but I split them up. I thought about keeping them together, since they are practically one song.

Honeywell completely blew my mind on this split. I bought this for the Reach Out, but I stayed for the Honeywell. Just kidding – but you know what I mean. If… brings to mind a beast, breathing inside a cave, fumes and steam broiling out with each breath. And then it emerges and the whole world erupts. I obviously can’t write anything that will do this justice… so I’ll just say that the things I like about these songs are: super fast blasted drumming, with a steady bassdrum beat that’s half the time of the snare, absolutely devastating vocals that seem on the brink of falling into smoldering ruin, guitars that feedback, crunch, and speak sorrow all at the same time. If… is about uncertainty, complacency, etc. Five Minutes Only is about our cheap religions. Heaven is only an infinite treadmill away!

This came in 1993. I think it was on Anomaly Records. right?

Download the Reach Out / Honeywell – split 7″

Here’s my post with the Reach Out 7“. Here’s my post with the In Memory of Jason compilation, which features both bands. Here’s Hardcore for Nerds’ post with the Honeywell discography.

Honeywell Reach Out

edit: In case you aren’t reading the comments –

here is Pukeko’s post with the (mostly) live on the radio Honeywell cassette!

Ricardo shared the Honeywell demo

and a live set by Reach Out from the Gilman

skywardeyes shared two early cassette tape recordings from Reach Out

The above Reach Out links, since the mediafire links are dead

And I added an early live recording from Honeywell, from a cassette –  (this isn’t the 1993 KSPC set Pukeko linked to; this one has a handful of songs that I haven’t found elsewhere. It’s from 1992, and they definitely emo out on us more than usual here… )

Unruh / Enewetak

Unruh Enewetak

Split 7″. I like both of these bands. Both play fast, harsh hardcore, with super fuzzed out bass and brutal vocals. Unruh’s drumming is especially fast and loaded with rolls. After I got this split I ended up getting a bunch more by both bands.

I saw Unruh play at the pickle patch. I remember the guitar’s tuning/fuzz was set so that he could play an open chord and it would have zero sustain – it was just a big crunch. I saw Enewetak play at Goleta Fest II. They were awesome. I was happy that they played one of their one second long songs.

This split came out in 1996 on Feast and Famine (Arizona label). Unruh was from Arizona, and Enewetak was from the City of Orange, California. Three songs each.

The Poet You Never Were recently posted the Unruh/Creation is Crucifixion split 7″ (plus a ton more).

Listen to a song by Unruh:

Download the split:

Unruh / Enewetak

p.s. Does anyone know how many of the Manumission “Tremor on the Line” records (Repercussion Records) were released with the cover screenprinted on cardboard? I found one today for $2, so picked it up… even though I already have that record with the other cover. I don’t mean to sound like a total record geek; I’m just curious. It looks cool. Also, would anyone be opposed to a Manumission post? I have Diego Rivera 7″, Binary Lung 7″, and Tremor on the Line 7″ (I wish I had the split with Crudos!). All are very great, and everyone should have them. But maybe everyone already does…

p.p.s. If you live in the U.S., don’t forget to vote!


Oh man, I found this Amenity seven inch last week at a local record shop. What a find! $2! And it’s really really good! Early DIY hardcore from 1989, from Chula Vista (south of San Diego, CA). Tough vocals, political/positive lyrics, fast skatepunk drumming, weird recording with the guitars coming and going all over the place. Similar to Downcast, but more skatepunk, and with some Econochrist mixed in.

Previously, I’d just heard one of their songs, on the Give Me Back compilation. This seven inch is killer!


Tho Ko Losi

I saw these fellows play a show back in 1995 at Goleta Fest. They stood out from the rest of the bands (Julia, Constatine Sankathi, OEGP, Endeavor, etc.) because of their grindcore sensibilities, and I remember some of the poserly emo folks frowning and shaking their heads at them (rather than frowning and nodding their heads). On stage were two hulking men hunched over their microphones, spewing wrath toward god, religion, satan, and all the followers. One vocalist (who later went on to sing for Suicide Nation) has a growly voice, and the other is straight death. The music is akin to Conniption – a bit grindcore, a bit punk. That’s, like, a terribly written description…

This is a seven inch, containing five songs. Sample one below!

Tho Ko Losi

WHOAGH! Crap! I just realized that I forgot to post the actual download in the previous Young Ginns post. Why didn’t anyone tell me?! Maybe I should start paying attention to my mad d/l statz.

Young Ginns

I’m a big giant Unwound fan, and I own nothing of theirs on vinyl. So when I recently found this Young Ginns seven inch at a local record store, it felt to me like step one in the correct direction. It’s also, of course, way great to find early Gravity records for down cheap.

Young Ginns were from Olympia, WA. They feature Justin and Brandt from Unwound (Brandt quit Unwound about six months before this record was recorded – he was replaced by Sara Lund, who no longer works at the music store down the street from me, and is now, apparently, in library school. Sara, if you are still in Portland, you should come to the library-people meet-up that is organized by my friend and that is quite popular: Interlibrary Lush). And this seven inch was recorded about a month (Dec. ’93) before the recording of Unwound’s second full length, Fake Train.

Young Ginns

Anyway, I really like this seven inch. I’ve been listening to it a lot lately. But now I want to be able to listen to it on the bus, so I digitized it. It definitely holds with the low-ish fi recordings of other early Gravity records, like the first Heroin seven inch, and the Lava seven inch. The songs are gritty and pretty short, with a certain Bl’ast-ish drive and mania. I especially love the guitar on the last song – reminds me a bit of Heroin’s occasional meanderings.

And to continue mentioning bands that aren’t Young Ginns, on the song below you can even see where Crimson Curse may have found some influence. Cemetary.mp3

Young Ginns

Sake (and Submission Hold)

Sake, with an accent on the e. They once hailed, as we have all once hailed in our own personal ways, from Eureka, CA – a northern California coastal town. Lotta fir trees of some sort near the beaches. I rode my motorcycle through it a little over a year ago, and stayed there for the night. Found some cheap and good Chinese food, and drank wine in a motel room.

sake split cover

I first heard Sake from the split lp with Submission Hold. The split is awesome. I’d seen Submission Hold a bunch of times, and they were always great shows. I wanted to bring my dad to them, because I knew he’d appreciate the drummer. But I didn’t. I’ve included their side of the split in this post. They have songs about repetitive stress disorder, implicit and explicit forms of chauvinism, and shopping. Mostly female vocals, but also male. Supplemental flute, and some violin. Fairly clean guitars, wicked jazzy drumming, and powerful vocals. The lyrics are super, and they are also printed in Spanish and French. Submission Hold is from Canada. I was always happy to see them when they came down to Santa Barbara. They were all really nice folks.

sake seven inch

The Sake side of this split was a sleeper hit. They are also female-fronted with male on the side. The singer plays violin, so when she’s playing, he’s singing. I think he is her brother. The violin adds a real brooding overflow to the already heavy, striding songs, especially on the last two songs (the last one is an instrumental). Songs about sexism, religion, etc. She occasionally sings with a little vibratto when more spoken, but it’s a harsh, hoarse scream when less spoken.

The insert to this record has great designs (Sake design reminiscent of Zero Hour design), and nice explanations to the songs. The pdf of the insert that I made is humongous. Bother me not with it, you, but just deal with the few more seconds of downloading and the assurance that it is not my ideal. Also, since 12 inches are larger than my scanner, I have to scan the covers in multiple parts, and then “virtually glue” them together to make a whole. They look wonky. But remember, I only did it like that because I love you.

sake ten inch

Okay, so also included in this post is the Sake 7 inch and the Sake 10 inch. All three of these records were put out by Hopscotch Records, in the years 1996 and 1997. They also put out Murder City Devils and !!! and Apeface and Blood Brothers and stuff. I hope all of this information makes you happy.

The seven inch has two songs, and sounds like it was recorded around the same time as the split. Yellow marble vinyl, duh. The ten inch, while a later Hopscotch release, is earlier material. It’s good, but I don’t like it as much as the later stuff. Later is when they fell into their sound (and she discovered more variety to her singing style).

Sake (and Submission Hold)</audio>

Harum Scarum – Mental Health

Sorry about the neglect. I can’t find the cover/insert for this CD! This upsets me, because it used to be right there. I meant to post this shortly after the JX:TG. At any rate. Here’s another Portland band from the end of last century. Harum Scarum is all female, playing thrash/crust. They sing about closed circuit cameras on the MAX (light rail trains), sexuality (my favorite song on this matter, and on this record, is Jack), and more. If I find the insert I will scan it and post it, so you can have the lyrics. Dual vocal attack! One a little scratchy and full of energy, the other obscenely brutal and growly. This is a great record.

Harum Scarum

15 tracks. I saw them once, and it was a good show. Not quite as tight as on this album. But still very exciting (I’d bought this CD, listened to it every day for weeks, and then they stopped into town).

Harum Scarum – Mental Health</audio>

JonnyX and the Groadies

I think I know how I’m spending my Fourth of July! JonnyX and the Groadies are playing down the street, at Worksound (well, down like 20 streets). It lames me out to say that I have yet to go to a JX:ATG show in Portland. They are from here, and they play shows all the time. What gives? I don’t know, except I do know that I can’t sit here and dwell on my past missteps. That’s not what the Fourth of July is about, anyway. This day is about remembering our past awesome steps, where we did cool stuff like see JonnyX and the Groadies in a different city. So, the last and only time I saw them was back in 1999, at the Pickle Patch in Isla Vista, CA. I brought a rocker friend along (was Party of Helicopters also playing this show? I think so), and we stood around and waited to see what the opener was all about. As we stood, a sweet-looking bespectacled boy came up and talked to us. He was friendly, and that made us wary. We also may have been wary because he was wearing a mesh shirt, women’s underwear, and nothing else. As I was about to ask, “so, are you in one of the bands?” he stepped behind the drum kit, the other band members merged to their instruments, and they all erupted into one of the most brutal, spastic, and fast sets I’ve ever witnessed. It was wonderful. I particularly remember them playing the last song on this CD, with the singer flopping onto the floor and writhing around in agony during the insane part.

Nowadays, JX:ATG doesn’t have a drummer. They use drum machines, and they have more synthesizers and lasers. And they still totally rip. And the shows look like a lot of fun.

JonnyX and the Groadies – gettinjiggywitit

Trying this doohicky:</audio>

Founded 2005. Currently cleaning out old embarrassing content. But I'll retain the music blog posts (category = music).