Never, ever underestimate the necessity of a scene to document itself. Of the five tapes I received from Spotted Race, a label/distro run by Martin Lumpy that’s dedicated to capturing all the fucked up, drug obsessed, brain damaged, weirdo punks and the music they make in St. Louis, four were dubbed right onto old cassettes that the label managed to find in a used Goodwill freebie bin. Three were just the tape and insert rubber banded together, something I had never seen before I opened my package. I bring all this up not to imply some sort of sense of amateurism to the releases (in fact, all the art is made in house, and every tape comes with an insert/lyric sheet to boot). What I’m saying is that Spotted Race has ignored a need for sheen, instead solely concentrating on making sure this music is on tape, and available to those who want to hear it.
Lumpy and the Dumpers-S/T Demo (2012)
The demo that started this whole shebang. This is some of the scuzziest, lo-fi, spastic punk I’ve heard in a long time. This is not a band that cares about looking silly or stupid in any way, shape or form. For Christ sake, the first song is called “Eel Goo” and is about trying to use every slime you can find to get high. “Face the Meat” is equally obnoxious, just a spewing of the most vile and absurd tale of living in the city. The last track “Future” is a lot angrier, with Lumpy singing through clenched teeth and squinted eyes toward tomorrow. Somehow, through all this, Lumpy and the Dumpers create something that is…addictive. Nothing is outright catchy per se, but the songs stay in the brain, soaking and sloshing around in the brain, making it heavy and thick like a chemical high.
Nos Bos- S/T Demo (2013)
The most directly “punk” of the batch, it’s clear why Spotted Race released this Nos Bos tape. While not as absurd as Lumpy and the Dumpers, Nos Bos craft some deeply warped and evil feeling punk rock. A twisted suburban hell is crafted on these songs, thanks to the singer’s nasal vocals, which makes the songs both teenage and alien at the same time. The byproduct of the Germs if they had become a proper hardcore band and all their songs were then coated in a thin layer of tar. It’s five very damaged songs, but also fiver very awesome and crazed hardcore songs too. I can’t imagine what their Halloween songs would be like.
Cal and the Calories- S/T Demo (2013)
Apparently these songs were written around the same time as the Lumpy and the Dumpers demo, by a member of the band, but couldn’t be used because they were too catchy. Listening to the tape, it’s understandable why. The songs have a much more proto-punk sound to them, like Cal was listening to a lot of OBN III’s records, and wanted to make a similar modern proto-punk sound. It actually turned out pretty well, the songs are pretty catchy (especially “Jackhamma”), though they feel a little simple at times.
Black Panties-“I Don’t Care About Punx” b/w “No Manners” Cassingle (2012)
This was billed as an anti-punk tape, and you can hear the effort that Black Panties put in to make that happen. The whole sound of “I Don’t Care About Punx” is a compressed mess; the drums, guitar, and bass a giant blob of noise as Panties delivers a sarcasm filled but truly pissed screed against the scene punks he sees. It’s almost just rising and falling noise, and it’s great. “No Manners” serves as a great contrast, the lyrics a takedown of Blank Panties himself, and song just a smidge catchier than the a-side. The computer program voice that ends the song delivering cynical after cynical phrase is the deliciously cruel cherry on top.
Lumpy and the Dumpers-“Bat” b/w “X-Rod” Halloween Cassingle (2012)
More Lumpy and the Dumpers! Part of a Halloween themed cassingle series they did last year, this tape is more of the vile and excellent slime punk that their demo was. “Bat” is just that, the tale of a bat terrorizing everyone, ruining everything and spewing gunk everywhere. The b-side is a cover of “X-Rod” by the band Max Load, an old Killed by Death band from ’79. Where a key influence something else, the song sounds just like another Lumpy and the Dumpers song, as damaged and warped as the rest of their discography.
Sweet Tooth-S/T Demo (2010)
Fond memories. This was the band Martin Lumpy was in back in the day with his brother Erik. Erik played guitar, Martin played drums, they had a friend play bass & another scream, and together they called themselves Sweet Tooth made very, very excellent modern hardcore. And now Spotted Race is making more copies of their debut demo available. It was a sort of push back against the whole “mysterious guy” hardcore scene that was a part of the scene at the time, so the songs are direct and brutal. They are just one blast after another of fury and rage, indiscriminate as to who gets harmed so long as the subjects of the song feel the blunt of it. It’s some great stuff though, never static or the same, with bits of the various different subgenres of hardcore appearing here and there on the tape (Japanese hardcore craziness, “Damaged I” sloggers). This is the type of tape that makes your anger boil over and causes you to start punching a wall.
Buy all these tapes from Spotted Race right now
Posted by David