Hepatitis (B) Youth CS
Russian Tsarlag CS
Napolean Blownaparte Sometimes It Hurts CS
A package from the Rockford, IL based Green Tape label arrived a couple days ago and it's kind of blowing my mind a little bit this morning. First tape out was by Hepatitis Youth, or is it Hepatitis (B) Youth? I mean I've heard of Hepatitis Youth, let's see... (lethargic brain tendrils slowly uncurling to pull up information).... ah yes, there they are, a band from Tampa, Florida.... yes, yes, the Cephia's Treat label.... wild crew... buncha kids... a collective with changing membership... they play shows outside.... that was a few years ago, and I'm not sure if this tape is from then or not, but it sounds great. Side A sounds like one person on probing, airy, non-played bass guitar tone clusters, another person on some seriously involved distorto guitar playing, at least one more dragging any manner of metallo-garbage all over the room, and some non-overwhelming incantatory vocals poking in and out of the mix as well. The best thing is, it sounds like a live band! Ah, remember that? Side B also sounds live, but takes away that awesome guitar and bass playing for what sounds like a voice-based crowd-participation outdoor recording. In the meantime, the internet hath told me that, in the years since their 2003-ish Tampa-based heyday, people from the original Hepatitis Youth crew have moved all over the place and formed a few offshoot bands, and that Hepatitis B Youth are the "north" wing and this tape is indeed by them. Green Tape website seems to call it the "breaking barriers cassingle," and it's a co-release with the Friends & Relatives label.
Funny that the next tape is by Russian Tsarlag because the vocals on the Hepatitis B Youth tape made me think of that guy's vocals. Have you heard this guy, Russian Tsarlag? More 'commonly' 'known' as Russian Tsarcasm? Totally weird mostly solo mustachioed kid. Clattery methodical kitchen percussion, or maybe just awkward handclapping, a frail odd and somewhat disdainful voice repeating phrases over and over, and seemingly not much else. You could make a comparison to Shadow Ring, but it's somehow even more reduced than that. First time I heard him was a tape on Bone Tooth Horn and I thought I hated it until the last 5 minutes or so, when I suddenly realized I liked it. The sound didn't change, but I did. Now I love it, and guess what, that is him on the Hepatitis (B) Youth tape - his real name, Carlos Gonzalez, is listed first out of 12 people. This Tsarlag tape is just about as short as can be, maybe 2 minutes per side. It sounds really far away and murky, but play it twice and his cryptic phrases really start to insinuate. Sweet looking color cover art too. For more Tsarcasm, check out this live show on youtube - the 'studio' recordings are a little more conversational, quiet, and obtuse, but damn....
Well, that's all for today, folks. I'll leave you with some inspirational closing comments from Jeru the Damaja: "Don't forget or have you forgot that I'm a surgeon, Ak-Bar, once outran a jaguar/Slept in a lion's den and escaped without a scar/Close my eyes and commence the star travel/Fred Flintstone's out a job because I turn hard rocks to gravel/Babble, never, control the weather/Like a few jams back, whatever's clever/Even the rudest of rude can't test because I'm protected/with the Breastplate of Righteousness/and that's just how I'm living."