PSA: Grudge Rock on Monday 2/2

First Monday of every month at the Re-Bar in Seattle is Grudge Rock, a rock-n-roll game show hosted by Prof. Jake Stratton of BloodHag. Two Seattle bands face each other in a version of Family Feud with rock-centric surveys answered by 100 musicians, record label shitworkers, etc. And the stakes are high: the winning band gets to keep all the door money! In addition to the game show, you'll be treated to live sets by each band. If you live in the Seattle area, you should schlep over to the Re-Bar and check it out. What are you gonna do on a Monday night anyway (because you wouldn't admit to watching Gossip Girl in a billion years)?

This coming Monday features a battle royale between Akimbo and Helms Alee. While both bands are superb, you can probably guess which band I'll be rooting for.

Grudge Rock
First Monday of every month @ the Re-Bar
1114 Howell St
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 233-9873

(Image: Grudge Rock)


Amebix rampaging across the US!

Amebix wraps up their very first U.S. tour EVER with shows tonight in Providence & tomorrow afternoon in Philly- if you're anywhere nearby- you cannot miss this!

They completely destroyed San Francisco's Great American Music Hall, and were joined by Jello Biafra on "Largactyl"- REEEEELAX! REEEEELAX!

We were able to corral the band before last Sunday's San Francisco show for an interview for the AT Batcast, as well as one for local college station KALX- the Batcast will be up very soon!

Here's a decent sounding youtube video of "Winter" from their Canoga Park show, & one of "Winter" from the Echoplex a day or 2 later.

Tour info for Amebix & all AT bands here!


Never-before-seen Bill Hicks set on Letterman this Friday

Standup comedy albums get a lot of play at Alternative Tentacles HQ, so we're elated to find out that Late Show with David Letterman will air a never-before-seen set by the late Bill Hicks. It was taped back in October 1993, but never aired because it was deemed "too hot for TV" back then. Cancel your plans or set your DVRs for this Friday night (1/30) at 11:30pm. Bill Hicks' mother will be a guest on the show. The transcript of the censored set is here.

(Photo: BillHicks.com)


AT archive - print ads!

It's year THIRTY for Alternative Tentacles! Think about that! Our mid-paunch and ubiquitous baseball caps precede a full-blown mid-life crisis that we can stave off with a trip down memory lane.
Once upon a time Alternative Tentacles had to send photo ready ads to magazines instead of just blip-blooping over a pdf on the winged-feet-of-hermes, aka email. We found a stash of these doo dads from circa '96 - '97 under the art directorial gaze of one John Yates, captain of many AT layouts past and present (last being the Report Suspicious Activity matchbook packaging). Perhaps most known for such T shirt designs as "Democracy: We Deliver" and "Mom We're Home", Mr. Yates may not be responsible for punchlines such as this one, aimed at a '96 Sex Pistols reunion:

The copy editor in us wonders if "Here Comes the Audience" would have been a better phrasing, but really, don't zombies inherently trump grammar for yucks?
Another ad from around the same time (most of these ran in Maximum Rocknroll and other fanzines in the pre-blog age) also promotes Tribe 8 and Saturns Flea Collar but takes its cue from the oft-parodied 1953 paperback exploito cover for David Hulburd's "H Is For Heroin":

It's kind of great that this ad would still work in 2009, but sort of a bummer that the sentiment of punk becoming a self-parody is also resonant. We will keep scanning these winners in as we find them, but if you dear reader happen to have some old zines with AT ads, we'd love to see them! Feel free to share with Flickr posts or links in the comments field.


Skateboarding in Afghanistan

I thought many of you might be interested in reading this New York Times article about Oliver Percovich, an Australian who is trying to build a skateboarding school for kids in Afghanistan. Make sure to watch the accompanying video on the NY Times site if you can. So far, Percovich has raised about $120,000 toward the school, a.k.a. Skateistan. You can read about how you can make a donation here, and his website is at skateistan.org.

(Photo: New York Times)


New Phantom Limbs collection on CD & DVD!

The Phantom Limbs are back (sort of)!

The incredible new Accept The Juice/Whole Loto Love CD/DVD just arrived in our warehouse today- and it's available now only through Alternative Tentacles until March!

Winston Smith's Last Supper!?!

From Winston Smith, the legendary artist behind the AT Bat logo, the DKs logo, and many many record covers, comes a larger-than-life version of The Last Supper, done as only Winston can do it!

Join Winston for food, fun and spirit on Tuesday January 27, 7:00 -11:00 pm, for artist reception at 50A Bannam Place (Grant/Union in North Beach). Free and open to the public!

The piece will be on exhibit for just 3 days- Tuesday 1/27 thru Thursday 1/29, so don't sleep on this!


Beloved Batcasts are BACK!

After a couple months off, we've restarted the aural awesomeness known as the BAT CAST (a.k.a. the Alternative Tentacles podcast). The latest 2 feature Intern Insanity, Grady, & the Woodbox Gang! Upcoming ones will include Amebix, Blatz, Filth, Jello Biafra, and much much more!

The latest installment of Intern Insanity
Grady & The Woodbox Gang
Jello Biafra on the 2008 elections (October 2008)
Happy Birthday Wesley Willis
XX chromosome AT bands
Dirk Dirksen special
Nardwuar pt. 1 & 2
Subhumans pt. 1 & 2
Blowfly pt. 1 & 2
Knights of the New Crusade pt. 1 & 2

There's over 60 of them dating back 3 years, so just surf on over to this page of All of the Alternative Tentacles BAT CASTS!
Sign up for the RSS Feed so you never miss a new episode or subscribe via iTunes!


mailorder highlight - Jad Fair

For the past 30 years, Alternative Tentacles has always been about more than just the bands that we release - Jello has long been a champion of underground music beyond albums with a bat logo on it, as evidenced in his numerous mentions in Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life, to give just one example. To that end, our mailorder stocks numerous other audio materials as well as books, DVDs, and merch that is chosen by AT staff. As a service to you, we try and highlight some specific releases deemed worthy of singling out.
True underground pioneers don't come any weirder than Jad Fair and R. Stevie Moore. When we heard they did an album together, even a few years after the fact, we knew that Alternative Tentacles fans needed to be alerted post-haste.

Their 2002 collaboration entitled FairMoore leans vocally more towards Jad's freeform spiels, but Stevie's rep as a godfather of lo-fi DIY makes its presence felt as well. Check out this Vanity Fair interview with him penned by Scottish visual artist David Shrigley. The Austin-based Fair still does occasional gigs with Half Japanese and continues his amazing series of paper cut art silhouettes.

Another under-represented AT release for Jad was his collaboration with Mick Hobbs (Family Fodder) and Benb Gallaher called Strobe Talbot (2001). Sharing your name with the head of the Brookings Institute (minus one "t") is a sure way to get lost in the world of google searches, but fans of experimental pop would do well to graze here.

Bloggity blog, do come back.

Huzzah! We set up a blog for Alternative Tentacles while we look under the couch cushions for change (and time) to redesign the ol' website. You can now add us to your RSS reader and post comments, two things you weren't able to do on our site. It's not a good looking blog, but to paraphrase Farmer Hoggett from Babe, "That'll do, blog. That'll do." Everyone on staff will contribute here so you can get to know us better and perhaps check out some of our picks from our ever-expanding mailorder. We hope to get our bands to contribute, too!

We will continue to post updates on the Alternative Tentacles site as well as our MySpace and Facebook pages, but this will be the place where you'll find more than just new release, tour, and other strictly-record-labely business. If you have questions or comments about the blog, please contact me at maiko (at) alternativetentacles (dot) com.

Oh, and happy inauguration day! If you haven't read Jello Biafra's open letter to now-President Barack Obama, you can read it here. Aside from the most awkward oath of office in history, this is my favorite thing about the inauguration:

(Photo: LA Times)

You know he HATED looking totally immasculated in that wheelchair at the most watched event in recent history. It's so awesomely Dr. Strangelove.

Thanks for reading, and do come back!


Martin Luther King, Jr & Howard Zinn

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday here in the United States, there are many speeches of our country's secular saint being broadcast. Approaching King from a different perspective is Howard Zinn in this excerpt from Democracy Now 1/20/05, the day of President George W. Bush's 2nd inauguration.

"HOWARD ZINN: It’s interesting that the inauguration should come a few days after the celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday, because here we have Bush being inaugurated as President after the—all of the hypocritical statements made on Martin Luther King’s birthday by our leading politicians, and who talk sort of very rhapsodically about Martin Luther King, but absolutely really taking what he stands for and pushing it aside, because Bush represents everything that Martin Luther King opposed. I mean, King spoke against the Vietnam War. He had a famous speech at Riverside church in 1967. Here we are inaugurated a President who has given us two wars in his first term, and is probably planning more wars. Here is King who stood for non-violence, and here is Bush, who represents the most violent nation in history, and—well, King himself called the United States at that time in Vietnam, you know, the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. What he said in 1967 certainly applies to the United States today. And I think that the spirit of King, the spirit of opposing war, standing for non-violence, is something that animates the people who are demonstrating against Bush today in Washington, and in San Francisco and in New Orleans, and in New York and Boston...

We have the evidence that all over the world, people—people are mourning the ascension of Bush to his second term as President. That it’s hopeful that we have sort of a worldwide movement that is determined not to—to put an end to war and create a different kind of world. I think that’s something to feel encouraged about, even as all of this pomp and circumstance of the inauguration goes on."

Switching to another part that's often glossed over in the mainstream coverage of MLK, click here for an article from Covert Action Quarterly, written by Howard Zinn, about the FBI's harassment & investigation of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Finally, here's a blog post that has an article that- Obama-worshipping aside- examines MLK's radical side through direct quotes.

P.S.- Check out the great AT Howard Zinn cds here!


Hidden Gem #1- FACEPULLER!

Here's one of the many hidden gems in Alternative Tentacles deep deep catalog: Facepuller & their "Unauthorized Volume Dealers" cd from 1996!

From the urban wilds of Vancouver, Facepuller's been knocking people's teeth out with their brand of aural ass-kicking since the early 1990s. Their history & a short interview can be found on this website about a Trooper tribute cd they appear on.

Not only that, but the band put out their own brand of hot sauce in 2002!


Crucifucks' Doc Dart interviewed in Vice

Thanks to Sam McPheeters for this 8,000 word New Yorker-styled piece on Crucifucks singer Doc Corbin Dart which runs in January 2009's Vice Magazine.
For those of us who missed this band the first time around, here's some Youtube footage to capture the lightning.

Welcome to the Alternative Tentacles Blog!

Hey all- This blog is run by the folks at Alternative Tentacles Records, and will cover AT news, weird things, favorite bits, and a little bit more. Plus things t.b.a. Can't get much broader than that, huh?

I'll kick off with a couple of my favorite things that aren't on Alternative Tentacles in the AT Store:

The new Dash Rip Rock cd "Country Girlfriend" released by the band, is a late addition to my favorite records of 2008. A whole lotta twang mixed in with their bar band rock, "Country Girlfriend" isn't as dark & weird as their 2007 AT cd "Hee Haw Hell." It still has the solid songs & clever lyrics that you'd expect from the band, no worries!

Another current fave is Los Fastidios- the long-running Italian anti-fascist oi band. We have a few of their cds, including the greatest hits "16 Anos" and the one to the left, "Siempre Contra." I found them through a youtube video of their tune "Antifa Hooligans" which is all about beating up nazis at soccer games. It makes me want to shave my head, put on a Fred Perry, and learn to like watching soccer... almost. Anyways, these Italian skinheads are vegetarians, queer-friendly, and have their hearts in the right place.

Crap, since I'm here, I'd like to include all of the releases we have from the German label Mad Butcher & its ska sublabel, Black Butcher. There's live Angelic Upstarts, plus full-lengths & eps from The Commandantes (German commie oi), Italian oi veterans Klasse Kriminale, Bolzplatz, Arpioni (Italian ska), Heros & Zeros (Dutch leftist oi), and everyone's favorite UK anarcho-punk poet Attila The Stockbroker.

Like everything in our section of non-AT records & cds, there are limited numbers available since we traded with
Mad Butcher a couple years back for these titles.

- Jesse Luscious