Throwback 13th (#007) – David Dondero

aaron cometbus add toner punk flyer

“Better leave before it blinks. I think the sky, it’s a sudden open eye”

A lot of musicians have paid their dues. A lot have earned their stripes. Most of them have gone on to achieve some level of notoriety, but there’s one who, after 25+ years grinding it out, is still, grinding it out. Is it for lack of talent or for lack of interest? Me thinks it’s the latter. Sometimes you just don’t win the musical-success lottery and I don’t think David Dondero gives a shit. I do think you should know who the hell he is though.

I’ve been reading a book called Add Toner by Aaron Cometbus. It’s his second collection of assorted Cometbus zines from the 90’s & 2000’s. It’s an enjoyable read but not as good as his original omnibus called Despite Everything. They’re both great, but what can I say, I like rating stuff. There is a really cool section in Add Toner though, about the time Aaron spent living in Asheville North Carolina. While residing there he helped cultivate a little punk scene by running an all ages venue called Oh My! and by designing show flyers. A lot of the flyers are featured in Add Toner and I was so incredibly thrilled to see the one pictured above.

In the early 90’s David Dondero lead a punk band called Sunbrain out of Clemson South Carolina. Their first album, Perfection Lies, has been cited by Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes as one of his foremost musical influences. Infact, I think it’s fair to say, Dondero invented the vocal style that Oberst has had so much success with. Conor and David actually collaborated later in life on a Deseparecidos song and one of David’s solo songs. You can hardly tell their voices apart. Perfection Lies is truly a masterpiece of an album, and Sunbrain probably should have been in the same conversation as a band like Jawbreaker, or maybe an entirely separate conversation of their own. They were innovators of a sound that was never fully explored. And so the grind continued.

After Sunbrain, Dondero probably did some other stuff, but I’m not a fuckin’ biographer so I can’t speak to that. He eventually ended up drumming for the infamous Florida folk-punkers, This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb. The band (unintentionally) responsible for 2 bomb scares. I think he did vocals for them too cuz I’ve heard songs that sound exactly like him.

After Pipe Bomb the real grind began. David embarked on an arduous solo career that continues to this day. The weird thing about this show flyer though, is that both David Dondero and This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb are listed on the bill. I’m wondering if David played drums in the band and did a solo set by himself, or if this was after he quit Pipe Bomb. Maybe this is the show where they met and he joined Pipe Bomb that night! Unlikely, but that would be cool. If anyone knows, please write to me.

In 2018 Dondero is still barely scraping by as a musician. NPR named him one of the greatest living songwriters, yet he continues to grind, usually as an opening act for semi-successful bands. His solo career has lasted nearly two decades. The solo albums are the ones I’ve made the deepest connection with. If you’re not familiar with them, please familiarize yourself with them immediately. Like right now. Well finish the last paragraph first and then do it you animal.

I have this thing where if I don’t get 8 hours of sleep I’m completely useless. I also have this thing where I go to a job every morning to pay my bills, so I did not see David Dondero when he was here to open for Pedro The Lion on a Tuesday night in May. I know, it’s terrible right? I feel deep distress every time I think about it. He really is one of my heroes, but I guess I’ve got to pay my rent or whatever. If you see David Dondero, if you know him, if you bump into him, shake his hand for me and tell him sorry, and tell him thanks.

(Do you guys think my blog is going to get flagged for using the words ‘pipe bomb’ so much? If you found my blog because you are a terrorist, please go away and stop doing terrorist stuff).

Doesn’t English (#011) – Rey De La Calle

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I’m trying to make my Doesn’t English posts as varied as possible, but I just keep finding kick ass Spanish-speaking punk bands. Gees! Anyway, let me ask you this: When you’re down and out in Acapulco (home of Rose Marie and drunk bros on spring break) and all you have is your skateboard, what do you do? You start smashing bros with your skateboard! Wait no, you shouldn’t do that. Start a pop punk band instead like, Rey De La Calle (King Of The Street). Then use said band to make super fun music about what a bummer life is for a skater-punk in a tourist town. Actually I think most of this EP is about lost love, but whatever, there’s some stuff about skateboarding in there somewhere. Who cares? You probably don’t even understand Spanish. Oh, you do? Well pardon me.

Top 5 Albums/EP’s That DONT Suck [JANUARY 2018]

postrich bear every love story is a ghost story salem oregon basement lofi folk rare music 2018Postrich Bear – Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story
[Buy it on Amazon!]
I never get tired of sad songs. This is my favourite album of 2018 so far. I don’t even know if you can call it an album though. It’s more than that. This deserves so much praise, I’m not sure I can do it justice. What stands out the most is how much care went into this thing. It’s so rich with realness. It’s the most organic thing when the right people come together at the right time in their lives and they get lost on this musical voyage together. It’s beautiful. There’s a song on here where the guy says “I wish I could cry”. Jeezis Christ I wish I could STOP crying over here from this goddamn album. I’m an emotional wreck guys. Ok fine, I’m not crying. I’m at work right now. That would be unprofessional, but if I listen to this in my car alone, or at home with my headphones on, look out! Funny how I talk about being professional and then I write music reviews like this.   Listen on Bandcamp

kat suicide friends el paso indie punk 2018Kat Suicide – Friends [Buy it on Amazon!]
Full disclosure, there is no Suicide Girl named Kat Suicide and she is not in this band. I know, it’s disappointing, but don’t worry, it’s still a spectacular band, and who’s to say they don’t look good naked? This is probably starting to sound pretty weird. Especially if you’re not familiar with Suicide Girls. Hey, what do you want from me? Gees. Here’s the thing about Kat Suicide (the band). They’re kind of doing that thing where you make music that’s original. They’re an innovative band. This feels good, it’s a bit familiar like a baby blanket, but let’s say this baby blanket is made of living guinea pigs. You see what I’m saying? There’s something different and a bit wiggly going on here. Someone should take this blog away from me.   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

the afterburners receiving transmission virginia indie punk 2018The Afterburners – Receiving Transmission
You’re probably aware by now that this blog is where you’ll find the best bad music on the internet. This album is, in all fairness, pretty fucking bad, but it’s also really really good. If that doesn’t make sense to you then you’re in the wrong place pal. Hit the bricks. It seems like the band is secondary to the overall message here. The overall message being that everything is an alien conspiracy. Yes that seems to be the theme they’ve settled on. The music is simply a carrier for the message and there’s nothing more punk rock than that. I could listen to this for hours on end, I swear to you.   Listen on Bandcamp

closer all this will be new york post hardcore 2018 NYCloser – All This Will Be [Buy it on Amazon!]
Wow is this going to be a good year for Hardcore? I don’t know but this is a good sign. For all intents and purposes, last year should have been a good year for Hardcore. Maybe they were just getting warmed up. Anyway this record gouges. Dark, heavy, mean, moody. It’s a swamp creature reciting poetry. Get out of it’s way or be dragged into the murk. Or maybe that’s what you want. No, on second thought just run! RUNN! NOOO! Murder! blood! gore! stab stab stab! eww yuck. Not your run of the mill hardcore.   Listen on Bandcamp or Spotify

cigybrats broken hearted summer punx indonesia pop punk 2018Cigybrats – Broken Hearted Summer Punx [Buy it on Amazon!]
Easily the catchiest punk band in Indonesia. More specifically, from Central Java, where apparently there are no girls, just dudes. I’m basing this off their Instagram page. Nothing but dudes. Lots of dudes and not a single girl. Not sure what’s going on with that. I digress. The first song is not English and the rest are. Does that mean you’ll be able to understand the lyrics? Absolutely not. It doesn’t matter, you’re still going to sing along. I wasn’t kidding about the catchiness. These songs are fun.. You’ve been warned. If you’re in Indonesia and you’re reading this, and you’re a girl, please start a punk band.   Listen on Bandcamp