Saturday, June 28, 2008


Spoonfed was essentially an emiLy side project. Here is the "Brief History of Spoonfed" that came in the booklet which accompanied the self-titled tape:

Spoonfed began as an excuse for me to play the songs I had written on guitar instead of trying to teach the guitar parts to Joe C. and using them as emiLy songs. For about two weeks of practice and one show, Spoonfed was a 2 piece, with Joe on drums and me playing guitar. We figured out pretty quickly that Joe wasn't meant to be a drummer, and we recruited Ted K., who was drumming for an amazing band called July at the time. Spoonfed played on and off for a year or so, and became a full time band when Mike from emiLy went to London for a semester and July was no longer a band. Spoonfed ended in May of '95 when Ted graduated and moved out of South Bend. This tape is a collection of all the songs we knew, without the songs that weren't worth remembering.

Three of the songs ("(structural)", "Bulletproof", and "Big Boy") had been recorded in early 1994 at Miami Street Studios with the intention of releasing them as part of a split 7-inch with July. The record never happened, so the songs eventually found a home on this tape. One song ("Theme From a Spoon") was recorded in James K.'s dorm room in November of 1993, during a spontaneous session captured on a hand held tape recorder. James provided background noises using a typewriter, record player, and whatever else happened to be available. The three other songs recorded that night were another version of "Bulletproof", "Moment", and "Fourth", the latter two falling into the category of Not Worth Remembering.

The remainder of the tracks were recorded in April of 1995 at the Green House on Justin M.'s (also of July) four track. The cover art is a picture of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge taken during a harbor cruise. The tape came with a 16 page, quarter size booklet featuring lyrics, recording info, pictures, and background stories for some of the songs. It was the 11th release for Rent To Own Records, the label under which the members of emiLy and their friends put out all of our music (hence the RTO 11 on the cover).

A few notes on the songs: "(structural)" is in parentheses because it's supposed to be an untitled song, but we needed something to call it for sake of reference. It was written for someone who was a double major in Architecture and Structural Engineering. "Takeback" was actually written in high school. "New Town" is a song about hometowns. "Last Words" is so titled because it was the last song by Spoonfed.


see also:
Spoonfed on MySpace

Thursday, June 19, 2008

emiLy - Finer Time 7"

emiLy once self-described as:
"We play music. It sounds kind of like what might result if you threw Jawbreaker, DC stuff, Rites of Spring, American Music Club, and an inept love of jazz in a blender and pureed the mixture into a fine mush. We are three fine young men who own and operate musical instruments and occasionally stir fry. Joe plays guitar and sings, Mike plays bass, and Doug plays drums. Buster plays his face, but he doesn't actually have anything to do with the band, seeing as he is a cartoon."
A fairly apt assessment, or at least as close as one could probably hope to get. Complete with an Animaniacs reference and everything!

Finer Time is the little piece of wax that propelled emiLy into international superstardom, or something like that. It was reviewed quite favorably at the time by HeartattaCk (UPDATE: review included below) and others, which is probably why you'll occasionally find rips of it floating around punkrock message boards.
"Great musicianship and a tight production make this an awe-inspiring record. Like Hoover they took the Fugazi sound and created something new. But unlike Hoover they sound fresh and raw and stir something in me that I can't quite describe. Listening to these 3 songs is better than dancing the one-handed mambo, it's better than garlic-pepper-tofu flavored edible underwear. -MH" from HeartattaCk #2

And now some thoughts from Doug:

"Better than tofu flavored edible underwear" -- that's the phrase that always stuck with me. I have no idea what the hell it has to do with the music, but we got a lot of mail as a result. For a year or so, Joe and I amassed a large pile of records through trades alone. It also led to us being interviewed in a Slovenian zine called Pssst and eventually getting a CD put out in France by a new label called SanJam.

Domestically, the record helped us get shows in Chicago, Galesburg, IL, Columbus, OH, and Tampa, FL. The Galesburg show led to the recording of our second tape, Engineering Means I Like You.

Finer Time was recorded at Miami Street Studio in South Bend. The cover art is by Lael Tyler, who was working as a designer out in Portland, OR last I heard from him. The drawing is of what was his front porch at the time, at 226 St. Peter Street, a house most famous for being the place where Unwound and Crain played. The "e" in the light bulb was also used for the labels on the record itself, and became a logo of sorts for emiLy. The covers were printed by Punks With Presses.

Side 1 has "Cartoon Sex" and "Finer Time", while side 2 features "Frialator." The latter was named after a deep-frying machine which was actually spelled Fry-O-Lator, and for some reason the song later became known as "5(frialator)." I'm pretty sure we also recorded a song called "Fortune 13" in the same session, but it only turned up on a demo that we sent to places in hopes of getting shows.

My parents have a copy of this (and Tinkertoy, our second 7-inch) hanging on the wall in their house, along with family pictures and diplomas.


see also:
emiLy on MySpace
emiLy on

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chisel - Swamp Fox/Spike 7"

What better way to start things off than to go all the way back to 1991... The first official release by the young boys of Chisel sounded, well, not so much anything like the later sound that would garner them more acclaim than pretty much any other band to come out of the Bend at the time. The A-side certainly hinted at things to come, but B-side "Listen" has a darker, more aggressive vibe that would soon fade away in favor of Chisel's trademark mod-pop melodies. Ted Leo once described this song as "solid thrash."

Here's a little background on the early days of Chisel from their Wikipedia page:
Chisel began in 1990 on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, when classmates Ted Leo (guitar/vocals), Chris Infante (bass), and John Dugan (drums) began practicing in the basement of a campus dormitory. Leo had played punk shows with bands such as Animal Crackers in New York's all-ages scene and Dugan had drummed with the Washington, D.C. area punk act Indian Summer from the age of fifteen. The band quickly went from playing a covers set (Wire, Misfits, Buzzcocks, Mission of Burma) to playing original songs written by Leo. Chisel began to perform at various college venues in the Midwest and Northeast, visiting clubs such as D.C. Space in Washington and ABC No Rio in New York City.

In 1991, the band released its first single, Swamp Fox/Spike b/w Listen, on Assembly Records, and followed it up with appearances on compilations released by college radio stations WVFI in Notre Dame, Indiana and WPRB in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1992, Infante graduated from college and was replaced on bass by Chris Norborg, who also provided the backing vocal harmonies that soon became integral to Chisel's sound. It was during this period that the band began to change its style from traditional emo-influenced pop punk that was inspired by contemporaries in Washington, D.C., to more of a mod-influenced band in the vein of the Small Faces and The Jam.
After only having a cassette dub for the longest time, I eventually found this 7" at a used record store in TX for a buck. Enjoy.

Chisel - Swamp Fox/Spike b/w Listen