Friday, August 10, 2012

Stoner Bitch

Named after a cannibalistic witch in Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga was a mostly-female doomcrust outfit hailing from Seattle during the late ‘90s. Perhaps you are more familiar with Grey, the band that they eventually morphed into. As far as I know, Baba Yaga didn’t leave their hometown much (if at all), so they are something of a footnote in Seattle’s heavy music scene. I imagine that those who attended their shows probably remember them fondly, though. From what I recall, touring bands that made it up to the Pacific Northwest cited Baba Yaga as one of the best they played with. Naturally, recommendations to book them at Gilman Street were high, but that never happened thanks to a certain someone maintaining a stranglehold on their contact information. Apparently, he wanted to be the guy who “discovered” Baba Yaga and introduced them to the Bay Area—yet he continually dropped the ball and made excuses as to why they supposedly canceled yet again. Of course, he was not willing to share their info with anyone who was better equipped to make things happen. It is too bad he was not willing to put his ego aside, because Baba Yaga probably would have done well for themselves on a show with bands like Dystopia or Noothgrush. 

The only known Baba Yaga recording issued to the public was this two-song demo, meaning that it takes longer to read this post than it does to listen to the tape. For me, these songs grow on me the more I listen to them. Jenny Hill’s violin replaces the lead guitar, which sounds a helluva lot more interesting than another longhair wanker trying to be a guitar hero does. “Stoner Bitch” is similar to a band like Damad in its approach, while “Taker of Souls” brings forth the doom and destruction like 13 or Cattlepress. As the listener, you are left yearning for more once it ends. Since you do not get what you want, you simply restart the tape and listen to it again. Thanks to modern technology, you can just hit the “repeat” button instead. 

Although other blogs have posted Baba Yaga’s demo before, it is our humble opinion that our rip is better than others you may have heard. We do what we can, anyway. You can at least expect perfect MP3 quality at a bit rate of 320 kbps. We tried to correct the odd volume inconsistencies between the two songs (was this perhaps intentional?), although one still has much more bottom end than the other does. We just thought you would like to know that, but what matters more is that Baba Yaga is your new favorite band to get massively stoned to. Start your next session here. Thanks again to Evil Eye reader Matt Parrillo for supplying the original cassette.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Young Murder

If you attended filthy hardcore shows at Gilman Street during 1996, you may remember Redscare maintaining the opening slot on those gigs much of the time. You probably remember them more for their vocalist Cera’s obnoxious red leather pants (prompting the nickname “Redpants”) than for their music, but that’s why we’re here today. Redscare hailed from the bullshit whitebread burgh of Walnut Creek, but peeked over the hills towards Gilman Street and Oakland’s heavy punk/crust scene for inspiration. People who knew them on a more personal level would probably say that they looked around the dinner table instead. If I am correct, Cera’s older brother was Multi-Facet’s drummer Dan, while the brother/sister tandem of Elizabeth and Greg Schneider were the younger siblings of Bill from Monsula and Pinhead Gunpowder. Doesn’t that just warm your little heart? Unfortunately, it also fueled criticism of the band and perceptions of nepotism in Gilman booking habits by some that were envious of Redscare’s ability to get good shows regularly. Redscare was a fine band regardless of who they were related to. As if you could expect them to turn down shows with bands they enjoyed.

I believe this is the second of two Redscare demos recorded in 1996. Listening to it all these years later, they actually come off as more musically progressive than the Oakland crust bands they usually played with. At times, it is like a hybrid of that Oakland sound with some of the heavier emo bands that predated the whole “emo/screamo” thing by a few years. Redscare continued in this direction, eventually coming into their own with results that made their previous detractors begin to take them more seriously. Too bad they broke up without documenting their best material. The last show I saw them play at Gilman in November of 1998 was fantastic. Cera was out of the band by that point, leaving Elizabeth as the primary vocalist. The musical intensity they displayed that evening had to have been at least partially fueled by wanting to prove that there was more to this band besides older brothers and red leather pants. Redscare broke up shortly afterward.

Redscare may not have been a definitive band in the East Bay punk scene, but they are one that I remember in a nicer way than others at that time. I think more than enough time has passed to where the scene politics no longer matter (as if they ever did in the first place) and Redscare can be appreciated for the decent band that they were.

Click here for your bleeding innocence.