PUNK | A tape from the band that spawned Vee Dee, Daily Void, and Nobunny
In 1995, three disaffected teenagers living in the suburbs of the North Shore—Justin Champlin, Chris Erickson, and Dan Lang—started a band inspired by the Ramones, the Gories, and Teengenerate. That summer they recorded ten songs in the basement of Erickson’s mother’s house in Deerfield, using a two-track and one microphone, which they’d covered with a cardboard box to muffle the excessive noise. They played out once, at a south-side punk show, and then broke up.
The name of the band was the Fuckin’ Boneshakers, and earlier this month Florida label Certified PR released that 16-year-old basement tape on vinyl as MCMXCV Masterbation Sessions. This might seem like an inexplicable decision, unless you know that the Boneshakers’ three members went on to develop twisted interpretations of garage punk in bands that are or were scene mainstays in Chicago (and in some cases far beyond).
Lang, the bassist, played in the Brides and is still in Vee Dee. Erickson, the guitarist, was in the Functional Blackouts and Daily Void. Champlin, the drummer, has since been a member of bands like the Sneaky Pinks (who covered the Fuckin’ Boneshakers’ delightfully stupid stomper “Kill Kill Kill”) and the Okmoniks, and he’s earned a devoted international fan base as Nobunny.
When I sit down with Erickson and Lang for pizza, beer, and reminiscing at the Boiler Room in Logan Square, ironically enough 90s pop punk is playing in an endless loop. Champlin, who now lives in Oakland, is in town preparing for a Canadian tour, but he gets hung up looking for drums to borrow and doesn’t make it.
“It was great meeting Justin and Chris when I did,” Lang says, “as we started liking the same bands—bands I still listen to—and I was learning a lot.
“But we were pretty bad,” he adds, laughing as he points to Erickson, “especially with this guy playing guitar.”
“Dan used to yell at me about tempo,” Erickson says. “I couldn’t really keep time.”
“If he didn’t write the song, he couldn’t play it,” Lang says.
The Fuckin’ Boneshakers’ recordings, if not exactly “seminal,” are an interesting and entertaining source document—a raw, rollicking 15 and a half minutes of adolescent braying, with song titles like “I Wanna Puke,” “Pussycat Burglers,” and “Hey Girl You Make Me So Sick.” Subtle it ain’t, but you can hear the roots of the musical madness these three would later perpetrate. —Brian Costello
HIP-HOP | Freddie Gibbs cuts an EP in 24 hours
Freddie Gibbs has two highly anticipated projects on deck—a new mix tape, A Cold Day in Hell, which is supposed to drop next month, and his debut album, Baby-Faced Killa, which doesn’t have a release date. But he took time out last week to record a seven-song EP with mix-tape hero Statik Selektah—24 hours, to be exact, beginning June 22. Apparently Statik Selektah gets a kick out of making records in one day at his Brooklyn home studio—he’s done so with occasional Entourage guest star Saigon in 2009 and with Philly beard haver Freeway earlier this year. As with pretty much anything a halfway famous rapper does these days, the session was broadcast live via Ustream and sponsored by a couple of streetwear companies.
The EP, Lord Giveth, Lord Taketh Away, hit iTunes on June 24, a day after the session wrapped. True to form for both Gibbs and Selektah (who’s made beats for NYC hard-asses like Mobb Deep and M.O.P.), the EP sounds like the past ten years of hip-hop—AnCo samples, Auto-Tune, Drake—never happened. The lead single, “Rap Money,” has the Timberlands-and-Carhartt heft of something from the pre-hipster Brooklyn of the late 90s, except that former Dogg Pound member and proud west coaster Daz Dillinger makes an appearance—he probably wouldn’t have been welcome around those parts back then. —Miles Raymer
DANCE | Little White Earbuds launches the label Stolen Kisses
“I always thought putting out records would be something I’d want to do,” says Steve Mizek, proprietor of influential Chicago-based dance-music blog Little White Earbuds. He’ll realize that goal July 19, with the first release on his Stolen Kisses label—a 12-inch by local house producer Hakim Murphy.
During the five years or so he’s spent on LWE, producing criticism, interviews, and podcasts, Mizek has learned a thing or two about running a DIY operation, but it’s the connections he’s made through his blog that have done the most to help him get Stolen Kisses off the ground. His relationship with Murphy began through an interview for the site, for instance, and Mizek has learned a lot through friends who own labels. “The most eye-opening piece of advice I got was, ‘Be ready to fail time and time again.'” Probably his most important connection was with local record distributor Crosstalk International, which offered to lend a hand getting the vinyl manufactured.
Stolen Kisses is off to a strong start with Murphy’s haunting, minimalist house thumper, “Infinite Sensations,” which comes backed with two remixes by LA techno artist Santiago Salazar. “I’ve always really liked his productions,” Mizek says of Murphy. “He’s from Chicago and he makes Chicago house, but it doesn’t sound like what a lot of Chicago house does.” Salazar, Murphy, and Mizek will spin the label’s launch party July 2 at Smart Bar.
Mizek says that going from writing about music to releasing it has been educational. “Being a critic we tend to get the finished product, and we don’t really get to see the gears in motion,” he says. “I get to feel like I’m more a part of the scene than someone who’s just commenting on it.” —Miles Raymer