Top 5 of 2011: Matt Lebens

Matt Lebens of Radio is DownMatt Lebens runs the record label Radio is Down from Olympia, WA. He’s a drummer, his most recent project being WISDOM TEEF. Matt has a long history of booking shows, playing in bands, and putting out more international music than most American underground record labels. He also is an awesome repeat guest on our weekly radio show.

… a super sincere and hardworking guy. I dig Matt. We connect over a bit of Touch and Go meets Dischord sound, which is the type bands of that his labels been putting out for years …

1.  MY DISCOLittle Joy  (Temporary Residence)
Minimalist post-punk straight outta Melbourne.  The brothers Andrews handle the guitars and a dude named Rohan bounces behind the kit.  Some would say this is methodical to the point of monotony.  I’d emphatically argue otherwise.

2.  RETOXUgly Animals  (Three One G / Ipecac)
Justin Pearson just shreds his vocals here.  There’s a special pedigree that involves members of THE LOCUST, SOME GIRLS, HOLY MOLAR, and FESTIVAL OF DEAD DEER. I’ve loved all of them.  Retox is no exception.  Highly recommended for anybody who enjoys a solid grip below the belt line.

3.  YOUNG WIDOWSIn And Out Of Youth And Lightness  (Temporary Residence)
This is a great follow up to Old Wounds.  There was a shift between Settle Down City and Old Wounds that was, in turn, placed under a microscope for further inspection here.  The pace is gradual yet the overall weight remains the same.  Yep, Louisville’s still got it.  This is proof.

4.  Bill Badgely
Fellow Yakima native Bill Badgely was busy in 2011.  I’ve got to give a major shout-out for his having made good on his promise to make a film about one of the heaviest bands of all time, KARP.  The process didn’t flow easily as Bill knew virtually nothing about filmmaking prior to the start of production.  I’ve got to admire his tenacity.  2011 also saw a brief reunion of Bill’s sweat-drenched band, FEDERATION X.  The Hatchet Man and Charlie Jackie Freedom Pride still rule.

5.  BITCH MAGNETs/t LP  (Temporary Residence)
This is a worthy reissue of a collection of songs by a completely influential band that had nearly been forgotten.  These guys inspired the likes of RODAN, CRAIN, JUNE OF ’44, SLINT, etc.  As a plus, drummer Orestes Morfin unknowingly passed his technical chops along to me as I spent a substantial part of my youth learning from his every move. Includes all songs from Star Booty, Umber, and Ben Hur as well as some alternate takes scattered throughout.  The Bitch is back.


got an update about one of these bands?

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