Every now and again, I like to catch up with Josh Jubinsky and his literal garage distribution business Dead Tank (deadtankrecords.bandcamp.com and deadtankrecords.com). Since I’ve known the guy, even before I met him when he was in his late teens, he’s been a champion of local and regional underground music. Before the days of Internet and parenthood, he’d schlep boxes of vinyl albums and CDs to area shows, selling them, along with fanzines and other merch, to hungry punks.
Now the father of two and fulltime buttoned-down librarian (don’t judge: he still wears his AshholeParade shirts in his off time), he does most of his distro online. He’s still hands-on, though, stuffing envelopes and mailing them from a spot cozily tucked next to his Riverside backyard woodworking shop. Possibly the coolest thing about Dead Tank: All the releases listed at that Bandcamp site are downloadable for free or for a suggested donation. How’s that for a huge “Boy Howdy and fuck you, too!” to the capitalistic juggernaut?
Though this guy obviously deserves a weekly spot in this and other publications, for now these random updates will have to do. Here are a few killer selections from his most recent batch.
Fans of Magnetic Fields’ spacier stuff will dig this album. Synthed-up and reverbed-out, the songs on could easily reside next to the better material released in the late ’80s, yet there’s something a little more musical going on here. Most impressive is the slow-developing tune “The 3 Line.” Very cool in a progressive wave kinda way. Says Jubinsky: “[Their cassette release] ‘002’ has sold out, which is sort of a nice thing, seeing how this person has never played a live show before.” (This is a co-release with indie label Popnihil.)
Asid Bateri Demo
Like low budget punk? Love Asid Bateri. Low-fi production takes this one back to my early immersion in the ’80s punk scene, when long-hairs and skins would show up for the same shows (Black Flag, Agnostic Front, DRI) and beat the living shit out of each other. Who the hell knows why, but the music and the atmosphere were amazing. Dangerous, blood-soaked, smelly and sweaty, but amazing. Track two of this five-songer, “Breathless,” is one of those amazing pieces, total aggro-violent, arm-swinging skankability in a compact package. It’s like a Snack Pack of punk. Says Jubinsky: “This is local, with James and Quinn from Captive Bolt. They have an upcoming split 7-inch with the band Class from Italy.”
Holy Christ. The album will tear your face off, eat your soul and destroy your life. Cloudrat is notorious for ramming black metal and punk into a very small space and beating them with a clawhammer into a single pulpy mess. continues this noble pursuit. Try to make it through cut one, “Seken,” without burning down the neighborhood church. Indulge for a moment in “Daisies” or “Bloated Goat” without stabbing the ice cream man right there in his truck. This is sheer, beautiful, uncompromising brutality. Says Jubinsky: “Seriously, John, Cloudrat! Three people: guitar. drums. vocals.”
Also on tap for Dead Tank in the days ahead: “Another split release with Popnihil featuring ARS Phoenix and Burnt Hair on cassette,” says Jubinsky. “And a series of 7-inch singles I hope will reflect the diversity and innovation of — largely — hardcore punk. All current stuff from active bands.”