Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Aenone / Nyack – Nyack N.Y. (1988 – 1996)

The proximity from Rockland to NYC has always been equal parts a blessing and a disaster to Rockland bands. While affording influence and opportunity in copious amounts, the insular nature of “ the media capital of the world” can also be a death sentence for a band trying to distinguish itself from the thousands of other bands that clog the streets of NYC. It takes a very talented and unique band to break through that snobby and jaded ceiling that exists in the NYC music scene, and to rise above the din….to where they stand on their own, and become something beyond the norm! Let me welcome to the blog a band from Rockland that managed to do just that….say hello to Aenone / Nyack.

Aenone started in 1988 in Nyack NY as the brainchild of Kreg Sterns and Kim Collister while they were still in high school. Feeding on their love of all things Brit….they set off to create a band that defied the conventional Rockland norm. After buying a keyboard, a Mac and a sequencer they started creating demos at home. Aenone embraced the Shoegazer movement with what appears to have been every fiber of their collective being. Glistening chords, flange, fuzz, and Kreg Sterns generally hushed vocals dominated their recordings. Soon….Aenone became a four piece by adding Bill Stair (Hugo Largo) and Steve Crowley (Antietam) answered and soon they booked their first gig at the Underworld in NYC.

As fate would have it, members of the local band Lotion were there and fell in love with the bands swirlie style of music and melody and passed their demos onto Shimmydisc/Kokpop (Kramer's label). They recorded a 4 track EP called - Saints and Razors, released on Kokopop Records at Kramer's Noise NJ studios under his production. Jack Rabid of The Big Takeover said of this EP: "With its pleasant ambiance, Pale Saints-like waterfall melodies, and washed-out guitar with pretty lead touches, Saints and Razors is one hell of an impressive little EP."

A bunch of gigs later including supporting Medicine, Velocity Girl and playing CBGB's over a dozen times, they caught the ear of an American A&R rep for the newly formed Echo Records UK by having had their demo passed onto him by their lawyer. They showcased at CBGBs, and within a month found themselves recording in London with Alan Moulder and being asked to change their name (eventually to NYACK). Their first release was the 1994 Savage Smile EP which included an inspired orchestral version of Saints & Razors. Just prior to the release of their second EP I'm Your Star in March 1995 they landed the prestigious support of Sleeper's tour to coincide with the single. Shortly after this…Nyack released their debut album 11 Track Player.

The album, while brimming with the same textural and hooky pop that was familiar to fans of Aenone was sadly released to little commercial success. The last release Nyack featured on was The Echo Label compilation Drink Me for which they recorded a version of Heart's Barracuda. After that the Nyack name was to be no more as Echo found Nyack to be too expensive and the band took a break from playing. The group resurfaced in 1997 as Fork and released an album Alien Fairies. Kreg Sterns and Kim Collisters current project is The Nuevos (formed in 2003) and they released their debut album On The Brink Of Overnight Obscurity in Jan 2008 available as a free download and deluxe CD.

All said and done Aenone / Nyack were an incredibly talented, innovative and supportive band. (Full disclosure time)…my old band Dahlia Seed were given quite an early boost from Kim and Kreg in our formative years, and I will forever be grateful for their kindness and support when others simply looked the other way.

The Rockland music scene always has it’s up’s and down’s…..bands that always jump on a trend, and ride it to it’s end, but in the case of a band like Aenone / Nyack……they were the” sideways” of the scene, the ones who didn’t jump a trend…who played passionately, and used influence as a building block, not as a template. The ones who created a sound that NO ONE else was doing at the time, and in the case of Rockland County, I would guess probably still aren’t! Kim and Kreg are still making great music to this day in their new project The Nuevos…..and the world is a better place for it!

Chris Skelly

Saints & Razors
Savage Smile
Saints & Razars (alternate take)

GIBSON GIRLS – West Nyack & Pearl River – (1988 to 1990)


The first wave of Rockland County punk and hardcore came to a crashing end sometime around 1985. Did anyone notice? Did anyone care?

The bands that we’re so formative in making this tiny and obscure scene so vital and interesting to so few people we’re moving on….ingesting more diverse musical styles, and leaving the confines of Rockland for broader horizons. Some disappeared….some redefined, and others reinvented. Out of that initial haze of the THUD….came the wonderful Gibson Girls!

The Gibson Girls was the brainchild of Tim Broun (formerly of Chappaquiddick + 5 on guitar and vocals), and were for all intents and purposes that natural progression of energy and direction after the demise of the quirky punk of Chappaquiddick + 5. Punk energy mixed with melodic sensibilities…good fucking songs played by a good fucking band! The band was rounded out by Mike Oswald (formerly of Borscht) on guitar, Mike Krashes (formerly of Chappaquiddick + 5) on drums, and Mike Anselmi (formerly of Pearl River band MED) on bass. The Gibson Girls were a mainstay on the NYC indie circuit of the late 80’s & early 90’s, playing to much acclaim and success. While the Gibson Girls did play their fair share of shows in Rockland County during their existence, I think it would be fair to say that they were a primarily a NYC band as their fanbase seemed to enlist a more Lower East Side of NYC clientele through their sound and most certainly through Tim Broun’s connections in the downtown music industry. We loved them though…and still consider them one of the better bands to ever come out of the Rockland scene! The Gibson Girls…like so many other Rockland bands deserved a far bigger following, and much more acclaim than (in my humble opinion) they ever received. We are here because we have chosen to remember…..and we remember the Gibson Girls……now you should too!

Chris Skelly
Jan 23, 2012

Gibson Girls - Let's Get A Rumour Out (Demo Tape 1989)

The Crawl
I Walk Down
Little Miss Schizo
Waiting For Something
(I Really) Dig You
Cheshire Smile
Measure of My Dreams

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Naked Statue – Nyack N.Y. – (1988 to 1991)

While Rockland County in the late 80’s and early 90’s was clearly overrun with hordes of angry, young punk and metal bands, all trying to out “aggro” each other, there was another scene going on…..one that was built on many of the same “aggro” roots, but that had clearly embraced a different aesthetic altogether. An aesthetic that was a bit more refined, and “artsy”….and was clearly paralleling the emerging “college rock” or “indie” sound that was fast becoming quite popular. While not a huge scene in Rockland….it did have it’s following that revolved around two central venues…Blondies in Nyack and Mr Rip’s in Valley Cottage. The band that best exemplified this nascent scene, and sound was the wonderful, and engaging Naked Statue.

Naked Statue was Ben Voss ( Guitar / Vocals ), Seth Delia (Bass ) and Jeff Spindel (Drums). Naked Statue had a sound that was very unique at the time of their existence……part Replacements, part Husker Du, part Neil Young, part Gram Parsons…all these parts would later be identified with the Alt Country scene in the 1990’s, but in late 80’s Rockland County….this was quite unique! Ben Voss’s melancholy lyrics and vocals added an air of intense beauty and sincerity to Naked Statue’s open chord charge of volume, and his shy on-stage delivery hid an actual biting wit and charm that few Rockland performers had, or had the balls to embrace. He could most surely be described as Rockland’s answer to J.Mascis. Naked Statue’s talent and originality was starting to blossom by 1989 and they quickly became noticed, and championed by Jack Rabid of the legendary fanzine “The Big Takeover” ,and under his tutelage….Naked Statue broke out of Rockland and started playing legendary NYC venues like CBGB’s w/ Jack’s band Springhouse.

I can safely say that there we’re a large amount of us in Rockland at the time Naked Statue was functional that were sure that this very unique and talented band was going to be THE band that made Rockland proud, and went on to success and acclaim outside of our little podunk local scene. We we’re fans….and we we’re proud!

Naked Statue unfortunately came to an end sometime in the early 90’s , and each member moved on to other projects both musical and personal (Seth Delia played with a band called DOSE that had an early 90’s release on Caroline Records, and Jeff Spindel became a very sought after session musician around Rockland). Ben Voss continued making music with a burgeoning solo career, and some of his post Naked Statue solo work is quite simply the most beautiful, striking and realized work he ever did! Sadly….Rockland County lost one of it’s most talented and promising musicians in 1999. Ben Voss lost his very brave battle with Leukemia, and most certainly left a huge void in the sound and hearts of all the Rockland bands, musicians and friends who knew him and his music.

Please enjoy these Naked Statue tracks from their 1989 demo tape….as much as we all did!

Chris Skelly – January 9th, 2012.


Running Away
Talking To Myself
New Rose (Damned cover)

Friday, November 11, 2011

DRILL – Pearl River, N.Y. - (1990)

As is the case on the S3 blog….we will always make the greatest efforts to chronicle the unknown as well as the known…Art should always have it’s moment in the sun….however brief it may be. I introduce the barely known, yet certainly memorable band DRILL.

DRILL was a short-lived band that existed in a void… where the musicians involved with the band were all in between projects at the time, and simply were making music out of the sheer need to make music. Necessity is the mother of invention…or in the case of DRILL….the motherfucker of invention.

DRILL was a good band, doing different things musically than many of their other peers, yet the unique aspect of the band was singer Anthony Maddaloni, and his delivery. Part Tom Waits, Part Charles Bukowski, Part Mark E Smith…..his lyrics were delivered semi deadpan, yet with an irony, and snarkiness that cut like a rusty razor. The plays on words he used were like a punch to the back of the head, and often it took quite a while to feel the effect of his verbal eviscerations.

DRILL was rounded out by guitarist Chris Skelly (Selective Outrage & Dahlia Seed), Steve Ellwanger (Agonyflower) on bass, and Tim Roche (Permanent Damnage) on drums.

DRILL played one show proper in 1990 to a rather puzzled audience, who had a tough time wrapping their minds around the minimalistic post punk metal spoken word jamboree they were watching. Yet some years on….DRILL has a freshness about their sound that still is hard to classify. Let’s leave DRILL in the “what could have been” category for now, and simply revel in the only recorded output they have….a random practice tape from 1990. The unknown is now known! Enjoy!

Chris Skelly

Bad Actress ( Won't You Be My)
Past On Fire
Premature Obituary
Non Stop Beaver Action

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mariner Four (M4) – Rockland County, N.Y. -2002 to 2004

Mariner Four (M4) – Rockland County, N.Y. -2002 to 2004

Cross pollination breeds unique strains of species……..the same holds true for the unique strains of music that exist in this world, and Rockland County is certainly no stranger to the spawn of the cross pollination experiment. Many Rockland bands….while coming from, and working in particular restrictive scenes have dabbled in adding disparate sounds and textures to many a steadfast genre…..with some good / some bad results, but a hearty “HELL YEAH” is deservedly given to them for even attempting to break out of the self-inflicted mold of genre. Please welcome to the blog…..Mariner Four.

Mariner Four was birthed out of an ill-fated attempt in the late 1990’s between guitarist Chris Skelly ( ex-Selective Outrage & Dahlia Seed), and keyboardist Carrie Ingber to try and work together. Upon Carrie Ingber’s return from Boston to Rockland….the two reconnected, and determined to work together…set upon trying to merge their respective backgrounds of angsty, angular post hardcore guitar, and ethereal synth driven goth / darkwave into something workable and viable.

Songwriting began in the autumn of 2002, and shortly after this, the band took formation with the addition of Kevin Powers (ex-Mucky Pup) on drums, and Kristin Fayne Mulroy on bass. As the lineup and songwriting solidified, singer Leah Jiorle joined…and the first-line up was born.

Shortly after this point…..in order to fill out the “thick” sound that was evolving, guitarist Christian Mesiano (ex – The Wonderland Ave Gang) was brought in to add to the ethereal, and soundscapish wash that the band was developing. The Mariner Four sound could best be described as punk guitar driven “shoe gazer” w/ a healthy dose of early New Order and The Cure thrown in for good measure. With the female vocals added to this mix…..one audience members remark that it sounded like “Quicksand and the singer from The Cranberries , forming a band to do Cocteau Twins covers”….seemed applicable. Within months of this lineup coming together…..Mariner Four were playing shows.

In the short amount of time they were together, Mariner Four played approximately 10 shows in and around the NYC area, recorded a demo with Alap Momin (DJ Oktopus of Dalek fame), and actually even managed to film a video for the song “Lie Down”.

Towards the end of Mariner Four, singer Leah Jiorle left for other projects to be replaced by Melodie Mesiano on vocals, and Kristen Fayne Mulroy left to be replaced by Gene Abramov (ex- Sacrifice Issac). This lineup soldiered on for a few months but ultimately Mariner Four’s time was up, and the band came to an end in the summer of 2004.

Please enjoy these tracks by Mariner Four.

Kinetic, Part 1
Lie Down
Tear Out My Heart

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dahlia Seed - ( 1992 - 1996 )

Dahlia Seed - ( 1992 - 1996 )

I remember when Dahlia Seed was active in the early to mid 90's there was a lot of confusion about where they hailed from. Most people thought Dahlia Seed were from New Jersey and some even thought Long Island, but the truth is Dahlia Seed formed right here in Rockland County, New York.

It was actually early 1992 that Chris Skelly previously of Selective Outrage and Darin Galgano previously of At All Cost got together and started jamming with Rosie O'Shea on bass guitar. This very early incarnation of Dahlia Seed actually went as far as to recorded a 4 track demo in early 1992 which included a song titled "Bending" that would later appear on Dahlia Seed's debut 10" vinyl release on Jagerlegs Records in 1993.

1992 was a fairly tumultuous time for Dahlia Seed, but busy and productive none the less with BJ Allen replacing Rosie on bass who left the band to pursue a solo career, and Tracy Wilson joining to take over vocal duties and second guitar duties. BJ's time with Dahlia Seed was sort lived however, as he was replaced by Brian Getkin on bass which solidified the core of Dahlia Seed that would remain intact right up until the very last note of their final sold out show at Maxwells in Hoboken NJ .

After a handful of live shows with Tracy on guitar a decision was made to move Tracy to full time vocal duty and to bring in a permanent 2nd guitarist . This 2nd guitar spot was filled by long time friend Jon Procopio. With this solidified line up Dahlia Seed really came into their own pulverizing audiences in basements, bars, and VFW Halls across the eastern United States. Also, it was during these early shows that Tracy Wilson began to come into her own and became one of the most intense and powerful front women in Emo/Punk history in my honest opinion. This Dahlia Seed line up also proved to be the most prolific line up in the bands career releasing four 7" vinyl records, a 10" record, and recording a full length LP/CD entitled "Valentine Kids Liter" which would be released in early 1995 on Theologian Records.

1994/1995 saw the departure of Jon Procopio which opened up the door for Mike O'Keefe to step in and fill the 2nd guitar spot. Jon's departure was a bit of a crushing blow to the band, however Mike filled in admirably on second guitar, though he never really did mesh with the other band members, and eventually left the band on bad terms in the middle of their Canadian tour in 1995 to be replaced by Kevin Mc Manus. Though having Mike in the band was never a comfortable fit Dahlia Seed did create and record there best material to date with Mike on second guitar between 1995 and 1996, culminating with the release of their essential 1996 album "Survived By".

In my honest opinion 1996 was "THE" year for Dahlia Seed. With Kevin now on second guitar Dahlia Seed was a dangerous well oiled live band full of anger and emotion like few bands on the scene at that time. The summer of 96 saw Dahlia Seed take to the road with a 5 week tour across the United States and back laying waste in their path, however this tour that the band had worked so hard to complete is ultimately where things started to fall apart.

After returning from tour the band played a few shows in the NY/NJ area but the wind was out of their sails at this point. After 4 years of turmoil, record deals gone bad and poor label support the band was getting tired and I think they felt they had done all they could do as a band so a decision was made to put an end to the Dahlia Seed story, which they did with one final soldout show at Maxwells in Hoboken NJ in August of 1996.

After the demise of Dahlia Seed the main players Chris , Brian, Darin and Tracy continued to write and record music together as the 17th. The 17th never played any shows but did manage to record 2 demo tapes in 1998. These demo's featuring Gary Gannon on second guitar are available for download on the Dahlia Seed website along with the complete recorded discography of Dahlia Seed, including rarities and demo recordings as well. Also in 1998 Spirit of Orr Records released a posthumous Dahlia Seed compilation cd named "Please Excuse All The Blood" this compilation features the last 3 original songs Dahlia Seed recorded with Kevin on guitar and a bunch of live and rare songs as well...Dave G.

Dahlia Seed website
where you get much more information about the band and also download pretty much every song they ever recorded.

Dahlia Seed FaceBook

Dahlia Seed Wikipedia

Dahlia Seed Official discography:

Dahlia Seed - Split 10" w/ Broken Mouth (w/Tracy Wilson) ... Jagerlegs Records 1993

Dahlia Seed - 4 Band Split Dbl 7" w/ Lava Diva, Pee & Twist ... Vinyl Communications 1993

Dahlia Seed/Greyhouse Split 7" ... Troubleman Unlimited 1993

Dahlia Seed - Teas! 7" ... Theologian Records 1994

Dahlia Seed - Garden Variety Split 7" ... Mint Tone Records 1994

Dahlia Seed - Valentine Kid's Litter - Full Length ... Theologian Records 1995

Dahlia Seed - Mothman Split Tour 7" 300 Pressed Red Vinyl ... Troubleman Unlimited 1995

Dahlia Seed - Survived By - Full Length ... Troubleman Unlimited 1995

Dahlia Seed - Tour 7" 500 Pressed clear vinyl - Cover of Voivods "Missing Sequences" ... Troubleman Unlimited 1996

Dahlia Seed 4 Band Split 7" w/ Team Dresch, F-80, & Shove ... Marigold Records 1996

Dahlia Seed - Cradle Split 7" Rare UK Release Limited 1000 ... Snowblind Records 1996

Dahlia Seed - Please Excuse All the Blood - Full Length Compilation ... Spirit of Orr 1998

Dahlia Seed was:
Tracy Wilson: Vocals
Chris Skelly: Lead Guitar
Brian Getkin: Bass
Darin Galgano: Drums
Jon Procopio: 2nd Guitar(92-94)
Mike O'Keefe: 2nd Guitar (94-95)
Kevin McManus: 2nd Guitar (95-96)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Agonyflower - ( 1988 to 1990 )

AGONYFLOWER – Rockland County (1988 to 1990)

Rockland County has always had a vibrant and evolving hardcore punk scene, with bands starting out traditionally angry, fast, loud, and basically rudimentary and then branching out in many diverse directions….sometimes ending up quite a distance from the original 1,2,3,4,…..bash, bash, bash, that they began with…. Agonyflower was this band!

Agonyflower was formed in the spring of 1988 by Danny Derella ( ex-guitarist of the legendary New York hardcore band Underdog), and Chris Skelly (ex-vocalist of Selective Outrage). Both had grow disillusioned with the restrictive paradigms of late 80’s hardcore, and we’re keen to explore their mutual loves of the more 70’s rock oriented sludge of Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath….and the newer (yet still unknown at the time) bands coming out of Seattle like Mudhoney and Soundgarden. Pair this with some mild Dub influences and the free form punk experimentalization of bands like Sonic Youth and Agonyflower became an open canvas for the “anything goes” sort of song writing that followed.

Agonyflower was quickly rounded out by Steve Ellwanger from Park Ridge N.J on bass, and Dan Pettit from Putnam County N.Y. on drums. This lineup was hyper talented and creative, and worked for about 6 months on perfecting a quite dizzying selection of off kilter rockers that were quite unlike anything going on in Rockland at that point. Shortly after this…Chris Skelly left the band to pursue other projects, and Agonyflower became the 3 piece they are better known as to this day with Dan Derella taking over on vocals.

This lineup of Agonyflower was tremendously prolific, and continued on in the direction of the earlier songs…..retaining a healthy and powerful mix of influences that quite simply…no one else was mining back in those days, and in the process…recording a simple but amazing demo tape that as of this day is still lauded for it’s originality and talent.

As is the case with so many promising bands….Agonyflower simply ground to a halt in 1990. Whether it was public indifference, or simply the project had just run it’s course and the members were on to bigger and better things, it is safe to say that for 2 years…Agonyflower made the most important and vibrant music in Rockland County at that time, and for the handfuls of people who saw their live shows, or are still in possession of their remarkable demo tape….the memories and praise are bountiful and worthy! Long Live Agonyflower!

Chris Skelly.

Agonyflower - Demo Tape

Song #1
Song #2
Song #3
Song #4