12 TONE SYSTEM – SOUNDTRACK TO SYNTHETIC MUSIC 7″

Today we’re zooming back to the 12 Tone System 7″ released on Keystone Ember. Starring Eric, Mike, Brandon, John and Tim, this 7″ was recorded in May of 1997. Hard to imagine that was 15 years ago but it was and here we are today looking back. Mike did not play on this 7″ but he would quickly join the band after the original drummer moved (I think?) until their eventual break up.

12 Tone System was a short lived band. I have no idea how many actual shows they ever played during their time together, but it felt as though they were there one day and gone the next. Looking back on my own musical history it’s hard for me to relate. The bands I ever played in were long running (maybe too long) and while I always appreciated and perceived that as being lucky enough to find people I truly enjoyed playing music with I also wonder if it wasn’t also habit and a little too comfortable. Maybe the band that is sudden and short lived might also present the opportunity for quick testing, even quicker evolution and ultimately get you to your next developmental stage musically and more effectively than the drawn out, slow death of a “lifer” band. Hard to say.

I first heard 12 Tone System in my car. I think it was one of the numerous Toyota Camry’s I owned that was eventually, destroyed by a drunk driver but I’m not positive. I would go on to have multiple car wrecks in the late 90’s ,all of which weren’t my fault, but I digress. I was given a cassette of what would become this 7″ and thought to myself, “Well this is something different.” The attack of the drums on the first track sounded amazing (you would be surprised how hard it always seemed to get a decent drum set sound), the guitars were fuzzed the effects turned up. As with any community of young kids who start out playing punk/hardcore music, we all started listening to more diverse music and incorporating those influences into the bands we were playing in.

It usually looks something like this:

Punk > Hardcore > Shoegaze > Brit Pop > Beach Boys and so on…

12 Tone System was yet another example that everyone was growing up and expanding their horizons. This made the community so much more interesting because ultimately, you would never know what one person or group of people might be doing musically from one band to the next. And, if that group of people were tearing through short lived bands, the evolution was at Mach speed making it even more jarring and fascinating.

After bands like I Am Heaven, a unique band in its own right (both Eric and Mike had been members), Goodbye, Blue Monday (Mike was a member) and Serephim (an odd twist on the emo/hardcore genre that then lent John and Brandon to 12 Tone System) you had a group of fellas who already had a rather diverse mixture of influences in them. Needless to say, what they spit forth was yet another document of evolution.

Let me apologize now, the encode of these songs is not the best. In fact, it’s rather fuzzy but think of it as added style than sin.

[s]he’s sensational

inner agnew

soundtrack to synthetics

GOODBYE, BLUE MONDAY – DEMO

I’ve been plagued by annoyance as of late. Google Sites, the upload tool I use for hosting the music found on this blog, hasn’t let me upload anything for a couple of weeks. Not sure what the problem might be, but it’s Google, who can I possibly ask about it? Mr. Google?

Thus, I’m switching over to Soundcloud for this next update. I hope it’s not too annoying. You’ll still be able to download the tracks, just click on the little black arrow in the right hand menu of the player to copy the song. But, if this change over does annoy you, know that I sympathize. My own obsessive need for structure makes variation in layout from post to post very, very troubling. I hope we can all get through it together.

So, the Goodbye, Blue Monday demo. What can possibly be said other than that I thought it lost forever. I had a copy of this cassette of course, but along with a few other gems, I seem to have misplaced it. However, a few weeks back Tim sent me a link to a Russian blog that seemed to have nothing but the nicest things to say about the boys and their music. I’m not clear on whether the writer of the blog was aware of Goodbye, Blue Monday prior to coming across them on GoKidGo.org, but nonetheless, they are clearly fans and that rools.

Listening to this demo once again after such a long time away from it, I am amazed that this is the same band that went on to record this 7″ and this one here. While they all share a similar style, the mood is so drastically different in the demo. There’s an urgency that seems lost in the official releases while the demo just attacks from the first note. That’s not to say the split 7″ and 7″ are bad. Not at all. Both have their own voice, but it’s a more relaxed feel. This demo is punk thru and thru.

Goodbye, Blue Monday were close friends whom I hung out with on a daily basis. From day one, they solidified into an incredible live band that sounded and played like a ton of bricks. I think I always envied their cohesion as a band. Sure, you might be able to form a band with some great ideas sonically, but trying to gather a band together that plays with real harmony, meaning, a natural tendency to step in time, and you’re talking a whole ‘nother beast. Goodbye, Blue Monday always blew Franklin out of the water whenever we played live together. They blew almost everyone out of the water when they played live.

I don’t remember why the guys broke up. They weren’t around all that long. But, I would have loved to see what they accomplished on a full length.

Here’s the boys demo in all its glory. Enjoy. Photos by the incomparable Shawn Scallen.

01 Far From A Starched Heritage by GoKidGo

02 Hoe Down by GoKidGo

03 Saccharin by GoKidGo

04 Transister Traffic Jam by GoKidGo

05 The Work Of Fools by GoKidGo

06 The Man Who Only Lived Long Enoug by GoKidGo

SOMEWHERE ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD – 1996


Again, working my way through some photo albums and I came across this picture I snapped somewhere on tour in 1996. This would have been on the tour Franklin and Goodbye, Blue Monday took together across the US with Atom as our ever faithful, responsible tour manager.

Remind me to ask Atom to give a written, detailed account of the time he was detained at the Canadian border trying to bring equipment into Canada so that our bands could play. It’s a true horror story.

Anyways, I just love this photo of Greg, Ralph, Josh and Tim. Often, playing shows on tour is the least entertaining part of the adventure. Moments like these, stopped on the side of a deserted highway looking out over the vast nothingness that exists outside our own experience is what makes the travel worthwhile.

Enjoy!

GOODBYE, BLUE MONDAY – 7″


Let’s get back to Goodbye, Blue Monday. As I mentioned in that previous post, they were always a pretty stellar live band. Big, thick and tight. After their split 7″, Goodbye, Blue Monday decided to release a 7″ on our Energy Network record label. Of course, by the time this single was released, Energy Network was on its way out. As I said before, we never were very good at running a record label.

Honestly, I’m not even sure if any actual Energy Network money was put into this release as we didn’t really ever have any money. Instead, the boys might have put the money up themselves and we just slapped the Energy Network logo on the back.

By this time, a fella named Alap Momin had been making some pretty sick recordings over in Jersey for bands like Assfactor 4, Rye Coalition and The Van Pelt. The boys decided to take their wares over the bridge and record with someone that actually knew how to get good tones out of their recording equipment. From what I recall, the studio was in a garage which once again proves it’s not necessarily the equipment one has but the talent involved that makes a recording sound like something you’re interested in hearing.

These files were ripped directly from the 7″ so all the scratches and hiss one might expect from a record are present. It sounds familiar.

Endless Waiting Route

7600

Chicago Coin

Summer Nights

GOODBYE, BLUE MONDAY – SPLIT 7″


If there’s one thing that seems to be a constant with any band it’s that there is always one person that ends up being the odd man out. A band is a gang and ultimately, there tends to be someone that just doesn’t jive with the rest of the group by the end. There’s never a specific reason for it, especially when you look back with hindsight.

After the Tazmanians, my very first band, Chris was left behind. Then in the Random Children we left Ron behind and picked up Ralph. Then when Franklin formed we left TJ behind. It’s never pretty, it’s never fun and it’s kind of sad really.

True High Fidelity kicked it for a couple of years but by the time the band ended, Dave was the odd man out. Josh started playing with Franklin after Roy left and Tim and Chris formed a new band with Mike and a fella named Brian Hutchinson. Mike was the odd man out after the demise of Frail so you can see how this sort of thing happens over and over again. Their new band was Goodbye, Blue Monday. The name taken from a Vonnegut book, one of the guys favorite authors.

When they started, I was immediately amazed by how quickly they just seemed to gel. Almost immediately their sound was dense and complete. Live they could just fill the room with dense, melodic music. Looking back, while it might suffer from the calamity that became “emo” music, theirs was a solid, unique sound at the time. Franklin would tour with Goodbye, Blue Monday in 1996. One of the best trips of my life filled with a million fond memories and destinations that none of us had ever seen before. But I’ll always remember playing with them and thinking, my god, they just sound fucking great and there’s no way in hell we can follow them.

These songs are from the split 7″ they did with Across Five Aprils. The 7″ was the first release that Shawn Scallen released on his Spectra-Sonic Sound label. In fact, the label was started specifically so Shawn could release their song “The Work of Fools”. He loved that song and it inspired him to get a label going.

Pretty awesome.

Summer Nights, Again

The Work of Fools

Untitled