Ep144: Kevin Rutmanis (hepa.titus, The Cows, Melvins, Tomahawk)

Kevin Rutmanis

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At last! Kevin Rutmanis comes on Protonic Reversal, a delightful conversation with a self-identified genuine musical weirdo that is not heard from NEARLY OFTEN enough! In this episode Conan and Kevin talk about:

-Covering Night Goat in Hepa.Titus
-Boutique vinyl, human hands touch almost ever piece!
-Finding Alice Cooper (who also hated everybody)
-AM Radio inspiration and enjoyment
-Da Blues!
-Not picking up the bass until 28, he was very busy.
-The Cows, a nasty bunch of creeps that also played music.
Inspiration by other bands not being great.
-SLIDE bass!
-New generations getting into “weird” music and finding music in general.
-Cape Fear guy.
-Recording the last “Cows” record and then joining the Melvins.
-Buzz wanting the Kevin thing.
-The story of Tomahawk, Kevin’s tale. A contrast in musical approaches. (thanks Buzz!)
-the story of Hepa.Titus, from early to now.
-How great is Paul Christensen?
-The Bass V-I… Kevin R. is NOT a gear guy
-Electrical Guitar Company necks.

Ep143: Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE, the Stooges)

What happens when you get two rock ‘n roll talkers together? Good, good stuff. Sit tight for a momentous protonic with the legendary Mr. Mike Watt. The movement! Minutemen! Stooges! more…
Mike Watt

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-Technology! As tool of punk rock/DIY
-Composing with BASS! (…and leaving room for the others that way)
-Contemplating the engine room
-Ballhog or Tugboat?: band as comp tape!
-Nautical imagery and Watt’s dad, ships and touring bands
-Gigs v. flyers
-Taking turns in punk rock.
-Bumper stickers/No Littering, etc.
-Perception is 9/10 of the law.
-Driving the van
-Il Sogno del Marinaio
-taking turns and different roles.
-Playing stuff that you didn’t write.
-Plowhard (not blowhard!)
-The story of Watt joining up with the Stooges. J. Mascis and the Fog, etc.
-“First you rip of a guy, then you play with him.”
-The songs end when they end.
-Little Doll/Pharoah Sanders
-Uniform music and punk rock.
-“Steve, BLOW!”
-Stooges crowd age.
-Delivering the songs of the Stooges.
-IGGY!… focus on Iggy.
-Letting the freak flag fly.
-Double Nickels on the Dime
-Keeping it succinct: Ummagumma
-Zen Arcade v. Double Nickels: friendly arms race/game of chicken
-wearing the (proverbial) Carmen Miranda hat.
-Treble v. Bass
-Recording budgets for Minutemen.
-Jam econo: way of life, not slogan
-The Watt from Pedro show.
-If you want a good crop, use a lot of manure.
-Why do you do what you do?

Ep142: Matt Cronk (Qui, Cunts)

Matt Cronk of Qui

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First episode of 2020 is up! Matt Cronk of Qui and Cunts speaks to Conan about all things rock!

-Quite a bit of talk about midwest vs. L.A.
-Cunts origin story
-AmRep/Touch and Go style or Hardcore Band?
-The name, reactions or non-reactions thereof. “If you’re offender by it, it’s probably not for you… and that’s fine”
-Being in a band that is getting a little bit of attention while being a musician approaching middle age.
-“While they argue about riffs, I can look at girls on tinder”
-Qui… and Anything Goes!
-Genre vs. Emotional Response.
-Qui on recharge status
-Covering “Goin’ Out West”
-Hardcore bands lack of originality.
-“I just want to listen to Captain Beefheart and REM
-David Yow joining Qui
-Qui recording Ashtry Heart with Buzz Osborne, Dale Drover, Trevor Dunn and Kevin Rutmanis
-Ramones vs. Eric Dolphy: respect to both, different skill sets.

Top Records of 2019

Helms Alee – Noctiluca

Alternately (and sometimes simultaneously!) heavy as hell and laden with soaring beauty, Helms Alee are the oncoming storm. No band currently working effectively works in such a deft and unique field. That’s because there are none like them. What can I say? This is an essential record and I listen to it regularly. Not many bands can put out their 5th album and having it arguably be their best.
Helms Alee, long may they run.

Hurry Up Shotgun – This Crystal Vessel

Both brooding and soaring, intense but never boring… Oakland’s Hurry Up Shotgun have yet again delivered one of the best records of the year. Not explicitly any one genre, but pairing innovative arrangement and discordance with melody and harmony, HuS continues to took away and make adventuresome and worthy records that most people have never heard. Recommended for fans of the Chavez, The Afghan Whigs, Mudhoney, Les Savy Fav and the more danger laden QOTSA stuff.

Stunning work!

Djunah – Ex-Voto

I’ve said a lot about Djunah, and I imagine I will in the future. Remarkable band with a unique sound, an iconoclastic presence and a leg for a bass player. Weighty and worthy art worth paying attention to. Dive in and see what they have to offer. RIYL: Brainiac, Marnie Stern, Oxbow, Le Butcherettes, early PJ Harvey… but they really have a voice all their own.

SEMINARS – Iniquity Signals

SEMINARS is a badass band, and everybody oughta know. Still the downstroke kings, but now introducing elements of moodier post-punk and nuanced rhythmic interplay. The songs are great, the sound is top notch, what is not to love? 

B. Hamilton – Nothing and Nowhere

One of the most iconoclastic, yet easy to understand bands I can think of that almost nobody knows. It’s been literal years since B Hamilton’s last record and civilizations have risen and fell since then. 

There’s still a melding of Kevin Shields like guitar atmospherics with Frank Black style noisepop, but the blues is strong with this record. Without ever sounding a bit like Blues Hammer.

B Hamilton can be a hard band to describe, because they are more inventive, interesting and downright enjoyable than most bands that are genre adjacent to them. 

Also, drummer Raj’s work in Once and Future Band and now Black Crowes (!), means that B. Hamilton remains a jewel of a treasure for those that know and a new favorite band for those that don’t.

45 and Straight is a slice of octave laden insistence that ought to be a well known hit, but there isn’t a weak song on the record. 

Sounding both completely of it’s time and timeless at the same time. It’s the: “ok boomer” of rock records, but I mean that as the highest compliment.

Big Business – the Beast You Are

Whoa! Big Business come out ripping with an absolute monster of a record. Heavy use of keyboards and melody paired with assailing rhythms makes this record one of Big Business’s best with a vitality and ear for melody rarely found in “heavy” music.
For a guy that gets REALLY sick of “dudes yelling” over heavy riffs, Big Biz manages to be very tuneful while maintaining both intensity and heavy riffs.

Austerity Program – Bible Songs 1

the Bible, but just the dark and weird stuff. The world of the austerity program has not changed, it’s still bombast, indignance, drum machines and bullet points. In this case Justin and Thad’s focus on “the good book”, allow for some thematic Old Testament style brutality that fits like a dogmatic glove.

J. Robbins – Un-becoming

Utter badassery by J. Robbins of Jawbox, Burning Airlines. etc. mature and vital yet simultaneously wiry and energetic. You get everything you could hope for, erudite and hooky wordplay the jagged and melodic and much more.
Some songs would not be out of place on a new Jawbox record, while others are different thing entirely and would seem at home next to Brian Eno soundscapes and wiry lost post-punk classics.
I really hope this album doesn’t get lost in the mix, because if I didn’t have the slightest idea of who J. Robbins is. i’d love it.

Tropical Fuck Storm – Brain Drops

The inexorable & indefatigable Aussies are back and they mean business. Braindrops is an utterly befuddling and “wrong” sounding record that is oh so “right.”

There isn’t a clear monster single like “tyres” on this one, but the whole thing has a snakey, baked in the sun vibe that works its way into your subconscious.

I’m fully present for TFS brand of non-euclidian geometry rocking.

RIYL: Polvo, Bad Seeds, Dead Rider, Leonard Cohen, the KnifeAt this point: they just sound like themselves.

Drug Apts – Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances

The propulsive and relentless Sacramento rockers come back with their most fully realized and articulated record yet. 

Evoking the creativity and free feelings of the Ex, while sounding very well slotted into the more nuanced side of the noise rock revival. Drug Apts are both immediately familiar, and enjoyably offputting.

Angular guitars, insistent vocals, and a rhythm section that can groove while it grinds. 

Recommended for fans of Unwound, Gang of Four, Wire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Talking Heads and The Ex

Honorable mentions:

Christian Fitness – You Are the Ambulance

The indefatigable and unstoppable Falco strikes again! Staggeringly clever, ceaselessly hooky and required listening for fans of mclusky and future of the left, who are seeking new sounds. Gleefully irreverent music of consequence.

Nervous Curtains – I Tried To Fight It But I Was Inside It

The Kings of Dallas synth are back at it with a strong offering. There’s more sequencing this time, and the song material veers towards the explicitly political. The record rides an interesting line by being explicitly psych oriented, but lyrically grounded in harsh and brutal reality. Music to canvass to.


A Brutal and confrontational name, but fitting for the name and surprisingly song oriented. Recommended for fans of KARP, and noise rock infused hardcore. The record is deliberate and irreverent, while being deadly serious about what they are doing. Featuring members of Qui, Retox, Dead Cross and hepa.titus. The music of Cunts fills in nicely between noiserock weirdos like the Jesus lizard, the Cows and Butthole Surfers, while not sounding like a worshipful retread of any of those things. This is very smart music in a relatively dumb genre and it’s got a 2×4 on its shoulder, not a chip.

Multicult – Simultaneity Now

Tense. Terse, nervy and insistent. Multicult is a relentless machine of precision and tenacity. There are hooks to glom on to with their proggy sojourns, it never gets indulgent, it just invites you along to the adventure.

Magpies – Terrain

Missoula’s magpies would be indie darlings if they weren’t based in Montana. Strong songs paired with mid-period sonic youth discordance allows for magpies to have free reign in a genre that few others travel in. Moody, and assured. This record has certainly flown under the radars of most. That’s a shame. It’s great.

Ep140: Greg Saunier (Deerhoof)

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It’s long overdue! But Greg Saunier of the mighty Deerhoof is finally on Protonic Reversal!

-Blueberry tea.
-San Francisco then vs. now and various tech stories.
-Music scenes where everybody participates
-Deerhoof finding it’s audience, an audience that likes to be surprised.
-Corporations consolidating music together.
-Greg and Conan talk about the early beginnings of Deerhoof.
-Major label sell outs being an anachronism.
-George Horn and mastering the crazy first Deerhoof 7″ for Kill Rock Stars
-Satomi joining the band after only being in America a few weeks.
-Brief forays into politics.
-The complete lack of “development” in music now, and it’s vitality to Deerhoof becoming it’s thing.
-tourin’ tourin’ tourin’, at medium sized places around the world.
-Spotify and the gross insustainability of things that “seem like the future” but benefit everybody but the artist.
-Underground and independent spaces worldwide!
-Ed and John.
-John’s pickup soccer games.
-Political stances in 2019.

Ep137: Bill Barbot (Jawbox, Foxhall Stacks, Burning Airlines)

Ep136: Bill Barbot (Jawbox, Foxhall Stacks, Burning Airlines)
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The mighty Bill Barbot! Guitar player for Jawbox, singer and guitar player for Foxhall Stacks, Bassist for Burning Airlines and thorn in the side of Brett Kavanaugh comes on the mighty Protonic Reversal to talk about Jawbox reunion shows, work/life balance, living punk rock vs. just playing it, his new power-pop/glam band’s cassette and so much more. Come on in!

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