Chris Spencer is most known for the brutal, uncompromising and iconoclastic rockers UNSANE. Whose gory and explicit album art was equally as vicious as the music contained within. After 30 years of Unsane he’s teamed up with some friends and collaborators for a much different kind of band, the moody and often slow-burning Human Impact. Chris sits down with Conan to talk about all that during the pandemic.…
The mighty bass man of the NC indie rock heroes, the Archers of Loaf comes back on Protonic Reversal to have a talk. It’s been what, 5 years? Time flies! How could it have gone long without an appearance from this swell fella? This time it is everything from the first inklings of “Go Loaf”, all the way to the end… and after! A new single and record, and a tour… right during the pandemic. It’s all discussed.…
Oh yeah, he also plays in a band called Band of Horses that you may have heard of, did you know that? We talk about that too.
Jerry Casale is a legend. An iconoclast, a prophet and a pioneer who got scalped. As a founding member, and mastermind behind the incredible genre bending band DEVO, Jerry pushed the boundaries of music, music video and mainstream culture.
In these insane times, it is true. We are ALL DEVO. Jerry Casale sat down for a long form episode of Protonic Reversal.
(note, while this is a fully formed and fully produced episode there is another episode that began as an addendum and later became it’s own episode. You can find that here.)…
The inimitable and unstoppable Andy “Falco” Falkous comes back on Protonic Reversal for another long term episode. Does this qualify him for guest host status? Nobody knows.
A freewheeler you will want to hold onto your hat for, key discussion points include an *ACTUAL* discussion of the American Left (if not the Future of it.) Covid-19 and Misfits beshirted minor villainy. All things *mclusky, and a little discussion of the last christian fitness record.
“So… You Are the Ambulance”…
Toshi Kasai is back on Protonic Reversal! He has a brand new record/project called PLAN D!
–Plan D: Working with tons of different drummers to make a very cool record.…
-Lieutenant tour (Nate Mendel)
-Solo sets opening for Melvins
-Working with a number of different bands/clients
-Overpreparing/underpreparing for recording.
-Making a band/artist feel comfortable
-bands arguing for 10 minutes over a part that is 5 seconds.
-Tracking at sound of Sirens vs. tracking in other places/studios.
-Upcoming bands recorded
-“the wrong end of adventure” with destination recording.
-“partying” in the studio/recording process
It’s Dale Crover! of the Dale Crover Band, Melvins, Altamont and… well, Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends! He’s been on before, but never in his own episode. And here it is. Awesome.
-Dale Crover Band – Sell Out
-The Who – Sell Out
–Being on a split single and being on both sides. (DCB/NeutronFriends)
-Drum record on JNR
-Bringing the Dale Crover Band into being an actual band.
-Recording with Mark Arm and Steve turner of Mudhoney!
-Collaborations (Helms Alee!)
-Sound of Sirens!
-A sense of adventure in the studio/trying new stuff with Toshi
-Working on others stuff vs. your own
-Nocturnal Habits record
-Different kinds of percussion
-The KISS style solo records
-Melvins @ Gilman/Covered Wagon (San Francisco Days)
-Lysol / Lice-all (copyright/trademark vs. generic term)
-Mark Deutrom/Lori Black
-Covering Going Blind/KISS and then later playing it live with Gene Simmons.
-Playing with KISS and playing with Rush.
-Double drums with Coady Willis and playing with Jared Warren
-Hold it In
-Mike and the Melvins
-Reconciling with Kevin Rutmanis
-P.I.L./Flowers of Romance/Martin Atkins/American Bandstand
-Setting up the Melvins space for Ministry
-Steven McDonald in Melvins
-General quarantine wrap-up, QUARANTIME!
Steven McDonald has been playing music since he was 12 years old and making records and touring with his brother Jeff as the band Redd Kross the whole time. He’s also played in such bands as OFF!, Melvins, and a live incarnation of Sparks. Redd Kross has a new album out called “Beyond the Door” and Steven and Conan talk about… well, a lot of stuff.
-Beyond The Door
-Dale Crover on drums
-Sparks Covers / “When Do I Get To Sing My Way?”
-Sparks talk with Conan and Steven.
-There really haven’t been that many Redd Kross records for as long the band has been around.
-40+ year career/starting in with Redd Kross as a kid!
-First show with black flag. (Keith and Robo era)
-Then playing with Keith in OFF! years later.
-Redd Kross being influence by rock and… well KISS.
-Neurotica and recording with Tommy Ramone (after learning to play along to the first Ramones record.
-Dale Crover interlude
-“Big Time Records”
-Major label stuff/the “Alternative era”/manuf
-Major or minor, anybody can be a dick.
-Right thing/right time and taking a 10 year break from actively being in a band.
-Getting out of ruts, overlooking things, liking things as identity (punk rock)
-Thrift stores over hardcore
-oh yeah… THE MELVINS
-Joining the Melvins.
-Superhero team logistics
-The wild world of the Melvins.
-Bringing the Rock ‘n roll show energy to the Melvins.
-“Don’t listen to the records!”
-Please do not throw things at Steven McDonald.
Tim Midyett returns to Protonic Reversal, for the first #StayHome edition of the show. Tim comes back with a brand new 2xLP Mint Mile record, as well as new experiences from recording and touring with legends of drone: SUNN 0)))
-Playing live vs. not
-Baroque elements and Showing Ambertron to a younger Tim.
-Listening to old stuff from way back when.
-Playing with people more skilled than you are/playing with people better than you.
-playing with and entering the world of SUNN 0))), a detailed journey!
-Michael Dahlquist tour diaries.
-Bottomless Pit revisited.
For the 150th episode, one of our favorite guests is back, the unmistakable and always interesting Mr. Steve Albini.
-Making ends meet in the age of quarantine.…
-The American Health Care system
-The slow escalation of risk with a midwest Shellac tour
-Playing new songs live, 1/3 of the set is unreleased stuff.
-Live experience vs. vegas stage show (the art of surprise and stage expectations)
-Billiard Player Song and live evolution of songs
-Cheap Trick vs. the Ex
-Do the internal meanings of the songs change.
-Accountability for song content/flawed thinking
-Culpability v/ doubling down on dickery.
-Jokes vs. just being a jerk (comedians)
-Big Black art aesthetic (it was cheaper!)
-Big Black: Jordan, Minnesota
-Big Black: Seth (his DOG hated black people…)(race in America and privilege)
-The name of the band Rapeman
-Rapeman: “I have not been held to account”
-Dave Riley of Big Black remembered
-The Girl on the Third Floor soundtrack (with Tim Midget and Helen Money)
-The End of Radio Peel sessions
The one and only Billy Gould finally comes on Protonic Reversal! Billy and his coharts have an awesome new The Talking Book album. A project that evokes eno-like soundscapes as well as 70s film soundtracks. Conan and Billy talk about that, many things Faith No More and… Milk Cult?
-Talking Book II-70s film soundtracks…
-9 year gap
-Structured but not structured
-“It’s not ready until it’s ready”
-Adding a member to a very subjective and subconscious enterprise
-Not the same as getting a new band member.
-Faith No More going into new directions the audience didn’t necessarily expect
-Being known as a “rock guy.”
-Old San Francisco
-(Men of) Porn
-Playing in Jello Biafra’s band
-Faith No More reunion and complex relationships.
-Songs with problems “We fixed ’em!”
-Getting the call from Wayne Kramer to play in the MC50
-Playing with Brendan Canty
-“If you do something, see it though
-Choose a journey where you don’t care about the destination.
-The many moods and styles of guitar players of Faith More.
-FNM as alchemy
-Slap bass demo tapes
-touring vs. recording
-Live shows with Talking Book
-Kool Arrow: the genre is “good”
Buzz Osborne returns to Protonic Reversal to discuss quarantines, the new acoustic(+) album Gift of Sacrifice, songwriting, gear and lots, lots more.
-EP, Acoustic Records and covering Six Pack
-Limited edition handmade stuff
-“You don’t HAVE to buy it.”
-Suiting songs to the player
-Steven McDonald in the band
-How people listen to music
-Vintage vs. useful
-Vinyl vs. cds
-Songwriting and “banking songs”
-Picking up a guitar to write vs. just to play.
-“You don’t want the fourth of july at all times.”
-Letting the lightning strike
Jonathan Nuñez of the mighty Torche joins Conan for a talk that includes:
-Nuñez Amplification and pedals
-The current “golden age” of small scale, handmade gear.
-Moving from bass go guitar.
-Parting ways with Andrew
-Parting ways with Juan
-The extended family of Miami rockers.
-The absolutely insane journey of Torche’s post-Russian/Greece Covid-19 tour
-Covid-19 lifestyle changes
-Torche “Part Time Punks” sessions
-Jonathan’s path into recording and playing music.
And tons more!…
-Doing the video with Travis and Joe (and Donel!)…
-Video with Jimmy the cab driver (reprising that character after years)
-Making the other video at the Salton Sea with still photographs
-“Don’t mind the crickets.”
-The book! “Sing Backwards and Weep” (and companion piece record)
-Recording the companion piece record to the book and linking the songs to it.
-“A pandora’s box of shitty memories.”
-Working with Rob Marshall of Humanist.
-Making a double record/great double records.
-Opening for Watt
-Meet and greets at the merch table and getting ghost pain from shaking hands.
-Complicated hand shake non-engagement
-Picking a setlist with so much material.
-Ripping off Leonard Cohen
-Rated R and joining Queens of the Stone Age
-Gutter Twins with Greg Dulli
-Playing on each other’s records, vs. working on things together.
-Meeting Greg Dulli (and initially wanting to kick ass ass)
-Josh Homme in Screaming Trees
-Walking the streets with Josh Homme, and Josh being misidentified as a cop!
-The Conner brothers.
-The story of the Screaming Trees.
-Publically learning how to make records
-Different crowds knowing different eras of the music.
-Artist vs. entertaintainer vs. guy who stands there and sings.
-Stooges and being in Iggy’s sights
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
-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.
-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.
-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.
-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?
-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.
Conan talks to Donna about the Djunah full length Ex-Voto. Going over on a song by song basis, as well as the VERY BUSY YEAR that the band has had.
There is talk of Donna’s previous band Beat Drun Juel as well… and gosh darn it, it’s just a great talk.
- Helms Alee – Noctiluca
- Hurry Up Shotgun – This Crystal Vessel
- Djunah – Ex-Voto
- SEMINARS – Iniquity Signals
- B. Hamilton – Nothing and Nowhere
- Big Business – the Beast You Are
- Austerity Program – Bible Songs 1
- J. Robbins – Un-becoming
- Tropical Fuck Storm – Brain Drops
- Drug Apts. – Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances
- Christian Fitness – You Are the Ambulance
- Nervous Curtains – I Tried To Fight It But I Was Inside It
- CUNTS – CUNTS
- Multicult – Simultaneity Now
- Magpies – Terrain
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
- Bandcamp: bhamilton.bandcamp.com
- Facebook: B.HAMILSTAN
- Twitter: @B.HAMILSTAN
- Instagram: @B.HAMILSTAN
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.
- Bandcamp: bigbigbusiness.bandcamp.com
- Facebook: bigbigbiz
- Twitter: @bigbigbiz
- Instagram: @bigbigbiz
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.
- Bandcamp: austerityprogram.bandcamp.com
- Facebook: theausterityprogram
- Twitter: @usterityprogram
- Instagram: @theausterityprogram
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.
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.
- Bandcamp: tropicalfstorm.bandcamp.com
- Facebook: TFSBand
- Twitter: @tfs_theband
- Instagram: @tropical_fuck_storm
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
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.
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.
- Bandcamp: nervouscurtains.bandcamp.com
- Facebook: nervous.curtains
- Twitter: @nervouscurtains
- Instagram: @nervouscurtains
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.
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.
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.
It’s long overdue! But Greg Saunier of the mighty Deerhoof is finally on Protonic Reversal!
-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.
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!…
- -Documentaries, keys to the city and being Brainiac in 2019
- Honoring Tim’s memory
- revisting material and the perspective of age.
- Tyler, coming back to playing music and his son “getting” Brainiac.
- Multigenerational audiences
- the reunion industrial complex
- Tim’s dad: “are you going to keep going?”
- Getting back together for a benefit and reconnecting
- Familiarty for better or worse.
- Idiosynchratic music, context and impact
- Tim Krug (the missing link/understudy)
- Picking who does what (singing songs, etc.)
- Subbing for the local legandary hardcore band and destroying the floor in the process.
- “We’ll Eat Anything.”
- “oh, that was awful” “That was the best show ever!”
- Being claimed as an influence and embracing doing something different than what others do.
- Hostile or baffled audiences?
- the band playoffs (and WINNING it)
- The Brainiac – internationale ep with Kim Deal
- When John joined the band, Bonsai Superstar, etc.
- Brainiac as the all boys Brady Bunch.
- Hissing Prigs
- Tyler gets new drums, and how they shaped the sound of that record.
- Recording “nothing ever changes”Recording Electro Shock for President, distortions and learning how to record (usually the wrong way)and bringing that hodge podge to Jim O’Rourke
- Keyboards, samplers, etc. and bringing that out live.
- Playing “New/unreleased songs” for the reunion show, songs that might have been on the next (major label?) record.
- Being a “weird” band and infiltrating mass cultureB
- Brainiac covers and legacy, overall take on things, and the rights to the back catalog.