+ Everyone here is delighted to congratulate Vanguard Squad founder, Tsega, and his wife, on the birth of their child. While the rest of us were listening to President Obama make his first address to a joint session of Congress, Tsega and his wife were bringing their own ray of of sunshine to the world. Seems only fitting. Everyone here wishes the best to the family and prays for health and happiness. We love you. (2/24/09)
+ THE DREAM OF FAME BEATS FAME ITSELF:
Mingering Mike is the subject of a fantastic article in today's Washington City Paper. The article unearths a tremendous amount of personal history as well as artwork and previously unheard tunes, such as "Coffee Cake". We love Mingering Mike! (10/22/2008)
+ Mingering Mike is this month's featured artist at eMusic. Besides the interview/article, subscribers can buy a digital copy of Mingering Mike's Super Gold Greatest Hits. (6/17/2008)
+ The last salvo in a series of articles inspired by Spitboy, lesbians, and Margaritaville has been published: "NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS!" (6/15/2008)
+ Last of the Blacksmiths were interviewed on The Bay Bridged, talking about their process, their sound, and their new album, Young Family Song. (6/10/2008)
+ Celebrate May Day with us! We're pleased to announce the release of Young Family Song, the full-length album by Last of the Blacksmiths. The record is a work of genius, aptly suited for springtime flurries, repeated listening and old folks dancing. The Blacksmiths are playig a CD release party in San Francisco on May 24th. (05/01/08)
+ Continuing with the series of articles on independent music in the Proletariat Press section, we've added: "If You Hear Us Coming (But You Never Will)". Earlier installments include: "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and "Smash It Fucking Dead." (4/27/08)
+ Copies of the new album by Last of the Blacksmiths have arrived. Set for release in May, Young Family Song is the perfect compliment for Spring. The band is playing a CD release show on May 24th in San Francisco.
Sleeper Waves also have an EP set for release. Gutter Music has been a favorite here in the office for the last year. We're happy to finally let you all have a taste. (4/25/08)
+ The Institute for Comparative Vandalism has released it's first in a series of Treatises On The Defense of Vandalism
+ Minger Mike has been busy lately. On March 6th Dori and Mike were invited to Amsterdam to speak at the Academy of Architecture's Capita Selecta series. It was Mike's first trip out of the U.S., and he was warmly received by his fans in the Netherlands. While overseas Miked played disc-jockey for an evening (see him spinning his own 45 for his fans) and he and Dori got serious ink.
As soon as they returned from Amsterdam, it was off to Austin, Texas for SXSW where Mike hosted the Ubiquity Records Showcase. Mike had a blast emceeing the event, and for those in attendance it was a bit of surrealist splendor to witness Mike sharing the stage with his west coast compeer, Darondo. For those that don't know, Darondo released three obscure 45s in the early '70s (listen to "Didn't I" and tell me you're not in love). Darondo was similarly "discovered" a few years ago and, like Mingering Mike, has been delighted by the second wind his music is getting from today's audiences. Check out Mike (Flava Flav style) hamming it up with Darondo.
The Band news is Mingering Mike's debut 45, "There's Nothing Wrong With You Baby" is almost sold out. The good news: we've begun work on his first full-length album! (3/25/08)
+ Happy New Year! 2008 is already a good year. Last of the Blacksmiths have finished their second full-length album, Young Family Song, which is due for release shortly. (01/04/08)
+ Dos of Judith and Holofernes has recorded a solo record called, Porquinho Diabo. We have a handful of copies available. (10/08/07)
+ Mingering Mike - "There's Nothing Wrong With You Baby"
The wait is over! Mingering Mike's debut 45 is for sale. The tapes were lovingly transfered to vinyl, the cover was reproduced to exactly match the original, and now, 38 years later, it can be yours. This release is a benefit to the Mingering One. That is, all profits from this record will go directly to Mike. Buy a copy of this extraordinary record. (10/08/07)
+ HOW HARDCORE ARE YOU, SHORTY? added to the Jukebox in collaboration with the series of articles about independent music.
+ San Francisco - Thursday, July 26th - Vanguard Squad Presents:
Last of the Blacksmiths
Judith and Holofernes
at The Make-Out Room
3225 22nd St, San Francisco - 9:00pm - $6 - 21 and over
+ The second installment on indepent music has been added to the Proletariat Press page: "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." « The first installment if you missed it: "Smash It Fucking Dead." » (7/25/07)
+ MINGERING MIKE! So many great things to mention:
- The first ever Mingering Mike record will be released on Vanguard Squad this summer. "There's Nothing Wrong With You Baby - Parts 1 and 2" will be manufactured exactly as Mike imagined 38 years ago. A 45 rpm vinyl single, complete with custom labels, housed in a stunning picture sleeve. Limited edition. Pre-order information available soon. Check back or join our mailing list.
- Dori Hadar, the gentleman who discovered Mike, has written a beautiful book, Mingering Mike: The Amazing Career of an Imaginary Soul Superstar, published by Princeton Architectural Press. Get it at your local independent bookstore, or order it from Powell's.
- Mike's art is currently on display at the Hemphill Fine Arts gallery in D.C. Go see Mike's wondrous body of work in one room, it's incredible. For those of you who may have missed the opening, Mike was there (in disguise, to protect his privacy), signing autographs and taking in the admiration. Ian MacKaye was there as well--in the unending quest to document D.C.--and posed for this picture.
- Mike has been interviewed recently. Two great segments aired on NPR recently, one on Day to Day (listen), and the other on Studio 360 (listen).
+ In celebration of International Women's Day, an article about Spitboy has been added to the Proletariat Press page. This is the first in a series of articles about independent music. (03/08/2007)
+ Last of the Blacksmith - And Then Some is now available. 2 song CD single / vinyl 45rpm.
+ January 15th, 2007: Dear Martin, I want you to know that we still hear your footsteps setting out on a road cemented with black bones.
+ A new mix by Eniktin has been added to the jukebox. She might be waking up... (01/11/2007)
+ Last of the Blacksmiths recorded two beautiful songs for release as a 45 rpm 7" on Vanguard Squad. The records have been cut, the covers have been printed and the band is having a release party that all of you are cordially invited to:
Last of the Blacksmiths Record Release Show
Friday December 8th at Hotel Utah, San Francisco -- 9pm
Performances by Winfred E. Eye, The Dying Californian and Last of the Blacksmiths
Advanced copies of the 7" will be available at the show.
The A-side of the 45 is "And Then Some," a song written over thirty years ago by Nathan's grandfather. The song was originally written as a poem and collected in a notebook. Nathan has been going through the poems and putting them to song for the last few years. "And Then Some" is a testament to indefatigability, staying fragile, and having faith in time. The B-side, "You Think I'm OK," is an uncluttered song about wasting away in the indecisions of everyday life.
+ Judith and Holofernes - Abraça a Tristeza, get it now.
+ More fuckin' stuffing than a Thanksgiving turkey! --Up until 2 a.m. with a few friends and we're not even halfway done! (10/07/06)
+ The new Judith and Holofernes album, Abraça a Tristeza, has arrived from the manufacturer. It will be released on October 20th on CD and LP (blood red letterpress jackets!). We're busy stuffing now...
It should be mentioned that the covers for the Judith and Holofernes LP were printed in Portland, Oregon by Stumptown Printers, who not only run an independent, environmenally responsible shop, but they are perhaps the nicest people on earth. Cheers to Bridgetown's finest! (10/06/06)
+ September 20th: Charles William Bennett would have been 30 today. Remembering him, and the way he chose to end his time, Judith and Holofernes offerre "Euphoria Fades":
You're barely even conscious so what is the use/ It's true that I've never been in your shoes/ As they march you to Mexico, commit petty crimes/ More pharmaceuticals to buy you some time/ Writing notes of self-loathing with razor blades/ A constant reminder when euphoria fades/ In the Central Valley starlight, I smile up at you/ And pick out the planets; are you watching us too/ I'm sorry; I love you; I miss you/ I peak through the windows and barricade the door/ I scratch at the ceiling and dig at the floor/ It's so cold outside but it's frozen in here/ I hide in the corner and tremble in fear
--Sleep well, Chuck.
+ Sept. 11, 2006
A ton of updates in the last month:
+ Judith and Holofernes will drink their way east, playing a few shows, selling copies of their new album, Abraça a Tristeza, and dining at New York's finer Portuguese restaurants. Please come out and tip your glass to the fadistas. Here are the dates:
August 5th, 2006
At Quiet Storm - 5430 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA.
8pm -- $5
Playing with Like Summer and Januar
August 8th, 2006
At Toad - 1912 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA.
8:30pm -- Free
Playing with A.K.A.C.O.D. (Featuring Dana Colley, Morphine).
August 11th, 2006
At Pete's Candy Store - 709 Lorimer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY.
10pm -- Free
Playing with Chad King and The Tall Pines
+ Judith and Holofernes have finished recording their third album, Abraça a Tristeza ("Embrace the Sadness") which will be released--both on CD and LP--through Vanguard Squad in September. The band will be playing a few shows on the east coast in the next couple weeks, and folks who show up can get a pre-release copy of the album. Here's a sneak peak at one of the new songs, "Maybe Liquor, Maybe Blood", just in case you were wondering if they could maintain the intense level of despair required of the fadista: I call out at night/ Just to push my luck/ In the mood to fight/ Or in the mood to fuck/ I call out at night/ Warning of a flood/ It may be liquor, it may be blood (07/29/2006)
+ July 21, 2006 -- Brooklyn: A day both ethereal and eternising. It began with a raucous assault of thunder and lightning that shook windows, set off car alarms, and made the telephone poles sway. In the evening, after the "all clear," Brooklyn Fire Proof opened their doors for a night of FOLK. They hosted a show with our friend Matt Bauer. (We were turned on to Matt's music through our own Nathan Wanta, who happened to be in town during his annual tour of baseball stadiums.) Those of us huddled in Brooklyn Fire Proof's event room were cooed and wooed by Matt and friends. My personal favorite was a duet Matt and Nathan sang, called, "Poor Robin" that coalesced the morning shadows with the darkening dusk: Fly poor robin/ You're here too soon/ Like stars in the daytime/ a midday moon/ This blue light is quiet/ And calms my heart/ Clouds crawl beneath us/ Above us only stars.
As an added bonus, Brooklyn Fire Proof has an exhibition room, and until August 6, they are showing photos, artifacts, and ephemera from the Alan Lomax Archive. Pictures of Mississippi Fred McDowell sitting on his porch with his wife, Nimrod Workman, Parchman Farm State Penitentiary workers, Lomax's "portable" recorder, letters, and more. The exhibit is truly beautiful. Do yourself a favor and go see it. The exhibit also includes a newsprint handout where you can read Lomax's An Appeal for Cultural Equity from 1972. Though it was written thirty-four years ago, it still stands true today:
One can already sense the oppressive dullness and psychic distress of those areas where centralized music industries, exploiting the star system and controlling the communication system, put the local musicians out of work and silence folk song, tribal ritual, local popular festivities and regional culture. It is ironic to note that during this century, when folklorists and musicologists were studying the varied traditions of the peoples of the earth, their rate of disappearance accelerated.
+ (07/20/2006) All the copies of Bambouche's remix 12", Operation Snatchback (released on July 6th), have been shipped to stores. There will never be any more pressed, so ask your local indie record store about it, or check with these stores worldwide:
+ Bambouche of the Vanguard Squad - Doctrine of a Dissident Dialectician
The manifesto on art, plagnacism, agitation, drum machines, voice, vandalism, independence and bookworming that took a lifetime of record collecting to write has been uploaded. Brew some tea and get comfortable. (07/19/2006)
+ Question: What's worse than two of Tinseltown's bonafide cocksnots?
Answer: Their douchebag offspring finding themselves in the throes of "Hollywood antics" with a need for more hip-hop than anticipated. Burn Hollywood, Burn - 'cause the roles being offered don't strike me. (07/12/2006)
+ WRITING THE WRONGS: Kristy Alfieri, poet, activist, and specialist in the refloating of intellectuals marooned on the rocks of perdition offers a critique on Bambouche's newest record, Operation Snatchback. The record is a remix of the song "Takin' These" by rap group The Coup from Oakland, California. Kristy's article, Revolutions and Revelations: Oakland offers a historic look at East and West Oakland, the challenges facing the city, and hope for the future. Depressing, vital, and worth every word. We gotsa gang of mawfuckers who done ate they Wheaties! (
07/04/06 Just in time for Independence Day!)
+ Dennis Williams, the effulgent tub thumper, benevolent brigand, noblesse oblique wanderer, has sent us his travelogue from India. Dennis has embarked on a year+ journey around the world to collect the residuum of the ten-thousand things. This is the first installment from his vagabonding Doctrine of Mere Ideation. That is, "Hey dude, look what I learned out here in the nowhere!" (07/03/06)
+ Dear friend to the Vanguard Squad, accomplished artist, scholar, and the genius behind the Judith and Holofernes videos, Marlene Angeja, has an exhibition of her paintings at the Stephen Wirtz Gallery in San Francisco (June 20 - July 15, 2006). "Mais un copinho!"
+ Dos (of Judith and Holofernes) wrote an incisive History of Fado for the Proletariat Press, complete with soundfiles. Get your fucking saudade on! (06/29/06)
+ Nathan Wanta (of Last of the Blacksmiths) and Bambouche join forces on a compilation of Americana music: We Had No Dream, We Just Lived One is the new featured mix in the jukebox. The mix is accompanied by an essay and slideshow in the Proletariat Press section on all things birdsong related. Did you ever... just stand and shiver? (06/28/06)
+ Vanguard Squad is proud to announce the addition of four wonderful Comrades. Look for releases from all of the following soon:
- Judith and Holofernes: The Independent/American answer to the traditional Portuguese Fado ballads of love, loss, sorrow, betrayal, revenge, friendship.
- Last of the Blacksmiths: San Francisco-based folk band preserve the oral histories of their forefathers as well as creating their own.
- Mingering Mike: Washington D.C.'s hidden soul legend finally shows his face (well, sort of).
- Sleeper Waves: Dig deeper graves.
+ NEW RELEASE: Bambouche's remix 12", Operation Snatchback is out. (6/6/6)
+ In Praise of Shadows has been added to the Proletariat Press page. For the rose's sake we also water the thorns. (01/12/2006)
+ In celebration of another year of
prosperity, security, and freedom, Parties Weren't Meant 2 Last has been added to the Proletariat Press page. (01/01/2006)
+ "Morally Reprehensible Action," aka "Bayonets Cannot Weave Cloth," aka "The Outrage over Inconvenience" has been added to the ProletariatPress page.
Walk, will you? It will do you good to stretch your legs. (12/21/05)
+ An all things rap-related mix by DJ B.cause, the Play Crater mix has been added to the Jukebox Page. (11/18/05)
+ Helping Gwen Stefani realize herself as a protest singer, Shit Is Bananas (B-A-N-A-N-A-S) has been added to the Proletariat Press page (11/12/05).
+ Moderation of Extremists has been added to the Proletariat Press page: " Law and order come first, says the guard to the prisoner."
+ Terrorism For Beginners has been added to the Proletariat Press section. Outlining facts that are absolutely clear to most living outside the United States. (10/18/05)
+ A new article added to the Proletariat Press page: Angelina, Brad and Jennifer on Revolution. These three superstars discuss social order and the alienation it causes, rebellion, dadaism, surrealism, consumerism, anarchy, terrorism, the world of repression, boredom and the banalities of everyday life. (09/28/2005)
+ A new FEATURE MIX ((FM)) is available in the Jukebox - Eniktin's "It'll Be Over In A Minute Or Two"!! (8.17.05)
+ Medium size shirt are officially sold out. We still have some Large and X-Large ones so get them before they're gone. (8.2.05)
+ Japan knows what's up.
+ In Every City and Every Country - has been added to the Porletariat Press page (7.1.05)
+ The new release is getting a lot of love from many across the world and has been picked up for sale by several shop. We are now available at:
Get 'em before they sell out (6.25.05)
+ We want to thank O-dub for the wonderful review of the 45 on his Soul-Sides Blog page (6.7.05)
+ Our first release, Revolution in Our Lifetime, is now available at Kajmere Sound Distribution. They are currently handling both retail and whole sale orders so be sure to check them out! (6.2.05)
+ Ahhh.... the new site is up. A full on face-lift courtesy of Asprin, to accompany the new 7". (6.1.05)
+ Revolution In Our Lifetime - the first release by the Vanguard Squad out now! Accompanied by Dissidence Begins Within, a book from the Proletariat Press. Check the Order page for more info(5.25.05)
+ Negocios Lindos - Fred Schmalz returns with another mix of Latin loveliness at the Jukebox. Stay tuned for info on Fred's involvement with the COCINANDO book release party in early June. (5.15.05)
+ It'll Be Over In A Minute Or Two - an Eniktin mix dedicated to a dead friend added to the Jukebox (5.10.05)
+ Travellin' Music - a mix of Spiritual Jazz and Soul by Asprin has been added to the Jukebox (4.10.05)
+ Gristle - A mix courtesy of BIG NURSE added to the Jukebox (10.30.04)
+ Rock Mix and Soul Mix - two new mixes courtesy of Twoply added to the Jukebox (10.13.04)
+ Vanguard Squad t-shirts and sticker packs added to the Store page (10.01.04)
+ "Unhappiness is a Habit" - an article by Eniktin, about siphoning a life of misery into a song, added to the S.O.U.L. page (5.23.04)
+ Negocios Sucios - a mix of Latin niceness by Fred Schmalz added to the Jukebox (5.10.04)
+ "Carry Guns & Knives & Bombs" - an article about Asprin's song, "Revolushun" added to the S.O.U.L. page (3.14.04)
+ "When Beats Get Broken: Signal Chain & Amplitude" - an article about drum-programming by Bambouche added to the S.O.U.L. page (3.10.04)
+ Reachin' - an avant-garde mix of free jazz Bambouche added to the Jukebox (3.05.04)
+ "Age of Illage" - an article by Bambouche about his song, "Evolution in Styles," has been added to the S.O.U.L. page (2.15.04)