For those that don’t know, I ran a record label called Thor’s Rubber Hammer Productions from 2006-2011 (one of these days I’ll finish the Bandcamp archive). It was born out of the same reason most labels are born: to document something bigger than yourself, to tell the world to shut up a second and LISTEN TO THIS BAND. Along with a handful of Athens noise bands, Long Legged Woman was the reason I started TRHP as I picked up stakes and moved to Washington, D.C. And for the first time, the band’s wildly diverse discography is now available on Bandcamp in a name-your-price format.

Like many bands in the mid-aughts, the original LLW duo (Gabe Vodicka and Justin Flowers) came from a post-Sung Tongs, post-Drum’s Not Dead mindset, offset by a smattering of free-jazz records found in the archives of the student-run station WUOG (Alice Coltrane was a favorite, if I recollect). Self-released CDRs like 2006’s 1 and Delay 2007 are boombox burners and meditations, the latter including one of my all-time favorite melodies, the organ-pumped torch song “Scalpels in the Sky.”

A blown-out noise anomaly, the tape-collage-n-bass  End of False Religion showed up in early 2007 on amber-burnt, spray-painted CDRs to coincide with TRHP’s Deeded to Itself release party in Athens. Alex Cargile joined Gabe and Justin for a continuous set that night, weaving in everything they could from an already-spastic discography. Still think Blastitude's Larry Dolman said it best of the CDR: “Two long tracks that kinda sounded like the entirety of Godflesh’s Streetcleaner exploding in slow motion.”

Just six months later, I released Newtown Nights — another about-face for a band that couldn’t quite figure out what they wanted to do. Obsessed with death, paranoid from pot, and drained from Georgia’s relentless summer, these whirring and spaced-out 13 tracks remain LLW’s most personal and haunted.

By this point, LLW was a foursome, adding Alex full time, plus a punk rock transplant from Atlanta named Jeff Rahuba. They toured, their van broke down in a snowstorm, they smoked weed out of apples in bathrooms. The incredibly short-run Hot Blooded Daze and Brain Damage CDRs were the first bruised fruits, featuring odd and tossed-off experiments, out-of-tune and stoned to hell. I’m not sure many people have even heard these recordings and I don’t know that I’d recommend them to first-time listeners (no offense, guys!), but we get a hazy cover of VU’s “Pale Blue Eyes” out of it and a demo of “Something is Pressing Against It from the Inside.”

I pressed the final, rollicking version of “Something is Pressing” to 7” vinyl with “Scalpels in the Sky” on the B-side by the summer of 2008. It got panned by Dusted's Doug Mosurock, but perked up plenty of ears elsewhere. The wheels were in motion for a proper full-length, which the guys decided to produce and press themselves for Pollen Season with a little bit of help from me. And before three of the four members moved out to San Francisco, the band recorded the Neil Young-referencing Nobody Knows This is Nowhere at Joel Hatstat’s studio.

This is the one Doug liked, heh, a 12” that never leaves the red, knows damn well that it worships Bleach and Dinosaur Jr., grins ear-to-ear with busted teeth and broken amps, but also gets stuck in your head like a rusted screwdriver. It was like the first time I heard Long Legged Woman all over again. I wanted to yell at random people in the street: LISTEN TO THIS BAND. I still do.

LLW existed for a short jaunt in San Francisco as a trio as Gabe moved from Atlanta to Portland to Atlanta and finally back home to Athens again (as the music editor of the alt-weekly Flagpole, no less). I still haven’t heard the post-Athens tapes, yet — Drugs Don’t Last Forever and Double Crunk II Get Fucked — mostly because you probably had to live in the Bay to actually get a copy. The band officially called it quits sometime in 2009, as members went onto other bands like CCR Headcleaner, which finally released its debut today.

Once the spray-painted CDRs had long deteriorated (seriously, don’t spray-paint your CDRs) and everything else had been long out of print, I got in touch with Gabe to preserve these three nutzoid years on Bandcamp. I do my best not to get stuck in the festering, pillow-shaped wound of nostalgia, but listening through Long Legged Woman’s discography, every boombox-recorded drum kick, every muggy porch folk song, every police run-in, every red-lined guitar solo — it all leads to Nobody Knows and a black eye.

nprmusic
nprmusic:

What was the most important band of your college years? The one that you held above all others? The one you turned to when you needed it most?
All Songs Considered wants to know.

Is it obnoxious that the first artist I thought of was an obscure punk band from Athens called Carrie Nations that only put out one CD and a 7”, but left such a profound mark on my time in college and what that town meant to me? I’ll have to think on it some more.

nprmusic:

What was the most important band of your college years? The one that you held above all others? The one you turned to when you needed it most?

All Songs Considered wants to know.

Is it obnoxious that the first artist I thought of was an obscure punk band from Athens called Carrie Nations that only put out one CD and a 7”, but left such a profound mark on my time in college and what that town meant to me? I’ll have to think on it some more.

Bill Doss, we never talked while I lived in Athens, which is unfortunate because I made a lot of friends with wonderful musicians in my time there… many of them a part of the Elephant 6 collective. In fact, it was around 2004-2005 that you came back around to playing music live around town again, with both the Sunshine Fix and The Olivia Tremor Control. While Athens had certainly undergone a change since most of the original E6 folks moved on — a great DIY punk and folk scene rising in its stead — you must have had some idea of what it meant to kids like me when some of the old crew came back. It wasn’t because the town’s music scene needed a boost, it was because those records were the reason why we moved to Athens.

I still remember the thrill of the messed-up New Orleans-style funeral parade through the 40 Watt as The Olivia Tremor Control took the stage for the first time in I don’t know long — I certainly wasn’t paying attention for the first go-around. Or when the  Orange Twin Conservation Community show devolved into doomed-out noise chaos at the end of what I consider one of the greatest concert experiences of my life.

Bill, it’s really too bad we never talked, but you held company with some of the most wildly imaginative and kindest people on Earth, which is why Athens will always be a special place to me. It’s people like you that made it that way. My heart goes out to your friends and family.

If we’re going out / should we bring a map / or should we lose ourselves in meaning?

Even though I grew up in Georgia and spent time in Athens (duh), I honestly don’t care about R.E.M.'s break-up announcement today. But I am reminded of the band's genuinely affecting performance of “All I Have to Do is Dream” that ends Athens, GA - Inside/Out (you can watch the whole thing here), which was really the first time I really fell in love with R.E.M.

nprmusic

It had been five years since I’d seen Matthew when came by the office to perform. Dude had a PBR on his person. You can take the man out of Athens, etc…

nprmusic:

Matthew Houck’s voice is most at home at its breaking point. His band, Phosphorescent, specializes in a sort of free-wheeling weariness, with songs and characters that work extremely hard at taking it easy. His is the sort of listlessness that must be earned, and Houck strains to reach notes like a Boy Scout on a merit binge.

By the time Houck and his band reached NPR headquarters for a Tiny Desk Concert, that already ragged voice was on its last legs. Phosphorescent was just a day away from wrapping up months of touring — first in Europe with The National, then a set of gigs across the U.S. — and Houck could barely talk, let alone sing solo for 20 minutes on camera. We quickly hooked him up with as much herbal tea as we could find and coaxed that crooked croon back to life.

The result was Phosphorescent’s essence in bold relief, with Houck just trying to make it to the next song without giving up. When he sang, “I will keep a-singing ‘til I no more can” — during the neo-spiritual “My Dove, My Lamb” — the momentary alignment of song and circumstance was stunning.