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.

Love me some stoned psychedelic noise, especially when said noise is made by former members of in-the-red noise-punks Long Legged Woman. CCR Headcleaner’s self-titled tape has the kind of shambling, overblown bedroom dirges and migraine-pounders that leave you just a wee queasy at 4 in the morning after all-night tear. To these ears, it actually sounds like the most ghostly and trying moments of Long Legged Woman’s tour CD-Rs, the ones that only superfans like me own (and like), but actually realized as legit exploration and not just byproducts of weed consumption.

Broken Format Mixtape, No. 9: Athens Night (Boulevard)


Download Part 5 of 5 | Read the opening salvo | See all mixtapes

1. LONG LEGGED WOMAN “Yours is Mine”
2. MOUSER “Lemonly”
3. GRIPE “History of Violence”
4. THE INSTRUMENTS “Song for Thomas”
5. KILLICK “Piece by Piece (Slayer cover)”
6. COULIER “F— F— F—”
7. FAIRBURN ROYALS “Be My Punk Rock Friend”
8. OF MONTREAL “I Can’t Stop Your Memory”
9. VISITATIONS “Joanne (Live on WUOG)”
10. JIM WILLINGHAM “Liver-Spotted Hand”
12. R.E.M. “Pilgrimage”
13. ELF POWER “Will My Feet Still Carry Me Home”
14. THE SUGAR SHAKERS “Geniveve”
15. HARVEY MILK “Get It Up & Get It On”
17. CHRISSAKES “Granby”

And thus ends the Athens Night mixtapes. Thanks for indulging this trip down memory lane, plus a few nods to the Georgia town’s current scene. If you missed any, you can download them all here.

Photo: Madeline Adams of the short-lived Sugar Shakers (she’s now just “Madeline”) performs at the 40 Watt circa 2002 (by Lars Gotrich).