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.