Skull Kontrol

Skull Kontrol was formed in Autumn 1997 in Washington DC, and was originally based around the musical assault trio of Brooks Headly, Kim Thompson (The Delta 72 & Cupid Car Club) and Chris Thomson (Circus Lupus, Los Mordidas and Monorchid, Ignition, and the awesome one 7" only Fury). After the demise of the Monorchid Andy Coronado was added to the Skull Kontrol mix to avoid any lazy power-trio comparisons.
The group played its first few formative gigs as a real live band with Chris sharing both guitar and vocal duties. After deciding that most bands with a singer/guitarist were lame, Chris opted to be an unburdened singer.
Skull Kontrol toured the US graciously infecting locals with the concept that you don't need costumes, public relations, guarantees, or even a record to tour and perform music - just energy, attitude and the desire to rock.
The collective goal of the group was to avoid the prevalent "professional working band" attitude that had recently infected so many underground bands. They felt that something had to be done to strip away the layers of bullshit and corporate standards of performance embraced by so many of today's groups. Substituting instead a stripped down energetic sound and a solid punk dynamic they were more than able to meet this challenge.
Skull Kontrol says in all your forms of daily life please deviate beyond all means of capture. They want you to please think before you buy some contemporary "flavour of the month" thinking-person's music or some major label's idea of the emperor's new clothes, as it is only a matter of time before you discover your mistake and realise how right they were after all.

Deviate Beyond All Means Of Capture (1999)
Zzzzzz... (2000)
Midgets Tape


High school friends Geoff Sanoff and Nick Pellicciotto met Sohrab Habibion in the Hung Jury Pub during a Lemonheads and Government Issue show in the spring of 1987. In the parking lot of a high school talent show that fall, the three first came across Steve Ward, whose band performed a particularly impressive rendition of "White Rabbit." They all agreed that Happy Go Licky was the best band in Washington D.C., and thus their musical alliance was sealed. After helping Nick's hardcore band, At Wits End, play their final shows, Sohrab joined Nick in forming a new group. Having been inspired by the DC hardcore scene and the classic British post-punk of Wire and Gang of Four, they asked Steve Ward to play bass guitar with them.

In 1989 Edsel started DeSoto Records to release their first 7" ("My Manacles"/"Wooden Floors"). The label was borrowed by their friends in Jawbox, whose members continue to run it quite successfully today. After a few more singles, including a contribution to the first Simple Machines release, Edsel went into the studio to work on their first album. The band recorded 10 songs during July 1990 at Inner Ear Studios and April 1991 at Oz Studios. This material would make up Strange Loop, released on Merkin Records in 1992. Over the course of the recording process Eli Janney (Girls Against Boys), who was engineering and mixing the sessions, joined the band to handle sampler duties. He subsequently left early in 1992 to pursue Girls Against Boys full-time.

Steve Raskin, a high school friend of Eli's who had previously helped the band with artwork, was added to the band, giving Edsel a second guitar player and backing singer. Soon after that Steve Ward decided to leave, making room for bassist Geoff Sanoff, who had just graduated from college. In September of 1992 and throughout the spring and summer of 1993, the group recorded The Everlasting Belt Co. in Arlington, Virginia at Inner Ear with Don Zientara and WGNS Studios with Geoff Turner. This experimental and very ambitious project was their first of two albums for Grass Records, a subsidiary of Dutch East India and sister label to the highly-regarded Homestead Records. With several releases in their catalog, Edsel began touring regularly, sharing the stage with bands like Shudder To Think, Engine Kid, Scrawl and Eggs. They also released a split 7" with Jawbox the same year ("Savory"/"Penaluna").

In 1994, the multitalented Nick Pellicciotto stepped out to pursue other creative projects. His spot was filled by their friend John Dugan, who was temporarily on leave from Chisel. This lineup traveled all over the country in 1994, playing with indie rock staples Velocity Girl, Pitchblende, Polvo, Rodan, and Brainiac. After extensive touring, Edsel returned to the studio in August -- this time at a cabin owned by Sohrab's parents in Shenandoah National Park. Dubbed "Humidity Lounge," the cabin was uncomfortably hot and muggy, but the week spent there with engineer Steve Palmieri proved to be intensely creative. They finished up their work at Steve's Baltimore studio, Oz, and the resulting album, Detroit Folly, was their last release for Grass.

When John Dugan returned to his fulltime drumming duties for Chisel, he was replaced by Bostonian Steven Albert, who had briefly played drums with Steve Raskin's sisters' band, Scarce. After touring the US with their new drummer, the group returned to DC and spent April of 1995 feverishly writing new material. Full of excitement and curiosity, the band flew to England to work with producer Anjali Dutt (My Bloody Valentine, Oasis) and engineer Andy Wilkinson (Stereolab, Spiritualized) in Liverpool to begin the Techniques Of Speed Hypnosis sessions at Parr Street Studios. After finishing the record Edsel played their only European show at the Bull & Gate in London.

In September of 1995, Relativity Records released the album to great success on college radio. Unfortunately, due to corporate reorganization, Relativity Records was dissolved on January 1st, 1996 and Sony, the company that owned and absorbed Relativity, chose to drop the band from their hip hop and commercial pop dominated roster. Edsel, like many other indie bands in the mid-90s who signed with major labels, suddenly found themselves without a home.

Though disappointed and slightly fractured, the band decided to carry on, recording a pair of songs with the help of studio wizard Geoff Turner at his new WGNS Studios location. These tracks became the Perched Like A Parasite 7" picture disc for Chicago's Thick Records. Later that year Edsel took those tapes to the Place Studios in New York to continue working. With engineer/producer Andy Wilkinson and engineer Gary Maurer they remixed the 2 tracks from the single and added two others, including a multilingual atmospheric duet with Ivy's Dominique Durand. This became the Extended Play EP on Radiopaque/Dischord Records, released in 1997. As the band members' lives began to move in separate directions this would prove to be Edsel's last official release.

Edsel played their final show for a friend's going away party at the famous New York City indie rock club Brownies on Valentine's Day in 2000. The following summer the band flirted with the idea of recording and releasing some new material, but it proved to be too difficult to get everyone together in the studio. And though the members of Edsel are all currently busy with their careers and various music projects, they still remain in contact with one another.

Strange Loop (1991)
Everlasting Belt Co.(1993)
Split with Jawbox (1993)
Detroit Folly (1994)
Techniques Of Speed Hypnosis (1995)
Extended Play (1997)

Storm And Stress

Chicago experimental indie rock trio Storm & Stress was guitarist + singer Ian Williams (of Battles & ex- Don Caballero), drummer Kevin Shea & bassist Erich Ehm. The band recorded their 1st album "Storm & Stress", w/ Steve Albini in 1997. It was released in July of that same year on Touch & Go. In June 1999, Storm & Stress recorded their follow-up album with Jim O'Rourke, this time with guest appearances by not only Micah Gaugh, who also performed on their first release, but by drummer Jim Black, as well. Under Thunder & Fluorescent Lights was released in 2000 on Touch & Go.

Ian Williams : Currently living in NYC & playing in Battles (Warp) & Kevin Shea : Solo artist under the name "People" + drummer w/ diff. band.

Storm&Stress (1997)
Under Thunder & Fluorescent Lights (2000)

Ex Models

The band, based around brothers Shahin and Shahryar Motia, was started while they were in high school. They reunited after college to make their first album, Other Mathematics, released in 2001 on Ace Fu Records. The subject of their lyrics ranges from sex to Jean Baudrillard and his philosophy about simulacra. For example, on "The Birth Of Disneyland", vocalist Shahin Motia sings "See the grown-ups act like children. It's a way of living."

Their second album, Zoo Psychology, was released two years later. It took ideas from the first album, but broke more rules. The songs became more dirty and noisy with peculiar time changes. By this time, bass guitarist Mike Masiello left the band. Zach Lehrhoff replaced him, providing vocals as well.

By 2005 the band had been reduced to the duo of Shahin and Zach and a third album, Chrome Panthers, was released marking a new direction, even more repetitive and minimalist, which the band dubbed "Fundustrial Noise". Contributing on record and, occasionally, live was drummer Kid Millions of Oneida. Eventually the rhythms became more primal and when performing live the band would utilize as many as three drummers.

In 2007, the 'classic' line-up of both Motias, Zach and drummer Jake Fiedler performed in NYC's East River Park.

However the reunion with Fiedler was short lived, with the remaining three commencing to play out as Knyfe Hyts, a more metal-oriented outfit.

Other Mathematics (2001)
Split with The Seconds (2002)
Zoo Psychology (2003)
Split with Holy Molar (2004)
Chrome Panthers (2005)

Dain Bramage

Dain Bramage was formed in December 1985 out of the remains of the band Mission Impossible. In 1984 David Smith was playing drums in a band called Freak Baby when the band decided to add a second guitarist - Dave Grohl, who had recently met Freak Baby bassist Brian Samuels at a local gig. Freak Baby had rehearsed with Grohl prior to this. They went into the original Laundry Room Studio and recorded a demo with David Smith on drums, Dave Grohl on guitar, Bryant Mason on guitar, Brian Samuels on bass and Chris Page as vocals.

This lineup lasted 6 months. One time - as rehearsal was wrapping up - Grohl asked if he could play drums, Smith grabbed the bass; Bryant and Chris joined in (Brian wasn't present.) The four guys were happy with the way things went and reformed as the four piece known as Mission Impossible. The new lineup was a vast improvement, and they began playing more shows. Mission Impossible went into Laundry Room studios and re-recorded some of the Freak Baby songs and recorded some new tracks. Soon after they recorded this demo, they duetted with the fellow D.C.-located band, Lunch Meat. They ended up playing some shows together and remained in Washington D.C. Eventually they would go on to release a Lunch Meat/Mission Impossible 7" on Dischord Records.

Mission Impossible continued up until Bryant and Chris graduated from high school and continued education at college. At this point Reuben Radding entered the scene in the infamous first jam in Grohl's living room in Springfield, Virginia. After that first jam they had 6 or 7 songs together (Reuben had improvised vocals).

Dain Bramage ended in March 1987 when Grohl quit without any warning to join Scream. Reuben and Smith tried to form a new band but Reuben later commented, "After you've spent a couple years with Dave Grohl as your drummer it's easy to feel like no other drummer exists."

I Scream Not Coming Down (1986)

Saccharine Trust

Too early to be post-hardcore but too uncommon for any simple classification, this Southern California quartet doesn't try to create a blizzard of noise — they go at it more artfully, but with equally ear-wrenching results. On Paganicons, singer Joaquin Milhouse Brewer tunelessly barks lyrics (as in "We Don't Need Freedom" and "A Human Certainty") that aren't bad in a pretentious mock-intellectual vein; the music is loudly abrasive, but with spaces and dynamics largely uncommon to the genre.

From Brewer's back cover credit of "vocals and sermons" to his complex, provocative lyrics (despite numerous misspellings on the lyric sheet), Saccharine Trust — guitarist Joe Baiza plus a new rhythm section — takes an abrupt religious turn on Surviving You, Always. "Yhwh on Acid," "Lot's Seed," "Remnants" and "Our Discovery" all contain biblical imagery and religious references, but in a context that obscures and reorients the themes well beyond easy recognition and comprehension. Musically, Sac Trust uses the punk idiom like avant-jazz, liberating the vocals to function semi-independently as blurt poetry, while the band goes through tight formation riffs that are carefully structured but not really within traditional song form. Sophisticated, and engrossing once you get past the daunting attack. (The first two albums were later joined as The Sacramental Element cassette.)

Proceeding further into the experimental realms generally reserved for the "new music" folks, Saccharine Trust attempted something really unusual with Worldbroken. The LP was not only recorded live, it was improvised on the spot! Joined by ex-Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, Brewer and two surviving sidemen rise to the challenge, producing a loose but controlled-sounding jam record (no punks here) that reveals its total extemporaneousness only in the rambling narrative of Brewer's lyrics.

On the jazzy We Became Snakes, a five-piece lineup (with sax and a new bassist) returns to the old-fashioned way: write 'em, rehearse 'em and then record 'em. Watt produced the record, which again reflects Brewer's religious fixation. The sonic formula includes syncopated rhythm vamps, lots of riffy solos on sax and guitar and dramatic vocal recitations. Imaginative and far-reaching, if not exactly enjoyable or accessible.

Over the course of 75 gripping minutes (gleaned from a vault stocked with seven years' worth of live tapes made by machines of wildly differing audio quality), Past Lives paints a slightly more complete (if less stark) picture of Saccharine Trust's awesome live capabilities as both inward-looking improvisers and kick-out-the-jams shamen. Quick cuts between the two facets that also crisscross chronological "order" create some jarring juxtapositions, but that's probably the idea. Only one song is repeated from Worldbroken; the seven tracks that are otherwise unavailable include one rare glimpse of the band, (spiritual) lampshades on heads, ripping through Black Flag's "Six Pack."

Freed from freedom's shackles, Brewer created a brooding, cohesive solo album of surprisingly concise, typically dark guitar rock. Though he's still as obsessive/compulsive as anyone tilling rock-poetry's increasingly infertile soil, Brewer seems to have toned down his more hysterical Elmer Gantry approach — even when petitioning the Lord. You'll only wince once (upon hearing the cover of the Doors' "Peace Frog," a reprise from Past Lives) over the course of the many listens you'll need — and want —
to breathe in this essence rare. [Ira Robbins/David Sprague]


Brainiac began in 1992 as the basement experiments of Dayton, OH natives Tim Taylor (vocals, synth), and Juan Monasterio (bass), who first met playing cello in fifth grade. Upon completing the lineup with Michelle Bodine (guitar) and Tyler Trent (drums), they released two full-lengths and toured vigorously, establishing themselves as the latest peg in Ohio’s diverse musical timeline. In 1994, Michelle left the band and was replaced by John Schmersal. After recording a 7” with Steve Albini for Sup Pop, the band recorded a handful of songs with Kim Deal (of The Pixies), which became their Touch and Go debut single Internationale.

1996 saw the release of their Touch and Go full-length debut, Hissing Prigs in Static Couture. Like their two previous full-lengths, this was also produced by Eli Janney, and saw the band use less Moog and more random electronic gadgets and noisemakers. Jim O’Rourke produced 1997’s Electroshock for President EP, in which Brainiac continued their transition into a more electronic rock band. They began to receive serious interest from major labels. On May 23 1997, however, only weeks after the EP’s release and the band’s return from a European tour supporting Beck, Tim lost his life in a car accident in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. He was 28. Guitarist John Schmersal went on to form Enon.

Superduperseven 7 (1992)
Smack Bunny Baby (1993)
Bonsai Superstar (1994)
Internationale (1995)
Hissing Prigs in Static Couture (1996)
Electro Shock for President (1997)