Tag Archive: “Brainiac”

Brainiac
Brainiac

Dayton, Ohio, is the birth place of the cash register, the airplane, Roger and Zapp, The Ohio Players, The Breeders, Guided by Voices and… 3RA1N1AC.

In the mid ’90s the Dayton music scene became a hot spot generating worldwide buzz from the massive amount of influential indie rock being produced there. Arguably the most innovative of them all was the band Brainiac, led by musical genius and insanely charismatic front man Tim Taylor.

After several singles the band was courted by the New York label Grass Records and recorded two albums with Girls Against Boys own Eli Janney at the helm. Countless tours and much critical acclaim came which landed the band on the Lollapalooza side stage and a deal with Touch and Go Records. The band recorded a full length and two EPs with T&G again using Eli Janney and adding Steve Albini, Kim Deal and Jim O’Rourke in the mix to help produce.

The band was opening for Beck and being courted by the majors when Tim was tragically killed in an auto accident.

A Kickstarter campaign launched this week is expected to fund a documentary that will explore the ’90s Dayton music scene, Brainiac’s legacy and how people survive and cope with the loss of loved ones. Over the past 20 years Brainiac has been cited as a massive influence on the likes of Nine Inch Nails, The Mars Volta, Death Cab For Cutie and countless others. You’ll hear from the band, family members, fellow musicians and label heads.

The film will feature commentary and appearances by:

Steve Albini, Wayne Coyne, Buzz Osbourne, Cedric Bixler, David Yow, Eli Janney, Fred Armisen, Jim O’Rourke, Gregg Foreman, John Schmersal, Juan Monasterio, Tyler Trent, Michelle Bodine, Tim’s mother, Linda Taylor and more

The film is directed and produced by Eric Mahoney, whose documentary and narrative work has been seen on television and at various international film festivals such as Cannes, Tribeca and Melbourne. In addition Eric spent over a decade in the midwest music scene fronting the band Murder Your Darlings.

Contribute to the Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1955677038/brainiac-documentary:

Juan Monestario, John Schmersal and Tyler Trent, aka. 3/4 of Brainiac (frontman Tim Taylor was killed in a car accident in 1997), will reunite to play as We’ll Eat Anything with special guests in Dayton, Ohio at Blind Bob’s on December 6. The show, dubbed North of Nowhere South, is an annual benefit show to supplement the college fund of fallen local rock hero Jeremy Frederick’s (Human Reunion, Lazy, Let’s Crash, Cigarhead, etc.) daughter.

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Hissing Prigs In Static Couture
The Piper At The Gates of Dawn

Temple of Psychedelic Youth, the latest record from the Sonic Youth- and Pixies-inspired Dayton rockers, The Dirty Socialites showcases a band that has grown to include Mike Werthmann (drums) and Matt Webster (bass). Per usual, Derek Gullett and Gretta Smak are handling the vocals and guitars for the outing, a collection of edgy pop gems. They released Temple via Consumer Value Deluxe/Dayton Dirtbag Society Records in mid-December 2012. 

With forthcoming regional dates in their sites, Ghettoblaster caught up with Gullett to discuss his favorite records, which were surprisingly not released by Sonic Youth or The Pixies.  This is what he said about Brainiac’s Hissing Prigs in Static Couture and Pink Floyd’s Pipers At The Gates of Dawn…

What is your favorite album?

I have changed a lot over the years, but for me I would have to say….. I have always been drawn to outsiders, weirdos, black sheep. I had doctors who thought I was autistic as a child. I had epilepsy and in the eighties neurology was both a science and a bit experiment; as it is today too. God. I would say Brainiac, it was like nothing I had heard before and reflected things I had enjoyed before but thought weren’t relevant, but the big one was probably The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. It was named after a chapter in The Wind and The Willows, which was the first realization for me that rock or psychedelia could be literate. Both experiences were re-affirming that music could be changing, experimental, and enjoyable in so many different ways.

Do you remember when you received or purchased the album?

I had spent much of my time in high school playing Jimi Hendrix songs and thinking he was really “out there” until my friend Cory had put in Brainiac- Hissing Prigs in Static Couture we were in his car going to a pool hall in between Enon and Springfield, we got there and I remember making him let the thing play all the way through. There was so much going on and it was simple, but complicated. I had a similar experience with some friends (some years later at Antioch) when I was told I needed to “experience” The Piper At the Gates of Dawn. I really look up to Syd and Tim, for different reasons.

What is your favorite song on the album?

With me , the Brainiac experience was that I couldn’t stop listening to it. The songs were of a scope I can’t really explain it unless you experience it. I know I was changed then and there and I had to step up everything I was doing. That was the time for me when I changed from playing music to trying to create it, create a different something that was still reminiscent of what came before but could be sometime else entirely. Piper did the same, but in a different way. I owe a lot to both of them and more really…”

What is it about the song that resonates with you?

There are songs on all of these albums that are amazing but it’s more as a whole. It sums itself. You can’t take one without the others.

Have you ever covered a song from the album?

I have covered “Vincent” with The Professors and Interstellar Overdrive with Switchblade Serenade, but as a Dirty Socialite we haven’t covered any from these albums. We did cover “Dragg” and I would love to cover some of Syd’s stuff.

What is it about the album that makes it stand out against the band’sother output?

 I can’t say that it was more important to me either of these albums than their other work, but they both effected or affected me with an infection that I am still judging myself by to this day.

Have you ever given a copy of this record to anyone?  What were the circumstances?

“I have never given it to anyone, but I remember playing it or gifting the experience like some kind of psych-disciple and it was not always well received, but I have done that with a lot of stuff ranging from Their Majesties Satanic Request, Piper, BJM (see Dig), to modern bands; Vile Imbeciles, US Maple (modernish) and even Flaming Lips or movies like Holy Mountain. Not everyone gets it, but sometimes you can make brothers or sisters, converts of the weird if you will.

Which of the records that you’ve performed on is your favorite?

I must say that it is the new The Dirty Socialites record, Temple of Psychedelic Youth, but if I had to pick another it would be a toss up between  The Whathaveya: Explodes Again or The Professors: Will Not Lie Down.

What is your favorite song on the album and why?

I really liked writing with partners. Gretta, Mat Webster and Brian Hoops it’s very different and exciting to write with all of them. The process of writing the album Will Not Lie Down (The Professors with Mat Webster) felt like a party and I really liked that we were trying out the waters of psychedelia with the song “In My Life.” Similarl in style, but not approach  The Whathaveya (with Brian Hoops) does nothing conventionally, we sort of all work together in groups and write as we go along, and the structure is totally whacked out, I love it. They’re all really fun to play and write with. On Temple it would to be “Do Maki Growl Ovi”

Bonsai Superstar

Although Oh Condor’s musical roots can be traced to 90s indie rock, their production is a little too slick for lo-fi, too ambitious for slacker rock, and too fun for shoegazing.  The quartet’s Reflector EP, which hit the streets via Gas Daddy Go! in February showcases a scrappy and ambitious Dayton, Ohio-based quartet capable of and committed to chasing down moments of pop and rock brilliance and setting them to tape. None of this is tremendously surprising considering the strength of the band’s formidable back catalog of self-released albums and EPs. 

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Oh Condor guitarist/keyboardist, vocalist to discuss his current favorite record, by Oh Condor hometown heroes, Brainiac’s Bonsai Superstar.  Here is what he told us about why it kicks ass…

What is your favorite album?

Such an insane question! What’s your favorite color? Who’s your favorite child? There are a great many records that I could probably listen to non-stop, but today I’m going to say Bonsai Superstar by Brainiac because I actually had a dream about them last night. Well, kind of. I had a dream that John Schmersal had borrowed my headphones for some reason and I really needed them back before midnight for delivering someone’s baby, so Tyler Trent and I were driving around in this weird little red car looking for him. I think it was an ’87 Mx7, but I’m not sure if that’s an actual thing or not.

Do you remember when you received or purchased the album?

For a while, I just had a dubbed cassette of it that someone gave me, probably Shane Weber (Oh Condor). Or more likely he left it in my car, and I just kept it. I remember thinking it was a mix-tape at first, because the songs seemed all over the place to me, but I listened to it constantly. It almost never left the tape deck in my car until it broke. I forget where I got my first official copy of the record, but it’s been out of print for a long time, and I actually bought a second copy on eBay years ago as a backup. I guess someone at Dutch East India found a box of them laying around, and threw them online for like $20 a piece brand new. 

What is your favorite song on the album?

Probably “Radio Apeshot.”

What is it about the song that resonates with you?

I really love the dynamics on that song, how it bounces back and forth between these sparse, almost free-jazz verses, and the hyped up, sassy pop choruses. It’s like the song is almost falling apart at times, and then they just turn it back around. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that the lyrics read like something out of some old pulp detective novel that was, penned by William S Burroughs.  

Have you ever covered a song from the album?

No, but I’ve covered a couple of songs off Hissing Prigs in Static Couture. Human Reunion used to cover “Nothing Ever Changes” semi-regularly, and the few times that I’ve played with Captain of Industry, we did “Vincent Come On Down.” 

What is it about the album that makes it stand out against the band’s other output?

Whenever I hear the opening guitar line of “Hot Metal Dobermans,” it feels like I’ve arrived and I know the next 33 1/2 minutes are going to be great.  The whole thing just has this unhinged, warbling feel to it, like someone is flipping through the stations on a busted up AM radio, and every one is playing your next favorite song.  So much catchy pop sensibility, but warped up into this amazing, demented sound palette of detuned guitars, incredible drum beats, danceable bass lines, blipping synths and effected vocals.   

Have you ever given a copy of this record to anyone?  What were the circumstances?

I don’t think I’ve ever actually given a copy of it to anyone, but I know I’ve played it for plenty of unsuspecting friends, and I’ve also included some song of theirs or another on countless mixtapes over the years.  

Which of the records that you’ve performed on is your favorite?

The newest record is always my favorite, and right now, that’s the Reflector cassette Oh Condor released earlier this year. I’ve been playing with these guys in some form or another for ten years now, and I really think it’s the best work we’ve done. I always think that though, and with every new record comes my new favorite.

What is your favorite song on the album and why?

Umm.. I’ll go with “Shoot First” because it’s super fun to perform. Also I get to play guitar and synthesizer on it, and sometimes you can’t tell which is which.