See also: Four Fort Worth bands to watch
Fort Worth's Lo-Life Recordings have punctuated the seasons of 2012 with splits by Doom Ghost and War Party, two bands that mirror each other's three-chord mindset. Then they put out two really great videos: One in which Doom Ghost is profiled takedown-ad-style for the Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards, and the other spoofing PiL's infamously awkward 1980 interview with Tom Snyder. Then last week, those aforementioned bands played a show at Lola's with the wonderfully named Bitch Bricks. Sold.
I asked Lo-Life representative/War Party guitarist Cameron Smith a little about what's cooking with the label and in the basements in Cowtown.
What are your thoughts on the Fort Worth punk scene? I think the punk scene in Fort Worth has had a lot of really hard-working, committed and passionate people involved in it for quite some time now. 1919 Hemphill has been open for ten years; that's one place that I know has helped raise almost all of the DIY punks on this end of the metroplex. As far as LLR goes, all of the bands seemed to have come about in a domino effect from just this last year. Vern [Marigold] was in Seattle and moved back thinking maybe there was room for him to join War Party, but then wound up starting Doom Ghost, and Schuylar Stapleton moved to Fort Worth from Seattle, by way of Colorado, with the idea that she'd be on guitar in Doom Ghost, but instead wound up starting Bitch Bricks. There's definitely a great deal of solidarity involved with all the bands on Lo-Life, and that's part of what makes it possible for us to realize most of the ideas that sprout up in our skulls.
And what was the inspiration for that PiL video? We wanted to make some kind of promotional video for our first vinyl release and we wanted to include Fort Live in it as a token of our appreciation for them setting up and promoting the release party. It was Peter Marsh's girlfriend, Tiffiny Costello, that suggested we do the PiL spoof and immediately everyone was on board. The original clip is something we've all laughed at and joked about from time to time, so it wasn't hard to adapt it into what it became. Tyler Moore didn't even start writing out a script until Peter was already gripping the set, and even though there was a script, plenty of the dialogue was improvised. I guess all I'm really saying is good times were the inspiration.
What else do you have planned, release-wise, for 2012? What catches your ear and makes you want to put it out? There's going to be a Bitch Bricks cassette split with the Longshots; War Party is currently working on their first full-length LP, and we may try to squeeze in another single in before the year is up; Doom Ghost is also ready to start recording a full length, but their drummer, Jeremy Brown, is still recovering from a broken clavicle. They are still sitting on a few unreleased tracks though, so I'm sure there will be some other DG release before the year is up. There will also be some kind of sound offering by previously unheard songwriter, Stephanie Donaghey, under the moniker Toy Gun, and then we're working on a cassette compilation with unreleased tracks from various bands, songwriters and friends around the metroplex whom we find to make exceptional noise.
We're no good at sitting still. When we hear music that is soulful and groovy and also raw and gritty, our frowns turn upside down. When we find out that it started on the floor or in a basement or garage by some Fort Worth-a-shit dirtbags like us, then we want to help put it out. It's hard for me to get any more specific than that, because for the ten or eleven months that Lo-Life Recordings has existed, it has really just been a tight-knit collective of musicians and artists, but it is growing all the time. We all own it and we all have an opinion and a say in what gets released because they are quite literally OUR releases.
Besides the obvious ones, what are some of the local bands you'd tell people to check out? I'd say definitely keep an ear out for Fungi Girls, Year of the Bear, Sealion, Mailman, The Longshots, Fou, Jake Paleschic & Patriot, New Science Projects, Hate Your Friends, Special Guests, Spacebeach, Square Business, Big Fiction, Great Big Balugas, Innards, Final Club, Drug Mountain, Holy Mammoth and Toy Gun.