Death Valley/Afterburn/Buttercup Records
In early 1991 myself and longtime pal Bevan ( we worked together at Au-Go-Go Records for six +years) decided that we wanted to do a label together so we set DEATH VALLEY RECORDS on it’s way. We were into Overseas stuff at that time like : SUGAR SHACK , SLUG, DAZZLING KILLMEN, SISTER RAY, 64 SPIDERS, UNSANE, GIRL TROUBLE, THE MELVINS, DEAD MOON, THE MIRACLE WORKERS,THE MIKE GUNN, and more.. And Aussie /NZ stuff on our radar from our notebook at the time had bands such as : THE GUTTERSNIPES, GREEN BEAVER, TRUCKHEAD, VENOM P. STINGER, THE DEAD C, SLUB, FREELOADERS, 3 TOED SLOTH and more.. We got a pal to design the logo ( Evel Knieval jumping the grand canyon) and set about to get stuck the hell in…Two of those we locked in and we did a nice little run of 7”s initially of some of our favourite bands featuring some of our favourite people. It wasn’t a label with a HUGE discography ( 10 singles and 5 CD’s) but we did some PRETTY GREAT releases and some of the songs here are STILL amongst a bunch of my fave songs of all time so we can look back at it fondly, knowing that we did some good shit and stayed true to the music that we loved. Here is how it panned out over time….& at the bottom are detailed notes on each release..
DV 001 - SLUB - Barracuda 7” 1993 Still Available
DV 002 - CHRISTBAIT / DIRT CLOD FIGHT -Split 7” 1994
DV 003 - SCOURGE - Phoenix 7” 1994 Still Available
DV 004 - VENOM P. STINGER -Thickskin 7” 1994
DV 005 - HOSS - The Tiredest Man Awake 7” 1994
DV 006 - THE POWDER MONKEYS -Get the Girl Straight 7” 1994
DV 007 - THE SICK THINGS - Committed To Suicide 7” 1994
DV 008 - MUD CITY MANGLERS / THE SPOILERS -Split 7” 1997
DV 009 - PETER JEFFERIES & CHRIS SMITH -Ghost Writer 7” 1999
DV 010 - LIMES -Tarantula CD 2005 Still Available
DV 011 - DERN RUTLIDGE /WARPED -Split 7” 2000
DV 012 - CHRIS SMITH -Replacement CD 2000
DV 013 - CHRIS SMITH -Bad Orchestra CD 2007
DV 014 - STEVE YOUNG - Australian Tour CDep 2007 Still Available
DV 015 - NOW TIME DELEGATION -Watch For Today CD 2010 Still Available
Notes on the Discography :
DV 001 -SLUB - The first cab off the rank was from this great local experimental band who we both dug & thought they were a vital part of Melbourne’s underground scene. For them to cover an 80’s mainstream band ( Heart ) was in itself kinda trippy and they did it in the SLUB way.
It had a great sleeve and came with a DIY cassette, the remaining copies of which are for sale on the FMR homepage. Great band and amazing musicians.
DV 002 - CHRISTBAIT / DIRT CLOD FIGHT - Wow ! We were both MAD on these bands… Christbait from Melbourne and DCF from the USA… Christbait had been blowing us away with their Godflesh inspired HEAVY for awhile and they remain for me, a huge live fave who filled my brain with all that it needed at that time across the early 90’s so we were super stoked to get this 7” out and it remains their only release on that format. When we both ordered in the early DCF 7” and ‘Everything That Isn’t’ album on Flipside they crushed us with their power & delivery…Phil Merwin’s vocals were just on FIRE ! so we followed up and made this split happen and love the heck out of it. Geelong was an area which took to Dirt Clod Fight & there were a bunch of us ( like a secret cult) who fussed over them and held a ‘code’ of appreciation for this band for many a year. They would even end up playing one of the RIVER ROCKS gigs at the Barwon Club in Geelong in 2016 ( which unfortunately we both could not make).
DV 003 - SCOURGE - Well again, we had seen tens and tens of shows of Scourge live ( mostly at the Great Britain Hotel) and we got to know them as friends through our fandom so it was a no brainer to us to lock in a 7” and their dark howling rock rumble was something that we loved the shit out of. Really interesting characters with deep involvement in music ( some of the members were from the mid 80’s Punk scene in AARDVARK’S AFTERBIRTH, and were also heavily embedded in the noise/ Art /experimental scene in bands such as WOMNAL & SOOTERKIN FLESH) Great creative guys who we always enjoy seeing out and about to this day when we are at shows or friends 50th’s or 60th’s parties in some dark haunt deep in the guts of Melbourne…
DV 004 - VENOM P. STINGER - We were longtime fans of VPS and held them in incredibly high esteem as one of Melbourne’s most original bands. They were a part of our musical DNA & we loved them live and on record and were always gonna lock in a single or the discography just would not be the same…All members had deep deep history going back to the early days of the Punk scene and some of the band members lived utterly wild kinda lives sometimes on a knife edge ( with two no longer with us),and the other two of course being intense players in THE DIRTY THREE (along with the mesmerizing violin of Warren Ellis). Top single and what a band…
DV 005 - HOSS - Well again, these are just our MAIN FAVE BANDS, we’d travel to see them play, turn up at every gig, buy every record and we both knew they were simply AMAZING as a band & these two songs are utterly magical for me personally with that dynamic guitar, hard punch sonic kick and Joel’s always brill lyrics and delivery… A band where EVERY member was SUPER IMPORTANT to the end result and this remains one of my fave 7”s of ALL TIME ! We both will forever hold this band up high on any pedestal you wanna slide in front of us…10/10 this 7”…
with the cover drawn by the cat who also designed and drew the DV logo at the time…
DV 006 - THE POWDER MONKEYS - What can I say… ANOTHER band who we would drive for miles to see AS MANY GIGS AS WE COULD, we knew ALL the songs, every kick, every beat, every snarl & they soundtracked our 90’s like no other band in so many ways. We were of course big fans of GOD from being at Au-Go-Go at the time of ‘My Pal’ and their 12”s and LP so our love of both Joel and Tim’s future music was always gonna be on our radar and as we were such active gig attendees of course you get to know people quite well over a period of years. The PM’s remain one of my fave all time live band experiences and they are a part of everything that I do with music and creativity to this day, one hundred per cent. The fact that every single member of GOD kicked on to do solid and interesting music is a testament to their musical chops, drive and attitude as people… to forge their own paths in the way they saw fit. Influential as you wanna…
DV 007 - THE SICK THINGS - This one was a straight up reissue of the classic 1981 AUSSIE PUNK SPUZZ ep which would see band members later end up in VENOM P. STINGER and THE DIRTY THREE and is a totally insane audio attack from another of Melbourne’s most intense bands. It
remains one of the most INTENSE musical monsters to be unleashed in this state and STILL blows people away to this day. Total Total PUNK GOLD….fierce, nasty and Nhilistic Muck bar none…
DV 008 - MUD CITY MANGLERS / THE SPOILERS - By this point.. 1998/1999 I had stepped aside from the label as Bevan became heavily involved with his friend Craig Bailey ( Scott from Hoss’s Brother), who had a label and distro (International Trash) running out of the CORDUROY RECORDS vinyl pressing plant in the backwoods of the South East. He was a member of THE SPOILERS and had imported copies of the band’s first two killer singles (1997, 1998), the latter being on 007 Records which was a label which Craig really championed. This 7” came out in 1999 and the next year Craig would release (the incredible) debut album from THE MUD CITY MANGLERS (‘Heart full of Hate’) which a shitload of Aussies discovered, played to death and rocked out to hard for the next 12 months. A great bratty punk LP you should seek out..
DV 009 - PETER JEFFERIES & CHRIS SMITH - Bevan is a walking encyclopedia on NEW ZEALAND independent music ( being born there) & over the decades has turned so many people onto bands from across the way, many of whom may still mention it to this day if they happen to bump into him at a show, so PJ was long on his radar from his time in NOCTURNAL PROJECTIONS ( early 80’s with his equally active Bro Graeme) & THIS KIND OF PUNISHMENT, along with a deep solo catalogue, and local musician CHRIS SMITH was someone who Bevan became close friends with and a huge supporter of his music and would later put out two of his great albums on DV on CD. ‘Ghost Writer’ is a great little 7” and Bevan did a great insert with one of his many detailed artist discographies he would meticulously create over the years.
DV 010 - LIMES - I came back into the fold around 2004 and we were both taken by this CD-R from this killer MEMPHIS band we loved which I think turned up at Au-Go-Go or in one of our Mailboxes… We got in touch with Shawn from the band and ‘Tarantula’ came out in 2005 and we both still play it to this day ! Great people and really awesome laid back garage ( If you do an order on this site, ask for a FREE COPY of it in the notes section) & it was well received locally by maybe 100 or so people who LOVED it, but a tough call to try and sell 500 of an unknown CD in Australia. Six years later in 2011, the great Memphis label GONER reissued our little CD ( saying it came from NZ) on LP/CD & included another cool CD-R ( Blue Blood) as extra tracks. Killer CD.
DV 011 - DERN RUTLIDGE /WARPED - Sometimes when you do a label you fuss and fart over the Catalogue Numbers and you often lock in a number which may take a while before it comes out, or you leave a number vacant for a later release… this happened here as 011 came out in 1999.. SIX YEARS BEFORE 010 above so shit happens with sequence sometimes so we try not to lose any sleep over it… This was another which Bevan was all over and he was big on the music of Craig Westwood ( Dern Rutlidge) who was creating songs from his Post -CHRISTBAIT period. This was another split ( and the labels last VINYL release), with Geelong/Melbourne’s mighty WARPED, who we knew as very young fellas who we’d watch lug in gear to pubs with their parents and who were also associated with the Au-Go-Go label. It came in a odd fold over 7” sleeve at it’s tip and was also stamped with the International Trash logo.
DV 012 /013 - CHRIS SMITH - Bevan worked very closely with Chris and issued two CD full length albums ‘ Replacement’ (his second album from 2000) and ‘ Bad Orchestra’ (2007). I was supportive of what he was doing but had no real part in seeing these come to fruition but that ‘Bad Orchestra’ album really IS a MAGNIFICENT GEM of a record of cool abrasive blues etched punch and this would not go un noticed 7 years hence as BEN CHASNY of the excellent SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE would reissue this album on LP/CD as the second release on his own ‘Hermit Hut’ imprint ( HH-02 ) and it would get GLOWING reviews from around the world both then and now and is a wonderful wonderful album. Swedish free-jazz saxophonist MATS GUSTAFSSON penned a great heartfelf review of it which may well make you wanna own it (read it here). Chris
would go about his musical business as an unknown entity for the most part within his own country, but without a doubt had scattered fans around the globe who REALLY got what he was doing and hold these albums close. Chris was also previously a member of the GOLDEN LIFESTYLE BAND who will appear on FMR in 2022 on LP…So the circle keeps turning.
DV 014 - STEVE YOUNG - 2007 Australian tour CDEP
Bevan remains a HUGE fan of STEVE YOUNG ( along with others like CAPTAIN BEEFHEART , THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, IGGY & THE STOOGES & PERE UBU to name but a few), and we are talking DEEP DEEP fandom here, not just ownership and enjoyment of an artists officially released albums and singles…This is TRUE band devotion, where you track down every version from every country, seek out demos, bootlegs, promos, cover versions…it’s a true engagement with the artist and he has had a great impact and influence on MY OWN music appreciation and discovery and has turned me onto SO MUCH insanely magical music over the years it’s wild so for us both to work together and get this AUSTRALIAN TOUR EP out in 2007 was a really proud and personally rewarding moment and something we would both follow up on the CD Reissue label listed below. Steve is a legend in music, a Outlaw Country champion who had an incredibly rich life and whose songs affected millions of people the world over, with artists from THE EAGLES to LINDA RONSTADT to DOLLY PARTON to WAYLON JENNINGS and many more. He passed away in 2016 and if you haven’t…you really should ! I thank Bevan for making me a big SY fan to this day.
DV 015 - NOW TIME DELEGATION - We were both fans of a lot of the music which came from TEXAS, especially 80’s/90’s Punk/Garage, so when we heard this album ‘Watch For Today’ featuring BIG BOYS / LORD HIGH FIXERS legend TIM KERR, along with LISA K from L.A.’s BELLRAYS doing wild Soul /Garage, we thought that an Aussie version would be a cool thing so that is what we did and it became the final release on the label. The American release was on our fave label IN THE RED, one that we had both religiously followed for decades and whose label head LARRY HARDY had an incredible ear for great gritty music ( and still does) and who has also heavily supported wild Aussie sounds sporadically across his vast discography (since the early 90’s)
In 2000 and something or other we had two great external office spaces for the label, one in Hawthorn and a big shop front space in Gilbert Rd Preston which we fully decked out ceiling to floor with music posters and desks and storage etc… which was a great space while it lasted but could never sustain itself so we had to give it up as the rent payments and reality stepped in and told us to shape the hell up and move the hell out.
Afterburn Records - 2003 to 2008
In the early 2K’s we talked about doing a REISSUE CD LABEL and so we went at it again with AFTERBURN RECORDS ( the name taken from a track by THE NEW CHRISTS amazing ‘Distemper’ album) and did SEVEN great comps /albums before it all fizzled out and we got tired of trying to scrape together money to get another album out (amongst other life things) so that was that, but the global nature of the releases and the many mindblowing songs found amongst those discs again make us feel super proud of the small but solid catalogue we created and the music which we helped to share with many willing ears across Australia and the world. The ATB Discography ( with detailed notes following the straight list )
ATB 000 - BILLY BAO - CD 2007 Still Available
ATB 001 - BORED! CD Compilation 2006
ATB 002 - THE FRANTIX - My Dad’s a Fucking Alcoholic CD 2003
ATB 003 - THE VILE CHERUBS - The man who has no eats has no sweats CD 2007
ATB 004 - THE CHUMPS - The Problem with Saxophones CD 2007 Still Available
ATB 005 - GOD - Compilation CD 2010
ATB 006 - STEVE YOUNG - Long Time Rider CD 2008
Notes on the Discography :
Of the seven titles featured, two were Australian, four were from America, one from Spain..
the FRANTIX was actually the first to come out, way back in 2003 and has a bit of a backstory.. When I was a young fan seeking out all these amazing Independent record stores in the mid 80’s I would venture into places such as EXPOSURE RECORDS in Kew ( owned by future Shock co-owner Frank Falvo), LEEDIN RECORDS in Fitzroy, AU-GO-GO RECORDS ( when based in Little Collins Street), COLLECTORS CORNER in Swanston St ( when it was opposite the State Library and down a bit), and GREVILLE RECORDS in Prahran ( then owned by another future Shock co-owner Andrew McGee). I recall picking up the EAT YOUR HEAD compilation that he had a hand in putting out (compiled by Paul Conroy on No Masters Voice), and they had a 7” there listed as SINGLE OF THE WEEK, that ep being the fluoro Pink Picture Sleeve from Denver Colorado Punk band THE FRANTIX. The single was ‘My Dad’s a Fucking Alcoholic’ and it became my ANTHEM ! The slow dirgey mess was just SO PUNK it was all that I craved and was for me, a shining light into the world of DIY.
It remained as a big fave for the next two decades ( and still does of course) and I was curious to find out more, so when we started that label I did some detective work and ended up calling the Mother of Guitarist Ricky Kuliwicki who passed on his phone number in Denver. My next call caught them at a backyard BBQ and they were like… WHAT ? you are calling from AUSTRALIA ? Even at that time, it was still a bit of a trip as our country seemed alien to a lot of folk from overseas so we developed a cool friendship across the years and put all the pieces in motion to make the CD compilation happen. Me and Bevan were also MASSIVE fans of THE FLUID who we discovered on Sub-Pop whilst working at Au-Go-Go so also respected the bands connections there and were stoked to see it make it’s way out into the world ( and to be later reissued on both CD and LP by Jello Biafra’s ALTERNATIVE TENTACLES records in 2014). The FRANTIX will appear again on FMR in 2022.
So # 2 came first, then our hot BORED! compilation which was all Greens and Silvers and kept their music on people’s players for that time. It included their wild as hell ‘Self Titled’ 12” on Grown Up Wrong!, their killer ‘Take it out on you’ 12” and a bunch of extra archive tracks. It had a cool booklet and we can all never get enough of these great songs from Geetroit. RESPECT !
Then, as I had always had a huge interest in the Washington D.C. underground ( from my first exposure to Minor Threat from Tracey /Civil Dissident in 1984), we embarked on two great compilations of diverse Washington Punk…THE VILE CHERUBS from the mid 80’s ( Art Punk who had a ‘split’ release on Dischord which I had always found fascinating) and a late 70’s collection from Washing Avant/Punk band THE CHUMPS, who had a great history and active members who would later be found in bands such as HALF JAPANESE etc… Both had really swank packaging, the VC’s was printed in Portland Oregon by a great DIY printing crew called STUMPTOWN (and Included mini flyers, a family tree of band members activities and some historical information) and the Chumps was a three fold soft-pak which I still love handling to this day and totally dig how well it came out ( It had a Colour booklet and a double sided A4 info sheet which threaded through the inner gatefold) so we were both proud to of done our bit for exposing and exploring some of Washington’s punk past from across the seas in little ol’ Aussie.
After that we did another beautiful looking digi-pak DOUBLE CD of one of our fave local bands in GOD, which was very well supported and enjoyed by many people across Australia and Overseas and came out in 2010 (I can’t believe that was a decade ago). As we know..Great songs, amazing talented players all with music history going back to super young ages and this also had a really cool booklet. It remains one of my fave CD packages as it looked so damn nice in those crisp clear adhesive bags and I enjoyed putting each and every one of them together by hand ! Killer.
Then we kept our STEVE YOUNG fandom going from Death Valley and issued a previous cassette only release of Steve’s, where he tinkered with a portable synthesizer and put his amazing voice to some of the most incredible songs that we may be lucky to hear in our lives with ‘LONG TIME RIDER’. We licensed photo’s from an American Photographer and issued it in a real smart Digi-Pak full of Purples and Greys which sold all across the world frenzy like, with those who purchased it commenting on both the way the songs had affected their lives and how much care we gave the songs and the man who recorded them. It remains one of my favourite pieces of music of all time and we are both proud as hell about that album…so much so that it will be getting a VINYL release in 2022 on FMR… STEVE YOUNG may no longer be here in body, but his spirit, voice, and incredible guitar picking across a very rich life will always see him in our eyes as a TRUE TREASURE and it can be a very emotional ride when this record pops into a player and lights up ones life so deeply and intimately as music can…
The one release that was a strange and mysterious one ( which we gave an equally mysterious Cat # of with 000 was the dirgy NOISE bleakness of Spain’s BILLY BAO.) From getting 7”s and a crazed 10” from American mailorder houses across 2007 (their ‘Fuck Separation’ ep) I became mad for this nasty sonic hell and had a kinda demented idea of putting all their vinyl releases to that point on a CD… which in itself was pointless, as the records were specifically made for the dynamic range of Vinyl and totally never intended for the digital realm but we went ahead anyway and out it came, in a brown bag with sticker stating as much, almost willing people NOT to buy it and seek out the records for the real audio experience.. it’s a collection I put on when i am HATING and can always cater to any downer period of bleakness one may experience before they rejoin the society and get back to it..Available on the front page if you wanna howl at the moon. Thanks to Bevan for his input on this, as he and I know that he is not really one for putting information out to the world but for me as a longtime buddy he was happy to bend the rules for the sake of the archival good and it gave me a reason to communicate with my longtime pal.
Buttercup Records - 2014 - 2019 (label still active & owned & operated by John B)