It's Always Sunny from Portlandia


I have to thank David Blunk for recently sending me a cassette and his new band's LP & 7" single by Down Gown (review in progress). The aforementioned cassette was from Bad Animal Studios in Seattle, WA and was the final mix of Thirty Ought Six's "Hag Seed." This cassette was dated from May 27th, 1995 and even the J-card was labeled from that studio with the tracklisting and signature colored animals from that era of Microsoft Paint. Of course the case was aged 23 years old, but boy you should’ve seen the grin on my face to hold this cassette in the palm of my hands.

For me, "Hag Seed" is a seminal album that from the instant of listening to it, I knew something was unique and great about all 12 tracks. I fell in love with every single song on it—I was one of those who would listen to an album from start to finish and not skipping a track. Ah, to go into detail of why I love this album so much is Sean’s approach to writing a bassline intertwined with Davids’ guitars and Ryan’s drumming are unmatched—I mean unlike no other band is there a bass so defined that it cannot be ignored but be brought very strong in the mix. Sean’s bass tone is his own and I get chills when he pick scrapes the strings live or on record—pick scrapes on a distorted bass as if it was a guitar on ‘roids but with fewer strings. I mean, think about it, Sean pretty much was the only bass player I can think of who does this and it’s goddamned tasteful.

Additionally, their live set was absolutely amazing because of such delivery from this intense power-trio was soul crushingly good. I'll always remember the first time I saw them at the Dragonfly in Los Angeles and will also have to thank San Francisco band, MIRV, for flaking that night. I recall them opening with "Cotillion," but it was their second song, "Tike," that reeled me and my buddy, Tyrone, into Thirty Ought Six. After their set, I can't recall exact details, but I'm pretty sure that I was ever-so-grateful for hearing them live and let them knew that I was floored by their music. I mean I was totally caught off guard... almost like a suckerpunch and not expecting that incredible left hook.

The title track I tried to cover with the help of Josh Klinghoffer (ex-Bicycle Thief, Red Hot Chili Peppers) who played drums for a few takes while recording on my Tascam 4 track recorder. Of course my take on the lyrics at the time was an innocent stab at what Sean was singing, I still have the slightest clue of some of the words during the bombastic movements of this song.

Upon listening to the digital transfer I was curious to learn about the whole process of recording “Hag Seed” and learn what was their approach of writing for Thirty Ought Six’s sophomore release. As I type this out, I’m beginning to get inspired to reach out to David possibly and do a podcast to interview him and remember our old friend, Sean D. Roberts.
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