I am so happy to see good bud and legendary rock journalist Ira Robbins’ Trouser Press site back up and rocking. Even though there’s nothing new since ’96, I STILL use my Trouser Press Guide to 90s Rock ALMOST EVERY DAY to look some obscure band or record up, and his discography is still the best for modern rock to be found anywhere.
Need to know everything about Cleveland’s My Dad Is Dead? Head to the Trouser Press:
- MY DAD IS DEAD
My Dad Is Dead … and He’s Not Gonna Take It Anymore (St. Valentine) 1985 (Ger. Houses in Motion) 1990
Peace, Love and Murder (Birth) 1987 (Ger. Houses in Motion) 1991
Let’s Skip the Details (Homestead) 1988
The Best Defense (Homestead) 1988
The Taller You Are, the Shorter You Get (Homestead) 1989
Shine EP7 (Scat) 1990
Chopping Down the Family Tree (Scat) 1991
Out of Sight, Out of Mind (Scat) 1993
Hello EP (Hello Recording Club) 1995
For Richer, For Poorer (Emperor Jones/Trance Syndicate) 1995
Shine(r) (Emperor Jones/Trance Syndicate) 1996
Everyone Wants the Honey but Not the Sting (Emperor Jones) 1997
Actually the work of a person rather than a band, My Dad Is Dead’s voluminous output has plainly explored the troubled waters of the soul, both personal and philosophical, for nearly a decade. Ohioan (but recent transplant to North Carolina) Mark Edwards writes, plays and sings his material with instrumental and vocal help from a floating gene pool of fellow Cleveland musicians (Prisonshake’s Chris Burgess has also produced the bulk of his recordings).
My Dad Is Dead, largely inspired by Edwards’ paternal loss, is a compelling, hypnotic debut that ranges from thrashy aggression to supple melodicism to industrial gloom, all unified by the downbeat lyrics. The album’s weak link is Edwards’ flat singing (which has since improved). Peace, Love and Murder and Let’s Skip the Details show considerable growth; The Best Defense, which assembles outtakes and 4-track home recordings, is unessential but contains some fine moments, including three surprisingly harmonious instrumentals. The Taller You Are, the Shorter You Get (a double LP) brings Edwards to a new plateau of ambition and accessibility. His lyrics have grown less morose and more philosophical, and he sings them with newfound expressiveness.
Leaving the Homestead label, Edwards released an impressive eight-song double-7-inch, Shiner (later expanded by a dozen previously unreleased tracks from the same sessions and elsewhere and reissued as Shine(r) by Emperor Jones/Trance Syndicate), and then his first full-length on local indie Scat. Packaged in a magnificent die-cut sleeve (on both LP and CD issues), Chopping Down the Family Tree boasts its fair share of Edwards’ familiar lyrics and dense, metallic instrumentation, but the fog hovering over his head has lifted a little further. The album’s first half revels in gritty guitar sounds and biting lyrics (the title cut proclaims “The strength of the family can be an illusion when built on control and based on collusion”), while the second blooms under the first’s dark waters, reaching a tentative cheerfulness, both lyrical and musical, on “Without a Doubt” and “Shine” (a song not featured on the EP of that name)…..
Yowsa. The contents of all five Trouser Press Guides are available online for free – now that’s a deal.
Here’s a bit on the history of TP online:
- Ira Robbins. I was one of the three founders of Trouser Press magazine and the editor of all of the Trouser Press books. If you care to know more about it, here’s a lengthy online interview for your perusal. Of course, I’m not alone here in cyberspace. The site was built and is maintained by Jim Glauner, one of the folks behind the excellent (but defunct) publication Oculus. The home page was designed by Kristina Juzaitis. A lot of kind people have offered their services to this endeavor, so this section will be updated as we sign up volunteers and put them to work.
What happened to the first trouserpress.com?
The site we created in partnership with SonicNet in 1997 was unceremoniously taken down at the end of 1999, after SonicNet was acquired by MTVi. They were very nice about sorting things out with us, and that enabled us to create the second TrouserPress.com, which took a frighteningly long time to do. This version is owned and operated independently, joining the content of the old site (but not the bulletin boards, which got lost on a server somewhere) with a second section of more modern reviews for your edification and irritation that has never been online before.
Ira was very enthusiastic about The Encyclopedia of Record Producers, hooking us up with some of the producers we interviewed for the book, helping us promote through the MJI Broadcasting network, and writing a great blurb for us:
- This exceptionally well-researched and far-ranging book shines a long overdue spotlight on the often unsung heroes of recorded music.
Thanks Ira and welcome back!