Bobby Meader Music / Jan 28!

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Let me ask you a question: have you ever tried to book a show? A fundraiser, a comedy showcase, a large dinner reservation, a dentist appointment? It’s fucking hell. The back-and-forth that goes into trying to capture the attention of anybody on the other end, plus the non-stop volley of times/details/the most boring minutiae, is a long and mind-numbing process. I highly recommend avoiding it! Unfortunately, this is not the world we live in, and as we travel on across the long and winding road of life, we must all take on unpleasant responsibilities, go to the dentist, plan shows, and try to recall all of the details when we’re asked to write blog articles about them years later.

My (Ben Kahlil Hassenger) first introduction to Bobby Meader was sometime in late 2013. I was immersed in the aforementioned unpleasantness of tour-booking while working with my band mates to book the first major tour for The Hunky Newcomers. We were leaving the Midwest and its Polar Vortex for a month and heading West, meeting up with City Mouse for a block of dates in the middle. I found Bobby through a show posting on the website Punks In Vegas. I remember checking out his tunes and thinking, “Yeah, these are fine.” (The endorsements get better as the article goes on, Bobby, I promise!) I shot him an email seeing if he could possibly help us set up a show. To my surprise, he responded almost immediately with information and promised to help. Receiving any answer at all – even a “Hell no!” – when booking a tour is almost a victory in itself, but the fact that somebody was so quick to jump in and ready to help was fantastic and felt really fucking positive. In the end, we ended up booking a different show through another promoter, but Bobby came out with his large beard and even larger smile and greeted us to his fair city. We shot the shit throughout the show and he told us that we’d see him soon.

Since then, we’ve been able to bring him through Lansing on three separate occasions and each time has been a treat, both musically and just in hanging-outs and getting-to-know-yous. My favorite story was when he came and played at The Mystery Garage. He got to Lansing early and made himself at home at GTG, where he was staying for a few days, then picked up a fifth of vodka and a burrito. He ate half of the burrito early on, then drank considerably more than half of the fifth. In his drunken state, he must have polished off the rest of the burrito. However, once we all returned home after the show, Bobby set out to finish his burrito. Upon finding it gone and the wrapper in the trash, he immediately concluded that one of our housemates had eaten the rest of his food. He was pretty pissed about it, going on for quite some time.“Who DOES that?” he cried. I shrugged. Perhaps it was a little mean of me to not remind him that he had, in fact, eaten the entire thing, but I wanted to see how the whole thing played out. I’m an asshole, I know. I did assure him that if anyone at GTG house was going to steal his food, it was probably going to be me – my girlfriend backing me up on my food-stealing tendencies – but he was not persuaded. This went back-and-forth for a year or so, until I finally had to set him straight at GTG Fest 2015 when he was telling his side of the story to the audience. I swear, you call my house and its food thievery into question…

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The horrible vision that went through Bobby’s mind on that fateful night.

Anyway, lest I paint Bobby Meader as merely a drunk who misplaces food, let me get into those glowing endorsements I promised earlier. This guy may be the hardest-working performer I’ve ever met on the DIY circuit. He’s on the road for a solid six months of the year and does everything himself: booking, promoting, interviews, the whole shebang. He has hit me up for dates four/five months in advance; what DIYer is that organized? On top of all of that, he’s an absolute pleasure to work with. Bobby is so laid-back but focused and determined. Can’t forget about the music either: Same description. Never too loud or abrasive, while always managing to kick a hole in your heart. It’s soft and loud simultaneously, emotional and distant… I find myself feeling so many different things throughout the course of each song.

GTG Records is super excited to be bringing Bobby Meader Music back to the Mystery Garage this Thursday, January 28, alongside local favorites Little American Champ and GTG Records artists The Hat Madder and Cat Midway. The show’s going to be pretty rad, with a great lineup and a promise for a pretty special time. More information about the show can be found here. See you this Thursday, and for the love of all that is holy, please don’t eat the guy’s burrito.

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Happy Dickety-Sixteen

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In case you’re just blacking in, six days ago we began a 366 day (for real) cycle that shall be labelled as “2016.” In addition to celebrating the birth of Leap Day William, this year also promises plenty of exciting releases from GTG Records. Red Teeth will be making their label debut with the Light Bender 7-inch, which is at the pressing plant with an early spring release targeted. The Narc Out the Reds 10″ is mastered, the next Hat Madder record is approaching the mixing stage (and the band will be touring the east coast and midwest with When Particles Collide in March), the new Sleeping Timmy-fronted project Carm’s debut is in the tracking stage, and the Plurals just booked studio time (and a tour of the southeast) in late March for a fourth album. Honah Lee will also be hitting the studio in the spring, but first they’ll be doing some midwest tour dates. Plenty to look forward to! We also have some really cool split releases to announce and a few more things in the works so get those turntables warming up! Is that a thing? You probably don’t want to burn out the belts on those things now that I think about it. Clean your ears… yeah, that’ll do.
But before we get too future-fixated, let’s take a look back on the previous year. We released three albums in 2015:
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Honah Lee – 33 On 45 – 12″ LP of 10 catchy as hell punky rock and roll anthems. Reviews earned them comparisons to Superchunk, Lemonheads, Weezer, and more and they put in some serious road time on the east coast and in the midwest, including festival appearances at Death to False Hope Fest and GTG Fest. The LP gained enough traction that Creep Records in Philadelphia took on pressing up a CD version as well.
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The Plurals – An Onion Tied To My Belt – 12″ LP and CD of 12 Plurals-like Plurals songs that we had the pleasure to co-release with Florida’s Infintesmal Records and Arizona’s Diet Pop Records. Tommy Plural is the one writing this update and clearly I’m too close to this record to objectively judge it but we did some coast-to-coast touring with it and people at keyboards (not to assume too much of anyone else’s process) compared it to the Replacements, Husker Du, early 90s DC noise, late 80s SST, and more. And to me it’s a (non) reflection of the style of the time.
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Dreadpool Parker – self titled – CD featuring 11 tracks from New Jersey rap crew consisting of MCs Wade Wilson and Raymond Strife with Dready Mercury making the beats. We go way back with Ray (Nich Plural has potentially the best “first impression” story every involving him, and I basically quit drinking to excess after a blacked-out night with him a few years ago) so when he told us that his new group was doing some touring and putting out an album this year we had to get behind it (and book them for GTG Fest). As it stands it’s not only the first rap release on our label but also just a blast of catchy, witty, and fun music that stands tall among our catalog. Can’t wait for them to tour again!

In addition to these full-length releases we also issued an archival live recording of the Hat Madder from a 2008 tour date in France, a free label sampler (and more) nonsensically called Time to Val Kilmer, a compilation of acoustic artists and recordings, and, as always, capped off the year with the strangely-becoming-a-legacy holiday compilation Bermuda Snohawk. And in addition to these additions we also, additionally, released 10 live music video recordings in the GTG Sessions series that featured, alongside plenty of GTG usual suspects, performances by Nato Coles & the Blue Diamond Band, The Devils Cut, Logan & Lucille, and Croatone. What a year, and more to come.

I thought about making it a goal to have every band I’m in put out a physical release in 2016, but this is easier said than done as I don’t think a single band I’ve ever been in has actually “broken up” but… I’m hoping for Drinking Mercury, Calliope, and Frank and Earnest to all put out some solid product this year too. Calling it!



BERMUDA SNOHAWK 2015 (GTG084) is LIVE!

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Here it is! The perfect distillation of all of our mixed feelings regarding these winter holidays, the – get this, tenth annual edition! – 2015 Bermuda Snohawk. Available for free download from our friends at Bermuda Mohawk Productions as well as a limited-run of physical CDs available in Lansing/ for the first few (un?)lucky folks that ask us for a copy. GTG acts Stargrazer, Sleeping Timmy, The Plurals, Hunky Newcomers, and CrookedSound all appear as well as friends old and new like the Cartridge Family (still alive, who knew??!?), Cavalcade, Geistlos, Bluffing the Ghosts, Ben Pierogi (of Toledo’s Infernal Names), Jonathan Coody (from the great Ninja Gun), Protected Left (BMP all-star MI transplants tearing it up in the Bay Area), Blaine & His Keyboard, Scary Women, and those terrible crusties in Smashing Blumkins, plus the longtime Snohawk-only projects like Neon Tuesday, Cabin Fever, Iron Christmas, and Bruno Fox with some new terrifying additions to Snohawk canon tying it together.

Cale posted some fine thoughts at the download page for the comp, including some insights into why the Snohawk started in the first place (for many of us it’s now just part of the holiday landscape so the “why,” whether the reasons are real or not, isn’t even really part of the conversation at this point) that are definitely worth reading, but here’s an excerpt:


Ten years, and this stupid comp is probably just about the most (if only) constant thing in the lives many of the friends family that keep it going. I know it’s been just about the only in mine.

Well anyway, this is a lot of rambling, I’m aware, but this is the 10th edition, so bear with me. If you take nothing elfs (ha!) from this, here’s the tl;dr points:
1) If you’re a grown up, you should go listen to (semi-defunct Detroit DIY label Suburban Sprawl Music) those SSM comps…they were the (much better executed) inspiration for these all along.
2) The perseverance and momentum built by Bermuda Snohawk owes a great debt to Tommy Plural & GTG…but at this point, supersedes probably anything either of us could control. It’s kind of scary and kind of inspiring, and wholly hilarious.
3) Everyone that’s been involved with these is as much of a family as I’ve ever known. Thank you for coming together all of these years giving us something to grasp onto to keep us all from flinging into some sort of cold and distant orbit. It means more to me than you’ll ever know.


Right back at ya Cale! Happy winter and shit – Tommy Plural & GTG

Jason Alarm Reunion Show 12/5/2015…. and Tommy Looks in the Mirror and Asks “What Happened?”

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That’s the Jason Alarm photo that I had saved on the website from several years ago. Ha! But it kinda ties into my overall thoughts as we approach their reunion show THIS SATURDAY DECEMBER 5TH AT MAC’S BAR WITH SPECIAL GUESTS THE PLURALS, MR. FOX AND THE HOUNDS, AND DEAD HOUR NOISE of time passing without realizing and how it’s totally okay.

My relationship with Jason Alarm began in early 2008 when my old-but-still-together-sometimes band The Break-Ups played an all ages show at Mac’s Bar that was also the first show by a band from the Grand Ledge high school called Jason Alarm. This show was actually supposed to be at Replay Entertainment Exchange but had to be moved to Mac’s after Replay dropped their show calendar – I forget if it was because they were moving or some other reason. Replay moving to different store locations was kind of a running joke for awhile as in their first two years or so of business they were in four different locations. They’ve been at the same one in East Lansing now for over five years, so that’s another thing that’s changed over time and isn’t really a thing anymore.

Anyway, Jason Alarm were surprisingly good at that show, definitely talented and full of potential, and they made the members of The Break-Ups – old, wizened veterans at the age of 20/21 – feel like rock stars with their youthful enthusiasm for what we were doing. I kind of hate the fact that every time Jason Alarm or any of their members come up I automatically jump into this “those kids” conversation as I’m only five years older than them and I have tons of friendships of equal or greater age difference where that’s not even a thing, but it’s all about context I guess. They don’t deserve to have that vaguely condescending language about them as they totally proved themselves to be an original, hardworking band that did things that bands twice their age never do. And I respect the hell out of them, which I need to state before I go into the self-centered, caffeine-fueled, thought-exorcism that this supposed website update about another band is turning into.

GTG was officially one of the labels that put out Jason Alarm’s EP Engage in 2009 but we didn’t do a single thing to enable the release of that record! Ha! Maybe we encouraged them somehow, I dunno. Back in 2008 this guy Jeremy was a part of GTG and he wanted to produce a Jason Alarm record so he brought them over to the GTG studio and recorded demos but then moved to Boston fairly unceremoniously, so I was left in this awkward position of trying to salvage the friendship with these younger musicians who kind of had the rug pulled under them for their “debut” recording project. Plans were made to record with me but I was busy whenever they wanted to record – what I was doing back then I have no idea… going to school… what else? This was before The Plurals were a touring band and with the way I operate now the only way I wouldn’t make time to work on a recording project, especially one for the label, is if I were on the road and physically unable to be around. Hattie and I were talking at Plurals practice the other day about how we don’t even really remember what being in The Plurals was like before we really dove into touring, and that’s weird because there were several years and songs, shows, and bands we played with that in some weird way don’t even “count” in my mind when it comes to what I’ve done with the band and the label. This doesn’t mean that these things don’t actually matter or are in any way inferior, but my perspective on things has changed so much in the last five years (because everybody remains the same throughout their twenties right? What a terrible fucking world that would be…) that the things I did prior to 2011 when I really went all-in on this music stuff is that all of that was part of some vague “set-up” to what I do now and it’s like a series of blacked out passages with footnotes. And Jason Alarm is squarely in the middle of that bizarrely blacked out part of my mind so the reunion show this Saturday is like my 20-year old self is checking in with my present-day 28 years young person to see what’s up.

And that’s how the show Saturday is going to go in ways: people from previous scenes are going to appear out of thin air with slightly-differently shaped faces, different colored hair, beards, tattoos, glasses… ex-straight edge kids are going to buy me a shot, reformed party animals are going to show me pictures of their healthy, happy children, and I’m going to say that everything is cool, I’m just working on the same stuff. And in my mind I’ve just been stepping on and off stage for five years, jumping back and forth between the same few part-time jobs, seeing the country a few times a year, and thinking about songs, while everyone else will be reminding me that, oh yeah, almost a decade’s worth of things have happened since I met these people. And it’s gonna be a great time! Unlike any so-called “real world” reunion that I mostly succeed at avoiding (sorry 10 year high school reunion).

I’ve always felt bad that GTG Records didn’t really partner up with Jason Alarm in the way that I wanted to. The agreement early on was that I would donate my time to record it,  Cale from Bermuda Mohawk Productions would press the EP, and it would come out as a BMP/GTG co-release. Everyone involved still put the GTG logo and stuff on the release when it did ultimately come out (at the Sun Theater in Grand Ledge with an all ages show featuring Jason Alarm, The Plurals, and Cheap Girls… that’s a show I want to go to now!) without me or anyone else in GTG doing anything, which was cool, but… it was probably one of those watershed moments that made me think “hey, we need to be better at this label thing.” And it took us many more mis-steps before we finally settled into this present day thing that I’m so proud of, so I guess I can thank them for that. But it was also really cool that they excelled on their own, and I got to watch from the sidelines as they broke up once in 2009, reformed a few months later, became more ambitious musicians, had members come and go, toured and put out some singles, and then called it a day a couple years later to move onto other things. And it was awesome to witness the whole evolution of someone else’s adventure, which is something that I really enjoy doing as part of the label and general music community. So while in ways I want to slap twenty-year old me and tell him to just get over himself and make time to record this cool young band, I can appreciate what happened in the non-idealized Tommy-does-whatever-he-should-do reality that we all occupy.

Maybe it’s the arbitrary “year-end” self analysis that I tend to go through every December, but I have a lot of appreciation for everything that happened in the patchwork representation of events that I’ve written about above, and I’m glad that I still get to be a part of it. Enjoy your own adventure, don’t get bogged down by the past, and, seriously, I promise you there’s no reason to shoot anybody. That’s a 2015 timestamp for future readings of this entry if there ever was one. Now, here’s another random photo that I found on the website media archive while looking for that old Jason Alarm photo:

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And I’m also partial to this photo that I used for Josh David & the Dream Jeans for awhile, solely to spite Josh David for harassing me about not updating the page about them enough:

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Thanks for reading if you made it this far! And if you just skipped down here for some reason that’s cool too! – Tommy Plural

Honah Lee GTG Sessions!!

It’s here! The latest episode of GTG Sessions featuring 6 songs from the original Trenton, NJ party machine Honah Lee!

This was taped in the middle of the GTG Fest weekend and you can see it on their faces! Grab your favorite vice of choice, click play on the video above, and join the party. And check out their new record if you haven’t yet!

The Plurals – Rock N Roll Music Video!

The Plurals longtime studio collaborator Eric “CrookedSound” Merckling (whose long performance and production credits include recording/ mixing all three Plurals albums) has been quietly toying with stop-motion animation for the last couple years and we’re all honored here at GTG that his debut feature for this skill is now out in the form of a music video for a song from the new Plurals album. “Rock N Roll” is probably the most chaotic song on the album, alternating between dreamy verses, sludgy choruses, a CCR-quoting bridge section and scattered Pixies-esque vocals, so it might as well also be the soundtrack to a sci-fi epic starring The Plurals. Our protagonist is a brave Nich Plural who must rescue Hattie and Tommy from the clutches of an evil alien band that is attempting to steal The Plurals’ thunder and maybe erase them from existence? You should watch it a few times to get all of the little story bits and Easter eggs that Eric slips in. Above all, it’s super cool to look at. Another 2015 victory for GTG!

And check out the Plurals’ album here if you haven’t already!

Dreadpool Parker – Debut Record (GTG080) Out Now!

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The family expands with a ton o’swagger with the debut release of New Jersey hip-hop crew Dreadpool Parker. MCs Wade Wilson and old GTG friend Ray Strife alongside DJ Dready Mercury make up this group and, like Ray’s previous work, they combine punk rock attitude with an energetic, equal parts old-school and modern rap sound. Check out the record here and a video they made a bit ago for album track “Sounds Like Drugs” below!