Monday, October 19, 2009

American Standard - 1987-1992 Demos and more



American Standard were a great punk rock band from New Jersey. They were kinda grouped into the NYHC scene (the song "Away" even appeared on the "Sunday Matinee: The Best of NY Hardcore" comp LP released on Another Planet Records in 1994), although the band's sound was pretty far removed from the NYHC scene. They took influences from the DC scene, and the emo sound that evolved from Rites of Spring, gave it a bit of a harder rock edge, added some pop hooks, and created some unique and catchy music. This is a collection of material recorded prior to their amazing first album "Wonderland". Thanks to Jon Shiver, Jeremy Dean and Scott Bilbrey for the music. Enjoy.

American Standard: 1987-1988

William "Bill" Dolan - vocals

Matt Dolan - guitar
Scott Bilbrey - bass
Jay "J" Colangelo - drums

The "Thank You" demo (tracks 1-5) was recorded at Inner Ear Studio in Arlington, VA sometime in early 1988. These are my favorite versions of these 5 songs, and the sound quality is excellent. Versions of these tracks appear on other demos posted here, and all 5 were re-recorded for the "Wonderland" LP in 1989.

Tracks 6-9 are rough mixes of the Wonderland sessions recorded at Chung King in 1988. The opening track "Grin" is the only track exclusive to this session, as "It Comes Around" and "Building Blocks" are on the "Thank You" demo, and "Without Asking Why" is on the 1987 demo. Still, these are great renditions of these tracks, and definitely worth hearing. I cleaned up these tracks as best as possible.

Next up (tracks 10-16) is a great set recorded live on Pat Duncan's s
how on WFMU in East Orange NJ (at the time, the WFMU studio has since moved to Jersey City, NJ). This version of the set is strictly the music. I cut out all the in-between song banter because while de-hissing the set made the music sound much better, it made any talking between tracks sound much worse. You're not missing much though, the band introduces a few of the songs and makes one show announcement. The music sounds much better than any of the other copies you'll find, and that's all that counts. To me anyway.
Tracks 17-21 were the band's very first recordings, known as the "Paul Noser Demos". Some great exclusive tracks on this demo like "Blind Leading Blind", "Shadows" and "Love and Trust".

Scott Bilbrey on the "Paul Noser Demos":

Paul Noser was a friend and musical mentor of the band (and amazing musician) who had a small studio in his basement in suburban NJ, not far from where we lived and formed as a band. This was recorded in early 1987. Just some context, Matt and J were 16 years old -- juniors in high school. We were still finding our way musically and as a band, so go easy! :)

We played all of these songs in our real early shows (1987) but by mid-1988 the only one that survived was Away -- which we played pretty much to the end.

This is actually a rough mix of the demo, so there are a couple glitches (vocals fade in on Shadows; a clown horn that Bill was goofing with can be heard on Away -- was supposed to be edited out).

Blind Leading Blind was the first song we ever wrote.

I know we played Shadows at our first CBGB's gig in January 1988 (with Swiz) but I don't know if we played it much beyond that.

Away made it onto Wonderland -- this is the first recorded version.

This version of Where'd They Go is pretty much how we played it live, unlike the other version from the first Inner Ear Demos, which was a bit experimental. We played it live only a few times.

To read the full story behind the demos, check out the comments section of this post.
Also check the comments section for the original upload of the "Paul Noser Demos" (before i cleaned them).

Last in the collection are 4 demo tracks recorded at Inner Ear Studios in 1987. The quality varies from track to track, but considering these tracks were buried under so much tape hiss, i think they came out really well. The original '87 demo had 5 tracks. I didn't include the song "Thank You" due to horrible sound quality that was beyond repair. But that song is already in this collection twice, so no harm. Thanks to Scott Bilbrey for the info on all these recordings.

Matt Dolan on American Standard:

Washington DC. That was where our biggest influences were- the DC scene. Dag Nasty, Fugazi, bands like that. We were really inspired by that because it wasn't as 'aggro' as the New York scene was. There starting to call bands Emo-core now, and they were calling them Em
o-core back in '95.

You can read the entire interview with the band here.

And check out the American Standard page on the Maggadee Records site for lots of great band pics.

49 comments:

  1. THANKS! Great stuff indeed, been searching for the rarities stuff for some time now...and behold HERE it is!
    Need me some No For An Answer now...(nag nag nag)
    Jimmy.

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  2. Jimmy, the original file was corrupt. I just re-uploaded it and it should work fine now.

    No For An Answer is on my to-do list.

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  3. Noticed now, got a little excited....another download....
    Also noticed that the Wonderland disc still kicks ass!
    Jimmy.

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  4. Dude...this made my week---thanks so much for posting this--now I don't have to rip my vinyl thanks again... Jonas

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  5. Again, post that proves that this is the best blog for harcorepunk music outthere. . . Thanx man, again and again....

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  6. Thanx, Bill and the guys are good people. Miss hanging out with them

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  7. It turns out tracks 3 and 11 are the wrong versions. I'll be fixing that after work tonight and re-uploading the file.

    Thanks for the feedback!

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  8. This is a thing of beauty, 3 cheers. Tell Matt we want a reunion show.

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  9. Do you have the WNYU live set from 87? I had a excellent tape of it, but have not seen it for years!

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  10. Unsane, i don't have the WNYU set. Never even heard it actually. If anyone has it, please get in touch.

    The revised file should be up at around 5am (when i get off work). I had so many files on my desktop with the same titles, things got screwed up when i compiled everything. Check back tomorrow for the corrected collection.

    Wonderland should be fine though.

    Cheers!
    Vin

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  11. do you have the ep that came out after wonderland? with the girl stabbing the guy and the gun etc

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  12. Stark-Arts, no, i don't have that ep. I'll have to check it out though.

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  13. File is now fixed. Dump the old and grab the new!

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  14. Just two quick corrections: we were formed in NJ, although it was a common misconception that we were from DC. We just played DC a lot and had good friends there (Swiz, Soulside, Dag Nasty).

    Also, "Skipping Rocks" was actually called "Where'd They Go" -- although I like your title. :)

    Thanks for this -- nice to see !

    -Scott Bilbrey

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  15. A couple other comments, in case anyone's interested (I took a quick listen and remembered some stuff):

    01-05 are definitely the second Inner Ear demos from early 1988. I lost my copy and haven't heard them in about 20 years. Those were some of my favorite recordings of those songs, too -- Matt's guitar had never been recorded so loud and raging...

    06-09 are actually rough mixes from the Wonderland sessions from Chung King in NYC, also 1988, which I was able to figure out from a close listen...

    17-20 are from the first Inner Ear demo session we did in 1987. The giveaway is that Matt's guitar is a little cleaner; he's also using a chorus effect on "Without Asking Why", which he used some back then. The production on the last track (what you call "Skipping Rocks" but we called "Where'd They Go") was a bit of a goof: Inner Ear had just bought some sort of midi/processor and Eli Janney (who went on to join Girls Against Boys, but back then was the house engineer at Inner Ear) was itching to try it out -- hence the organ-type effect at the end. It was really for fun -- not serious.

    BTW, the very first AS demos -- what I call the "Paul Noser" demos, from early 1987 -- have a much better version of "Where'd They Go" that I'm happy to share if anyone's interested.

    Thanks for listening...and thanks again for putting this together. I haven't heard this stuff in years!

    -Scott Bilbrey

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  16. A.S was a band that was always on the fringe of the NYHC seen for me. They never did what the other bands were doing and it didn't matter - they still rocked. Since we've got Scott here lets ask him if he has access to that Blackout EP

    To Blogged And Quartered - keep it up...you are doing some great stuff here...
    JC

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  17. Yeah, I have a copy of the Blackout EP -- it's titled "Coming up 3s". It was recorded in 1990 and released in 1991, if I remember correctly. Four songs: "Salvation", "Spice", "This is Mine", and "Blood and Miles". Not as "hardcore" as the stuff here -- a transitional record for us.

    I'm happy to post mp3s of it, if you're interested -- just gotta figure out how. :)

    -Scott Bilbrey

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  18. blood and miles and this is mine especially were good...the fucked up part is that i ran into Bill @ an underdog show in Asbury Park and talked to him about it. He gave me his card saying he had some and then it rained and the card turned to mush in my pocket lol
    In any event - i have no idea how to post mp3's either lol
    JC

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  19. Scott, thanks for the comments. I'm going to fix the cover and the info tonight based on what you wrote. I'd love to hear that "Paul Noser" demo. If you could upload the mp3s to a free file server like Mediafire or Megaupload, that would be great. It's real easy step-by-step stuff, and just uploads the mps3 right off your desktop. Let me know if that's possible for you. If so, i'll revise the collection.

    I'm pretty sure i can get the "Coming Up 3's" ep online if i search hard enough.

    Cheers
    Vin

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  20. Hey Stormy, Here's the link for AS - Coming Up 3's - http://www.mediafire.com/?nuqomz1t0zh Feel free to ad it to the site. Hope it's okay Scott B! - Rob Muz, GIVE THANKS zine.

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  21. Here's a link to the first demos American Standard ever recorded, the Paul Noser demos:

    http://www.mediafire.com/?dgk3jdratnm

    A little bit of background:

    Paul Noser was a friend and musical mentor of the band (and amazing musician) who had a small studio in his basement in suburban NJ, not far from where we lived and formed as a band. This was recorded in early 1987. Just some context, Matt and J were 16 years old -- juniors in high school. We were still finding our way musically and as a band, so go easy! :)

    We played all of these songs in our real early shows (1987) but by mid-1988 the only one that survived was Away -- which we played pretty much to the end.

    This is actually a rough mix of the demo, so there are a couple glitches (vocals fade in on Shadows; a clown horn that Bill was goofing with can be heard on Away -- was supposed to be edited out).

    Blind Leading Blind was the first song we ever wrote.

    I know we played Shadows at our first CBGB's gig in January 1988 (with Swiz) but I don't know if we played it much beyond that.

    Away made it onto Wonderland -- this is the first recorded version.

    This version of Where'd They Go is pretty much how we played it live, unlike the other version from the first Inner Ear Demos, which was a bit experimental. We played it live only a few times.

    I remember playing Love and Trust at our soundcheck at our first NYC show -- opening for Warzone at their record-release party at The Pyramid in November 1987 -- but we didn't include it in the set. And I'm not sure we ever played it again. Maybe for good reason. :)

    BTW, I'm posting this stuff mostly as a historical record -- it's who we were in the beginning, 23 years ago. We went on to write more songs and make more recordings, so this didn't see much light of day. Apologies to Matt, Bill, and J if they'd rather it stayed buried.

    Thanks for listening and for starting this post. I'm sure I speak for the other guys when I say we're honored to be included.

    Oh, and I don't care what people post of old AS -- demos, live shows, official recordings. I never made a dime on the stuff anyway!

    Thanks again,
    Scott Bilbrey

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  22. this band was amazing. plain and simple. even when we say them with swiz, and soulside. they show'd their greatness. -ohwellmonkey

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  23. Unsane, thanks for posting the "Coming Up 3's" ep, that saves me a lot of time hunting it down.

    Scott, thanks for posting that demo, i'm excited to hear that whe i get off work tonight. I'll see if i can fit that and the ep on this collection. If not i may just make another collection altogether.

    And thanks for taking out the time to type out the background behind the recordings. This is really appreciated.

    Vin

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  24. I'm also looking for the American Standard / Crucial Youth split (1991 Suburban Voice) and the track from "Sunday Matinee: The Best of NY Hardcore". If anyone has those tracks, please get in touch.

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  25. The track on "Sunday Matinee" is Away, it's the same version that's on Wonderland, just checked. Also my version of Wonderland is on Lost & Found records.

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  26. I would like to hear the American Standard / Shades Apart split 7"!

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  27. Scott, thanks for the additional demos. Vin thanks again for cleaning this stuff up. AS=one of my favorite bands of all time. Saw them 20+times. Still love listening to this stuff.

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  28. Also i have those split 7"'s but no record player at the moment.....

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  29. Don't forget the Blood and Miles release from Al Quint's Suburban Voice split 7" with Crucial Youth!

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  30. Any interest in the cover of Freddy Krueger from the SOD Tribute?

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  31. Post the TRIAL SIZE ep if you have it! =)

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  32. hey man thx its awesome!any chance of reupping that RINGWORM stuff?
    thx in advance

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  33. Huansoahn, i had no idea there was a problem with the Ringworm file. I'll check on that after work.

    Rinjo, are you talking about American Standard doing an SOD cover? If so, i'd love to hear that.

    Paul, i don't have the Trial Size ep. But i'm pretty sure you can easily find that online with Blogger Search.

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  34. hey Stormy mediafire fucked up yesterday it worked today!thx this is amazing!

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  35. hey Vinnie!

    I already ripped the WARNING 7" for you but I didn't have the time to scan the artwork yet... gimme 2 days more and I'll send you a link!

    cheers!

    mat

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  36. I was fortunate enough to see this band (1991?) in Syracuse, NY at The Lost Horizon. I want to say with Shades Apart, but I could be entirely off on that. I've always leaned towards the "harder", "tougher" hardcore, but always had a soft spot for American Standard. "Wonderland" still gets some serious rotation these days. Never knew they had all this other material recorded, so thanks for sharing.

    Incredible job with this blog, as well. You've rounded out so many of my (assumed) discographies nicely with rarities I never knew existed. Keep up the incredible work.

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  37. Huansoahn, i'm glad the file worked. Christ, i'm sick of re-upping this stuff every other day.

    Mat, thanks man. No rush.

    Buske, thanks for your comment. Most of the stuff on here are far from discographies because i try and only post the band's out of print stuff for the most part.

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  38. Too bad the singer loves Yo La Tengo now.

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  39. no shit...great to find this shit...i've been into AmStand since 89-90...saw them at the chance in poughkeepsie the first time...i think they were playing with the functional idiots and scatterbrain. got the chance to see them 1/2 dozen more times and everytime they rocked the fucking house. the last time i was supposed to see them was in the late 90's ...97? in baltimore but they had to cancel the night of the show because matt had a broken leg or something like that. a vastly underrated band...and a bunch of really cool guys.

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  40. the only other thing that hasn't been posted nor mentioned is the song "winding down" it's on the flipside of the "petting zoo" 7 inch...I think it was called "Trial Size"...I have it, but lack the record player to make any sort of copy. Anyone else out there?

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  41. Good guys. J's sense of humor disappeared with his hair.

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  42. "J's sense of humor disappeared with his hair"

    No shit. That's one angry bartender.

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  43. There's just 1 think that I don't like of compilation albums like the first one... to have the same song 122222 times repetead, Demo Version, LP Version, Live Version, Radio Edit Version, Extended Version, Featuring xx Version. That really bores me.

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  44. I love hearing all the different versions of songs, and think all discographies should be that way. To each his own.

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  45. I LOVE AS.. totally in the vein of Dag Nasty but way less known like Freewill too. Anyway, can't wait to check this post out! Thanks for all the work you put in to your great thoughtful posts.

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  46. Hello. Can you please repost both of the American Standard links? I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

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