I first heard “Job,” a fucked-up gem of teenage disillusionment written by a no-name band called the Nubs, 10 years ago. Covered on a throwaway B side by ballsy garage rockers the New Bomb Turks, it kicks off with a snotty “Hey Mom!” and surges forward, as the singer snarls about how he just quit his job/can’t find a job/doesn’t want a job/fuck your job. Later, he tells his dad that he lost the car and announces that he just slit his own wrists. Then the guitar solo tears it all apart.
I never found the Nubs’ original version until a friend pointed me to 7inchpunk.com, one of the best among a growing number of punk blogs aimed at making record-collector nerds sweat by posting MP3 rips of vinyl that normally fetch a week’s pay on eBay. “The first record I put on the site was the Urban Waste single,” says 7InchPunk owner Todd Olson, a 38-year-old Canadian. “It was the first entry on the site because a friend of mine now living a few thousand miles away wanted a copy. I recently sold one on eBay for $450.”
At Olson’s site, I rediscovered “Job”(along with a lesser Nubs tune, “Little Billy’s Burning”) and links to other blogs such as somethingilearnedtoday.com, ,a href=”http://strangereaction.com/”>strangereaction.com, and kbdrecords.com (KBD stands for “Killed By Death”), all loaded with the really rare and really weird. Some tunes you’ve never heard, such as Joy Division’s shelved ’78 recordings or the pre–Combat Rock Clash album Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg. Then come songs you’ve never heard of, like Manson Youth’s “Penis Mind” or the Child Molesters’ hit “I’m Gonna Punch You in the Face.”
“It was more about posting what we wanted people to hear—not particularly what they where looking for,” says 39-year-old Stockholm graphic designer Peter Swendenhammer, who programs kbdrecords.com from his collection of 3,000 singles and 2,500 albums. Many blogs feature posts from old punk rockers themselves (reminiscing on their years in the Dead Kennedys, etc.) or old-school fans who swear people still talk about the Major Conflict show at the Ravenswood Projects in ’83.
But most crucially, these blogs allow obscure acts to find new audiences for albums that sold only 50 copies (and stuck the band with an unsold 450) upon initial release. “I was delighted that Killed by Death posted two of our songs,” says 56-year-old Tod Born, guitarist-keyboardist for Cambridge, Massachusetts, art-punks Monad, who pressed 1,500 copies of their 1981 single “Love Is the Lesson,” of which Born still has 1,000. Now living in New Hampshire, Born has a new project called Earth Colony. “This band is a hot powerpop sort of gypsy affair and will make its mark on the world as we begin to tour next year,” he vows.
If not, look for their music on a blog sometime in 2031.