Happy Birthday, Mr. Furious; "Nebraska Verses" and Entire Catalog 001-008 Released

In recognition of our first birthday, Mr. Furious Records has some big news:

1) Our entire catalog (9 releases) is now available in high-quality mp3 format. This is possible through the good work of The Internet Archive (www.archive.org). Every MFR release has its own page at archive.org; these links are on the music page. Many netlabels make their home at Archive.org’s Netlabel section, including the Mr. Furious Records collection. The switch to mp3 format was required by the way Archive.org handles audio; .m4a remains the best lossy compression for quality/size ratio, but the compatibility issues are not justified by small gains in that area. MFR is now happy to be mp3.

2) Nebraska Verses is our newest release; a look at the story of our label from 2001-04, when the seeds for MFR were growing in southeastern Nebraska. Included are live tracks and studio odds’n’ends from howie&scott, Shacker, echoes, and our friends Blame The Game. Stories for each track are on a MFR [blog] post.

3) The website is slightly new, with smashing artwork, minor changes to the links, and sub-headlines for every news story back to before the site launch. A rad wimpy button now plays the latest Furious Instance; just click “|>” over to your left. MFR artists have also licensed their work under a Creative Commons “Share Music” agreement; details are available on the right side of this page.

4) On the advice of many of our new friends, Mr. Furious is on MySpace. Our profile was created and is maintained by Kris Westra; thanks, Kris!

5) MFR has two new releases lined up for October: Bike’s Stroke Me Gently, Lady Luck EP and Sally Ride’s long-awaited Don’t Let Them Take Us ALIVE. Stay tuned here and to FuriousMail for release announcements.

NEBRASKA VERSES / Mr. Furious Records

Download all via .zip from archive.org

1- Party Fowl – The Remnants 2001/May/17
2- Charlie’s House – The Remnants 2001/May/17
3- Staircase(demo)-Yes(interlude) – howie&scott 2001/December-2002/January
4- Wishful Thinking (live) – Shacker 2002/April
5- Mightier Than The Sword (live) – howie&scott 2002/July/4
6- My Friends (live) – howie&scott 2002/August/2
7- 4B and JATC (live) – howie&scott 2002/October/12
8- This Needle – Blame The Game 2002/November/22
9- God Bless The Strokes (original version) – echoes 2002/December
10- Autumn (original take) – Shacker 2003/January
11- Fully OK (second take) – Shacker 2003/March/7
12- Gotta Get Out – Blame The Game 2003/March
13- Time Warp – Blame The Game 2003/March
14- Placing Blame (live) – Shacker 2004/February/25
15- One Stereo (live) – Shacker 2004/May/1
16- I’m Coming Home (live) – Shacker 2004/May/1
17- Major & Minor (live) – howie&scott 2004/May/14
18- After Hrs War (live) – howie&scott 2004/May/14
19- After The Countdown (live) – howie&scott 2004/May/14


It was the winter 2000-01 that the seeds of Mr. Furious Records were planted (though howie&scott had been playing covers since 98). We didn’t know at the time – and how much of our scene have we ever understood, even now? Pieced together here is a collage of songs from our past, less distant than we probably imagine. It’s our own “Phantom Menace,” complete with clunky dialogue and the real risk of over-illuminating beginnings whose mystery is part of their meaning. The Nebraska Verses are a story intended for those who bring to the music an established interest in MFR and the people behind it.

Notes by howie.

Nebraska Verses: C. Howie Howard (howie&scott, Shacker, echoes, the Remnants), Cory Kibler (Shacker, The Remnants), Scott Morris (howie&scott), James Tucci (Shacker), Annie Aspengren (Shacker), Tim Jensen (Blame the Game), Tim Konecky (Blame the Game), Ian (Blame the Game), Ryan Thomas (Blame the Game), Josh Oberndorfer (the Remnants).


1- Party Fowl – The Remnants 2001/May/17 – Last Day of Freshman Year

Recorded (you guessed when) straight to 4-track in between moving boxes and furniture out of Frees. The Remnants were a party band, and this track was one of Cory’s two originals that made our regular set.

2- Charlie’s House – The Remnants 2001/May/17 – Last Day of Freshman Year

Josh’s songs veered between charmingly disturbing pop like “Charlie’s House” and loping guitar soundscapes (such as “Best To Your Wedding”). His sense of humor (“Me eating my own teeth!”?) warped me permanently.

3- Staircase(demo)-Yes(interlude) – howie&scott 2001/December (practice tape) 2002/January (work disc)

My practice tape for Scott in early December 01 was made in preparation for recording near and far over the coming New Years’ long weekend. h&s is a mad collision of strummy 70’s folk, jazz, spacy prog rock, and acoustic pop; “Staircase” stands in between the latter two. The “Yes” interlude, recorded only weeks after near and far was finished, shows me already in process towards new songs and sounds that would lead, two years later, to signs.comets.

4- Wishful Thinking (live) – Shacker 2002/April – Coffeehouse Bootleg – Doane College, Crete

Copied and burned for friends around town, Shacker’s first “recording” was made on campus after Tucci and Cory had filled yellow travel coffee mugs with cheap, fruity wine and made me carry it over to the gig.

5- Mightier Than The Sword (live) – howie&scott 2002/July/4 – Country Club, Crete

Mike Morris tells the story of h&s for us at the town 4th of July fireworks show, hosted annually by the Blue River Community Band. I was three days home from my first trip to Africa; 6 weeks in Ghana. Though not included that night, the quiet ending of MTTS often included vocal improvisations calling us towards justice for the Palestinians.

6- My Friends (live) – howie&scott 2002/August/2 – Solid Ground, Lincoln

The first or second song I wrote (ever); just a blues riff in F and story-lyrics pulled together from titles of old Led Zeppelin songs. Who could have guessed it would become h&s’ signature tune of the pre-electric period?

7- 4B and JATC (live) – howie&scott 2002/October/12 – A Light Burning – 13th St. Coffeehouse, Omaha

On tour all month long with Arturo Got The Shaft as part of (r)ocktober, our set at 13th St. Coffee was a peak of both our musicianship and showmanship; the results of playing out 2 or 3 nights every week. The entire show from the 12th was released online through the old website as A Light Burning, half of a double-live mp3-only release with The Shaft; Blades of Vengeance. “Just Around The Corner” lyrics by Charles Muff.

8- This Needle – Blame The Game 2002/November/22 – Solid Ground, Lincoln

Tim played drums with h&s from time to time, and Blame shared this night at the Solid Ground with us.

9- God Bless The Strokes (original version) – echoes 2002/December – Project:ECHO

Scott and I invested in the core of a home studio (Project:ECHO), beginning work in November 2002. As I was reading manuals and testing equipment, I became stuck on a chiming 2-chord lick; married to a simple mono drum loop, that sound test became the original “God Bless The Strokes.” It wasn’t howie&scott, and it didn’t have a home until I needed, then started, echoes in summer 04. The 15 months from November 02 to January 04 include the recording of Shacker’s first record, Pardon My Pretension, But Isn’t It Blackbeard’s Birthday? in the late winter of 2003 (released spring 03) and howie&scott’s signs.comets in the summer of 2003 (released January 04). The original Mr. Furious releases through mrfuriousrecords.com (Shacker’s The Dimly Lit Room (MFR003) and Knowing Her Best, Blackbeard Defends the Open Sea (MFR001), and echoes’ nickel EP (MFR002)) were recorded spring and summer of 2004 for MFR’s launch in September.

10- Autumn As A Design For Settled Nerves (original take) – Shacker 2003/January – Project:ECHO

The …Blackbeard’s Birthday album was recorded twice; first multi-tracked and overdubbed to a metronome, then live to disk. The CD version contains live takes from the second sessions, except for “Placing Blame” and “Fully OK” from the first to-a-click recordings. Here is “Autumn” in its original extreme clean-to-obscenely-fuzzy disparity.

11- Fully OK (second take) – Shacker 2003/March/7 – Project:ECHO

Selecting which take of “Fully OK” to use on the …Blackbeard’s Birthday CD was the hardest decision we made. This, the later live version, is more sparse, has another melodic guitar solo, and includes a funny rhythmic thing in the chorus that I liked, but could never quite make smooth; maybe that was the point.

12- Gotta Get Out – Blame The Game 2003/March – Project:ECHO

13- Time Warp – Blame The Game 2003/March – Project:ECHO

The Blame fellows came to Project:ECHO and gave me an engineering workout just months after we started the studio, with fantastic results. Laying down six songs for an EP that was never released, “Gotta Get Out” (if you’ve been to Tim’s hometown, Blair NE, you’ll know) and “Time Warp” are my two favorites from those sessions.

14- Placing Blame (live) – Shacker – 2004/February/25 – Powerless III, Duffy’s, Lincoln

While I was in Africa again for October-December 03, Cory and James were busy reworking Shacker-without-drums, going acoustic and bringing Annie in with her cello. It worked well enough to get us invited to StarCityScene.com’s “Powerless III” show; the show inspired us to record The Dimly Lit Room.

15- One Stereo (live) – Shacker 2004/May/1 – Doane College, Crete

My little gold kit sounded like absolute death itself in the gym – huge & tight, you wouldn’t believe it if you saw. Cory was still a bit drunk from the night before, which was not typical, but not unheard-of either. He was going through an obsession with vocal reverb, and sound guys at every venue we played somehow turned it out of control every damn time. Shacker was usually dancing on the verge of coming unhinged in concert, careening through our songs in a way that felt good, not dangerous.

16- I’m Coming Home (live) – Shacker 2004/May/1 – Doane College, Crete

About halfway through the song, you can hear the sound guy finally turn my mic up (loaded with reverb, naturally…)

17- Major & Minor (live) – howie&scott 2004/May/14 – 9th. St. Basement, Lincoln

We scored this gig simply because I’m an obsessive email-checker, and Kelly’s digital call for bands offered the spots to first-responders. I love playing with bands whose sounds aren’t like ours; JVA is very punk, and Westside Proletariat is very hardcore. Electric h&s is very… hard for me to describe. Lincoln-music.com doesn’t exist anymore, but the music at the launch party was killer.

18- After Hrs War (live) – howie&scott 2004/May/14 – 9th. St. Basement, Lincoln

The three songs we picked from this show all happen to be in 6/8 time; suggestive of h&s’ method. I don’t intend to write in 6/8 so much; I think I do it naturally, because that meter lends itself to polyrhythmic play in a way that 4/4 doesn’t.

19- After The Countdown (live) – howie&scott 2004/May/14 – 9th. St. Basement, Lincoln

There is a fury that is not necessarily violent or destructive, but strives and wrenches towards the very high ends that call it forth. “I’ve never walked in silence…” – surrounded always by others, and the ultimate Other; through these verses and after, I continue struggling to give that fury a voice and a name.



Omaha, NE – Furious Press

The plains are ringing with Scott Morris’ response to the challenge issued recently by Coldplay on their record X&Y. Calling for “rhythmic and harmonic warfare,” Morris is accusing the sensitive Brits of biting sounds he forged two years ago on howie&scott’s album signs.

Morris’ composition “Choose To” was explicitly altered to avoid repeating the 3-3-2 eighth-note pattern on Coldplay’s hit “Clocks”; Scott developed a distinctive 3-2-3 alternative for his work. Imagine his reaction when X&Y‘s first single, “Speed of Sound,” rips its harmonic framework from Coldplay’s own “Clocks” and its rhythmic drive from “Choose To.” “What is it with Coldplay creeping on me?” asked Morris.

The alleged “creeping” doesn’t stop there. On signs, Morris made extensive use of a vintage drum set, removing all the bottom heads of the set’s toms for a unique, deadened sound. It reminded this reporter of old Chicago records. This development was also assimilated by Coldplay for their new album, which features similar-sounding dead toms prominently in several tracks, such as “X&Y”. “I appreciate the recognition,” says Morris, “but this calls for harmonic and rhythmic warfare.”

Sources close to Morris suggest that he fully intends to back up his declaration. Rumors from the Scomo camp in recent days include the possibility of new GILMO tracks, and inclusion on the upcoming holiday compilation from Mr. Furious Records. “This man is nearing the edge,” said a friend of Scott’s who wishes to remain anonymous. “None of us can know what he’ll do next.”

Suffice it to say that the next salvo will be fired at a time and place of Scomo’s choosing, and the chaps in his sights had better watch their backs. Good men and women the world over shiver at the thought of GILMO armed with wave after wave of synth-strings and a boyish falsetto.


The venerable KC Irish Fest first drew me into its orbit 5 or 6 years ago, on a road trip down from Doane College to see Celtic rockers Black 47. A good time then, and though much last weekend was different it still moved us.

Friends picked me up for the trip down to Crown Center, which is a cool outdoor venue in the middle of the south end of downtown Kansas City; a multileveled plaza with fountains and a semi-permanent white tented contraption, surrounded by high-rises. Sunday night was the final night of the festival, and we rolled in time to catch full sets from both The Elders and Eileen Ivers with her band Immigrant Soul.

Kent loaned me an Elders disc a couple weeks back; it was tasteful, pleasant, and generally uninspired. Competent Irish AAA-rock. He’d been telling me what an amazing drummer Ian, the true Irish frontman, was; when the Elders took the stage, I finally understood. This band needed a DVD crew out Sunday night; they took us up and down, putting on a firey, passionate show. Ian worked us like a pro, like Bono: his voice, his banter, his sing-alongs, his drumming with child-like energy any time he wasn’t singing. Consummate musicianship with exciting, unrehearsed showmanship, the Elders earned every ounce of love they got and gave it right back to the crowd.

I’d heard Ivers at the Lied Center in Lincoln several years ago, and forgotten how jazz-influenced she is. Her music pushes the boundaries of Celtic canon, helped out by an all-star band. I was most impressed with guitarist James Riley; armed with a simple six-string acoustic, his style was all his own, rhythmic and driving with a very advanced sense of harmony. Ivers’ stage presence is a hoot, pogo-jumping like a punk-rocker with her violin in tow. I would see her again in a heartbeat.

All told, Sunday was a perfect exercise in musical pleasure relative to energy output; we were in and out of downtown in about four hours, heard two great sets from two very different bands, enjoyed the near-autumn out-of-doors on Labor Day weekend, and had enough time for chatting.


D-Rockets and his EP, Matt Wisecarver’s Secret Fantasy, have pushed Mr. Furious Records to set a new record for music downloaded in one month – August 2005, with 1210 mb of data transferred from our servers, is the new # 1. 1210 mb = 1.2 GB!!!111 This is our first time over one gig on the site. Congratulations to Derek, the new MFR listeners who found us through The Return / Sexual Jedi / The Ashtray Life, and the hardcore MFR fans – looking at the site statistics we know it took both first-timers and regular listeners to make August happen.

The breakdown; 1210 mb is the total amount of data downloaded from the mrfuriousrecords.com server during August. 942 mb of that was “traffic viewed” (i.e. not robots/spiders), and 93.4% of that was .m4a (audio) data. Average song size is about 3.8 mb, so (assuming aborted downloads transferred 0 mb, which is not quite accurate) something like 231 SONGS were downloaded directly from the website in August. Of course many of you burn, file-trade via P2P, and otherwise share our music in ways that go far beyond direct downloads from mrfuriousrecords.com – keep it up.

And what record-setting timing; our 1-year anniversary (birthday?) is September 21!!!111 To celebrate, there will be BIG BIG NEWS at www.mrfuriousrecords.com . Something killer is being planned, and you will be happy if you check out the site that day. So mark your calendars, warm up your broadband, and get set. MFR v2.0 is headed your direction in 3 weeks.