Releases

14 posts

Protons and Electrons: Atom 12 – Parade of Deceit / Dale Crover Band – Sell Out

Atom 12 (of 12!) of Protons and Electrons is up! Parade of Deceit / B/W Dale Crover Band – Sell Out.
DOUBLE DOSE OF CROVER!

As always free to listen to on bandcamp, you can buy digital for $2 and you can pre-order the vinyl if you feel so inclined (ships mid next month)

This here, Parade of Deceit is a nervy lil’ number about outrage fatigue and general disgust with the Newstainment Industrial Complex, confirmation bias and political actions designed to exhaust, demoralize and infuriate. Don’t we all just love a parade?

With a DOUBLE DOSE OF CROVER!

Dale Crover Band, in their first released recording of the live unit (Dale Crover, Steven Mcdonald, Mindee Jorgenson, Toshi Kasai) , meanwhile… give you a delightful homage/medley sure to please fans WHO listen.

That’s Protons and Electrons, folks.

Protons and Electrons: Atom 11 – The Vig / Cartographer – Turnip, The Cloth Clown

Protons and Electrons Atom 11 is now up for listening and pre-order: It’s Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends (Conan Neutron, Tony Ash, Dale Crover) with The Vig, and Cartographer with Turnip, The Cloth Clown.

I believe this is the first Cartographer release in 8 years. So there you go!

Cartographer is very closely tied to the NeutronFriends mythos, by nature of Conan being bandmates with Ben and Chris in Replicator, and with Chris and Andre in Mount Vicious. Without Replicator (and to a lesser extant Mount Vicious), there would be no Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends in any capacity.

Cartographer is burly, aggressive and uncompromising noise rock. While the band members don’t take anything too seriously, the music is serious as a heart attack. Pummeling drums, jagged guitar and bass that evokes pure sleaze and menace make a fully formed package of Noiserock(TM) delivery. I believe their song is about a birthday clown that wants to have sex with a young Ben Adrian’s mom.

The Neutron Friends tune is an homage to a classic gambling term. The Vig (short for vigorish) is interest principal amount owed on a debt or loan, always at a usurious rate, with the idea being that the borrower never ends up paying down the principal and is indebted to the lender by just just covering the interest. The conceit of the song is applying those principles to psychic costs, but it probably works as a more dead on interpretation too.

The EarthQuaker Devices Bit Commander, features prominently in the “proggy” chorus bit. While, I think the guitar sound in the verses are just straight into a cranked Bassman.

Anyway, vinyl ships in September but you can listen to the tunes on bandcamp now.…

Protons and Electrons: Atom 10 – Amargosa State of Mind / Maple Stave – Thunderkiss ’85

Free to listen, $8 to pre-order vinyl, $2 to buy digital

Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends is, as always, Conan Neutron on Vocals and guitar, Tony Ash on bass and Dale Crover on drums. This time we are joined by Sean Kirkpatrick of the pAperchAse and Nervous Curtains on synth, piano, keys, etc, and Josh Hensley of the rutabega on harmony vocals. 
It’s a lot more low key than a lot of our stuff and is directly written about the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel in Death Valley Junction California.

There is a stunning documentary on it called Amargosa. 
Here’s what that link says:
“In the ghost town of Death Valley Junction stands the Amargosa Opera House, where for the past 33 years former New York dancer and artist Marta Becket has performed her own ballets in the theater she spent seven years handpainting with stunning murals.”

Yup. I (Conan) consider Marta Becket to be a personal inspiration and the Amargosa Opera House to be a paragon of DIY attitude and uncompromising vision. This song is meant to honor her achievements and memory, and to celebrate the idea that empty spaces are places to paint, what is possible.

If you’ve ever seen Lost Highway, it’s the hotel at the end.
It’s an incredible place in the middle of absolutely NOWHERE and Marta Becket was an American treasure.

On the other side is the incredible Maple Stave, Chris does time as second guitar for us quite a bit and does a LOT of our art. Evan has sat in as well, on guitar and drums. They are a hell of a band.

Let me just quote what Chris wrote about their song: 
“The short version: the Maple Stave split with Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends is out today. We recorded it in November with the great Nick Petersen, and it was mastered by the great Bob Weston. It is the first Maple Stave recording since 2006 (I believe) to include bass guitar.
It is available for download here:

The long version:
Back in summer of 1998 things were weird for me. I had started listening to stuff like Polvo and June of 44, which skewed my songwriting, pushing it away from the more traditional likes of Sebadoh and Guided By Voices. It was also weird because I was about to start college, and I was scared to some degree. As far as a band went, I knew I’d start from scratch, and, with that, could do whatever.
On August 5th 1998, I went to the Lizard & Snake (long, long gone Chapel Hill cafe/club), probably on the suggestion of a friend. The show I went to see featured two bands I knew nothing about. They were Bicentennial Quarters (local opener; about 20 years gone as of this writing) and U.S. Maple. Like hearing “Enemy Insects,” “My Black Ass” or “Of Information & Belief” for the first time in my car, on Jefferson Road, not long before, these bands blew me away. (note: I first heard “My Black Ass” in a friend’s car in an Amoco parking lot in Boone, NC somewhere in 97/98) I didn’t understand what was happening, but knew it was good. It gave me a much greater understanding of how much you could play with song structure, and though I’d say that I likely lean more toward traditional styles when writing, it broadened my horizons enough to understand that pushing things further than I had been was absolutely ok to do.

I left that show and came up with the name Maple Stave as a nod of appreciation. I wrote it down in a notebook in case I ever needed it.

I moved to Boone, started college, but caught up with Bicentennial Quarters a couple months later at Carrboro Elementary, opening for Shellac. It was a big deal to see Shellac. A growing number of albums in my collection featured at least one of the band members’ names and I had a quickly growing appreciation for their work (which still carries on; I’ll still sometimes think how good something sounds only to find one of …

Protons and Electrons: Atom 9 – Cop Knock / Cheap Sleaze – Freeze Queen​/​Troll Trap

Atom 9 of Conan Neutron and the Secret Friends’ “Protons and Electrons” split 7″ series is now streaming and available for order on Bandcamp. $8 for the 7″, plus shipping, $2 to buy digital, free to listen.

This one is interesting because, like the first one, it features Mr. Tony Ash on bass on both sides. Cheap Sleaze is the name of the band, and this is their first official release. A hell ass rock/punk band. The Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends song is “Cop Knock”, as always it’s Conan Neutron on vocals and guitar, Tony Ash on bass, and Dale Crover on drums, Toshi Kasai producing and engineering. This song also features an awesome guitar lead courtesy of Rick Valentin of Poster Children and Thoughts Detecting Machines. CS offers up a 1-2 punch of “Freeze Queen” and “Troll Trap” recorded at Electrical Audio.

artwork by the incredible Plastic Flame Press, as always.…

Protons and Electrons: Atom 8 – Jilted Dragon / Turbo Lightning – Give a Man A Brain


Protons and Electrons Atom 8 is up to listen to and pre-order*
Our song is Jilted Dragon, a song that may or not be about Smaug the dragon from the Hobbit, and may or may not be about one of Conan’s cats. Either way, it’s basically a heavy-ish surf song about the internal mindset and motivations of a frequently cranky creature.

On the other side we have Turbo Lightning! One of the bands of the unsinkable Jeff Byron of old pals The Mae Shi. Conan and Jeff go way back, and both have had their ups and downs, both are still here and doing their thing as hard as they can and with aplomb and vigor. Aplomb! Vigor!
In any case: side note, TL singer Dana is also the badass behind the harmony vocals in Quid Pro Quo.

ok? Ok!

(*not shipping until May though, so be aware!)…

Protons and Electrons: Atom 7 – Armies of the Mind / The God Eaters – Cluster Fuck Shit Show

https://neutronfriends.bandcamp.com/album/protons-and-electrons-atom-7-armies-of-the-mind-the-god-eaters-cluster-fuck-shit-show

Protons and Electrons: Atom 7 – Armies of the Mind / The God Eaters – Cluster Fuck Shit Show
Atom 7 is now available to stream online and for advance purchase.

The God Eaters! The pride of Marquette, Michigan, hidden away in the upper peninsula. A powerful nervy band that aggressively follows their own compass and puts forth a righteous and uncompromising noise. Drummer Nick has filled in for neutronfriends many, many times, and guitar player Dylan has filled in on guitar as well.

Fiendishly creative and productive, they are band that I hope has a long and storied career.

Armies of the Mind is a song that’s basically two choruses. It gets in, does it’s thing, gets out. That’s the idea. Here’s what Jimmy of The Vega Bodegas and formerly of Future of the Left had to say about it. :

” I think this just became the greatest song of 2018 for me. Like Roky Erickson on a motorbike on fire & I’m hitching a ride with nothing but leather trousers on. Such a monster of a riff! “

Protons and Electrons: Atom 6 – Petulant Messiah / Rally – HVAC

Rally, a simple one word name, but a hell of a band. They are both catchy but have some skronk and grind. Michael from Rally has been a NeutronFriends sideman on the guitar numerous times, drummer Dan not only ran Conan and Tony’s old label… but he has sat in with NeutronFriends on drums as well. I’m pretty sure this is their first release, looking forward to many more!

Oh yeah, NeutronFriends side is about messianic figures that turn out to be total jerks. It happens. The badass leads at the end are all NeutronFriends live guitar player Erica Strout of Motherfucker.

Protons and Electrons: Atom 5 – This is the Line / Reptoid – No Human

Protons and Electrons: Atom 5 – This is the Line / Reptoid – No Human

What is there to say about the magificent Reptoid? A sight to behold and the only live act I can think of that sounds like an actual alien invasion. There’s a human that has a passing similarity that has held down the drum position in some live Neutron Friends outings. Said human is a tireless runner of sound and pizza aficionado, but that has nothing to do with the absolutely terrifying alien presence that is the mighty REPTOID. Prepare yourself humans! Prepare yourself.

Oh yeah, our song features the Earthquaker Devices Bit Commander heavily. However, it does not sound like Lardo. Adjust your expectations accordingly.

Protons and Electrons: Atom 4 – Paved Age / Nonagon – Saffir​-​Simpson

Atom 4 of the Protons and Electrons series is now available. The Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends side is a song called “Paved Age”, which is a song that is ostensibly about the founding of the Interstate Highway System.

The other side features the mighty Nonagon, with their song Saffir-Simpson.

Atom 4 of Protons and Electrons features the inimitable of Chicago, a scrappy and joyous noiserock/post-punk trio whose heart and tenacity have been as inspiring as their songs. A particularly blisteringly and badass set in 2014 that reminded me of everything I loved about making music was the clinching factor for putting together what would become Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends. I’m not saying you can blame them DIRECTLY, but… partial blame, sure. -Conan

Like all of the Protons and Electrons series, this is a digital single, paired with a physical 7″ release that is available to mail order. There will be 12 of these in total. As per normal, free to listen to… $2 for a download and you can preorder the limited edition 7″ (only 300 ever!) all at the link. Spread the word around…

Protons and Electrons: Atom 3 – RECANT! / Thoughts Detecting Machines – Alllies

Atom 3 of the Protons and Electrons series is now available to listen and order. As always: Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends is Conan Neutron, Tony Ash and Dale Crover (of (the) Melvins​) providing the A-Side: RECANT! and on the B-side is Mr. Rick Valentin of Thoughts Detecting Machines​ (and Poster Children​… of course) with Alllies.

Like all of the Protons and Electrons series, this is a digital single, paired with a physical 7″ release that is available to mailorder. There will be 12 of these in total.

RECANT! is riff heavy rumination on heresy and the process of heresy becoming fact.

Rick contributes an excellent guitar track to a future Protons and Electrons release, but most importantly he is part of this series because of what Thoughts Detecting Machines is.

A one man band in the sense of being a self-contained live and recording unit, not in the “bass drum strapped to back and cymbals between legs” sort of way, the way Thoughts Detecting Machines operates has been an inspiration to Team Neutron Friends.

Find a way to say “yes” to awesome opportunities, strip things down to their barest essentials and challenge yourself to dig deeper, try something different and let go of familiar anxieties.

In any case, you can listen to it here and you can order the 7″ as well. Thanks!