BACKTALK ~ Letters to the Editor

From: Sai, (somewhere in Canada)

steve? this is the new york times®. we’re begging you to join our team.

kidding, it’s just me. i’m sure that email will come soon.

huge fan of your site/twitter, man. look forward to reading your newsletters and seeing those inferior opinions in your replies whenever i’m online. as a fellow canadian, you’re someone i’m proud of. bandcamp should offer you a partnership deal or something before i send them a strongly worded email.

anyway, i’m just sending this because i’ve always wanted to get in touch with you and let you know you’re appreciated. music being a unifier or something like that. huge congratulations on the news of your marriage, dude! you’re making me feel hella young. i’m seriously very thrilled for you, and i hope all goes well and that it lasts long.

i figure i should try to plug something here, lest this be boring fanmail where i’m just being nice. so: if you haven’t listened to the god derek ted‘s album “better spirit” yet, GET ON THAT SHIT!!! my man just signed to pure noise records, furthering the folk agenda and bringing prosperity back to valencia street. “slow down” by him (not on the album) is unbelievable. there may not be a more platinum “record label” than $R&$ – don’t @ me. if you want some more gold from that, floral prince (aka field medic) has a secret mixtape that’s up there with his album from earlier this year. freak folk forever baby

stay feckin,

I’m trying this new thing where I’m a total asshole to everyone so I can get ahead in life. You’re my first victim, so feck yew!

Yeee! Just kidding man! Thanks so much for this lovely and well written letter. Seriously, I thought I was NY Times material but have you read your own writing? You don’t even use capital letters. That takes ballz. Trust me, I’m a highly professional and expert writer myself, so I know what I’m talking about.

I would caution you about reaching out to bandcamp on my behalf. I think they hate me. I’ve been mildly irritating them with emails and comments for a while now, and if I were them, I’d be getting pretty sick of it.

Hey, thanks so much for all the positive feedback and for the congratulations on my wedding. You know marriage is pretty weird if you think about it: Humans have all these ridiculous rituals and most of them are idiotic, but I figure you need a partner in life and you might aswell celebrate that with the people you love. I could do without all the attention though, so I’m glad it’s over.

Thanks for the recommendations too. Field Medic I’ve heard of, but this Derek Ted guy is new to me. Since folk went pop a few years back it’s been hard to find folk that doesn’t suck, but I’m digging both of these. Hopefully there’s more of this stuff on the horizon and less HO HEY. What a stupid fecking song. Jeezis Christ.

Keep on fighting the good fight,

BACKTALK ~ Letters to the Editor

From: Chris of the rad band Cinderbrick in NY

Greetings. I have no idea who you are, or even that this web page existed. I was checking visits on my bandcamp page, and noticed one visit from “the doesn’t suck”, so I clicked the link. I must say, it’s an honorable and non-enviable task you undertake. I think being placed on your scrap heap list is probably the best compliment I’ve received by a total stranger regarding my first attempt at a record and the fact that somebody went through your list and visited my page as a result is the second-best compliment. I will now be checking out your page on the regular, as well as digging through your trash and I’d just like to say thanks in general. Keep on keepin’ on.


Hey Chris!
Thank you so very much for getting in touch. It’s good to know people are getting hits from the blog. That is exactly what I’m trying to achieve, and I don’t get a whole lot of feedback so, believe me when I say, it’s a huge compliment to receive an email like this. I hope you find some cool bands in your journeys and continue to make rad music yourself! If you’re on twitter you should follow me there too, @SteveDoesnt for regular updates and fun conversations with fellow music nerds.

Keep on fighting the good fight,

BACKTALK ~ Letters to the Editor (that’s me I think)

FROM: Marcus in some town North of Austin TX
Hey Steve,

Just came across yr blog and you said to write to you, and I’m guessing you meant specifically me, so here I am. Really dig yr blog – around this time of yr, I’m always digging into everyone else’s “best ___ of the year lists” to see what I missed, and I’ve been digging into bandcamp like never before. There’s so much stuff there, though, that I can’t really deal w/it, so I’m glad I came across yr blog.

I grew up in San Diego and went to a ton of shows as a kid, but after graduating from college, I moved to small town of about 7,000 in Texas, about 100 miles north of Austin. I try to make it out to a show or two a year, but now I have to live my pursuit of music online instead of in person.

Anyways, I don’t have a blog to post my favorites of 2018, and most of my Twitter account (@marcusSDTX) is dedicated to baseball and pictures of my kids, so I’ll share my best of list with you (you didn’t tell me *what* to write to you about, so I guess I’ll go w/this).

1. Brian Fallon – Sleepwalkers (I’m a big Gaslight Anthem fan and ’59 Sound is a top 5 all time record for me, so no small wonder I dig this – his was also one of the few shows I made it down to Austin for this yr)
2. Smoking Popes – Into The Agony (I actually bought tix for their show in Austin last month, but got sick and couldn’t make it, huge bummer. This is my fav record of theirs since Destination Failure)
3. Dark Thoughts – At Work (This is a bandcamp find that I’ve been listening to non-stop, which is a bit weird because they’re Ramones worshippers and I’ve never been *that* into that band, even though they’re punk rock legends)
4. Hot Snakes – Jericho Sirens (I’m a fan of all of John Reis’ bands – Rocket From The Crypt, Sultans, The Night Marchers, etc., so no surprise I’m into this as well)
5. The Beths – Future Me Hates Me (Another bandcamp find that has wormed into my ear. My iTunes library is woefully short on female-fronted groups, so I was glad to find this one)
6. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs (I listened to this on a whim while on vacation in San Diego over the summer and bought it from my favorite record shop, and while definitely a beach-y vibe, it’s still good for a listen while driving in Texas in the wintertime)
7. Mean Friends – Secondhand Grenade (this is my friend’s band in San Diego, they’ve played a few shows and put out a few songs and I think I’m still the only “supporter” who shows up on bandcamp)
8. The Hold Steady – The Stove & The Toaster and Esther singles (THS could’ve put eight songs onto an EP or added a few more for an album, but they put out a few singles w/B sides instead. I don’t love all of em, but “The Stove and the Toaster” and “Esther” are really good)
9. Leon Bridges – Beyond (His debut album was in my top 5 of the year a few years ago, but I didn’t get into his latest one that much at all. Still, “Beyond” is a slow jam that I very much dig)
10. Willie Nelson – Vote ‘Em Out (I listened to this song almost every day before the midterms, but unfortunately, my fellow voters didn’t vote the way I was hoping, and I haven’t put it back on since then)

Anyways, I’m looking forward to reading more of your lists and digging into future and past posts. I’ve already really dug that band from Turkey (the country, not the food), and have done a few searches to see if I could find an update on Briscoe from last yrs list.

Keep up the good work, have a great December and a happy new year.



Heyyo Marcus,

Thanks for writing! You’re letter finds me well, but a bit tired.

I often refer to bandcamp as the trash heap of online music. There’s just so much trash, but if you get a tetanus shot and start digging through it, you’ll probably find something pretty good. That’s what I’m trying to do, and I’m glad you appreciate it. That means a lot to me.

Awesome list! I hope my readers can find some cool stuff in there. It was a great year for the Smoking Popes. Too bad you missed them. I haven’t seen them either, but I did see Hot Snakes at Upstream Fest, back in June. I do admit though (without shame) that I left their set about half way through to get myself a good spot at the JAWBREAKER stage, and I’m sorry-not-sorry to say my favo band of all time kind of out-shined Hot Snakes. Maybe it’s not fair to compare them to the highlight of my life though.

Anyway, thanks again for writing, and may you find all of the raddest releases in 2019!
Keep fighting the good fight,

BACKTALK ~ RE: El Googly Diablo

There’s a running joke in the band that the name El Googly Diablo is Spanish for “ex-girlfriend.” The truth is, years ago I had a friend who had a lazy eye and she had a crush on me, which of course I was oblivious to. My girlfriend at the time did not like this woman so she nicknamed her “El Googly Diablo.”  My ex and I are still pals so when it came time to name the band I reached out to her for permission to use it, because it sounded as silly as I feel most days. Plus naming the band “Taco Fiesta” seemed like it might be a little too confusing for folks when printed on a flyer.

Hey, thanks for the intel man. It’s a great name for a band. ‘Taco Fiesta’ would have been great too but you would have been inundated with hungry, and then hangry, fans at every show. Unless you supplied tacos. Hey there’s an idea!


BACKTALK ~ RE: Doesn’t English (#003)

Hi bro! First of all, thank you very much for looking at us to publish our material on your blog, it goes pretty cool! Second, “punk rock” is not part of the name of the band, but applies to what we do, here in Argentina is generally used a lot of “punk rock” or simply “punk” to give another intonation to the name haha. On the other hand, our genre is a style called “Espinosa Punk Rock” that comes from Ricky Espinosa, founder and singer of the legendary punk band FLEMA. One of the first punk bands in the country, and well, left a new way of punk, which we more or less follow, but with a touch of ours. Maybe that’s why it sounds a little pop punk, like you said. I invite you to know more bands of our country that there are of all kinds and different style within the punk culture, thank you very much compadre! Regards!

Hey Nico, thanks for the feedback man. Very cool to learn a bit about how the punks do punk stuff in Argentina. I hope someday I can go down there and see some shows. I bet it’s a lot of fun. Keep it easy,