History:Cars Get Crushed

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Cars Get Crushed was founded in Berkeley, California by two friends - Mike Martinez (guitar/vocal) and Mikel Garmendia (guitar) in 1995 after breaking of infamous Reach Out. They both played in Reach Out. Mike Martinez took part in Mike Kirsch's projects John Henry West and Sixteen Bullets, his first band was Fade. For the other members, James Cohea (drums) and Paul Koehler (bass), Cars Get Crushed was the first serious musical project. Before moving from Fayetteville, Arkansas to Oakland, California James Cohea played in local acts Chared Barbies and Shark Attack.

Cars Get Crushed runs through several style changing, their sound were changed and developed release by release, their music features early Pink Floyd-style prog, spaced-out Sun Ra-influenced jams, noisy avant-garde rock, aggressive post-hardcore and gentle indie pop. Synths, flute loops, samples, and spacey blips and bleeps find their way into the basic rock setup, defining Cars Get Crushed’s oddly intriguing style.

The first release - self-titled 7’, usually called by first song Dejavu, was released on Belmondo Records in 1995, including 2 studio records and 1 live instrumental.

Further, tracks for the first LP Drag Explosive were recorded. Disc was vinyl 12” only and released on Deluxe records (which was formed in 1995 by Mike Martinez and Danielle Damasius) in 1995. This time Cars Get Crushed played more closely to emo/post-hardcore with a slight touch of chaotic, hits are The Thunderbolt, A Slight Sting and Deluxe.

September 1995 they held the next session in Banker's Hill studio, San-Diego for the second lp, which was released in 1996 namely Blue & West on Goldenrod Records. This album shows movement toward math and indie, something similar to Drive Like Jehu, but without screams, with calm clear voice, sound is more cheesy like many Midwest bands.

Just before releasing of Blue & West the first song The Stranger were given to Allied Records Invasion Of The Indie Snatchers compilation. Beside Cars Get Crushed there was Car vs. Driver, Franklin, Hot Water Music and other. Record is different from those on disc, maybe early demo-version.

Though virtually unknown elsewhere, the group is an underground favorite in the Bay Area. In 1997 they toured with Karate, moreover, they shared scene alot with various US bands - Great Unraveling, Blank, Fire Engine Grey, The VSS, Calm, Uranium 9-Volt, Kublai Khan, Last of the Juanitas, Joel Phelps, Nova Scotia, American Analog Set, Aisler's Set, Unwound, The Way Downs, Nuzzle, Trackstar, Scenic Vermont, The Max Lange Attack, Bare Minimum, Scenic Vermont, Saints Andre, Spanakorzo, Spinning Jenny, Kerosene 454, Blue Tip, Evergreen, Braid, Get Up Kids, Ethel Meserve, Instant Girl, The Leadfoot Broadcast, Satisfact, J Church, Three Mile Pilot, The Shipping News, Los Crudos, Spitboy, Still Life, Dead And Gone, Oppressed Logic, Nuclear Winter, Tether, Ned Kelly and many other.

After such a productive beginning, Cars Get Crushed’s activity slightly faded and till 1998 they released only self-titled 7” with 2 new tracks – called by first track Warped Speed on Deluxe records and gave track Aural Fixation:Mode 2 to compilation attached to Zum #10 fan-zine, live recorded on WMUC radio. Also on this compilation presented Kublai Khan, Strictly Ballroom, Boyracer and others.

Still playing in CGC, Mikel started to practice drums in Jakarta, with his friends Jeremy Goody on synthesizer and Chandan Narayan on bass. Jeremy Goody also was permanent record engineer for all records and played on the last CGC album Evolution to Thrust (samples, synthesizer). CD released on Mod Lang Records in 1999. A mixture of dreamy shoegaze, melodic post-rock, experimental space-rock, touch of noise, indie-rock and post-anythinggoes with seldom Martinez vocal parties, what a wonderful album. Melancholically and thoughtful, melodies just comes out from nowhere, guitars within riffs draws black and white pictures draws in the head, strikingly beautiful.

Sadly, after this release they parted, but no-one stops playing. Mike is playing ambient under stage name Electric Birds (solo project). Cars Get Crushed were closely befriended with с Evergreen. They played together a lot and after Jakarta Mikel together with Aaron Calvert from Evergreen formed bands Winfred E. Eye and more recently Beam. Winfred E. Eye released their first disc on Koehler’s label Antenna Farm records. Paul himself played in Snow Park and Salem Lights. James Cohea returned to Fayetteville, Arkansas and played in local punk band Nancy.

(c) ZakRoi_GlaZa @ discohijack blogspot

Translated from russian with additional notes from

James "Wheatbread" Martin personal site - bits about James Cohea,

killingtechnology wordpress - James Cohea adds a comment

last.fm - english short version

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