FM DUST ARCHIVES: Blood Necklace


Blood Necklace was (sort of still is?) a noisy, boozy, incoherent group of malcontents that started playing together in 2009, forming initially as an iteration of the ever-changing Actual Birds enterprise (known for one show as Actual Birds & The Slow Clap!) but quickly realizing that greater potential lay outside of those bounds. We’ve broken up multiple times (usually, but not always, because of my mood swings), but we’re a standing proposition at this point, albeit only on occasions when we’re all in the same part of the continent.

The cover for the original “Skull Midwife” cassette.

The Blood Necklace boys (Brian Polsgrove on vocals and guitar, Lee Coller on drums, myself on guitar and occasional vocals, and for the first several months, Mike Jones on guitar), finicky record nerd types that we are, could never quite agree on what we, as a band, were going for. Brian was content to be a slightly gnarled “stoner rock” riff band; Mike wanted to take the band in a more epic, majestic sort of direction. I, for my part, wanted to sabotage any and all western-style structures, lapsing instead into either mind-numbing repetition or complete fucking chaos as often as possible (the least musically inclined, it became my duty to engage/repel the audience via unwelcome physical contact). Lee, the least openly opinionated member of the band, just wanted to play songs that were fun to play. This is not to say that Lee, a man of refined musical (and sartorial) tastes, didn’t have his own preferences; he just wasn’t one to make a fuss about it. Naturally, we all agreed (to some extent) on British psychedelic/sci-fi-rock legends Hawkwind, but aside from the middle section of “We All Burn”, this rarely manifested itself as an obvious sonic touchstone (and sure, our inner teenagers probably all agreed on Nirvana, maybe a more obvious antecedent).

Our misaligned aims all won out in turn, but being the moody baby in the band, I would usually push the most for my way. I remember telling Brian that I thought we should be using the Dead C as more of a model, to which he said “there are already a billion bands that sound like Dead C”. I retorted, “yeah, but there are even more bands that sound like the Melvins, most of them suck, and I don’t want any of us to have to get fat enough to fit in with them”. Or something like that. Yeesh!

At the time, I thought Mike’s guitar playing was too pretty, his writing contributions too accessible and melodic, to fit in with whatever overall “direction” we had. Mike had already made plans to move to New York not long after we formed, so his days in the band were numbered no matter what. Still, I was pushing to get rid of him before his departure.

It was a mistake, both as a friend and as a bandmate. We had a falling out that took some time to heal and, while I didn’t think so at the time, Blood Necklace suffered from the loss. “Reminder”, which starts off this collection and which is the song for which Mike was most responsible, is our most fully realized recording and maybe our best song, though admittedly not the most representative of our overall sound (that honor would probably go to “This Broken Man”). The latter-day version of Blood Necklace, on the rare occasion that we do play, never attempts this song. It’s just not the same without Mike.

We did carry on as a trio in Mike’s absence. Having lost our most accessible element, we became more of a violent, alienating force live, and lost a lot of supporters in Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti in the process. We were a whiskey-drenched, stumbling middle finger of a band, but it was fun.

That is, it was fun until a bunch of personal shit hit the fan with me (mostly anxiety-related mental strain that I was taking pains to avoid addressing). I took it out on Brian, and quit the band in a huff. Yet another falling out that took time to fix. I’m good at those.

Since then, Brian and I have taken turns sweet-talking each other into “one last show” (even periodically when Brian was living in Seattle), until finally we just gave up and decided never to break up, just to avoid any more mushy last-show sentimentality.

The sound quality on these recordings varies pretty wildly, though none come anywhere near “studio quality” (we were always trying to find ways to make our recordings MORE blown-out and shitty!). Tracks 1-3 came out as a cassette, Skull Midwife (DUST008); Tracks 5 and 7 were supposed to be part of an EP on Elephant Graveyard, Dirty Chain, which never came out. The other tracks are the best outtakes from both of those sessions. It’s not much, granted, but for now, it’s the best we’ve got.



Dustin Krcatovich is a cartoonist, writer, designer, founder of FM DUST, and a collector of certain curios and ephemera (with a focus on 20th century "junk culture"). His writing and illustration work appears frequently in The Quietus, Tiny Mix Tapes, and Esquire's Culture Blog. He is also a former editor and contributor to Secret Zen Garden,Saagara's illustrated mindfulness/wellness blog for young people. He currently resides in Portland, OR.


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