Lots and lots of new photos exist at my flickr site. I am hoping to shot at least one show a week. Hopefully more. We shall see. I’d like to get into doing some portraits too. Anyway, come to the flickr site often.
Slingshot Dakota put this album out last month it seems. I wish I could say I was on the first wave bandwagon, but it is my sincere hope that after posting this blog post on my blog where I post stuff that other people will get into this band. Comprised of Keyboards and Drums with a lady and a dude that both sing, the Matt and Kim references are not that unfair in that both bands totally fucking ROCK with what would appear to be minimalist instruments. (To be fair I think that DC’s highly over looked Aquarium was the first keyboard/drum duo as they have been kicking it low-key since 2001). But the set up of the band pretty much ends the comparisons between Brooklyn’s finest. Slingshot Dakota are driving melodic post hard core breakdowns but they reveal the poppy prettiness of it all. Carly Comando soars rather then yells or barks. They grew up on punk rock, pop, early nineties emo, all the good music no one is listening to. But no doubt they will infect your soul should you allow yourself the sinful injection.
The band is full on DIY, releasing their self titled album which you can pay pal order through their myspace site. If funds are tight though, pick up their new three song demo at If You Make It. It features their cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” which wins the Franconia Station award for being the one and only band that has successfully covered and there for is allowed to cover a Fugazi song. They don’t quite adopt their own melodic leanings to the track, which after hearing more of their music is a bit of a shame, but it’s a fun cover and sounds totally awesome.
So deffinately check out this band. I know you think I am a fucking dick nob, but no joke, this shit would slay even the dickless fucks at Pitchfork. Luckily it’s too DIY and off their radar. Remember you heard about them here first. Check out the videos below.
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Pretty much after New Lexicon last year I figured it would be a while until I got to check in with my favorite hard core band. But I guess the new line up is really clicking and Paint It Black drop five fast and furious songs on the public. Amnesia doesn’t fuck around and though it’s only five songs, it’s kind of rad to have a band contain themselves a bit by a classic format. This of course is classic hardcore. People seemed to love Paradise (which I too think is awesome) and if you thought they couldn’t do it again Amnesia will prove you wrong. 5 songs, ten minutes. This band is brutal. We get chugga chugga verses, hooky break downs and a three minute thirty one second epic closer track, “Bliss” where the band has hit a peak. There is a promise of another joint in September from this session. I personally can’t wait. Those two releases combined could easily make for a “Record of the Year”.
Answer – Bloodwashed Noise
I have this friend John Seager who plays in this band. I never get to talk to him because I lost his phone number in some old phone and his emails get bounced back to me. But I saw him earlier this year and he told me he was in this band called Lotus Fucker which is the greatest band name ever. I found their demo online (not sure if this is sanctioned boys so sorry if it’s not) and it fucking rips. I wish I was better tapped into the sludgy, dirty, way under ground side of punk rock. You know bands that don’t have myspace pages and put things out only as demos or 7″s because Lotus Fucker is amazing. They actually make a lot of other heavy music sound boring and reserved. Parts noise, parts old school hard core, Lotus Fucker deliver. One of these days I will run into John again and maybe even get to see this or one of the other nine bands he’s in. He still owes me a copy of Agahst’s Deformed Frogs record that came out forever ago. I need to get unlame and start buying vinyl and get hip to the scene.
Street Sweeper Social Club
Some Major Label of some sort
Look, I really did not want to buy this album. The curiosity got the better of me. I mean shit, Boots Riley from the Coup dude. I love the guy. And I always feel like maybe one day Tom Morello will live up to his potential. I rocked Rage Against the Machine when I was in high school. I’m not gonna front on that. But that dude has been pulling the exact same riffs for 15 years or more now. Tom, fucking work this shit out man. Basically this was probably gonna be a new Rage album, but every one else balked so Tom got Boots to rap over his distortion funk music. I love hearing Boots Riley and he doesn’t disappoint in this context, but not even he can make Mr. Morello’s music sound new and exciting. 15 year old kids who think the world sucks will be way into this, and if Boots can show them the light, I can’t harsh too bad on it, but this was definitely an impulse buy and not something I endorse at all.
You can download this sampler of new music released or distributed by No Idea records. If you’re looking for some new punk rock bands then this sampler might help you find something new. Dear Landlord has a new song from their debut album Dream Homes (which I pre-ordered and still haven’t gotten – grrr), there is also a song from Pink Razors which is off their album that No Idea is issuing on CD. Tracks by No Friends, North Lincoln, Screaming Females (who are gonna be huge next year) and some other stuff.
Sonic Youth released their 10 billionth album The Eternal which features the first time Thurston and Lee sing on the same song. It’s not as awesome as I hoped, but after 8 trillion years, it’s about time. Pretty much if you love Sonic Youth you”ll probably be into this album. It has some nuances as usual and some of there most energetic music since Dirty. I’m not totally blown away on the experience, but it’s consistent with everything they’ve been doing over the last decade. Pick it up if your into this sort of thing.
Mos Def also dropped some new science with The Ecstatic which actually is a good complementary album for The Eternal and because they were released on the same day I have been listening to them together like some nice binary star type thing. If I had more time, energy and brain power I would probably dissect the two together but last time I wanted to do that I went crazy and couldn’t write on my blog for a month. Any way this album is pretty solid and has some wicked shit going on. Dude samples some Bollywood tracks on here. Talib Kwelli makes and appearance over one of J-Dilla’s finest beats, as does Madlib on a few tracks, including “Whaid” which is a great fucking song. This shit should be played at parties and in your car. Get into it.
Lastly for this week I want to steer people towards Statehood. Last week the world lost Clark Sabine to an intense battle with cancer. Clark was an intelligent, intense, funny and amazing person. I have said a lot of words about this dude to a lot of people. The loss I feel in my life because this man is no longer on this earth is very intense and I think a lot of people feel that way too. I knew him only peripherally through the DC independent music scene, but he was such a kind and passionate guy that his energy being taken from this small planet is immense. While Clark was known locally for his antics with the short lived, and underrated Motor Cycle Wars, Statehood was the beginning of Clark blossoming into a full on force to be reckoned with. Their debut album Lies and Rhetoric was self released late in 2007 is an energetic explosion that only hints at what this band would have been capable of. There are more fitting eulogies for Mr. Sabine, this barely touches on the man, but for anyone out in the world who reads this blog I urge you deeply and passionately to check out Statehood in honor of Clark. You will be missed dear friend.
I posted this picture because last night at the Black Cat, after 16 years of taking photos, for the very first time, someone told me midway through Frodus’ set, that I wasn’t allowed to use flash photography. This of course is about the dumbest rule ever in the history of dumb "rules". The employee that asked me to stop pulled at my shoulder and then, when my finger slipped and took this well framed shot, started to get all agro on me. Way to act like a cop. So this photo will be the last time I shoot a band at the Black Cat. Since they do not feel what they do is worthy of documentation I will no longer extend the offer.
The older I get, the LESS tolerant of clubs I get. The rules they impose on patrons add to the division between band and fan and help to facilitate the rock hero worship bullshit that kids grow up to have. Add the barriers to the alcohol consumption and there you have less of musical journey but a typical act of consumerism.
I know and have known many people that work at the Black Cat and it has historically always been a place I have felt welcome and because of that been treated very well. And despite the fan boy poses, I feel like what I do with my camera offers a service at NO CHARGE to that club, the bands and the fans. While I am no Glen Friedman, people do view these photos and ask me about them. People want to remember the shows and see the bands they love captured by the lens. It helps feed the economy of independent music. This extends to the venues that hold these types of shows. I have never been, nor will I probably ever be paid for what I do. It’s a labor of love, one part of an awesome whole that makes up the community of punk rock. But last night I no longer felt that way, again after 16 YEARS of taking pictures. You will no longer see photos from me at this venue.
If anyone from the club would like to have a dialog with me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is just a small taste of what I will be witnessing over the next two or three days. It is very early. I should be sleeping, but I am too excited to see Heathers and Ghost Mice and spend some time with these lovely people over the next few days. If you didn’t see Heathers last night (and I suspect you did not because I would have seen you) then you totally fucked up your life and I really feel so sorry for you. If they are playing anywhere near you, you pretty much need to go. This show last night was fucking amazing. And I can’t wait for it to happen again tonight.
It’s been raining a lot in Dixie. It kinda sucks. I feel like I should move to Forks and take advantage of stupid teenage girls by pretending to be a vampire. I mean if I am going to have to have my life ruined and my emotions fucked with by rain I might as well ruin other lives too. So I haven’t ridden my bike much over the last few weeks. Last weekend was really nice, but I moved some friends to a new apartment so that pretty much killed it for me. This weekend however, the rain was supposed to let up so I made a plan to wake up kinda early, check out the movie times at the closest theater to me and make a plan to ride.
After my last post, my friend Blake told me to ditch the water bottle (I didn’t), get a Chrome bag (which I did) and welcomed me into the world of biking. I jammed some books into the bag, my keys and wallet and hit the road. I decided today I would explore the mostly forgotten bike trails that exist in the massive subdivision landscape that exists across the street from my house. I gave my self two hours to get to the theater and eat some food. I wasn’t sure if I should eat and then ride or not. I seemed to do okay with it. But those trails, well they are a little advanced for me. You see I resemble more a bean bag then a human being with my rotund mid section. The shit jiggles when I ride and the extra weight is hard as fuck to pull up hills. So after the second massive hill I just walked up the steady incline for about ten minutes. Next time I do this I’ll take the straightforward way. Even though it’s shorter I need to build up to the hard shit.
I got to the theater in about a half an hour. This is three times as long as by car. But I actually felt good. I watched the marquee and saw that Hangover was playing. I had set out to watch Drag Me To Hell but it was a half hour later and I figure I can go see it my next weekend and plan a little bit better. The Mediterranean place I wanted to eat at was also closed (LAME) so I went to a sandwich shop where I spent way too much money for not that much food. But it seemed to satisfy my basic need and I got to waddle through a few pages of The God Delusion.
Hangover was good after I finally go through the endless commercials and previews. All of which I forgot. It was so damn long wading through that crap that I actually forgot what movie I was seeing. I started to relax and laughed my ass off from beginning to end. Todd Phillips does well with the genre and getting some lesser known comedians to pull out great performances. I hope my Vegas trip in July is just as fucked up.
After the credits rolled, I clanked my buckle against all the plastic chairs and headed out for my bike. As I made my first pushes up the small hill I realized my legs were kinda sore. I am probably gonna hurt like a mother fucker tomorrow. Worst still I have to go into the office. But I have already decided that rather then drive I am going to bike to the metro and take my bike around Arlington for a bit. I’m still pretty terrified of cars. Some asshole in an F-150 making a left turn into my path didn’t give me the right of way that was clearly mine. This is suburbia too. All my veteran bike friends are probably rolling their eyes at me now, the visions of being doored, sideswiped or nearly killed by maddened Metro Bus drivers fresh in their heads. I know I know, I am a rookie, but those stories had an impact on me. I try to be a more cautious driver. Plus, I purposely bought a bike to drive less. So that rather then going to the movies in my car, I have to kinda work for it. I feel more satisfied by the whole experience. Even the chain store sandwich and Fiddy Cent promoted Vitamin Water tasted more lively after my ride.
If I am feeling feisty I may ride to the library today. I doubt it though. I enjoyed the outdoors fully and I am fully sweaty and resembling jelly both in appearance, movement and feeling. Plus I just dominated a beer while I wrote this. I must undo what ever it is I do. Such is life. Biking is fun as shit though. The dropping hill I took, the wind slapping my face and the water splashes from the puddles I ran over was a sense memory I had abandoned. I will not grow old. I will not give in. Fuck that shit.
As any regular reader of this blog understands, I do this because I love to write about music. I have, since college, in some form or another written about music. I don’t feel I approach it from a very academic or critical place. Music means far too much to me to write about it in any other fashion. This is true of my first article about the Capitol City Dusters in the Broadside at George Mason University and it is true now.
So when someone writes you an email and says they were looking for a review of a band and found your sight, as a laborer of love I get kind of excited. I especially get excited when they tell me it’s a review of a band I hold very near and dear to me. In this case that was Out_Circuit and when I received the correspondence I got happy. Someone else out in the interwebsphere cares about that band. Maybe they don’t care what I have to say (and I don’t believe they should), but just to know that people are seeking the things I care to write about makes me feel a bit better about the world.
The scary thing is when a stranger asks you if you would review their music. Because this is a labor of love, I want to write about things that either interest me or that I love. Generally everything I write about is stuff I seek, find by accident or buy. People rarely recommend music to me, and I am almost always skeptical. But, the music geek in me can’t resist. After all, the guy that asked me to review his band likes and knows the Out_Circuit. They aren’t exactly on the tip of everyone’s fingers. It takes effort to know about them.
So here I am, listening to In a Different Time and Place the debut album by a musical project called The Language of Termites. As I drift through this album tonight, after a day where my brain is exhausted, I find the space and atmosphere pleasantly comforting. The music is dynamic, but it is not demanding. The soft songs let me sit gently with in them, letting me take my time. This, tonight especially, is good.
The first thing you must know about this band is that they use the acoustic guitar as the primary melodic instrument. Through the whole album, nothing but acoustic guitar (okay I am at track 9, “This is the Ocean,” the stand out track so far, at the moment). This is a bold move and it serves this music well. I fear the employing of distortion and electric sound waves from the now standard instrument would disturb the area the listener has to breath. I don’t know the process in which they arrived at this aesthetic choice, but I feel it is the right one. While I think, maybe, and may agree with later, that some variance in that department might be interesting, I can’t help but applaud this move in a landscape of rock music so determined to beat you over the head with electricity and volume.
As a reviewer I could throw a lot of references at you in regards to The Language of Termites. This would give you a general idea of the approach, but it would be a far cry of explaining what you might hear. I never was very good at that to be quite honest. But I can tell you these things, I am reminded of bits of Cursive, though they sound nothing like them. The room left to breath is reminiscent of instrumental juggernauts The Mercury Program, but you will find no wondering, booming bass or xylophones. There is an approach to song that is familiar if you are a fan of John Frusciante. But this is, as a whole, a lot less frustrating then Sir John can be on an album. And as for Emily Frembgen, the vocalist, she sounds in tone and inflection very similar to Melissa Quinley sans the East Coast skepticism. She is soft and delicate and her voice seems to work in opposition and in conjunction to the music being made. It brings out the subtle hooks that are just becoming evident to me as I sit down with this music for the first time. So now, as a reviewer and geek I have given you references, that chances are you are not intimate with as much as I am. So they will mean little to you, but they mean a lot to me, because they speak to me.
I’m not sure where a band like The Language of Termites fits in with music today. They are not rock music, though they get their cues from that approach. They are not sugary pop, but they have hooks that are the foundation under the lush surface. They aren’t post rock and loud, but they have that type of intricate musicianship and yet they aren’t in your face. It’s music that is different, difficult and beautiful all in one package.
I can’t really sum up this band. If you asked me what I felt, at first listen I couldn’t tell you. Maybe that’s why I felt compelled to write this. I mean I had the choice of blowing it of. The person that sent me his art is a stranger to me and this is the internet, the most vacant space in all the universe, lush with meaningless ramblings and shit covered opinions. It’s music that challenges you, but it doesn’t bully you around and say “hey look at me fucker” and that is so incredibly rare. The images of their front page on their web site seems to say everything you could say about this band. Much more then I could. You should visit it now, here. You should think about taking this outside with you. That would probably be a good idea.