My God We Have a Podcast

It’s not quite like those other fancy podcasts that those other people on the internet have, but it will be eventually. For now, download the inaugural episode here.

This is what you will hear:

Intro
Turboslut – Running In My Family
Break #1
Life Crisis – Steady Decay
Grabass Charlestons – Gone Fishin’
Shang A Lang – On The Road
Majority Rule – 49 Words
Aghast – Empowered Cowards
Break #2
God Head Silo – They Walked In Line
Zhenia Golov – Eyesore
Yo Man Go – Healing Factor
Los Gatos Negros – Raw Hide
Deathrats – Sense of Entitlement
Break #3
Kill The Messenger – Unconscious
Minutemen – The Anchor (live)
Pig Destroyer – Treblinka

total running time 29:50 (weak)

Episode #2 will post next week. If you know anything about RSS feeds and how to get these so you can download them from iTunes, let me know.

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Another Batch of Reviews of Stuff

For whatever reason, over the last week or two I’ve actually, somewhat, sort of been able to write about records and stuff. It’s Kind of hard to say why, but I’ve worked on both issues #4 and #5 of my zine, which should make for an interesting release schedule, especially since I don’t think I’ll have a way to scam copies of said articles and said articles are not to be paid for when copying. That’s a rule of law. I’ve been fancily dancily writing on this here blog a bit too. I even, maybe, possibly, started a podcast. Though there are some technical complications that I am having a bit of time over coming. We shall see, shant we? We shan!

So, I’m a bit looped on codeine at the moment. My head is stuffed and I am listening to the new Murder By Death album called Good Morning, Magpie released on the fine people at Vagrant records. The volume is down low, due to physiological senses, but that doesn’t mean the title track isn’t piercing through though. In fact it is this title track that bridges all that we know and love about Murder By Death with all that they have begun to explore on this album. The post punk tendencies are all but quashed this time around, giving way to explore succinctly the tender, more Americana aspects they’ve operated under over the last ten years. They get all Tom Waits on “You Don’t Miss Twice (When You’re Shaving With a Knife)”, invoke The Pogues on “As Long As Their is Whiskey in the World” and just flat out blow you away with the moving, face paced ballad “Foxlove”. Redtooth and Claw, the previous effort felt like it tread too much upon past territory, and Murder By Death close it out in comfortable fashion with the eerie “White Noise” and dusty setting of “The Day”. Should they play this album from start to finish, it’s easy to think that these last two tracks were part of the back catalog. But even these songs have more in common with the current set then anything previous. Good Morning, Magpie might be less of hybrid and more straight forward, but for Murder By Death it shows their strength and really showcases Adam Turla as a fantastic songwriter.He’s been compared to Johnny Cash in the past, both unfairly and unfortunately, but those same plains and fields are ever present, the music spoken with a similar vernacular. I was expecting more of the same, despite the reviews, but this is a refreshing change, not unfamiliar, but also completely new.

So, you know how I know I am getting old? I’m picking up new bands by listening to Public Radio. This week alone, there were two very peculiar bands offered up at me. The first was Buke&Gass as duo from Brooklyn of all unfortunate places lauded by Radiolab. This duo made modified baritone guitars and bass ukuleles, got some percussions activated by there feet and make some of the most beautiful noise I’ve ever heard. Once I get the album I’ll do a full review, but man, go check out the podcast if you can. The other band was pitched by none other than Kurt Anderson, who is like the coolest, dorkiest old man with his Studio 360 show. I’m not always sure I trust Kurt’s taste, being a life long New Yorker I questions his filters. But he did play Take it Easy Hospital, a pair of expat Iranian’s who are in a new movie and have a debut EP out. The movie is called No One Knows about Persian Cats which is a movie about two Iranian musicians that play in the way underground and are forced to flee Iran due to political pressure for playing Western Music. That’s kind of an oversimplification of the story, but you know, work with me. I’m breathing weird fumes. The EP, Human Jungle is a dance rock inspired bit of revelry. The female vocals leave a little to be desired, I’m not going to lie, but the music is infectious. Almost reminiscent of The Rapture if they were more interested in making something actually danceable and a little more into Radiohead and a little less into Prince. The bass lines are absolutely swanky, the guitar work is unreal and the drumming is solid. By far the best track on the offering is “Me and You”, which is sung in Farsi (if I am not mistaken, and if I am please correct me) and based on a traditional Iranian poem (again the origin escapes me and I am too lazy to go back and listen to the podcast, but you can and should do so here). It’s pretty freaky music my friends. Recommended to you to ease the stress of a respiratory infection for sure.

I kinda went apeshit on iTunes today for no other reason then I am sick and I can’t get my shit together. I bought a bunch of singles from No Idea Records (including the The Measure (SA)/Ergs Splits and both the new Small Brown Bike singles) as well as the Mi Ami single “Cut Men b/w Out at Night” which is so much better then their debut LP Watersports. They also have a new album out that I hope to check out shortly. Also, I heard a new track off the freshly released Medications album Completely Removed which sounds nothing like the jockular, over drive riff rock shit they used to play. I am thinking about checking that album too. But I am gaurded and skeptical.

Well I gotta go shell out forty bucks for some part so I can have a kitchen sink or some shit. Never buy a house. Its total bullshit and selling them is bullshit too. I just want to go to sleep and instead I am waiting for shit. Houses are bullshit. Fucking hell codeine fucks you up. Ain’t doing shit for this cough or pain though.

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Korrupt YR Self #4 Lost Reviews

So I do this zine called Korrupt Yr Self. I was gonna work on it tonight, but I can’t seem to concentrate on the story at hand. However, I realize that the reviews I wrote are both dated and not going to fit in the print version. So, I published them at the blog I set up for just this purpose.

If you are so inclined you may go here to read them.

For a copy of the zine, leave a comment with your email and I will get in touch.

Later.

Lost Reviews from Issue #4

As I work on Issue #4, which is in progress and yet not in progress, I have decided that the reviews will be cut from the print addition. So here it is, the record and zine reviews from issue #4. Get into it.

As I work on Issue #4, which is in progress and yet not in progress, I have decided that the reviews will be cut from the print addition. So here it is, the record and zine reviews from issue #4. Get into it.

Music:

Aquarium – Performer b/w Battle of the Bands, Dischord Records

Before Slingshot Dakota covered “Waiting Room” and before Matt and Kim got naked in Time Square, Aquarium was rocking the key/drum duo set up to great accolades in DC. It’s seems this band didn’t get their due with their self titled LP a few years ago, but they are making a showing with a new single. I have to say up front, the production on this record is lacking in my opinion. The songs sound more like demos than the real deal. And considering the subject matter of the A side, maybe that was the point. After all it’s a song about the artist versus the performer. Also the B side just sounds a bit under developed. But “Performer” is as strong a song as Aquarium has ever done. Jason Hutto shreds the keyboards. This slab of vinyl is worth a few spins while the down city duo hopefully preps a new album.

Deathrats – s/t 7”, To Live a Lie Records

Deathrats bring it kids. DC  lads and lady making a ruckus that is sorely needed. Pretty dirty thrash punk seeps over six songs, which is awesome. The lyrics are chock full of personal reflections and anxiety that anyone can relate to. DC was built on hardcore, and Deathrats certainly uphold that tradition. A solid debut release.

Future Virgins – Easiest Years 7”, Plan-it-X South

This is a pretty cool record. It’s got jangly guitars and rumbling drums. The songs are pretty upbeat. One of the singers sounds like a drunk. The other dude just sounds normal. I imagine the kids pogo when this band plays.  Future Virgins do it right, keep it interesting and don’t dilly dally on the song lengths. Solid rocking, you can’t ask for much more than that.

Government Warning – Executed 7”, Grave Mistake/No Way Records

Government Warning are a revivalist act if I’ve ever heard one in punk rock. Totally reminds me of old skool Dischord releases and the like. Fast, crunchy guitars and thunderous, rolling beats are accented by a snotty sounding vocalist. He’s got a Darby Crash thing going on. “Shirked Obligations” reminds me of The Faith.  They also do a song by a band called Battalion of Saints which is a pretty awesome song. So to recap. Fast, DC influenced band with the spirit of the Germs. Can you really say no to that?

The Arrivals – Sister Series 7”, Razorcake Records

Razorcake is doing a series of releases where they pair two bands together and release two records that you can get individually or together. I opted to buy both records. I’d never really heard the Arrivals or Grabass Charlestons (see below) before. The Arrivals are mid tempo pop punk band with some Billy Bragg in them. But they aren’t so limited just to that. They pull from a lot of sources. The second song “I Wouldn’t Dare” has an almost Black Flag intro that quickly rolls into a Smiths sounding verse. They kind of remind me of the Smoking Popes too.  They remind me of a lot of bands which is pretty cool because they still sound like the same band the whole way through. There’s something for every one practically.

Grabass Charlestons – Sister Series 7”, Razorcake Records

The second half of the Sister Series is filled by the Grabass Charlestons. Straight up, the bass part in the opening track “Gone Fishin’” is a fucking awesome. And even though this record breaks my “no drummers on vocals rule” I still like it. It would irritate me to no end to watch this band though. The dude on the mic is pretty fucking good too. They capture the spirit of the Minutemen in their presentation. I mean it’s three dudes working their songs. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Shang-A-Lang – Sad Magic, Fast Crowd Records

Shang-A-Lang is pretty much the reason I have renewed faith in the compilation. No Idea had a free comp download featuring a lot of bands that they sell that aren’t even on their label. Shang-A-Lang was one of those bands. Man, I love this record. It reminds me a lot of The Carrie Nations, a great, short lived Plan-It-X band. Lots of poppy guitars and adolescent vocals. Dude sounds like the kids in Delay (another Plan-it-X band). Plus this album was recorded to 8 tracks in a garage in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It sounds amazing. I am totally in love with this record. You should get it, like right now.

Shang-A –Lang/Brick Fight – split 7”, Face Palm Records

Straight out of the gate you need to know that the cover art work was done by Mitch Clem from My Stupid Life and Razorcake fame. This is his new label and the artwork all around is really fantastic. For a labels debut release this looks really great. The Shang-A-Lang side is a lot more aggressive then what was on the Sad Magic album. It’s still got that awesome homemade feeling though. I reminds me of the spirit of the Pee Tanks , especially the acoustic “Wishing Wells”. Brick Fight have the best title of a song ever in “Please Texas Don’t Hold ‘Em.” They sound like a bunch of kids that grew up on The Dead Milkmen and NOFX. It grows on me every time I listen to it.  The mastering leaves a bit to be desired on the overall release, but it’s got enough weight to make it worth while.

Shang-A-Lang/God Equals Genocide – split 7”, Razorcake Records

This release is janky as hell. The Shang-A-Lang side sounds like it was recorded live in their garage, which it probably was. It’s a bit uneven from song to song.  Two of the songs are covers. One is a God Equals Genocide cover (they do the same on side B) called “Have You Ever”. It’s the best of their three. Actually God Equals Death’s cover of the Shang-A-Lang song is their best song too. Otherwise they are bit too old skool, jangly indie rock, too reminiscent of bad records from the early 90’s.  For completists I think.

Young Livers/Attack! Vipers – split 7”, Yo-Yo Records

Young Livers split with Bridge and Tunnel on No Idea pretty much sealed it for me. The band features some of the dudes from Glass and Ashes now and this song definitely shows that. Some of the melodic joy from their past is gone in the vocal area, but each time I listen to “Volatile” I get a bit of a man crush. Gainesville bands always seem to do it right, Young Livers are a prime example. Crucial song. Attack! Vipers are more on the hardcore side, with some melodic break downs. They kind of remind me of Trapdoor Exit a little bit. I don’t go for this style of music too much myself, but these are pretty solid songs and it sounds really great. Nice crunchy bass sound. This should definitely win over some new converts for them.

Psyched to Die – Scatter Brained 7”, Dirtnap Records

So in the last issue I reviewed their Sterile Walls 7” and thought there was a bit of the Ergs in their. Well it turns out there is an Erg in Psyched to Die. Another four songs of bratty punk rock with a bit of a razor’s edge to it. This release reminds me of some early Lookout Bands, but a little less annoying. I prefer Sterile Walls personally. I feel like they haven’t really found their identity yet. It’s not a bad release, I was just expecting something else.

The Gateway District – Some Days You Get the Thunder CD, It’s Alive Records

This band has the drummer from Dear Landlord in it and one of the ladies from The Soviettes. When I read that it was pretty much a given I was going to check that out. Dear Landlord have put out one of the most consistent, straight forward power pop punk albums I’ve ever heard. And the Soviettes were just a really fun band.  Straight out of the gate the packaging and lay out is really awesome. It reminded me of when I first saw Hello Bastards. Unfortunately The Gateway District is not going to enter that stratosphere in my  musical quilt. The record has some really awesome songs, but it’s about two tracks too long and the drumming just feels sterile. Over all the music has a jerky quality to it. This might be a part time thing and it kind of shows.  To be fair though it does have some of that really great buzz saw guitar that The Soviettes had to them and some of that playful energy is there too. It’s just not quite as endearing. I’ll probably skip around on this album and songs might make it on to some mixes, but I’m not bouncing off the walls either.

Government Warning – Paranoid Mess LP, Grave Mistake/No Way Records

If you didn’t think this band could get more classic sounding, then you were wrong. There are some serious phasers or something on the vocals here. Total throw back sound and I am loving. This album lives on the edge of control and chaos, skipping along with one foot on each side of the line.  It’s hard to imagine that most of the songs on this record clock in at the two minute mark because they are so brutal. I am exhausted after three songs.  Everything about this band is great. Explosive the whole way through. I see a future of me stomping in circles around my living room to this one.

Delay – Plain Language – CD, Plan-It-X

Since I got this CD a few weeks ago I’ve told everyone I can that this band should be bigger than Green Day. If there was any justice in the world, there would be, and since they aren’t I know now that this is a cruel and  unjust world that I live in.  Basically Plain Language is a totally rocking album. The recording of this album is probably more crisp and solid then any other Plan-It-X release to date.  And never mind that the guitar playing has grown exponentially since the last offering. The vocals are still love-lorn and wonderful though. All the things you love about Delay only better.

The Max Levine Ensemble/Ben Weasel – Split 7”, Fuck You is a Seven Letter Word Records

It should be noted, that under no uncertain terms do I deny being in love with The Max Levine Ensemble. As far as I am concerned they are the only good band left in Washington DC. Music has failed this city, but this trio reigns supreme. So this slit 7” is pretty fucking awesome. Side A features 4 songs by the band, poking fun at punk rock and responding to punk rock dinosaur Ben Weasel.  I personally love “You’re Art Monk and I’m Telling Everyone” where they bastardize the classic Jawbreaker song with a vocal intro before slamming into a raging piece of power-pop.  The b-side remixes and reappropriates some disparaging remarks made by Weasel on his radio show? Podcast? Does anyone even listen to him? Had it not been for the Ensemble putting this out, I would have blissfully remained in the dark. They end the project with a grand rendition of Kiss’s “God Gave Rock and Roll to You III”. You should get this. Only 220 made.

Religious as Fuck/American Cheeseburger – Split 12”, No Idea

Alright, when I found out Religious as Fuck was putting out another release I was stoked. Something about this band made me fee like they weren’t long for this world. But they put out a rad split with Mehkago N.T. a year ago. Now they are back with more Florida thrash. This album seems a little more tame then the last one. Granted that’s after one listen, but it doesn’t pack the same overall grit.  But I’m still stoked it got here. American Cheeseburger offers a similar sound and is appropriate to fill side two. The cover art rules.  It may not be a perfect release but it does the job. No Idea never fails.

No Friends – S/T CD, No Idea

I think this is a side project of the singer from Municipal Waste. I am not too familiar with that band and I know I should be. They look like dudes that know how to party. No Friends sounds like dudes that know how to party too. Awesome eighties influenced punk rock with some melodic punk sensibilities. Some parts Minor Threat, some parts Bad Religion, some parts Descendents. This may be a side project but it’s no throw away album.  They melt these influences together to make a nice creamy dip. It may not make any waves, but it’s a fun record.

Print:

Cometbus #52 – The Spirit of St Louis, Aaron Cometbus

#1. If you have never read an issue of Cometbus then you never officially got your punk rock card. It took me 20 years, but I finally got mine. Thought I had it, but no. This is the longest running punk zine as stated by Cometbus himself. Started two months before Maximum Rock and Roll. #2.  I don’t know if this should be considered a zine or a novella but all I know is it’s a great story. I think it’s part fiction, part recollection, and part true. It’s hard to say, but it’s a great story about people living together and the problems and parades shared by unconventional households. If you have ever had roommates this book will ring true. No matter how punk you may or may not be. This story will resonate with you. #3 This zine straight up made me want to do a better zine. It pretty much fed the fuel to make me get here to issue #4. You can thank or blame Aaron Cometbus depending on how you feel about this whole zine thing.

Cometbus#53, Aaron Cometbus and Maddalena Polletta

The fact that I am reviewing two issues of Cometbus is a testament both to the amount of time I have been working on this thing, and how great I think Cometbus is.  This time Aaron teams up with a long time contributor for a collaborative effort. Aaron tells some random stories, gives us some poems and does an article on John Holmstron, founder of Punk magazine and the guy that did a bunch of art for the Ramones. Maddalena tells different stories about her mother dying of cancer, coping with that grief and other related tales. It’s a bit weird of a paring, Aaron’s work mostly light hearted and Maddalena’s  fairly somber. But the writing is amazing and important. This is the master of zine making here.

Snakepit 2008, Microcosm Publishing

Snakepit is a comic zine written by this dude Ben Snakepit. He draws a comic every day of his life. It’s  three panels and it’s pretty repetitive. It’s that same repetition though that makes it so awesome. Despite playing in bands and drawing for Razorcake, Ben mostly just watches movies with his girlfriend, goes to work, hands to mouth it and gets high. Sometimes he gets drunk. It’s a really great book/zine. I highly recommend it.

Razorcake #53, Gorsky Press Inc.

I don’t really want to get too in the habit of reviewing zines like Razorcake, but I feel  that at least for this issue it’s a good idea to write about some of the stuff that keeps me going. Razorcake is the last station of punk rock publishing so far as I know. Yes there is Maximum Rock and Roll, the long standing battleship, but I could never get into that zine. Razorcake pretty much fills the hole since left by Punk Planet. It’s not quite the journalistic masterpiece, but it covers awesome bands, has pretty even reviews and great columns. Plus some of the columns are cartoons. This issue has an interview with the awesome Bloomington band Good Luck and a look at punk rock record distribution via the Mordam/Lumberjack debacle.

To Hell With Good Intentions #7, Edited by Trish Georgino

I found this zine at a record shop that I don’t normally frequent. I liked it a lot. Even though I didn’t really know any of the bands or records that were talked about, I liked reading about the record shopping in Baltimore. A mix of music, personal stuff, and random bits of interviews and art.  Finding this at random made me feel less lonely in this world.

Give Me Back#5, Edited by Fil

While Give Me Back is still trying to find it’s feet a bit, I feel like this is a step up from what I am doing. I love it to death. I am glad this is being done in Washington DC. I think it’s the most important thing going on in this town. The Pygmy Lush interview is crucial. That band frankly is crucial and I hope that people read this zine and find out about them. In every issue I think they have tried to interview a non-American band and an artist or activist of some sort. I think that stuff is important to hold on to. The record reviews are a bit bighting for me, but I understand the need for that criticism. I think it’s vital to underground art. Also there are a lot of photos everywhere and I think that’s a part of zine culture that is crucial too. I wait impatiently for issue #6 to one day appear. You should too.

Some actual detailed reviews of some more new music I’ve been into over the last week or so

Young Livers
Of Misery and Toil
No Idea Records

There is no other record label that I can think of that has been more consistent the No Idea Records. The home grown Gainesville, Florida label, modeling itself off of Dischord records, has been putting out great, intense records for many, many years. Young Livers is one of those bands, spurn from the swamps and heat of Gainsesville to reinterpret the gritty, post punk, post hardcore rock and roll sound. Their long awaited second album Of Misery and Toil delivers the gut punch, but this time with more finesse and skill.

The band debuted with a frantic, visceral debut The New Drop Era back in late 2007. That album was eight songs of pure instinct. The songs were bursts of angular rock music, styled similar to Hot Water Music and Leatherface, but providing much more fury in the place of impassioned anger. With this new set, Of Misery and Toil shows a band that has grown by leaps and bounds, defining their own sounds and style. Along the way they’ve added some extra emotions to the mix.

The guitar playing has grown, organically with more melodic resonances. You still get the amazing riffs, but the added layers of guitar really make the songs brighter and more full. The full on overdrive exists, but it’s like going from a muscle car to a German engineered luxury car. Never has dirty and heavy sounded so beautiful. the interplay of the guitars is reminiscent of the best parts of Braid, but without the pesky mid song tempo changes.

At first listen the addition of Mike Carter of Glass and Ashes felt like it was taking some of the identity of Young Livers away. But his distinct, shredded vocals add an extra dynamic. Young Livers are superb at this sing song shouting vocal style. There is no other band like them, so at first, when Carter’s Glass and Ashes injection hits, it’s noticeable, and suddenly you feel like maybe the band has given way. But after more listens, it’s clear that Young Livers are there own project.

Songs like “In Rapid Succession” are indicative of this, starting out almost verbatim to the Glass and Ashes destructive sounds. But the melodic chorus, with thundering drum hits courtesy of Chris Jordan, give it a much more tribal, upbeat drive. This is the distinction. Young Livers has the challenge of towing the line between original and bearers of the “Gainseville Sound”. But they are unrelenting in their uptempo and energy, never slowing for a moment to give the listener a break. Hot Water Music may have defined a stylistic aesthetic, bread from listening to Inquisition and Avail. But where they favored a little bit temperament, Young Livers are an onslaught of bombastic drums, grumbling bass, gritty shouting and excellent guitar work that is both crunchy and pretty.

I had very high hopes for this album, and Young Livers did not disappoint. Of Misery and Toil makes my heart race. I want to run around the block. When listening to it while driving I pound on my steering wheel and shout along with the few lyrics I can remember. The territory is familiar, but the details are accentuated with ease and grace. Young Livers obviously love the bands that influenced them, but they are so much better. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Gainesville has a new hometown hero.

Bridge and Tunnel
Indoor Voices
No Idea
Records

This EP, no joke is so much better then East/West that I can’t even listen to that record anymore, and when that shit came out, I was all about Bridge and Tunnel. This band keeps getting better and better as time goes on. Similar to the sonic beauty of Young Livers, Bridge and Tunnel layer that awesome guitar noodeling over crunchy chords. But this band is way more pop friendly and sing-a-long inspiring. Also, they vary things up a bit with interludes between parts. The Braid influence really comes out pretty strong on these five songs.

That’s actually my only complaint though. The last track “Room to Let” starts out very slow and pretty, but then the Bridge and Tunnel A.D.D. sets in and they just go for it, pounding and strumming like their lives depend on it. And that shit has it’s place, but I almost wonder if they could write a post punk ballad like “I Keep A Diary”. They’ve definitely had there moments at that, but I feel the urge to rock just takes them over a bit too much.

I read recently that this band lost it’s bass player and got a new dude. I am going to see them in a few weeks, so I hope the dynamic hasn’t changed to dramatically. Because seriously this band is pretty fucking awesome. I haven’t seen them in a few years, and last time I did it was at a basement show I actually played. But these kids fucking slayed shit like no one’s business and had a lot of fun while doing so.

Jonsi
Go
XL Recordings

I will admit, I don’t really know a lot of Sigur Ros, the Icelandic band fronted by Jonsi Birgisson. A friend of mine gave me a copy of one of their albums, and I found it intriguing, but I couldn’t really sink my teeth into it. I don’t really know why. On paper, they should be right up my alley. Weirdo dudes that make lush music and sing in a language they made up. Oh yea and this Jonsi guy plays the guitar with a bow like Jimmy Page did on some Led Zepplin video I saw when I was a kid, the images of which I can’t get out my head, despite not being into Led Zepplin at all. So when my same friend told me about this pop album I was like, let me hear that shit, not thinking it would be my thing, but whatever. This shit is magical. Seriously, I’m gonna have to go back and check more of this Sigur Ros stuff out because this guy is a genius. I know this is nothing like Sigur Ros, but it’s clear by the presentation of this music that Jonsi Bigisson does not fuck around.

Go is a big sounding record. Everything sounds so clean and crisp. The drums are loud, boomy and have lots of room without overstating themselves. The vocals and pretty and glossy. There are lots of odd little blips and bleeps throughout that help transition between the different modes. “Animal Arithmetic” is an upbeat, almost gay nightclub dance beat. The only reference I can find is that song “Let Go” by Frou Frou from the Garden State soundtrack. Actually this whole album kind of reminds me of that song, but way more interesting. The songs are well structured, but they go to very weird and unexpected places.

The vocals are awesome as shit too. They kind of remind me of Jeremy Engick a little bit. They have that same, high pitch warble that sounds almost child like and innocent. There is a certain peaceful quality to Jonsi’s voice. But of course, picturing it emanating from a grown male also gives it a bit of spooky, gothic quality. It’s soothing, but uneasy at the same time. Talk about a head fuck.

This dude is probably gonna have a set audience and people are probably gonna go see him, but if you are not yet in the know, get in the know like I did. The bandwagon is filling up, the hype should come and Go should be a record we look back upon in a few years and see it’s influence. This music has a place in all types of collections. I have a feeling Hip Hops gonna notice and yr gonna hear this shit in new ways in a few years. If it doesn’t and I am wrong, oh well. This record is burning it’s way up my play list.

108
18.61
Deathwish Inc

Hardcore music was never that interesting to me in the past. I find listening to a lot of the “classic” hardcore bands fairly pedestrian. Product always seemed like it was more important then production and I never found much to latch onto in those thin sounding records. Pretty much if you think a certain hardcore record is the shit from anything before 1995 I would probably disagree with you. In fact it wasn’t until No More Dreams of Happy Endings by Damnation AD that I even remotely considered hardcore, and it was probably another 11 or 12 year gap between that album and anything else that I cared for. No joke. So, no, I never got into 108 before about two weeks ago when I listened to A New Beat from a Dead Heart. That album was punishing. I couldn’t believe Hare Krishna’s or ex Hare Krishna’s could put out something so violent.

I will also fully admit that the whole Hare Krishna business put me off to 108 and their brethren Shelter back in the 90’s. Much like their ideological relatives in straight edge, I found Krishna consciousness to be a false positive movement, shrouded in ego centric, self righteousness as well as plagued with homophobic and sexist rules while pretending to be spiritual and righteous. A generation of punk kids, emulating the mainstream but pretending to be searching for nirvana or some bullshit was wholly unnecessary.

Sadly, I feel the same way about 18.61 too. Intended to be an EP at first, 108’s instinct was probably correct and they should have stuck with it. Where A New Beat from a Dead Heart showed a reunited band at an musical exploration peak, 18.61 just feels watered down and lacking focus. This is generally the case for anything created in the studio. I don’t believe that hardcore and punk rock lends it self to spontaneity all of the time. They are very structured types of music, even in their most simple form. But another quality of punk rock that is important is confidence, and spontaneity can lack that a lot of times.

This seems tragically unfair, for a novice to review this album and not give it any credit. But even in new findings, where I am relatively uneducated, I expect the best. I’ve gotten into quite a few Deathwish bands over the last few years and they have delivered. 108 has even done it for me too. But 18.61 just lacks the prowess and power I have come to expect. Blacklisted’s latest No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me nearly rejected hardcore, had odd elements that seem ill advised and was a wholly confusing record. But even with in that, those boys were confident as all hell and it seeps though ever pour of that record. 108 has a legacy that is loved by many, and have reinserted themselves into the hardcore music arena, but age should have tempered their impetuousness. Yes, I believe they should have known better. If you want to get punched in the face and have a bit of mysticism to boot, check out A New Beat from a Dead Heart. Otherwise, 18.61 can get a pass.

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Welcome Back

It has been an exceptionally long time since I have written here. My last post touches a bit on why. This is a music blog. But what are music bloggers to do when the music coming out is boring. They ignore the shit. Well, some people don’t. Some people celebrate it and others pretend to critique it by lazily utilizing negative adjectives to describe music. I’m not really interested in either. There has been some pretty good music that has come out lately though, so in haste I am gonna try to rock it for you.

Minutes are a band from Kalamazoo, MI that feature DC expatriate Ryan Nelson and home town hero Chaffe Hensley who played in this great band called Trocar. I saw Trocar twice with The Dusters and The Most Secret Method, whom Ryan used to play drums in. Well, they are both in a band now and it’s pretty awesome. They have a seven inch you can buy from Dischord. Or if you want to be lazy you can download it for free here. The first song is the stand out track, a lament for the days of being young. The rest of the record stands up pretty good. Obvious linkage to Ryan’s Soccer Team project, but this is a little more punk and less indie rock.

Double Dagger are from Baltimore and I saw them open for The Jesus Lizard late last year or early this year. I don’t remember the date, but the show was unfucking real. They were a frenzy of spastic, out of control energy. Their singer, Nolen Strals, has this sarcastic, dead pan delivery that he pushes through urgent, crazy eyes. There was blood, some kid got knocked over in the pit, everyone had a good time, but it was intense and my old ass was a little bit scared. When music scares you, that’s a good thing. The trio has a new EP called Masks which you can buy from Thrill Jockey, but unless you are into over priced records, I say find it on iTunes or something. I mean, they are design kids, but ten bucks for five songs, no matter how good they are, is just uncalled for. The songs, are really good though. The wire sounds pick up where their lauded full length More left off. The lullaby instrumental “Song for S” is really surprising for the group though. It’s a near tender moment of guitar noise rendered against a sleepy bass line. Some might call this a throw away track, but I find it soothing. I wish this was an album, it’s more precise then More, which was a mighty album, but Masks brings their jams to a whole new level.

I’ve been really into the new High on Fire album Snakes for the Divine. I saw this band open for Converge and Mastodon and wasn’t overly impressed. I also wasn’t too thrilled with my impulse purchase of their Death is this Communion record. It was a little too much Sabbath and not enough Motorhead for a band that reminded me a lot of Motorhead. Snakes for the Divine however does not disappoint in the least bit. The songs sound covered in motor oil, making them both slick and heavy at the same time. The bass was given an added punch, adding the sonic blast and drive this band lacked on their previous album. Snakes is an eight song album that spans forty five minutes, which as you may know, could really push my attention span, but there isn’t a dull moment. High On Fire is pure octane, never slowing down the pace. I’m kind of kicking myself for not going to see them in DC, because I bet it was a great show, but with four bands on the bill that night, I just couldn’t get excited. Snakes for the Divine however is an unexpected surprise and a high point during a year of terribly dull music.

Finally, if you like straight up punk rock that doesn’t suck, No Friends has a new EP, which you can download for free here thanks to the kind folks at Kiss of Death records. Much like their self titled debut, No Friends gives us the anthems, with tough guy vocals from party master Tony Foresta (Municipal Waste). I mean, what can you say about punk rock in general and this record specifically? It’s fucking good and you should get it because it’s fucking free you cheap fuck.

This stuff has been getting me by. I’ve also listened, with various degrees of enjoyment Broken Bells (featuring the dude from the Shins and the dude from Dangerdoom, bought on a whim, find it refreshing if not flawed), Plastic Beach by the Gorillaz (don’t bother), and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists The Brutalists Bricks (it’s alright, but don’t believe the hype). I was and remain skeptical of these hyped projects and feel you should to. There are many blogs and music web sites that would have you believe that what they like is what you should like. However, many of them are so narrow in scope that I can’t really say how their critique can be validated. Reviewing one or two metal records a year and profiling only mainstream hip-hop is hardly any different then what Rolling Stone and Spin did for years. The immediacies of the internet has turned criticism into nothing more then over-glorified fanfare or out right slander, mostly written by people who fail to grasp the simplest concepts of what the purpose of a critic is. It’s not to give an opinion, it’s to be critical of the music, the process and the product. Not because you hate it, but because you love it. I’m not hailing my writing here as any great shakes, it’s mostly a personal report on the music I listen to. I didn’t really get into the meat and potatoes of the music and the art here today. But I’m tired of people passing off a string of adjectives filled with complex syllable structure as journalism or criticism.

Further, the lack of coverage of important sub genres of Rock and R&B, especially for American websites covering American music culture is substandard and frankly, boring as FUCK. I’m also sick to death of genre specific sites not offering decent reviews of records. In the age of immediate availability I can just listen to the music myself and cut out the hype of every popular band. Most of the popular bands in sub genre’s are boring. Why? Because most bands are fucking terrible. Just because a band is on a well run label with a budget and just because they sent you free records and advertise on your web site does not mean you have to kiss their ass. Case in point, the Onion did an interview with an actress in a newly released movie. The movie had a full page add in the paper. The guy who interviewed the actress also did the review of the movie and he lambasted it as a piece of crap. It’s called honestly.

These are adults for the most part peddling this music to you. Though they love and care about what they do, if they couldn’t handle some honesty, they wouldn’t be in this shrewd business that is the record industry. Don’t hold back. Look at what you love and be honest about it. A shit record can be made by anybody and frankly, every once in a while people need to make shitty albums. That way they can make awesome one’s next time that are far reaching, mind blowing and stretch the limits beyond expectations.

Alright, well that’s my rant for the day. I’m gonna go drink some tea and go to bed. I hope you found this worth while. Peace.

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