The Worst Blog Post Ever

Tonight, I was gonna work on writing my top five record round ups. I started to listen to the #5 album I am gonna write about. Then I had to switch over to Too Many Daves because they have a song called “The Night The Light Went On In Chattanooga” which has the line, You Can’t Slay The Dragon Until You Ride the Unicorn! That’s pretty much the best line of poetry, lyric or any other sentence in the known and unknown universe. How in the fuck am I supposed to think about any other bands when that line is running through my head constantly.

You can gift me the new Too Many Daves album Weekend At Daves to goodgovernor@yahoo.com. You can find a link to the awesome here. Hook an unemployed brother up.

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Interview with Shelby Cinca

Shelby Cinca is a music maker with many different voices. Often, when a person is known for a distinct sound, remnants of that sound can be found in other projects that follow. This is not the case with Cinca. After the spazz core group he founded in the 90’s, Frodus, disbanded in 1999, Cinca went on to form The Cassettes, Travelers of Tyme and Triobelisk. Since moving from Washington DC to Sweden, he has started the digital label Swedish Columbia, which includes artists from DC, Sweden and elsewhere. Cinca does graphic design and has also served as an engineer on many projects, a job which is taking up more and more of his time. He has also released a new EP with his Travelers of Tyme which hasn’t released music in quite some time.

Shelby Cinca is a music maker with many voices. Often, when a person is known for a distinct sound, remnants of that sound can be found in other projects that follow. This is not the case with Cinca. After the spazz core group he founded in the 90’s, Frodus, disbanded in 1999, Cinca went on to form The Cassettes, Travelers of Tyme and Triobelisk. Since moving from Washington DC to Sweden, he has started the digital label Swedish Columbia, which includes artists from DC, Sweden and elsewhere. Cinca does graphic design and has also served as an engineer on many projects, a job which is taking up more and more of his time. He has also released a new EP with his Travelers of Tyme which hasn’t released music in quite some time.

Through these different channels, Shelby has created a massive body of work with a precision that many artists do not have in one genre, let alone the groundbreaking work Cinca often creates. Between each project, whether it’s his retro-future DJ jams or his punk rock inspired yelps over fuzzed out guitars, Cinca is a musician and artist aware of every detail. His full on immersion into new ways of musical distribution are at the forefront of what is to come, home-grown labels and brands that benefit the artists who create them, not the media giants who seek only to profit from them’s. While he is quite aware of what a brand can do, his years as a graphic designer informing those capabilities, Cinca is not interested in a faceless relationship. It is the share and share alike nature of Swedish Columbia and all his ventures that truly puts him at the front of the pack.

KYS: How did your label Swedish Columbia come to be?

SC: The label started originally as a flagship to release some t-shirts that my friend Håkan from Division Of Laura Lee and I were working on. The brand eventually morphed to release electronic records by friends from 90s punk bands that wouldn’t otherwise see the light of day. Word spread amongst my peers after I began making my own electronic tunes out of necessity to create some sort of music while on tour. I found out as soon as I started sharing my creations with friends that I wasn’t alone with this and many of my peers made it known that they also want to release something and then it naturally evolved to friends of friends, etc…

KYS: What made you decide to do an all digital label via Bancamp?

SC: Bandcamp was a no brainer decision because everything about it is user-friendly. For DJ types who want super high-quality they can get FLAC and the mp3s are at 320k which is still higher than iTunes and most everyone else. I found Bandcamp soon after their launch and everything about it made sense to me as it solved many problems simultaneously– getting the records out there for “Choose Your Own Price”, an embeddable widget for my website, full-song streaming, downloadable extras, and very detailed statistics.

I think overall the great thing about digital distribution is that you aren’t locking in a release by pressing X amount of physical items that sit on a shelf. You can release some pretty obscure niche music without really worrying about breaking even. Not to mean that I wouldn’t ever press something– but at the moment I like keeping it simple and focusing on getting lots of music out there.

KYS: What type of response have you gotten utilizing Bandcamp and the pay what you want model?

SC: Bandcamp has been awesome– people usually pay more than the minimum amount I ask for. I think if you don’t treat potential customers as criminals and break down the barrier so we are all equal creative people in the same boat  then people usually err on being generous. It feels good to know you are supporting a fellow artist and I think Bandcamp makes it even better since no big multi-national corporation is getting money from the release. It’s totally indie and is the very spirit of punk and DIY. I actually think most blogs and music-press need to start focusing on reviewing Bandcamp releases since that’s where the pulse of underground DIY music is.
KYS: How did you get hooked up with Japanese artist Itaru?

SC: Itaru was the drummer from Atomic Fireball whom Frodus did a split 7″ with in 1999. We kept in contact over the years after touring back in 1999 and he would send me some of the electronic music he was working on occasion. He didn’t have a solid plan with his own music as far as releasing it and I stepped in and offered to help. He’s definitely one of my favorite artists I work with since I feel he has a really unique and challenging approach to what he does.

KYS: One of your post-Frodus projects has been Triobelisk, which feels like video game music and post-culture dance music. I know you started making that music on tour with Frodus and the Cassetes, but you’ve continued to grow with it. What does working in that capacity offer you that some of the more traditional bands you’ve been in can’t?

SC: Triobelisk offers me a way to be in total control of all the decisions and trajectory of it. I can get as nerdy sci-fi gamey with it as I choose which is lots of fun for me. It has opened my mind in approaching instrumental music and  making video-game inspired tracks that could work being DJ’ed or just listened to. I’ve also heavily enjoyed interfacing with different music programs– in particular Ableton Live. It’s really one of the only programs where you can fluidly jam with your own ideas quickly which is very rewarding and it pushes composition + creative sound exploration in more musical ways than in sound-engineer ways as other programs tend to do. Being that within the music and music-software alters how one thinks about sound/composing in ways that a band doesn’t. It is very structured due to it being on a computer so it makes you start thinking a little like that even when you are playing with humans.

I still have a very active imagination and connection to my child-mind and Triobelisk is very much an early childhood idea stemming from really liking the cantina band in Star Wars and the Meco “Star Wars & Other Galactic Funk” LP. I would daydream about being an alien musician on some weird off-world colony. It truly is a childhood dream come to fruition however there aren’t aliens present that we know of but maybe that’s next step after these body scanners are at airports– we will be in Total Recall when alien anatomies are revealed by the scanners such as beings with extra faces on their stomachs!

KYS: The other thing I’ve been really drawn to with Swedish Columbia, aside from the music and the democratic distribution method is the art work for the releases. Each artist has a distinct visual quality, but all are really intense. Can you talk about some of the graphic artists you work with?

SC: Since all you are getting is a square for the artwork I really try and make the covers count. I have done many of the covers but for a while at the beginning of the label I was working with this Finnish artist Sakke Soini to do all the artwork. He is a photoshop wizard and established the aesthetic of Swedish Columbia with some of the first key releases such as: Jonathan Kreinik and his dystopian mini-soundtrack “Return to Precinct 13”, Triobelisk “1” and Tanimura Midnight “s/t”. I have also used some illustrators such as a comic artist Chris Faccone for the Triobelisk character in “Brain Traveller” and Kurt Lightner (http://flavors.me/kurtlightner) for the new Itaru EP.

KYS: Travelers of Tyme, your project with former Frodus Alumni Jim Cooper recently released a new EP. How did that come about? Had you and Jim been wanting to do this for a while?

SC: Yeah! Jim and I wanted to do this ever since we recorded the first Travelers of Tyme in 1995. Jim moved to Chicago to go to college soon after we recorded the first Frodus album “Molotov Cocktail Party” and we only saw each-other during subsequent summer/winter-breaks so it became hard for us to actually pull off a lot sessions but we did all we could to fit in a few back then. We actually did one remote track for a compilation CD “An Evening in Nivram: A Tribute to The Shadows” in 1996 where we recorded drums and guitars on Jonathan Kreinik’s open-reel 8 track in Arlington, VA and mailed him the tape to Chicago to record the rest. I guess that was a shape of things to come as technology caught up over the past 14 years during our inactivity so now its easy to work remotely.

Travelers of Tyme really returned when I was in Romania this year after my Dad passed away and staying at our family home I kind of just went into high-focus music world in order to deal with it.I began with recording on some songs that Nick Kraly (projectionist for The Cassettes) sent me. Nick then visited me in Romania and we recorded a bunch more tracks and Jim added orchestration/extra-instrumentation on some of them remotely since I knew he was the man for the job. After one particular track with lots of odd instrumentation he said it reminded him of Travelers of Tyme and that we should pick it up again. Well after I finished up most of my parts on the “secret post-Cassettes” project I recorded 20 Travelers of Tyme songs which Jim and I have been fleshing out back and forth ever since. The EP is just a taste for “early adapters”, there is much more to come!

KYS: Also recently you and Jason Hammacher released some new Frodus music with Liam Wilson from Dillenger Escape Plan on bass. You worked with Baltimore producer Joe Mitra, who has been doing a lot of great work with a lot of local bands. How did that session go for you guys?

SC: The session was awesome! Joe was the perfect fit for it as he was an old school fan and knew 100% where we were coming from. We all inspired each-other in a positive way to achieve the best we could do. It really couldn’t have gone better. And in true Frodus fashion we even had some mad-cap happenings like Jason’s car-battery dying and having to sleep in the studio one night and then the next day having to push the car out of the garage while interacting with odd street denizens and having a rap-battle!

KYS: I’ve read you guys are possibly working on more music under the moniker Frodus Sound Laboratories. With you in Sweden and Jason in DC, is this mostly a digital collaboration? Are you guys passing tracks back and forth by email?

SC: Nah- Jason hasn’t had much time to set up a home recording setup and I think we work best by jamming in the same room taking cues from each-others’ musical signals. So we need to block off  time to create. We haven’t done anything in 2010 but I hope to start some sonic experiments in 2011.

KYS: I also read that you and Jason are working with a bunch of different guys from Refused and Darkest Hour. Any chance of collaborating with Nathan Burke? Part of why I ask is it seems both yours and his post-Frodus bands have had similarities in aesthetic. As a fan I’d be really interested to see what the three of you would come up with.

SC: We’re open to it if he has time so we’ll have to see if things align with everyone’s schedules/lives.

KYS Podcast Episode #15 – Work Sux

Hey Kids, It’s the return of the PODCAST. I’ve been unemployed for a month now. I made this back when I got laid off in August. This is more of a mix tape version. I cut out all of my yapping. I have to go to the unemployment office tomorrow so that sux. I’ll probably listen to this then. Anyway, you can download it here. Anyone who can get me onto iTunes gets a kiss or some better gift. Expect more of these next year. It’s good to be back.

Everyday – The Goons (from Living in America)
Black Friday – Iron Chic (from Not Like This)
Parade – Pretty Girls Make Graves (from Elan Vitale)
Tell My Boss “I Hate You” – Bomb the Music Industry (from Others! Others!)
He Gots No Job – Fleshies (from The Sicilian)
Boss Man – Grabass Charlestons (from their split with Billie Reese Peters)
Finest Work Song – R.E.M (from Document)
Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now – The Smiths (from Louder than Bombs)
The Temp – Meneguar (from I was Born at Night)
Slave Labor – Government Warning (from No Moderation)
Career Opportunities – The Clash (from The Clash)
Working – Bill Hicks (from Flying Saucer Tour, Volume 1)
Take This Job and Shove It – The Dead Kennedy’s (from Bed Time for Democracy)
Goddamn Job – Off With Their Heads (from We’ll Inherit the Earth, a Tribute to the Replacements)
Sixteen Tons – This Bike is a Pipe Bomb (from Dance Party With…)
Clocked In – Black Flag (from The First Four Years)
Hard Work – Paul Baribeau (from Grand Ledge)
Still Working – Sean McArdle (from Northern Charms)

Weekend Update and Call For Contributors

KYS will be ending the year with two interviews. Starting on Monday, you can read about Shelby Cinca, a multi-talented musician and artist. Next week you should be reading about Joao Da Silva from Birds and Wires and about his new tape label Fabrica Records. There will also be one last podcast in 2010, a few more reviews for 2010 and of course my annual, year-end reviews of my favorite music (which I really need to start on).We’re going to be reverting back to a three updates, Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a week or two and then close out the year on 12/23/2010.

As we enter deeper into unemployment land and desiring to craft more time for what I actually care about, I have decided to open up Korrupt Yr Self to other contributors. I am looking for people who are into comics, skateboarding, and photographers. You do not have to make a weekly commitment, I only ask that what you cover be somewhat relevant. I am also open to more music reviews and interviews but I am really looking to expand into other areas that I have interests in, but not the authority to write about.

If you are interested in contributing to KYS, write to me at goodgovernor@yahoo.com. I do not need a writing sample or anything, just tell me what your into and why you might want to blog. All contributors will also be able to do podcasts if they wish. With KYS I have aimed to write about music that not a lot of people are really covering, not that it’s super obscure stuff, but I definitely don’t feel like what I cover gets a good amount of real attention.  So you know, keep that in mind. Honestly if you are reading this, you kind of know the feel of this blog.

So, there you have it. Get awesome. Live trying.

Happy Conquest and Conquer Holiday From the KYS Corporation for World Domination (TM)

Hey kids, if you are reading this at work in the morning, then I am on the road to Pittsburgh with my parents. Also, if you are reading this, chances are you’ve been checking in pretty regularly. Coming on the day in which American’s sit down around a dead animal, gripe about work, watch football and generally start the super consumption season at the feet of Coca-Cola Jesus (seriously, the Red and White Santa Klause suite is totally a Coke Inc. construct) I did just want to thank anyone that has or will read this non-sense. Since being laid off, I’ve actually gotten to write a lot more often about the music I am listening to and that I am into. It’s a real, true and deep pleasure for me. I still think I have a long way to go at this whole thing, but I think I am getting better. There are glimpses of what I am really trying  to say on this stupid blog here, and more and more I think it’s shining through.

After I got back from Albuquerque, I pretty much wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I have a lot of time to get the necessary stuff done which leaves a lot of free time. Since I am in a sort of exile from my real life, the only outlet for creative thinking that I have is this blog. Which, for you lucky minion of mine, means more and more content. All during a time when I thought this thing would be silent. In fact, I have done so much writing, that I am gonna start writing up and scheduling my best of lists and reviews while on vacation (that is if my aunt and uncle have wireless, I am not sure if they do. However, I can at least start typing in the car). This means that by the time I am in Albuquerque, you’ll still have some stuff to read before the holidays hit us in the face.

It’s been a crazy year at the KYS industries. I did 14 podcasts, over a hundred posts and two zines. Looking back at that productivity makes me pretty psyched. I do hope to continue a three times a week pace all next year and at least two podcasts a month.

So, totally thank you for reading. I’m glad I managed to pick up some strangers. The few of you that have returned and commented, thanks so much. The internet is such an over-stuffed, dust ridden vacuum and operating under such circumstances is pretty wild. So, word up to you.

Be Cool, Don’t Be A Fool. Brush Twice To Be Sure.

Kanye West still sucks on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
G.O.O.D Music

Kanye West raps as though he is the downtrodden man. Such exclamations from the mouth of a multi-platinum selling artists (I stole this record, I’m not paying for this shit) are  hysterical for a sexist, egoist, who seems to lack both grace and any real connection to the real world or the true downtrodden man. Considering that the first words uttered of Kanye on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (that title is too long and unpoetic, I can never recall the whole thing) is “yeah,” we know from the get go we can expect no revelation of true genius/madness/sadness/sickness, but the same old Kanye. At the very least Mr. West refrains from dropping a few “uhs” into the mix, but these gripes are the least controversial offerings Mr. West can give us.

The best part about My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy comes right in the beginning, where he both brags about how much head he gets and yet how Kanye is considered a less talented icon to the beloved Beatles. Seeing as both were all sensation and contain such little substance, they were both made to be the perfect distraction for the consumptive driven American public. Two songs in, and I’m already wanting to drive my car into a crowd of headphone connected kids who might be listening to this. A tip boys a girls, no matter what Kanye says in “Gorgeous”, he is not subject to TSA searches when he flies, nor does the boy wunder fly coach. I am sure his cash flow gets him to the front of the line and in first class when he does succumb to flying commercially.

Kanye’s restraint is almost admirable. It takes him three whole songs before he calls an unlucky woman a “bitch”. The over-indulgent “Power” brings us West at his most egomaniacal, his precious thoughts being upended upon the public, despite the struggle he endured tearing himself away from the party to be alone with his thoughts. The swirling guitar lines that transverse the entire track distract from the core beat an actually pretty uplifting vocal sample. But this grating ear pollution can not overcome some of the most banal rapping I’ve heard. Kanye can flow, but only with trite references to the Obama nation, the film Lost in Translation and how awesome he is. Things only get worse ladies. I know you love him, but let’s be reasonable.

During “All of the Lights,” a highlight track musically that would have been better in the hands of a Mos Def or Q-Tip, Kanye’s lamenting both Michael Jackson and hitting a woman in the first lines. And this album has already been called “easily the most thrilling album of 2010” by the Washington Post and hailed with a 10.0 by Pitchfork? This is not acceptable. The established media continues to trump up hip-hop as the CNN of the streets and Kanye here is being presented to a larger audience as some nuanced threat whose showing the public their reflection. West repeatedly gets a pass for his violence and degradation of women by media outlets who want to jump on the party wagon. Why? Because he can throw out a decent track every once in a while?

Recently, Kanye lamented about that being accused of being a racist (here’s a tip Kanye, you are) was one of the worst things he was ever accused of. He went so far as to almost apologize to George W. Bush for calling him a racist (here’s another tip Kanye, he is a racist, don’t apologize to him for that, apologize to the American public for not using your platform to articulate the actual issues) . Such public flailing can’t possibly be admirable when you follow it with self-healing in the global plaza of television with an album that contains violence against women. West isn’t even apologetic on “All of the Lights,” all he wants is access to his daughter, who can’t possibly navigate the ‘ghetto university’ without his  actualized world view. That kid is better off with out you dude, she doesn’t need to grow up in an environment of the ‘champagne wishes/30 white bitches’ you have to offer her.

A few dope beats and a self-indulgent album that is punishing to endure gets you branded an unsung hero. Acting like the court jester, but failing to actually challenge any tangible social or political issues with any real insight gets you the attention of an eager public. The inability to articulate any idea with any compassion in any type of coherent matter lands you the carte blanche from the public to open your mouth whenever the fancy strikes you. In a society that loves the limitations of 140 characters for expression in an onslaught of the idiocy that all of us hold, Kanye West is the master. That he is actually able to sit still long enough and craft over an hour of music, that has it’s tides of good and bad like any commercial hip hop album, is the true feat of genius here. It’s not that the music is brilliant, sometimes it is, but mostly it’s just samples over beats and repetitive plinks of electronic instruments. It’s not that the lyrics are meaningful in any universal way, it’s fairly clear that Kanye is only concerned with himself and his own experience. No, what makes this album so extraordinary is how the collective conscience celebrates the underachieving, simply because we find it entertaining. We are not concerned with content, even when it reinforces the worst kinds of behavior and attitudes that plague the human experience. It’s not Kanye West that disappointing, it’s a society that exalts this behavior, encouraging the worst from each other.

Spray-Paint The Walls: The Story(?) of Black Flag

Spray-Paint the Walls: The Story of Black Flag
Stevie Chick
Omnibus Press

I still remember pretty vividly the first time I heard Black Flag. It was the summer of 1991, I was getting ready to go into high school and Perry Farrel had some Lollapalooza tour. I read about it in Spin magazine and remember clearly a photo of a muscle and tattoo clad angry dude named Henry Rollins, sweating profusely and screaming into a microphone. The side article mentioned that he was a former member of Black Flag.

Here is the catch, when I was eight, my dad used to own his own business. A few storefronts down from his was a record store. For years, when I would accompany my father to work, I would spend HOURS in that record store, flipping through all the vinyl covers. Before I heard the music, Black Flag, Slayer, King Diamond and many others really effected me with fantastic, frightening cover art. I really wanted to hear what was inside (or sometimes I was too scared, I still don’t own King Diamond), but being relatively small, I knew there was no way this shit was going to get past the mom filter. Poison, Warrant, even Metallica seemed on the surface harmless. But no way was “the hard stuff” gonna get in.

So it’s 1991, my friend Keith and I go to the Waxie Maxie’s in town to flip through tapes. He buys Jesus Jones or EMF or some other big name group at the time. I buy Black Flag’s “The First Four Years”. We get back to his house and I put on my tape at some point, and Keith looks at me funny. He is not into this tape at all. Me, I fucking love it. It’s the most violent, fierce, balls out music I have ever heard. The three singers all sound different wave lengths of deranged, the guitar sounds like it’s going to shoot electricity out. Everything just sounds chaotic and fucked up and desperate, just like I felt at 14.

Weeks into high school, Keith and I went our separate ways. We didn’t have a falling out or anything and at the core we were still the same kids who liked rock music and skateboarding. But Keith was into Zepplin and AC/DC and those bands seemed like a bunch of pansies to me. And they still do. Black Flag changed the direction my life would take permanently. It dictated who my friends would be, what I would read, how I would view fine art and the way in which I would play music and create art.

Having said all this, when I first saw Spray-Paint the Walls: The Story of Black Flag at Smash Records a few months ago, I pretty much had to read it. Sure, most of the story is pretty well-known. Henry Rollins did a good job with Get In the Van and releasing Planet Joe by Joe Cole. The former is Rollins’ account of much of what occurred during his tenure with the band. The later is a tour journal from the last tour written by the ultimate roadie. And there have been a few essential interviews and book chapters on the group. But nothing defining on the band. Spray-Paint The Walls is a first attempt at tackling this band.

However I wish I had done some research before buying this product. I’m not saying that I was dissatisfied with Spray-Paint The Walls as a story. It’s fairly well written and pretty thorough and covers a part of the Black Flag story that I’ve wanted to read more about, IE the first four years. The interviews with Keith Morris and Ron Reyes are essential reading, parts of the story that are rarely heard. It was a total pleasure to find out more about the earliest, most formidable years with the band.

There are some major problems with this book. Those problems would be the fact that Greg Ginn, Henry Rollins and Bill Stevenson were not interviewed for this book. Now, I don’t blame Stevie Chick for this at all. All three of those guys have pretty much said that the story of Flag is in the past and thus closed. None of those guys are talking about the history of the band. Nothing Chick could do about that, but the source material used barely scratches the surface and in the case of Rollins and Ginn are pretty well read and well-known. Chick uses a great deal of reference from  Get In the Van to add Rollins perspective.  More often than not these passages feel forced and is better used for historical points rather than interjection. And Greg Ginn basically comes off looking like an asshole, which I am sure he is in a way, but the man isn’t given an opportunity to defend himself. Further, Dez Caden and Raymond Pettitbon are also absent and only scant effort is made to include them. For me and many others, Pettitbon, whether he likes it or not, is essential to the Black Flag experience.

Further depth and analysis into later Black Flag releases are also pretty sparse. Chick does a phenomenal job with the Flag up to the Damaged LP, but after that, details about and even mention of later albums falls off. Granted, it seems most of the albums after this were recorded during marathon sessions, but jesus they are so awesome. Chick has the vocabulary to cover this material, but it feels, like many, that after Chuck Dukowski exited the band, so did interest. Of course, in my opinion, the best music today influenced by Black Flag is born from the later period, rather than people coping from the early stuff.

All in all though, I was sad when the book ended. It didn’t have everything I was looking for, but it does a really strong job of capturing the early history of punk through the eyes of one of its quintessential bands. It also tells some of the story that hasn’t been totally there. Mike Watt and Kira Rossler both contributed interviews to the story that are invaluable. If punk rock history is important to you, and it should very well be or you wouldn’t be reading this nonsense now, then it might behoove you to pick this sucker up and turn the pages while the chaos of Black Flag rages around your head.