Quick Music Reviews

This is a list of stuff I am listening to at present. I am going to jump around a lot here. Short or long or whatever. Like the back of a punk magazine. You know, you should read one.

Bad Banana – Crushfield  – Self Released (FREE). I downloaded this ages ago and just listened to it now, tonight. It’s one of them Crutchfield sisters projects you’ve read about in the NY Times and shit cuz being a hipster treasure now makes you news worthy (not a diss on them or their music, but I bet a lot of dick heads are already talking about what sell outs they are). Anyway, the production on this demo sounds pretty low fi, and if you like that stuff, then you’ll love the syrupy pop-crunch punk with almost 90’s indie sound. For me it worked better for Waxahatchee, the low fi production made it intimate. Here it sounds like something they’ve already grown out of and forgotten.

Propagandhi – Failed States Epitaph Records. I want to love this album like I love the last three albums by Canada’s greatest export (next to toothless hockey players) but I am having a hard time with it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the Prop, so it hits all the points you’d expect. But that’s kind of the problem, it started out with a soft little intro and got all melodic and explosive just like I thought it would. It’s a predictable listen which is not what one expects from these angry anarchists from the north. I love the licks, the riffs, the vocals and the lyrics, but it sounds like the corresponding b-sides to Supporting Caste rather than a fresh effort. I’m trying to find its voice, but I’ll never give up on this band.

Big Eyes Back From The Moon 7″. Grave Mistake Records. There is a comic in Razorcake #69 by Liz Prince who writes the most crush-worthy comics ever. She loves pop punk. She wrote this comic about seeing Big Eyes in NYC. I hate NYC, but I checked out this single and I love it. It’s got that fresh but familiar energy of The Ergs. All the best parts about pop punk and indie rock that makes bands awesome. I also checked out there LP from 2011 (Hard Life) but I like this a bit better. The two songs on this 7″ have a great bit of energy and are just a bit crisper. But you should get into this band if you like to bounce around your living area in your underwear listening to music singing into a hair brush or at yr cats.

White Lung Sorry Deranged. This album smokes. I love this band. This is what music is supposed to be. Energetic, frightening, desperate. White Lung takes you to the edge. I don’t know if I want to kill or cry when I listen to this album. I feel alone, wandering the streets with no purpose, desperate for anything, hand on my pocket knife. No rules. No Cell Phone. Nowhere to go. A lot of bands get recognition outside of punk that is often unwarranted. There are bands that people who have listened and dedicated themselves to the genre know are just temporal and luke warm. White Lung sounds like nothing else and deserve to break the genre ghetto of appreciation. Devastating times call for damaged music. This is what I will be listening to when they finally start that war that ends us all. It’s coming. Here is your soundtrack to die to.

Kamikabe Abberation of Man Unique Leader. This is pure fucking awesome Death Metal and I love it. Working on a metal show I’ve gotten into death metal again and have been revisiting lots of Obituary. This band sounds nothing like them, but reminds me of what it is I first loved about Obituary (who isn’t just one of my favorite metal bands, but one of my favorite bands and Allen West is one of my favorite guitar players). Anyway, Kamikabe kicks it in the face. The kids would probably call this technical death metal. It has some great elements that remind me of Dying Fetus, Cattle Decapitation and Pig Destroyer. But make no mistake, this Pittsburgh five piece is their own band. It’s hard to stand out and be distinguishable in a genre of music that has so many rules and where being tech is so important, but Kamikabe stand out from the crowd.

Aesop Rock Skelathon Rhyme Sayers. It’s an Aesop Rock record, alright. You can’t really say this guy sounds like anything. I don’t even know if it’s hip hop. The musical language that Aesop Rock speaks is his own. And this truly is his album. Almost all the beats, lyrics and sounds are his. Aside from a few vocals from a few other people, he did it all. And it’s a sad sounding album. The Ian Curtis of rap. The Joy Division of hip-hop music. I worry about Ian Bavitz, then he puts out a record and goes on tour.

Swearin’ S/T Salinas Records (FREE). This is a first listen review. Literally listening to it for the first time. It did not come with a download code when I bought the record so I had to find this on the internet, which I was able to over at http://www.ifyoumakeit.com for donation/free. There is a lot of hype about this record and it’s not unfounded. It reminds me off some Discount, Superchunk, The Promise Ring, and a lot of pop-rock indie music that I don’t listen to that much anymore. It’s got that same feel as early Lemuria singles before they went all weird. Swearin’ might be a braver bet, making music that is catchy and accessible. It can be hard to wade in waters already tread and try to find new, interesting stones, but Swearin’ here seems to have confidence in what they are doing. Great work on the warbling vocals too. Someone earns a gold star on mixing for this one. Best aspect of the production that is otherwise straight forward.

Stop Breathing S/T No Idea Records. CHUGGAGHUGGAGHUGGAGHUGGAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Are you looking to have your mind blown or are you looking to pedal your ten speed bike as fast as you can down your street like you did when you were ten? IF you want the later, this skate rock inspired, three chord SOCAL punk rock will make you wish for those endless summer days when you didn’t care about anything but 50-50 Stalls on the curb and building the worst launch ramps in history. Nothing fancy, just the essentials. Dated but still timeless. Get those rat bones out kid, yr gonna need the big wheels to grind those curbs.

Post-Teens The Heat No Idea Records. Post Teens has the guitar player from Asshole Parade/Dead Friends +more so I thought this was gonna be heavy, but it’s more like the sloppy, low-fi, pop punk for drunk old dudes that my man Todd Taylor is all into. Oh yeah a dude from Shitstorm/Torche is in this band too. But like they all switch up on instruments and shit. It’s just punk rock music. Six songs, six minutes, it’s a good quick fix. I still wish it was a grind record, but I get the point.

Low Culture S/T Dirt Culture Records (FREE). Ex-member of Shang-A-Lang from Las Cruces New Mexico where they have a place where bands come through and tour instead of Albuquerque because Duke City is a weird town with a weird scene. Jangly guitars, catchy little ditties with a bit of space in there to build some excitement. Gets a little late 90’s pop-emo (the break down in “I Didn’t Know”) for a moment. Bryan Adams would be proud. Or maybe Ryan Adams would be cuz I think these dudes would just be like fuck it. It’s kinda all over the place, kinda like the Ergs because they had a lot of influences. I think they are still exploring all the sounds they are capable of. There’s enough here to make me check them out in the future.

Dan Padilla Sports Fans Dirt Culture Records (FREE). Dan Padilla (the band, not the man) has once again put out an album you can get free. Which makes two in a row. Davey from Tiltwheel/Too Many Daves plays in this band. This album, not quite as exciting as As the Ox Plows. It’s a little too Tim Version without the grit and grime. I liked the hints of sounds and influences of the last album. But I’m just kind of luke warm to this one.

Heathers  Kingdom Aunthill Records. I’m pretty sure that Heathers are the biggest thing in Ireland now and it’s well worth it. Kingdom finds the Macnamara sisters reaching way far out from their humble debut Here Not There. Luckily for me (or them?) I am a huge pop diva fan, because they get in some territory I did not expect, but I love. The bare sound of  an acoustic guitar and vocals are all but gone here. Instead they go all out, relying on a heavy dose of piano and dance beats to make their music now. But the root of what makes Heathers a band that I love is the vocals of Ellie and Louise. The melodies and harmonies are beautiful and striking. So when the duo makes this obvious move to go bigger, they don’t really sacrifice what makes them great, empowering lyrics, solid songs at the core and great singing. I mean masterful singing. This album has been on constantly in my home over the last week and probably will be for quite some time. It’s proof that pop music can be big and grand and sound slick and still be good, if you know how to write a damn song. Ellie and Louise do. I can’t wait to see them rise to heights as great as their talent.

XX Coexist Young Turks. I haven’t been lucid enough before going to bed to really listen to this album the way I want to. But what I have heard so far, I love. I shouldn’t love this. It’s too pretty, weird, soft and subtle for a man in his mid thirties who still thinks BEING LOUD AS FUCK is a good idea. Other reviews that I have read call this record even more minimal than their self titled debut, but I don’t find it that way at all. I think there is a subtle quality to the production that is amazing. It also helps that this trio fell in love with Sade, whose work I am both familiar with and a fan of. The influence shines through on some of their “bigger” songs (“Swept Away” and “Reunion”). This album also has a shit load more space in which the band finds a grove. The debut, while beautiful often felt restricted. For all its empty space, Coexist sounds like a big record. I need to spend more time with this, I feel like it’s getting lost in my collection and I’m pretty sure I love it as much as the first album, just like everyone else.

Tooth Soup Casting off Curses Plan-It-X (only $.66). Chris Clavin is back with a new punk band, but it sounds more like a collective effort then many of his previous works. He’s letting the influence of the other members into his music, songs and lyrics and it’s refreshing. He does what he always does best with the boy/girl vocals of hope, optimism, angst and disappointment wrapped up in a cutting but pleasant bit of pop punk. Tooth Soup probably won’t be your instant favorite, and it wouldn’t be the album I would use to introduce Chris’s work to others with. But it shows maturity in sonic range and will grow on you quickly. The other thing I like is that each member gets a track to share their individuality. All the members have other projects and each gets to display their singularity. It’s a great way to show how it all comes together, how each members sensibility and perspective comes together through insight, communication and compromise to make a whole. That’s pretty damn daring.

Verse Bitter Clarity,Uncommon Grace Bridge 9. I’m not really sure how I feel about this band. I must like them because I keep finding my way to this album. I haven’t looked at a lyric sheet yet, but it feels like that awesome La Dispute record that came out last year that I am in love with (Wildlife, get it here for $8 you won’t regret it if you like stories and came of age in the 90’s). But it feels like this dude has something to say, I just wish I would take the time to figure it out. It’s definitely an album that’s all connected and shit. The songs don’t stand on their own, but become something as a whole piece. There is something distinct and exact about this album that I can’t quite put my finger on. Lots of guitar solos too, which seems weird yet weirdly works here.

Gaza No Absolutes in Human Suffering Blackmarket Activities. From Salt Lake City, Utah, I was really stretched (and still am) how a band could call themselves Gaza. I haven’t done my research yet, but a few people assured me this wasn’t a bunch of straight edge mormon dip shits playing at hardcore and considering my tastes for metal and grindcore I would probably dig this. It’s not the most slaughtering music I have ever heard and it gets a bit metalcore at times (which is a BAD THING) but when they decide to be brutal and awesome and dig the grind, it’s something my ears and angry heart are attracted to. The verdict is still out (two songs reach over six minutes, which even at pummeling speeds seems excessive to me) because I just can’t blindly trust a bunch of privileged white boys who call themselves Gaza. That’s some heavy geo-political implications they are making there. Takes balls. Lets see if they have the ovaries to back that shit up.

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2011 At The End

This blog has been mostly inactive since October. For a number of reasons, I didn’t really feel like writing about music. Or anything else for that matter. It’s just one of those things that happens to writers. Sometimes, they actually live their lives. And that’s what I’ve been doing. Living life, rather than sitting in front of this blasted computer, writing about music like people care anymore. And maybe they do.

Some people sent me reviews for records that I listened to. Some of them I liked. Some of them I didn’t like at all. But I didn’t feel compelled to talk about them. I don’t feel like talking about music, which was sort of the point of this blog. And now that I don’t really feel like working on the point of this blog now, I just didn’t write them. So if you sent me something and I didn’t review it, sorry.

This year, 2011, I did the following things: I joined and quit a band, I started a band with a person I respect, admire and love very much, we went to Phoenix to see two of my favorite bands and bonded, we played our first show together, I learned how to screen print, I made a zine and did a bunch of readings, I put out a short collection of stories, I bought two basses and two guitars, I met some friends, broke some hearts and had some incredible times, I got shit faced on Halloween and decided to puke and streak in a house full of strangers, I saw the Pixies in Santa Fe with my best friend in the whole world, I also saw No Age in a VFW hall, renewing my faith that music can still be powerful even when the hipsters try to corrupt it, for money I was an extra on a TV show, did freelance writing for a tech company, delivered news papers and recently transported the body of a deceased person across state lines, I didn’t make near enough doing these things to actually live but they were experiences I will never trade, I met a young lady who challenges and changes me every day with her grace, compassion, honesty, love and desire to learn, love and grow.

You came for the records though, didn’t you. You don’t care about the personal life of some asshole blogger. Okay, maybe if you are one of my friends who reads this shit out of kindness. Normally, I go ape shit on like five awesome records. But this year, I just don’t care. I’m just gonna give you my opinion of the  5 records you should listen to that came out this year. They are as follows:

Des Ark – Don’t Rock the Boat Sink The Fucker. Lovitt Records – By now, if you don’t know how amazing Aimee Argote is then I can’t help you. Stop having a shitty life and go buy this album now. You will cry and love and laugh and pound fists and beers. Don’t be fucking stupid.

Pygmy Lush – Old Friends. Lovitt Records – Pygmy Lush are simply the best band that no one is talking about. This album is the reason I hate not just the music industry of major labels and hipster douche bags, but even independent punk music. No one cares, except the people at Lovitt and the guys in Pygmy Lush. And it shines through on this epic fucking album.

Waxahatchee – American Weekend. Self Released – Katie Crutchfield owns hearts as she breaks them. Honestly, I don’t think there is gonna be a song writer that emerges from this DIY scene of kids with no confidence like Katie. She’s a buzz word for her band, for her writing and because we still live in a world where girls with guitars get comodified. But Katie is more than that. ANd this album proves it. Set for vinyl release in January, every one is gonna be talking about this.

Assholeparade!/Slight Slappers – split. No Idea – I just got back from having lunch with Justin and I listened to this album on my cold, snowy, desert drive. I hate the world and it’s grey skies, but I am so thankful for Assholeparade! In the DIY perspective, Assholeparade! is a juggernaut. And the best part of this is Slightslappers is now I part of my musical lexicon. The older I get the more I want loud and fast. The first three records this year mentioned are very in tune with my past, Assholeparade and Slightslappers are very much my present.

Zomes – Earth Grids. Thrill Jockey – Asa Osborne. He does what he does, the way he does. The way he makes music makes so much sense to me. Sometimes it feels like my own celestial vibrations being put on vinyl. You probably won’t like this at all. But I don’t care, it’s some seriously amazing sounds.

I don’t know what the future is for Korrupt Yr Self, the zine or the blog. I didn’t find my voice this year, or at least I don’t feel like I did. Or I couldn’t hone it or something. I don’t know. 2012 is going to be filled with even more adventures, bigger changes and a lot to ruminate upon. Thank you for stopping by.

The art of reading: Review of Sister City and Self Promotion on the Internet.

Sister City
Carbon Footprint
Self Released

This is all my fault. I literally asked for it and so here it is, the fruit of my requests and now I don’t know what to do. I am not a very good journalist. I mostly seek out to write about music and other things that I enjoy. Okay, sometimes I write about things that I don’t understand at all that also make me angry, but at least those topics are either so outrageously stupid or serve as a litmus for how fucked our society is that it’s easy to go apeshit over them. So when I got an email from the band Sister City in my inbox not too long ago and they compared themselves to Say Anything and Manchester Orchestra, two bands I am only familiar with marginally, as I am not a teenage girl and do not go to Warped Tour or read Twilight, I knew I was in for it. I tried to ignore the email, I have that right, solicited or not, to ignore things. But then I got another email from this band, reminding me of the first email.

I get it, they are working hard, they want to expose new people to their music and spread the word to the masses, get tour support, get girls, sell t-shirts. They even put the name of this here blog in the header of the email. It’s not totally out of the blue. I guess. But the problem is, clearly the people behind the Sister City machine are not really familiar with my tastes, which are not too hard to figure out by reading and then listening to the bands I review.

Take for example my most three recent reviews. Dead Language are a grindcore band. Black God are a post-punk, post-hard core band with a shouting singer and some serious history. The most recent, Dope Body, a fuck head all arty band from Baltimore. I’m not sure what in these little ranty quips indicates that I would at all be interested, welcoming or excited about a band that doesn’t have any of these things inherent in them at all.

If I was forced, and in some ways I feel forced, to review this band I would say that if you think Taking Back Sunday is too loud and aggressive then you are a weak and pathetic human being and you will love Sister City. This is so mediocre, bland, unexciting and predictable that I just commented to a friend that they make me want to drown kittens. And I like Kittens, lots. I’m saying lots and lots. There are few things on this planet that can make this curmudgeon-y old man get all goopey like kittens.

And this is what I don’t understand, why me? Its not nice to shit that I don’t like, so I try to avoid saying bad things. And yet this band asked me, twice, to listen to and review an album that I knew, just from the Say Anything reference (a band I have probably heard less than 30 seconds of their music in my life) that I wasn’t going to enjoy this shit. Look, you could have put in there that you were inspired by Douglas Adams, Lifetime, Lungfish and pizza and I still probably would have thought it sucked before I heard it. I play music, seriously, and I think my music sucks. Most music sucks. It’s hard to be unique and talented and creative and actually make things that are good. Even Lifetime, one of my favorite bands is only marginally better than the thousands of shitty bands they influenced on Warped Tour every year.

Here’s another example. I’ve been listening to a lot of Assholeparade lately. Like pretty much that’s all I can be bothered with. The average Assholeparade song is less than 30 seconds long. Also, most of their songs sound the same. They are loud, fast, crunchy thrash music. You can’t understand the lyrics at all and after a while listening to these Gainesville stoners just becomes an endurance test. But, as far as I am concerned, right now, they are the greatest band ever. In fact, I turned off Sister City 5 and a half songs into Carbon Footprint to listen to Assholeparade.

So, here is a lesson. I know I say send me your shit. And that word shit should indicate something to you dear reader about how I view the world and how I approach life. One, you should read this blog before sending me anything. It’s not that I won’t get around to it, but if there is any indication that I am interested in  pedestrian, privilege, white boy bullshit, you should start again from the beginning. If you music does meet that criteria I’m going to reluctantly wait as long as possible to review it. Because I try to be constructive in my writing of music, which is hard to do because people who write about music are generally self-centered nerds with no life. So when all I can come up with for your band is you sound like a watered down, calorie free version of another band I detest, that just makes my life all the more difficult. Two, after you read my blog, or any other person’s blog, hit up the internet and check out the bands reviewed. If you don’t sound like a bunch of crazy people hitting garbage cans and trying to fuck their xbox consoles, I probably won’t be into your band. If you want to be tortured but cute, romantic but mildly mischievous, I probably won’t like your band. If you don’t have the word Assholeparade in the title of your band or album, I probably won’t be too excited when I download and then play said record.

Reading, reading, reading. I can’t stress this enough. Most of the problems in this world come from a lack of research and evaluation upon that research. It’s not enough just to type music blog into google and let rip copies of your art. I’m not saying hard work wasn’t put into this and that other people won’t like it. In fact, I guarantee there is an audience out there for Sister City, but it’s not this guy and probably not the people who read this blog.