Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Continuing the high profile live recordings, here's a Halloween treat for all ya'll. Absolute primo sound quality of an absolute primo performance of an absolute primo band. So, if you don't got it before, get it now and play for your samhain party guests.
It would appear that this same show was posted on this same blog a few years back by our intrepid, albeit MIA, leader Ipecac. But that link is long dead, so hail the new dawn (or whatever).
Kris Noveselic has the worst (or is that best) stage banter in the game, so if for no other reason...
Also, are you seeing that cover up there?! Early Photoshop killer!
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Three tracks from Later With Jools Holland. Two acoustic tracks and a short interview from the Jo Whiley show. And fourteen tracks from Live Rock City recorded in Nottingham.
All are Queens Of The Stone Age, and inherently un-fuckable-with. If you don't like them, then I can't help you. You are a person who apparently does not enjoy rock-n-roll music, and therefore I cannot enjoy you as a person. Simple.
Label: Accidental Guest
Long time no see.
Roomrunner is playing in Atlanta soon (unfortunately for me, on the same night as Melvins), which prompted a check-in (or check-out, depending on how you view things) on their latest record, as I have thoroughly enjoyed all of their previous output, and this one seems to continue that trajectory.
What I'm drawn to with this band is their ability to pull on my late 80's / early 90's indie rock heartstrings, without being too obvious, or completely
They can take the 'Candy Apple Grey' era Husker Du melodic take on post hardcore and inject some Raymond Brake noisy pop, then run the whole thing through a Shiner "big rock" transmogrification machine (patent pending). There are other sounds floating around in there, and you can feel free to tell me what those are, but for the most part, you catch my drift. It's loud and rocking in the right places, but still easy enough on the ears to not alienate every passenger in the car, especially if anyone in the car graduated high school circa 1988-1994...they will most certainly "get it".
If your short attention span will only allow a quick preview of the record, then the track 'Karn' is one of the best songs I've heard in awhile, a money back guarantee jam. Recommended.
God bless guitar rock.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
It takes a lot for an instrumental band to get me, since my tastes are at best "meat and potatoes", or at worst "Philistine". So my simian brain tends to need the vocals in order to complete the synapse connections that allow for enjoyment. I is dummy.
Luckily for me, 5ive ease me into their instrumental version of driving drone (is that possible?) by providing some occasional vocals on this release. Better yet, those vocals come from Jonah Jenkins of Milligram/Raw Radar War/Only Living Witness/etc. which is always a good thing.
Even without the vocals though, 5ive have an uncanny knack for pulling you (I...we...us?) into the song and taking you along for an extended ride through big, warm, undulating jams of overdriven fuzzed out power throttling. Most songs extend out well beyond the 10 minute mark, which again, to my simple thought process is a huge red flag, but in the capable hands of this band you wouldn't want them to end any earlier. They build perfectly on the back of a slow avalanche of a riff rumbling down the side of mountainous drumming, gaining speed and energy as it rolls towards the unsuspecting ski chalet in the valley below. From a distance the destruction is in slow motion, beautiful in it's massive fury, but up close, inside the tumult, it's a swirling, choking, overwhelming haze of noise and bombast.
This record was recorded and engineered by Andrew Schneider formerly of Slughog, Pigs, and Barbaro, and the current co-owner of Coextinction Recordings, which I mention because the sound on it is just humongous, perfectly relaying the giant wallop this band delivers.
5ive is a two piece guitar/drums duo, but on this outing they are helped out by the aforementioned Jonah Jenkins and Mike Hubbard (of Warhorse).
Friday, October 17, 2014
A six round handgun of violent, blown out, and noise damaged hardcore. Boot on the throat kind of stuff. Flecks of blood broadcast indiscriminately across the back wall kind of stuff. Head ringing for 48 or so hours after the fact kind of stuff.
Essential shit. Claustrophobic attack to the medulla oblongata. Hate is the great motivator.
Personnel from Power Take-off, Young And In The Way, No Power, Wymyns Prysyn, Double Negative, GG King, and your nightmares.
Label: Whoa! Boat
Did you happen to miss this record when it was released five years ago? I did.
But, in all fairness...there's like, a billion records that have come out in the last five years that I've also missed. Being a hermit means I don't get out much.
Since then, The Ax has released a couple more records, and they seem to be getting increasing less jarring, and veering into a more sinister Krautrock (but loud) direction. I'm still digesting the newer stuff.
This, their first full length, is super easy for me to digest. It's the proverbial "right up my alley" type shit. Loud, loose, swinging, full of distortion and big riffs. What's not to like? If you're a child of the Midwestern school of noise rock (Class of '90) you shall definitely feel at home. If you tooled around in Los Angeles at the Jabberjaw (not on rave nights), or maybe later on at The Smell, then you will appreciated the dark dirt of The Ax. You can hear a band like Slug (from your nights at Jabberjaw) meeting up with a band like Wires On Fire (from your time at The Smell) meeting up with a band like Lustre King (from your classes at the Illinois Institute of Math Rock). It's dirty and heavy like Slug, catchy and noisy like Wires On Fire, and cyclical and angular like Lustre King. Chances are you can connect the dots as to what makes this record so good.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
For a bootleg, the sound quality on this record is aces. Which, for a band like Oxes, is imperative in order to make out the intricacies of their math-noise-rock-instru-metal hybrid. And they do get intricate when weaving together knotted riffs into winding melody into bursting energy. What sounds impenetrable is actually a celebratory ode to the pleasures of guitar-based music. Sure, they have their pranks and shtick and all that, but behind the "rowdyism" is simply a band who are having fun taking the piss out of a Don Cabellero/Shellac brand of rock.
In case the song titles don't translate in the files (and please feel free to correct the song titles if I get them wrong. Oxes have a way of altering their compositions in a live context, but I think I have them identified correctly) here they are:
1. And Giraffe, Natural Enemies
2. Boss Kitty
3. Your Street vs Wall Street
5. Take and Free Miami
6. Half Half and Half
7. Bees Won
8. Kaz Hayashi '01
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Misnomer alert: this is not actually a radio broadcast, it's a live show recording. A live recording of a hardcore band in what was most likely a house show or the sonic equivalent, mind you. I think in Cleveland.
So, if you were or are a fan of the oft-dubbed "noisecore" strain of hardcore, then this one is ripe for the pickings. If you're unsure of what it is I speak, then you undoubtedly will cock your head to the side and glaze over when I explain that "noisecore" was the result of Converge taking notice to Deadguy saying "we should sound more like Today Is The Day", and thus spawning a wave of bands who (to varying degrees of success) married noise rock, hardcore, and metal with a usually smarmy frontman, and a penchant for apoco-revolutionary rhetoric. Think: Burn It Down, Time In Malta, (old) Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, Anodyne, Drowningman...and such. It came and went.
The National Acrobat was notable for some pretty grating, off-kilter attack that leaned more in the direction of the on-coming San Diego sound while keeping a foot firmly planted in the contemporary Washington D.C. sound. Which, if you know what I'm talking about, then you're stoked, if not...you're wondering why someone could give such a shit about such shits.
Members of: Black Cross, Young Widows, Tusk, By The Grace Of God, Enkindel, Breather Resist, Black Widows, Automatic, Coliseum, Black God, Christiansen, Lords, Metroschifter, Standard Issue, Whips/Chains, The Slow Suicide, Irina, Bad Secrets...phew...did I leave anyone out?
The songs are:
1. Of Jeffersonian Thought
2. The Prophecy Of Old Sage
4. Confederate Movie Stars
5. Eyes The Size Of Organs
6. Don't Forget To Write
7. Damn Asplundh
8. Riffs Get Cheaper
Motorhead by way of Kyuss. Done.
But that's too easy. So, in case I hadn't mentioned it previously, in other posts, the singer of Milligram is a personal favorite of mine, Jonah Jenkins. Much like Kyuss, if you like the vocals then you'll love the band. If the vocals are too "rocknroll" or something, then you're going to hate it.
Members of: Miltown, Only Living Witness, 5ive, Raw Radar War, Stompbox, Slapshot, Juliana Hatfield(!), Blue Man Group (also!), Roadsaw, Blackwolfgoat, Cracktorch, Chevy Heston, Quitter, and a million more Boston area bands. The record was released on Hydra Head stepsister label Tortuga (a woefully underrated enterprise in it's own right), and the cover was designed by Aaron Turner and the band. So...context.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Total Nirvana worship, that I'm totally ok with. And maybe that has to do with the passage of time, because the bands that aped Nirvana back when Nirvana was still walking the Earth generally did a piss-poor job. They embarrassed themselves, and they soiled your local "alternative radio station" with their clumsy dynamics and faux-angst-sincere vocals.
War Baby sidesteps those pitfalls by taking what worked the first time around, and adding modern touches to it. The band Mannequin did the same thing, they too took the dark power pop of Nirvana and played up the messiness and noise. Mclusky did it as well, they played up the humor and playfulness of Nirvana and rode it all the way into the sunset.
So, not to belabor the whole Nirvana comparison (it's pretty hard not to), because War Baby deserve their own due, but if you find yourself waxing nostalgic for the glory years of Sub Pop and the "grunge sound" or maybe the big, fuzzed out sound of a band like Chavez, then you can't do much better than this one. It's warm and full and catchy and just the right amount of loud and ragged around the edges.
Somewhere along the line, Muuy Biien traded in their Black Flag records for Wire records, and consequently their sound has more of a post punk jitter to it than the slashing hardcore aggression of the older records.
It actually harkens back to the San Diego bands circa 1998 or so, after the spazzy grindcore noise had been superseded by arty, asymmetrical riffs and all black everything. Which I guess is "old school" to someone of a certain age, and maybe that style is making a comeback? The title track even flirts with some later period Dead And Gone, when they too ratcheted up their darkened post hardcore noise with some Christian Death spookiness. I could support a renaissance of that sound. I'm in.
The band has released a few instrumental droning ambient type records, and occasionally employ those sounds as folly to the more rocking numbers, but it's nothing to get too worried about. Merely a sorbet palate cleanser prior to the scallops course.
I wasn't expecting this sound from this band, but it's really not any wild deviation in evolution really, and after a few listens (Without Prejudice vol. 1 - George Michael) I could appreciate it on it's on merits. There are some really strong songs on here, the urgency and intensity is still there, just now it's dipped in India Ink and sneers rather than spits on you.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Bands in the early 90s who had the gall to release double 7"s are few and far between. And by taking the longest word in the dictionary (not technically...technically that word is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovovolcanoconiosis) and then adding MORE letters to it just to do it...well, that sorta tells you what kind of people you're dealing with.
Off kilter post hardcore, or maybe just hardcore, that pays homage to their neighbors to the north in Baltimore and D.C. (the Great Unraveling repost below made me think of this one...just to give you an idea). Unheralded in their time, but well worth your investigation now as trailblazers in the cause to liberate hardcore from the tough guys of the world, but keep it acerbic and wry. You can hear why Sam McPheeters would want to relocate to Richmond, VA to get in with bands like this one taking the approach Born Against did and marrying that with the math-y tendencies of Universal Order Of Armageddon. But, you also can't deny the hometown Avail influence on the final track of the record "Fill Up", and that ain't a bad thing either.
Sorely underrated. Highly enjoyable.
Label: Kill Rock Stars
Back from vacation, back in action! Thought I might have contracted Lyme disease on the way, but turns out I'm just a puss who can't handle New York City walking and heat waves. Summer can suck it, the heat is for the birds.
So back to blogging.
The Great Unraveling was great, just what you needed after Universal Order Of Armageddon broke up, more of that tense, dynamic, weird, scratching rock. Can't get enough of that shit. Getting Steve Albini to produce it? Nice touch. This was a fertile time in post punk, post emo, whatever you "post" you decide, the amalgamation of DC emo, Louisville noise rock, Flipper, Black Flag, Wire, and most other good, good things.
*Originally posted 07-08-10, reposted 10-8-14
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Label: Art For The Blind
Remember when Keith Morris warns, "If I don't find a way out of here, I'm gonna go berserk, cause, I'm crazy and I'm hurt, head on my shoulders"? Yeah. Well, this band has basically created an 8 song cassette that reanimates those words into a sinister amalgam of creeping noise, frantic hardcore, and blown out damage. It's so very satisfying in its malice.
There's a feeling of Zeni Geva's mechanical grinding, the borderline industrial pounding, overlaid with Swan's ominous black malevolence, and a coated in pure droning hum.
It will undoubtedly get your attention. It will certainly rattle your co-worker's psyches. And it will most assuredly bring you off whatever high you're currently riding.
Monday, October 6, 2014
With a discography as seemingly impenetrable as Rocket From The Crypt's, the casual fan must rely on the ole compilation to help parse through the melange. If you're the guy who already has three different variations of the split 7" with Septic Death, then no doubt, you're already covered. But, if you're not so deeply ensconced in the alternate-universe stadium rock of Rocket From The Crypt, meaning Gary Glitter (pre-pedophilia of course) by way of The Stooges, with hints of The Clash and Wilson Pickett, then this can be a great point of entry. Most of these songs preceded their debut album "Paint As A Fragrance", and for my money (which isn't much...times are tough) far superior material. Revved up soul influenced punk rock, but without some of the kitsch that creeps into the later work, and less horns involved, which is always a good thing.
John Reis is one of those rare talents in modern music who seems to have a never ending supply of great ideas and tunes, from Pitchfork to Drive Like Jehu to Rocket From The Crypt to Night Marchers to Back Off Cupids to Sultans to I'm sure ten more bands. The guy should be knighted.
Not to discount the rest of the band, they're certainly no slouches, but the vision is that of Reis and his dedication to getting you moving is unmatched. Good timing music for good times.
Friday, October 3, 2014
Say what you will about the current status of Billy Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins. Hell, say what you will about the status of Billy Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins post-1994, and I probably won't disagree with your condemnations of his erratic and self-sabotaging behavior and the rapid decline in quality of their music. No argument here...they (he) crapped the bed and his ego got the better of him (them).
But, I WILL argue that the first two Smashing Pumpkins (really, all the material that preceded "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness [a title so preposterous it's even difficult to type with a straight face]) is pure fucking gold. Fight me if you want, but you can't deny the majestic bombast of "Siva"...you're lying if you try. And if you saw the band in that era, the 1990-1993 years, you're probably still mentioning it to your friends as "one of the best shows I ever saw". They were loud, they were soaked in feedback, they got real, real heavy, they rocked harder than you could imagine, and they weren't afraid to unleash the taboo (at the time) guitar solo. They were fantastically glorious.
How have those songs aged? Depends on your tolerance for the vocals probably.
I'm in though.
This set was recorded right after the release of "Gish", but includes songs that would end up on "Siamese Dream", plus a couple covers just to round out the evening.
Look, I'm as bummed as the next guy that Billy Corgan shaved his head and fired the band and started to believe his own hype, and attempted "goth", and all that, trust me, I am. Super bummed, cause, as much as I know they're a punching bag today, I really really loved Smashing Pumpkins. I bought their shit hook, line, and sinker. Those first couple records, and the shows around those records are cherished mementos for me, and no matter how ridiculous the legacy of the band is, or gets, I'll always revisit those things and get enjoyment from them. I'm an old softy in that regard. So, suspend disbelief or whatever and set the way-back machine for "awesome", and let's go!
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Prior to this, bizarrely, major label debut album, Bakamono was a noise rock band known for one split 7" with another little noise rock band called Oiler that Theologian Records released. How that side of a 7" parlayed into a major label contract, with Priority Records no less (home of NWA, Eazy E, Ice Cube, Scarface, Dr Dre, Geto Boys, EPMD, Mack 10, Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, and Gary Glitter [wait, what?] among others), is anybodies guess. Blame it on Nirvana I suppose. Can you even imagine what an insane package tour they could have jumped on?!
Label aside, what you get is a general post-hardcore rock band (not entirely unlike Pitchfork, say) who likes to fuck around with weirdness (not entirely unlike Steel Pole Bath Tub, say) and occasionally dig in for some real nastiness (not entirely unlike Slug, say). It works out in your favor 8 times out of 10.