Friday, February 27, 2015
A pivotal show for me personally (which, lets be honest, the reason you come here is for these forays into my psyche), as it marked the exact moment that Fugazi were "back" in my mind, and better than they ever had been before. Which is/was important to a guy like me, and should be to you as well.
You see, as any card-carrying member of the proverbial underground circa back then, Fugazi were (rightfully so) afforded a healthy respect and admiration. They were essentially THE quintessential DC band of all time, and their membership read as a who's who of hardcore/post hardcore/emo/good shit. So, naturally, the first Fugazi 12" and 7",and then the Margin Walker 12" were all absolute essentials in any discerning household. Without a doubt. Zero doubts.
My (and let's get back to me, ok) first opportunity to see the band was 1990 at Guilford College right before Repeater came out, and then again a few days later in Chapel Hill. Not surprisingly, the shows are shows I still can remember to this day, as the band was an incredible force, and the music had a legitimate power to it. Yes, you could also chalk it up to being a little star-struck as well, but ultimately it was the gravity of the performances that really meant something and made an indelible impression.
So, then Repeater comes out, and...don't know. Wasn't that stoked on it. Not what I "needed" (or thought) from Fugazi at the time, it seemed to lack the weight the preceding records carried. Next time they rolled near I skipped it. And when Steady Diet Of Nothing came out and I was way underwhelmed. At that point I wrote the band off as "over" (which I bet stung them pretty bad), and was pretty deep into whatever was passing as hardcore at the time.
Well, then I found myself in college and in a town with tons of fantastic live music (sadly no real hardcore to speak of, you had to drive to Atlanta for that), and I see a two night stand coming up from Fugazi. It had been long enough, I figured I'd go, get stoked on "Bulldog Front" and otherwise people watch the frat bros try and figure out how to avoid Ian MacKaye's famous onstage lecturing. So, I ponied up for both nights, assuming if the first night sucked I could sell off the second night's ticket.
With little expectation (the best way to go to any show) I got in position as the band took the stage and began systematically dismantling my brain for the next hour and a half. They opened with "Smallpox Champion" off the then unreleased In On The Killtaker record, and I could not believe what was happening. The band wielded far more heft, far more blistering noise, and ultimately far more power than I could imagine. The rhythm section (which I would put up against Bonham/John Paul Jones any day) pulses and hammers and grooves as they always did, but now it seemed more urgent. The twin guitar attack was vicious and tight, with a new layer of feedback to accentuate the punching riffs. It was seriously revelatory at that moment. Not even sure if I spoke to anyone during the show...or moved from my spot for that matter. It was the best live performance I think I had, and would, ever see. No shit. To this day I have a hard time coming up with a better pound for pound performance.
Needless to say, I came back the next night, whereupon they played another hour and a half (no repeats!) of sheer perfection. I have that show which I could post as well at some point.
Turns out, I had been a little quick o write off Fugazi, and upon revisiting Repeater and even Steady Diet Of Nothing, I found great joy in their evolution. When In On The Killtaker came out later that year I wore it the fuck out, listening to it over and over and over. In my mind it represents the band at their creative peak, and the subsequent output (and even subsequent live shows) just didn't hot with the same impact.
But anyway...it was an important show for me, and reaffirmed my love of music...again. I'm not sure if hearing a soundboard recording will give a first time listener the same feeling as being in the room, but goddamn, it's a sweet ride.
DL - part 1
DL - part 2
Label: Toxic Shock
Cow punk with a heart of gold. The Stooges + Willie Nelson + a mariachi band + skunk weed + Dicks + the 200th viewing of Urban Cowboy = The Hickoids.
Flying the classic "Keep Austin Weird" flag before the bumper sticker, or "Slacker", dared. Taking everything in their record collections and making a loud mess that defies easy categorization, but sounds sort of like the inside cover of ZZ Top's "Tres Hombres" album must taste.
They reactivated and released a new record in 2013, but not real sure what happened after that.
Monday, February 23, 2015
Label: Self Released
Originally released to little fanfare in 1998, originating from the island of Tasmania, The Stickmen created what should be a noise rock classic. And it will be, once people manage to hear it.
They check all the "right" boxes; the tightly wound surf rave-up, the greasy twangy slide tones of garage rock skuzz, the propulsive skew of slicing guitar atop rolling rhythms, and the energy backbone provided by shelves of punk and hardcore albums at home. All nicely coated with a charcoal gray sheen of menace.
Sort of like a double bill of Dead and Gone doing a set of Hoover covers, and maybe Vaz doing a set of Beast Of Bourbon songs. A hot show, no doubt.
Homeless Records has been kind enough to re-release this record which you should be kind enough to go here and purchase. It's well, well worth your time and money. The bonus track included in this post is from the Homeless version, a previously unreleased track from the original recording session.
Listen to it, wonder how it slipped through the cracks, and then grab the vinyl (which appears to be sold out at current time…but I'm sure if enough people bug them there will be a second pressing).
Friday, February 20, 2015
Label: self released
It's Friday, end of the work week...go out with a bang. Fuck life, eat speed, shit lightning.
Blink and you'll miss these 6 songs of manic hardcore. But if you like Necros, Infest, and hate your boss, then glue your eyelids open and bask in it. Raw, fast, pummeling, the way it should be.
The band is fronted by Jason Griffin (who is miraculously NOT playing drums in this outfit), who you should know from his parade of the horribles (meant as a Circle Jerks referencing compliment of course): Tres Kids, Goat Shanty, Divorce, Harsh Words, Shaved Christ, and my personal favorite Hands Of An Angry God. You may also know him as my former roommate. Or, just as that rad guy with the big hair. One of those things.
This is a demo, and has the recording fidelity to prove it, but in the case of Bathroom/s it works...total annihilation, no frills. X crucial X (except not straight edge)! I've already listened to this thing 8 times in a row! "You forgot ugly, lazy, and disrespectful.. (smack!)".
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
So, how's about fIREHOSE run through their Ragin' Full On lp from start to finish on the radio? Cool? Then, after those song get a thorough airing, the band has enough gas to give you 5 more tracks; including a Blue Oyster Cult cover, a couple Minutemen songs from Double Nickels On The Dime, and a couple rev'd up versions of Three Way Tie (For Last) tracks?
Good deal, right?
The sound quality is really good, there's some reverb that takes a minute to get used to, and the band's performance has a couple minor gaffs, but really, who's going to complain about that.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Athens, Georgia will always have an underbelly of heavy bands that lurk from dark club to dark house show, to dark bar bludgeoning those locals who want some respite from the fey indie rock, fey faux psychedelia, or worse yet, the very real college football. These bands usually operate out of the kitchens around town cooking your brunch before fucking off to band practice and preparing a new batch of lumbering thud rock.
The Powder Room fits right into that lineage, hell, they're even recorded by Kyle Spence of the ultimate Athens underbelly dwellers Harvey Milk. They pull from that same well of late 80's and early 90's noise and sludge that beget heavy hitters of yesteryear, but they do so in a way that eschews pandering in favor of harnessing that hulking rumble into their own take on loudness.
The bottom end and drums are down low in the gutter where it should be, deep and mean. The guitar is a warm, solid punch to the gut with occasional flourishes of shimmering respite. And the vocals strike that perfect balance of gritty bellow with tuneful…rasp.
If you remember another old Athens band Pride Parade, that's a good comparison. There was an Atlanta band All That Saints that I can hear in this mix as well. At times you can catch some of the straight whallup of Atlanta compatriots Whores, that pounding lockstep of guitar bass and drums coming straight for your neck. But for those outside the piedmont region of Georgia, maybe I can come up with more widely known touchstones? Ummm…how about Burning Brides, Fudge Tunnel, Crawlpappy, Loudspeaker, Nirvana, middle period Harvey Milk, (some) Melvins, and (some) Tad? Yeah?
Look, bottom line, this one is absolutely essential. I give it my highest recommendation. The vinyl version came out early this year, and you should MOST definitely track it down from Cohosh Records.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Label: Self Aware
Besides having one of the better monikers of recent memory, Meth Mountain also trafficked in some of the best grungy post hardcore blasts of rock music this side of 1993. So, if you have been enjoying Metz or Pissed Jeans or Double Dagger as of late, then Meth Mountain will fit right in to your afternoon.
It's loose and thrashing (not "Thrash" with a capital T, but thrashing as in manically moving about) in the best of ways. No rough edges have been polished here, and that would miss the point anyway, wouldn't it?
There's a Nirvana cover and a Black Flag cover, which you could say bookends the band's approach (early period Nirvana and late period Black Flag to be precise).
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Label: Self released
Another Atlanta band made from other Atlanta bands, but in this case, Atlanta bands that we have previously mentioned in this very space. Remember the Dasher post that was right here? Or the Wymyns Prysyn posts from here, or here? Remember?
Well, Uniform has personnel from both those bands, as well as Sluggo and others that I neither know or remember.
Musically, they are pulling a streamlined, loud and menacing hardcore sound through the darker corners of the genre. It's never chunky, and there's nary a mosh part to be seen. These has those wiry and taught riffs that draw from a particularly British post-punk tradition and then rev them up and mutate them into noisy stabbing motions. They claim a Rudimentary Peni influence, which, sure, yeah. I hear some Dead And Gone, some Young Ginns, and a little VSS. I almost said "for a more contemporary reference point", until I remembered that all those bands are pushing 20 years old themselves. Sheesh. Getting old.
Point is, this demo fills a certain niche for warped, paranoid, distorted, bracing music that you most likely mostly like. It's good.
Monday, February 9, 2015
Could be the next public outing (not that I'm coming out of the closet...yet).
Whores always deliver the goods, so it's worth it to see them alone. Mtn Isl is one of my favorite new(ish) bands who come correct with the good and burly noise rock. I'm sorta on the fence with Retox...like...in theory I should like them, but there's something I'm not getting. Yet. Maybe. I would imagine that in a live setting they will bring the thunder in an appropriate manner, so I'm sure I'll be a proper convert after the show. Hopefully. And Lazer/Wulf...well...that's a good time to head out front and order some food. Too busy and Guitar-Center-techy for my tastes, but if you like it noodle and heavy, then you'll be into it. I guess.
So...should be a good one?
Sunday, February 8, 2015
Label : Joyful Noise
Year : 2014
Been a while since I posted. Sorry kids, been busy doing adult stuff. Mainly working and trying to get a record label off the ground, and will be going to Austin in 3 weeks to work for a film festival and host live broadcasts over the webduring SXSW and then off to Victoria, TX to be one of the festival judges (how did that happen?) .. all of these are consuming all of my time.
So I am posting a novelty record? If you wanna call it that. It's not really a noise rock record, but it is an amazing display of talent by three incredible drummers. Dale Crover (Melvins), Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, The Shins), & Coady Willis (Big Business, Melvins). If you dig drummers, especially the three that are featured here, you'll like this.
"“I heard Max Roach’s M’Boom 14 years ago and I’ve wanted to make my own version with drummers I love ever since. Dale, Coady and I carved out our own compositions built from a combination of drum kits and dozens of percussion instruments. I couldn’t be prouder of the end result. Thank you for the inspiration Mr. Max Roach. It’s Hew Time!”–Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, The Shins)