Monday, July 28, 2014

X is for...xfilesx

Still underrated as far as I'm concerned. Excruciation is chock fulla riffs.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

DRUG DOGS DUMB iTUNES DUMP #2

Nothing like hitting "shuffle" to make you realize that your own musical taste sucks, and nothing is really that "random." D'oh. Enjoy anyway.

1.
Spawn - "Wildfire." (S/T, Emblem 1993)
What's my excuse here? This is most certainly a remnant from a few summers ago when I decided to give no-name metallic 90's hardcore a fair shake and went on a download spree. I'd like to say that Spawn changed my opinion on some stuff (I really dig their name) but this 7" does absolutely nothing for me. Slow, boring, chunky, "passionate" HC from Germany. Luckily "Wildfire" is the shortest song of the bunch (just over a minute long) and probably the best of the lot. Chain of Strength-esque at times and seemingly about straight edge. Giant MEH. 

2.
The Who - "I've Had Enough" (Quadrophenia, MCA 1973)
The last track on Side 2 Quadrophenia and a potent paean to subculture and fashion. Those who've seen the corresponding film know that this is the bit where Jimmy finally loses it with all that mod nonsense, goes on a tear and crashes his scooter on the edge of a cliff. Sounds corny now, but I always felt a strange sort of kinship with the lyrics of this one (you got altered information/you were told to not take chances/you missed out on new dances/ now you're losing all your dimples) in that it reminded me of the "baby has grown ugly/it's no longer cute" line from Minor Threat's "Salad Days." I love the part around 1:20 where Pete Townsend cuts in (one of Jimmy's alternate personalities...if you don't "get" Quadrophenia, then you're gonna have to do that research on your own) to say "My jacket's gonna be cut and slim and checked/Maybe a touch of seersucker with an open neck" and then to play...is that a banjo? Whatever. In true rock-opera form, we even here the synth-motif bit for the album's grand closer "Love Reign o'er Me." A great one.


3. 
Out Cold - "Doomsday Guy" (Goodbye Cruel World, Mad at the World Recs, 2005) 
I've always peddled Out Cold as "your favorite band's favorite band." Maybe hyperbolic, but given the band's completely flawless discography, I'll stand by it. This LP came out after a long absence, a notable lineup change (members of Last in Line if I remember correctly) and still completely rips. Power, aggression, all that in a minute long song. In the early days of HC blogs and "webzines" I remember nonstop praise being heaped onto this one, along with plenty of "woah, this band is still around?" I remember one of the dullards from Razorcake pulling an "I wish I liked this more" kinda thing, but that rag has been a holding tank for uncultured goofs and gypsy dildos for ages now. Fav track is the closer "Sick Little Game" but that's neither here nor there. It all rips. Seek it out. 

4. 
S.O.S. - "The Block and the Rail" (Surely You Jest/Demo Tape, Lockin Out)
I've heard this one dismissed as the "worst" Lockin Out release (I won't agree with that) and seem to remember them getting slagged in all the publications I read back then (Town of Hardcore fanzine made fun of their EP artwork). The band had all the elements there, but just never really seemed to stick with people. This is just my own interpretation though. This track's really only distinguishing feature is a super skanky breakdown 1:14, the kind of breakdown that essentially encapsulates that whole Lockin Out sound. I dunno. I like this tape. I don't LOVE it, but I don't hate it either. It's head and shoulders over lots of shit that tries to pass itself off as "LOC" influenced goof-core, and they had their own unique visual aesthetic. I'd also like to go on record as saying that their contribution to the Sweet Vision comp is awesome. One of the tracks I listened to the most when I first heard it because I couldn't get enough of that guitar work. WTF do I know though?

5. 
Terror Zone "Self Realization" (Self Realization: A True Lesson in Hardcore, Gain Ground 1996).
Terror Zone was Kev-One from Bulldoze's band after the fact. I learned recently that I'd been erroneously referring to them as "Terrorzone." This record had a lot of krishna-con influences, but I don't think the band ever fully fit into that lame-ass "krishnacore" thing. Weird chanting? Check. Heavy and slow, speeds up at 1:16. "Lord of wrath/hear my screams/lord or wrath/protect my dreams." Heavy AF. I always liked this EP even with the weirdo scree-scree Korn stuff going on. Also, I can distinctly remember a friend of mine telling me that she was riding in a car with her Mom and subjected her Mom to the whole EP and her Mom "didn't hate it. ("I'm not a regular Mom, I'm a cool Mom.") That's hilarious to me. Parents + hardcore. 
(won't let me embed, but hear the track here). 






Sunday, July 20, 2014

DRUG DOGS DUMB iTUNES DUMP #1

Here's a section in which I hit "shuffle" and do mini-reviews on the first 5 songs that come up. It's stupid, and many of these songs will be stupid, but sometimes it's just hard to come up with things to write about. 


1.

Excessive Force - "Those Who Were" (In Your Blood; Life Sentence Records) 
The web (and dorko  90's nostalgists) have spilled enough ink over this song's opening couplet ("you said you'd always be true/but you're a weak motherfucker and you never had it in you") but I'd still like to call attention to the profound poetry of one of Salty City's finest exports. Having just finished an agonizing tour of duty behind the Zion curtain, I tend to give Salt Lake City a hard time about their hardcore (historically: lotta sizzle, very little steak IMO) and Excessive Force (or Xcessive Force, which is a way better moniker) is no exception. I'm hesitant to call this record "good" though I do enjoy listening to it a fair amount at the gym, when I'm pipe-bombing a McDonalds or other such ventures. "Those Who Were" features a drum sound that fluctuates between "Ball-peen hammer on a lead pipe" and "soggy noodle on wet cardboard" but those vocals sound legitimately unhinged and when you're 16  and SUPER into straight edge, it probably sounded like god speaking directly to you. I'm also a geek for all the weird guitar stuff they tried to pull off (check "In Your Blood," the track) and some of the off-kilter batshit riffing that made it into this song. Tempo changes galore, gang vox and yadda yadda. Definitely worth checking out for historical purposes, but if you're only tentatively interested in 90's monster-core, you're probably going to struggle making it through this entire album. Wise choice to put this as the leadoff track though. 

2.
Next Step Up - "Sweet Leaf" (Fall from Grace, Gain Ground)
A Cover that falls into the "so bad I can't stop listening to it" category. Don't mistake me, the riffs are spot on, but the vocals really don't do justice to the almighty Sab. I get it. Covers are supposed to inject something new into the song, so this is cool as a novelty, it just kind of feels like a throwaway on the end of the album. Fav Next Step Up track is their contribution ("L.A. Story") to the East Coast Assault comp. vol 1. Because you asked. Also, this doesn't have any solos on it. Just lettin you know. 


3. 
Power Trip - "Hammer of Doubt (April Fools Version)" (Omegas Joy Boy Mixtape Vol. 3) 
There are, to my knowledge, three versions of this song and like any good Dad, I love them all equally and for different reasons (but will also admit that I like the one on the Triple B comp just a TEENY bit more than all the others). What's more to be said about Power Trip? Remember back in the Armaggedon Blues era when they couldn't GET rid of all their 7"s? Times have changed. I did a Drug Dogs interview with Riley that will probably end up on the internet someday. We talked about baseball and Monster Magnet

What's special about this particular version of the song is that it's crappy cassette quality and features new falsetto/screech vocals (seemingly done by Udo Dirkschneider) and an added melodic chanting bit at the end (gregorian chant style). Awesome. Pure awesome. Everything this band does is awesome. For once, the internet was right about something! (No youtube vid for this one. Sorry bunky.) Also, I'd like to point out that this mixtape has added band names like Candy Randy and the Gay Boys, Woo Ric Woo Flair Woo and Heavy Metal Eric into my iTunes library. Thanx guys. 

 4.
Fit for Abuse - "Prefabricated" (Mindless Violence, Crust)
Criminally underrated beantown 'core, fast and punky a'la Negative Approach and The FU's, created in a time of JNCOs, Open E notes and vegan apologetics. Absolutely essential. No question. This one's a minute long and features a phat and phunky beat. Get this 7". Get everything they did or pose forever. 

5. 
Our Gang - "Out of Hand" (Uprising Demo)
Late 80's NYHC that was always on my periphery (due to a smattering of awesome logos and demo covers) but I never really checked out until mid-college when I discovered Blogged and Quartered. The songs from the Uprising demos appeared other places, but sound-quality wise, these are the best. "Out of Hand" features an awesome riff and a "skank it up!" mosh call. Perfect ingredients for a rippin lil' tune. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Logo Power #9: The Flexual Predator

All Seeing Eye

In honor of the fabled Flex/Violent Reaction tour which recently hit Yankee shores, I'm inclined to unearth this guy for the second installment of Flex-based logo discussions.

The show was great, somewhat sparsely attended, but that's what I'd really expect for a hardcore house show in suburban Salt Lake City that wasn't featuring any bands on the Reaper roster *sigh*. Obstruct opened, and I'd received their No Life 7" as part of a trade I'd completed. Rippers for certain and should be sought out by all.

Here's a crappy iPhone/Picstitch shot I got, courtesy of a small room, bad lighting, and my own criminal inability to take pictures that aren't awful. Still, it should showcase SOMETHING from that night.
Top: Violent RXN/Bottom: Walk in the red light w/ the Flex
Violent Reactions set rang perfect, the inclusion of the Cro-Mags "Don't Tread on Me," an obvious hit. City Streets is a damn good LP that you should seek out.

Before the Flex had set up, I'd spent some time in the garage shilling some old T-shirts and making conversation with the singer, mostly about wrestling in the UK. Turns out he was a big Ring of Honor fan, which endeared me to the band even more, and I bought a shirt. (As the picture indicates) they played in front of some red lights, creating an ultra sinister atmosphere, and when they covered "Kickback" by Breakdown, I absolutely saw someone get moshed into (and subsequently through) a wall. Suburban discipline.

This ain't a show review though, so I'll move on to the real "meat" of the matter (i.e. cartoons in hardcore). Skinheads appropriating HC iconography shouldn't raise any eyebrows, but I like the fact that this bloke's got an eyeball drawn on the back of his hand (symbolism there? IDK man), he's planting a Union Jack into a misproportioned globe and he's carrying what's either a boxcutter or a strange looking banana. Excellente. Flexual education. Flexual deviant. Flexual reproduction. God bless a band that opens themselves up to such seamless wordplay.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Logo Power #8: The Avon Ladies Bear

It's certainly been a minute since I've posted one of these, so without any more "ado" let's get to discussing a band who, for my money, should've gotten a lot more hype than they did. Actually...we're just going to discuss that little bear up there.

I'm sure other artists have meddled with the idea of Jerry Garcia's psychedelic peace-bears, trying to toss their whole rose-colored ideology on its head. Maybe they've placed a joint or crack pipe into their furry, out-stretched paws or carved a swazi into their foreheads. (60's shit = Manson shit, funny story. The only time my Mom ever asked me to turn my music off was once when I was in high school. I was listening to Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit." She burst through the door, told me she didn't like it because it reminded her of all the worst parts of 60's culture and shut the door again.)

I'm not saying the A-Ladies were the first in their class to mess with the 'Dead bear. I am saying that I fell in love with them when I first saw their 7" cover of their Guns and Gold 7", which featured these cute little guys carrying machine guns and just looking badass. This is actually from an ad in Bloody Ways fanzine, posted for my own joy in seeing the machine gun that's been replaced by the ever-more-comical stick o' dynamite. This bear absolutely doesn't care about you or your commie political movement or your effort to rid the internet of (buzzword)-phobia. He's been around the block for far longer than you have. He knows rock n' roll. He was probably at altamont, gleefully cackling when a parkful of unknowing saps played witness to a hellish gangland murder as Mick n' Keith warbled on about banging prepubescents and such. When Sid n' Johnny cursed on Bill Grundy's TV show, he was feeding them their lines and when the last quivering vestige of anything remotely resembling a real-deal guitar GAWD got shot in the face at an Ohio rock club (Dimebag, RIP) this guy wasn't crying.

The guns are gone, only to be replaced by cartoonish explosives, rudimentary in design, but still indicative of one immediate truth: this is a suicide mission. Rock n' roll has been munching on its tail since Dylan went electric and there's no more sand in this etch-a-sketch.

(Editor's note: The Avon Ladies are [by my estimation] broken up. Thank jah for an internet that keeps every stinking thing around. There's a demo tape, a 7" a split with Tempe SS and some other bits and pieces floating around.)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

LAST MINUTE HOUNDS OF HATE SHOW: PLZ CUM

Steve Rocco come out n' play
Very last minute, but if you're in the SLC area, please come out. Details on the flyer. This may be your only opportunity for a while. SPREAD DA WORD.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Weekly Seizure 11.8.13: Edgegazer Fanzine + The Abused Reissue

Greetings goofballs. Got some GREAT gear in this week. Still burning through some tapes and zines, but these are the ones I'm gonna focus on for the here and now. Also, not that it matters, but I tried listening to Unbroken this week and it still didn't do much for me. Now you know.
EDGE GAZE-AHHH BITCH PLEAZAH
1) Edge Gazer Fanzine
Edge Gazer is a visually impressive fanzine done by a younger coreman (with some serious photography chops) down in Texas. I dig his enthusiasm for newer core, and overall enjoyed the zine. I know there was a little bit of balking at the steep price, but in the end I figured it'd be worth it and I'm not disappointed.


BRICK CITY
This is probably the most coverage I've ever seen given to Life of Reilly so that was cool. I dug the reflection on Free Spirit as I too am bummed about the record that didn't materialize out of that awesome promo tape last year. The definite highlight for me was the Chris Corry interview (interesting nuggs about Stop & Think, WW4 and the Pain Cave). The Intent layout rules (See above). My only gripe comes with the reviews...and I know, after all the time I spend complaining about how zines never have reviews I should probably shut my yap, but hear me out. I like that they're long and heartfelt, I just think the verbiage is a little convoluted and hard to understand. Generally though it's a good read and an impressive first effort. Really impressive. I got mine straight from the source, but you can save a few bucks if you get them from Mosher's Delight here.
JUST ANOTHER FOOL

2) The Abused - Loud and Clear Reissue
I'm not gonna "review" this record because you should have heard it already. Bonafide NYHC gem. Guitar tone, riffs, art, the total package. I used that old anecdote about how these dudes got into hardcore because they stole a car and found a Minor Threat cassette in the tape deck to open up a paper in college and my professor seemed horrified. Anyway, in terms of the re-ish, this is one of the best I've seen. Super extensive booklet filled with flyers, setlists, photos and a sticker sheet. Side A has the original record on it along with a live version of "Police Reign" and side B has the demo tape on it.

To steal an exchange I had with my Oz-Barney brother BSN: "The spiciest of the reissue meatballs." If only that half-assed Krakdown reissue on State of Mind would've looked this good...

Radio Raheem is sold out for now, but there's another press coming mid-December.