Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Peace out NJ

I'm leaving on a jet (blue) plane in a few hours to spend the next week in Daytona, FL w/ my favorite Floridian, Annie. I'm real excited to see her, and wear shorts again! While I'm there, I'll be at This Is For You Fest. My bands have played the fest in previous years, and it's always really diverse and fun. I made up some posters to sell for some extra cash, and to trade for band merch.

Last night one of my new bands, SPG played our first show @ Rancho Relaxo. It was a show I booked, and we shared equipment with the Kanamits. We sounded ok, definitely need some more work before doing another show. My stupid A string went out of tune real early in the set, but otherwise it went well. The show ended up ok, but started a little rough, since not many people came and the bands were super late. I wasn't sure if Blank Stare was going to show up, but they got stuck in traffic and got there at 9.

I uploaded crappy quality video clips of SPG's set on the infamous youtube:
1st song
2nd song
3rd song

Friday, December 22, 2006

Top 5 Records of 2006

I figured since a good part of this blog (and my life) is taken up by talk about records. Most music publications do these top records of the year. I can proudly say that I have neither heard or own any of Rolling Stone's top 50 albums.

Best LPs of 2006:

1. Government Warning- No Moderation
2. Career Suicide- Attempted Suicide
3. Tragedy- Nerve Damage
4. Strung Up / Direct Control- split LP
5. Criminal Damage- s/t

It may be a bold statement, but "No Moderation" may be the best HC/punk LP I've heard in the 10+ years I've been listening to hardcore/punk. It's seriously flawless. The new Career Suicide is pretty great, though I know a lot of people said it was too fast for them. Still raw and catchy as hell, I think the real version is remixed so it may sound different than the version I have (summer tour pressing). Tragedy continues where "Vengeance" left off, and take their sound to another level. The SU/DC split has some of Direct Control's best stuff, but the Strung Up side is just ok. Criminal Damage was a nice little surprise, which snuck in some British sounding punk.

Best EPs of 2006:

1. Deep Sleep- "You're Screwed"
2. the Vicious- "Obsessive"
3. Positive Reinforcement- s/t (1 sided LP)
4. Rabies- "Disease-Core"
5. Blank Stare- both s/t 7"s

Damn, it was a real toss up for the #1 slot. The Vicious are ridiculously good, but there's only 4 songs, compared to Deep Sleep's 9 songs. The Deep Sleep 7" is really great and listens like an LP. I talked to the singer recently and they're going to start playing shows again. What can I say about the Vicious, fucking great old twangy punk. The PosiForce 1 sided LP I'm counting as an EP, because it's like 6 songs and could've probably fit on a 7". I'm also combining Blank Stare's two self titled 3 song 7"s as one giant 6 song 7". Rabies are some young kids, who know what they're doing when it comes to playing skate-core.

Best Comps:
EP: No Bullshit Vol. 1 / 2
LP: Public Safety

At first I just listed No Bullshit Vol. 1, but fuck it these comps are great. I hear version 3's lineup is already set, and I'm looking forward to a ton of great comps on great current hardcore bands. Speaking of great current hardcore bands, Public Safety gives a great sampling of current US and world hardcore/punk. Best thing about both of this is that the songs on here are exclusive to the comp release. A lot of comps these days are basically label samplers with songs off the albums the label puts out. These comps aren't trying to sell anything, just get good music into people ears.

Looking forward to: new Ergs LP- "Upstairs/Downstairs," new Ruiner LP, new Vicious LP (it's already out, but I don't have it yet) and US tour, my band(s) recording demos, seeing foreign bands come to America to play basements, more old school hardcore influenced bands, the Cro Mags worship trend turning into the Infest worship trend.

There were a shitload of great records that came out this year, as well as awesome shows an tours. If you're still trying to complain that there's no good shows and there's no good records, you're not making the effort. Or by the same sentiment, start a band that's better, or book some shows. I did both...

Now stop reading, you've got some records to buy.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Blank Stare- fast and furious sXe hardcore from Boston (2 new 7"s out now)

Static Radio- fast melodic hardcore (new 7" out now)

the Kanamits
- fast old school hardcore punk, with a chick singer

SPG -first show: vinyl nerds playing old hardcore meets Japanese thrash
(my new band, splitting a set w/ the Kanamits)

Ashtray Dirt -EDGE sludgy doom crap

Rancho Relaxo
Lakewood, NJ 08701

$5 / 6pm

park in the back


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

records > people

So this will be the last round of record reviews until the new year. I still plan a "Best of 2006" post though... Most of these were obtained at Circle Pit Fest, and recent shows.


Blank Stare- s/t (refuse)
Blank Stare is a band from Boston, who doesn't like naming their 7"s. You may have noticed in recent months that MRR reviewed their 2 newest 7"s (both self titled) like 5 times. Much like the one on Third Party records, this has 3 songs of political/social conscious lyrics fast hardcore. It's nice to see edge bands tackle social topics, and not the standard topics about their crew or being stabbed in the back. They're also great live.

No Comply/ XbrainiaX
A split rager of power violence goodness, which is literally split between 6 record labels. Both bands are definitely a part of the power violence revival that is coming/here. No Comply is actually from the mid-90's and either reformed or maybe this is unreleased stuff. Either way, their side isn't all that great. A spelling error on the front along w/ a Septic Deth parody that's been done a million times before. Musically, it just feels like it's missing something (guitar maybe?). It's ok, but just doesn't do much for me. XbrainiaX, on the other hand sounds pretty awesome, and cram like 11 songs on their half (which by the way has some rad art). If you're familiar with XbX's 7" with 31 songs, you won't be let down by this. Fast raging hardcore that's over before you even think about starting to circle pit. I think the power violence resurgence recently is pretty awesome, but really lacks something w/o the wacky samples between songs.

No Bullshit vol. 2
It's really awesome that there's a compilation series to look forward to. Volume 1 was incredible, and Volume 2 is no slouch either. This time you get Social Circkle, Rabies, Warkrime, Wasted Time, Cardiac Arrest, and Brian Handle. Social Circkle and Wasted Time both re-record songs from their demo, and the other ones are new to me. All the bands really do well at paying homage to the great early 80's hardcore scene. Best song is the Rabies one, but there's really no losers here. Also, the first pressing sold out in 2 days, I was lucky enough to get one at the fest the other week. Can't wait for Vol. 3!

Social Circkle- Static Eyes
Social Circkle are from Boston, and play old punk that sounds like it's from the early 80's Cali scene. Bands like the Germs and Angry Samoans come to mind. There's only 4 songs, and 2 of them were on the demo. It's ok, because that demo ruled. The demo, however, had like 8 songs which is kind of a let down to only get 2 new ones on this. I mean either way they're great songs, but I just want more.

Fastbreak- Don't Stop Trying
This record is old, 10 years old really. I'm not sure if this repress is in honor of that, but maybe it should have. It's basically just a straight repress of the old version done by the same label. I mean, the songs are great, but maybe a little story on the insert about how many were pressed alltogether, where the band/ members went. It's a great record, which I just never got around to picking up before, so I'm glad it's available again.

Dustheads- Tall Tales I
I've seen the Dustheads a few times, sometimes I like them and sometimes I don't. Musically they're somewhere between Annihilation Time and the better stuff by the Suicide File. Basically heavy fast hardcore, with a big stoner rock n roll influence. For me, I only really enjoy that type of stuff if I'm in the mood for it (since I'm not a "stoner"). There's only 3 songs on here, but I'll be looking forward to Tall Tales II.

La Piovra- s/t (one sided LP) + Risacca b/w Danni Collaterali
La Piovra came around here on tour recently, and I picked up these 2 records. Their sound is similar to bands like the Young Wasteners or Positive Reinforcement, with an old school hc/punk sound. The vocals are a little more aggressive, and the guitars have a slight rock edge to them. I saw them 3 times on their tour, and they were better and better each time. Visually both records look great, the LP has an awesome screen printing of octopus tentacles, and the cover a big heavy paper with more octopus. The 7" I believe is somewhat limited for the tour, but if you've seen them, this one has the song with the sweet "Turning Japanese" rip-off intro. I'm really glad I got to see them, because prior to going to the shows, I didn't really know what I was in for. One of the things that makes the DIY touring network so great is that you get exposed to rad bands, like this.


Maximum Rock N Roll presents: Public Safety
Ok, so this compilation is basically a perfect representation of the great international current hardcore/punk scene. This is also the first MRR compilation in a while, and the first international comp since "Welcome to 1984." I even comes with a booklet insert, with one page dedicated to each band. I really hope this becomes a series, because this is really awesome. Perfect for people who love the current hardcore scene, or people who are jaded and complain that there's no good bands anymore. Standout tracks are by: Direct Control, Sleeper Cell, Career Suicide, Regulations, Observers, Limp wrist, but they're all seriously real good.

SS Decontrol- Get It Away
Yea, this is old, it's a classic, we all know It's great. This is a recent bootlegging, and a damn good one at that. Pretty much damn near perfect reproduction of the original. The sound quality is great too, much better than the crappy mp3s I've had of this. Unfortunately for some reason, a legit repress has never happened for SSD which has opened the flood gates for tons of bootlegs. The only legit SSD is that "power" CD on Taang, and it leaves much to be desired. I'm curious if the same person did the boot of the This Is Boston, Not LA a few years ago, because that was also really well done. I guess now with mp3s, and music editing software easy to obtain, maybe there will be a rise in good quality boots.

For Science- Revenge For Hire
For Science (formerly known as Skynet) is from my home area of New Brunswick, NJ. I've seen them numerous times, and was never really into them. They always played really sloppy/ drunk live, but on this CD they sound awesome. The songs are similar to good pop-punk, like Screeching Weasel, the Queers, or any stuff from lookout's hey day. Recommended for fans of NJ favorites, the Ergs, or just good catchy punk songs. They just recorded a new album, which I hear is great, and are now on their 3rd (maybe more) lineup.

Acid Reflux (cassette)
WOW, saw these guys a few weeks ago in a basement, and damn were they awesome. They've got a whole F.U.'s / This Is Boston Not LA / Verbal Abuse sound, and it's super fast. The lyrics are really pretty juvenile in the best kind of way: "I just want to be a punk, I just wanna have some fun." I just heard that No Way Records is pressing this demo on a 7", so you may want to wait until that comes out since it'd be easier to obtain. Oh yea, their drummer is/was in Limp Wrist.

Paper Dragons (CDr)
Baltimore's Paper Dragons features 1/2 of the Spark, and members from Never Enough and Bad Business. Musically I get some poppy hooks, maybe like the Adolescents. I also get a slight Fugazi vibe, but the sound is more along the likes of poppy early 80's punk. Pretty catchy stuff, I'm looking forward to hearing more.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Circle Pit Fest (day 2) in Baltimore

The other week I attended day 2 of Circle pit Fest (I was at a show in Philly during day 1). It was totally worth the 3 hour drive for a pretty action packed Saturday.

Got there during Cloak/Dagger, due to a necessary Waffle House stop. Missed Chainsaw to the Face (sorry dudes), but caught the majority of Cloak/Dagger's set. I like this band a lot more live than recorded. If you're not familiar, they have a early 80's California punk sound, but recorded it just sounds too slick for me. I guess their LP coming out on Jade Tree will be pretty polished sounding as well. The place the show was at is a bike collective. I have no idea what that means, but it looked like a warehouse with a bunch of bikes in it. It was a decent size, kinda narrow though. It seemed like there was a ton of room in the back, which was filled with bikes. There was alos no bathroom at the place, which kinda sucked that I had to walk around the corner to the movie theater to pee.

Fighting Dogs, who I saw the day before in Philly, were next. I've seen them a lot, since they kind of local. Their sound is sorta crusty metal, but is a lot more interesting than most of that stuff. Played mostly the songs off the cd they released in the little envelope.

I had already see La Piovra twice on their US tour in NJ and Philly, and they kept getting better every time I saw them. It was moreso by chance that I saw them 3 times, but I'm glad I did. They're from Italy, and do the old hardcore sound similar to stuff like Regulations or the Young Wasteners. If they're playing anywhere near you, go see them. It's probably hard for an unknown HC band from Italy to draw people, but it's totally worth your time.

Up next is what some people referred to as the "superset," which consisted of Build your Weapons, Warzone Womyn, Magrudergrind, and XbrainiaX. During this chunk of time, the people I was with went and checked out a movie. I decided to stick it out, plus I had wanted to see Xbrainiax, and had heard good things about the others. They all have an extremely similar sound, paying homage to the heyday of powerviolence.

XbrainiaX was definately my favorite of the bunch, and played over 30 songs in maybe 20-25 minutes. Really short, really fast thrashy hardcore. With bands like that, I like them better in smaller doses. None of the "superset" was bad, just extremely similar to me, but I'm sure someone w/ a more trained ear for that sort of think could tell the difference.

I was really excited to see Positive Reinforcement, since getting their 1 sided LP over the summer. Their sound definately slowed down, to a more midpaced punk band. Their earlier stuff had some catchy parts, but was mainly fast thrashcore. They played everything off that LP, and a few other ones from their 7". People seemed into it, but it looked like a lot of the room left unfortunately.

Blank Stare has 1/2 the members of PosiForce, but has a more agressive sxe sound. Last time I saw Blank Stare, the singer was jumping off everything, and running around like a maniacac, and today's show was no exception. They played mostly the songs from their 2 new 7"s (which I highly recommend), and did a Last Rights cover ("chunks") and a Judge cover ("fed up"). At one point, the singer was standing on top of a cabinet, which didn't look too sturdy. They were definately great, and I think they should be one of the more talked about hardcore bands.

I was really excited to see Government Warning, they were amazing at Pointless Fest, plus by this point I've had their LP for over 3 months. That LP may be the best hardcore record I've heard in the +/- 10 years I've been into hardcore. It seemed like a lot of the crowd re-apeared at this point, and people were going nuts circle pitting and diving from pipes during their set. They played a new song that was awesome, and did a block of 4 covers (minor threat, descendents, adolescents, vile). Covers are pretty fun, but I would've preferred to hear more of their own songs. Either way, if you don't think Government Warning is the best current hardcore band, you're kidding yourself or have bad taste.

86 Mentality and Mind Eraser were next, but a bunch of us went to the Ottobar to catch the Ergs play. I saw the first five 86 Mentaliy songs, which were all off their first 7". It was really good, and I'm glad I finally got to see them, since somethign always happens when I'm supposed to go see them.

Got to the Ottobar during the last Paper Dragons song, which kinda sucked because I liked their demo and wanted to see them. The Ergs were great as always, and it was surreal to see them on a stage with lights and mics. Played a lot of new songs, which the NJ attendants all knew. They even did their Gin Blossoms cover, which is always a hit. Saw a little bit of the Parasites (Para-Ergs), but left since we had a long trip home. Finally got to sleep at 4am, and was totally wiped out.

I got a bunch of new records there, and in general. I'm going to post more reviews, and do a best of 2006 post also. You can check out more pictures from the fest at