Friday, March 23, 2007

new low in record collecting

So recently I've hit a new low point in my record collecting. I was in the Princeton Record Exchange a few weeks ago with Annie, who was visiting from FL. Going through the new arrivals, since I found a few early SST records. Usually if you see a few punk records, it means that someone dropped off a collection. I'm on the second to last box, and some dude comes up and starts leafing through the last box. I wait for him to move and then move to that one, which I saw had good stuff. When I get there, I smell something pretty foul. Annie looks at me, and I swore it wasn't me. So I try to ignore it, and keep browsing figuring the smell would go away. A fart would, but this was no fart... The dude crapped his pants! Now in the grand scheme of things, when someone craps their pants, you try to get as far as possible from them (which Annie was smart enough to do). In my world however, looking through that last box was something I couldn't just give up on. I basically held my breath as long as I could, then ran out of there. Got some decent scores, but I've definitely hit a new low...


The Ergs!- Books About Miles Davis
Unless you've been living under a fucking rock, you know that the Ergs are by far the best pop-punk band out there. This little record is a teaser single for the new LP/CD coming out in a few months. This song has been in their live sets for a while now, so it's nice to finally hear a recorded version finally. The song's a bit slower than some of their other stuff, but the Ergs are so diverse that they can totally pull this off. The majority of it is just guitar and maracas... The B-side is a cover song by someone I'm not familiar with, but sounds pretty cool. Their new LP, Upstairs/Downstairs will be great, I can't wait.

They Live- Blurred
They Live were a band from Buffalo, who released a bunch of records in the late 90's/early 00's. Their sound is close to Infest, mixed w/ some fast Japanese thrash. This record was recorded way back in 1998, but was never released (until now of course), and the lineup is kinda weird since it's only 2 of the members, but it still rips. They Live were really great, but I think this may be the only thing still available. It makes for a great starting point, plus the fucking Turning Point cover is worth it. I'm glad I'm not the only one w/ a huge soft spot for good youth crew HC. Someone needs to put together a discography CD for these guys.

Reason Of Insanity- Live on WFMU
ROI have a bunch of records out, but unfortunately none of those are in my collection. This being my first experience with them, I'm really into it. These songs were recorded live on the radio in NJ, but I'm fairly certain that they didn't play a show here. They're songs are real fast dirty old school hardcore thrash, and the quality is pretty good for a live set. They do a Zero Boys cover, which is a little sloppy, but still fun. Interesting fun fact is that Brandon from Government Warning/ Direct Control plays drums on these tracks. It's a limited to 300 pressing, so good luck finding it, the label's already out of copies.

Let Down- Crossed Off
I saw these guys in Philly a few weeks ago, and thought they were pretty good (despite horrible sounding equipment), had a real good old school hardcore sound. First of all, the record itself looks awesome, with a 2 color silk screened cover, which folds out in 3 panels. It's almost a shame it had to be folded. What you're getting is 4 really pissed off straight edge hardcore songs. Before modern sxe hardcore became emo lyrics with mosh parts, there were bands who wanted to play hard and fast. This really reminds of Shark Attack or No Justice, and I'd like to see these guys real soon.

CTS- s/t
There's a good chance you've never heard of CTS or their awesome demo tape, which came out in 2003 or 4. They basically didn't play out of the upstate NY area, so I'm surprised they landed on my radar at some point. I loved their demo, and this is just a vinyl re-pressing of that demo. The recording sounds a little brighter even, maybe it was remixed or remastered. The songs are super lo-fi old DC sounding hardcore, but with a slight modern thrash sound. Kinda reminds me of the Slogan Boy 7", which came out a few years ago. It's cool that their demo is on vinyl, though the cover art isn't as cool.

Tangled Lines- Wash The Shit Off
I saw this band recently on tour w/ I Object, which I suppose is a fairly good comparison. Like I Object, they have a female singer and sing about social issues over some fast hardcore. The music has more of a youth crew style with harmonics, and the singer's voice is a much higher pitch. I like the group vocals, and start and stop parts. There's an intro song, which I remember not really liking live also, but the rest of the songs have some real cool fast singalong thrashy hardcore. They've got some more records out, but this was a limited tour 7" (or at least a limited tour version). Oh yea, they wore matching outfits live, which was adorable.

The Trouble- Live at the Rat
DUDE, the Trouble is(was) so fucking good. You may know of them since their singer went on to sing in Panic, but the Trouble has a more punk influence, kinda like the Pist. This record is 4 live tracks from back in 1997, and the quality is really good. If you haven't heard "Nobody Laughs Anymore," their LP, you're really missing out. I don't know how you can get this record, since it's a limited promo dealie, but do yourself a favor and check out the Trouble.


Bury The Living- All the News That's Fit To Scream
I had recently stumbled upon a few BTL records in some used bins and other places, and liked what I heard. They've been around for a while and seem to have a bunch of records out, this LP being the newest one. Their sound is heavy (but not metal) fast hardcore, which has a similar quality to the Holy Mountain but with a more stripped down Deathreat styled approach. Must be something about Memphis, TN that turns out the most surprisingly good HC bands. They recently broke up and reformed, so hopefully they'll tour again.


The Unlovables- Crush, Boyfriend, Heartbreak
I got this from the same label that I ordered the new Ergs 7" from. I figured I was ordering stuff anyway. might as well check it out. All I knew was that it was a band from NY w/ Mike Erg and a female singer. The songs are super poppy sugary pop-punk, kinda like the Muffs or maybe the Dollyrots. This kind of stuff I have to be in a mood for, it's good though. I'm just not always in the mood for really happy pop music. It's good, and I'd be interested in hearing more.

Seasick- Drug Vacation demo (cd-r)
Seasick is a local NJ band, who I've seen since their beginning and various lineup changes. They started out as a fairly standard modern sounding thrash band, but this demo they've add a more melodic touch to their songs. Sorta reminds me of Paint It Black, with some Propaghandi influence. The lyrics are still political, and the songs are still fast, but there's a heaviness to the guitar riffing too (plus a blatantly stolen Bad Brains breakdown). What's really cool about this demo is that there's a full live set at the end; it's not often you get a 20 minute long demo. The playing isn't too tight, but I think they rushed to record before tour. I still don't know what a "drug vacation" is.

I NEED MORE DEMOS! I love hearing new bands, and I try to review everything I get...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

American Hardcore DVD review

After reading the book of the same name, I wasn't exactly about to go out of my way to see the movie. The book was loaded with opinions, one-sided arguments and inaccuracies; the movie naturally was full of the same. It seemed like certain topics, like the violence and craziness overshadowed the more positive aspects of hardcore. Straight edge and women's roles in the scene were merely glanced at. Notable problems were the lack of any Misfits or Dead Kennedys content, and the inclusion of DOA (who are from Canada) and way too much on the Cro Mags (who suck). I'm sure some of it due to legal reasons, but they were in the book so I don't see why not include anything. There was a lot on the NY scene, which didn't really take off until after they claim HC died, or maybe the NYHC scene killed it. It also seemed like they directors wee playing favorite with who's stories were told, since it seemed like certain people were always talking. There was also some poor editing decisions, which cut off stories before they ended. I also thought it was weird that certain people's credits under their name were omitting bands of worthy mention. For example it said "Brian Baker: Minor Threat," what about Dag Nasty and Bad Religion?

My biggest gripe is that (like in the book), they stated the fact that hardcore died in 1986. I mean if that's true, what have I been doing with my life for the past 10+ years? You look at the footage of Black Flag, SSD and DYS from their later eras, and could see why people would lose interest. Here it is in 2007, and that stuff still sucks, but their earlier stuff still sounds awesome. They try to blame the fact that they were losing interest and writing shitty music on the scene dying away. If hardcore was dead, why would anybody know who these people were or care about this "documentary?"

The bonus features had some of the live footage, deleted scenes and footage of the opening party in Toronto. The live footage was all stuff shown in the movie, except in its entirety, of course I would have wanted more... The deleted scenes are interesting, but not skippable, so you need to watch it all the way through. Plus it seems like the deleted scenes got cut out too. There is a pretty funny moment w/ Vinnie Stigma and Jimmy Gestapo at NYHC tattoo at the end. There's also a director's commentary, which I am reluctant to give a chance.

Despite all its problems, it was an alright movie. I think you'd need a lot more than an hour and a half to cover the history of hardcore, but I'd be willing to watch that DVD. There would need to be a lot more live footage, and it would need to cover all the important states and their bands with more live footage. American Hardcore probably won't open people's eyes to hardcore who weren't already into it, but at least the soundtrack to the movie makes for a pretty decent mix tape.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Birthday Blog '07

So here it is again, you may remember that I made a blog post on my birthday last year. Here's what's going on currently, if you don't already know.

I've been working at the same place for the past year, and it is absolutely terrible. I'd say that the majority of the time I was there I had nothing to do, and had to make up little projects for myself to keep me busy. The internet, while fun for slacking off, really doesn't hold my interest for 8 hours. When I was hired, I knew my salary was really low, but figured after a few months they'd see that I know what I'm doing and I'd be getting paid what I should be. Over as year later, and despite many efforts, no raise is in sight. Recently I told them I wouldn't design anymore, since I'm not being paid for it, and you'd think they'd fire me right? NOPE. I've been interviewing a lot lately; I had one yesterday that went OK I guess. At this point I'd take basically anything, but ideally a design firm located somewhat near Philly.

Aside from work, I've got 2 bands to occupy my time. SPG (stands for Special Patrol Group) has been together since July, but for one reason or another averages one practice per month. I wish it was more frequent, but the practices always rule, and I'm sure once we record it'll sound great. I'm crossing my fingers for a 4 or 5 song demo tape by the end of March. SPG started by me posting on some message boards that I wanted to do a band, and I was surprised to find 3 like-minded people. Our sound is similar to bands like Deathreat, old hardcore w/ Japanese thrash influences.
My other band, Wormeaters recorded a practice song a few weeks ago, and I'm hoping we can get a demo done before the April 13th show (see below). I also just found out that we got to play with the Inmates on June 2 in Baltimore. Hoping we have a 7" done by then. The music's prety cool,it sounds like older HC bands like Agnostic Front, Negative Approach, YDI, Mental Abuse.... Our singer's got a real gruff voice, like the singer from GISM or something, so it sounds real different.

To "celebrate," I'm going to a show tonite (big surprise), I gave myself a shitty mohawk, and I bought myself a sweet Project X longsleeve. Good times, I'm gonna see if root beer 40oz's exist because I want one...