So I wouldn't consider myself a show promoter really, but if a good band needs a show and wants to play NJ (for some reason), I'll set one up. I only work with venues that don't charge for the space, usually basements, but I did do a show at a burrito shop a few weeks ago. I set up 3 shows this past month, and each show seemed to go well in retrospect, but seemed worse and worse. The first show was pretty well attended, though I thought more should've been there. The second one was kinda last minute, but between going to 3 shows that week and handing out 50 flyers at a show around the corner 2 days prior, only 12 people came. And most of them were from PA. The third show had another low attendance, and the touring bands showed up late and drunk, despite them asking for a matinee show, so it would end earlier. The sad turnout really put a bad taste in my mouth about doing more shows. I mean the bands all appreciated it, but it makes me re-think my loyalties to other local bands. I've gone to shows for a while, and have bought records from bands I don't necessarily like just to support them. The fact that my band even played 2 of the 3 shows, and people who's bands I supported weren't there. I'm in the process of getting 2 shows in June going, but I'm trying some different places and different bands. Also, my favorite NJ band, the Degenerics are playing a reunion show at the end of June, which I'm very excited about.
The past month's been crazy! between job interviews, setting up and promoting/ attending a bunch of shows, sick w/ allergies and just general work I haven't had much time to rest. Luckily, I've had a nice chunk of sweet records to listen to.
the Vicious- Igen
The new Vicious record was luckily ready for their US tour, which I was lucky enough to catch on 4 dates. The new record isn't nearly as good as Obsessive of Alienated, but still really catchy. 3 new songs, and 2 of them aren't in english. I don't really mind when foreign bands switch up english and foreign lyrics (like No Hope For The Kids), so maybe this will be more regular for the Vicious. The new stuff has a real Gorilla Angreb vibe to it. I wouldn't suggest this as a good starting point, but it's a good indication of where they are and where they're going.
Terminal State- Sick
Terminal State didn't do too much since that 7" came out in 2005, but this new record shows that their sound has matured a bit. They've always reminded me of old early 80's KBD style hardcore, with a DC simplicity. These 3 songs are great, I just wish there were more. They played a show in NJ a few weeks ago on a weekend tour, and they've got a bunch of new material that's totally killer. Probably going to be an LP from these guys sometime soon, and it'll be great!
Acid Reflux- s/t
This 7" is basically their demo on vinyl. Since I already reviewed the demo, I'll spare repeating myself. This band rules, get this fucking 7"!
Dustheads- Tall Tales II
Following up last year's "Tall Tales" 7" with its second installment. Dustheads continue where they left off, with heavy rock influences over some old school sounding fast hardcore. Occasionally the rock parts seem a bit forced, or mismatched, but when it's good it's real good. "Altered States" is a great beginning, and should appeal to fans of hardcore and heavy stoner rock. I think both "Tall Tales" will be on one LP, once both 7"s are out of print.
Total Fury/ the Jury
Another new release to coincide with a US tour. Total Fury is from Japan, but don't play the traditional "buring spirits" style. They have a sound that's much more early 80's american HC, like the DC bands. However, there's an intensity to the sound that not many bands can touch. This has a re-recorded version of "You're Too Old" from the LP, with some more rockin guitar parts. There's also a Scream cover. The Jury had a 7" come out last year, which reminded me of 9 Shocks a lot. This stuff is fairly similar, but compared to TF, it kinda falls flat. They also cover "Crash The Pose" by Gauze (HOLY SHIT!), but it doesn't really touch the speed and intensity of the original. Overall it's pretty rough to tackle a song by the gods of Japanese hardcore, and do a split w/ a totally raging current Japanese band, but I applaud the effort.
The Philly "motorcharge" returns after a hiatus with a new drummer. A lot of their older stuff was pretty standard D-beat / Doom sounding stuff, but there's some real cool Motorhead sounding parts on here. Their sound's breaking out of d-beat mold, and would probably appeal to people into crust and fast hardcore. They're recording their 2nd LP soon, and it should be a rager and a half.
Harpoon Guns- s/t
I liked the LP they had out last year, so figured I should check out this new 7". This time you get more fast old school sounding hardcore, with some surfy leads. The rough recording quality makes it sound old too. The ammount of great old HC sounding bands from California right now is crazy.
Out With a Bang!- I'm Against It
Some good fast Italian hardcore here. They cram an LP's worth of songs on this 7", and it doesn't let up. They have a real old dirty punk sound, with some rockin guitar leads. Similar to classic old offensive hardcore punk, I really wish I saw them on their last tour. Stupid flooding rain and an hour drive kept me away...
Upstab- Somebody Threw a Jug of Thunderbird Wine at Me
This little guy came out a while ago, but I just got myself a copy recently. If you're not familiar w/ Upstab, it's Chris Erba's (H-100s) new band. Similar to other related Clevo bands, they rage through some of the best sloppy fast hardcore punk. I think they broke up already, but Cleveland bands never really die.
Hostages- Legend In My Head, Failure to the World
Kinda different, I did a show for them when they were on tour w/ Ruiner last month. Not really my thing, kinda sounds like a less metal influenced version of the Hope Conspiracy. some good parts, but they have a lot of songs which seem to ring out for a long time. I'd prefer things more stripped down and faster, but definitely a solid debut. I'd take this over a lot of more popular modern hardcore bands.
the Ergs- Upstairs/Downstairs
The long awaited 2nd full tength from NJ's own pop-punk masters. A lot of these songs I've known for while between seeing them somewhat often, and from demo versions. Overall, I think DorkRockCorkRod was a little faster, but Upstairs/Downstairs won't disappoint. The last track (Upstairs/Downstairs) is a really long mostly instrumental, which I think is pretty boring. "Books about Miles Davis" would've been a perfect ending track.
Severed Head of State- Power Hazard
Most bands get boring and more predictible with time, not Severed Head of State. The last few 7"s that came out after their "Anathema Device" LP were great. This EP/LP picks up where they were going, but with more songs. With bleak lyrics and crushingly heavy riffs, you can't help but do the crusty fist banging thing. Somehow Severed Head of State write some catchy songs, without being melodic at all.
Bastard- Wind of Pain(boot)
If you're not familiar with Bastard, they're a pretty legendary Japanese hardcore/thrash band. I would put them in a caliber with Gauze, Gism, Lip Cream, etc. This material has been bootlegged a few times before, and with good reason... It rules! This LP had their Wind of Pain LP, as well as their 7" and comp tracks. Japanese hardcore records are usually hard to come by in America as it is, so boolegs have a positive aspect of putting some classic foreign hardcore in American hands. If you're into raging classic styled Japanese hardcore, and don't have this then you're missing out.
V/A- DC Demo's(boot)
My favorite scene of early 80's HC/punk is without a doubt the DC scene. So many classic diverse bands came from there, and this LP combiness 4 of their demos. Void, Artificial Peace, Double O and the Faith. Some of the Void tracks were put on the "Condensed Flesh" 7", and are good but don't match the power of the Faith split. Same goes for the Faith tracks; I think the Faith hit their peak with the "Subject to Change" LP. A lot of the tracks were re-recorded, so it's cool to see where they came from. Most peope are probably only familiar w/ Artificial Peace's awesome contributions to the "Flex Your Head" comp, but they have a ton more material. It was all bootlegged on an LP called "Outside Looking In" on Lost and Found some years back. Either way, these demo tracks all rule, but I think they may have been a pre-AP band called "Assault and Battery," but I can be wrong on that. Double O most people don't know at all. They did a 7", which was half released by Dischord. They evolved from Red C, and incorporated the emo-ish sound of revolution summer, without sounding weak and boring. I actally like these demo tracks more than the 7". I'm done nerding out about harDCore, good luck finding this bad boy.
Subhumans- s/t (boot)
This little gem is by the far superior Canadian band, not the crappy UK Subhumans. The Canadian band had a much more catchy melodic sound. This boot compiles a few 7" and comp tracks, but unfortunately is missing the classic "Death to the Sickoids" 7". These guys recently released an LP of brand new songs on Alternative Tentacles, but what I heard didn't really do anything for me. This LP though compiles some of the band's best material, and would be a great intro to their stuff, which you can probably also find on some mp3 blogs.
V/A- Retro Is Poison
This is a 4-way split between Ciril, Karnpaven Attack, I Object and Active Minds. I had a Ciril CD which I found in a used bin and wasn't super into it. They kinda sound like late 80's California punk, with some crossover influence. Karnvapen Attack are named after a Mob 47 song if I'm not mistaken. They're from Spain and play some hyper fast screamy hardcore punk in the same vein. I Object follow up their awesome LP with these few songs. The songs continue in the same fast hc/punk w/ heavily political lyrics. This is also Ryan's last stuff w/ the band, hopefully their sound won't change too much. This is the newest Active Minds stuff in a long time; they are an old UK political hardcore band. Overall, a pretty solid mix of current politically charged hardcore punk.
the Horror- The Fear, The Terror, The Horror
The Horror's new CD is killer. If you've been under a rock, the Horror is basically all of Voorhees w/ a different singer. On their earlier records, the singer had a more high pitched voice, but on this it's much deeper and still sounds cool. Definitely still rooted in old school hardcore, but adding some classic rock guitar riffs. Not in an obvious way, but just subtle enough to set them apart from similar styled bands. If you were lucky enough to catch them on their recent tour, you'll know they rip live too.
the Misguided- Fuggets
Similar to the Major Conflict reissue on the same label, this compiles the discography of a little known early 80's NYHC band. I found mine in a used bin without a cover, which is kind of a bummer, so I don't know much of the history of the band. I had mp3s of 2 of their 7"s from an mp3 blog, and those are good. This also has some live and demo tracks. The Misguided kind of remind me of a less raw version of SOA or Urban Waste. A cool compilation by a band that most people aren't too familiar with.
L'Amico Di Martucci/Ozuharu- Collection
So here's a little history lesson on these two bands from Italy. Ozuharu was this band, then they broke up, and members went on to do L'Amico Di Martucci. After that, Ozuharu reformed and did an LP and US tour. Members from both now play in La Piovra, who you may have seen on their US tour last year. L'ADM I was familiar with from their awesome 7" that came out a few years ago on 625. Ozuharu, not so much, but I assumed they were good. This is the early Ozuharu stuff, which is alright, but I think L'ADM are much better. I haven't heard the Ozuharu LP, but I'm sure it's also good. Both bands have a smilar thrashy fast-core, with rock guitar influenced leads. This is a discography for both bands, and you get cover songs of DRI and Anthrax(!).
Imperial Leather- Something Out of Nothing
This Cd came out a while back, but I just found the CD in a used bin. I had heard good things about these guys, so I got their "Antibodies" EP that came out last summer. I liked it, but probably didn't listen to it as much as I should have. Imagine if Turbonegro were less weird, and had a female singer, and you'd more or less get Imperial Leather. Despite it being on Profane Existance, this is more of a rock n roll mixed with older punk sound. This predates "Antibodies," and is almost as good.
Middle America (cassette)
Saw these guys a few times, and they've always been real fun and played good covers. If these guys were from someplace like VA, more people would know about them. They're from the Lehigh Valley of PA, and share a similar approach as the Gatecrashers, who were from the same area. Fast no frills old sounding hardcore, like the Neos or Die Kreuzen. Recording quality is a little rough, but totally fit their style. This rules, seriously.
Staring Problem (cd)
Real nice packaging on this, and it's an actual pressed CD too. the Jersey Shore's Staring Problem is Andy's (FTD/TIU) new band, and has a somewhat similar sound to other recent shorecore bands. It has elements of old school hardcore, with some heavier parts. The vocals are sung kind of high, and fall flat in certain places. It is a demo, so I'll cut them some slack. Decent first offering, but I'm not really blown away.
Disnihil, from Long Island NY play heavy hardcore, similar to His Hero Is Gone. I guess a more modern equivilant would be somewhere between Celebrity Murders, Deathcycle or Tragedy. This cdr has the demo, plus some live stuff and tracks from their upcoming CD. Has some potential, but lacks the more crusty/Japanese influence that keeps bands like Tragedy interesting. I liked them live when I saw them, so maybe the new stuff is better.
I also got leaked versions of the new albums by Pissed Jeans and Municipal Waste, but I don't feel right reviewing them fully. Pissed Jeans isn't as catchy as "shallow," but if you liked the long heavy pats, you're in luck. All the songs are pretty long, but don't really hold my interest as well. Municipal Waste ups the production level and their ridiculous level. You're not gonna be let down. They also re-recorded an extended version of "Born to Party" from their split w/ Crucial Unit from like 2002.
*this post's been almost a month in the making. I've already got another stack of records to go through, damn!*