Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Overdue record reviews- pt.1: 12"/ CDs

Ok, so these are basically all the records / CDs / demos I've acquired over the past 2-3 months. There's a ton, so I apologise if I don't go as in depth as you'd like. I've decided to break it into 3 parts: LP/CDs, 7" EPs, and demos


Double Negative- The Wonderful and Frightening World of...
North Carolina's best kept secret emerges with by far one of the best LPs that I've heard in a while. I think the average age of these guys is in the late 30's, and they show no signs of slowing down. What you get is blisteringly fast heavy hardcore. It sounds like if you were to smash together the raw sound of the early Corrosion of Conformity, the intensity of Gauze and the driving beats of Discharge. There's really no current bands I can think of that are this intense. Seriously, stop what you're doing, and order this record right now!

Repercussions- 11 Song EP
After all my friends who went to Chaos in Texas fest came home raving about this band, I figured I should give it a chance. I'm glad I did, because it's some great raw heavy hardcore. With a resume that boasts bands like Deathreat, Balance of Terror, Cold Sweat, Pedestrians and Army of Jesus; you'd assume it'd be great. The sound leans heavily toward the Deathreat sound, with heavy guitars and quick time changes. I hear they may have broke up, or went on hiatus, but don't miss out on this.

Look Back and Laugh- State of Illusion
LBAL come back with a new 1 sided 4 song LP. The B side has a cool looking screen, but the cover art is kinda weird looking. I think I like last year's Street Terrorism 7" better, but this is pretty good. It's more of the same good fast hardcore you've come to expect from them, but nothing new. But hey, why change what works right?

Criminal Damage- No Solution
If you're like me, that first "Crim Dam" LP took you by surprise, and you fell in love. This new LP is certainly not going to disappoint. It's got the same Blitz inspired anthemic backup vocal, and mid-paced drumming. The recording quality is about the same as the other record, and picks up right where it left off. There's really no reason to not get this.

Warkrime- Get Loose
Warkrime are back with a followup to their "Give War a Chance" 7" that came out last year. I think I like this one a lot more, there's a lot more guitar work on here, and the songs just sound tighter. I think the vocals seemed a little low or distorted, but it works. They remind me of Verbal Abuse a lot, with some in your face antics like Sick Pleasure. When I saw them a few weeks ago the singer was shoving people and slapped me in the face. Hell, if I wanted hugs and handshakes, I would to see Lifetime or some shit.

Autistic Youth- Landmine Beach
Autistic Youth from Portland came through here on tour recently, and I picked up this little gem. It's really catchy and poppy in the same sense as the Observers and Pink Razors, but it seems to have some more early punk influence. It's really good stuff that more people should be stoked on.

Pisschrist- Nothing Has Changed
Australia's Pisschrist came to the US a few months ago, and I saw them in a basement (with Lifetime of all bands) in NJ. While they didn't fit on the bill, they played some awesome raging D-beat hardcore. Stuff like this I always like more live than recorded, but this is real good. Real fast and heavy with distorted vocals that the punx just love.

Broken Needle- s/t
I'd been hearing about Broken Needle for a while, since they have ex- members of Life's Halt. Finally a record surfaces with what looks like like a compilation of demos with some sweet cover art from Biscuit (RIP) of the Big Boys. It has pretty much all the good elements of the 2000's thrash explosion. Fast punk hardcore with some leads and no metal. Very catchy, very California sounding and very punk.

Zodiac Killers- Radiation Beach
I found their previous CD in a used bin, and picked it up because it looked cool. This is unfortunately their last album, but it's a good one! Some surfy Angry Samoans/ Ramones influenced punk. Real catchy and fast, it's a shame they're done. Give it a shot, you may be surprised...

V/A- Killed By Death vol. 1
I was surprised to see this in the store, I don't know if all the old KBD comps were reissued or just re-bootlegged. Either way, these compilations are great to get into stuff you probably wouldn't even know exists. This one has stuff like the Authorities, the Mad and Kraut. I'm sure a lot of these records are available on mp3 blogs now, but for the KBD novice this is a great intro. Compilations used to be pretty important to introduce people to new bands, or in this case old bands. I saw other volumes in the store as well, I hope I can still get my hands on more of these.


The Degenerics- Generic Record Collection
I supposed I should preface this with the fact that the Degenerics are one of my favorite bands of all time. They were one of the first local hardcore bands I heard, and left a lasting impression. This collects pretty much everything they recorded. There's the classic Generica LP, the s/t 7", the No Comply 7", the Final Chapter 7", and demo, comp, outtakes and part of a live set. They were one of those bands that if you saw them, you loved them. They didn't get out of NJ as much as they should have in their 8 year existence, so if you missed the boat here's your chance to catch up. All of the tracks were remastered ans sound great, except that all the samples were removed. I guess legal issues over the past few years with samples is why that happened. It's not a huge problem, it just sounds different. If I were to have to describe their sound, I guess mix Discharge with Bad Brains, Black Sabbath and Void. I don't think that comes close to doing them any justice, but I guess stuff like Aus Rotten or most good 90's crustish HC. Crappy descriptions aside, this rules and they started playing a few shows again.

Seasick- Awakenings
NJ's Seasick bring you their first solo record, after a few demos and a split 7". The sound is really polished with great recording quality. They still have the same thrashy anarchist sound, but this reminds me of the early American Nightmare 7"s. There's some re-recorded demo tracks, but they sound on par with the new stuff. They kind of straddle the line between the thrashy hardcore and the melodic hardcore scene.

V/A- Drunk and Alone (Don Giovanni Records sampler)
This is a comp of Don Giovanni's most recent roster of punk/ power-pop releases. The Dustheads open up the comp with a song from their new album which I believe isn't out yet. For Science has 2 different songs from 2 different albums with 2 different lineups. The Ergs also boast 2 songs, from their 2 DG releases. Most of the bands are more in the pop-punk/power pop vein. It's cool that bands are still out there playing this stuff, without at the same time trying to get a major label deal. I'd rather hear some good ol' hardcore, but that's just me...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Who needs the Kwik E Mart?

the sign out front
I do!
While I generally try to avoid NYC, despite living about an hour from it. I just find it way too crowded and big, plus it just seems so dirty. I had heard that 7-ELEVEN had converted a handful of stores around the country into Kwik E Marts to promote the upcoming Simpsons Movie. I gotta be honest, and say the Simpsons hasn't been funny in over 10 years, and I'm not really too excited about the movie. However, when it was good, it was great! Anyway, one of those Kwik E Marts is in NYC on 42nd St., and since I had a job interview in the city, I figured I should go check it out.
Ralph and Krusty O's
It's pretty crazy all the effort that they put in this promotion. There were life size stand-ups of a bunch of favorites, and Simpsons related products. They were selling Krusty O's, which I remember they made a few years back and were pretty good. They also had Buzz Cola, which kinda tasted like Vanilla Coke, and the pink donuts w/ sprinkles. I there was supposed to be a Radioactive Man comic for sale also, but they must've sold out. All of the clerks had Kwik E Mart shirts, which would make Apu proud. I think my favorite was that they had a huge sticker of Jasper on one of the fridge doors, which referenced the episode where he froze himself, and Apu changed the store to the Freak E Mart.
frozen Jasper
For all the effort they put in, it seemed like it was packed w/ people just visiting it as a tourist attraction. A lot of people were buying Simpsons related merchandise, so I tip my hat to you Fox.
feel the buzz dude

I know I haven't done a reviews post in a while, I've been busy with shows (booking/ attending/ playing) and searching for a job. I'll try to compile a mega post soon.

Monday, July 02, 2007

No Way Fest!!!

First of all, thanks to traffic we got there 2 hours later that we had expected. We got in just as Civic Progress was starting. I may have been the excitement of finally getting to the fest and out of the car, but they sounded awesome; I picked up a demo. Luckily the lineup had shifted, and we didn't miss Wasted Time. The last time I saw them they blew me away, and the new 7" rips. They played awesome, and got a great reaction. Acid Reflux was next, and played great. I fell in love w/ their demo (which was repressed on No Way), and they played even better. Their songs are so stripped down and raw. We left to get some food, since we hadn't eaten since the morning. We found a burrito place around the corner, which had the worst burritos I've ever had in my life. It was more like a pizza w/ beans inside. We had to just listen to Social Circkle from outside. The club was interesting in that there were tons of windows and garage doors, so you could hear almost perfectly outside. Stayed outside regretting the burritos during Caustic Christ, who played a lot off the new LP (which I wasn't as fond of). Direct Control was next, and It's been almost a year since I saw them last. They played even better than they normally do, and did a good mix of old and new. They even played "Hardcore for Heroin," which I haven't seen them play in a long time. Career Suicide made a rare appearance, piggy-backing on Fucked Up's tour dates. Since their guitarist is in Fucked Up, they haven't really done too much lately. They played a ton of stuff off the new LP, which was cool to hear live. The last tour they did they were selling the new LP, so it was the first time seeing them where I actually knew the songs. Lots of energy/ lots of fun, and it was only 9pm!

There was an after party show at a warehouse not too far away. We stopped off at a supermarket for brews (for my crew), and iced tea for me. We got there before most of the crowd, and just hung out w/ people. There were some hoola hoop competitions, and lots of drinking. Bad Advice were supposed to play, but their singer was either too drunk or missing. The Fratboys played first, which seemed to have members of Socialcide. Not too bad raw fast hardcore, with a sweet SSD cover. Life Crisis, who I had done a show for earlier that week, played next. They sounded even better at this show, which was the end of their tour. A great way to end a tour for sure. The Inmates were next, and due to the amount of drinking everyone was doing, I knew it'd be awesome. They opened up w/ "cement shoes," and the hoola hoops and milk crates went flying. People were running around like maniacs, and throwing fireworks. After getting hit in the throat with a hoola hoop, and almost narrowly deflecting a crate w/ my forearm, I decided to move to the side. They probably played the best set of the weekend. Fucked Up played next, and I haven't been too keen on the most recent Fucked Up material, so I sat this one out. They played a handful of covers (Blitz, Black Flag, the Nubs, Poison Idea), but none of them were too great. There were maybe 3 other sober people at this, but I think it was more fun. Best weirdo was the dude w/ the Hurricane 40 and A W.K. tattoos, who was hoola hooping while balancing on a wire spool. Then when he fell, some girl got on top of him, and they started making out.

I didn't sleep much that night, since I slept on a chair. We went out for breakfast, then to check out the huge weird cemetary. We found some weird looking tombstones, and someone named "Morecock," which we all took pictures of. The show this day started later, which was cool, but ended later. Socialcide was playing first today, and I was excited to finally see them, since their demo ripped. I expected them to be good, but holy shit, what a great way to kick off the day. Deep Sleep rose from the dead earlier this year, along w/ some members of the Spark. I had loved their 7", it had an almost poppy vibe, but still stayed real punk. It was cool to finally see them live, but the crowd didn't seem into them since they weren't super fast. Next was Cloak Dagger, who I'd seen before. I think they're ok, a little too slick sounding for my liking. I had heard a lot of great things about Life Trap's live show, and the songs I heard online were pretty cool. Nothing I heard could have prepared me for one of the tightest, most energetic sets of the fest. They blazed through their songs and awesome covers of Koro and Articles of Faith, all while the singer had his fly down. A hard act to follow, but Chronic Seizure were definitely up for it, despite probably being almost twice Life Trap's age. Both of their 7"s are great, and highly recommended. Cardiac Arrest was another band I was excited to see for the first time as well. I loved both of their records, and the singer's voice is a dead ringer for Choke (Negative FX, Last Rites, Slapshot). They were awesome, and someone finally suceeded in taking off the singer's bandanna. After seeing Government Warning a ton of times, I know I'm always in for a high quality show. Despite their singer almost breaking his neck at the show the day before, they tore through the usual set and surprisingly played no covers. Double Negative were a band I'd been hearing a lot of good things about, so when their LP finally came out, I ordered it right away. I was definitely not let down, and my expectations were high for their set. They played really awesome, but unfortunately it seemed like a lot of people left since it was getting late. Their loss, since Double Negative were one of the best sets of the night. Up next was the much anticipated Sick Pleasure set. I'd seen Nicki Sicki weirding around outside the past 2 days, but didn't see any other old weirdos with him. Turns out it was just 3/4 of Government Warning as his backing band. They played a handful of songs, and were tons of fun. He even pulled his pants down during "I've Got Herpes," and was waving his dick around. They ended their set with a cover of "sonic reducer" by the Dead Boys. The show ended pretty late, and I didn't get home until like 6am. If I had a job, I would've been tired going to it.

Thanks to Brandon and Lauren for setting up such an awesome fest. Thanks to everyone who picked up one of the posters I made. It means a lot to this unemployed artist.

*Normally these reviews would be coupled with photos I took. Unfortunately w/ my hard drive crashing, I lost all of my website files. At the same time, my parents took the camera I usually use on vacation with them. Seems I'm out of the show photography scene for a little while.*