Thursday, February 26, 2009

First record reviews post of '09

Hi, welcome to 2009. Here's some records I got between the last reviews post and now. Been strapped for cash lately, plus the record budget has been tightened due to my new toy customizing hobby.


Obliteration- s/t
I had heard from some friends that this was good, so I tracked it down w/o really knowing anything about this MA band. It may be a side project of people in other bands, and as far as I know they never played a show. It's real good crust influenced hardcore w/ echoey vocal effects. There's an intro that sorta reminds me of early Metallica (that's a compliment). It's similar to a heavier Crucifix kinda. Real cool cut and paste style art w/ a foldout poster cover too.

Cold Shoulder- Patriot
I liked Cold Shoulder's songs on the Punx Don't Drink comp, so I picked up their debut 7". I like this a lot, it reminds me a lot of Blank Stare in that it's fast, but at the same time heavy I guess. Cold Shoulder is part of the current crop of sXe bands that are more influenced by the early 80's hardcore scene, than the typical varsity jacket and Nike wearing sXe scene. Great debut, I'm looking forward to seeing them live.

Groinoids- Radiobeat Sessions
You may know the Groinoids from the classic This Is Boston Not LA and Unsafe At Any Speed comps. This is a legit (as far as I know) reissue of the entire session. A lost treasure if you will... The Groinoids were very different and much more unusual compared to most of the Boston bands. Probably more similar to bands like United Mutation or Void, but not as fast.

NN- s/t
A pretty unassuming cover, but it houses a monster of a debut E.P. In case you didn't know, this is Martin's (Los Crudos/ Limp Wrist/ Needles) new band. In this I'd say there's a much more Crudos sound since the vocals are in Spanish. Not a rehash of worn territory by any means though. The music is more on the punk side, but still fast and definitely won't disappoint.

Guilty Faces- Nightmares
I was a big fan of Guilty Faces' demo, and from seeing them a lot, I knew what to expect from the new record. They seem to have slowed down a bit, but still retain the good elements from their demo. The music is sort of a cross between Dangerhouse Records style punk and some Revolution Summer style guitar leads. One of the songs even give me a Samiam feel to it. However the vocals are real raspy, which make it way more punk sounding. Modern bands I might compare them to would be Libyans and Pedestrians.

God Fodder- No Sleep
Godfodder was band I came across on Myspace, and did a show for them in NJ. They pull off the early 80's stripped down hardcore punk sound better than a lot of better known current bands. The guitar tone is very reminiscent of the early Dischord bands. This is real good, give it a shot.

Alarmed- s/t
Pretty cool record by this MD band, who seems to take the more modern HC sound of MLIW and Ruiner, but infuse more rock styled guitar solos and leads. One of the songs reminds me of a Suicide File song. The cover is full color and 3 panels, which gives it a real slick look, but doesn't look like a typical HC record (that could be good or bad I suppose). While it's not usually my style, it's a pretty solid record.

V/A- Punx Don't Drink
This is a compilation of straight edge bands who are more punk influenced than your average edge bands, and features 2 new tracks by Poison Planet, Boiling Over, Coke Bust and Cold Shoulder. Poison Planet kicks things off w/ 2 re-recorded demo tracks, which sound great. This was my first exposure to Boiling Over, and it's pretty good, worthy of taking their name from and SSD song. Coke Bust bring 2 tracks from their demo tape they had over the summer. These songs are a great improvement from their 7" last year, and I'm sure their new LP will turn some heads. Cold Shoulder was another band I wasn't familiar with, and was really impressed. So much so that I bought their 7" (one of their songs is also on that). Overall, compilations and good straight edge bands are a rare commodity these days, so if you like good hardcore (and don't drink) you need to check this out!

Out Cold/ For The Worse
These 2 long running "Massholes" team up for a vicious split EP. Both bands have many records out, so I feel like I'd be repeating myself by describing either band. All you gotta know is both bands bring their A game to this split. check it out.
*FUN FACT* I did the FTW insert layout


Blank Stare- s/t
After some delays on the US pressing, the Blank Stare LP finally comes out. I'd be so bold as to say it was worth the wait! Being a big fan of the previous recorded output, this was certainly no let down. There sound is somewhere along the lines of SSD meets Uniform Choice, with some heavier post-Damaged era Black Flag parts. As good as this band is on record, they're even more over the top live. Probably one of the most under appreciated current bands.

Hjertestop- Vi Ses i Helvede
I loved their 7" on Kick and Punch from a few years back, so I was super pumped on this new record. I'll be honest, I couldn't wait for the US press, and downloaded it. I finally have the real deal now, and it sounds great! Musically it's similar to a lot of the recent crop of Danish early 80's inspired bands. "Steroid Rage" is catchy as hell, as well as a bunch of the others that aren't in English. I've heard a comparison to early Bad Religion for these guys before, which I'd somewhat agree with (minus the "oozin ahhs"). I'm real excited about their US tour coming up.

Total Abuse- s/t
I loved Total Abuse's demo and 7", so naturally I was pumped to get this new LP. They boost the weirdness factor a lot on this record, but in a good way. The songs are a bit more distorted and frantic, and stray a bit from the sound of the previous recordings. "Banned in Austin" is a cool slow dirge, but there's some other longer songs on this record that aren't as interesting. Definitely different from the previous records (most songs on the demo barely topped a minute). I'd say it's still good, just not what you'd expect.

Failures- s/t
Failures is a new band w/ members of Das Oath, Ampere, Cut The Shit, Charles Bronson, among others. Musically, I would say it's similar to Das Oath, but maybe a bit faster and not as weird. The guitar riffs aren't standard power chords, which is kinda weird. It's fast and weird, but overall not very interesting. Like other Youth Attack releases it's overpriced and annoying (the lyric sheet comes in a sealed envelope). It's not bad, I like it a lot more than Das Oath and Ampere, but still overall nothing special.

Socialcide- Unapproachable
I was a big fan of Socialcide's demo and I liked their 7" as well. After a few listens to the LP, I'm not as into it. Maybe there were some lineup changes, but it's not as interesting. The drumming is real simple, and the guitar tone isn't very good. It's still the same fast hardcore punk, but it's lacking in hooks. There's a lot more slower parts on here, which isn't a bad thing, but kinda slows the pace of the record I guess. It's not bad, but compared tot he few times I saw them live, I think I was expecting more.

Draize (tape)
I had the privilege to play with Draize a few times on tour, and they were always good. Their sound is like a combination of Left For Dead and early Integrity meets some crusty influences like Dropdead. The music goes from heavy and slow to fast as hell. I like the fast parts better, but there's a nice balance. They also get huge points for covering Slapshot live.

Draize- Long Knives (tape)
This is basically Draize's 2nd demo (unless it's going to be a 7" in the future), and it continues in the same vein as the first. I think this stuff is more fast, and has a somewhat power violence influence to it's heaviness. If you liked the demo, you're gonna like this more.

Plague Bearers (CDr)
Plague Bearers is a new band from NJ, which I'm real excited about. Musically it's similar to the Degenerics, but with a lot less guitar noodling. The vocals are real raspy, sorta like Filth. The last song has some alternating vocal parts which I'd like to see more of on the next record, since it provides a nice balance. Great demo, probably one of the more promising local bands.

Kill Andrade (CDr)
Got this in the mail, so I don't know much about these guys. There are parts that are fast, but the vocals are more of a melodic almost Husker Du style. It seems like there's some emo influenced parts to the songs as well, but the drumming is more interesting. I kinda get a Glassjaw vibe.

Not that it's really a review, but I recently heard the Chain of Strength 7" versions with the original mix. I had only been familiar w/ the reissue that Revelation Records put out, and always thought it was just ok, but too polished sounding. This however was not always the case, as the original mixes were more raw sounding. You can download them HERE!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

NYCC '09- freebies and sweet hauls!

So rather than just taking pictures of the new products or the crowds like everyone else, I decided to highlight the real reason people go to NY Comic Con- FREE STUFF! You can view the pictures on my Flickr site.

Obviously there's going to be tons of free comics at Comic Con. DC had a reprint of issue 1 of the Watchmen, which is some essential reading. Another table was giving away X-Force #1 and had original art from the comic on display. I actually saw Rob Liefeld at another booth doing sketches, which was unannounced and kinda surprising to see. The Comic Con magazine is a pretty good guide to navigating the massive Javits Center. Most of the rest of the picture are promo post cards. I do want to point out that the Angry Penguin card was a 2 sided screen print, and looks great.

Here's a pile of business cards and stickers. More importantly check out that foam Wolverine hand! These were given out after viewing the video game trailer and some game play of the new Wolverine Origins game. I don't own a video game system, but the game looked ridiculously good. The other foam item is a Dead Like Me toilet seat. I'm a fan of the series, and in the first episode the main character gets killed by a toilet seat that fell from a space station. Kind of an inside reference, but I am interested to see the movie they have coming out.

There were a lot of posters to be had, especially Fox, who had some good promos. I also got an S. Darko shirt free from them, but I gave it away since it was too big for me. Nice shirt though...

While wandering around I swung by the NerdCore table and saw some sweet Jim Mahfood comics. Little did I know that the dude selling me the comics was the man himself. I've been a huge fan of his work for a while, and had I known he was going to be there, I would've brought more stuff for him to sign. He did sign his new Carl book, which is amazing. I also came across a pretty adorable vinyl figure by Jeff Pidgeon, the Happy Beaver. That is one happy little beaver! The McDonald figure is part of the new Ron English blind box series by Secret Base. I thought it was going to be much bigger based on the box size, but it's still pretty cool. The panda is the NYCC Chinese New Year version of the Yoka character, who looks equally good standing or sitting. I picked up a Labbit for a friend who smokes, but when I opened it, it turned out to have a mustache. I was excited for the Ugly Doll action figures, so I made sure to go there early in the day. David Horvath was there, and was nice enough to sign it then, instead of making me wait for signing hours! The red cat is by RealXHead, which i got from Giant Robot. I like the lucky cat, and seeing it w/ one eye makes it much cooler. I was glad to get the Frozen Empire MAD*L and print by Andrew Bell. He was also there to sign the back of him. The MAD*L is made of a translucent light blue vinyl, which makes it look icy. Definitely my favorite of the series!

I also was able to get Mark Texeira to sign the Wolverine comic that i have tattoo'd on my leg. I really wanted to go on Saturday for the Pushead signing, but I'm sure the line was crazy anyway, and I had to work. I decided late Saturday night that I would go on Sunday since I didn't have SPG practice this week.

Of course there were pretty much the same freebies as Friday on Sunday, butt here were a few things I guess I missed. I got a bunch of comics from DC's Vertigo table, and some cool stickers from My Plastic Heart. The cooler freebie was the Fishing Master video game sweatband. I did miss out on the inflatable He-Man sword from the Mattel booth unfortunately. I forgot to bring my Goon comics, but Eric Powell was cool enough to sign the poster they were giving out for me.

I picked up another MAD*L today after having a day to enjoy the Frozen Empire version. I decided I wanted to customize one, but didn't want to pay the $50 for the blank. I got the abominal snowman since it's mostly white already. The white MiniMate was a freebie, but I took a pic of it with the toys because it was so cool. Lou Pimentel was cool enough to draw on a House of Liu- Di Di figure for me. It looks great! I got the GlyosXSucklord piece, which they apparently just painted that day and was limited to 20. When I went by the UglyDolls booth, David Horvath was doing a signing, so I took the opportunity to get another figure signed. Got a Babo this time, gotta keep trying for an Ox... I also picked up another RealXHead cat figure as a gift for someone, this time in gray.

I wandered past Jacob Chabot's table in Artist's Alley, and his Skullboy character caught my eye, so I picked up one of his mini comics. He was nice enough to sign it and do a little doodle. Bummer he was out of the Skullboy vinyl toys though. I also got The X-Men: Deadly Genesis and X-Men: Fall Of Mutants from a table that had all graphic novels for $5. I really didn't get very many comics at all surprisingly.

This is by far the coolest autograph I got. I got Peter Laird and Steve Lavigne to sign my old TMNT graphic novel, and do little sketches. I heard later that day that Kevin Eastman was at the con also... dang!