Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ernest Ripper for ASOP 80's show

Here's my piece for the Autumn Society of Philadelphia's 80's pop culture themed show. It was a tough choice on what to do since so many awesome things came from the 80's. I ultimately decided to do an homage to Ernest P. Worrell in the style of the classic 80's Powell Peralta "Bones Ripper." All the color layers were cut out as stencils and spray painted on canvas. I did the background separately, then did the rest over it. The actual piece is a lot bigger and the colors are a lot brighter, I did the best I could w/ a photo of it.
The show will open on June 5th at Brave New World Comics in philadelphia, PA; and run until the end of the month. RIP Jim Varney
Here are all the stencil layers (if you click on it, you can see it better). The background was just sprayed blue, then the Ernest pattern repeated over it many times. Thanks!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Record Reviews (spring edition)

What better to do when you're infected with swine flu and quarantined from society than listen to some records. I'm really excited about the amount of cassette demos this round. I'm hoping more bands follow the current insurgence of bands uploading mp3s online and selling tapes not CDrs. I suppose I should note that I play bass on the Poison Planet EP, but I had no part in writing/arranging those songs. I feel I have give an impartial review of the record despite that, if you disagree too bad. I don't get paid for this anyway...


Poison Planet- Oblivious
After a pretty great demo, this 7" certainly doesn't let down. They continue in their politically charged hardcore punk style, but the recording quality really brings out the music much better. The music is somewhere between the Repos and Negative Approached, with some Dead Kennedys style guitar leads. The band approaches Straight Edge and veganism from a more political approach, and doesn't shove it down your throat. There's even explanations along with the lyrics in the cut and paste layout. Obviously if you're a fan of the ThirdXParty bands (Blank Stare, Coke Bust, Sick Fix, Black SS), this needs to be in your collection.

Satanic Threat- In To Hell
The idea behind this of a side project satanic Minor Threat rip off may not sound too appealing. Boy would you be wrong, it's not like they just changed some lyrics. The music is definitely Minor Threat influenced, but the vocals are total Pat Dubar (Uniform Choice/Unity) sounding. I mean it's obviously a little tongue in cheek, but sounds a lot better than 90% of the bands making half-assed attempts at sounding like early 80's style hardcore. The lyric aren't even really satanic, just more atheist in nature. The layout is pretty fancy with a tri fold die cut pocket, which unfortunately jacks up the price. This isn't some lame joke band like the Gayrilla Biscuits or Youth of Togay, this is actually real good.

One Foot In The Grave- s/t
Some pretty intelligent youth crew styled straight edge from these ex-Expired Youth Chicago boys. This is OFIG's demo pressed on a 7", so if you missed out on that (like me), here's your chance. It has a real Chain of Strength quality, but also calls back to bands like Ten Yard Fight. The bass tone on this is real burly sounding, and doesn't sound watered down. Definitely check this out if you've got a soft spot for youth crew style straight edge hardcore (like me).

The Ergs/ Teenage Bottlerocket
It's kinda tricky to review an album that only has 2 songs, both being covers. The Ergs cover a Devo track, and Teenage Bottlerocket cover a classic Green Day gem. I'll be honest and say I'm not familiar with that particular Devo song the Ergs are covering, but after listening to it I want to be. Teenage Bottle Rocket cover "Having a Blast" off Green Day's Dookie album. I'd be a liar if I didn't say that album didn't have an impact on my and my music taste. The cover is good, nothing too different. Overall unless you're a super fan of any of these bands or the songs being covered, it's not an essential record.

Slices- s/t (16OH)
I got to see Slices a few months back, and thought they were awesome. The music on side 1 is pretty mid paced punk, but distorted and heavy sounding. The music on side 2 is more akin to side 2 of My War. I suppose the guitar band bass tone is more similar sounding to "power violence" bands like Neanderthal, but the music is definitely more punk. Real different, and real good.

Quick Fix- 6 Track EP
Man, this European band sure does rip, unlike the band from America with the same name. It's like someone recorded the Abused using the same studio production of the Shitlickers. The music is definitely influenced by early 80's US HC, and I get a strong NYHC vibe. I just wish there was more, I hate 1 sided 7"s. Adult Crash is slowly living up to the same flawless reputation that Kick N Punch had.

No System- Dead Bands Tell No Tales
If you don't know the story, this is Al Quint's (ex-Suburban Voice, current MRR columnist) band from the late 80's. They're definitely influenced by the early 80's Boston sound, and a lot of the vocal patterns remind me of Choke (Negative FX, Last Rights, Slap Shot). The playing isn't very tight, but this was kind of a scab lineup and I don't think they ever intended more than a few people to hear this. It's ok, but not like some mind blowing hidden treasure. I like that there's a bio with lyrics in the liner notes, especially this is a more or less unheard of band. A lot of reissues just re-use old cover art and call it a day, but it's nice to see the effort here.


Ripcord- Discography Part III
This collects their first demo, a radio studio set and Defiance of Power LP demos. Obviously I would only recommend this release for the more die hard Ripcord fan, but the quality of these songs are real good for demo/live recordings. Ripcord were a hardcore band from the UK in the late 80's. They played a style more influenced by the early 80's Boston sound, but faster. Despite the lame cover artwork, this record rips and I highly recommend the other discography LPs. Ripcord is better than Heresy, there I said it.

Limp Wrist- s/t
Despite being a sort of gimmick band, Limp Wrist had some pretty blazing riffs on their earlier releases. They seem to be back w/ a slightly changed lineup, and I gotta say this one sided LP isn't nearly as good as anything on that first 7" or LP. It's ok, but I'd still take Needles over this. Sorry.

Sacred Shock- You're Not With Us
I couldn't wait for this record to come out after loving their last 7" and demo. The recording on this is real raw in a good way, but could have maybe benefited on some more attention to mixing. There are powerful driving parts as well as almost melodic parts. I really regret not driving an hour to go see them on their recent tour now. This is really great, and I'd highly recommend checking it out.

Human Mess- Follow You Home
Human Mess' 7" I thought was cool, but nothing too great. This LP however is way better. The first thing that struck me about this was the guitar tone; it's an almost dead ringer for Bad Religion's "How Can Hell Be Any Worse?" LP. The band doesn't sound anything like BR, but that guitar tone rules. The vocals are more screamed and the music is real frantic

The Ergs!- That's It...Bye
In case you couldn't tell, this was the last songs the Ergs recorded. A 4 song 12" seems like a waste of vinyl, but I guess it was too long for a 7". The Ergs were one of the few local bands I really liked, but I kinda feel like they slowed down bit towards the end, and these are probably some of the slowest songs of theirs. Definitely in more Replacements/ Husker Du territory on these. Pretty good, but I'll still take Dork Rock Cord Rod any day.

Hul- Den Danske Ungdom
This is a repress of a record which featured members of some heavy hitters of the recent Danish scene (APA/ Young Wasterners/ No Hope For The Kids). The songs are catchy as hell despite not being in English. The singer's voice even cracks a few times, giving it that little extra youth rage. This is definitely a case of a lost classic being repressed not just to capitalize on some of the members' later bands.

Peligro Social- s/t
I was a little late on getting this I know, and now it seems the band is breaking up. Regardless, this record's pretty damn good. The lyrics are all in Spanish, and the music is mid paced punk. They remind me of the Subhumans from Canada (not the UK ones). The vocals are pretty raspy, but there's some melody there in the backup vocals. There's some real good guitar leads here too, which are more rock and roll influenced. Good stuff.

Duress (tape)
Fuck Yea! This is the kind of demo I like getting. It's raw and fast and pissed off sounding. It reminds me a lot of Threatener, but with maybe a little less blast beats. This is probably one of the best demos I've gotten in a while. It's fast, loud, raw and pissed off- the way hardcore should be played. They have a 7" recorded that should be coming out eventually.

Omegas (tape)
This new band from Canada has some heavy early 80's NJ shore influences. There's elements of The Worst, Chronic Sick and Fatal Rage which is a-ok by me. The guitar tone has a cool flanger sound to it, and the music is mid paced but by no means boring. The songs definitely have hooks to them, which I think a lot of bands neglect. "Gimme Oblivion" is probably my favorite on this tape. Really looking forward to more from this band.

Nomos (tape)
This new band w/ members of Dustheads sent me this awesome new demo. It sounds more like Sex/Vid, Cult Ritual or the Total Abuse LP, but way better. The cover art looks like some imagery that Fucked Up might have used, and I don't even think it says Nomos anywhere on the tape. There's some "art damaged" parts, but the faster hardcore parts fucking rip. This is real good, and well recorded too. I don't think they've played a show yet, but I know they're doing a few days with Cult Ritual soon.

No Minion (tape)
Featuring half of Coke Bust on different instruments, and playing an almost similar style. The music is definitely 80's influenced, but No Minion is devoid of blast beats. It's certainly not devoid of fast parts, mosh parts and anger. This demo rules, but with a little better recording quality and getting a little tighter, I'm sure their next release will be even better.

Cold Shoulder- Same Fucking Excuses (tape)
I really liked Cold Shoulder's 7", so I was excited to get their demo discography tape. This has 2 of their demos and some unused versions of other songs on one tape. Some of them were later re-recorded on the 7" as well. They definitely progressed far from the early demos, but it's cool to see how bands started out. Unfortunately I heard they just broke up...

No Excuse (pro-tape)
From the ashes of Socialcide come No Excuse! I think this is in a much better direction, and I'm getting more of a early DC scene. I'm fairly certain that they're named after an Artificial Peace song too. I'm getting a slight Tear It Up vibe from the intro, but the rest is much more early 80's inspired. Check it out if you're into all the great bands coming from the VA area.

The Guilt (pro-tape)
Another great new band from DC. They kinda remind me of Kid Dynamite, but without the emo parts. There's no woah-oh's, just some fast hardcore with a slight melodic edge. On a second listen I'm getting a slight Grimple vibe too. This is real good!

*Also, if you still have a chance to see Hjertestop on their US tour, please do yourself a favor and do it! They were awesome at the NJ show I saw them at.