Monday, July 12, 2010

Record Reviews (late spring/early summer 2010)

This reviews post was another one months in the waiting. Busy with some art shows, as you can see from my blog. I also started a label, and have subsequently started a distro. That means large amounts of records coming to my doorstep. Like delivering drugs to an addict I say... Also, I apologize for the large amount of Extortion and Pollution reviews. Both bands rule, fuck you.
There's also a large chunk of Rochester, NY bands reviewed here. My band, Wormeaters, recently went up there for a weekend tour, and that places rules. It's like someone transported the early 80's California scene to upstate NY in 2010. Lots of young kids circle pitting, and some real good bands.


Extortion- s/t
I had heard good things about Extortion for a while, but hadn't checked em out until now. Now I feel stupid, because this rules. This is a re-press of their first record, and what you get is traditional power violence hardcore. Their sound is like No Comment meets Lack of Interest, and doesn't fall into the grindcore or metal trappings that most bands playing this revival fall into. I literally went to Deep Six's webstore and ordered everything I could by this band recently, it's that good.

INJ/SYS [Injustice System]- Spoken Word
I loved Injustice System's demo, and this 7" picks up right where it left off. Their music is heavily influenced by the early 80's NYHC bands, they even cover Antidote and The Abused on this. The song are fast and to the point, with a cool screen printed cover with Pettibon inspired artwork. Great debut 7"! Look for a split 7" w/ my band Bloodtype to be out very soon.

Born Bad- Tie One On
Born Bad is one of those bands I thought was good, but kind of fell short on their recordings. This record is the vinyl pressing of their demo, and it's killer. I think the raw recording really highlights their sound. I like this way more than their other 2 7"s, so hopefully their new material is recorded like this.

Low Threat Profile- s/t
The word supergroup doesn't get thrown around in hardcore a lot, but what else would you call a band comprised of members of Infest, No Comment and Lack of Interest? It's really the best sum of all parts, just fast fucking hardcore. This was recorded before 9/11, and for reason went unreleased for almost 10 years. I honestly couldn't recommend this high enough, if this had come out on time it'd already be a classic.

Devour- Insect Circuitry
I've been a big fan of Devour from the first second I heard their LP, and after going on tour w/ them I'm an even bigger fan now. Devour play a somewhat D-beat/ crust/ Japanese-influenced hardcore, but don't tread into the crappy stereotypes that genre produces. These new songs I feel like have a sort of Swedish/UK crust influence, or some early 80's metal influenced HC. Either way it fucking rules. The A side has 2 kinda slower tracks, where Side B is a full scale HC assault. "Laugh Track" is such a good song, that I usually listen to the B side first.

Manipulation- s/t
Their demo was a killer, so buying this 7" was a no brainer. The sound is even more raw and distorted on this, which I was pleasantly surprised. Their sound has a Japanese quality to its delivery, but the songs give me an early Dicharge vibe. They re-record "secrets" and "choking man" from the demo, but with more ferocity. It even looks cool, with a white ink on black paper silkscreen. Don't be stupid, get this!

Talk is Poison- Rage to Infinity
Talk is Poison is one of my favorite late 90's hardcore bands, and I heard they played some shows recently. It wasn't until after Chaos in Tejas Fest that I found out that they recorded and released a new 7", so i scrambled to find a copy. The music unfortunately doesn't live up to the high standard that TIP set for themselves. I think it's maybe not fast enough. It's still good, but doesn't really live up to the name. Maybe I'm being unfair, but if this was some new band I'd probably be into it, it just doesn't sound like the same old Talk Is Poison. The overall package is cool with a silk screened cover on a brown board.

Pollution- n.s. Drugs
Pollution return with a new 7", which picks up where their LP left off. The sound quality is very similar, and these songs are just as good. It's really hard for me to describe this band, it's got elements of hardcore, metal, alternative and god knows what else. The result is this heavy loud wall of sound. I would recommend this if you're new to the band, as an LP may be a bit much on first listen, and this will give you an idea of what you're in for. There's a cover of "Downer" by Lush if that means anything to you, I've never heard of em...

Insubordinates- 1968 b/w Rendezvous
The Insubordinates is a never band from Rochester, who play very Adolescents influenced punk. "1968" is real good, as is "Rendezvous" which is an instrumental. I don't know if it's a good idea to have your first release be a 2 song 7" w/ 1 of those songs being instrumental, but what do I know. Very cool vintage 45 single looking layout too. They have an LP that should be out any day now that's killer, definitely check that out as well as this.

Bad Taste- I Was a Teenage Jack the Ripper
I saw Bad Taste almost 2 years ago, and they were a scrappy young early 80's influenced HC/Punk band. They've since matured a bit, and are a little less raw, but still real good. Treading into a weird place, it's got a KBD HC sound. They also cover the old song "Summertime Blues," which is actually pretty cool. I saw them recently, and their new material is more like early Pissed Jeans. Make of that what you like.

Rational Animals- Distorted Temptation
Rational Animals play a style of HC similar to a lot of bands who worship later era Black Flag. If this was on Youth Attack, people would be going crazy for it, but it's way better than most of those bands. They really have their own sound, which is really cool. Just as good as their first 7", if not better. Awesome silkscreened covers with some great art by Scott Bentz.

Cannomen- Science Studies the Black Hole
This band features 3/4 ex-Life Trap members, but sounds nothing like that band. These guys are more melodic/ garagey punk. Similar in style to bands like Deep Sleep, it borders on pop-punk, but stays in a more 80's California sound. Not bad, cool layout- I like the triangle insert.

UX Vileheads- Catch 22
This is a new band with members of a lot of the cooler recent Swedish bands, but I'd say stand son its own. It's probably way faster than those other bands that the Umea scene is known for too. There's a melody hidden under some fast raw hardcore punk music, and some of these songs will get caught in your head. The guitar tone is also spot on, with a few well placed leads. Definitely worth checking out.

Extortion/ Septic Surge
My recent obsession w/ Extortion brought me to this split. The Extortion side opens up like a punch in the face. The first song is so ridiculously good, it barely even has a chorus and rages like hell for under a minute. Usually split bands use for throw away songs, this is certainly not the case. A side note, I threw this on at 33rpm at first, and it sounded hard as hell, like good era Integrity. Septic Surge sounds like Man Is The Bastard/ Bastard Noise, which isn't really my thing. Great artwork on both sides.

Capitalist Casualties/ Lack Of Interest
What year is it? Seriously, who'd have thought in 2010 we'd get new songs by both of these bands. Capitalist Casualties have always been a band I liked and owned many records of, but really kinda never stood out for some reason. These songs are good, but I was more interested in the LOI side. Lack Of Interest is kind of inconsistent, due to having different singers on their releases. This vocalist sounds like the same from their last LP, which is ok but not my favorite. The stuff on here is real good, but not "Trapped Inside" good. Both bands really do sound good, and for $8ppd you get this split 7" and Short Fast and Loud zine. Most 7"s with shipping will cost you close to $8 anyway, might as well get a cool zine with it.


Anti You- Two-Bit Schemes and Cold War Dreams
I liked Anti-You's previous releases, and even did a show for them on their US tour. If you didn't know any better, you'd think Anti You was from America, as their sound is heavily influences by early 80's US HC. This LP I like more than their last 7", and they really stepped it up a notch on this. They play super fast, but there's a hint of melody like early Circle Jerks. The LP art is done by the same artist who did their previous records, and I like the overall look of their records.

No Friends- Traditional Failures
This is No Friends' second record, but my first of theirs. If you don't know, they feature Tony of Municipal Waste on vocals. If you're a devout Waste fan, you'd probably not be into this though... unless you like pop-punk. No Friends play a style of melodic hardcore, very similar to Kid Dynamite. I could see this band going over big with the Gainesville Fest crowd, but feels kind of thin to me. Pretty solid for a side project though, and the layout is real cool.

Extortion- Loose Screws
This is Extortion's most recent release, which is obviously great. The recording quality is not as raw as their previous record, but somehow they make up for it by playing faster and tighter. They make the start and stop song structure seem easy, I don't know how they pull it off. This is basically an LP, it just happens to be a 10".

Pollution- ® SMUT
Pollution come back with a vengeance on this new LP. Their other 2 records were recorded a while back, and were originally just cassette tapes. It may seem like Pollution has been cranking out records lately, but it's just because people are starting to realize how good they are. This LP really showcases where the band's at now. Still fast, still raw, still noisy as hell. I get a slight Sonic Youth vibe in its overall noisiness, but mixed with a heavy dose of later era Black Flag still in the mix. You should probably get this too...


Hummingbird of Death- Show Us The Meaning OF Haste
The only other HOD record I had was their split w/ I Accuse, which I think may have been their first release. They've definitely come a long way since then, because this LP is really good. A lot of bands that play fastcore can't pull off a good LP, because their songs are so short. Hummingbird of Death proves me wrong with a mix of short blasts, and longer mid-paced dirges. Who would have thought this kind of music would come from Idaho? Cool tattoo flash looking cover art, but the rest of the layout is fairly standard.

HookHands- The Dead Hate The Living
Hookhands sent me this CD a while back, but I jsut got to it now (sorry dudes). The cover art looks like a kind of nu-metal band, but actually the music is a lot more like good 80's crossover thrash. You like Slayer and Exodus? Of course you do, then you should check this out. There's a lot of bands that play this style and make it a joke, but their lyrics are pretty cool. A lot of horror/gore influenced lyrics, which I'll take over pizza party BS any day. Some of the solos could be tighter on the metal side, but there's also a definite HC influence (as shown by the CroMags cover). I was definitely surprised by this.

Extortion- Degenerate
I never buy CDs, I like Extortion so much that I bought this. This was their first LP, and has a more raw quality. I like this a lot, and sounds very similar to approach on their first record. Have I mentioned how I love the art on all of their albums, it's violent and dark. There's bonus tracks on here, one being a song called "Forced Down Your Throat," which I was extremely bummed to find wasn't an SSD cover.

The Rival Mob- Hardcore For Hardcore (tape)
This is basically a teaser for their new 7" "Hardcore For Hardcore," since both of their records are out of print. The title track is really good, typical RM style, which raises my hopes for their new 7". Next is a cover of "Positive Scene" by Crippled Youth. I've seen them do this live, and it's killer and way faster than the original. Next is kinda weird, a remix of "Mind Closed For Life" from the demo. It's the same recording, but with piano and horns overlayed in the mix. Cool, but strange. Finally a live cover of "Better Man" by Pearl Jam. What the fuck right? They nail it like any bar band would, playing it faithful to the original... go figure. There's also some funny samples between songs, which kinda showcases the band's sense of humor (if you've ever seen them live, you know what I mean).

Mob Mentality (pro-tape)
The cover has a skinhead looking dude stomping through a city with an American flag shirt, I'm sold already. Mob Mentality is from the DC area and plays a style of HC which is similar to early AF/WarZone, but with a bit of Side By Side. An overall good demo, though could be a little bit better. I heard they got a new singer and second guitarist recently, so maybe that will give it that extra punch.

Narcs (CDr)
The Narcs are another new Rochester band, who have an 80's punk influenced sound. Definitely have a snotty skate punk sound to them, but with more of an obscure Killed By Death band sound. The vocals are very distorted, but there's definitely some cool guitar and bass playing here. A record by these guys will no doubt be real good.

Pollution- 120608 (pro-tape)
The first side of this tape is from a live set in Brooklyn, which is a sampling of songs from their 1st LP and 7". The other side has a covers of Black Flag and Honor Role, both good. The live set is a decent recording, though a bit drum and bass heavy. Pollution super fans need this. The overall look of the tape is cool. It's a photocopied cover on this crazy shiny gold paper.

Omegas- Joyboymix (tape)
I ordered this from the band recently. It's got a few Omegas outtakes and a live set, and some other bands they're friends with or used to be in. There's 2 of their former bands' songs that later became Omegas songs, which is really cool. Another highlight are the songs by "Boner Hogan," which are songs that were used in porno movies apparently. Pretty ridiculous is an understatement. The inclusion of the "Hoagieman" song is even more ridiculous, and I'm sure anyone not from the PA/NJ area will have no clue what's going on. There's some cool songs on here, and some throwaways. The live set is real good- it opens up w/ an Offspring cover (seriously), and ends with an SSD cover and "Gimme Oblivion." I like that this tape is actually long, and while some songs I'd wanna skip it's overall real cool.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

All Hands on Deck

Blood In the WaterHere is my piece for the All Hands on Deck art show in Philadelphia. The show is sea themed, so I chose to do a shark stencil painting. It's 5 layers done with spray paint, which I named after the Shark Attack EP- "Blood in the Water." It will be displayed in a wooden frame, which I splattered with a little red paint.

In July 2010, in America's birthplace of Philadelphia, 30 emerging young artist of diverse skill sets have enlisted their services in riding the waves of discovery in effort to provide new additions of pictures to provide visual dialogs of mankind's fascination with the sea.
Opening reception:
Friday July 9th 2010 7:00 PM - 10:PM
Chapterhouse Cafe and Art Gallery
620 South 9th Street (between south and Bainbridge)
Phialdelphia, PA
event on Facebook