Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Quicksand to play NYC Friday, August 24th

I am beyond excited to find out that Quicksand are playing at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City Friday, August 24th.  Tickets go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday, August 1st) at noon.  Below is the entire Quicksand performance from the Revelation Records 25th Anniversary Showcase in Pomona, CA from June.

Monday, June 4, 2012

One Up - Behind This Wall from Positive Numbers Fest 2004

Unfortunately, I have no story to update the blog with this week.  Hopefully this video of my old band One Up playing Positive Numbers Fest in Wilkes-Barre, PA from 2004 will make up for it.  To me, this video is the perfect example of how much fun and active shows were in the early 2000's.  So many kids were up front our whole set singing along (not just for this cover), stage diving, moshing and just having a good time.  Every where I looked while we played I was surrounded by friends I have known for years, met through touring the US or just met that weekend.  When we pulled out our cover of Turning Point's "Behind This Wall" everyone just went bananas.  Towards the end of the song, you can even see me stage-dive with my guitar.  With out a doubt this was my absolute favorite time in my life.  Every time I watch this video it brings a smile to my face.  Thank you.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Jawbox - For Your Own Special Sweetheart

Jawbox - For Your Own Special Sweetheart
Released - 1994

Editor's note: Since this is an album on a major label, there is no download link available.

Story by T.J. Schilling, bassist/guitarst for Carved Up.

Hardcore was never something that jumped up and bit me when I was younger.  I'm still kind of uneasy around it as a whole (the culture, the music, etc..). Too big and too aloof… and I liked weed and beer a lot, so all that aggression kinda didn't make sense to me.  Why not just chill the fuck out and kill a couch or something?  Besides, most of the bands friends had shown me could hardly even play their instruments.  This was not appealing to me.  I wouldn't call myself a purist, but if you're going to make music that's life affirming, you could at least connect on the accents in your own songs, for fuck's sake.

Anyways.. I was 21 and I needed some records to bridge the gap for me.  This might have been the biggest one.

The first Jawbox record I owned was actually Novelty.  A pretty decent record, albeit a little monotonous.  Most of the songs were strong, but the production was super slick and it felt weird.  Even the most killer song on that album, "Send Down", felt a little croon-y, but it roared real good.  I was on the fence with this band, but I decided I'd take a chance on the next one.

I picked up For Your Own Special Sweetheart and I was floored.  The entire rhythm section pounds harder on this album than any other recording I'd ever heard.  Adam Wade was no slouch on Novelty, but Zach Barocas puts him completely to shame.  The songs vary in tempo, style, and rhythm set, but all feel cohesive.  I got through half this record and was pretty stoked.

The first time I heard "LS/MFT" it was over.  Up until that point, I had never heard a band execute something like it.  It's got almost a 2-step cowboy swing through the verse.  The chorus drops in with big harmonies, sawtooth-twang guitars and high-hat flams that make you want to throw every single piece of furniture in the room.  It's the first song on the album where you start to realize just what this rhythm section was capable of.

Moreover, for every track with an off-kilter rhythm, there's one that's straight ahead to match it, usually anchored by Kim Coletta's excellent bass playing.  She's got this fresh-string 'clank' throughout the record that just totally rules.  It's kind of like she sits in a class of bass players (Dave Curran of Unsane comes to mind) that just sort of 'got' how to make a J Bass always sound fucking awesome.  Kudos to her.  I still don't get it.

Growing up playing guitar, I always had this sort of code of ethics on how one should approach the instrument.  Obviously I was young and completely full of shit.  Everyone approaches things differently and that's what gives music it's individual quality.  However, as far as rock music goes, I felt that if you were going to play it, you should be exerting some physicality with your instrument.  Every song on this record is a testament to that. The line between punishing distortion and clean guitar tone comes straight from J Robbins and Bill Barbot's hands.  It completely reaffirmed all of my ideas on what I considered to be real and honest guitar playing.  To this day, I still try and attack the instrument in the same manner.  Jawbox (among other bands… Fugazi, etc..) are a good foundation if you find yourself getting away from it.

I'm not sure that any of the lyrics on this album make sense; and I'm fine with that.  It allows you to make your own imagery.  The delivery is there on all other fronts and as far as any of the projects I've been involved with or any that I plan to begin, this record always serves as a huge reminder on how to do things right.  Plug it in, get loud, play hard, get to the point.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Changes - Lost At Sea

New Jersey's best riffers, Changes, just released their newest album Lost At Sea online. In the coming months they will be releasing Lost At Sea on CD, Tape and Vinyl.  This is the heaviest and most concise Changes album to date.  If you have not heard of Changes before now you can download their entire back catalog by using the new search engine on the top right corner of the page.

Location:  Asbury Park, NJ
Genre:  Hardcore/Punk
Contact:  scz027@aol.com
For Fans Of:  Down, EyeHateGod, 108 and Black Sabbath
Year Released:  2012

Track List:
01.  Lost At Sea/Castaways
02.  Black Blood
03.  Like Northern Swells
04.  High On Cult

Crazy Town covering Refused

This video is another oldie, but a goodie.  What we have here is the god awful band Crazy Town covering the Swedish hardcore band Refused.  I honesty do not even know how a band like Crazy Town could be remotely interested in a band like Refused.  The only thing that makes sense to me is that they saw their video on MTV and were like "YO dawg, wez gotta cover dis band yo!"  Anyway, here is the byproduct of this ridiculous cover.

Monday, May 21, 2012

American Nightmare - Background Music

American Nightmare - Background Music
Released - 2001

Editor's note: Since this is an album on a indie label, there is no download link available.

Story by Mike McTernan, singer of Damnation AD.

I had been gone for a couple of years and was really out of touch.  These dudes just got up and destroyed the stage.  20 minutes later the singer walks off stage and it's over.  What the fuck just happened?  What had I been missing out on?  I really thought hardcore was dead.  Or my version of it had died.  I heard all the new bands, but I could not connect.  I hear the name American Nightmare and my immediate thought is a band with political leanings that I would probably not relate to.  But I had not seen kids react like this to a band in years or ever.

A few weeks later Background Music came out.  As I am listening to it I am completely in awe of the raw honesty of the lyrics.  How can someone take their inner most pain and put it on display for everyone to see?  It is easy to share your successes with others, but opening up about your fears and failures takes courage.  So many lines hit so close to home that I kept getting chills.  Then I hear “I want to open these veins and never fucking breathe again” and the tears start.  I cried for the next 6 months.  I listened to the album every day.  When I could not sleep I put it on.  When I felt alone it was on to keep me company.  When I wanted to die, it was there for me.  Someone else felt my despair.  I was not alone. That kept me going.

Silverchair covering Minor Threat

What we have here is a video of the horrible Australian rock band Silverchair covering a song by the legendary Minor Threat at a show in Montreal in 1997. Videos like this mainly upset me because I feel that horrible bands should not have any knowledge of good bands. I hope this video upsets you as much as it upsets me.


Friday, May 18, 2012

The Modrats - Huzzah!

The Modrats play self-described geek rock with a lot of early punk influence and passion.  Huzzah! is the third self-released album by The Modrats.  The vocals are very melodic without being polished or cutesy and are complimented well by the cleaner guitar tones.  I would even go as far as to say this sounds like a slower and less distorted guitar toned Husker Du at times.

Location:  Rock Hill, SC
Genre:  Nerd Rock, Punk, Indie
Contact:  ryan@kittylittercomic.com
Website:  www.facebook.com/themodrats
For Fans Of:  Nerf Herder, Jonathan Coulton and the Pixies
Year Released:  2012

Track List:
01. Cardboard Robot
02. This Sword
03. Onyx Unicorn
04. E minor Battle
05. Daredevil Girl
06. Poybius
07. Loneliest mouse
08. Luigi's Lament
09. I Breathe Fire
10. Henchman
11. Robot Cats
12. Last Taco
13. Adventure Forever
14. This World
15. Princesses and Rupees

Monday, May 14, 2012

Snapcase - Progression Through Unlearning

Snapcase - Progression Through Unlearning
Download:  www.mediafire.com/?zj2mvmizemj
Released:  1997

Story by John Lowe, guitarist for Rock Bottom.

I've liked some terrible music over the years. Growing up, my father had a couple of cool Springstein and Billy Joel records, but they were vastly outnumbered by Garth Brooks and Miami Sound Machine CDs.  My mom and sister were into classical music.  I was never lucky enough to have that cool uncle or family friend to show me hardcore records growing up.

Like many kids without musical direction, I depended on the radio and MTV to show me my options.  My developmental years happened to fall during the musical black hole better known as the late nineties.  Nu-metal was king.  I would cruise around school in my Lee Pipes blasting Sevendust and Taproot records like it was the illest shit.  Eventually I got into a healthy amount of Epitaph type punk bands from skate videos, but the nu-metal bug stayed with me for longer than I'd like to admit (we still listen to Coal Chamber in the van fairly often).

I forget what the heavy music show was on MTV at the time, but I recall it being on Saturday nights.   I would try to hide from my parents and sneak a peak at whatever Jonathan Davis was up to and hear the hottest new jams.  There were a few cool bands I got into this way.  I specifically remember seeing the Deftones "My Own Summer" video and almost banging my head off my shoulders.  Of course for every Deftones there were ten bands like Cold or Godsmack.

Nothing was more exciting at the time than seeing the new video graphic pop up on the tv screen.  It gave me this feeling that maybe I'd see something totally different and new, or perhaps I'd find a new favorite band.  The latter was true when that graphic led into the Snapcase "Typcast Modulator" video. It was the coolest thing I thought I'd ever heard at the time. It hit all the nu-metal notes I wanted to hear, but without the fruity singing parts. I decided it was the coolest thing ever and needed to get their record.

I got my mom to take me to the mall the next day to snag a Snapcase record. I was so excited I couldn't remember what the song I heard was called or what record it was on. It ended up being a fortunate accident, because I ended up picking up Progression Through Unlearning from The Wall instead of the not-so-great Designs for Automation that I was really looking for.

I tried to put it on in the car on the way home, but after about 20 seconds my mom turned it off. Thats how I knew it was going to be good. When I got home I really started to investigate my new purchase. "Caboose" is one of the best opening songs on any record, and it floored me. I probably put "Zombie Prescription" on repeat like eight times in a row to hear that sweet nu-metal flanger riff. It took me a ton of spins to finally realize that the song I heard wasn't on the record, but at that point it didn't matter. I was hooked.

My favorite track on the record is probably the last song, "Breaking and Reaching". The opening buildup and riff are heavy as hell, while being just nu-metal enough to see what attracted me to the band in the first place. The verses and chorus have that ninety's hardcore groove, which is probably my favorite element of that era.

It would be nice to say that my tastes in music completely changed at that point, but there was still a long road of shitty bands ahead. Sure, Progression got me into some other Victory bands of that era like Hatebreed and Deadguy, but I still listened to more System of a Down than hardcore at that point. Eventually I bonded with some friends over bands like Snapcase and Converge in high school and started playing in metalcore bands. Now I'm twenty six, and I still play in a borderline metalcore band… and I still kind of like nu-metal. But if I never stumbled onto that video and bought the wrong cd, who knows how the future would have changed. Maybe I would be a lawyer or something.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Single Mothers - Wild Party

Single Mothers play delay soaked rock/post-hardcore with the intensity of a punk band. My favorite aspect of the record is that the vocals are really up front in the mix.  The last song "Heaven (For The Weekend)" reminds me of an early Taking Back Sunday song vocally.  I am sure this is not something the members of Single Mothers want to hear haha.   They will be in the US on tour in a few months hitting both Sound & Fury as well as The Fest.

Location:  London, Ontario, Canada
Genre:  Punk/Post-Hardcore/Rock
Contact:  singlemothersparty@gmail.com
Website:  www.facebook.com/singlemothersparty
For Fans Of:  The Bronx and Hot Snakes
Year Released:  2012

Track List:
01.  Nice Dresses
02.  Runaways
03.  Heaven (For The Weekend)