Friday, August 01, 2008


I can't get enough of Shipwreck lately. The sound takes me back to 90's hardcore like One King Down and Trial and the imagery impresses me to no end. If I had a hardcore band it wouldn't sound like Shipwreck, but the lyrics and symbols would be the same.

August 9
ICC Church Boston

Have Heart
New Lows


Friday, July 25, 2008


When I was getting heavily into hardcore in high school Bridge 9 Records was on top. As I went though college I grew wary of the bands they were signing: straight-brimmed hats and '508' tattoos. With the new Have Heart and Ceremony records, they've recovered for me.

I think Have Heart's Bostons is one of the best hardcore songs ever written. It's unbelievable. And I can't stop thinking about Ceremomy's "Still Nothing Moves You." It's beyond angry. Punk. Pure. In the spirit and vein of Kill Your Idols truly, NO GIMMICKS NEEDED.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I can't get enough of Constant Struggle. The metal feel makes me grin every time I rock this record. Definitely a party record too. Riffs and spliffs.

The evil belly of Rise and Fall or Integrity with the balls of Cro-Mags.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I've been in California for awhile. Swimming, arcading and record shopping. The greatest surprise of all was driving by a record store called "TKO". It was closed so the next day we swung by and my assumptions proved right, it was the retail store for the San Fransisco punk label, "TKO". I spend a lot of time and (somehow) minimal money in there but I re-bought some old New England classics: The Vigilantes - No Destiny EP and :30 Over Tokyo's eponymous full-length.

It was pretty amazing to see these records as the :30 one is way out of print and I never thought I'd be able to get my hands of another copy. As I get back into these again I'll post about them.

Tuesday proved to be 90's day though. I saw the Melvins (!!!) then finally picked up Mudhoney's Superfuzz Bigmuff. It's the new Sub Pop Deluxe Edition. I can't turn it off and I'll post about that one too as I get more into it.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


I work as a bartender and one of the absolute benefits of the job is listening into my customer's conversations. On a daily basis I meet assholes, alcoholics, yuppies and musicians. Last night though, took the cake of embarrassingly stupid conversations. The blonde's voices were high, dainty and airy. Every syllable was drawn out. I was so annoyed I was grinding my teeth.

Blonde 1: I think I'll get a Diet Coke. I need to wake up.
Blonde 2: Yeah. Good idea.
Me: Diet Coke doesn't have any caffeine.
Blonde 1: (Very confused look.) Umm, what do you mean? Like, your Diet Coke is caffeine-free?
Me: Uhh, no. Diet Coke is caffeine free.
Blonde 1: No it's not.
Me: Yes. It is.
Blonde 1: Ohhh my Godddd. What should I get?
Me: A Coke.
Blonde 1: No wayyy. Too many calories.
The other bartender: How about I make you an espresso martini?
Blondes 1 & 2: Yeahhh. We want those.
Me: Don't you think there's more calories in that than in a Coke?
Blonde 1: Oh wow. I didn't even think of that. Wow. Oh my Goddd. You're smart!

Fuck. I had to leave.

Iron Fist

I recently got Motorhead's 1982 album, Iron Fist. It's no Bomber, Overkill or Ace of Spades, but like the Ramones, it's all fuckin good. The title track slays and the 11 others make me want to drink heavily. Job well done, Lemmy.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Straight to Hell

I recently found and bought the "Straight to Hell / Should I Stay or Should I Go" 12'' single at my local record shop, in alright condition. I don't know how rare it is and I don't know how much it's worth. I don't care. Flipping through the bin and coming across it made me so excited; like first getting into punk rock and buying a Stooges record. I've been just staring at the cover, an image I've always loved and considered getting tattooed. The back cover is the blue dragon from the Combat Rock days.

It made me think about how stupid it is for people to spend hundreds of dollars on all of versions of colored vinyl and stick them in a bin in their closet. I don't think they'll ever get it. Sometimes it just takes $10 to get really excited about rock and roll vinyl.

It also made me think about the Poison Idea album, "Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes."

Monday, June 16, 2008


I just grabbed this 1983 double LP at my local record store. Recorded during Lizzy's farewell tour. "The All-Star Jam." God damn it's good.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Golden Shower of Hits

"Golden Shower of Hits" was the first record I ever bought by the Circle Jerks. It was actually one of the first punk records I ever bought. At that point I don't think I realized that "Group Sex" and "Wild on the Streets" were such classics and that I should dive into those first. I had seen Circle Jerks T-shirts on the bands that I worshiped at the time and I knew that somewhere, somehow they had a connection with Black Flag. I didn't know or care what that connection was, and I was so in love with "Damaged" that it didn't matter; any band who had anything to do with the Flag was rad in my book.

As their third album, 1983's "Golden Shower of Hits" never gets the recognition it deserves. It's not as amazing as their first two records, but punk doesn't get much better than those records. I see a lot of copies of this in used bins all around and I have to say, it's worth much more than it's it's sold for. Classic hardcore punk.

Sidenote: I never realized until recently that the cover was actually a Glen Friedman photograph. It's included at the top. Now that dude was a hero.

"10 kids in a Cadillac
stand in lines for welfare checks
let's all leach off the state
Gee! The money's really great!

We just get by
however we can
we all gotta duck
when the shit hits the fan!
-When the Shit Hits the Fan

Friday, June 06, 2008

Hard Skin

Hard Skin just came through the USA and reminded me why I fucking love Oi! music. One of their terrific singles can be found at the following link.

Make My Tea:

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Originally planned to be a Misfits side project, Samhain became Danzig's full time band when the Misfits broke up in 1983. In three years they released two full-lengths and an EP, and my favorite remains 1986's "November-Coming-Fire." It's out of print now but you can definately download it somewhere, or find the songs in the Samhain boxset.

The record has a lot of reverb, which really adds to the mysterious and creepy feel of the songs. To say Samhain was merely Misfits part II doesn't do them justice. These songs are definately good enough to stand on their own and any Misfits fans who don't have any Samhain need to change that. The lyrics are just as dark, and the music is slower and even creepier. Also, there's a rad version of the Misfits' "Halloween II". Outstanding record.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Rest in peace, Bo Diddley. True originator. Opened for the Clash on their 1979 tour. I can see Bo and Strummer talking at a bar in heaven right now.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ill Blood

In 2001 Bridge 9 re-released Toronto's No Warning's self-titled 7'', and it was my introduction to the band. I remember going to many Worcester shows, seeing B9's small (at the time) discography on sale, and after awhile I broke and bought it. That record, with "A Day In The Life" and "Too Much To Bare" hooked me and I probably listened to it everyday that year.

Then one year later they put it to a full-length and released "Ill Blood", a record that not only introduced hundreds of younger hardcore kids to the Cro-Mags and Judge, but was absolutely the best NYHC record of my generation...and they're from Toronto! The energy, the hooks, the riffs, the lyrics, the heavy drums and that nuts live show.

In those couple of years I saw No Warning three times in New England, but the best was at the Back To School Jam in Framingham, MA. The line-up was out of control: Some Kind Of Hate, Impact, Fit For Abuse, Count Me Out, Panic, No Warning, Reach The Sky, Converge (canceled because Kurt broke his hand, Hatebreed showed up and played a set of covers), Stars & Stripes, Slapshot and Blood For Blood. Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Anyways, I remember that "Ill Blood" has just come out, kids were flying everywhere and the singer kept instigating the cops who were doing security.

"Ill Blood" was one of the greatest hardcore records to come out of my generation of hardcore bands and they inspired legions of bands to copy the sound that they copied and perfected themselves. Everyone needs this record. Even if they made some, ahem, bad decisions further down the line, it's heavy, pissed and focused.

Bjorn from Rise & Fall has a two-part interview with the guitar player at his blog:

Thursday, May 22, 2008


fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cursed III: Architects of Troubled Sleep

(For fans of all things very heavy and very angry.)

I've been a fan of Cursed since Deathwish put out their debut "I", in 2003. I loved the darkness in the guitar tones, Chris Colohan's intense lyrics and growl, and the band's imagery, evident on all their releases and merch. I remember buying "II" in the summer of 2005 and to this day that record reminds me of driving up and down 95 in the dead heat of summer, blasting those cold, sinister songs.

Three years later Cursed finally put out "III: Architects of Troubled Sleep", and it is by far their angriest, most intense record so far. The minute and a half sample collage that opens it sets the tone for the rest of the record. Voices go in and out, talking about fear. In the end a woman states, "We really begin to feel that you don't have any power. That you're just going through the motions," before a man interrupts her with, "Go shopping. Go back to the mall, go back to your normal lives. We'll take care of everything." With that, Cursed leap into a blast beat that they don't relent from for the next 30 minutes. Insomnia, distrust and frustration are the keys and fear through religion and government is the subject they explore.

Cursed are on the top of their game and I am sick of waiting patiently for them to tour the States, (they're from Toronto). Oh yeah, and the artwork (top picture) was done by Baroness's John Baizley. That man's resume is incredible.

"Kill the bosses.
Kill the priests.
Kill the shepherds.
Save the sheep."

"Don't wanna bite the hand that feeds
I wanna fucking break it off."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Yesterday at the bar I met a local Vietnam veteran. I picked his brain for a half hour about his experiences and when I asked him if his year and a half tour was of average length he replied, "My tour was a little more than average and at the time I was furious, but compared to our troops' tours today, I have no complaints."

After that I started thinking, really thinking about what it means to serve two + tours like is commonplace today. All I kept thinking about was the Pogues' "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda". The eight-minute traditional song, sung from the point of view of a young Australian soldier about his experiences at WWI's Battle of Gallipoli is, as my friend John drunkenly declared to me on St. Patrick's Day at his apartment in Cambridge, undoubtedly the saddest song we know.

The more I think about that declaration, the more I believe it. I don't know a sadder song. I can't think of another song that literally hurts to listen to like "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda". Love songs hurt on a personal level; "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" hurts on a human level. It extends beyond your small life and looks at the experience of war that has lasted as long as humans have been on Earth.

No wonder Shane MasGowan's an alcoholic.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday, May 03, 2008

True Punk & Metal

This blog has been one of my absolute favorites over the past year or so. I think the guy who does it has a hand in Gloom Records, a great Albany label that has put out awesome bands like Last In Line, 9 Shocks Terror, Close Call, Cut the Shit and the Prowl. Anyways, he searches his amazing record collection, uploads a record, and reminisces about it. He pulls out a lot of gems and tells great stories about growing up as a metalhead in Albany in the 80's.

"I eventually bought this only because the band thanked bong hits & brew hahs, I was baffled that this came out on the label that it did, not typical at all. Listening to this totally brings back those memories of Luke picking me up Friday after work, and us hitting all four record stores in Albany. I typically might have spent about $80 a week on records back then."

Soo good!


Friday, May 02, 2008

A good week for Providence

Also, Tragedy tomorrow!


I've been thinking a lot about Florida's Torche lately. Since I first heard them I've been absolutely hooked and they remain one of the heaviest live bands I've ever seen.

In the Spring of 2006 I went to see Mogwai at the Starlight Ballroom in Philly and was absolutely blown away by the volume and heaviness of the opening band, Torche. I knew the name, as they had opened up for Paint It Black a couple of years prior at the Church, but I had missed them then. I know the drugs had something to do with it, but I just couldn't get over their sound that night at the Starlight. Since then I've seen them once more, opening for Isis at the TLA.

The idea of intense riffs mixed with a slight pop sound is so simple and incredible that I wonder why it wasn't capitalized on earlier. Sabbath and QotSA might have flirted with it, but Sabbath relied more on songwriting than just riffs and Torche is a HUGE riff band.

Also, check out this awesome packaging courtesy of Robotic Empire.

I recommend: "In Return" and a six-pack.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Study the cover, imagine what it sounds like. It's necessary.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Night On Earth

Since I first saw "Dead Man", I've always loved Jim Jarmusch's films. The characters, dialogue, atmosphere and array of Tom Waits songs make them engaging and particular. I recently watched "Night On Earth", a 1991 film, which is (I think) only available on DVD through the Criterion Collection, making it a bit pricey.

Well, I just got Netflix so it was my first pick. "Night On Earth" features five short stories about the connections made between drivers and passengers in five taxis in five cities around the world. It takes place in Los Angeles, NYC, Paris, Rome and Helsinki. While overwhelmingly funny, there are some poignant moments that make it more than a comedy.

I highly recommend this film. Roberto Benigni's segment alone is worth every penny.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Deathwish Inc.

When I starting veering from punk to hardcore in high school, Bridge 9 Records was making a name for itself with awesome records from bands like American Nightmare, Shark Attack and Carry On. Around the same time, Deathwish Inc. was putting out the more metal-inspired side of things, which I paid less attention to.

Over seven years I've watched a majority of hardcore recede from a scene of truth and individuals to a circus of flat-brimmed hats and tough guy attitudes. One of the only punk record labels that I've seen evolve and make an effort to branch out and put out new sounds is Deathwish Inc. I cannot compliment DW enough; they've released AWESOME bands like Rise & Fall, Life Long Tragedy, Pulling Teeth, Cursed, Breather Resist and Knives Out. These bands exist outside of the coffin that hardcore made for itself in this decade. They took hardcore back from the messageboards and reminded us all that no matter how dissonant, music is art. The packaging and artwork make me excited to buy music. It's no wonder it's run by a member of Converge.

I'm so fuckin thankful and stoked right now.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

RIP Joey

7 years ago today Joey Ramone died from complications due to lymphoma. The entire world misses you, man. I'm sorry that Michael Pitt had to be in this video. You deserve much better, my friend.

Narrow Teeth

I rarely make the effort to get into new bands anymore, regardless of their genre. It's not that I think "it's all been done", there's just decades of music that's already been released and I'd like to focus on where everything from today came from, as opposed to where it's going. Traditionalist, I know.

It's not that I'm not into progressive music, it's just that I see a lot of today's music as idle and unoriginal. Unless the grandchild is Refused or Hot Water Music, why not focus on the grandparents? They were much more interesting. It was all their idea anyway.

Now, all of this of course comes with exceptions. I've been drooling over two new(er) bands for a while now. The first is Narrows, a band with only a single song available ( The catch is that it has members of Botch, TAAS, Unbroken and many others. Botch's singer is back, this time with the brainchild of TAAS's awesome riffs, Ryan Frederiksen. I am so excited for this band to release their first 7'' on Deathwish later this year.

The second exception is Baltimore's Pulling Teeth. Their newest full-length, "Martyr Immortal" is the perfect batch of hardcore, punk and metal. P-E-R-F-E-C-T. I don't think they've created a new genre or anything but I just can't stop listening. Their doomy imagery, harsh vocals and riffs make me giddy inside. (

Monday, April 14, 2008

New Wind

I recently found 7 Seconds' 1986 LP, "New Wind" on sale so I picked it up. As someone who grew up on "The Crew" I was expecting short, fast and lo-fi. Instead, the opening track "The Night Away" greeted me with long, slow and (still) lo-fi. I let it drag out hoping for a change in the rest of the songs and overall I think I got it. Although the songs are all longer and slower than most Seconds songs, it definately has some strong points. Standouts include "Grown Apart", "New Wind", "Man Enough To Care" and "Put These Words To Music."

The harmonies are surprising and honestly, some of these songs really aren't that great. Regardless, "New Wind" proves that although this is probably my least favorite 7 Seconds record, they can't put out a truly bad one.

I heard that in the liner notes for the original pressing of the LP they thank U2 for "inspiration". That might tell you something. Also, I found some evidence that they toured on this record with Youth Of Today and Verbal Assault.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Is this the new Green Day?

Shelly's in town for a couple of weeks and we spent the past three days seeing Henry Rollins, Paint It Black and Strike Anywhere in Providence and Cambridge, which was followed by 20 hours of getting drunk and philosophical with John. Thanks to the Sparks I consumed down by the Boston piers yesterday, I barely slept 4 hours last night. Today I feel like death and aside from coffee, Stiff Little Fingers' 3rd record, 1981's Go For It, has helped me get through the day. It's (obviously) no Inflammable Material, but the opening track, "Roots, Radicals, Rockers and Reggae" is really damn close. I can't believe I waited so long to get this.

"Comfort the afflicted and keep them from harm
Let age be protected and the infants be strong."

Friday, February 29, 2008

The World

In junior high and high school, my buddy and I used to trade our CD's and tape them, making copies for ourselves and expanding each other's knowledge of punk rock. One Friday he brought in the U.S. Bombs' The World, which was released in 1999 on Hellcat Records. I was really excited because the few songs I had by them on compilations had always stuck out to me with their Clash sound. That weekend I stayed at my grandmother's house, and I remember listening to that CD over and over again on my discman, in my mother's old bedroom. I didn't see one of those 18 tracks as filler; I loved them all.

I was drawn in equally by the sound, which took from the punk rock that I loved, ('77 punk as opposed to the pop-punk that was rampant at the time), as by the skater, cut and paste political imagery. I loved that the political imagery wasn't all anti-US as most of my punk records were. Although there remained criticism of the US ("US bombs the world"), there was underlying American pride in the WWII imagery and songs like "Yanks & Rebs", where Duane sings, "I'm proud to be an American!"

The standout track for me was "Joe's Tune", which is credited in the liner notes as written by Strummer himself. I have yet to find out the real history behind that song. Was it written by Strummer for the Bombs? Or is it a cover of a Strummer song I've somehow never heard? Either way, The World remains one of my favorite punk records from the 90's, and thankfully it's still in print.

"Well the black man got the rhythm
And the white man got the law
And I know one thing I've been workin for."
-Joe's Tune

"That dunce in the corner says he wants to be a cop
Caught me smoking in the toilet stall
Said "I'll get you when I grow up."
-Billy Club

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


As with most people with pulses, I think Josh Homme is the fucking man. And it's not just because he was in Kyuss or anything, but look at the man. Watch him smoke. Jesus. And he knows his garage rock history pretty damn well. Before I die I want a night out drinking with Homme and Jesse Hughes. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has thought that today.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Nobody Laughs Anymore

When I was first getting into punk in the 8th grade I immediately found a small group of older and like-minded friends. Together we started a tradition where everyday we sat on a ledge outside of our high school listening to CD's through crappy computer speakers connected to an old disc man. Though we listened to a lot of classic bands such as Minor Threat, The Dead Kennedy's and the Ramones, we were lucky because at the time the New England punk scene was blowing up. All of the best bands around were available for us to see live on a monthly basis in Boston and suburban Massachusetts. This was right when the Dropkick Murphys gained Al Barr from the Bruisers and started making a name for themselves nationally, and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones had released their commercially successful Let's Face It. Underneath all that were unbelievable bands like The Showcase Showdown, :30 Over Tokyo, The Pinkerton Thugs, The Ducky Boys, and my favorites of all of them, The Trouble.

Along with a couple of compilation tracks and 7'''s, The Trouble only released one LP, Nobody Laughs Anymore on GMM Records, which was re-released by Bridge 9 in 2005. The sheer force and energy of NLA along with Gibby's excellent lyrics, hooked me right away and I often found myself listening to it over and over again. I've always loved how it's a simple punk rock record, but in it are strong traces of street punk and hardcore. The lyrics are reflective, violent, and often dark, and the cover of Joy Division's "Insight" as a secret track cements NLA as a moody classic.

It's no surprise that the singer went on to form Panic, a front runner of the 2002'ish lyrical hardcore scene along with American Nightmare and Carry On. I'm sure a lot of people who didn't know The Trouble got into them from AN's cover of "Dead & Gone" on The Sun Isn't Getting Any Brighter EP, and because of the B9 re-release of Nobody Laughs Anymore. Either way, it's a classic 90's punk record, which gets played in my room on a weekly basis, and deserves more recognition.

"All things lost, nothing gained
Every passing day intensifies my pain
I look towards tomorrow, yet cling to yesterday
Hoping sometime I'll find my way.

Each day a reminder of my mistakes
Each day a reminder of what it takes
Nothing to look forward to from what I can see
The old days ended too soon for me."
-Dead & Gone

Friday, February 15, 2008

Bad Luck Zednik

In 2002, my friends and I went up to Montreal for a school band tour. At the time the NHL playoffs were going on and the Bruins and Canadiens were playing at the Molson Center. When we got off the bus in the city, proudly wearing the black and gold, Canadiens fans violently shouted at and threatened us in French. We reveled in it and it wasn't until we got to our hotel room and turned on the TV that we really understood the hostility. In the third period with a commanding lead, Boston's Kyle McClaren elbowed Montreal's Richard Zednick in the face, knocking him unconscious and dealing him a serious injury. As fucked up as it sounds, we were kind of elated and laugh about it to this day.

Well, Zednick now plays for Florida, and on Sunday it looked like his life had ended. His teammate Olli Jokinen's skate accidentally cut the external carotid artery in Zednick's neck, spilling blood all over the ice, ending his season. For a few minutes no one knew what to think and hockey feared the worst. At least he's okay now.

The only other time that I know of this happening was in 1989 when Clint Malarchuk, the goaltender for Buffalo had his internal carotiod artery sliced open by a skate, spilling blood everywhere. I won't post the video because it's pretty gruesome, so just search on youtube if you want to see it.

Anyways, cheers to Zednick. One tough guy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My War: Side B

My War is probably one of the most simultaneously underrated and appreciated punk records of all time. The reason is mainly Side B: three sludgy tracks all over six minutes long. I feel like the people who are aware of it, are in awe of it. I've heard the Melvins cite those three songs as key inspiration for their sound, which in turn owes a lot to Side B because the Melvins inspired countless awesome bands.

When I was in high school I definately didn't appreciate those songs; I was a purist and those songs are not fast by any measure. I always loved Side A, with "My War" and "Can't Decide," and it wasn't until I moved to Philly that it all clicked and I really got the whole thing.

"Nothing Left Inside," "Three Nights" and "Scream" are how I feel inside on a regular basis, and listening to them is unbelievably fulfilling.

"I might be a big baby
But I'll scream in your ear
Until I find out just what it is
I am doing here.
Until then,

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ed Force One

Iron Maiden has done it. They're new 757 has been dubbed "Ed Force One." Right on, fellas! Aces high!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Live '84

The first two Black Flag records I ever owned were Damaged and The First Four Years, which both seem to be the starting points for most Flag fans in general. They are after all, the most "accessible" of Ginn's creations, in that they basically follow the punk formula of short, angry and loud.
When I was in the 9th grade an older friend gave me a cassette tape of their Live '84 record, which, since that day has held a spot on the short list of recordings that changed my life. I had never heard anything so angry and tight before; I didn't realize that sound was even possible! The transitions between songs were brilliant. I clicked with Black Flag like I clicked with the Clash; I could have been in that band; I was meant to be into them. They were for ME.
I became obsessed with that tape and soon wore it down. The drum beat never relented and it powered an hour and 15 minutes of aggression and release. I related to Rollins' lyrics on a level I had never experienced. Paranoia, fury and impatience. It was like when I discovered Holden Caulfield, only MUCH better. After all, my entire class read The Catcher In The Rye, but Flag was mine.
Songs like "Can't Decide," "My War," "Slip It In," "Black Coffee" and "Wound Up" became my "Here Comes The Sun," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Strawberry Fields Forever." I had found my Beatles.

Black Flag was a whole different beast live than on studio albums, and their bootlegs are the reason I'll always defend Rollins as Flag's best frontman. Live '84, Who's Got the 10 1/2? and the Annihilate This Week EP are some of the greatest live punk recordings ever. So heavy. So original. So influential. And somehow, so underrated.

Rabbit In Your Headlights

Last night I put on a random Radiohead mix that I had hanging around and "Rabbit In Your Headlights" came on. It's actually by Unkle and it simply features Thom on vocals, but sometimes I forget how great this song is. I worked someone once who had the quote from the movie "Jacob's Ladder" tattooed on their arm, as it's featured as a sample in the middle of the song. It's a great quote but it's also one of the longest quotes I've seen tattooed.

"If you're frightened of dying and then you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But, if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels freeing you from the Earth."

Anyways, the video for this song is one of my favorite ever.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Hipster Metal

Yeah, that thing. The trend of the last year or so in which hip magazines and Websites cover certain heavy metal bands they deem chic and cool. Some of its first subjects were progressives like Sunn O))), Boris and Mastodon. As frustrating as it was to see a Website cover and equate Mastodon and the Hold Steady together, it was understandable because well, Mastodon's really fucking good. It makes perfect sense for someone to worship both at the alters of Mastodon and Radiohead.

In fact, the only coverage that was truly dumbfounding was that of Southern Lord and Relapse bands. There is nothing remotely accessible about Sunn O))), which is why it has always been the underground of the underground. So why the coverage? Why the mentions in Spin, Rolling Stone and Pitchfork? The hipster metal fad has always been inevitable. There' always been something bewitching (sorry) by the darkly esoteric nature of heavy metal in general. By nature, metal deals with mysterious and unnatural subjects, which are both entertaining and contemplative.

So maybe the "hipster metal" fad should be of no surprise. Even Shins fans must find metal alluring for at least a little while. Doesn't that guy from the Mountain Goats write for Decibel? Today in a write up on the new Disfear record, Pitchfork referenced Tragedy, Kylesa and Victims. They just couldn't help it, though. No one can disregard D-beat and Sabbath riffs. That's the point! The difference is that next year when we're still here, they'll have moved on to something new. Just please don't let it be disco-punk again.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Top 20 of 07


20. Far From Finished - Living In The Fallout (Think Fast!)- Somehow this band went under my radar for a long time. They play punk rock the way I like it: influenced by the Clash and Social D. I can't get enough.

19. Neurosis - Given To The Rising (Neurot)- The most aggressive album of the year totally lived up to my expectations.

18. Pelican - City Of Echoes (Hyda Head)- Pelican are so good that even though this is their weakest record yet, it's still superb. "Dead Between The Walls" is one of their best songs.

17. Cloak/Dagger - We Are (Jade Tree)- I liked this band from the start, especially because I was a huge Count Me out fan in high school. I don't think all the songs are as strong on those from their demo or the "Pinata Breaks" 7'', but it's a great record nonetheless. "Kamikazes" and "Walk The Block" more than make up for the couple of filler tracks.

16. Torche - In Return (Robotic Empire)- I fucking love Torche. That's all that really needs to be said.

15. Pig Destroyer - Phantom Limb (Relapse)- I am not a metal head. Never was and never will be. But there's something about the violence and severity of Pig Destroyer that has always drawn me in. "Heathen Temple" makes my mouth water, lusting for destruction and ruin. Is that too cheezy to say about PD?

14. Explosions In The Sky - All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone (Temporary Residence) -They (still) do it best.

13. Modern Life Is War - Midnight In America (Equal Vision)- Nothing MLIW will ever do will be as good as "Witness". MIA is really good, though; better than most people have been giving it credit for. Standup tracks include "These Mad Dogs Of Glory," "The Motorcycle Boy Reigns" and the title track. "I drag my chains, they don't drag me."

12. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible (Merge)- Neon Bible reminds me a lot of last winter. Snow days and cold apartments. Walking around Philadelphia freezing my ass off. It's a terrific collection of songs and though a little indulgent at times, it's really triumphant.

11. Ceremony - Scared People EP (Bridge 9)- Obsession.

10. Blacklisted - Peace On Earth, War On Stage EP (Deathwish)- Believe the hype! "Canonized" was the best hardcore song of the year.

9. Baroness - Red Album (Relapse)- I-can't-stop-listening-listening-to-this.

8. The Dillinger Escape Plan - Ire Works (Relapse)- Miss Machine part II. That's a really good thing. Sidenote: Gil Sharone is a maniac. Top tracks include "Nong Eye Gong," "82588" and "Milk Lizard." The closer is right on, too.

7. Grinderman - Grinderman (Mute)- Nick Cave is a fuckin role model. "No Pussy Blues" takes the award for best song title in music history.

6. Chuck Ragan - Feast Or Famine/Los Feliz (Side One Dummy)- This stuff has been on heavy rotation since it came out and was the soundtrack to my autumn. Really strong songs, namely "Do You Pray?"

5. Jesu - Conqueror (Hydra Head)- I always thought shoe gaze was really overrated. This proves me wrong.

4. Radiohead - In Rainbows (self-released)- Q: How did a new Radiohead record come out and it's not my number 1?

3. Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond (Fat Possum)- A: Because Dinosaur Jr. got back together.

2. The Good, The Bad & The Queen (Parlophone)- And because Damon Albarn made a record with Paul Simonon.

1. Pissed Jeans - Hope For Men (Sub Pop)- And because aside from Tragedy, Pissed Jeans are the best punk band on the planet.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Daily Coyote

A woman in Wyoming took in a baby coyote and it now lives with her and her cat Eli in a log cabin. The coyote's name is Charlie and she updates this blog daily with rad pictures and an occasional note on life with a coyote. Best blog on the Web.

Best of 2007

During each year I compile a list of new records that have come out, which I deem notable, important, or just plain good. I have been having trouble putting 2007's list in any order, and I came to the conclusion that it doesn't matter. I ranked the top 6, and the rest are all still really good.

1. Pissed Jeans - Hope For Men
2. The Good, the Bad & the Queen
3. Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond
4. Jesu - Conqueror
5. Radiohead - In Rainbows
6. Chuck Ragan - Feast or Famine/Los Feliz
Electric Wizard - Witchcult Today
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Ire Works
Neurosis - Given To The Rising
Modern Life is War - Midnight in America
Blacklisted - Peace on Earth, War on Stage EP
Baroness - The Red Album
Pelican - City of Echoes
Pygmy Lush - Bitter River
Grinderman - Grinderman
Pig Destroyer - Phantom Limb
Torche - In Return EP
Cloak/Dagger - We Are
Bad Brains - Build a Nation
Far From Finished - Living In The Fallout
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

Some of 2007's new music that really disappointed me was:
The Stooges - The Weirdness
Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris
Bjork - Volta

2007 was a much better year for new music than 2006. Much better. And 2008 is looking to even exceed it. For far we can look forward to:
Cursed - III
Dead Meadow - Old Growth
Disfear - Live the Storm
The Loved Ones - Build & Burn
Paint it Black - New Lexicon
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Real Emotional Trash
HWM - Til the Wheels Fall Off
Blacklisted - Heavier Than Heaven, Lonlier Than God
D4 - The Civil War
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

One For The Underdogs (Here We Go!)

(Yes, that title was a Ducky Boys reference.)

One of my favorite Oi! bands of all time is Germany's Oxymoron. I don't hear many people talk about them but those who do, love this band. They came out of nowhere and released one of the best street punk records of all time with 1995's "Fuck the 90's, Here's Our Noize!" on GMM Records. (Sidenote: Whatever happened to both Atlanta's GMM Records and New Hampshire's Cyclone Records?; they put out some amazing 90's punk records. I used to mailorder from both of them on a regular basis. Cyclone actually put out the Dropkick Murphy's first EP: "Boys on the Docks EP".) But anyways, I put on "Fuck the 90's" yesterday afternoon while I was shoveling and I fell in love with it all over again. It's dangerous, violent, and passionate in such an unconventional way. I think that can be credited to both the production and Sucker's voice. Oxymoron also released a second full-length, "The Pack Is Back" in 1997, a split 7'' with the Dropkicks in 1998 called "Irish Stout vs. German Lager," and a terrific EP, "Westworld" in 1999. They also put out a record in 2001 called "Feed the Breed", but I never got that one. If you're a fan of bands like Cock Sparrer, Sham 69, 4 Skins, Condemned 84, or old Dropkicks, get any of these if you ever come across them. I'm pretty sure they're all out of print (the split 7'' has been out of print since '98) so you might be able to find some used. Amazon has a few copies left too. Oxymoron's Web site seems to hint that they're on hiatus, as various members have side-projects going. (

Speaking of underrated bands, one drastically different than Oxymoron is Denver Co's "Planes Mistaken For Stars." They've broken up but No Idea Records just put out a 24 song retrospective called "We Ride to Fight." It includes their first record, 3 EP's, a split, and some sweet Flag covers. I already had most of these songs but I ordered it anyway and it just came in the mail. It's $7 from No Idea and it's impossible to be disappointed with. This band was really special. Just do it. (

Friday, January 11, 2008

Out On An Island

"Shock Troops," Cock Sparrer's 1982 Oi! milestone, has always been one of my favorites. There was always one song on it though, that irked me, as it never fit in with the rest of the record. "Out On An Island", is a 4+ minute unhurried personal statement that I always saw as boring and expendable. That was until yesterday afternoon when I was listening to a punk show on URI radio, and I forced myself to listen to it. It's now one of my favorite Cock Sparrer tracks, and I don't know how I ever slept on or skipped over it. I'm into this Oi! sensitivity; where can I find more!?

"Everybody's got a number tattooed on their soul
And the time's gonna come boy, when your number's called
Everybody gets a uniform and a hut to live in
They give you your rank, you tell 'em your next of kin."

But I'm gonna be out on an island
In the middle of the bright blue sea
Out on an island
Where nobody's gonna bother looking for me."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Damned Dickies

Two of my most recent music buys have been two punk classics. I found "Machine Gun Etiquette", the Damned's 1979 album, along with "The Incredible Shrinking" by the Dickies on sale. MGE is 16 flawless tracks of their "Damned Damned Damned" sound, slowed down and more powerful. I'm really digging the song, "These Hands", a first-hand account of a killer klown and his exploits. This special edition also has an absurd cover of "White Rabbit". It works just as well as Slapshot's version, only it lacks the humor of a straight edge band covering a drug-classic.

The Dickies are what Green Day have long strived to sound like. L.G. Phillips' singing is the blueprint for the inflections and tones that Blowjob Armstrong has always gone for. This silly record is such a treat, and its humor ranks it along the Ramones and Descendents. One of their first singles was actually a hypersonic cover of "Paranoid" in 1979 (which isn't very worthy of the original), and this record contains other covers such as "Silent Night" and S&G's "Sounds of Silence." So much keyboard/organ between this and MGE!

Also, the new Paint it Black record, "New Lexicon" is unreal. With each record this band evolves more and more, and they exemplify the originality that is still possible in music as claustrophobic as hardcore. Dr. Dan's diction and rhyme are perfectly suited for Dalek's interludes and flawless production.
Key Tracks: We Will Not, Gravity Wins, The Beekeeper, Check Yr Math