Monday, May 11, 2009

Making punk happen

I just spent about two hours looking at the personal myspace pages of guys from punk bands I've idolized for years like some fucking fanboy.

Went to the Denver slot of the Napalm Death tour yesterday. Escaped the high door fee thanks to the charasmatic Ryan McKenney. Was able to spend a good chunk of time talking to him at the show. I ended up befriending him last year when Bosnia and Trap Them played together at the late Monkey Mania and I'm lucky enough to have kept in touch with him since. Another good example of punk idolization right there, though I suppose I've been able to lift myself from the ranks of "fanboy" to the esteemed "peer".

Trap Them killed it by the by, and despite opening the show to a dwindled crowed it was the highlight of the night after meatheads packed the floor during ND and crowded me into a spot where I could barely see the stage. About half the way through ND's set I said fuck it and left. I had literally been waiting to see them since I was 14, and now that the day finally came, I couldn't even enjoy them due to constantly being on gaurd from the greasy cavemen parading around the floor. I remember thinking "this is no way to watch a band" as I stood cramped behind a speaker. Every time this happens I'm reminded why I love small DIY shows so much.

After leaving, I got about a block and got pulled over for not using my turn signal to change lanes. The cop was nice enough to let me off without a ticket for the signal, but since I didn't have my insurance card with me, got a ticket for that. So now I have to go to court to contest that I had insurance. I'm sure it'll be cleared, but it's a nuisance (that was my fault).

I have some serious, non-fatal bad luck when it comes to being behind the wheel. I've never been in a bodily harm inducing accident, but it seems like whenever I drive I'm like a giant beacon for cops. I suppose it's my fault for putting myself in the situations, but still. At least I have the common sense to never risk driving when I'm drunk.

Oh...and I might buy a house tomorrow.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Gaslight Anthem

Here's a little record review:

The '59 Sound was one of the best records of 2008. It had one of the best combinations of punk and classic rock in modern music without it sounding contrived. But, that being said...

I had only had it downloaded until buying the LP just the other day. And let me preface this by saying that I'm the type that takes in an entire record. The music is about 70% of the experience, but I put a lot of weight into the lyrics and presentation. Maybe that's why I still buy vinyl - I have to take the whole thing in. The music, the paper the jacket is printed on, vinyl color, the vinyl weight, and especially the cover art.

This album contains 11 pictures of the band including the one on the cover. 11. I know they're going for the whole old school record cover thing, but they could have applied a little more creativity visually to what is a great record audibly. What's worse is the pictures are so contrived looking. Its an obvious situation where an underground band has "made it" and the label sent them out with a photographer to take candid shots of them, but they're not used to that, so it ends up being unnatural pictures of guys trying to look natural.

Plus...11 pictures? C'mon. Put in a pic of an old house, or your practice space, or something equally as unoriginal but still making it so you're not looking at the same awkward faces over and over.

The hand written lyric sheet is nice though.

But, the worst part of the record is my pet peeve. They printed the name on the spine upside down. The biggest faux pas in vinyl in my opinion. Did your accountant sister-in-law do the layout for free? This mistake should not be happening. Ever.

And then I found out in an interview that the singer/song writer is super Christian. I'm sorry, but that's a bummer. Fuckin'sue me.
Kill the bosses
Kill the priests
Kill the shepherds
Save the sheep

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gnaw Their Tongues

Furthering my obsession with one man black metal projects, I've recently discovered a band called Gnaw Their Tongues from The Netherlands. Coincidentally, they are on the same label which just released the Bosnia album.

Now I love obscure black metal, but this is truly something special. Adhering to almost no trends within BM, this is some of the most frightening music I've ever heard. Extremely slow and dissonant song structures, combined with what sounds like movie scores create a really disturbing combination. Somewhere between black metal and noise, this guy has created a beast that really has to be heard to fully understand.

Most of his music is available for free download on his blogspot, or at least free preview tracks from each of his extensive catalog.

Truly inspiring. Just saying the name gives me the heebie jeebies.

Physical Media

Semi-recently, I bought a copy of the Pink Razors' record Leave Alive. I hadn't really heard them that much, but I knew they were a semi-popular pop punk band, so I took a chance. The record is pretty good - it reminds me of a more East Bay influenced version of The Ergs!. With the record was a code for a free download of the album, as most people are doing these days.

Along with that code was a thank you note for supporting physical media. I kind of wanted to write them and say "you're welcome, and thank you for acknowledging it". I guess it's really sinking in that the music industry is becoming something that doesn't exist in the physical world. Maybe I just have trouble letting go of my upbringing in music, but it seems ludicrous to put all this work into writing songs, spending money recording them, touring them, promoting them, and then simply have it released as mp3s (or equivalent). It feels really strange, and makes me miss the days of only finding out about bands from shows, merch tables, tape trading, and record bins. All of the effort has been taken out of music finding with the internet, and now you can barely get something to hold in your hands when you find someone you really like.

I'm a fool to resist it though, as this is basically a zeitgiest. I'll admit I download a ton of music (and don't pay for any of it) but I still avidly support buying physical media. I've given up on CDs, but still can't resist vinyl.

For those who haven't seen it, check out NOFX's new album Coaster (or the vinyl version, Frisbee). It's largely a statement on the music industry, and the titles are direct references to two useless objects, much like physical media has become.

In fact, here's a video of them talking about it:

NOFX on their new album "Coaster"

Also, the same night I got that Pink Razors record, I did something I haven't done in awhile. Now and then, I'll buy a record by a band I've never heard (or heard of) based solely on the cover art. If something strikes me as really cool looking, or creative, or mysterious, I'll give it a shot on that alone. My first success with this was at Rotate This! in Toronto during the Spring of 2000. I bought a record by a band called Suicide Nation because of this cover. They ended up being one of my favorite bands of the early days of hardcore/metal fusion in the 90's. That record stands out from the rest of that era because it is actually still valid (it's not some melodic Christian shit). It's dark and blackened, and the guys in the band were crust punks who were apparently literally homeless for awhile (thus giving no contact address on their split with Yaphet Kotto).

But I digress.....I bought a record by a band called Black Dove called No Future, No Fate because of the cover. It's hard to see, but all the print on the cover is in foil stamping. It looked so ominous, I couldn't resist. It turned out to be dark, dirty crust punk, with bits of power electronics interspersed. I chaulk it up to another success.

Friday, May 1, 2009

HHIG again

Fifteen Counts Of Arson was released 13 years ago (!) And it is just as valid now as it was then.

I can say with as much conviction as I could when I was 14 that His Hero Is Gone were, are and always will be my favorite band.