Friday, June 1, 2012


So, a couple of surprises, today: I was going to get the new Workers CD- Both Hands, but, unexpectedly, couldn't. I have it on good (Label) authority that the release has been pushed back, and that it will come out this summer. Well, cool, I guess, and welcome to the world of indie labels, but I was still bummed. However, I've heard from Pim, and the new Silence is Sexy is still a go, but the digital release may come a few days or weeks after the CD comes out on the sixth. Still- very cool to hear there will be a digital release, because even though I will want the CD, my mail service sucks, and it'll take over a month for the CD to reach me, so I was bummed about that, but this is where it turns around, completely out of the blue, dEUS just released a new album- they announced it, released it on Itunes, and put up a stream of it, all today. Nobody knew. So, I swallowed some pride, and opened up an Itunes account on an older laptop ( I wouldn't put Itunes on a decent computer, that shit is malware, of the highest order) downloaded it, and DRM be damned, managed to burn a CD. I just finished listening to it- yes, it's awesome. It's simpler, more streamlined than "Keep You Close', and it reads like dispatches from a war correspondent, so it has a sense of immediacy, and urgency, which fits the "Damn the Torpedos" surprise of the release. I can't say that I love it, yet- I've only just met these songs, and they're not like strippers, where it's all reveal, with no aftermath- these are real songs- you get to know them like friends. But, I will say that I like them. and clearly I'm nuts for dEUS. So, stream it, and get to know for yourself.
In any event- way for them to prove that there is a way to co-exist with the internet, when everybody  else seems to hate it. See,  David Lowery's  completely awful music aside ( yes, I hate Camper Van Beethoven, and always did.) he's a damn derivatives trader, so he's evil. Done and done. Q Magazine, well, I respect them, a little bit, but you'll note they lack the bollocks to put the article online, and the register is Crap. So, the chickenshit response is to say- online piracy is an awful theft, so we'll just put our Art in a commercial cage, and  surround it with DRM landmines. No, I don't pirate music, but I do think that there should be ways of hearing music for free, and I can name you three bands, right off the bat that hooked me by giving away some downloads- The Comas, Silence is Sexy, and Pandora.s Box. I've purchased things from all three, and plan to do so in the future ( that is, if the Comas re-form) . It works. So, dEUS  stream the whole record, release it on Itunes at the same time, don't sell it to the godawful music press first, and then, they'll release the physical product. and how much you want to bet they'll make money at it? Hell, they've got me  hawking it, for free- think about that Mr Cracker.  ( Seriously, the dude is a walking reason to steal from these supposed Artists- if it'll put him out of business, it's done a good thing)
So, what a nice surprise from a bunch of guys who really do deserve your extra cash- go stream it, and tell me you don't want a track or two....

Monday, May 28, 2012

Missed one

It happens about once a year or so- I miss mentioning a really good release from a really great set of Artists. Last time it was Wire's Red Barked Tree-  Which, honestly, has not worn a path to my heart over time. It's still Wire, and so very clever, with some fascinating twists and turns, but not quite what I need.
So, here we are with the Office of Future Plans.  It came out in November, I think. I got it back in December, I know that. I didn't mention it for a couple of reasons, I think: of course, if you ask me, I'll say that it slipped my mind, but there's something more.
J Robbins , musically, can do very little wrong. He's got a fantastic crooner's voice- seriously, put the guy up against Harry Connick or Michael Buble, and I think he wins. Also, he writes such deliciously sour pop songs.
But, he can do stuff that doesn't quite connect with me. Usually, it's 3 songs or less per LP. This one, it's about half the LP. I like the idea on paper- Cello-based post hardcore: but a bunch of them, the energy is just sapped right out, and it's like listening to Yes, or ELP to me- I respect the Art, but I don't enjoy it.
Still, the "hits" are freaking awesome- I don't think you can do a bad arrangement of "Loyal Opposition", and the one here is a rival to Report Suspicious Activity, album opener "Salamander" makes like Jawbox and crunches nicely," The Beautiful Barricades " roars and grooves like mid 1990's Killing Joke, mixed with Siouxsie's Creatures project,
"Fema Coffins" is pop punk and proudly so, slowly deconstructing into a Buzzcocks ballad. Likewise, "Dumb it Down" is a grunge stomp taken apart and put back together as a power ballad.
But Five tracks out of Twelve?  That's why I'm not mentioning it until now. Granted, it's still better than nearly everything being released, but, if I'm honest, it just doesn't excite me enough.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

OK, no retractions

I still haven't purchased the EPs, exactly. But I felt so bad after posting the last post that I dug out a credit card, and purchased the Articles of Faith and Dead Ending releases as Mp3's from Amazon. Please note this is definitely NOT my preference. I would rather purchase the actual EP's from Alternative tentacles, and if you have the means, I suggest that you do so. I suppose I should say why I never do it this way- 1. I don't like Credit Cards. They put you in debt to some of the most twisted and evil institutions in the world, and I really do blame the big guys- Visa, Mastercard, American Express for the economic mess we're in, worldwide. To explain would involve details that would be far too involved for 99.99% of you, and the .001% would already know those details. So, the short and nasty version- The derivatives market is based upon markets made possible only because of the securitization of debt that the major credit cards made. The speculation on derivatives  puts so many zeros into portfolios that otherwise solid markets get drawn in, and the result is inevitably the destruction of that market, as the  vast sums are fraud, by nature
.  2. While I don't think of Mp3's as evil, they're a definite downgrade from physical objects- even the most compressed and poorly mastered CD sounds better than most Mp3s
 3. I'd prefer to put money in my friends' bank accounts than in a faceless corporation like Amazon
4. I really don't like to spend money on stuff that only I will enjoy, when I could spend it on stuff my friends and family could enjoy as well.
So, yeah, I'm neurotic, and guilt struck, but that was outweighed by being completely depressed by my current situation. I won't go into great detail, but I will say that I had to go under the knife, but it did not involve full sedation. If my insurance were as good as it once was possible to get in this country, it only would've cost me a couple hundred dollars, instead of the four figure range this cost me.  No, there really isn't anything happy about having a procedure that you need, in order to maintain your health, cost you more than a vacation would've cost. So, hell yes, I'm bummed out.
So, I've listened to both, and, sure enough, this is the state of the Art for Hardcore Punk Rock.
I fully recognize that Vic Bondi's voice, even in the limited genre of Hardcore, is a limiting factor- which is a nice way of saying- most folks hate his voice. I'm good with his voice. But what you cannot assail is his songwriting. I mean, imagine that- hardcore thrash, with no metal diversions, or apologies, that has all the songwriting care of classic rock- John Fogerty, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen figure most prominently.
The melodies are more abstract than most of punk rock. It's not quite the angular, atonal math stuff, but there's a lot of half steps, and dissonance. That's what midwestern Hardcore does, though- think about it- from Die Kreuzen, to Killdozer to Big Black to USOT, The midwest doesn't do standard pop punk. I fully believe that the whole Fugazi DC thing came to be because of the midwest. J Robbins was obsessed with the midwest, especially Naked Raygun, The Effigies, Helmet and  Big Black, and in between Minor Threat and Fugazi, Ian did the pailhead project with Jourgensen of Ministry- so again, if you want Angular hardcore punk Rock, you go to the midwest, first. No one has ever done it better, in a thrash context, than Articles of Faith. If you can listen to In this life and Give Thanks, and still think that a band like Fucked Up is taking Hardcore into a new, and exciting place, you're just objectively wrong.
However, this new, re-united version isn't doing the stuff they did in the 1980's. I can hear the influence from Tom Morello, and  the aforementioned J Robbins. But, still, amazing, boundary pushing and defining hardcore, made by adults, for real, and heartfelt reasons.
As for Dead Ending- the combination of  Jeff Dean ( The Bomb, Noise By Numbers) and Vic Bondi is something really special. There's something in the chemistry- Jeff Pezzati, Vic Bondi, J Robbins, Jeff Dean, Dan Vapid, etc of these older guys that produces the exact formula for punk and hardcore that I like. A combination of noise, drive, melody and aggression that sounds perfect to me. If you like the "retro" hardcore of Bullet Treatment and AC4, this is perfect, as well. If you're a kid who somehow stumbled on to my blog, and you somehow are interested in speedy old school hardcore, it's a great place to start.


I've got several right now, and they're all related. I wish I could go see Black God tonight at the Black Cat.  I wish I could get both the new Dead Ending EP and the newish Articles of Faith Ep and I wish the new Workers CD was available for sale nearby. However, I can't do any of that due to a medical emergency last weekend. Basically, besides the health problems, the medical emergency drained me of cash. So, All that will have to be put aside. So, it's not so much that I've got nothing to blog about, it's that I'm frustrated, right now.