Friday, April 26, 2013

Coliseum- Sister Faith

So, this doesn't come out for a few days, and I pre-ordered back in march so I really wasn't expecting it. But, there it was, today, on my doorstep, and true to my word, I'm talking about it as soon as I get it. This is Coliseum's "Sister Faith"
First, a word about packaging: this is a pretty and awesome vinyl release.  Yes, I got the download code, and I will probably listen to the CD that I plan to burn from the MP3's more often than anything else, but I would suggest you get the Vinyl. It's on purple, red and blue "tie dyed" vinyl, with a heavy cardstock cover,  and has a nice newsprint "zine" of Ryan Patterson's witchy illustrations, and a lyric sheet, and a nice photo of the band on a rooftop, a la The Replacements' " Let it Be" . It could be some lost hardcore collectible from 1989 on Homestead records, or something. Musically, it's the next obvious step from House with a Curse, if you know a bit about the players. Ryan's guitars are cutting and sharp like Geordie from Killing Joke meets Bill Barbot from Jawbox, while his voice is a throaty bellow akin to Lemmy, Frankie Stubbs, and Tom Waits. Kayhan's bass throbs with a trebley mix, played low on the neck, like Lemmy or St Patrick from Dillinger Four. Carter's drums are pounding, heavy and spare like early Paul Ferguson or Ted Parsons.  Track 1 and 2,  Disappear from Sight and Last Lost,  could be from Black God- it's that same thrashy hardcore heavily aware of post-hardcore. Like a grindcore band discovering that Fugazi and Jawbox wrote more challenging music than Integrity ever did. Track 3 , Doing Time,  is a straight continuation of what the best moments of House with a Curse had- muscular, anthemic, yet angular hardcore with an equal awareness of Killing Joke and The Jesus Lizard. Track 4, Love Under Will,  is a brooding, reverb-drenched throwback to the late eighties- when everybody from the Effigies to The Call were realizing , by way of U2, that space in the song creates drama- I wish more hardcore and metal bands understood the lesson here- you don't need to stuff your riffs into the song- let it breathe a bit, and that great riff can become a hook. Track 5, Under the Blood of the Moon, umm, did I mention Killing Joke? This sounds like both the late 80's "Love Like Blood" era Killing Joke, and the late 1990's "Millennium" era Killing Joke. It burns down a grinding tribal pulsebeat like some evil cyborg powered by ancient voodoo brews. Track 6, Used Blood,  continues that trend, but with a more traditional guitar riff- like say "Lost in Groningen"- it's Jawbox meets Motorhead, and I defy you not to sway and pump your fist with it, before it degenerates into raw noise. Track 7, Late Night Trains,  again brings the late eighties Killing Joke sound into more traditional rock ground- think "Eighties" meets the Angels' "City Out of Control"- with a prismatic spray of "Blow" by Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. Next, Everything in Glass,   brings Da Noise, and brings Da Funk- a stomping grunge beatdown that sounds like nothing short of Chicago- that is, I will eat a hat ( yours, mine, some bum's) if Steve Albini doesn't have at least a little love for it, and I bet Am Rep would've signed 'em based on the bassline, alone. Track 9, Black Magic Punks, you should know already. If you don't, it's your loss. This is absolutely state-of-the-art post-post-hardcore, that makes Ceremony and Iceage seem like the skeezy little kids that they are. I give Fucked up to the count of 30 to run from the crushing glory of the hook on this one. Save Everything  picks up the pace to Punk rock, with strong spaghetti western riffs. Remember, before "Alternative", when there post punk bands edging around the British charts that sounded genuinely dangerous? Bands like the aforementioned Killing Joke, and Theatre of Hate, and New Model Army, and even Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Shriekback?  This would fit right in with that, and then some. Track 11, Bad Will,  like the first couple of tracks,  is thrashy Robot Rock, like Gang of Four runs into Poison Idea, and they THROW DOWN.  Do not operate heavy machinery around this song, or you may find yourself explaining to the authorities why you stuffed a bully from your childhood into a woodchipper. Next, the title track is a galvanizing rumble of big block rock song that'll make all sludge metal bands jealous. Yes, there is a solo. Track 13, Fuzzbang, is a gleeful noisey blister of a song, that's like all these "Nu gaze" bands ( A Place to Bury Strangers, I'm looking at your skinny asses) thrown into a major key Punk Rock blender. No matter how long this song would be, it's too short. I want hours of this, like an ambient noise to have on while I do my workday. Absolutely glorious.
Lyrically, it's adult punk rock concerns filtered through the pagan/satan filter that I'm not so certain is a put on. Much like say, Alkaline Trio, as opposed to AFI, I don't think it's entirely for effect. I think real meaning is derived from occult/ metaphysical/ theosophic beliefs. That is to say- questions like "How do I maintain my integrity, and my individuality in the face of a society designed to wear me down until all my squareness fits into that round hole?" are taken seriously, and some of the answers come back from non-horror movie occultism. Ultimately, as Sister Faith's lyrics attest, the real faith is in logic, and reason, but the symbols of what most would call "Satanism" are used to get there. It's both knowing, and gnostic, dig?
So, on only two listens, I'm already calling it- this is one of the best LPs I will hear all year.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

May promises to be busy

 I have pre-ordered the new Coliseum record, Sister Faith, which comes out April 30th. Then, my birthday is May 1, so I'm doing something that weekend, I just don't know what. I've got tickets secured to see the Bloody Beetroots on May 17, Coliseum on the 24th, and Baroness on the 25th.  Then, I've pre-ordered the new Kylesa record "Ultraviolet" which comes out May 28. So, lots of Dance Music, Hardcore, Sludge/Stoner, and general goings-on... I'm excited. Wouldn't you be?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Record Store Day ( a Summer Holidays Report)

So, What did I do for Record Store Day? Well, Starting at Midnight: I played Videogames way the hell too late, and ended up going to bed at 0200. So, While I meant to get up at 0700, I ended up getting up at 0800. I Took care of the cats, did a couple of minor chores, and took off to go to the Auto Repair shoppe. There,  I spent $200 on maintenance for the vehicle. Then, I took some doughnuts and Cookies to some co-workers. After that I picked up my adult son, and we had a chat about where his life is going. I am campaigning for him to go to state University, he's intent on going to another private college. I am suggesting he get a non-retail, non-food service job, he's been applying exclusively to that sort of job.  I think he should get his medical house in order, he wants to delay that. I'm advocating that he get a bike, he wants to use public transportation- you see how that goes, right?
Then, we got tickets and saw (along with his girlfriend- my wife is out of town) "The Lords of Salem" . I rather liked it, but it's a very non-linear experimental type of film, heavily indebted to Stanley Kubrick. Specifically, I saw lots of relationship with 2001, Eyes Wide Shut, and The Shining. Also there is some debt to Ken Russell's The Devils, and some surface-level connection to Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby". There's no way to actually spoil the film, so I'll just say that the plot is about creating an Avatar of Satan on this world, and about Witchcraft ( not actual Witches- more like the mythology from Hammer films like The Witches, and The Satanic Rites of Dracula . The story is told largely visually, and symbolically - the dialogue is filled with horrible clunkers like , well, the title- a group of witches called "The Lords of Salem"- The Lords??!?  Then, they're all female? But, as visual entertainment, it's good.You have to have a pretty deep level of commitment to late 1960's and early 1970's exploitation and Art-house cinema to decipher it, but it's there.
So, after that, I went to my local Record store and was thoroughly let down. Nothing released for Record Store day was worth buying, and their selection, otherwise, was lame, at best. Example:
Me: Hey do you have any Coliseum?
Them: Do you mean Alan Holdsworth?
Me: I'll take that as a no, then. How about some Kylesa?
Them: Who?
Me: Ok, how about Clutch- I'm looking to fill in my collection.
Them: We've got this new album "Clutch" by the Earth Rockers
Me: do you have any bullets, as well?
Them: Oh, yeah, we've got lots of bullet belts, and studded bracelets
Me: just point me at your bargain bin....
Sure,enough- in the bargain bin I found several items of note. Mind you, I already own all them, but I had to "rescue" these from their bargain bin. It's something that I think we all should do- if we see a great record in a thrift store, or bargain bin, we should take it because we value it so much more than this horrible shop ever will. So, I got New Model Army- Great Expectations, Die Kreuzen-Cement, Kyuss- Welcome to Sky Valley, and the Circus leaves Town,  Channels- Waiting for the Next End of the World, dEUS- Pocket Revolution, and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - From Her To Eternity. All told, that was 15 bucks. This is why I give less and less of a shit about Record Store Day, as the years go by. It's not about celebrating great music, it's about ignorant, arrogant bastards throwing money around.
So, I then went to a thrift sore, and bought a really nice silk jacket for 10 dollars, and bought dinner, and drove home to drink a few Widmer Brothers' Drop Top Ambers.

Rival Schools Found

I'll be posting soon about other stuff, but for the past week I've been listening to the "New" Rival Schools release "Found" . I think Walter has done very little wrong in his career, except follow logical sequences.  This is material recorded in 2002 for Rival Schools, as opposed to Quicksand, or Gorilla Biscuits, or Civ, or solo. Since it was recorded, Walter has released a solo record, another Rival Schools record, and toured with Quicksand. See what I mean about sequences? Anyway, as I understand it, the specific goal for Rival Schools is to make melodic post hardcore , as opposed to the post hardcore metal of Quicksand, acoustic post hardcore solo stuff, NYHC Gorilla Biscuits or Pop-Punk Civ. Get the idea?  While my favorite incarnation is Quicksand, Rival Schools is a close second and I think folks new to Walter's music could easily confuse Rival Schools for Quicksand. One factor is the immediacy- Rival Schools tends to be more raw, more direct, less dense and complex than Quicksand, and another is that the rest of the band is different, and different players play things differently. In both of these factors, Found is very much a Rival Schools record. The cover of Buzzcocks is telling, however. Much like calling Buzzcocks "Pop Punk" sells short their subtle nods to krautrock, and  psychedelic music- This is not exactly "Post Hardcore" as much as it is a post punk informed hardcore-influenced rock album. I mean you start with the "punky reggae" party that produced everything from Alternative TV to Zounds, then add the pure teenage America aggression of Hardcore, then inform it with the skewed pop perspective of the Pixies and Pavement. In other words, what Walter Schreifels does, is make rock music from the perspective that starts with the late 1970's as the base, and acknowledges what came after- much like a band like Led Zeppelin starts with the Rock  and Roll of the 1950's, and acknowledges the 1960's, and then, incorporated their contemporaries in the 1970's. The point is that English post punk is the "classic rock" base for what Rival Schools does, not Hardcore. This makes them miles apart from most other "post hardcore", and- if you remember 2002 as well as I do- they were rejected by the "Post hardcore" crowd as being Walter's "College rock" sellout. Much like any other cry of 'sellout" it is based upon a misunderstanding of perspective. In Quicksand, Walter wasn't influenced by NYHC- he had partially invented NYHC and was escaping it- So how can he sell out post Hardcore, when he was creating it, by trying to escape a prior creation? His problem is that he is seminal, not contemporary- again that problem of time, and sequence.
So, taken more atomically- The songs on here sound like Fugazi meets Rage Against the Machine ( "Dreamlife Avenger")  or Cro Mags meets My Bloody Valentine (" Indisposable Heroes")  or Sugar meets Ruts (" Paranoid Detectives")  or Gang of Four meets Dinosaur jr ( "The Soft Skin")  or Pixies meets Buffalo Tom ( "Missing Glider"). If you like hard, nearly Metal, post punk and 1990's Alternative mixed in equal measure, I'm pretty sure you already are listening to this, but on the off chance that you're not, you should be.