Saturday, April 5, 2014

Get on This

Seriously. Tilts have a kickstarter. I think you should get on it. Why? Because it's Tilts, why else? The fact is, they bring the party rock in a way that has not been seen since David Lee Roth had hair, and you could forgive Dokken for being assholes.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wrapping up

So, Walking Dead is ending their season tonight, and How I Met Your Mother is ending its run on Monday. You know that old saw about show biz - "Always leave 'em wanting more"? Yeah, neither one would adhere to that. Walking Dead made its point for the season. The group, atomized, is dealing with individual reckonings, and, when they get to the promised land of "Terminus" they will deal with a larger reckoning. I got it, already. Let me guess- Terminus is named such because it's a death factory of some description. Cannibals? Psycho killers? Doomsday cult? Probably all of the above. Walking Dead excels at the details, but the larger plot is cynical, and repetitive. I really think they should change the focus- more episodic, less serial. I think we've seen the journey for most of the characters, so why not see other people's journey. Yes, I'm aware that the comic book is essentially a story told by Rick. So what? They could veer off into new territory. Show us a zombie post apocalyptic story of human survival in Montana, in Winter. Show us how some red state conservative yahoo deals with being stranded in San Francisco after the apocalypse, and how former liberals learn to accept him, or better yet, her.  Give us how old dynamics shift in this new world- a tribe of cold, cruel Amazons made vicious by the new order's lack of opportunity to nurture. See what I mean- there are hundreds of stories there, all complying with mission statement- while we're stuck with Rick and Darryl and Glenn and Maggie.
Conversely, How I Met Your Mother ended two or three seasons ago. I think we're all over the gimmick, and it was a great show, and an even better springboard for the talents of Neil Patrick Harris, and Jason Segal, but the structure of the show is done, and has been done, for years now.I bet the ending is that the Mother is either dead, or divorcing, or otherwise the relationship ends. I bet that people are let down by the finale. Hearing that they're ending this iteration, only to do it all again, simply with new characters? Yeah, that's lousy, and shows just how exhausted the concept is.
So, doesn't anyone know how to wrap it up, anymore?

OFF! Wasted Years

Ok, let's start with the obvious- Off! is Keith Morris' version of Black Flag. From the name ( Black Flag- Bug poison, Off!- Bug Repellent) to the Dan Armstrong guitar tone, this is referencing Black Flag-but, it is not Black Flag- Greg Ginn is negated, here- his misanthropy, his King Crimson-esque atonalities, his Autistic narcissism, all of which is a big part of what Black Flag is- that's not just absent, it's nullified. As pissed off as the lyrics are, they're based around passion, and concern for everyone. This is the voice of a guy who sees his friends being abused, and is striking out on their behalf. So, no, it's not The Circle Jerks, and this isn't a party band, although the videos are hilarious ( and you have got to see them) but it's not the alienated/alienating sort of unfocused threat that Black Flag grew to be, either. Likewise, minus Ginn's excursions into noise sheets, and quarter step 32nd notes completely off the scale solos, The saturated Dan Armstrong sound reads as crude blocks of sound- at times swallowing the bass and part of the tom sound from the drums- but as generic as that might sound, it makes for absolutely zero bullshit power rock- which I think is a good operational definition for Hardcore.
Which is the point, I think. You could argue where Hardcore comes from. Bad Brains, Middle Class, even ,DOA get the credit, however, for my money, Hardcore begins with the Keith Morris version of Black Flag. So, it's only fitting that the last Hardcore band be Off!
That point made, What's the new record like? It's hardcore. Sarcastic, pissed off, frenzied, and ultimately, passionately alive. Yes, you need it, right now. No, I don't think it re-invents anything. No, it's not some breakthrough from the last one. It's H-A-R-D-C-O-R-E. Get it.

Disasteratti- Cerebral Hack Artist

What is it with the midwest and super tight mathy noise rock? I mean, it has ever been thus, and I don't foresee any changes- if you want angular post-hardcore rock music, played with precision, and chops, you go to the Great Lakes region of the US. So, Disasteratti have been a thing for awhile, but I stumbled across them, knowing next to nothing- little did I realize I was going to hear roots math rock, with the best Telecaster tone, like ever- metallic, biting, crunchy and twangy, rubbery and elastic- like the coiled metal of the thing, itself- wire wrapped around magnets, being activated by striking wires wrapped around wires, you hear? The music is based around ye olde 12 bar blues, but at a faster, more adrenalized tempo than what you're used to. The sonics owe a debt to Girls vs Boys and Shellac, and strangely enough, The Gun Club. If that doesn't sound like an awesome combo to you, maybe you should skip this entry. I love it. It's noise, sure- there's that treble-boosted vocal style, like everything is shouted through a megaphone- like mid-period Six Finger Satellite- and yes, that's hardly the most musical thing, but, in context of a telecaster playing bruised, and mutant blues licks over a mean post-hardcore beat? It fits. Other times, you've got a GVSB styled minimalism but with with pedal tones and blue notes galore, hence the Gun Club element- it's almost like they have a slide guitar player, but I'm hearing the fretting. It's like a resonator souped up to aluminum guitar powered by amplification meant for city-wide address systems- like the announcement of rootsrock judgement day delivered by air raid sirens. Yeah, that's it. Go get some.