Apache Dropout’s Seth Mahen and Sonny Alexandre on “Heavy Window”

Posted in garage rock, interview, punk, streaming audio / video on August 21st, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

apache dropout flier
Indiana garage trio Apache Dropout just released their latest album, Heavy Window, via Magnetic South Recordings this Tuesday. The album’s much darker than their last record, Bubblegum Graveyard which was released in 2012 on Chicago’s Trouble In Mind. We’ve been enjoying the hell out of the LP, so we reached out to the band’s Seth Mahern and Sonny Alexandre to ask them about how Heavy Window came together.
read more »

“Chasing the Light” an overly-effusive, yet still-potent story of Minnesota band Cloud Cult

Posted in books, indie, reviews on August 20th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

book cover - chasing the light cloud cultMark Allister‘s upcoming book for university of Minnesota Press, Chasing the Light: The Cloud Cult Story is as enthusiastic a band history and biography as one could ask for. That’s where the trouble lies: it’s so enthusiastic, it’s so positive, it’s so very cheerleader toward the band that one has difficulty seeing any sort of objectivity within its pages.

Case in point: new members’ reasons for joining are explained, but very rarely is explanation given as to why someone left. There are as many former members as there are current members of the Minnesota band, and with the exception of Sarah Young, the cellist who left in 2011 to raise a family, the other band members who’ve left aren’t really explained at all.
read more »

Podcast #115, “Laundry Day”

Posted in podcast on August 18th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

Ah, yes — the joys of recording a podcast while the washing machine sloshes above and the dehumidifer hums below. Apologies for any segments of the podcast where my voice is washed out. Recording in the basement on a Sunday morning isn’t the quietest place to get things done.

Podcast #115, “Laundry Day”
read more »

Glasper’s “Burning Britain” for the fans only

Posted in books, punk, reviews on August 13th, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

book cover - burning britainIan Glasper‘s tenth anniversary edition of Burning Britain: The History of UK Punk 1980-1984 (out now from PM Press) is an invaluable resource for anyone looking for first-person narratives of the second wave of UK punk. For those looking for an interesting read, that’s another story.

Burning Britain is like a very large ‘zine. It’s very rambling, with lots of interjections and asides, and quite a bit of editorializing on the part of the author. Glasper is prone to describe singles or songs as “crackling with an almost tangible passion and urgency,” as he does in the case of the Underdogs’ “East of Dachau” single.
read more »

Ray Creature, “Ray Creature” LP

Posted in electronic, punk, reviews, streaming audio / video on August 11th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - ray creatureRay Creature, the new project from Leg’s John Booth, has an interesting record out now on Sister Cylinder. While I’m not really into the whole post-punk aesthetic, I’ve gotten a little further into the synthwave / darkwave / et cetera sets of bands because of my growing obsession with ’80s horror flicks.

However, while I really dig the synths on this record, the vocals turn me off. The whole demon Elvis croon pretty much peaked with Glenn Danzig, and everyone else is aping him. Find your own voice, folks. “Threat” and “Burning Alive” (especially the latter) are the only really egregious examples extant on Ray Creature’s LP, but they’re particularly glaring.
read more »

Alex Ogg offers up a balanced history of the Dead Kennedys’ early years

Posted in books, punk, reviews on August 5th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

book cover - dead kennedys fresh fruitAuthor Alex Ogg has accomplished a rare task with his new book, Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, The Early Years. In the history, out now from PM Press, Ogg manages to present all sides of the band’s history, speaking with all sides of the now-warring members. More surprisingly, it’s actually entertaining.

Much of this is due to Ogg’s own wit, and ability to see the slightly-surreal and absurd aspects that characterize Dead Kennedys’ history. The verbal jabs and parries between the members makes for a rambunctious read, but it never degenerates into the literary equivalent of a Real Housewives episode.
read more »

Podcast #114, “Back From Holiday”

Posted in links, podcast on August 4th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

worst holiday
And we’re back. Not only has it been a hot minute since the last podcast (May?! Really?), the site’s been kind of dormant. I mean, it’s 100% my doing — we’ve had some scheduling switches at work, the wife and I’ve been doing a bit of traveling, and I’ve been knocking out a lot of writing for other places.

I’m going to consider myself a vaguely-successful writer, being as how I’m too busy writing for other people to have anything left for this little corner of the internet. Check out reviews and interviews at The Fast Pitch, The Runout, and Starburst Magazine — there’s everything from pop-punk to local television to film scores. It’s a blast, but I’ll try and get some more book stuff and vinyl coverage here as I can.

Podcast #114, “Back From Holiday”
read more »

Black On Black / Greys / Westerners at the Replay Lounge

Posted in live music, local, photos, punk, reviews on July 22nd, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

Black On BlackMore shows need to be like this: all ages, over by 9:00pm, and cheap. I would go to each and every matinee rock show, schedule allowing. There’s something wonderful about getting off work, eating dinner, and then seeing a couple of bands, and getting home in time to knock out a couple chapters in that book you’re reading.

Yes, I know this makes me old and lame, but yesterday evening’s show at the Replay Lounge was fricking great. In addition to the situational things, it had that rarest of elements these days, wherein the bands didn’t all sound alike. Don’t get me wrong: I love a standard punk bill. However, opening the show was Lawrence’s Westerners, who start out their sets sounding kind of funky, kind of jammy. It gets a few raised eyebrows on an “all-ages punk show” kind of bill, obviously, but the way this band gets progressively weirder as their set progresses never ceases to amaze.
read more »

Late Bloomer, “Things Change” LP

Posted in indie, punk, reviews, streaming audio / video, vinyl on July 21st, 2014 by Nick – 3 Comments

coverEver since Late Bloomer debuted “Use Your Words,” I’ve been foaming at the mouth to hear all of Things Change, their sophomore LP on Tor Johnson, Lunchbox, and Self Aware Records. I tried to hold back until I had the LP in my hot little hands, but caved and listened to it streaming a few weeks back.

This all goes to say that Things Change is an album which — once you’ve had a taste of it — you want to hear in its entirety, over and over again. “Use Your Words” was and is an excellent introduction, kicking off the album in a way that reminds me a lot of any number of bands I hear in the mid to late ’90s, but more in terms of tone than specific sound.
read more »

McPadden’s “Heavy Metal Movies” a fun and essential read

Posted in books, metal, movies, reviews on July 14th, 2014 by Nick – 3 Comments

book cover - heavy metal moviesI’d had the pleasure of interviewing Mike “McBeardo” McPadden in advance of the release of Heavy Metal Movies: Guitar Barbarians, Mutant Bimbos & Cult Zombies Amok in the 666 Most Ear- and Eye-Ripping Big-Scream Films Ever! Sadly, when we spoke, all I’d had a chance to read was the intro and a sample chapter, which was exactly enough to have me foaming at the mouth to get my hands on the full magilla.

Thanks to Bazillion Points being kind enough to shoot me a copy, I’ve now spent the better part of the last month thumbing through Heavy Metal Movies each and every time I’ve been on the couch. It’s taken about that long to get through the epic tome, but every moment spent perusing its pages has been well-spent. In addition to revisiting old favorites, seeing what was left out, and just trying to see what stuff I need to track down.
read more »