Podcast #128, “Whether the Weather”

Posted in podcast on February 23rd, 2015 by Nick – Be the first to comment
thundersnow It's cold. It's overcast. I'm as tired of grousing about the weather as you are of hearing about it. Let's have the music reflect some dour moods, and then try to redeem things with a bunch of pop. Podcast #128, "Whether the Weather" Louder, "Secret Fiction" (Louder) The Spits, "Come With Me (Yeah Wontcha)" (split with Dan Melchior) Sheer Mag, "Hard Lovin'" (Sheer Mag) Sam Vicari, "Mad At You" (Giving Up) --- Viet Cong, "Bunker Buster" (Viet Cong) The Smiths, "The Headmaster Ritual" (Meat Is Murder) Jeff Ament, "Pendulumorphosis" (Ten Club 2014 single) Grizzly Bear, "Two Weeks" (Veckatimest) --- Josh Berwanger, "Some Other Guy" (split with Dwight Twilley) Pushin' it 2 the Limit, "Pushin' it 2 the Limit Saves the Fish" (Pushin' it 2 the Limit) No Love, "Dogs//Wolves" (North Carolina Singles Series) John Wesley Coleman III, "I Found A Home" (Windian Subscription Series #3)

Celebrity Art Party with Krysztof Nemeth

Posted in art, interview, rock 'n' roll on February 20th, 2015 by Nick – Be the first to comment
Celebrity Art Party is a semi-occurring feature, wherein the artists we enjoy interpret their favorite song. This installment features Krysztof Nemeth. Anyone else think it's weird that both installments of Celebrity Art Party have been by people in bands? I find that odd. Anyhow, Nemeth is guitarist for the noir rockers the Latenight Callers, as well as a very excellent pinup artist in his own right, so it was natural that he was one of the people we reached out to for this (very) occasional series. Krysztof Nemeth - The Cure 'A Forest' web Song title: "A Forest" Artist: The Cure Version of song (live, album, remix, etc.): Regular album version from Seventeen Seconds [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqgIUq5SkQM[/embed] Why this song? It's sort of the perfect late night driving song... When did you first hear it? 14, probably ... as a budding young goth kid in Southern California. How does music such as this inspire you in your work? As far as my artwork, The Cure is great to have playing in the background while I'm drawing. As far as my music, it was instrumental in helping me become the musician I am, today. How has this song changed for you since you first heard it? As a song to listen to, it still holds up! I play this song live in Magnfuckingnificent, KC's The Cure cover band ... so it's only changed in as much as what I can now contribute to it as a live song. I suppose that means that I can give it a regular go out in public where others can appreciate it as well! What upcoming projects do you have? I continue to explore the world of pin-up art as the definition continues to evolve, and I continue to explore the world of dark storytelling in my full-time band The Latenight Callers. You can find out more information on Nemeth's artwork at the Pin-Up Art of Krysztof Nemeth, and on the music he makes via the Latenight Callers' <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TheLatenightCallers"Facebook page.

Louder, “self-titled” LP

Posted in punk, reviews, rock 'n' roll, vinyl on February 18th, 2015 by Nick – Be the first to comment
cover - louderThe self-titled LP from Japan's Louder would be a lot better if it could decide what it wanted to be. Half the cuts are big sugar-metal jams, like album opener "Idiot Mind." Hearing them, one can only assume that the band's name is both homage to and one-upmanship on the early '80s Japanese band Loudness. Those kinds of songs are catchy, they're fast, they're fun -- and, ultimately, transient. Louder's standard rock 'n' roll is good, but it's not particularly noteworthy enough to stand above any of the other bands which have come before them. Stacked up against Guitar Wolf, Electric Eel Shock, or even Gito Gito Hustler, they just can't compete. However, when you listen to something like "Prank" or "Dog Off," with strange, skronky guitar lines and snottier vocal delivery, Louder becomes way more interesting, and something worth checking out. For the most part, you get one or the other: either standard pop-metal or weirdness. The pop-metal overrides the strange by a 3:1 ratio, but for one, brief, shining moment in the middle of the LP, Louder manages to combine angular guitar weirdness and pop to create "Secret Fiction," which is the highlight of this collection of songs. From its build in the middle that leads to the slashing riffs which acommpany the gang vocals ... it's fucking great. As to what it is that leads to these songs being either or, for the most part: given that this is a power trio, with guitar, bass, and drums, I think that given the limitations, there's not a lot of room to do both at the same time. If they added a second guitarist, I feel like Louder could not only beef up their sound, but more fully explore every aspect of what they do without having to choose between them. That said: I enjoyed it. The packaging is stellar, as per usual from Sorry State. The reverse printing on the jacket, along with the printed inner sleeve, make this a seriously cool-looking release. The versions are hand-numbered, with 500 copies on black, and 100 on clear vinyl. It's available now from the Sorry State store.

Windian Records’ Subscription Series Number 3 is bonkers cool

Posted in garage rock, punk, reviews, streaming audio / video, vinyl on February 16th, 2015 by Nick – 1 Comment
windian subscription header Let us discuss the amazingness that is the new Subscription Series from Windian Records. We really enjoyed the singles we heard from the last round, with music from the Ettes and Mrs. Magician, but those were just solo copies, not as part of the whole collection. In other words, how do you talk about a box set when you have neither the box, nor the set? Well, we've the third installment sitting here in the Nuthouse basement, and it is the bee's knees. It's six 7-inch, bog hole, 45rpm singles in a custom box with a big, glossy booklet that showcases the sleeves these singles would have, were they to be purchased individually (which you can, with the art for an additional 79 cents). There's even a download code, and a glow in the dark 45 adapter. The cardboard shipping container the set came in was custom-stamped with the Windian logo, and the pieces of cardboard inside the box, holding everything tight were stampd with the logo of the Subscription Series on the top piece, with another on the bottom saying "Thank You, Come Again." That is devotion to an aesthetic ideal far beyond anything I can remotely conceive of. How's that for vinyl fetishism? This is beyond fetish object into full-on totemic territory. As a bonus, you can get two versions, on black and clear vinyl, limited to 150 and 100 copies, respectively. However, for $6 a single, I'm assuming you want some quality music, too, unless you're just one of those peopel who buys things and sticks them on a shelf to stare at. It's a bit of a mixed bag, as are all single series. In this case, I wasn't familiar with any of the artists being featured, so it was rather like getting a label sampler and hoping for the best. Norfolk, Virginia's the Seeers do a rather nice straight-ahead garage power pop. It's a little muddy and midtempo, but I can really see myself getting into those harmonies come springtime, while DD Owen (aka Drew Owen of Sick Thoughts) rocks dirty electronic punk with enough reverb to drive you mad. Platinum Boys hail from Wisconsin and certainly do have the guitar chops of Thin Lizzy, if a bit skinnier in terms of tone. "Candy" is pure pop sugar, while "Wild Child" has an underlying scuzzy fuzz. NYC's Church Bats could be accused of worshipping a little too devotedly at the feet of cavestomp artists. The way they ape that whole lo-fi, hollow recording aesthetic on "Foreign Man" could come across as fake, were it not for the fact that the song's a genuine rave-up, excellently contrasted by the perfect fuzzed-out instrumental "Half Man, Half Shellfish" that does Link Wray's grinding strip club undertones in a way I've not heard in ages. War Party's a-side is absolutely perfect psychedelic pop, but the b-side is another garage song about being drunk, and if you're not going to bring anything new, find something else to write about. Finally, John Wesley Coleman III's a-side is the cut that really doesn't grab me. "I Feel Like A Sad Clown" is fine enough power-pop, but "I Found A Home" is so absolutely off-kilter musically (that keyboard really goes freaky at points), but absolutely touching lyrically. It sounds like nothing so much as the Troggs covering "Care of Cell 44," and I can't get enough of it. You can listen to 8 out of the 12 tracks below, via Soundcloud. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/windian-records/sets/windian-subscription-series-3[/embed] The Windian Subscriptions Series #3 is available for order through the Windian Records store

JD Wilkes on the Dirt Daubers and writing

Posted in interview, rockabilly, upcoming events on February 12th, 2015 by Nick – Be the first to comment
[caption id="attachment_18282" align="aligncenter" width="560"]The Dirt Daubers (l-r): Rod Hamdallah, JD Wilkes, Jessica Wilkes, Preston Corn Photo: Joshua Black Wilkins The Dirt Daubers (l-r): Rod Hamdallah, JD Wilkes, Jessica Wilkes, Preston Corn
Photo: Joshua Black Wilkins[/caption] If there were a position for the artist most likely to cause a ruckus, it would be JD Wilkes. As frontman for the Dirt Daubers, to say nothing of th' Legendary Shack Shakers, the man's known for being a growling rockabilly frontman, and absolutely captivates when he's on stage. If you live in the Kansas City area, you'll get several chances to catch Wilkes in the coming weeks: JD Wilkes & The Dirt Daubers perform at Springfield's Outland Ballroom on Sunday, February 15, and then Wilkes performs solo several times during the 2015 Folk Alliance International conference, which runs Wednesday, February 18 through Sunday, February 22. Wilkes was kind enough to answer a few questions for us via e-mail in advance of these shows. How do you balance the expectations of those who saw you with the Shack Shakers with what you want to present with the Dirt Daubers? I try to be honest to the music in both bands. Hopefully our true fans will appreciate the depth of our commitment to both projects and understand that "the music must win" in the end (as cliched as that sounds). "It's about the music, man." (Said in a stoner voice) Do you feel as if people expect you to be some sort of shirtless rockabilly madman? Yes, but there are those who like the harmonica and banjo work too, as well as the lyrics and the songs I've worked out with my band mates. We're more faceted than what some knuckleheads can comprehend. But the tail shall not wag the dog & I'll keep doing what is true to my "vision". God, I'm full of clichés today! The Dirt Daubers' direction seems to be the roots of rockabilly itself. What acts inspired you to take this direction? I'm inspired by everyone from Dock Boggs to Tom Waits to Magic Sam. Blues is the basis for everything I attempt. The Dirt Daubers allows me to focus more on a more well-rounded approach to music for music's sake. There I go again! You're performing at the Folk Alliance International Conference. What things can folks expect from that performance? Me, a banjo and a chair. Playing as many shows as you do has to take its toll. When do you find the time to write? There's nothing but downtime when you're on tour. Driving, waiting around before the gig ... days off in a hotel room while on tour and weeks at home when you're off the road. Thank goodness for iPhones and voice recorders! You can drive and think and dictate ideas all at the same time. I just completed a novel, of sorts, too. 42,000 words linking all my song lyrics into one story. I'll publish it as soon as I can. These are the things you can do if you allow yourself the freedom to live a life of creativity. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o899EgWDDxQ[/embed] You can find more information about JD Wilkes and the Dirt Daubers at their website, as well as their Facebook page.

Podcast #127, “Tony Foresta of Municipal Waste/Iron Reagan”

Posted in podcast on February 9th, 2015 by Nick – Be the first to comment
tony foresta iron reagan This episode once again features a special guest DJ, and strangely, this one also features a Tony. In this case, however, it's Tony Foresta, frontman for the thrash-metal punks Municipal Waste, as well as hardcore revivalists Iron Reagan. I did an interview with him for the Runout which will run later this week, but while I had Foresta on the line, I asked him about a few of his favorite songs. It's a pretty cool mix. Iron Reagan is currently on-tour with Napalm Death, Voivod, Black Crown Initiate, and Exhumed. Those dates run through February 28, and you can find more information at Iron Reagan's Facebook page. Podcast #127, "Tony Foresta of Municipal Waste/Iron Reagan" Beastie Boys, "Paul Revere" (License to Ill) Wu-Tang Clan, "Protect Ya Neck" (Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)) -- Minor Threat, "Betray" (Out of Step) S.O.D., "Chromatic Death" (Speak English or Die) Jesus Lizard, "Nub" (Goat) --- Quicksand, "Head to Wall" (Slip) --- Rival Mob, "It Must Be Nice" (Mob Justice) Night Birds, "Neon Gray" (The Other Side of Darkness) Torche, "Keep Up" (Volcom Entertainment Vinyl Club) --- SS Decontrol, "Glue" (Get It Away)

Pushin’ It 2 The Limit, “self-titled” cassette

Posted in cassettes, punk, reviews on February 4th, 2015 by Nick – Be the first to comment
pi2tl header When I reviewed Ex Friends' Rules For Making Up Words last year, I mentioned that I really liked Audrey Crash's vocals, but was "kind of turned off by Joel Tannenbaum‘s delivery>' Well, here's the perfect solution: Crash is fronting a band called Pushin' It 2 The Limit. Their new, self-titled cassette is pretty boss. Short, punchy tunes that rush along, kind of like a punker Lemuria. The songs have pop hooks and catchy lyrics -- "Breaking through Everything with Your Facehammer" is an excellent example of how PI2TL works: lyrics about pushing through, being creatively fulfilled, sang with wobbly harmonies by Crash and guitarist Leta Gray. Everything's a little shaggy around the edges -- the band's a bit off-time on some cuts, like "Vertical Horizon," where it's a bit like the group recorded, and cared more for the relaxed feel than getting it precisely right. And, really -- I'm fine with that. This isn't a perfect album, but it's warm and fun, and definitely not limited by some idea of what's supposed to happen on an album. Hell, the trio noodles out on the end of "Vertical Horizon," then goes right into "Pump Up the Shred," which is a full-on skatepunk number. That's not following the rules. My favorite song features guest vocals from a cat named Winnie, and is a short, bouncy number called "Pushin' it 2 the Limit Saves the Fish." A cat! A cat on vocals. It's shit like this that makes this cassette super-fucking-charming, and fun, and while I was a little worried when I saw the cover art (it could've very easily have been bad retro hardcore), Pushin' It 2 The Limit play music that is exactly the sort of thing you want to put on, crank to the limit, and start your day off with some positive affirmations that also shred like whoah. Best part of the record is that the entire band shouts the title of each song before it kicks in. That thing, where you're listening to the album, and you have to keep pulling out of the card, case, sleeve, or whatever? No problem! You'll be yelling the titles along with the rest of the songs in no time. You can find more information about Pushin' It 2 The Limit at their Facebook page.

Reviews of No Love and Davidians’ entries in Sorry State’s North Carolina Singles Series

Posted in garage rock, punk, reviews on February 3rd, 2015 by Nick – 1 Comment
sorry state north carolina singles series Sorry State Records recently launched their first single series, dedicated to releasing bands from North Carolina, and the first two installments are now out. The singles come in identical sleeves, and the design asthetic is clean, with a color scheme that calls back to the North Carolina flag, without directly referencing it. With hand-stamped center labels on the vinyl, the packaging combines thoughtful with the slight sloppiness of DIY, making for a cool look. But looks aren't everything. What of the music? Davidians' release is thrashy, but not in the metal sense -- it's more like the "throw yourself around the room, twitching arhythmically." The beat and melodies on the b-side, "Gimme All Yo' Dope," are off-kilter and disjointed, but infectious. It's a song constructed to throw the listener off-balance, especially as it slowly builds to a passionate middle, which then slows, only to abruptly blast through its final seconds. The a-side, "Night Terrors," is a blast of energy, start to finish, filled with the same shrieking energy to be found on the flip, but it's bit more sonically straight-ahead. While good, it's "Gimme All Yo' Dope" that's the solid jam. No Love's "Dogs//Wolves" does that thing where it starts out with a lo-fi, distorted guitar all alone before just exploding into rock 'n' roll. If there's not a term for it, there should be. Dead smack in the middle, there's a simple three-note bridge that takes the tone down for just a second, before blowing everything up with more short, punchy riffs that leave you breathless and curious as to why the song's suddenly over. The only answer is to put the needle back to start, and go at it again. "Bad Things" has the vocals buried way down in the mix, so it's not quite as much fun. The energy's there, but straining to hear what's being sung makes it hard to enjoy cut, especially the crazy build during the last half. You want to be able to shout along, but straining to hear the words just takes away from the whole experience. Still -- good, just not as great as it could be. Both singles are limited to 250 copies each, and come with download codes. They're available now from the Sorry State store. You can get No Love's single by clicking here and Davidians' single by clicking here.

Podcast #126, “Subhumanoid Meltdown”

Posted in podcast on January 26th, 2015 by Nick – Be the first to comment
subhumanoid meltdown header Somehow, I lost the cable which connects the soundboard to my computer, so I was forced to dig out the old USB microphone in order to back announce. The positive is that I managed to relate some really good information, while the negative is that the audio volume fluctuates quite a good deal. I did my best to mitigate, but we'll have to see what you all think. The music's good, at least. Podcast #126, "Subhumanoid Meltdown" Glenn Acker, "Class of Nuke 'Em High Part 2 Theme" (Class of Nuke 'Em High) Reggie & the Full Effect, "What the Hell is Contempt" (Songs Not to Get Married To) Torche, "Blasted" (Restarter) The Murder City Devils, "Midnight Service at the Mütter Museum" (Thelema) --- Lemuria, "Courtesy Mercedes" (Turnstile Comix #3) Radiohead, "Bones" (The Bends) Tears For Fears, "Head Over Heels" (Songs From the Big Chair) The Jam, "That's Entertainment" (Sound Affects) --- Andrew Thomas Wilson, "Car Chase" (Chain Reaction) Umberto, "Confrontations (Antoni Maiovvi's Galaxy Of Terror Mix)" (Digital download) John Carpenter, "Night" (Lost Themes) Kurt Vile, "Invisibility: Nonexistent" (Square Shells)

Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish at the Granada

Posted in live music, punk, reviews, ska on January 19th, 2015 by Nick – 3 Comments
sign RBF/LTJ The Granada, Lawrence Friday, January 16 Something about pairing the twin titans of ska-punk brought out every 30-something in Lawrence Friday night. Also, their kids. Hell, even my kid was there with his roommate. It seemed like the in place to be. And why not, really? While it's a legitimate argument that neither Less Than Jake nor Reel Big Fish have put out a good album in the last decade, the energy and fun of their live shows is undeniable. It's weird, because I've seen Less Than Jake so many times at this point that I'm never quite certain as to which show I'm remembering. Given that the band's had a pretty steady lineup as of late, with a setlist that's always sure to include "Look What Happened" and "Automatic," it's basically like the ska version of those REO Speedwagon, Boston, or Foreigner shows that played every summer for most of my childhood. It's great that they're still releasing new material, but I basically just want to hear "Riding the Storm Out" or "More Than A Feeling." But nostalgia aside, everybody's voices are holding up, they don't look wrinkly and sad while jumping around on stage, and the crowd's got enough money to buy merch. I think we all win. [gallery ids="18253,18252,18251,18250,18249,18248,18247,18246,18245"] Jesus Christ, Reel Big Fish. The Granada was sweaty and packed by the halfway point of their set. It was a perfect example that, despite the fact that Aaron Barrett is the only original member, the band's managed to remain a fantastic live act. You'd think that the loss of Dan Regan and Scott Klopfenstein would've rendered the band a pale imitation of itself, but Reel Big Fish remains a live act of impressive energy. Hell, they rocked a cover of "Monkey Man" which managed to be of quality, despite being a cover of Amy Winehouse covering the Specials covering Toots & the Maytals. I might've been drunk as shit by the halfway point of their set, but I could've watched them all night. [gallery ids="18242,18244,18241,18243,18240,18239"] Authority Zero kicked everything off. They've been around for years, always seeming to glom onto the opening slot for a third-wave ska act making the rounds. They're the amalgamation of every heavy pop-punk band that ever had a ska song (see also: Wank, Schleprock), and while energetic, completely failed to grab my interest. Authority Zero gives their all on stage, for sure, with a frontman who's constantly in motion, but they're that thing that kills me: talented, but utterly unremarkable. Not a single song turned me off, but neither was there anything which had me writing down lyrics to track it down afterward. [gallery ids="18238,18234,18236,18237,18235,18233"] Fun fucking times, people. Wallowing in nostalgia might be sad at times, but sometimes it can be a glorious celebration of shit that's fun and exciting. It's always a pleasant thing to discover that sometimes, you can revisit your youth, and thank god -- it's actually something worth going back to. crowd