Archive for January, 2012

The Enthusiasts, “Sinkin/Risin” 7-inch

Posted in garage rock, punk, reviews, streaming audio / video on January 31st, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover-enthusiastsAs I said on last week’s podcast, sometimes the best stuff that comes in the mail is that which is totally unsolicited. Mondo Ray, Weak Teeth, Thee Oops – all of those acts are groups of which I never would’ve known had someone not sent me a record simply by checking out the website. And such is the same with the Enthusiasts, from a small town in New York state.

This release sounds like it was recovered from the vaults of some long-lost ’70s psych rock act. The recording, the playing – it all has that feel of a particular era, yet manages to sound of the time, rather than sounding as if it’s simply aping a style. These guys know what the hell they’re doing, and it makes you want to smoke a bale of weed, drink a few too many beers, and rock out in your basement with these guys playing over in the corner.
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“Right By Her Roots” focuses overly on criticism, rather than interviews

Posted in books, country, reviews on January 30th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

book-cover-right-by-her-rootsMuch as I wanted to enjoy Jewly Hight‘s Right By Her Roots: Americana Women and Their Songs, I just couldn’t. The book — out now via Baylor University Press is a bit of a mess.

The book is front-loaded with the major interview subjects, leaving the back half of the book to founder. While none of the artists featured are household names by any stretch, putting Victoria Williams, Lucinda Williams, and Michelle Shocked as three of your first four chapters doesn’t leave a lot of meat in the back end.
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Rock Stars Who Play Poker

Posted in mp3 on January 26th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

When you think of poker and gambling, you think of Las Vegas, big wads of cash, and maybe a few social beverages. It should come as no surprise that many rock stars have taken up the game of poker in recent years, especially seeing that there is so much money at stake at online poker sties for US players and others. Let’s look at a few of those stars that play poker.

Some rock stars have used poker as not just a way to make some money, but also to help out those less fortunate. Vince Neil of Motley Crue helped out the Nevada SPCA a couple of years ago by taking part in a charity poker tournament that raised literally tens of thousands for neglected and abused dogs. Of course, for his generosity he had to face the Godfather of Texas Hold’em poker Doyle Brunson. Let’s just say that Brunson made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Jerry Cantrell from Alice in Chains as well as Vinnie Paul from Pantera joined Kirk Hamett from Metallica and Greg Tribbett from Mudvayne were all part of a major promotion by online site UltimateBet that allowed players to battle rock and roll stars for a seat for the 2009 Aruba Poker Classic. The rockers were part of a massive tournament that awarded bounties for players who were fortunate enough to knock the players out.

One of the most skilled rock star poker players would have to be Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. Ian is not just your average recreational poker player. After winning a seat to the Aruba Poker Classic in 2007 in VH1′s Rock Stars of Charity poker tournament, he went on to take lessons from poker pros Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke. Within a couple of years, Ian became so proficient that online site UB.com decided to sign Ian as a sponsored pro. Ian has been featured in many high profile tournaments, including the World Series of Poker.

As you can see, the game of poker attracts a varied crowd and those from all walks of life play the game. If you have never played poker, now is a good time to learn the game. You may not be able to play a guitar or sing like a rock star, but you sure can play poker like one.

Podcast #77, “Spirit Of”

Posted in podcast on January 26th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

punk-spiritJesus. I have no idea why I can’t stop hiccuping during the podcasts. I’m fine until I get on the mic, and then: “*hic* *hic* *hic*” It’s like I’m a lush from a 1950′s comic strip or something. Maybe it has something to do with the way I sit in my chair and speak into the microphone. I’ve got that proper straight-spin posture, speaking from the diaphragm and all. Who knows?

The music this week is a nice, concise blend of punk and new wave, heavy on the 1980s. I certainly had fun digging up some lesser-played tracks, and it’ll be a nice counterpoint to next week’s all-new material.

Podcast #77, “Spirit Of”
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Dan Webb talks about the Spiders’ influences and sound

Posted in interview, punk, streaming audio / video on January 25th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

dan-webb-the-spiders
Boston’s Dan Webb & the Spiders released their third LP last year. Entitled Much Obliged, it’s on Gunner Records, and sounds far differently than what you’d expect from a Boston punk act. It takes almost nothing from that area’s long history of hardcore and streepunk, instead offering up a mix of influences that owe more to the more “rural” areas of the country. We spoke with the group’s frontman and namesake, Dan Webb, via e-mail about the group’s influences.
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Back from “Vacation”: reconsidering the latest Bomb the Music Industry! LP

Posted in album download, indie, punk, reviews, vinyl on January 24th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover-btmi-vacationDespite the fact that it came out months ago, I only recent snagged a vinyl copy of Bomb the Music Industry!‘s latest, Vacation. It’d taken me a while to warm up to the newer sounds of the Brooklyn band. This new record is certainly a switch from the ska-punk-indie experimental noise that they were known for.

This is a truly mellow, introspective record, but like Fletcher said in a recent NN2S strip, it’s not mature – “Punk bands don’t get better when they mature. Cheese gets better when it matures. And more smelly. Punk bands that mature just get more boring. And less smelly.”
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Valient Himself on SOPA/PIPA & Megaupload

Posted in random ranting on January 23rd, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

valient-himselfAfter all the hoopla regarding the SOPA/PIPA stuff last week, and the takedown of Megaupload, we’d heard a lot from the likes of media pundits and analysts, but nothing really from the folks supposedly affected by the whole piracy thing against which SOPA was supposed to defend.

That was until Friday, when Valient Himself, frontman for Venusian boogie-metal rockers Valient Thorr, took to his Twitter feed (@valientthorr) to lay out what might be the most rational deconstruction of the whole thing I’ve seen thus far. The Pirate Bay’s screed is funnier, but this is far cooler and personal. I’ve taken the liberty of assembling all the tweets into an easy-to-read couple of paragraphs below.
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Podcast #76, “Insurgent”

Posted in podcast on January 19th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

wanted-dead-or-alive-deanWe take a turn down the gravel road this week, hitting you with some “greatest hits” of the alt.country scene, if such a thing is possible. the other songs, while lesser-known, are no less wonderful, and we could’ve easily made this a 30-track, two-hour affair.

Hopefully, it makes up for the fact that just as we got used to the new mic, we had to screw everything up by adding a new mixing board. It’s a lovely and simple little Mady 6-channel mixer, and it’s a little easier to use, being as how the Tascam needed software to operate, whereas we can adjust this one on the fly. Hopefully, things will get better as we learn how to operate this thing (we’re a little rusty yet), so please be patient.

Podcast #76, “Insurgent”
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Holy Shakes, “Feast or Famine”

Posted in mp3, punk on January 17th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

holy-shakes
We’ve been siting on this mp3 for a while, and I can’t think of a valid reason. For those not in the know (or who don’t listen to the podcast), the Holy Shakes are a band based out of Hot Springs, Arkansas. They also happen to feature on vocals one Mr. Billy Spunke, former vocalist and frontman for long-running Chicago ska-punk-core-whatever-jazz band, the Blue Meanies. The band recorded a demo, and it is amazing.

Think the ebb-and-flow throbbing anger of early ’90s Amphetimine Reptile bands mixed with the snotty, focused energy of Rocket From the Crypt, Cougars or (yes) the Blue Meanies, minus the horns. It’s lean, focused rock and roll, and I hope to god some label has the good sense to pick this up and release it. If I had the money, I’d fucking release it myself. Keep an eye out for their upcoming shows at their Facebook page.

Holy Shakes, “Feast or Famine”

“Spray Paint the Walls” offers up nothing new

Posted in books, punk, reviews on January 16th, 2012 by Nick – Be the first to comment

book-cover-spray-paint-the-wallsGiven the amount of material from Our Band Could Be Your Life and Get In the Van, you’d think that Stevie Chick‘s Spray Paint the Walls: The Story of Black Flag would be a little shorter. The author did a number of interviews, and the material from band members such as Chuck Dukowski and Keith Morris is wonderfully illuminating, in terms of what they bring to the story.

However, the Greg Ginn and Henry Rollins material all comes from previously-published material. In other words, the bulk of the story is already out there. While Spray Paint the Walls is a wonderful piece of research, it’s not a story which you’ve not heard. It’s well-organized, but the most illuminating piece of the book is that Rollins’ infamous “shed” from Get in the Van was in fact a fully-finished study behind the Ginn household, as opposed to an actual garden shed (as I’d always assumed).

This is a nice way to aggregate the story of Black Flag into one thick tome. If you’ve been a fan of the band for some time, or a student of punk history, you already know what’s within its pages, however. While Chick does a good job of presenting a cohesive, interesting story, it’s not strong enough of a narrative to keep anyone reading other than already staunch Black Flag fans.