The Halloween Horror Marathon returns to Rock Star Journalist, starting this Thursday. Once again, we’re doing a weekly team-up with Liam O’Donnell of Cinepunx for his Journal of Fear. You can find the complete list after the jump. We’re doing some thematic things this year: Resurrection Sundays, with zombie movies; New Movie Mondays, covering films that were released in the last year; Fulci Fridays, where we do a Lucio Fulci film with Liam; and Cinematic Saturdays, where we cover a film we saw in an actual movie theater the night before.
At this point, the output of the Josh Berwanger Band is starting to rival that of the bands for which Berwanger was formerly best-know, the Anniversary and Only Children. The band’s just finished recording their second LP, and just release their third single — a split with power-pop idol Dwight Twilley
— on Good Land Records
. We asked Berwanger a few questions via e-mail about the split and his upcoming plans.
The Dirt Daubers (l-r): Rod Hamdallah, JD Wilkes, Jessica Wilkes, Preston Corn
Photo: Joshua Black Wilkins
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.
For those who love music and books, there’s nothing finer than Bloomsbury’s critically acclaimed 33 1/3, which examines individual, seminal albums, in pocket books that pack a punch. The 33 1/3 series celebrates its 100th book, on Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, on Thursday, September 11 and will be having a party for its 10th anniversary on Thursday, October 2, at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn.
Ally Jane Grossan is a commissioning editor at Bloomsbury. She edits academic books in the realms of pop music and sound studies and is editor of the 33 1/3 series, taking over from founding editor David Barker in November 2012. She is also co-editor of the forthcoming textbook, How to Write About Music. We spoke with Grossan via e-mail about the series and its history.
The first release from Kansas City’s Mills Record Company features the finest punk rock ‘n’ roll the city has to offer, with two songs each from Red Kate and the Bad Ideas.
Red Kate continues the wonderful racket they had on last year’s full-length, When the Troubles Come. The first cut, “On My Mind,” is a melodic rocker, almost wistful in the way it recalls someone gone. The cover of Naked Raygun’s “New Dreams” clocks in at half the length of its predecessor, and blasts away for its entire 80 seconds. Factor in the copious “way-oh”s, and you’ve a pile-on pit classic reborn.
The Bad Ideas have always been a live force with which to be reckoned, but these two recordings are fantastic. Mixing classic-era Epitaph Records energy with Sonic Youth guitar work and absolute snottiness, they’re absolute keepers. I can’t decide whether the straight-ahead energy of “Apocalypse Detroit” or the off-kilter jerk of “I’m Stuck” is my favorite, so I just keep flipping the record and starting over from scratch.
The Big Iron‘s We Will Fall sounds like the ’80s, but not the one you remember. This isn’t the 1980s of synth-pop, New Wave, or yacht rock — the Big Iron are the sound of VFW shows, of the bands documented in Our Band Could Be Your Life, of the punk rock underground.
We Will Fall hits every sweet spot of diverse influences you could possibly hope for. “Climate Refugee” rocks it Agent Orange surf-punk style, “Past the Pavement” pays homage to Lawrence punk rock mecca the Outhouse with anthemic SST-style … argh.
It’s fun to play “spot the influences,” but it’s ultimately reductive of the Big Iron’s sound to do so. Their songs aren’t so much in the vein of “this is the Husker Du one, that’s the Naked Raygun song,” as they are the sum influences of guys who have been playing rock ‘n’ roll music for decades, and those influences are the foundation upon what this album is built.
Toronto’s PUP have the stateside release of their self-titled debut out today via SideOne Dummy. I’ve been listening to it pretty regularly since I was turned onto them by Wade from Black on Black, because it’s a monster stereo record — it’s the sort of thing you put on, and just steadily crank the volume until things are rattling on shelves and your ears are ringing. It’s exuberant and raucous and holyfuckingshit have you heard “Reservoir”?
Seattle’s Helms Alee just released their third full-length, Sleepwalking Sailors. It’s their first for label Sargent House after two LPs on Hydra Head. It’s a massive piece of work, both in terms of sound and emotional impact. The trio is currently on tour, opening for labelmates Russian Circles. That tour (also featuring the ever-brutal KEN Mode) hits the recordBar in Kansas City on Saturday, March 15. We spoke with Helms Alee guitarist Ben Verellen a while back about the new album and tour.
Potpourri of Pearls‘ We Went to Heaven has been playing down here in the basement, in the living room, at work, and various places over the past week. I’ve been trying to figure out if my initial impressions of it being amazing and weird have held up to repeated listens.
Honestly, the first time I listened to We Went to Heaven, the whole ’80s worship thing was a fun angle — especially the fact they were lifting Erasure, making this a refreshing switch from bands who’ve been swiping New Order’s sound for the better part of two decades.
Over the weekend of Friday, January 31, through Sunday, February 2, North Kansas City’s Screenland Armour will play host to the second annual Panic Film Fest. In addition to a slew of classic horros films like Deep Red, Driller Killer, and the infamous Cannibal Holocaust, the fest will feature a selection of newer genre fair from Magnet Releasing. Additionally, there will be some interesting left-of-center selections like Spaceballs and Serenity to offer a bit of variety — to say nothing of beer from Tallgrass Brewing and a wide number of vendors.
It’s obviously right up our alley here at Rock Star Journalist, so we reached out to one of the organizer, Tim KC Canton, of Downright Creepy He was kind enough to answer a bunch of our questions via e-mail.