Read the first chapter of David McGowan’s “Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon”

Posted in books, rock 'n' roll on March 20th, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

Headpress (of whom we are big fans here in the Nuthouse) is getting ready to release the newest book from David McGowan. Entitled Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & The Dark Heart Of The Hippie Dream, it looks to be an absolute head trip. The introduction and first chapter — which you can read above — tie in the Laurel Canyon hippie scene to the miltary-industrial complex, pedophilia, and so much more. It’s some freaky conspiracy shit, which is always an interesting read.

If you buy it from the Headpress shop by tomorrow, Friday, March 21, you save 10% and can get it as an exclusive hardcover.

Art Contest, “Math Major” LP

Posted in art, indie, reviews, streaming audio / video on March 19th, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

cover - art contest math majorPart of writing about music means there’s a constant quest for something new and interesting. The downside to that is finding so many bands that do things differently, but not very well. So, when yone finds a band like Art Contest, it’s all the more rewarding.

I can’t stop playing this album. Seriously, it’s been a good long while since I’ve heard an album as brilliantly sequenced as this. Each track leads into the next so fucking well that you’ll just keep listening, waiting to hear what comes next. And then, because you know what’ll come next, you listen to it again, and then maybe a third time to check and see what you might’ve missed.

Repeat as necessary.
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Kippi’s Daniel Mana on the band’s upcoming Sickroom Records debut

Posted in interview, rock 'n' roll, upcoming album, upcoming release on March 18th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

Due out next week from Sickroom Records is the debut release from Italian trio Kippi’s, entitled Semplice Como Nuvole. It’s a fascinating combination of motorik post-punk rhythms and psychedelic influences. The whole album is frankly hypnotic. Coming as it does right as the weather’s warming up, we can see this getting a lot of windows down, volume up play around the house, and especially in the car. We were lucky enough to get to ask frontman Daniel Mana a few questions about the band and their album via e-mail.
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Podcast #109, “Sick & Tired”

Posted in podcast, punk on March 17th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

sneezing catThis episode of the podcast reveals the mystery of why I sounded so horrid last time, and not-so-coincidentally features me saying awful things about Jenny McCarthy.

On a positive note, the plans for a mellow, introspective series of songs were scrapped in order to bring you this swampy brew of anger and depression. I’m not sure how I managed to make Ghoul and the Louvin Brothers work in the same podcast, but I’m assuming codeine had somethign to do with it.

Podcast #109, “Sick & Tired”
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“The Zombie Film” alternates frustrating vagueness with in-depth analysis

Posted in books, movies, reviews, streaming audio / video, video on March 13th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

book cover - zombie filmAlain Silver and James Ursini‘s new tome, The Zombie Film: From White Zombie to World War Z, is out now from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, and despite some flaws, it’s worth grabbing, especially for those newly interested in the genre, although longtime horror buffs can find a few new grains of information.

The Zombie Film essentially waffles between seriously in-depth analysis and what seems like a galloping rush to include as much material as possible. While Silver and Ursini should get a huge pat on the back for organizing the book into chronological and locale-specific chapters, rather than just churning out an A-Z list of reviews and summaries, few films get near the analysis they deserve.
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Helms Alee’s Ben Verellen on the band’s new album and tour

Posted in interview, live music, metal, upcoming events on March 12th, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

helms alee
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.
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Dinos Boys, “Last Ones” LP

Posted in garage rock, reviews on March 11th, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

cover - dinos boysThe latest from Brooklyn’s Oops Baby Records is a full-length LP from Atlanta’s Dinos Boys, entitled Last Ones. It’s a split release with Atlanta’s Die Slaughterhaus Records, and if you’re familiar with both labels, then you’ve already got a pretty good idea of what this 12-inch sounds like.

Unsurprisingly, it’s upbeat, lo-fi, and jangly-as-fuck garage rock. It managesw to avoid being standard issue by throwing in some great tempo changes midway through the majority of their numbers — the stop-start moments of “Hoovertown,” as well as what might the only micro-breakdown ever, make this recording a lot more interesting to spin over and over again.
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“A Man Called Destruction” flatly documents the life of Big Star’s Alex Chilton

Posted in books, pop, reviews, rock 'n' roll on March 10th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

book cover - a man called destructionIt seems that Alex Chilton and Big Star are in the midst of a revival. It started with 2009′s Keep an Eye on the Sky, a box set that compiled music from all eras of Big Star’s existence and continued with last year’s Nothing Can Hurt Me documentary. Now we finally have the literary companion in Holly George-Warren‘s Chilton biography, A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man, out March 20 from Viking.

It’s a thoroughly comprehensive book. My big complaint with Nothing Can Hurt Me is that it seemed awfully rushed, fitting far too much into a short running time. However, as thorough as the book is — going all the way back to the Chilton family’s European roots — A Man Called Destruction completely lacks any sort of emotional core.
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Ask the Dead, “The Leans” EP

Posted in reviews, rock 'n' roll on March 6th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

coverIntros can be complicated things. Sometimes, an intro teases what you can expect from a song, and other times, it’s a counterpoint. I’ve come to learn that I want my song intros to tease the song. Counterpoints usually mean that, should I enjoy the intro, I will not be much of a fan of the song.

Such is the case with the burbling electronics and shimmering guitars that open up Ask the Dead‘s “The Leans,” the titular track to their new EP. The introduction’s production had me hoping this would be quiet and weird, but once you get into the meat of the songs, they’re standard alt rock, strongly influenced by the likes of the Foo Fighters.

The vocals are way too high in the mix, making what could’ve been something pretty decent less so, given that the strain in the singer’s voice becomes that much mroe apparent when not masked by a pretty decent band. A little more deviation from the norm, and we could’ve had something like the Burden Brothers, which took the Toadies and gave them a makeover by way of the Murder City Devils.

You get hints of what could be during a breakdown on “All Fall Down,” where the bass gets funky, but past those few seconds and the opening of the EP, this is frighteningly basic modern rock radio stuff. I’m sure they’re fun live, but this EP is pretty much

Alpha Owl, “3 Song EP” cassette

Posted in cassettes, reviews, rock 'n' roll on March 5th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - alpha owlAlpha Owl‘s “Boscage” single is an amazing package. Hand-typed liner notes, letterpress artwork, and it’s just amazing. Lots of work for a three-song EP, especially something that’s limited to a production run of 100.

The music took me a little more to get into. It’s energetic stoner metal that acknowledges that Black Sabbath wrote “Paranoid,” as well as “War Pigs,” if that makes any sense. The EP isn’t all plodding sludge — it’s actually upbeat and makes you want to do that thing where you play air guitar and wiggle your fingers. It involves lots of epic soloing, some insane riffage, and some pounding drums that make me wish this hadn’t been mastered so high. Were there more of a low end, this could conceivably level a house.

This might be the most fun release Tor Johnson has put out. It manages to rock like a hardcore band, but still evokes every evening spent smoking too much weed and raiding your parents’ LPs for Hawkwind and Led Zeppelin records. Granted, the vocals are occasionally just a little out of reach of the singer’s range, but it ends up lending the whole affair a sense of desperation that wouldn’t otherwise be there. For a first release, it shows a lot of promise, and I can’t wait to see where Alpha Owl heads next.