Breakout, “True Crime” 7-inch

Posted in punk, reviews, vinyl on December 16th, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment
cover - breakout true crimeGorgeous, wonderful hardcore, where pummeling downbeats meet vaguely positive guitar upstrokes. I had Breakout pitched to me as "Bad Brains meet the Ruts," and it's as accurate as anything I can come up with. There's a sense of 4/4 time, without anything ever being explicitly ska-punk -- listen to "All's Quiet" for a perfect example of that. However, there's also the stomping progression of "No Sooner Said Than Done," which comes in, walks into the room, punches you in the face, and clomps back out. However, there's "Fill Your Boots," which might just be the most perfect blend of punk rock's melody with hardcore's energy I've heard yet this year. It's a song that again, hearkens to something (I'm going to say Cocksparrer) without explicitly being a streetpunk song. The energy on this release had me chomping at the bit to put it on my turntable over and over since True Crime came in the mail. There's just something about the way the low end powerfully annihilates while at the same time the guitar manages to keep everything musically positive. With lyrics like "I stand accused/ Without a voice" from "No Sooner Said Than Done," this could've been a real downer of a record, but Breakout manages to latch onto a sense of getting something accomplished, whether by tooth or claw, and it comes through in each and every note. Breakout's True Crime 7-inch isn't Heartless, but neither is it New Bomb Turks. This quartet reminds me of nothing so much as the harder-edged version of Night Birds, who are pretty much the last band whom I heard and absolutely had to spin their single over and over and over again. Not coincidentally, that release was also on Grave Mistake, from whom you should buy this record. [embed][/embed] [embed][/embed]

Podcast #123, “Tony Rettman & NYHC”

Posted in books, hardcore, interview, podcast on December 15th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment
book cover - nyhcIt's been a good long while since we last spoke with author Tony Rettman (going all the way back to podcast number twelve), but his new book for Bazillion Points, NYHC: New York Hardcore 1980-1990 is pretty amazing. We were lucky enough to interview Mr. Rettman for the Runout, and while we had him on the line, we had him play DJ for a few songs. Thus, there's nothing but New York hardcore on this particular episode, but it's a nice mix of both classics and new, and all of it likely a bunch of stuff you've not ever heard. If you like what you hear, check out the full Spotify playlist Mr. Rettman put together for the book (and, conveniently, buy a copy of NYHC) at the Bazillion Points website. Podcast #123, "Tony Rettman & NYHC" Cro-Mags, "Show You No Mercy (demo version)" (1984 Demo) Urban Waste, "Reject" (Urban Waste) Agnostic Front, "Hiding Inside" (Victim In Pain) --- Maximum Penalty, "All Your Boyz" (Demo '89) The Mob, "Step Forward" (Step Forward) --- Killer Instinct, "Torture You First" (Big Apple: Rotten to the Core) --- Brain Slug, "Distort New York" (Distort New York) In School, "Knocked Out" (Praxis of Hate)

Death to Tyrants, “Untitled EP” 7-inch

Posted in hardcore, reviews, vinyl on December 9th, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment
cover - death to tyrants untitledWriting about instrumental post-rock is really one of the hardest things to do, which is a goddamn shame, because Death to Tyrants' new untitled 7-inch EP for Tor Johnson Records is absolutely wonderful. Maybe we'll just talk about that. How does that sound? Death to Tyrants work the whole hardcore angle of the various "post" genres more than anything else, but it's the way in which the group takes it on that really keeps me putting this back on the turntable for another go-around. Each song has a groove around which the entire song revolves, and to which everything returns time and time again, working as the backbone and framework for the whole piece. The way Death to Tyrants will then take that groove and rock a breakdown in the middle of it, and then start cycling through that on top of the original piece, and building both to a larger climax? It's astonishingly complex, and I wish I knew more about the band that put this out. When you hear the way "So Far Above Sea Level" builds and builds, and then just absolutely drops out to quiet, slow drums and a simple guitar melody backed by the faintest hint of dirge, before quietly fading out, you'll have your breath taken away. But ... for as musically interesting and arresting as this is, the artwork looks like a Paint Shop Pro job, circa 1999. Basic font, slightly pixelated photo, and what looks like an attempt at replicating a hand-stamped look on the labels. It sounds amazing, but looks cheap. You can get it from Tor Johnson on either blue swirl or black vinyl.

Sitar Outreach Ministry, “Revolution In Dimension 5″ cassette

Posted in cassettes, reviews on December 8th, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment
cover - sitar outreach ministry revolutionWhen you get a cassette by a band called Sitar Outreach Ministry, and you know nothing more than whom it was released by, you put it in the tape deck the instant it shows up in the mail. So it went with Revolution In Dimension 5 the band's release on Magnetic South. It's probably the most novel thing a band could do these days, but it's not the unusual nature of Sitar Outreach Ministry's music or the novelty which sets them above anything, despite their Soundcloud featuring covers of the Velvet Underground and Bill Withers. However, it is those covers -- and, more specifically, the breadth of music which they represent -- that gives a clue as to why this one guy from Bloomington, Indiana, is such an interesting cat to listen to. There's psychedelic swilring going on here, obviously. To think otherwise would be ludicrous. It's the fact that there's some warmth and soul going on that's made Sitar Outreach Ministry's tape become my go-to for lousy days. Putting it on and letting everything swirl and drone from my speakers pretty much kills any negativity I might have going on. Is it even possible to be in a shitty mood as you hear the Spider-Man theme raga-fied and reverbed almost out of context? Nope. [embed][/embed] [embed][/embed] Sitar Outreach Ministry's Revolution In Dimension 5 can be found on Bandcamp or as a physical edition red cassette, limited to 75, from the Magnetic South store.

Cretins, “Cretins EP” 7-inch

Posted in hardcore, punk, vinyl on December 2nd, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment
cover - cretinsIt's become something of a cliche to say that a band has stripped away all the excess and reduced songs to just the necessary pieces. At first listen, Richmond's Cretins seem to be reductive, but when you listen, you realize that they've stripped away nothing but the pauses. Cuts like "Piss On Your Pieces" and "Last Path" demonstrate this pretty effectively, as they open each side with a blast of hardcore, blowing out of your speakers with an intensity that frightens. Whereas any other band would let their guitars feed back a little, generating a little anticipation before launching into the next verse or iteration of the chorus, Cretins chooses instead to cut everything short, and just power ahead. The collective effect is to result in an EP which takes Motorhead's speed and uses it to funnel the no-frills gutteral hate of old-school hardcore directly into your head. Let's be honest: this could have been "Tunnel Vision" as a postcard flexi, and I would've played it 'til it disintegrated. The way the breakdown loops and returns a couple of times in its fading seconds makes this the most mosh-worthy song of the last few years. It's a pretty amazing throwback jam Cretins have created here, right down to the absolutely terrible artwork which graces the cover. Punk rock pointillism is certainly unique, but it's like looking at some underground east coast band's single from the late '80s. I almost expected the cover art to be photocopied. It's even got the lyrics on the inside of the sleeve. You need this, so snag it from the Grave Mistake store.

Podcast #122, “Holiday Hangover”

Posted in podcast, soundtracks on December 1st, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment
3 Turkey wine illustration It's so very cold, I'm so very busy, and these songs have been sitting, waiting for someone to do something with them for so very long. It's a mix of film score and assorted other instrumental bits, pieced together to sooth you after a weekend chock full of family, hectic shopping, and food. Podcast #122, "Holiday Hangover" Jerry Goldsmith - Capricorn One - "Break Out" Calexico - The Black Light - "Minas De Cobre (For Better Metal)" Gianni Ferrio - Djurado - "Djurado No. 9" Ennio Morricone - Il Gatto - "Gli Scatenati" Stelvio Cipriani - Concorde Affaire '79 - "Dangerous Flight" Calibro 35 - Calibro 35 - "Italia a Mano Armata" Christian Bruhn - Captain Future - "Der Bose" Espectrostatic - The Daemonium EP - "The 447" Daniel Mudford & Pete Woodhead - Shaun of the Dead - "Burn Down the Sun" Shooting Guns - WolfCop - "Spy In the Sky" John Ottman - X-Men: Days of Future Past - "Rules of Time" Boards of Canada - Hi Scores - "Hi Scores" Cristobal Tapia de Veer - Utopia Series 2 - "Satan’s Waltz (Metamorphosis Stage 1)" Roberto Donati - Cannibal Ferox - "Cannibal Ferox Theme" Fabio Frizzi - A Cat in the Brain - "Sequence One" Can - Ege Bamyasi - "one More Night" Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi - Rome - "Theme of Rome"

Marmozets’ Becca Macintyre on the two-way connection between band and fans

Posted in interview, metal on November 17th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment
[caption id="attachment_18148" align="aligncenter" width="560"]credit Joshua Halling credit Joshua Halling[/caption] This summer, I broiled in an amphitheater parking lot to see if it was still worth it to attend Warped Tour. For the most part, it was not -- with the sole exception of the UK's Marmozets. Back in July, I described the quintet as such:
"The singer moves like Mick Jagger and can fucking wail, and the rest of the band locks into a groove while also just pounding out riffs. The low end sounds like Rage Against the Machine, but above it, the group rocks like nobody else. It's hard to explain, but suffice it to say, it roped in everyone who walked by. People were positively gobsmacked, and rightly so. I've never seen quite so many audience members shake their heads in disbelief at a discovery like this."
It still stands. Marmozets released their debut full-length, The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets, back in September on Roadrunner Records, and it's massive. They're currently touring in support of it, as part of the Journeys Noise Tour with Issues, I Killed the Prom Queen, and others. I was lucky enough to get a few minutes on the phone with singer Becca Macintyre last week, and a we talked about Marmozets' music and how it affects their audience. Rock Star Journalist: Why would you say your music is the way it is? Becca Macintyre: It's just the combination of what everyone wants to write, I guess. It's really hard to explain. We just write the songs that we want to, to be quite honest. Jack and Will [Bottomley] are the ones who have more influences in terms of music. Me, Sam, and Josh are all just kind of like, "Eh." We don't have that many influences. We just write what we want to write. Does it help being in a band where's there's the shared experiences of two sets of siblings? Oh, yeah. It's the best thing. We ended up becoming a band in high school, and we just kept with it, until we were just like, "We want to take a shot with this. This is our life." marmozets 01 Mamrozets has built its name by just playing so much. Does that help build the band – both in terms of popularity and musicality? Of course, 'cause you're living and breathing it. The more that you do that, the more the people are going to see you, and we really care about that, because we just want to show people what we're made of. It's almost like – we really believe that our music can help. It goes beyond what kind of genre we are exactly and into whether kids are going to love it. It's up to them whenever we play a gig, and that's just awesome. After Warped Tour, we did a tour with Lonely the Brave, and we swapped each day who would headline. It was a joint headline, and Lonely the Brave are an amazing band, as well. To go back [to England] and play to a thousand and up kids, screaming at us, it was quite a scary thing to go from where every single day, you played to a few dozen, and you had to catch people as they came by, and then – to go back to Britain and play to a thousand kids who are going absolutely insane for your music, and then to go back to America and start all over again. And then to go back to England – I just believe that every time we go back to England, it's just going to be a bigger crowd. I hope that it'll be the same every time we come back to America – more kids will understand us and come watch us. That was an interesting thing you mentioned – music as a thing to help people. Marmozets' songs have a hopeful aspect to them – am I catching what you're aiming for, there? Yeah. That is. We come from such a messed-up generation – that's what I believe, anyway. There's a lot of greatness coming out of it now, but I just feel like everyone's been brainwashed into society and the way that everything is. And with the music – the music that's being shoved down kids' throats these days – we kind of find it as a joke, and that's what helps us to keep going. All the fan mail we get at the moment is like, people who are going through depression feel like they're giving up on life, and they write to us saying that our music helped them get through that situation, and it's like, "Oh my gosh." You can't ask for anything like that, do you know what I mean? For kids to think of going that way, and then to buy an album that's encouraged them to get on through life, it's like, "What the heck?" I think that's what music should be about. That's what we believe, anyway. cover - weird and wonderful marmozetsThat's a really touching thing – that you're as influenced by the people who listen to your music as the people who listen to your music are influenced by you. Exactly. We wouldn't be where we are without people buying our albums, coming to our shows, and wanting to hang out with us. That works – it's a win-win situation. We can't do it all by ourselves. If you can have a message about something behind your songs, that helps people, that connection's a straight thread. I'm not on stage, with half my clothes off, you know what I mean? That's not what we believe. People come to a show, we talk about real shit that people need to touch hold of. Your stage presence – which is what drew me in to your music in the first place – is very dynamic. It's like you're a high priestess or a band leader conducting something. I'm just – I feel like I'm an emotional person, like I'm fighting. I feel like I'm always having to fight, and I can't wait until the day where I'm just, like – I don't feel like I'll ever be able to relax. I can't relax. My mind's always thinking all the time, and I just want the best for people because, growing up, everyone goes through their shit, and I just feel like I want to fight for people who are part of the weird and wonderful world of the Marmozets, I guess. That's what I feel like I have a responsibility to do: not just make money from music. There needs to be a joy behind it all, I guess. [embed][/embed] Marmozets play the Granada in Lawrence tonight as part of the Journeys Noise Tour, with Issues, I Killed the Prom Queen, Ghost Town, and Nightmares. Doors for the all-ages show are at 6:00pm, and more information can be found here. The Noise Tour runs through the end of the month, and more dates and information can be found at Marmozets' Facebook page.

Podcast #121, “Can’t Feel Things”

Posted in podcast on November 17th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment
ice tree It's super-duper cold outside here in the Midwest, meaning it's time to hunker down in the basement with wool socks and enough coffee to drown a small child. The songs are a bit slower, a bit sadder, and a bit darker, but I think you'll agree that they're quite wonderful. New music from the Kansas City Bear Fighters and Death to Tyrants, as well as a trip through the vinyl stacks with recent acquisitions and rediscovered favorites, makes this installment of Sunglasses After Dark a lovely start to your week, wherever you may be. Podcast #121, "Can't Feel Things" The Jayhawks, "Blue" (Tomorrow the Green Grass) Uncle Tupelo, "New Madrid" (Anodyne) The Old 97's, "Won't Be Home" (Drag It Up) --- The Shins, "So Says I" (Chutes Too Narrow) The Kansas City Bear Fighters, "You're In Kansas" (The Planet Where We Fell In Love) The Monkees, "You Just May Be the One" (Headquarters) --- Talking Heads, "Memories Can't Wait" (Fear of Music) Death to Tyrants, "So Far Above Sea Level" (Death to Tyrants) Rush, "Red Barchetta" (Exit ... Stage Left) --- Lou Reed, "Intro / Sweet Jane" (Rock 'n' Roll Animal) Alice Cooper, "Go to Hell" (Alice Cooper Goes to Hell) Cheap Trick, "Stiff Competition" (Heaven Tonight)

Celebrity Art Party with Rob Gillaspie

Posted in art, interview, rock 'n' roll on November 6th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment
Celebrity Art Party is a semi-occurring feature, wherein the artists we enjoy interpret their favorite song. The first-ever installment features the one and only Rob Gillaspie, aka Scary Manilow. Gillaspie has fronted innumerable Lawrence bands: the Donkey Show, the Spook Lights, Pale Hearts, and Witch Jail, amongst others. He's also a writer, director, actor, and artist. He's a cat with many interests and many talents, which is why we were really curious as to what he'd select to interpret for Celebrity Art Party. Rob Gillaspie - Roy Orbison 'Crying' web Song title: "Crying" Artist: Roy Orbison Version of song (live, album, remix, etc.): Any version, but there's a live clip of him performing it in '67, not long after his wife Claudette was killed, that ESPECIALLY brings on the titular waterworks. [embed][/embed] When did you first hear it? I first heard it when I was realllly little -- maybe 5 or 6? -- at my grandfather's house. he had a bunch of country albums from the 50's and 60's. Most of them drove me nuts, but there was some definite overlap into early rock and croony stuff that struck a chord with me back then. CRYING was the first song I ever heard that made me actually, physically sad when I heard it. And I LOVED it, I wanted to hear his voice everywhere. I honestly thought it was a woman singing when I first heard him, ha ha ha. How does music such as this inspire you in your work? I've always had a tremendous camp sensibility that I've tried to incorporate into my work. Even when I was a teenage punk, screaming in shitty hardcore bands, I'd do shit like come on stage in a dress, or write songs about old romance comics... As I've gotten older and more savvy with my influences, I've found myself embracing the roots of that camp sensibility more and more. Old soap operas, lots of tragic, overwrought vocal groups. Roy was definitely a large factor in shaping that for me. How has this song changed for you since you first heard it? When I first heard "Crying," I was aware that it was coming from a place that I wasn't acquainted with yet, that crybaby side that everyone indulges in when they hit their early teens. Now I'm an old fart that appreciates it more in the context of the time it was written, where it fits in my own personal tapestry of influences, and what an iconoclast Roy was. A guy like him would NEVER have made it in today's market. He'd be getting beer cans thrown at him on the Replay patio or something. What upcoming projects do you have? A little of everything. My wife Emily and I have a surf-punk band called Witch Jail that will hopefully be ready to play again soon. We're also working on a recording-only project called Frankie Razer & the Wristcutters, which will be more 60's teen-tragedy and mopey lounge tunes than you can wring a hanky at. We're working on a series of shorts called Teen Troubles that are adapted from the pages of old Charlton heartbreak comics. I'm writing a detective novel about wig addiction and psychic cats. Something about a dumpster diver in love with a killer slime he finds in an old Walkman. Something else that I don't even want to talk about because I'm worried I won't ever finish it. I'm the busiest guy in KC right now, and nobody knows my name! In addition to all the stuff listed above, Gillapsie can be found by the lucky as faux-Lux Interior in the Cramps tribute band, Stay Sick.

Acid Baby Jesus, “Selected Recordings” LP

Posted in garage rock, punk, reviews, streaming audio / video on November 4th, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment
cover - acid baby jesus selectedAcid Baby Jesus' last proper full-length, 2011's LP was kind of a hodgepodge of '60s rock tropes. There were sludgy stompers, flower-power psych jams, and jangly bouncy things. It was fun, but never quite got into regular rotation the way their "Hospitals" single had originally hooked us. In the meantime, they did a teamup with Hellshovel for the Voyager 8 EP, which was fun, but never really gelled the way I wanted it to. The two bands seemed to be doing their own things simultaneously, rather than finding a joint sound together, which really kept otherwise-agreeable numbers like "I Went Down" from clicking. So, why should you listen to their upcoming full-length, Selected Recordings, out November 17 from Slovenly Recordings? Because it's amazing! It's been a solid two years since the band's released anything of note (not counting the "Vegetable" single they released in advance of this back in September), and they've changed, but in a good way. The whole psychedelic rock thing is 100% in the forefront. The album manages to remain thematically and tonally coherent, while also playing around with tempos and textures. A big part of the problem with LP was that it sounded like a collection of singles, but Selected Recordings sounds like an album (although the names seem to suggest otherwise -- weird). Acid Baby Jesus remains the band they once were. You can hear echoes of LP in this new album -- "I'm Becoming a Man" rocks that dirty fuzz the same way "Tomboy" did, and "Row By Row" echoes the stomp and freakout of "Tyrannosaurus Rex." Also, in addition to just being recorded more coherently, Selected Recordings is sequenced in such a way that the album flows, rather than jumping from B to X to G to V to Z. By the end, you feel like you've journeyed down the river of Lethe, and things are groovy and all right. [embed][/embed]