Sunday, July 19, 2015

Gillian - Colorize

To this day I still have a sincere affinity for the borough of Brooklyn. Having gone to school there and labored at my first suit and tie job there. Why wouldn't I? These days however, the borough seems to get more grief for it's slick, Pabst drinking hipsters than for the shining beacon of hope it's always been for music of all shapes, sizes and colors. A thread of consciousness that leads me to Colorize, the bands third and most recent release to date.

Warm and flavorful  instrumentals accent smart meets crazy vocal duos for a sound that is as eccentric as it is eclectic.
While Colorize features a mere five songs. (Freak Flag, my personal favorite returning from the 2013 release of the same name.) The band seem to have no problem distinguishing themselves as something that is uniquely special.
Possessing an approach and endearing quality that appeals to the masses while still feeling intimate and personal.
A very rare trait in a time where our attention spans have shortened and the demand for immediacy reign supreme.

Having recently signed a soul stealing deal with a publisher. Who knows where Gillian's music might be popping up. I dare not venture to guess. Regardless of whether it's the big screen or the small one. The Brooklyn quintet seem to be headed places. James Damion  Get it Here

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Lookouts - Spy Rock Road ... and Other Stories

Before there was Green Day, Gilman St. Project or Lookout Records. There was a young and scrappy young trio known as The Lookouts. Featuring a pre-pubescent Tre-Cool
(future Green Day drummer) Vocalist Larry Livermore (The boy who would go on to cofound Lookout Records) and Kaine Kong (Future forest ranger of all things) and guest appearances by Operation Ivy's Tim Armstrong and future eye liner model and voice of Green Day,
 Billy Joe Armstrong.

Spy Rock Road...
and Other Stories features twenty four songs of raw, spirited Punk Rock anthems. Songs that   give offer a glimpse of what was happening in the Bay Area at the time, while showing hints to the blueprint of what was to come.

When choosing whether or not to invest in Spy Rock Road... please avoid any comparisons to anything Green Day has done post Ker-Plunk.
Despite their current drummers history in either bands. These are not early Green Day outtakes or demos.
If you're a fan of bands such as Crimpshrine and what Lookout Records was producing early on. This is definitely for you. James Damion

All Eyes West - Doomer

One of the many qualities Chicago's All Eyes West possess is there uncanny ability to remind me of the bands I love, while remaining unique and special in somewhat personal manner. Like long time favorites Samiam,
All Eyes West have a knack for writing songs that one can immediately identify with while applying them to your own emotions and experiences.

On their twelve song LP Doomer. AEW continue to build on their gift for producing flawless rock n' roll with a definitive punk rock bravado and aggression.
Drummer Ronnie DiCola keeps the beat as Jeff Dean's titanic guitar attack meets
Justin Millers emotionally drenched vocals/bass  to create songs that feel vital and highly evolved.

All the key ingredients are present. Each coming together to make an excellent record.  Doomer is perfect on so many levelsProduced by the legendary J. Robbins along with the band at Baltimore's Magpie Cage Studios. Robbins also contributes additional vocals as well as instrumentals.  The record comes on both Black and Translucent Blue vinyl. So be sure to specify when ordering. Don't miss out on this. All Eyes West will head to Missouri to start their Summer tour. on the 22nd of July. You can find a lit of dates and places Here.  
James Damion

The Deafening Colors - Carousel Season

Carousel Season marks the second full length for New Jersey's The Deafening Colors. Music that reflects the duos upbringing in Ocean and Atlantic City with a sound that mixes ambient, shoe gaze and dream pop that grew on me as
I listened. While immediate comparisons to a sleepier, experimental side of
the Beach Boys are unavoidable. One could also reference New Jersey storytellers The Front Bottoms and the long running New Brunswick quintet Sink Tapes.

While The Deafening Colors aren't what we're used to reviewing here at United By Rocket Science. It's definitely something I'd like to see/hear more of in the future. For Carousel Season was definitely something I found myself drawn to more and more with each song. From favorites such as Driving Horse's Ghost,
Waiting For The Axe and the expansive Part Time clocking in at a lengthy 5:30. I felt myself caught up in a moment. Caught up in the beauty of a song. James Damion

Bandcamp <<< Get it Here

Circle Storm - Character Assassin

While not a new release by any means. Character Assassin, Circle Storms 1996 EP is available again, this time on clear vinyl, for what seems like a limited time. I first heard of  Circle Storm when California's Chain of Strength flew into La Guardia Airport, dropping their bags in the Queens, NY living room of what was known as "The SXE House." At the time,
the bands Revelation Records EP was already gaining "Classic" status with it's straightedge anthem True Till Death.

As I got to know the Chain crew personally. I struck up a conversation with Ryan Hoffman where I can swear he talked up the idea of the band Circle Storm and how the name was taken from the D.Y.S. song of the same name.
While the dates between that encounter and the actual formation of the band don't exactly crunch. My memories of the record and the short lived band are strong.
Character Assassin, originally released by Ambassador Records, a label I seem to remember as a flagship label of Revelation Records. (I could be wrong.) Members of Circle Storm featured former and future members of bands such as Justice League, Chain of Strength and Collision.
In that respect, the overall sound reflects that of it's members work both prior and post Circle Storm.

In listening to these seven tracks for the first time in decades. I gained a sense of appreciation for this oft overlooked release.
One that matched the excitement I had when first hearing the name in that long forgotten exchange with Ryan. Good material that was worth revisiting.  James Damion

RevHQ  Order it Here

Rights of the Accused - Innocence (Vinyl Re-Issue)

Innocence revisits the legendary Chicago Hardcore act and their classic 1984 debut EP.
The long out of print and highly sought 7' is back on vinyl for the first time in more than you'll ever remember. While Innocence serves as the bands debut.
Rights of the Accused, known for their silly songs and high energy performances, existed in form or another for more than ten years.
With Guitarist Jay Yuenger going on to play in White Zombie.  Also worth noting is future Rights of the Accused contributor
Brian St. Claire (drummer 1988-1992) went on to form half of 90's grunge, noise duo Local H. The reissues five tracks revisit Hardcore's early punk influences with songs that are raw, intense and tribal.
A nice document of the pre crossover day of the genre and proof that Hardcore wasn't strictly a coastal thing. James Damion

RevHQ  Order it Here

Stand As One - Begin to Care 1991 Demo (Vinyl Exclusive)

If you're scratching your head as to why I'm reviewing a demo released in 1991.
Take into consideration the fact the Stand By One were just about to become the band we all came to know and love as Strife.
During the bands time as Stand As One,
the California Straight Edge band played with better known acts such as Infest,
Chain of Strength and Downcast before ultimately becoming Strife.
This is the first time this demo has ever been presented on vinyl and this is marketed as a one time only vinyl release. The four songs featured All from the Past, Question Mark, Move Towards and Dedication each have an introspective, positive vibe to them. Musically, it's what you'd expect from a demo.
Powerful, straightforward and anthemic songs featuring high pitched vocals that sound like a young teen looking to find his voice. While none of this was new or fresh sounding to me. I found it to be a nice document of a band in it's earliest stages. A nice document of time for sure. The record does not include a download card. So audiofile geeks beware. Available on color vinyl while copies last. James Damion

Indecision Records  Order it Here

Friday, July 10, 2015

United By Images; June 2013: Stuyvesant's Last Show at Maxwell's

I'm not really sure when or how I first heard Stuyvesant. Having lived in Hoboken for close to twelve years, it seemed inevitable. Having interviewed the band at nearby
Moonlight Mile Studios and having them over at my home studio for some promotional photos. Our exchanges might have cemented somewhat of a friendship with Ralph, Brian, Sean and Pete. However, it was their live shows at nearby Maxwell's that I'll always remember the most. Their energy, spirit and inspiring tunes always left me with a giant smile on my face. Inspiring me to name them Maxwell's House Band and "The only band I ever need to photograph." While there last official show at the old Maxwell's was a joyous one.
It was also a sad reminder that a chapter in our lives was suddenly coming to a close.
As silly as it may sound and look. I asked them to sign their set list later at the bar.
A little something to show the grand kids years from now. The four photos shown were each taken from that final show. One that I will remember for years to come. James Damion

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Jersey Beat and Maxwell's Host The Milwaukees, Eastern Anchors and the Bastards of Melody

It's been close to a year since I left Hoboken for the sunny shores of Jersey City. In the times I've been to Hoboken since. I see less and less of what first brought me there in 2001. 
The legendary club that first had me crossing the Hudson in the early 90's not only changed hands in ownership. It's moved on with the times and no longer provides music for local and touring musicians in the way it did for decades. Times change though and while that might be hard for many to emotionally digest, it's inevitable. So when Jim Testa invited me to his Jersey Beat showcase. I was more that happy to attend.

First impression of Maxwell's rebooted were good. Getting carded at the door as a forty something was a good start. Being on the guest list, pretty cool. The back room looks really sharp. The moved the bar and make the room look a lot brighter, deeper and wider. 
The overall feel of the crowd was great and it was a pleasure to see so many familiar faces.
James Damion

Bastards of Melody opened the show on a promising note. Formed way back in 1998.
The trio featuring Paul Crane, Paul Gil and Scott Treude.... gave the intimate crowd a rewarding set of power pop that quickly reminded me of bands like Sloan, Big Star and the Replacements. Lead singer/guitarist Crane loomed tall over the crowd boasting a pretty impressive Hank's Saloon Tee. One that reminded me of may a wild night in Brooklyn.
For their swan song, the band was joined by host Jim Testa of Jersey Beat for a cover of
Velvet Underground's Sweet Jane. Afterward, I headed over to the merch table in the back and grabbed copies of Breakup, Fun Machine and Hurry Up and Wait. Good stuff I thoroughly enjoyed listening to. Bastards of Melody

In the days leading up to the show host and Jersey Beat founder Jim Testa asked me if I was familiar with The Milwaukees. "Sure, if you mean hearing about them from you countless times." The truth was, despite hearing the name and having a couple of CD's I had never listened to taking up space in my bookcases." Regardless, the chance to finally see and hear a band that had ben talked about so often in Jersey Rock lore was much needed.
From the first song to the last. The bands energy and connection with with the crowd was praiseworthy. I felt my body move in places that seemed forever cast in stone.
Singing along to songs I had never heard and enjoying the charisma and chemistry of a great band. If all goes well, I will be both seeing and hearing out this Jersey City band for years to come.
The Milwaukees

To be painfully honest. If it were not for
Eastern Anchors inclusion on the nights bill.
I would have never made it off the couch.
With the keys changing hands at Maxwell's in 2013 and my purchasing a home in Jersey City in 2014. I've had little to no reason to return to the town I called home for over ten years.
The somewhat rare opportunity to see
Eastern Anchors anywhere near my zip code was all the gas I needed to get on to RT. 139 and in to the biggest collection of potholes in all of New Jersey. While my exposure to Eastern Anchors stated in 2012 with a handful of shows and the release of the outstanding
Drunken Arts & Pure Science. The bands membership, music and footprint on New Jersey rock goes back to the 90's with Aviso'Hara,
Mr. Thumb and Tow. These days I find myself listening to Eastern Anchors more and more while getting familiar with Aviso'Hara. What I love most about this band is that, while they remind me of long time favorites Husker Du. It's the overall sound and performance of  Eastern Anchors that I love. Imagine, if you will, a band that sounds like themselves. That's what I feel I'm getting when in the midst of an
Eastern Anchors song or live set. Great seeing these guys again and again and.......
Eastern Anchors

United By Images; The Milwaukees at Maxwell's 7/2/2015

Milwaukees guitarist Jeff Nordstedt asked if I would post some extra pictures from this Thursday's show at Maxwell's. So I decided to add some additional ones to go with the show review I posted. Included is the set list I snagged from Jeff. James Damion
The Milwaukees

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Walk Proud - Too Much is Never Enough

I was rifling through some boxes of 7 inch EP's at a friends house the other day when I pulled Walk Proud's Be Yourself. Quickly, the memories of how positive and in particular, straightedge Hardcore had such a major impact on my life. For better or worse, bands such as Unity, Brotherhood and Insted (To name just a few.) payed countless visits to both my turntable and tape decks. Amongst those bands were many, less than original and downright formulaic bands I gave a pass due to their positive message and mosh worthy breakdowns.
In recalling Walk Proud, I can easily trace Be Yourself as the most generic and underwhelming records I had heard to date. Years later, as much as I personally disliked it. That same record became, for many fans of mediocrity, became a classic, milestone record. Most notably, the first release on the very influential New Age Records. 1990's RIP LP and 1991's One More Time EP followed on Nemesis Records before the band called it quits and inevitably reunited for 2003's Furious World compilation on basement records.

Fast forward to 2014 and an older, angrier and if musically possible, more generic sounding Walk Proud reappear on Hardcore's 40+ landscape. With a grand total of thirteen songs.
Too Much is Never Enough proves to be thirteen song too much. While die hard fans of the band might take a liking to this. Most fans of this style of music would do better with other dinosaurs of the genre such as Agnostic Front or Suicidal Tendencies.
James Damion

Know Records  Get it Here

Friday, June 26, 2015

Maxwell's to Host Jersey Beat Showcase

The Milwaukees were among the handful of local bands invited to play Maxwell's back in July, 2013, during the club's final weeks under its old ownership.  So the Jersey City    power-rock quartet seemed the perfect choice to headline Jersey Beat's first showcase at Maxwell's under its new management.

But the Milwaukees won't be the only familiar faces at Maxwell's on Thursday, July 2.  Eastern Anchors, featuring former members of New Brunswick rock powerhouse Aviso'Hara, and the power-pop Bastards Of Melody also have long histories at the legendary Hoboken club.  Enduring through lineup shifts, careers, marriages, and parenthood,  these three bands persevere as exponents of the Garden State's eclectic and ever evolving indie-rock scene.

The Milwaukees

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Archie Alone Headline Montclair's Home to Both Local and Touring Bands.

As I made my way downstairs and towards the stage where Trenton's The Wailing Kids were about midway through their set.
The bands eclectic mix of dream pop meets sweaty emo played well to the intimate, yet enthusiastic crowd. There was a small, yet notable crowd of rhythmically challenged girls gathered in front of the stage, dancing in somewhat of a comatose state. As the band sequenced from one song to another I became drained, realizing this was about as far from my liking as musically possible. While I would never go as far as saying they were any less than enjoyable to those in attendance. I can assure you. It wore on me quickly.
The Wailing Kids

Upon arrival that night.  I grilled my friend about the bands on the bill. Having no prior knowledge of any of the bands on the bill with Archie Alone.
I was a bit curious. Immediately, her eyes popped as she mentioned Help Me Help You. "You gotta see this band." "You'll definitely like them." Thanks Ana, you know me too well. Standing at the corner of the stage as the band began to set up. I noticed not one, but two members sporting Title Fight tees. My night was about to get better. A lot better. Just as soon as the band launched in to it's set. Any anxiety or regrets of leaving the house that night vanished in to Montclair's thin air. Help Me Help You were just what Ana had promised.  The band's sound and approach quickly reminding me why, at an age where many are reaching for the latest issue of Golf Digest or a Viagra chaser. I'm still seeking out new music, venues and sounds.
Help Me Help You

Following Help Me Help You was MA's Snowhaus. And while common descriptions of sound, approach and overall execution might currently evade me. Going back to my initial thought
"This is Apeshit crazy good." might have to suffice. Boundless energy with a spirited delivery breaks down the walls of any preconceived notions of look or sound. While local comparisons to our beloved Front Bottoms. The bands overall approach might even draw influence might find inspiration in older acts such a the oft celebrated They Might Be Giants and the influential Maryland act Half Japanese. All influences aside. Snowhaus left a lasting impression on me. One that has me hoping their next visit to the garden state is sooner than later.

Headlining the night were local favorites         Archie Alone. Fresh off their recent four song EP Through the Door. See Review Here and a fist full of shows I was unable to attend.                        The mere presence of the band was both a site for soar eyes and a welcome gift for curious ears. While it would be hard to heap any more praise then I already have on this band. It goes without saying that they've single handedly rescued the term EMO from the teary eyed preteens and eyeliner goth toys that made Hot Topic popular and EMO unlistenable in the early to mid aughts. Emotional yet unflinching. Archie Alone mixes deeply cathartic vocals and lyrics with metallic guitar riffage and a thunderous rhythm section.     If memory serves this old curmudgeon.               My last experience seeing the band live was also vocalist Nicole Mesce's debut doubling as singer/rhythm guitarist. At the time, I wondered how it would effect her live performance.
With mere inches separating us just months later. The transition now looks to have gone off seamlessly. Overall, their set was a healthy mix of older material and that of what's featured on Through the Door. Music that makes you want to listen, sing along with and support wholeheartedly. Well Done.
Archie Alone

Friday, June 19, 2015

Archie Alone - Through The Door 4 Song Cassette

Every now and then I catch myself thinking "If I only had a record label." "This would be the first band I'd sign." Over the last couple of years that thought seems to limit itself to the many times I've listened to or seen a live performance of New Jersey's Archie Alone.
And while the band has been a personal favorite for some time now. Archie Alone's studio and recorded output has been criminally sparse.
Limiting our exposure to their live performances at local clubs such as The Meatlocker,
ABC No Rio and everywhere in between.

On their latest EP
Through the Door, a four song cassette release recorded within the cavernous walls of the bands home away from homes. Archie Alone, with the help of their close friend, producer and wonder kin
Ana Dobrian, carve out on of the most powerfully emotive releases I've heard in ages. Warm, yet crushing guitars meet powerfully emotive vocals that reach heights of strength and vulnerability seldom heard in music today. Vocalist (and as in recent months, second guitar) Nicole Mesce has a unique ability that keeps the listener hanging on every word as if it was the last gasp of a beloved spokesman of our generation. While the bands personnel may have not even been born when bands such as Embrace, 3 and Rites of Spring were leaving their footprints on what was to become known as Emo. Archie Alone immediately remind me of the impact those bands and that sound had on me. I can easily look to the third track Furlough as evidence to the spell this release has put on me. The best way to describe my reaction would be to note the chills that travelled up and down my spine as it's four plus minutes unfolded.

Overall, a vital and absolutely necessary release that has a very intimate and live vibe about it. One that makes you feel as if you're being treated to a living room performance. Through the Door is available on cassette (While they last) which includes a digital download for those of us without access to such ancient technology.
Check their bandcamp page for more info. James Damion

Archie Alone  Bandcamp
Archie Alone  Facebook

H20 - Live August 19. 2002 - The Bowery Collection

While it's hard to digest the fact that H20 have been a Hardcore staple for over twenty years. The fact that the band are considered by many to be legends of the genre is an even harder pill to swallow. Too each their own I guess. Having seen the band a handful of times in their early years. H20's energy, passion and take on positive Hardcore cannot be questioned.          I can't go without praising Toby's boundless energy and dedication to the music and the message. He is, after all is said and done. A hyperbolic chamber of endless energy and charisma.

That said, I never found the bands sound, music or songs to be anything more than formulaic and somewhat cartoonish. Strange, considering I own every record they've ever put out.

While no one can question H20's dedication to Hardcore, it's history and it's sustenance. I don't see any good reason to drop a hard twenty on what usually serve as bonus tracks on most albums. The soundboard quality at CBGB's was always worth praise and the sound is very good comparing to many live albums. However, considering 2002 "The glory days of Sunday Hardcore matinees at CBGB''s" as posted on  Revhq. might be one of the greatest over statements in promotional history. "Live August 19 2002" features the entire 16 song set. If you were there and want to relive the past. Go for it. If you weren't. You shouldn't really care.
James Damion


Friday, May 29, 2015

New Brunswick NJ's Modern Chemistry Debut Video for the Song 'Cling'.

New Brunswick's Modern Chemistry have posted a video for the single Cling. You can check it out here or visit you tube  Here

Modern Chemistry  Bandcamp

KARP - Kill All Redneck Pricks Documentary

Below are some exerts from a pretty cool documentary about  KARP (Kill All Reneck Pricks) KARP were a Turnwater Washington band that existed from 1990-1998. During their lifespan, the band release 3 full length albums Mustaches Wild, Suplex and Self Titled 
(The albums actual title.)  The documentary has been out for some time now, but I felt it was worth posting considering how much time I've spent listening to them over the last week or so. Check the link below for more information or if you'd like to order a copy. 
I highly recommend it. James Damion

United By Images; Gillian

Gillian are a Brooklyn band featuring Geoff Bennington, Paul Demyanovich, Kym Hawkins, Paul Fedorow and Brian Yurachek. The quintet play an infectious and very danceable version of indie rock/punk. In early 2015 the band signed a publishing deal to for TV, movies and commercials. While something of that nature might not sit well with music purists.
It surely marks an improvement in each of the three markets. For me personally, I will forever appreciate Gillian's unique and rare ability to make me dance with wild abandon and boundless glee. Here's to hip shakin'.  James Damion

Gillian the Band  Facebook
Colorize Bandcamp
Freak Flag Bandcamp

Suspect - S/T LP

Featuring members of notables acts such as Tear it Up, Deep Sleep, Find Him and Kill Him and Stay Gold. Suspect avoid the Supergroup
trappings by making something that is all their own. Playing straight forward Hardcore that finds influence in early Socal Hardcore acts such as Uniform Choice.

Musically, Suspect is a vortex or speed and aggression with a surprising sense of melody. As I listened to these ten songs.
I felt as if I was being swept up in the eye of a tornado. Like many of the great Hardcore acts of both the past and the present. Suspect live and die by by the
"Loud, Fast, Rules" ethos. With seven of the ten songs coming in at under a minute and only one Intro/Tentative Step breaking the 2:00 minute marker. The term seems to serve as the perfect description of what Suspect have to offer. I highly recommend this one.
James Damion

React Records  Get it Here

Disengage - S/T 7' EP

Disengage, a straightedge hardcore act out of Wiles Barre PA. offer six songs of fast forward, blink of an eye raging hardcore. While it's somewhat difficult to process the idea that music delivered in just under a minute can leave a lasting impression on the listener. Disengage did just that with this self titled crusher. While compassions to age old Hardcore acts such as
Youth of Today and BOLD can't be avoided. Disengage manage to accomplish more than just wear their hearts on their sleeves. What stood out for me personally, was the somewhat tribal bass lines and percussion. Impressive stuff that had me looking to seek out more from the band. Go get it.
James Damion

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Comeback Kid - Rain City Sessions

This year, like each and every year to follow I did everything in my power to avoid the temptations to buy records
I already owned in some way, shape or format while remaining monetarily healthy. It was a lot simpler than I thought.
"Go to the beach, feel the sun on my face and eat a good meal before returning home to the enormous amount of records I already own and barely listen to. As a record enthusiast and collector.              I find Record Store Day to be as amateur and misguided as a Santa Con bar crawl on           St. Patrick's Day.

Then came Comeback Kid's Rain City Sessions. The live EP recorded at
Rain City recorders on May 4th, 2014 features six previously unreleased live Comeback Kid classics as well as a impressively unwound cover of Nirvana's classic  Territorial Pissings.

While just an EP. Seven songs in all. Rain City Sessions made a lasting impression on this listener. Giving the overall feel of an LP with it's emotive and passionate attack at these songs. It seems just like yesterday when I was referring to them as leaders of a new breed of Hardcore bands that were returning positive Hardcore to it's long lost glory. Years later as I find my tastes evolving and aging out of the music. Rain City Sessions reminds me of everything I've grown to love about Comeback Kid in the last ten plus years. The energy, honesty and integrity. To put it lightly, Comeback Kid remind me of everything I still love about Hardcore. File under "Essential".  James Damion

WWIX - If One of these Bottles Just Happens to Fall

If one of these bottles.... the latest offering from New York's World War IX is a five boot to the head kicker that is an energetic, raucous and drunkenly fun EP that brought to mind past acts such as Murphy's Law and                   No Redeeming Social Value as well as other party anthem acts of the 80's and 90's. I might even go as far as likening them to a punker version of Seattle's President's of the United States.
The EP came with a 32 page D.I.Y. comic book titled Earaches and Eyesores. Illustrated by the bands guitarist Justin Melmann. It serves as the perfect accessory to the EP. Overall, it felt good hearing from World War IX again.           I look forward to hearing more from them down the road.
While World War IX may fly a bit under the radar in comparison to many of the bigger names on the NYHC scene. These Brooklyn boys seem to be doing just fine. Adding a sense of humor and an artful edge that has always been somewhat lacking in the scene.
James Damion

World War IX Get it Here

Saturday, May 16, 2015

There Will Be Quiet - The Story of Judge (Complete)

May 8 2015
Dilettante * 120 N Santa Fe * Los Angeles
7:30 Doors

Noisey in association with Converse present:
Screening of the feature length documenty THERE WILL BE QUIET: The Story of Judge
followed by a Q&A session w/ the directors and band hosted by Tony Rettman author of the NYHC Book
as well as a live performance by the band.

Below I've posted parts 1-4 of "There Will Be Quiet." 
Enjoy, James Damion

Friday, May 8, 2015

Abstract Artimus - The City Arrives

Abstract Artimus is a Florida transplant to New York City who plays slightly punky Rock N Roll. I'm not sure where this disc falls in regard to appealing to the UBRS crowd, but if you dig punk Rock N Roll  Godfathers like Radio Birdman then there may be something for you in the Abstract Artimus sound.  In my opinion The City Arrives does a good job of bringing together classic 70's hard rock riffs and infusing them with a sense of stoner coolness and punk rock swagger that is definitely appealing. I bet Abstract Artimus deliver a rockin' live show too...Dave G.

Abstract Artimus

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Agnostic Front - The American Dream Died

On the legendary bands 11th full length studio album. Agnostic Front, a NYC institution as recognizable as the legendary Katz's Deli,
tackle issues that are as time tested as they are current. Songs about police brutality, injustice, the scene and war,
to name just a few.
Subject matter that was as relevant in the 60's as they are today.

The 2:01 intro featuring doom and gloom news soundbites and sirens introduces
The American Dream Died like a tried and true Hardcore clique. The end is nye, but first, a sound bite. The albums title track follows and your immediately reminded of Agnostic Front'a history of relentless, unapologetic crossover aggression. For better or worse. Love them or hate them. Agnostic Front have more than earned their reputation as the Godfathers of NYHC as well as the Mad Max's of
Road Warriors.

Stellar tracks on this 16 song bruiser include and are somewhat limited to Police Violence, Never Walk Alone. Old New York, the albums 10th track, might make one long for the days when NYC was awash with junkies, pimps, murderers and abject poverty. A time that many, including myself, look back on fondly. Preferring the stark contrast to the current sea of soulless high rises, franchises and yogurt stands.

No disrespect intended  but, listening to Roger Miret sing is like watching Guy Fieri cook. Unfuckingbearable. And while his caterwauling was the catalyst for what AF were to become and to be. That voice, along with the bands music. Just doesn't speak to me the way it did so many decades ago. it might have worked for me in the early 80's, more than 30 years later. I'd liken that voice to someone retching over a public toilet. If there's any saving grace in all of this. There are a couple A list guest appearances by Lou Koller (Sick of it All)
Freddy Cricien (Madball). Toby Morse (H2O) also makes an appearance. 

Overall, listening to The American Dream Died reminded of when I first hear
Cause for Alarm. and to be more specific Every album that followed. Lucky for me, none of these 16 tracks make the three minute mark. James Damion

Nuclear Blast  Get it Here

 Related; Agnostic Front - No One Rules

There Will Be Quiet - The Story of Judge (Part 3)

Here's Part 3 of Noisey's documentary "The Story of Judge". This moving chapter brings up closer to the bands fateful, yet unexpected reunion at Hardcore's Black N' Blue in 2012.  
I recall many of the rumors about Mike in the early 90's, but some of the one's hear are like that of the Vikings. I highly recommend keeping up with this series. One can only hope there's a new record in the future with a lot less outside bullshit to ruin one of, if not the best bands to ever come out of New York. Keep hope alive. James Damion

Archie Alone Post New Song "Alone" from Upcoming EP "Through the Door"

New Jersey's emotive four piece Archie Alone have posted "Alone", on their bandcamp page. It's the second track from their upcoming EP titled "Through the Door". Just click the link below and download to your hearts content. James Damion

Archie Alone Perform "Eighty Sixed" Live on Leftovers Session

Watch as local favorites Archie Alone perform Eighty-Sixed from the upcoming EP 
"Through the Door" on Leftover Sessions. The band will be performing at Montclair's 
The Meatlocker  tonightApril 23 along with Gregory McKillop, Daephne, Help Me Help You, and Ambary Lake at Montclair's Meatlocker. Enjoy. James Damion

Monday, April 20, 2015

Guest Editorial with Richmond's Sadie Powers; When Strobes Attack

No red lights. No strobes. This is the request I make to every sound guy and lighting operator whenever I load in for a gig. There’s always this moment when they look at me quizzically, almost combatively, before I punctuate my request:  ‘I get seizures.’
Not exactly, but close enough.

As a musician, there are few things that I enjoy more than going to a show and experiencing people push to be the best versions of themselves through their art. There is something about the honesty that comes through when one is performing, and the conversation that a musician is having with their bandmates as well as with their instrument, an electricity that is not only heard and seen, but also felt in your soul. When a performance is completely locked in and captures your senses and your imagination, and you surrender and get lost in the ‘there-ness,’ and you feel what can be possible through this synthesis of personhood and chemistry and sound waves and vulnerability and connection, one word that comes close to capturing this experience is Beauty. Another is Human.

There has always been some light show element in live shows, even in smaller-capacity venues. Usually it’s just changing the lights from back to sides, blue to green twice, maybe three times per song. But it seems that as of late, more and more bands and venues are integrating more – shall we say -- involved, and therefore troublesome, light shows into your regular run-of-the mill gig.

At a recent Sleater-Kinney show at the 930 Club, I was completely taken aback by the unruly amount of strobe lights, affectionately termed #DeathStrobes.
They were insanely bright, and they were focused directly at the audience’s retinas, and I squeezed my eyes shut,
my face buried in my jacket.
By the third song, my brain felt like it was going to push out through my eyes and ears and I saw spots, and I felt my right arm starting to go numb.
My Positive No bandmate, Tracy Wilson, and I eventually retreated to the basement bar, where we waited out the rest of the set.

You see,  I have chronic sporadic hemiplegic migraines (SHM), a rare neurological disorder that is characterized by having both the fun of a classic migraine with aura (thousands of flashing, zig-zagging stars in my field of vision) and the excitement of a stroke –tingling, numbness, weakness, and/or partial paralysis on my right side, lack of muscle coordination, slurred speech, problems with finding words, inability to speak, difficulties with concentration, dizziness, eye and facial twitching, balance issues.

I’m not gonna lie. It sucks. Imagine your brain feels like it’s swelling and is pushing up against the back of your right eye and the base of your skull, and it’s been pressing against your skull for so long that your brain feels like it has permanent throbbing bruises.
This is my normal. In fact, I can’t remember a time when my head didn’t hurt.
The other symptoms, well, they just come and go as they please, sometimes one or two, sometimes all at once, lasting from several minutes to a few days, usually triggered by some sort of stimulus, such as perfume, stress, heat, not enough sleep, changes in barometric pressure, hormones, caffeine, alcohol, and yep, you guessed it, light, especially fluorescent bulbs, sunlight reflecting off metal and glass surfaces, and flashing lights.

It’s really inconvenient.

Only a few people know about the extent my SHM, because it’s kind of a conversation killer, and I don’t want pity, and honestly, I’m not a delicate flower, and I don’t want my illness to define me. It’s something I’ve dealt with for 20 years, and I try not to let it get me down, and on the whole I have a really amazing life. Seriously, you would be totally jealous.

Tracy, a fellow chronic migraineur, and I told people about our Sleater-Kinney experience, and every person has asked us whether we were able to watch the NPR video of their show from the night before. I know they’re trying to be helpful and offer us a way to possibly regain something we lost, but that’s not the point. I mean, would you pay $40 to see Sleater-Kinney on Youtube? I really don’t feel like I should have to say this, but video footage is nowhere near the same as actually living it.

A week later, another friend and I had to leave a Gang of Four show early because of the strobes, which were unbearable, even though I had come prepared with sunglasses.

The strobe phenomenon has even worked itself into smaller clubs. Two days ago, I saw
The Gotobeds, Protomartyr, and Priests play at U Street Music Hall. Killer bill, right? Unfortunately, the experience was overshadowed by pulsating red and blue lights both on stage and overhead, and I left the show with my right side in a sad place: dragging my foot, not being able to make a fist, and my cheek felt like it had been injected with novocaine.
This was not a roller coaster. This was not a rave. This was not a multimedia extravaganza.  This was a punk show, with the light board manned by some random employee with an exuberant finger on the fader.

When I think about the best shows I’ve seen over the past couple of years – Swans, Perfect Pussy, Xiu Xiu, Einsturzende Neubauten, Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson, Dirty Beaches, Magnetic Fields, Nick Cave, Deerhoof, Yo La Tengo, Pharmakon – only one of them had any strobes. (Kate Bush, who can do what she wants because she’s Kate Bush. And she only had about 10 seconds of strobes during an entire 2 ½-hour performance.) Why is it, then, that so many other bands and venues feel the need to inflict seizure triggers on the rest of us? On some level, I understand: One of my bands, Dead Fame, had a DIY light show that we built (and tested, to make sure I was okay) in order to ‘enhance the performance’ and ‘give the audience something exciting.’ Maybe that’s it. Ticket prices are increasing, and perhaps bands and venues are feeling pressure to make it ‘worth it’ to someone shelling out $25-$50 per ticket. Perhaps there is some sort of unspoken competition to be
Bigger, Faster, Brighter, Louder.

By the way, Dead Fame eventually got rid of the lights when they got to be too much of a hassle and got in the way of the performance. We realized that we spent too much time worrying about the lights on stage and not focusing on the music. And isn’t the music why we go to shows? Isn’t it through that music that we truly connect and the reason why we’re willing to shell out some cash? Isn’t that what got people together in a room with instruments and ideas to begin with?

The bands that really touched me were just that: people, on stage, with their instruments, their tools, telling us their stories, showing us their truest, inner selves, going on an adventure and taking us with them, with passion and honesty and heartache and joy.
It was just us, together, in that moment. Any extensive lighting would have detracted from that connection, and honestly, would have felt disingenuous and contrary to the spirit of the bond between the audience and performers; it would have created a veil.

I accept that light shows are not going anywhere, but bands should be aware that they have fans who want to see them perform the music they love, who also happen to live with serious neurological conditions, which cannot always be controlled with medication. You can’t easily pick us out in a crowd, because our ailments are, for the most part, ‘invisible’ to the untrained eye, and because we are badasses who keep on living. But I ask that you please be more proactive to help us make informed decisions concerning our health. While neither is ideal, it’s far better to pass on a show than to have to leave three songs in. If the venue has a capacity of less than 500, don’t use house strobes. There’s no need for them in a venue that small, and it’s usually controlled by someone who’s just kind of fudging buttons to do whatever they thinks looks cool. If you have a contract, include a provision that states that the venue post signs stating that your show contains lighting that might induce seizures. Better yet, have the venue post it on your event’s page on their web site. Post it on your personal site and on Facebook. Instagram a venue’s warning sign. And maybe, just maybe, you could cut back on the #DeathStrobes just a little?

Because you don’t need them. What you give us is so much more than some flashing lights. Your music helps us get through the bad days, and we are forever grateful, and we’ve got your back.

Sadie Powers

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Holy City Zoo debut "Poor Little Pinkus" Single from Upcoming Debut Full Length on Bandcamp

New Brunswick's Holy City Zoo has just released a digital single, Poor Little Pinkus, from their upcoming full length debut "No Bunting". The track is available for a "Name Your Price" option and  includes a bunch of extras so don't be stingy.
Check it out Here