Thursday, April 3, 2014

LVXVRIA - Peru Punk 7' 1987 Demo

Fast moving Peruvian Hardcore Punk from the late 80's that had an immediate impact on me. Having no prior knowledge of the band and limited exposure to much south of the border punk, I had no expectations whatsoever as to what I was about to experience.
Surprisingly, despite the language barrier,
(The songs are sung and the lyrics are printed in Spanish.) this little obscurity quickly proved the notion that music has it's very own language and the powers of rage and alienation are universal.

Each of the four songs featured offer something interesting and unique with surprising elements of melody and coherent vocals that have an interesting story telling appeal to them.
While the bands sound can best be summed up as Punk. Elements of Hardcore, Psych and to go out on a limb, Folk can be felt throughout.

Being how latin influenced the New York Hardcore scene was at the time of this recording,
I can easily see LVXVRIA being well received at a
Sunday CBGB's matinee.
The simple fact that the demo itself was recorded over a quarter century ago, somehow elicits the explorer in me. I can't help but want to dig deeper into Peru's early contributions to Punk, Hardcore, Psych and beyond. Released on RockSvb records and brought to me by my favorite archivist Freddy Alva of Wardance records.
This was as much a pleasure as it was a surprise. I highly recommend giving it a spin.
James Damion

Wardance Records Comprar aquĆ­

Gameface - Now is What Matters NOW

With the overwhelming amount of underwhelming reunion albums we've heard in recent years it's hard to manage even the lowest expectations when one of your go to bands from your past announces their reentry into the music fray, so when I heard that voice from the not so distant decade known as the 90's declare "We're getting the band back together." I could barely muster a "ho hum".

As someone who spent countless hours listening to Gameface in the 90's and not so distant past, I feel pretty confident in saying this is the best material the band's produced to date. Time apart has allowed the bands sound, song writing and overall gift for melody to grow and mature rather nicely. Though the melodies and harmonies that dominated the bands California sound are still there, they've matured and gotten even better with age. There are some really special moments throughout.
"Regular Size", "Always On" will remind you of everything you loved about the band.
While "Lifetime Acheivement Award" might serve to enlist a new generation of fans.

The album features several guest vocalists including Kay Hanley (Letters To Cleo),
Frank Daly (Big Drill Car), Jon Bunch (Sense Field) and Arty Shepherd (Errortype:11).
"Now is what matters NOW" serves as the follow up to their recent "Come On Down"
seven-inch single, which established their reunion and new label alike in November 2013.

Though I'm not quite ready to buy my ticket to the reunion circuit just yet.
"Now is what matters NOW" proves that you CAN look back while still managing to look forward. James Damion

Equal Vision  Get it Here

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Adios Mafia - Hot-Blooded American Awesome

Adios Mafia's "Hot-Blooded Amercan Awesome" is a straight up no holds barred Punk Rock N' Roll party album.  Everything about this cd comes off as a bit tongue in cheek, from the aliases the band members play under, to the  braggadocious one sheet that accompanied the cd and the hand written note that explains how the band gained street cred playing at local crack houses in the Bronx NY.

Moving on to the music, all jokes aside, this cd is pretty damn great. Every song is memorable and infectious with Nick Marvalous providing a voice and vocal delivery that fits the bands style and attitude perfectly.

There is something brewing in the Bronx waters recently...first we get the excellent Poor Lily and now Adios Mafia, as a matter of fact there are musical similarities that can be drawn between the two bands so if your a fan of Poor Lily then you need to give Adios Mafia a listen, and if you have no idea who either of these bands are then you need to put  both bands on regular rotation...Dave G.

Listen and Purchase a CD 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Living Laser - Find A Way

This is the third review I  have done for Living Laser here on UBRS. First I reviewed their demo tape and then a 7" and now their first full length Lp.  This debut  Lp is pretty much exactly what I expected to get from these Hudson Valley NY hardcore veterans. The music itself it mostly fast paced with some really great tempo changes dropped in to keep things interesting. I feel there is a pretty strong Leeway feel to the music, however Living Laser lean more to the new school hardcore way of things and a little further away from the metal leanings that were a big part of the Leeway sound.

Overall, Living Laser have delivered  an excellent album that should appeal to the readers of UBRS...grab a color vinyl copy quick before you wish you had...Dave G.

Living Laser

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hispanics Causing Panic In the Early NYHC Scene.

Earlier this month Freddy Alva put me on to his latest post to the Quixotic Dreams blog. 
In this recent post Freddy (Born in Peru) highlights the many contributions hispanics made to the early NYHC scene. Individuals from varied nations and family backgrounds who played a major part in building New York's rarely documented underground. Roger Miret of 
Agnostic Front (born Rogelio De Jesus in Havana, Cuba…passport shown above), 
The Cro-Mags, The Stimulators, Antidote, Heart Attack, Major Conflict, The Mob, 
Token Entry, Leeway, The Casualties and many more. Freddy has a unique gift for story telling and recalling interesting and personal pieces of his and our history. Go check out his blog and see for yourself. James Damion

Static is a City - S/T EP

After hearing rough mixes of the songs "The Hive" and "Recidivist Mantras" I was rather excited to hear the finished product on
Static is a City's debut EP. Hailing from Raleigh, a city
I came close to relocating to, the newly formed
Static is a City enter the fray with the most impressive debut these ears have heard since Red Hare's
"Nights of Midnight". The band, which features former members of Dahlia Seed (Chris Skelly) and Milemarker (Sean Husick) display a unique ability to allude specific genre trappings. Pairing post hardcore guitar intricacies with math rock precision and vocals that brought me back to so many of my favorite indie/emo bands from the 90's. As this small sampling of songs wash over me, the words "thoroughly impressed" fail to convey what I'm experiencing. Static is a City's debut inspires deeply emotive feelings. The actual record is currently held up in pressing, but will be available in a few weeks. In the meantime, it can be downloaded on iTunes.
For more information about the band, check out their page here. Reverbnation
James Damion

S.O.A. - First Demo 12/ 29/ 80

Imagine yourself as a thirteen or fourteen year old punk rock upstart in love with
Minor Threat and Black Flag.
One who inadvertently finds out that Henry Rollins
and Henry Garfield are one in the same. Linked by some cosmic spaceship between
Washington D.C.'s
State of Alert and L.A.'s
Black Flag. For this Punk
know it all, it was the biggest conspiracy since the
Kennedy assassination.
At the time, not much was known or revered about
State of Alert. Regardless,
the bands sole EP "No Policy" was for most, an unattainable piece of Dischord Records storied past. The only way most of us were able to get a taste of the EP was through the label's "Flex Your Head" compilation, so one could only imagine the shock I felt upon  seeing the bands first demo recordings being made available a good thirty something years later. It was all the excitement this aging punk rocker could manage.

Dischord has done an impressive job in reissuing some of it's classics in recents years. Long lost recordings from Faith, Void, Artificial Peace and many others have been personal highlights for me. Yet State of Alert's 1980 demo and the recent Rites of Spring demo stand out due to the fact that many of us are hearing these recordings for the very first time.
The demo, recorded 12/29/80 with Skip Groff at Inner Ear Studio serves as State of Alert's first ever recordings. Two of the songs ("Disease" and "Stepping Stone Party")
were originally released on the Flex Your Head sampler, while "Gonna Have to Fight"
was included on the band's "No Policy" EP. The songs "Public Defender", "Gangfight",
"Draw a Bank", "Warzone"and "Riot" are presented here for the very first time.

Since it's delivery last week, I've found myself returning to these songs countless times, and getting a taste of what Henry would soon bring to Black Flag. There's a raw power about these songs that made me return to the "No Policy" recordings and wondering why I never placed them higher on my scale of  "must listen" material. The only conclusion one can come to is that in comparison, these recordings are actually better than the No Policy tracks.. The 7' record is pressed on translucent red vinyl and comes with a digital download. File under "Essential."
James Damion

Dischord Records Get it Here

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Black N' Blue Bowl 2014 Details Announced

 Black N' Blue Bowl 2014 Lineup was announced earlier this week. 
Click the link below for more information.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wreaths s/t album - Killing Horse Records 2014

Re-post of my Wreaths review from 2013. The band had self released their s/t album digitally and made a handful of homemade cd's, but now have gotten an official cd release through the mighty Killing Horse Records...Do yourself a favor and buy a copy of this exceptional debut album from Wreaths and support them live. You will not be disappointed...Dave G


Wreaths have been my  favorite local band for a few years now. I've seen them numerous times all around NJ and I have had a few mix cd's etc that the band have given me over the years, and I pretty much loved everything I've heard.  The bands brand new self titled Lp is full of all the songs I have heard live and likely in different stages of development on those mix cd's, but I have to say hearing the songs as a proper collection is a bit mind blowing.

Musically Wreaths songs are an intricate interweaving of psychedelia  and 70's alt rock (Eno comes to mind) with a modern twist. I find the songs to be somehow soothing yet invigorating at the same time. Wreaths create one hell of a good vibe with this album and I am glad they brought me into their musical universe...An absolute top 5 album for 2013 in this listeners opinion..Dave G.

Purchase cd for only $5.00

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Street Sects - The Morning After The Night We Raped Death 7"

    Street Sects  is a two man electronic collaboration between Leo Ashline and Shaun Ringsmith who came together following Leo's long time battle with substance abuse, which he has thankfully overcome.  The one sheet explains that the bands musical focus is to use modern sampling  technology to challenge the limits of what HARDCORE music can be , and to my ears they have absolutely succeeded, by creating electronic music that is dark and frightening, but at the same time desperate and achingly sad in some way.   Personally, Street Sects has succeeded in creating a soundscape that somehow awakens my own inner sense of self destruction, and that  is a very powerful emotion to invoke through music.

If you dig emotional music regardless of genre, then I would highly recommend you give Street Sects a listen...Dave G

Additional details:
The Morning After The Night We Raped Death is the first of five  7" singles that will be released in 2014 and 2015 as part of a Serialized album titled "Gentrification". Each record in the series will be pressed in an edition of 200 black vinyl, and 300 color. The color vinyl will be reserved for a special edition box set, which will be released shortly after the release of the 5th record.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

On the Heals of their Upcoming Tour. Stuyvesant Debuts New Single "Hell Bent for Heather"

Just days away from their coming tour. New Jersey Power Pop kings Stuyvesant have released a new single "Hell Bent for Heather". Go grab yourself a copy and get a taste of what's to come from your favorite purveyors of mirth. James Damion

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Getting to Know Essex County's Archie Alone

As much as Essex County's Archie Alone have quickly become a must see live act.
The band has also come to serve as torchbearers for a burgeoning New Jersey
Punk / Hardcore scene. Merging melodic Punk with metallic riffs and emotive vocals.
Archie Alone have quickly earned favorite status with this particular blogger. Since my initial experience with the quintet in May of 2013, I've had the pleasure of seeing the band numerous times at venues including ABC No Rio, The Court Tavern and their home base in Montclair, The Meatlocker. In that time, my curiosity, as well as my appreciation for the band have grown considerably for the band. After a recent show at Paterson's WPCS Radio. I decided to speed up the interview process and have the band fill in the blanks while answering some of my curiosities. Thanks to everyone in the band for participating. 
James Damion

James: My experience with and knowledge of the band only goes back as far as the
Spring of 2013. Can you tell me about how the band started and how long before
Archie Alone took shape?

Archie Alone: Since originally forming in 2008 the band has had an ever changing lineup.
In Spring of 2012, that lineup consisted of Nicole Mesce (vocals), Tony Mastrolia (bass), and two former members. We took on guitarist Cindy Ward, whom we had met while playing with her previous band. Shortly after Cindy joined the band, Nicole suggested her friend,
Pete Lepore, as our second guitarist. Thus filling the vacancy. After playing throughout the Summer and Fall. Our drummer decided to leave. His position was soon after filled by
Pete Clark, a former band mate of Cindy's. Since our first show in January of 2013,
the lineup has remained the same.

James: You mentioned Cindy was in a band prior to coming over. What was the bands name? Are they still playing together?

Archie Alone: Cindy was in a Metal-core band called Fantazma. Our current drummer Pete Clark actually joined them towards the end of their run. Fantazma has since called it quits.

James: Cindy, a few months back I began hearing about a side project.
Can you tell me a little about the band and how it differs from Archie Alone?

Archie Alone: This actually ties in perfectly with your prior question. Cindy's side project ironically consists of members that were all at one point in Fantazma. The new project is called Sightings. Pete Clark plays drums for them as well. The best way to describe it is alternative metal/hardcore. The genre can be pretty ambiguous at times. It differs greatly from Archie Alone primarily because it is heavier music with female screaming vocals.
It does compare with Archie alone however, in that it's aggressive and dynamic.

James: The name makes me think of two things. Old Archie Comics and Archie basically taking things into his own hands. Does the name hold any meaning to you or was it just something you pulled out of your hat?

Archie Alone: The name of the band actually came from
Tony's brother who had suggested it in passing.
When the time came for us to record our first demos, the sound engineer we were working with needed a name to put on his schedule so we used Archie Alone as a fill in for the time being. Its stuck ever since. The name "Archie Alone" comes from an episode of Archie Bunkers Place, a
spin-off of All in the Family. In the episode Edith, Archie's wife, passes away.

James: Back in the Summer we spoke briefly about an album and
(my hopes of a vinyl release.) In recent months I've heard talk about you recording.
How far have you come? How long before we get our greedy hands on a copy.

Archie Alone: We started recording late fall of 2013 and hope to release the full length in late Spring of 2014. We are shooting for about 10 to 12 songs and will be pressing them on CD's as well as availability online (iTunes, Spotify, etc.) Vinyl would be a nice addition in the future but we have no current plans on it.

James: The first time I saw you live, I was there to see Nick Lee and Moon Tooth.
Since then you've toured with them and Polyphony. How did that come together?
What were some of the highlights? Lowlights and shameful moments?

Archie Alone: The first time we met Moon Tooth was at the show you mentioned at
Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ. We took a real liking to them musically and personally.
We collaborated with them and played a few shows here in jersey and Long Island.
As for Polyphony, we met them through practicing and playing at the Meatlocker in Montclair, NJ. They are also a great group of musicians. Through getting to know them we decided to do a mini weekend tour with both of them. A few memorable moments with
Moon Tooth were hanging out here in Jersey, making them breakfast after a show at the Meatlocker, and other "extra curricular" activities. A lowlight of the weekend tour with the three bands was when Polyphony got "shunned" to the upstairs part of the venue we played in Philly due to the fact they're not all 21+. Luckily they still got to play, but they were not allowed to watch any of the bands because there was a bar. We all laugh it off now but it was definitely a bummer when it happened.

James: Your sound is self described as Pop Punk, Melodic Punk and even Alternative, Personally, I hear a lot of Metallic riffs coming from Cindy's guitar. It kind of gives the band a sound those genres rarely deliver. Is that trait something that creeped it way into the bands sound over time? Or was it there from the very beginning?

Archie Alone: Yes, heavier, more metallic guitar parts. Elements that gradually made their way into the band. Especially since the additions of  Cindy and Pete. Their influencs by heavier genres of music definitely played a part. Pete's influences consist of Have Heart, Strung Out and Wilhelm Scream amongst others. Cindy, on the other hand, has experience playing heavier music in her previous band which, thus, carries into Archie Alone.

James: How are the song writing duties distributed? What about the lyrics?

Archie Alone: Pete Lepore, our guitarist, comes to practice with a piece of music and we will all jam on it until we reach a common ground. The song gradually develops over time while going through trial and error with parts that work and do not. With each practice, we bring in new ideas that further develop and give the song more character. As far as lyrics go, they are all written by Nicole, either premeditated or as we write the song.

James: Nicole is one of the most powerful vocalists I've seen in my days. It seems she pours every ounce of energy, sweat and emotion into every performance.
Where is a lot of that coming from? Does it ever take it's toll?

Nicole: First of all thank you, that means a lot. The earlier lyrics that I wrote were based on the past and how I felt at the time. As Archie Alone progressed so did the feelings and emotions that I wanted to discuss. For me personally it's been a realization of my past events and how they do not define me; It has been more of a discovery of who I am as an individual. My main goal is to have people relate not to the specific situation in the song but to the specific emotion in the song. I want it to be personal and relate-able for the listener and the things he or she goes through. Mostly, it helps me theoretically, perhaps because I grew up listening to bands like "Saves the Day" and and even "Title Fight" who have influenced me to write with my emotions.

James: Montclair's Meatlocker seems to be a home away from home for the band. What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of playing a place so often?
Does the crowd change much depending on who you're playing with or does it stay relatively the same?

Archie Alone: The Meatlocker is absolutely our home away from home. We're always there whether we're practicing, playing a show or attending a show. Cindy also books a lot of shows there for touring bands as well. We benefit from playing there because we have met so many great people and bands who we have established friendships with. The shows are always a blast and low-stress.
The drawback may be that sometimes it's the same crowd that is seeing us. While the crowd does change depending on the type of show, there is still a built-in crowd that is typically there every weekend.

James: I couldn't help but notice a rather large SUA button on Pete's guitar strap. I've been a fan of the band since they were called Jellybean. Actually saw them play with Nick Lee's old band Exemption. How do you know them? Have you had a chance to play out with them?

Archie Alone: Pete Lepore knows SUA through his friend Leigh who he met while attending IAR. We have played with them once at a house show in New Brunswick.

James: You've got a big show coming up with Dingbatz with Such Gold. Tell me about that.

Cindy: Yes we do! We are really stoked about this one not only because we all are big fans of Such Gold but it's a show that we finally feel like we fit well on. It is an honor for us to share the stage with a band that we take influence from. Shout out to
Anthony from ACI for making this one happen. We are currently working on a tight set which includes a new song that we just finished. We are really excited to show everyone the new song because we feel like it defines us most as a band.
We hope to continue in that direction. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the show!

Important Links to Archie Alone:
Sound Cloud
Reverb Nation

Darryl Norrell Talks Science with Tomasz Garnek

North Jersey quintet Science have steadily developed into one of the most entertaining live bands in their area, delivering intricacy and a diverse menu of sounds with post-hardcore vigor. After dancing our asses off at a memorable Clash Bar set late in 2013, we made it a point to track them down. Guitarist/keyboardist/noisemaker Tomasz Garnek took some time to tell us about their impending debut album, their development as a band, and more.
Their single "Any Waking Moment" awaits you on their Bandcamp HERE. They'll appear live at Backroom Studios on March 1st for a Lamplighter-hosted show with The Sound Is Fine and Impossible Voyage, and with Reese Van Riper on March 9th at the Cake Shop.

Darryl: Science's sound seems to have blossomed since we first saw you play at the Meat Locker in summer of 2012. What's contributing to your development as a band?

Tomasz: Oh man, that was a great show, and definitely a turning point for us establishing ourselves in the local scene at that point. This was not long after our original guitarist left and we were trying to reconfigure our band as a 4 piece with Evan taking on lead guitar. Adam Bird of Those Mockingbirds was kind enough to get us in on that show, which was a Tiny Giant Showcase, and we were very lucky to have our sound heard and to network with a lot of great musicians that we are still very close with to this day. I think that show in particular, and the great reaction we got, gave us the confidence we needed to really push our band forward.

Darryl: What influences are at work in your new music? Is there a direction towards which you feel you're steering your sound on the full-length?

Tomasz: Well, I think one of the biggest influences in our new music and just the overall development of our band has been the acquisition of our current bassist, Andy Longo.
When we started Science in 2011, we were a 5 piece but with Alex doing bass duties.
In early 2012, one of our original guitarists left and we were forced to restructure our songs as a 4 piece. We were definitely struggling to find our sound and were leaning more towards pop punk. However, towards the end of the year, we started jamming with Andy, put Alex on guitar duty, and something just clicked.
Andy and our drummer Steve had a really good vibe off the jump and, being the highly skilled bassist that he is, he really made everyone in the band step their game up. We started writing new songs with him and moved away from our pop punk origins toward a more progressive rock sound.
We didn't lose our roots, but I can easily say that Andy was the missing ingredient in this concoction that we call Science.

Darryl: What was the recording process like?

Tomasz: We did the demos for the album at North End Studios, which is kind of like home to us. We have our practice space there and Ed Auletta, the owner and main engineer there, has been extremely supportive to us, almost like a father figure to this band. We've done plenty of demos with him, and he recorded our single "Any Waking Moment", which is currently available on our Bandcamp  HERE. (Shameless plug)
However, for the actual album recording, we went back to Backroom Studios where we recorded our first EP "Don't Panic!" in 2011. All of us have done several different projects with Kevin Antreassian over there, and we really wanted him involved on this recording.
We were lucky to have Ed come up to Backroom during our sessions as well.
We are very grateful to have such a high caliber of engineers and producers involved.

Darryl: What have you found yourselves writing songs about?

Tomasz: Alex generally writes most of the lyrics for our songs. What I personally like about Alex's song writing is that the guy can write a hell of a love song. I'm a sucker for pop, so I always appreciate a good ol' fashioned love song. However, one common theme in our band is that we're all huge nerds. So with the new record we have definitely delved into everything from Sci-Fi themes to life and death, and all that's in between. There's a loose concept of our new record about a man, in an undefined future, witnessing his world being destroyed, and the adventures of his life and death thereafter. It's very much open to interpretation, but there are songs on the new record inspired by things like MegaMan and World of Warcraft, so you can kind of see where our heads are at. Haha

Darryl: Has playing on the road been kind to you so far? How necessary do you think it is for a band to tour these days?

Tomasz: While we try to keep a busy show schedule, we definitely haven't been on the road much outside of the Tri-State area.
Our biggest struggle with the tour goal, which many local bands can relate to, has been acquiring a reliable tour van. We've been using my mom's old mini-van, the Silver Bullet, to get around to local shows, and while we all have a sentimental connection to that van (which is on it's last leg but seems like will outlive us all)
it is definitely not something we can tour with. Last year, we had a choice to either invest in a van or invest in a new record, and we chose the latter.
The next step, after the release, will be to get a good van and finally start spreading our music further. Even with the ability to get your music heard by more people due to the internet and social media, I think touring is still integral to a successful music career, and we very much look forward to it.

Darryl: Here's a chance to let it out. What's one thing we can all do to make New Jersey's music scene a little better?

Tomasz: That's a tough one, but I would say that the New Jersey scene is still thriving. Obviously, times have changed and everyone says, "it's not like it used to be, man", but it's not supposed to be how it used to be. The scene is supposed to evolve and change, and every generation of bands coming out has the responsibility to build on it. We came into this band thinking, "fuck it, there are all of these awesome bands in NJ, and all of these little sub-scenes, we're just gonna play with everyone", and that's what we did. We never pigeon holed ourselves into one genre; we've played with pop-punk bands, folk bands, metal bands, indie bands, rap artists, etc. It's amazing how many connections you make and what kind of camaraderie you start to feel. On our new record, we have several guest vocals from popular local bands, including additional horns and strings from other NJ artists. We wanted everyone to be a part of this record because the NJ scene made us who we are, and we wanted the record to reflect that. So, that's the one thing I could say we can all do.
Work together. Power in numbers.

Darryl: What's next, once the album's release is behind you? What do you guys want for the band going forward?

Tomasz: Well, we still have a little ways to go with finishing the record. Hopefully, everything will be mastered and done by the end of March; after that, we will be focusing on filming a video for our first single and releasing that. Then, we'll probably be shopping the record around for a bit. We would ideally like to have it picked up so we don't self release. That's obviously the dream, and we're thinking positive, but we don't have concrete release plans right now. Besides that, Alex is getting married in September (Congrats!), and, after that, the focus will be a van and touring most definitely. We don't know where this journey is going to take us, but we're definitely looking forward to it. After all, it's just a ride...

Darryl: Time to get serious. Stanley Cup predictions?

Tomasz: Haha, well this is definitely more of Alex's forte, as he's the big hockey fan in the band. He is predicting Chicago vs Rangers in the Stanley Cup, with the Rangers getting that W. So, I must say, Go Rangers!

Science NJ  Website
Science Faebook

Free Download of Those Mockingbirds New Single "A Ballad From Hell"

Montclair New Jersey's Those Mockingbirds are streaming the first single 
"A Ballad from Hell" from their upcoming, yet to be titled debut full length on Soundcloud Click Here to listen and download. For added visual stimulation, be sure to check out the song's You Tube video. James Damion

Friday, February 28, 2014

Holy City Zoo - Grandview Terrace

Holy City Zoo's latest single 'Grandview Terrace' is now available on Bandcamp for a 
"name your price" option.
The single is also available through the band as a limited 
Compact Disc. Packing of the CD hand cut, hand/computer printed and wrapped. 
As an added bonus, each CD contains a unique "Zoo Fact." Mine was Zoo fact #17 
"Soap is not overrated. Shampoo, maybe." 
You know what they say, "Knowledge is Power."
James Damion

Not Blood Paint - Time to Deliver Available Now

'Time to Deliver', the new five song EP from Brooklyn's
Not Blood Paint is available for a "Name Your Price" option on Bandcamp. Mastered by
Kevin Blackler at
Blackler Mastering,
Brooklyn, N.Y. Cover by Booters Liebmann-Smith and
George Frye. 'Time to Deliver' marks the bands 6th release since their 2011 debut 'Tommy'. If the EP's artwork doesn't draw you in.
The bands glam rock guitar sound, prog rock genius and downright sinister delivery make for an interesting listen. Check it out.
James Damion

Not Blood Paint Bandcamp

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Sound is Fine - S/T EP

When a friend (Or someone who seems to be under the guise that your opinion amounts to little more than two cents.) decides to drop his latest project on your lap. The first thing that often comes to mind is "Oh God, I hope this doesn't suck." Lucky for everyone involved, The Sound is Fine more than lived up to their namesake.

Fuzzed out guitars battle bratty vocals while spacious melodies wash over the listener like cocaine on the set of
Two and a Half Men.
The opening track
'Big Dream Kid' immediately brings to mind 90's indie Rockers Archers of Loaf.
While 'Another Pup Kicked' and 'Blackout' swim in the deep end of the pool with a mix of 70's Hard Rock and 90's Alternative excellence. The EP's closer 'Running in Squares' has spacey and atmospheric characteristics that remind of the members former band
The Nico Blues. Although I miss the Indie sweethearts. It's nice to see its former members break new ground and explore new things.With a debut this good,
The Sound is Fine are sure to make a mark on the ever changing indie music landscape.
James Damion

The Sound is Fine  Get it Here

TV Sound - Amber Glass High

With an ancestry deeply routed in Kearny, New Jersey's infamous and secretive Punk Rock Mafia. TV Sound have resurrected their late 90's Rock Punk to stake a claim to the throne.
'Amber Glass High' seven song blast of high octane Rock n' Roll marks their second release on
Killing Horse Records and their first newly recorded material since the original release of
'Record Jacket Life' back in 1999. Review Here
Guitar driven Rock and working class anthems resonate throughout each song. Favorites like the rousing and anthemic
'Get Your Gear on' and
'The Girl You Never Got' highlight the band's blue collar appeal. While the live version of
'We Laughed at the World' cement the bands presence as a band of the people and for the people. In listening to TV Sound, I find myself drawing comparisons between label mates
The Everymen and Dromedary Records The 65's. 'Amber Glass High' serves as the soundtrack to dirty hands and scraped knuckles. A perfect fit on the jukebox of your local pub, tavern or watering hall.
James Damion

Killing Horse Records Get it Here

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Night of Releases, Debuts and Celebratory Hugs at the Court Tavern

Due to my hunger and the fact I spent most of the early part of my evening waiting for my food to come out of the kitchen. I managed to miss most of Darryl Norrell's acoustic set. The two or so songs had a laid back and cozy appeal that would have felt a lot more intimate if the crowd assembled had come anywhere close to the stage. Blame it on my empty stomach, but I was starting to picture myself sitting up on stage with the band roasting marsh mellows. Take it any way you want. It seemed a nice way to open the night. Say what you want, butI think that long bench at the back of the room serves as a Lazy-Boy for a lot of people who just aren't quite ready to fully commit to a good time.

Sink Tapes followed and though I had no prior knowledge of the local New Brunswick quartet. I found myself immediately drawn to their melodic and seemingly effortless approach to Indie Rock. Their set quite impressive musically. I felt drawn to
drummer / vocalist Gabe's delicate vocal delivery and easy approach to the drums.
I created an imaginary line a few feet from the stage. Not wanting to disturb the intimate setting their set created. My one regret of the night was not bringing enough cash to properly ransack Sink Tapes merch table. I hope to get the chance again soon. Only time will tell.

Considering how much time I've spent lending my ears to Modern Chemistry's
'We'll grow out of this' Review Here
and 'An Introduction' Review Here.
It's hard to imagine this was my first opportunity catch the band live. Lucky I caught them on this particular night, considering this was to be the bands last local show for some time.
Their uplifting energy and spirit moved the laid back and somewhat stand offish crowd away from the bar and the comfort of the bleachers within striking distance of the stage.
Lead singer / guitarist Brendan Hourican grades high in the frontman department. A mix of energy, charisma and the ability to perfectly engage in onstage banter without it sounding forced or phony. The band's set included  songs from both EP's along with a couple of new ones.
Considering Modern Chemistry list 80's
Power Pop band The Outfield as one of their key influences. I shouldn't have been the least bit surprised when they rolled out a cover of the bands sole hit 'Your Love'. Regardless, my jaw dropped so low. I can accurately relay the the floor of the Court Tavern tastes like a combination of rubber and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
It really raised the eyes and ears of the already involved crowd and put a nice ribbon on an excellent set.

Being that it was their very first show. The Sound is Fine landed a pretty sweet spot on the bill. The Wayne, New Jersey natives whose members comprise of two sets of brothers (Reed and Skyler Adler and Evan and Colin Campbell) are no strangers to the New Jersey independent music scene. Reed, Skyler and Evan comprised 3/5 of the now defunct
Nico Blues. Truth be told. I may have never made it out if it were not for Reed personally asking. It's hard to believe it's been over a year since I've seen these guys. The band played a tight set of celebratory Rock n' Roll  that included songs from their debut EP. One so good, I knew the words and hooks to each song before they even plugged in. Life their predecessors The Nico Blues. I can see The Sound is Fine making a big impression on the current New Jersey music scene and beyond. Be sure to check back in Friday for my review of the EP.

With their new single 'Grandview Terrace' in tow. Local heroes Holy City Zoo closed the night on a high note. The band and personnel have been favorites of mine since the inception of the blog in 2001. Earning a special place in my heart and partial credit for my continual hearing loss. While The New Brunswick noise makers provide the energy and intensity of the areas best Hardcore our. They've grown to become on of the most musically proficient and technically smart band I can think of. Think Rye Coalition meets the Foo Fighters in a dirty New Brunswick basement. I can't think of four more laid back and chill people to hang out with. Interesting, considering the brutal savages they become when plugged in.
It wouldn't be a Holy City Zoo gig if Frank didn't remove his shirt to revel his werewolf lineage. Like Modern Chemistry, they mentioned this would be their last local show in quite a while. They plan on following the new single with an extended lockdown in the studio.
One can only hope the time spent will help produce the bands first full length and big big spot for me on the "Thank List." Only time will tell. James Damion
This was only my second time back since the Church St. landmark reopened and it can't go without saying the new owners have really done a great job with the place. I look forward to more shows, warmer weather and a few games of pool in the near future.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Gaslight Anthem - The B-Sides

When a band or record label decide to release a B - Sides collection. It's almost a sure sign of either a band in decline or one long gone. In this case The Gaslight Anthem's latest 'The B-Sides' appears to be a small offering to fans clamoring for a new album from their beloved band.
'B-Sides' features eleven tracks, six of which are acoustic and one live. Noteworthy is the moving cover of Pearl Jam's
'State of 'Love and Trust' (Recorded live at NYC's
Webster Hall.)  Side B's
'Songs for Teenagers' and the acoustic 'American Slang' also earn favorite status on this overall underwhelming collection of songs. While not a bad album, it's moments, like on the bands uninspiring cover of The Rolling Stone's
'Tumbling Dice', that reminded me why B Side albums and Box Sets have earned their reputation as disappointing and ultimately unnecessary.

When investing in a bands B-sides or unreleased songs. You'd be wise not to have the highest expectations you'll be hearing the artist's best work. You're most likely going to get exactly what's presented here. With that said. 'B - Sides' shows a band that appear to be losing their luster. As someone who once sang their praises as much as their choruses.
The Gaslight Anthem have slowly become just another band to me. Granted, Brian Fallon remains a gifted song writer and storyteller. I just wish he'd use a fresh brush every now and then to paint his landscapes. I might stick around longer to enjoy the view. 
James Damion

Side One Dummy  Get it Here

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Breakdown - Runnin' Scared LP

Breakdown's 1987 demo served as a benchmark for what was to shape New York Hardcore for years to come. As many consider 1985 / 1986 as years that shaped the second wave of NYHC. Their demo along with Raw Deal's entrance into the fray, set the bar higher than most bands could ever dream reaching. Just as
Youth of Today and select acts from the Revelation camp created an army of cookie cutter straightedge, posi-core bands. Intended or not, Breakdown opened the gates for just about every tough guy Hardcore act to follow.

Considering the impact and and downright icon status of that 87' demo. I didn't come close to breaking a sweat when it came to acquiring 'Runnin Scared', but once a the needle hit the record. I was transformed. In listening to "Dissed and Dismissed' and 'All I Ask" I came to realize that, as much as I love, support and respect Hardcore music and the community it's created. Bands have very seldom come remotely close to what Breakdown created.

'Runnin Scared' features the 1988 demo of the same name. Recorded in The Loft studios in Bronxville, near the parkway, and previously unreleased versions of 'All I Ask' and
'Hold Me Back'. The latter basically a new Breakdown song that you can’t get anywhere else but here. Also included is their second WNYU session from 1989. The record contains eighteen tracks in all and includes a 12" X 24" with rare photos and flyers as well as new liner notes by Jeff Perlin himself. First pressing of 1,000 black vinyl. Go get yourself a copy before they're gone. James Damion

Get it Here  Painkiller Records

Muphy's Law - S/T Debut Album Reissue

Founded in Astoria, Queens, NY in 1983, Murphy's Law was at the forefront of the burgeoning NYHC scene of the 1980s but infused an element of humor and
light-heartedness. This debut album was originally released in 1986 but has been out of print for decades until now. CD includes one additional track.
Vinyl version includes full digital download of album and one additional track.

In listening to the bands 1986 debut album, I was returned to my early days on the Hardcore scene and how important a band Murphy's Law was to everyone involved in the music. Walking into West 3rd's Bleeker Bob's and putting my name on a list to secure a copy prior to the records arrival. The band and songs 'Beer", 'Crucial BBQ',
'Sit Home and Rot' and 'Care Bear' became integral parts of my vocabulary. Along with Agnostic Front and Token Entry, Murphy's Law drew me into the N.Y.H.C. community before I could even talk my way in to the doors of CBGB's. Listening to these songs, some for the first time in years, brought back some great memories while firmly planting a lasting smile on my face.

Along with the bands Debut record (featured here) I Scream Records will be reissuing Murphy's Law's entire back catalog, including 1989's 'Back with a Bong',
1991's 'The Best of Times', 1996's Dedicated' and 2001's 'The Party's Over'.
The reissues will feature new artwork and bonus tracks, and will release the albums digitally for the first time ever, as well as on CD and vinyl. The label will also be releasing a new studio album from the band later this year. Kind of cool if you ask me. Until then.
James Damion

I Scream Records  Get it Here

Bad American - American Dream

Bad American's new album "American Dream" is a full on no nonsense ass kicking of a record from start to finish. The guitars are noisy, the bass is thumping and Ray's vocals are pissed to the 10th degree.
 In the past I have compared BA to Black Flag but I can honestly say that I no longer hear  Black Flag in their sound at all.  On American Dream, Bad American  sounds like a band who has found their footing and is moving forward with their own take on modern hardcore music. If I had to draw comparisons to any band it would be to a  new school band like Total Abuse, and I mean that as  a compliment. I've seen Bad American live within the past 12 months as well and I have to say that their live show is total insanity. If they come to your town I would recommend you do not miss them...Dave G.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Red Death - 2014 Demo

Though still a band in it's infancy. Red Death's personnel read like a local directory of who's who in from some of the areas best Hardcore outfits.
Featuring members Zoom, Intent, Future Binds, Abuse, Protestor and most notably, Coke Bust. The band, all of which share a house outside Washington DC, bring somewhat of a lifers element to the game.

On the bands first demo.
Red Death offer four songs of fast and brutal Hardcore that finds influences in standout acts such as
Corrosion of Conformity,
The Accused, Discharge and even The Cro-mags.
'Already in Hell', 'Disfigure', 'Unholy Agony' and 'Perpetrator' are delivered with quick, angry and downright savage results . With songs that barely make it over the one minute mark. They leave no time for breakdowns and no room for the light of heart. Whenever I feel myself drifting from my Hardcore roots. They're comes a band that pulls me back in and allows me to appreciate the past while helping me to realize the future still lies ahead.
Red Death did just that. Though the band wont be getting any scholarships to art school. (Note demo artwork.) Red Death more than make their mark on Hardcore's ever growing landscape. The demo, now available on Bandcamp is just about the cassette treatment from Flophouse Records and tapes. James Damion

Flop-House Demo Band
B9 Board  Download

The Cartwheelers - "Hot Socks! It's...The Cartwheelers"

Hailing from New Brunswick New Jersey. The Cartwheelers, a duo comprising of
Kevin McSorely
(guitar / vocals) and
Stefan Dias,
(percussion / vocals) play a saucy mix that includes garage, surf rock and a seasoning of Latin rhythms. The EP's jangly rhythms and quirky, off kilter vocals serve as endearing characteristics.

The opening track 'Birds' is an absolute joy. It's crazy latin inspired percussion and warm chorus are as addictive as any three minutes and eighteen seconds could be.
I almost immediately felt myself losing all inhibitions and going completely spastic on my make believe dance floor. The vocals took me to Nerdville where I felt I was hearing a crazy mix of  Brian Sella, (The Front Bottoms) Gordon Gano, (Violent Femmes) and Scott Thompson (Meet Pause). Pretty good company if you ask me. The Cartwheelers look to be off to a impressive start. I'm glad I had the chance to ride along for a bit.
It was certainly a blast.
James Damion

The Cartwheelers  Bandcamp

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Stuyvesant - "Duel" (Swervedriver Cover)

High praise for the new video featuring Stuyvesant's cover of the Swervedriver classic "Duel." The studio recording can be found on the Dromedary Records 20th Anniversary covers compilation "From '93 'Til Infinity".  My Review 
Available on CD or download on Dromedary Records

Directed by Brian Musikoff.
Edit and assembly by Bill Hamilton, Beel Media.
Recorded and mixed by Tom Beaujour @ Nuthouse Recording, Hoboken, New Jersey.

New Video 'Euphony' from All Sensory Void

Check out the video for the song 'My Euphony' from All Sensory Void's  
'Relax Man…You're Actually Just Energy Condensed to a Slow Vibration.'. 
 A.S.V. will be releasing a new full length album in late Spring/early Summer entitled 'Everywhere You Go…There You Are'. Self described as Van Morrison meets Husker Du. Let's hope Mr. Morrison bought the band a round or three soon after. 
James Damion

Video - (Join The) Hate Wave b/w Captivity

I had feared that Video may have broken up after the release of 2011's Leather Leather Lp which was a 2011 year end top ten of mine. You can read the Lp review HERE. Anyway, I am thrilled to see that Video is still going, and going strong at that. The brand new 7" ep (Join The ) Hate Wave b/w Captivity contains all the hall marks that landed Leather Leather on my year end list.  The music moves straight ahead at a mid tempo but the guitars are angular and interesting, the vocals are simply song with a bit of a snotty detachment (in the best way) at times. The two new songs on offer here are immediately memorable and command immediate repeat listens. Man, I really dig this band, here's hoping there's a new full length coming in the near future...Dave G.

Sound cloud

Act quick band has only 30 copies left.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Atlas Shrugged - Don't Look Back In Anger

Atlas Shrugged hit the NY Hardcore scene in 1992 and remained active, though on and off, right up through the release of 2012's excellent Smile 7" ep.

For those of you who may have missed out on Atlas Shrugged  this CD discography  is a great introduction to the band who were/are an excellent hard driving hardcore band that sort of summed up perfectly where the NY Hardcore scene was heading back in the days of Burn, Absolution and Quicksand and prior to the macho tough guy stuff that later followed.

If you are a fan of the Post NY Hardcore sound of bands like Burn, Quicksand, Die 116 etc then I think you need to give this discography a listen.  The CD seems to run in reverse chronological order from newest  material to oldest which is a really good way of introducing new listeners to the band as you begin with the strongest material (In My Opinion) and work your back though the more formative years. This CD is a fun ride and an essential collection  for fans of the band, and the perfect introduction for new comers...RCS in da house...bust it!...Dave G.

More info Here

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mercy Killings - s/t 7"

Mercy Killings features members of Richmond VA's Wasted Time and Direct Control, however the bands musical approach is definitely more akin to the angry kick in the gut that was previously provided by Wasted Time. Straight out of the starting gate Mercy Killings delivers a high energy attack that's interspersed with some nice chugging riffs and tempo changes, and then  topped off with pissed the fuck off vocals to really drive the bands point home.  Overall,  this is a promising first ep and I definitely look forwarded to hearing more from Mercy Killings in the future...Dave G.

Mercy Killings - Hear
Beach Impediment - Buy 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Powerblessings - Quick Guide To Heart Attacks

Catchy ass punk/Hardcore that had me singing along halfway through the opening track on my first listen. I can't quite put my finger on bands to compare Powerblessings to but I definitely hear a 90's Indie/Emo/Punk thing going on here, but of the highest caliber.

If you're a fan of powerful, complex punk rock with a good heaping of rhythmic guitar churning  ala The Hot Snakes or even harkening back to The Wipers then I think Powerblessings is a band you need to add to your playlist.  Thanks for sending in a hard copy of the Lp  guys, the packaging is really nice. Thick cardboard cover, lyric insert and nice thick vinyl that sounds great spinning around on my this is how I like to listen to music...Dave G.