Sunday, December 30, 2012

Brooklyn's Courtesy Tier Offers "Something Better"

Brooklyn's Courtesy Tier have a new track up on their Bandcamp. It was issued December 26th 2012 and is available in numerous formats at a "Name Your Price" offer. "Something Better" was Recorded and Mixed by Ben Rice at DeGraw Sound in Brooklyn, NYand Mastered by Alan Douches at West Side Sound. Just check the link below.

Something Better

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Super Snake - Summer Girls

As I sit here with tingling extremities in an apartment within view of Japan's
Mount Fuji waiting to add layers before heading out. I thought it would be the perfect time to add my two cents about an EP that's been on replay since I got off the plane two weeks ago.

It's hard to imagine it's taken me so long to review a four song EP I downloaded on Bandcamp over a month ago. It's just that these four songs are excellent on so many levels that it's taken it's fair share of time to fully delve into their unique eccentricities.

Super Snakes is a "Super Group" of sorts. Comprising Jerry Jones of Trophy Scars and former personnel from Chambers and I am Heresy respectively. Three uniquely special bands in their own way; Jerry Jones being the most notable.

On the bands debut they pull out all the stops and take things to a level usually selected by seasoned veterans and bands we hold in the highest regard.
Dirty, "Don't Give A Fuck" relentless Rock excess. Jerry Jones delivery is part screamish, part menacing, demonic slithered word. Each of the four track names come from some real badass characters both real and fictitious. "Baron Samedi" was a Loa of Haitian Voodoo. "Frank Booth" the fictional character and antagonist from the 1986 classic "Blue Velvet" "Anton Chigurh" was the hit man from the novel "No Country for Old Men" and "Stringer Bell" the drug kingpin from the TV dram  "The Wire". Lyrically these tracks are even more sinister and creepy. "Frank Booth" was so dirty I felt like I needed to be bathed upon listening. John Pinho's guitar work on "Summer Girls" is not only notable but praise worthy to say the very least.  Whether or not you're a fan of any of the aforementioned bands. This is an EP and a band you should be looking into. Super Snake has it's first full length already recorded and due out soon. Go make yourself familiar with these four songs before it arrives. James Damion

Get it Here

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dot Dash - Winter Garden Lite

Washington D.C.'s Dot Dash may not be immediately recognizable to our readers but the bands personnel have been staples to the indie and punk community for decades. Guitarist/Vocalist Terry Banks and Bassist Hunter Bennet are formerly of Julie Ocean while drummer Danny Ingram played with the legendary Swervedriver. Guitarist Bill Crandall, formerly of Adam West rounds out the band.

On "Winter Garden Light", the bands second album. Dot Dash (Taken from the Wire song of the same name) craft an impressive collection of
post-punk power pop. The band together elements of The Jam, Joy Division and the Buzzcocks with a dash of minimalism that has me thinking of the production values of
The Jesus Mary Chain's "Psychocandy". All of it blending together nicely to form a perfect Power Pop sound. "Winter Garden Light" has a refreshing and catchy vibe. Highlighted by mature song writing and structure. Each song has it own warm and distinctive feel with a hook laden, jangly vibe.

Though this took a few listens to find a deeper appreciation and connection with the songs.
I found myself enjoying more and more with each listen. "Winter Garden Light" is a record more than worth investing in.
James Damion

Get it Here

Sautrus - Kuelmaggah Mysticism: The Proloque EP

Every now and then we get a request for a review from outside of the country. The majority of which don't even seem to come close to matching the kind of material we cover here at United By Rocket Science. That said, when I first came across The Proloque EP from Sautrus I was not expecting much return on the bands download. Never mind the name, title or the fact that this came to me all the way from Poland. This complete "Out of Left Field" surprise is a complete gem and one of my most listened to EP's of the late year.

Kuelmaggah Mysticism offers four songs of sludgy,
Stoner Metal that also offers a good dash of bluesy, 70's Hard Rock debauchery. Weno's vocals are deep, soulful and bluesy while still holding down the Rock n' Roll fort. There are moments on "The Blackest Hole/Black Hole" that remind me of an insanely dark and sinister MRI I had last week at 2:30 in the morning. I found myself immediately hooked on these four tracks. One can only hope that the band will delivering many more dirty little gems in quick form. With hope the wait won't be long.
Very impressive. James Damion

Get it Here

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Strife - Witness a Rebirth

Hardcore torch bearers Strife return to the fold with "Witness A Rebirth" the bands first studio material in more than ten years.
Back in the 90's when California straightedge band Strife first appeared on the Hardcore radar. They filled the void left by bands such as Judge,
Chain of Strength and
Youth of Today and may have even tightened the screws a bit. While 1994's "One Truth" refueled us. 1997's "In this Defiance" inspired us.

When first hearing about the reunion and the making of the record I tossed it into the figurative abyss of reunited bands looking to relive old glories on the dance floor. However, unlike many of the unmentioned newly reunited and reinvented bands. Strife held a special place in my later Hardcore history. At a time when it seemed like I was holding on to a genre that had been littered with bands playing metal riffs and representing their gangsta' hood. Strife, along with a handful of bands gave me inspiration and made me feel that.... all hope was not lost.
So I proceeded with caution and an open mind.

On "Witness A Rebirth" the band fires on all cylinders at a breakneck pace. All the elements that made Strife stand out two decades ago coming rushing back as the band return to their relentless beast of a sound. Passionate vocals that renew old battle cries coupled with a relentless guitar assault and enough mosh parts to turn any square footage into a war zone. The album features it's fare  share of who's who from a list of bands I never really cared much for myself. Terror's Scott Vogel, Chino Moreno of the Deftones, Dino Cazeres of Fear Factory and Igor Cavalera of Sepultura add to the mix. Making one wonder if anyone from the actual band even showed up for the recording. Regardless of whether or not those players made any major differences in the records sound. It works!!!

Though the record doesn't really break any new ground. It doesn't do anything to erode the foundation and reputation the band worked so hard to create. It might just win over a new legion of fans. As far as reunions go, this is about as good as it's gonna get. James Damion

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bad Brains - Into the Future

It's never a good thing when you have a negative attitude about a record before even listening to it. Thus was the case with the Bad Brains latest release. Sad yet appropriate considering how much the band meant to me and basically everyone that listened to Punk or Hardcore in the 80's. The ROIR cassette and 'Rock for Light' were part of my introduction to Hardcore. I saw the Bad Brains many times between the release of  
"I Against I" and "Quickness". Including leaving my senior prom early with my date to catch them at the Ritz in NYC.

My love, respect and admiration for this band never really died but remained firmly placed in that 80's decade. When 2007s "Build A Nation", (the bands first album of new material in twelve years) arrived I harnessed that love and respect to have hope that the band would somehow gather the solid musicianship of Daryl Jennifer, Dr. Know and Earl Hudson, matched with  the production on long time fan, friend and supporter Adam Yauch to help overcome the fragilities of H.R.'s worn vocals and well documented mental state. Disappointment followed, as did my hopes the Brains would ever recapture old glory or even come remotely close to what they accomplished decades ago. Sadly this was not the case with "Build A Nation". Even sadder, it is not the case with "Into the Future". The band really does try to.

As far as I can see the problem with being the Bad Brains is living up to the incredibly large reputation the band is do deserving of. The problem I have with "Into the Future" is though the band is working hard on creating an album that will bring us back to that golden age, all while providing hope for the future. It comes off more like the Bad Brains have become a Bad Brains cover act. Sure, they can play the songs while looking the look; But they never come close to sounding or feeling like the original. Dooming themselves to playing weddings, high school reunions and frat bars. If "Into the Future" holds any clues to where we're headed. Book me on the first flight out of here. One can only dry hump the past for so long without becoming dehydrated and uninspired by glories long past. I will not be brainwashed into thinking this band will ever produce anything close to what they did in the 80's.
James Damion

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chris Neptune - S/T

Every now and then our blog gets a submission that has us scratching our head and wondering "Do they have any idea what we do here?" "Did this artist take even a few seconds to explore the content of the blog?"

"How would you like your white bread sir?" "White, very white with the crusts cut off and an unhealthy dollop of mayonnaise for good measure." That is how I would describe the sampling
I received. Chris' bio only tells part of the story. Influences ranging from Alan Parsons Project to Toto to John Mayer to Coldplay. Chris manages to gain inspiration and ammunition from the dullest and most uninspiring artists to plague the universe with their horse tranquilizing odes to sedation. If I can take anything positive from listening to this it would be that the track "You'll be Surprised" had me racing through You Tube for the theme song to the 80's TV show "Greatest American Hero". In support of his EP and upcoming full length; Chris recently headlined 'The Crossroads' in Garwood, NJ. Sadly, I was unable to attend. That would have been interesting to say the very least.  James Damion

Chris Neptune

Antidote - No Peace In Our Time

As a teenager growing up in the mid to late 80's New York Hardcore scene Antidote were already a legendary and somewhat mysterious band to many who entered the scene at the time. "Thou Shalt Not Kill" was already an almost unattainable, long out of print classic.
The EP rivaled and to many, even overshadowed that of Agnostic Front's "United Blood",
Cause for Alarm's self titled EP,  The Mob's "Upset the System" and The Abused
"Loud and Clear".

Thirty years later after a series of reunion shows that seemed to be born out of the monumentally shitty
 "American Hardcore" book and movie. The band has been promising a record of their first new material since the
Reagan Era. The wait seemed to be a long one but the band has delivered on their promise.

"No Peace in our Time" delivers ten songs of classic Hardcore sound in just over twenty minutes. The album feels a lot like what should have originally followed "Thou Shalt Not Kill" sometime in the mid 80's before crossover put a stranglehold on New York Hardcore. An element that really helps the record stand out amongst a lot of the more currently polished and metallic Hardcore acts. An element I strongly believe the band was dead set on accomplishing.

Though Drew Stone's vocals wore on me at times. I felt Rob Nunzio's guitar work was stellar and really helps to overshadow that shortcoming. "Uneffected" and the forty-three second "Time to fight, ready to fight" stand out as my favorites. Throw in a cover of Black Flag's "Rise Above" with guest vocals from Agnostic Front's Roger Miret'  and you have a strong foundation to build on.

Though this was not the monumental release many had hyped it to be. I feel that it captured a lof of the spirit and intensity of Antidote's original sound and that of some of the more notable early New York Hardcore sound. "No peace in our time" isn't a great record but it's good enough to make me want to dig up my re-issue of "Thou Shalt Not Kill" and try to remember what it was like to be thirteen years old again. James Damion

Get it Here

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cicada Radio Currently Streaming New Album

Cicada Radio are streaming their new album "No Fate But What We Make" as we speak. Click the link below before you order a copy at KillingHorse Records . The band is having their official "CD Release Party" with A Balance Between, Let Me Run, Meet Pause and 
The Rose Riot this Saturday December 1st at the newly reopened Court Tavern in 
New Brunswick NJ. Now, if that don't get your dick hard.... I got nothing for ya'. 
James Damion

No Fate But What We Make

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Become - Cassette - Take It Back Records 2012

Driving emotive hardcore with a bit of an old school Dischord vibe mixed with a touch of the 90's Emo sound that you would find on many of the Gravity Records releases of that time period.

Become features current and ex-members of Manumission, Ochre, Lumber Lung, X-Wing, Worship, Bone Explosion, Desperate Hours, Masisin, No Man's Land, Eden in Flames, Sutrama, Embassy, Uphill Battle, Broken Needle, Blasting Concept, and Surprise Vacation. I must say that that is one hell of pedigree. If you are a fan of any of these bands or simply a fan of well done emotional hardcore music then I urge you to give Become a listen...Dave G.


The Everymen "Coney Island High" Video

The Everyman and Johnny Komar of 'Village Basement Sessions' have produced one of the funniest videos since Cicada Radio's "Oceans". It's the first single of their debut album entitled "New Jersey Hardcore". Check it out and keep check, check, checkin'. 
James Damion

Monday, November 19, 2012

Neurosis - Honor Found In Decay - Neurot 2012

This is either a tough record to review or a very easy record to review. I am going to take the easy route and say that Honor Found In Decay sounds exactly like what we have come to expect from Neurosis over their past 3 albums or so...atmospheric, plodding, somewhat heavy music with gruff vocals, and a nice heaping of emotion. Now I am not trying to be a wise-ass  or anything, it's just that Neurosis have found there formula and they do not stray from it in the slightest.    

Overall, I think that while there is nothing new here it is comforting none the less to have new Neurosis music playing from my speakers, and Honor Found In Decay is certainly worthy of repeated listens....I wish these guys would play NY again, and soon...Dave G.

Cicada Radio Premiere Video for "Oceans"

Local favorites Cicada Radio have released a video for the song "Oceans". The track is from their forthcoming record "No Fate But What We Make". Check it out here. JD

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Unite Webzine Calls it a Day

Last night I cancelled my 
Mac Highway account, thus ending Unite Fanzines online presence. The decision was a long time coming with a number of issues contributing to the decision. This is not to say that the original Unite won't return in some form at one time or another. I just felt that the site, it's layout and focus were outdated and did not represent who or where I am today. I'm very proud of the Fanzine's history and the interviews 
I conducted during the websites existence but it was time to move on. If you're a fan or just an occasional visitor to this blog you may have noticed I've reposted some of my favorite 'Unite' interviews with updated content and images. 
I plan to continue doing so in the near future. Thanks to everyone who supported Unite since it's inception in 1988 as a print zine. It's been a lot of fun. To quote my good friend 
Ken Salerno, "Over and Out" James Unite

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jersey Beat to Host Benefit for victims of Hurricane Sandy

Here's a chance to rock out to some stellar bands while making a difference in the lives of people still suffering from the damage of Hurricane Sandy. JD

Rest in Peace Ol' Dirty Bastard!

U.B.R.S. sends some love to the Ol' Dirty Bastard up above. Rest In Peace. JD

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ev Gold; Five Albums, One Lifetime.

The "Essential Albums" list will definitely not win United By.. any points for originality considering the countless times it's been done in magazines, radio, television and just about anything related to music in general. It is however, something that continues to intrigue me. Asking the people who make music that moves you only adds to that intrigue.

In asking Ev to do this little piece for the blog I was looking to gain a little more insight into what musically brought him to where he is where he is now as a musician and as an individual. I've poured over Cinema Cinema's recordings and witnessed the band lay waist to clubs and bars alike. During the past year or so I've gone from a casual acquaintance to a good friend and what he refers to as "Family", Getting to know where he comes from musically can only add another layer to our friendship. James Damion

As we grow and evolve we often take time to look back at the people, places and moments that helped shape us along the way.

They say the body regenerates its cells every 7 years. 
Your tastebuds change. 
You change. Old is replaced by new. This is what they say. 
So, I say that if this is so - then our musical "taste-buds" must evolve as well.

I found it nearly impossible to craft this list down to five. 
As I rolled over ALL the amazing music that i have been blessed to hear and experience thus far in my days, I found a myriad different reasons to include specific albums.. to the point of WAY over thinking this! But I kept coming back to the realization that I would have to make this list based on my sensibilities TODAY and what records came to shape who I am and the music I help to create.

The essential records in my life are the ones that find my ears as fresh to them today as they were the day I was touched by them. Over the years of winding change and evolution, they still excite and move me deeply. They are the ones I always call back on. 
They transcend the moment, thus rendering them timeless to me. They allow me magic.

I’m a buoyant spirit, dancing and filled with joy when I put on each of the next five LP’s or CD’s (or, if need be - mp3’s) and press PLAY. Ev Gold

1. Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction (released July 21, 1987)

This was the Atomic Bomb in my little 9 year old life. Totally leveling the earth for me, totally enthralling me with its intense vibe. A sound like nothing else for my ears yet. I knew I wanted to be in a band, whatever that meant, immediately. It sounded like these guys didn't take shit from anyone. It seemed dangerous. They cursed!! a LOT. 
Let alone those vocals! Screeching at top level, full blast throat shredding - coming after you with vengeance... fukkin' behold AXL!!..And the dirt beneath the finger nails in all the grooves and riffs.
So defiant! And different..and just tasty all around. And great songs. The first album that I not only knew every lyric from the liner notes, - but I could actually recite ALL the production, engineering, mixing and instrumental credits. I listened to this thing so much and just stared at and studied the booklet. This was late 1987; there wasn't Google in my world, or content readily available to check out on a new band via YouTube.. just the CD and booklet. Ah, it excites me to even think of how it was... firstlove! Thank you Axl, Slash, Izzy, Duff, & Steve.

2. Neil Young - Decade (released October 28, 1977)

Another absolute life changer. In 1992 my father taught me how to playmguitar (for which I shall remain forever grateful). The method was, rather
than heavy theory or scales – just to get me sound & proficient with chords, playing songs early on to keep me focused and then learn the rest of the essentials along the way... in hindsight, it worked.
I am so happy it did.

He taught me
"Knocking on Heaven’s Door" by Bob Dylan first...then "Wild Horses" by The Stones. After getting those under my belt, for my birthday that year he got me the songbook (another pre-internet fashion!) to"Decade", a double disc retrospective of Neil Young's work between 1966 and 1977. The album itself had been on in my house growing up and just seemed to be one of those records that was gravitating toward me, as I toward it, from birth.

I immediately fell in love with Neil's vocals, so obtuse and unique.Fragile but cutting.. and so much staying power behind the words he'd choose for lyrics. So much weight. And his approach to the guitar when playing acoustic and then when playing electric, so independent of each other. Total master, in my opinion, breathing such deep life into his open voiced chord choices or feedback drenched electric smatterings. I could die with a Neil Young record playing and be OK with that. I learned all 35 songs and still run across them at points when practicing guitar as recent as last night. Get some DECADE in your life!

3. Fugazi - In On the Kill Taker (released June 30, 1993)

Ok, if "Appetite for Destruction" was the A Bomb, then I guess this is where it went totally fukkin nuclear for me. DEF one of those taste bud
changers... Burn away the old.. Explode the land.. Charred and tarred and gonna have to be repaved now...all new.

The intensity. The all out approach. The solid musicianship.
The awesome tempo shifts. 
The lyrics. The dual vocal attack!! Fugazi remains one of, if not my favorite band to this day. ..and, this was my total introduction into the whole Dischord DC punk sound and the idea of east coast hardcore and whatever else came along with reaching back to the start – which I did with fervor from that moment forward – all influenced by Fugazi.

I didn't know about Minor Threat first. I was like 5 when Minor Threat was out... so by the time I got to 15 and Fugazi released "In on the Kill Taker", my little mind was just ripe to be fukkkin exploded again, and so it was and so it is and so I am thankful to this record. It very much opened up a door to tons and tons of other deeply influential records for me.

Side note, - this specific record planted the seed in my mind to grow up and form a band with the goal of being serious enough to record one day at Inner Ear Studios. I don't think even in my craziest 15 year old cream dreams back then that doing so WITH Don Zientara at the helm (the guy who was listed as engineer on this record as well as almost every other record that this one would lead me to) would ever even be an option. But life is full of surprises! And I am ultra-grateful the opportunity came to be
reality years later.

4. Afghan Whigs - Black Love (released March 12, 1996)

I do not even know where to begin with this one.
The fact that it had a storyline and theme that was never made apparent or obvious running throughout the record, like an opera filled with rolling black out's.. Uneven and perfect, just like real life. Unexpected but right on time. It really blew my mind and inspired the fukk out of the songwriter in me that was emerging at that young age....And the vocals! Oh my GOD! 
The conviction with which Dulli attacks these songs and his vocal approach on this record, -where passion and feeling totally over ride all else, still chill me and move my ass to this very second.
They influence every vocal I’ve ever taken in a recording studio. Get fukkin naked. 
Get crazy. Go intimate. Float off key. Be unafraid. Just crucify it. Get bloody. 
Soul sing mutherfukker!!... That don't mean try to sound like Al Green - it means reach down deep and sound like YOURSELF!

Need I mention the closing three songs of this record are just far beyond cathartic and filled with bruised beauty and triumph and more bruises and victory?? A true over looked gem of my time and one that I will always value.. DEF the 1st record I play for my grandchildren - cause damn, the future gonna have to know about this one.

5. Black Flag - My War (released March 1984)

So terrifyingly brilliant that it still confuses me. Just like all the best Hendrix, you hear something new every time you listen to it. Overwhelming. Bewildering. Fukkin awesome. Greg Ginn is one of my favorite guitar players, DEF one of the biggest guitar playing influences on me and he really begins to break down barriers between ALL genres of playing with his approach on this record. In a time when the musical peers and
landscape that Black Flag trod upon was considered to be called "hardcore", this album came rolling along totally pronouncing 
LOUD and CLEAR that Black Flag didn't subscribe to any genre title or premeditated
idea of "punk" or anything else. I mean, shit - this is another record where the last three songs happen to be specifically over the top..  So heavy & slow in a time of everyone trying to prove how fast they could be. The Flag had been there and done that and in my opinion, invented the wheel and then destroyed it and reinvented it again and so on and so forth.

Honorable mention afterthought:
-Radiohead “Ok Computer”, -Sunny Day Real Estate “How It Feels To Be
Something On”, -Sex Pistols “Never Mind the Bollocks”, and -Frank Zappa
“Apostrophe/Overnight Sensation”.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Killing Horse Records Doing it's Part to Help the Relief Effort

Our friends over at Killing Horse Records are doing their part to help the relief effort. 
They've just st up a store front on the labels page. 100% proceeds from these sales will be donated to some Hurricane Relief. Do your part by going over and ordering something, anything. Every little bit counts. JD

Saturday, October 20, 2012

OFF!, The Spits, Double Negative @ Mexicali Live

Wednesday night Dave and I headed over to Teaneck's Mexicali Live to see OFF! play with one of our mutual favorites Double Negative. It was a night of firsts as we had never been to the club or seen any of the bands perform live. With Dave G.'s magical GPS system and Mario Andrete' driving skills we were able to locate the place within minutes before the show opened. There were lots of friends and familiar faces in attendance and the overall vibe was friendly and laid back. We were both impressed with the club. Big yet intimate with a sizable stage in the front, bar in the back, balcony and seating to the side. Good enough? Let's go! James Damion

Double Negative opened the night on a spiteful note. I've been listening and compiling records from this Raleigh, NC band for a few years now and was more excited to finally see them than anyone else on the bill. The band more than lived up to their reputation. Lot's of energy and stage presence. The band has just released a new Ep. Unfortunately for Dave and me, we were a day early and there was no copy to be snagged. Seeing them perform live for the first time rivaled my chance to see Deep Sleep earlier this year as highlights of my show going year. I only wish they would have played longer.
Double Negative

The Spits followed and to be honest, I didn't know the first thing about them prior to that day. The band took the stage each donning Ronald Reagan masks conjuring memories of the movie 'Point Break'.
The bands drummer Wayne Draves started things off by splashing his drums with lighter fluid and setting a small fire. Though the fire was about as  inspiring as the stone henge featured in Spinal Tap. It stunk up the place pretty bad. Moments later the fire was out, the masks were off and The Spits launched into their set. Earlier that night Vinnie from Mint Tone records described them as The Ramones playing Misfits songs or The Misfits playing The Ramones. I guess that's a pretty accurate description. Personally, they reminded me of a typical pub band. I liked their gritty, dirty vibe but can't say they interested me enough to listen any further.
The Spits

What was already turning out to be an amazing night of seeing old friends and enjoying stellar music in a pretty intimate setting was about to come to a head as OFF! made their way to the stage. I was feeling a sudden sense that I had come full circle as far as my Punk life was concerned. Some of my earliest memories as a young teen finding his own identity was hearing my first Black Flag album and putting the needle to the record and the life changing significance of having my mind blown back by the Circle Jerks 'Wild in the Streets'.

Whenever I think of OFF! I can't help but think of attending the opening night of 'American Hardcore'. Towards the very end of the movie Keith Morris wraps it up with "It's over." "It's been over for a long time." Honestly, with the massive amount of reunions, rockumentaries and masturbatory worshipping of the past. It can be debated. Regardless, the love for the music, the angst and aggression and angst refuses to go home.

As the band launched into it's apocalyptic set I felt the music wash over me and bring me back to a time of mosh pits, stage diving and wild abandon. The entire band was in great form and proving that the music and that sense of alienation and not quite fitting in with the accepted norm never leaves. No matter how old we get, we seem to maintain that universal bond. Keith was in great form walking a fine line between singer, entertainer and master of ceremonies. Putting every ounce of bitter passion into the set while engaging the crowd and making everyone feel as if they were part of the family. It was a great  set that topped off a great night. I can't wait for my next opportunity to see OFF! as well as my next show at Mexicali Live. JD


More Images from OFF!, The Spits and Double Negative

Here are some more images from the showing. Expecting the venue to be much larger and that I wouldn't be able to get up close. I left my wide angle lens at home and opted for the 28-135. Regardless of not having my trusted Canon 15mm. I was grateful to be so close to the action. James Damion

Double Negative set list
Double Negative's CC
Double Negative
The Spits Wayne Draves
Keith Morris OFF!
Dimitri Coats OFF!
Steven McDonald OFF!
Keith Morris channels George Carlin

Friday, October 19, 2012

Don Juan Matus / Oxido - Split Label Split EP

When childhood friend and Wardance Records ambassador of cool Freddy Alva sent this split band/label release. I was thinking about passing it on to the blogs resident Metal expert Dave G. As time passed and Dave and me hadn't crossed paths I realized the task rested solely on my shoulders.

Few splits offer each band the opportunity to display their personal artwork or unique covers.
This split more than accomplishes a sense of individuality by offering a two sided front cover. The artwork for both Don Juan Matus and Oxido are epic in nature and offer a glimpse into what any first time listener is about to experience.

The Basilica Records side features Peru's Oxido "El Angel De La Muerte" (Angel of Death)
A spirited battle cry with it's driving guitars, war machine drums, dark bass and dramatic vocal delivery. Listening to this track had me visualizing a Peruvian Ronnie James Dio riding a horse into a burning forest wearing nothing but a sword and a loin cloth. The songs delivery is just as epic and big as the subject matter. Impressive to say the very least.
The song and the lyrics provided within are in their native language. However, the power provided in the songs delivery does all the translating needed. After just a sampling of this band I immediately headed to the bands site to learn more.

While the Wardance side features a heavy psych, doom Don Juan Matus who slow it down and get downright muddy on the track "Kadath". Punishing riffs matched with dark, haunting drums and bass. Complimented by bluesy, mournful vocals. It's a trip to say the very least.

I never thought I would gain such an appreciation and interest for Metal at this age. If you told me I'd be bowing my head to devilish sounds from the valleys  of Peru; I would have told you to get off the drugs. This record is just the drug I was looking for. Check it out. James Damion

Get it Here

Friday, October 12, 2012

Debuting New Damion Photo Music Site

Come check out my new and improved music photography site featuring some favorite shots both live and in the studio. Images include links to interviews and reviews I've posted here and elsewhere. As A bonus, our good friend Jim Testa of Jersey Beat fame wrote a little bio for me. I'll be adding images on a consistent basis so be sure to bookmark it in order to keep up with what's new. James Damion

Click Below

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

No Mistake - Connect the Dots...Complete the Puzzle

In the months leading up to
No Mistake's quick rise from unnamed project to full fledged band I was contacted numerous times by guitarist and old friend Mike Bromberg. (Mike Bullshit, GO, SFA) Being asked my opinion on everything from the bands name, sound and even art. Staying in touch with someone like Mike is always a positive. Being asked my thoughts on a project he deems important is well, pretty special.

California's No Mistake made a very lasting impression with this thirteen song gem. "Connect the Dots...Complete the Puzzle"is an out and out thrasher, featuring thirteen songs that come in just over fourteen minutes. Fast HardCore Punk that brings us back to the early ThrashCore we first fell in love with in the early to mid 80's. As I listen closely I'm hearing elements of Negative Approach, SSD, Crass and even New York's Straight Ahead.

Greg's verbal attack is amazing. Despite his angry, snarling growls. The lyrics lean towards the positive side. Something I miss hearing from a lot of my HardCore brethren these days. Surround those vocals with drumming that mirrors that of an artillery barrage, outstanding bass work and  Mike's impressive attack on the strings You've got an impressive debut on your hands.

The band is already playing alongside some impressive bands such as old friends
Citizens Arrest, Outlook and Night Birds. They've also rolled out production on some sweet looking gear. GO check them out now.  James Damion

No Mistake  Bandcamp

Victory and Associates - Plausibly Wild/ Wildly...

After watching a sweat drenched
Victory and Associates turn a small, yet intimate Maxwell's crowd into their very own army of devoted supporters. I was eager to get my hands on anything and everything the band had ever produced.
(Well, minus the tremendous pools of man juice they left on the stage that night.)

If "Plausibly Wild / Wildly Plausible" is any indicator to what this band can accomplish. Then I may have just found a new band to worship at the alter of Rock n' Roll.

Victory and Associates three song stinger mixes anthemic classic rock with punk rock aesthetics, energy, angst, bombast and balls out fun. "Plausibly Wild" is a feel good rocker with a chorus that would best be described as a power pop "Wild in the Streets". While "Wildly Plausible" slows is down a bit. A danceable ode that had this listener on the tip of his toes screaming every note. "Friend Rock City" (a bonus that comes with the download) is a rock anthem if there ever was one. To add to this already stellar record is cover art by the enormously talented Brian Musikoff from local heroes Stuyvesant.

The band is just finishing up their tour and will be heading back to sunny San Francisco where they will be opening for the legendary Mike Watt. One can only hope they'll be back again soon. James Damion

Get it Here

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind

The first thing that caught my ear about the new Converge record is the slightly broader use of clean vocals which brings a new dimension to Converges' ferocious sound  that was needed in my opinion, as my ears had become numb to their brutal full on assault a few records back. In my opinion the use of clean vocals gives the gruff vocals all the more power and effectiveness, like being lulled to sleep and then awoken with a hammer to the temple.However, 98% of "All We Love We Leave Behind" is still dominated by the full on brutal vocal style you have come to expect from converge.

Musically Converge is as sick as ever, the music is tight, the drumming is spot on, the level of brutality is high, and the heaviness is down right intense...I have a headache after one listen, but I'm popping a few aspirin and going back for more...Dave G.

Epitaph order CD or Vinyl
Deathwish order Vinyl

Thursday, October 4, 2012

No Tomorrow - Nuclear Exposure 7" (Sorry State 2012)

Wilmington North Carolina's No Tomorrow unleash 2 brutal songs on this their debut 7" for Sorry State Records. The music is mid to uptempo with a nice  thick production and guttural vocals from hell.

Though the music could come across as heavy handed...the production, sneaky hooks and interesting melodic lead guitar work save the day and help move this 7" into the keeper pile ...Dave G

Sorry State Records
No Tomorrow

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Man on Fire - Strange Days Have Found Us

Man on Fire's
"Strange Days Have Found Us" shows a band evolving and coming into it's own. All while maintaining the raw, dirty energy that made it work so well from the beginning.
The new EP build on the promise of  "I Thought All My Friends Were Punk" mixing the Revolution Summer musicianship of bands like Rites of Spring and Embrace with a later, just as influential Moss Icon. To contrast the beauty that is displayed musically on these six tracks are scathing screamo vocals with a more narrative approach than what you might here from other bands representing the genre these days. Brian Goglia's voice is a cocktail that is part whiskey, rusted nails and broken glass. All of which blends perfectly with the more melodic, sweeping tones of the music. Thus making for the perfect cocktail.

Overall, I felt the record left a far more lasting impression than the bands previous work. Each of the six tracks clearly resonates with this listener. With "I don't think she likes the special sauce" and "it brought us together" leaving permanent scars.
A most impressive document, to say the very least. James Damion

Get it Here

Monday, October 1, 2012

Lionel Pryor - Siam

Lionel Pryor are an instrumental trio (guitar, bass, drums) hailing from Hasbrouck Heights
New Jersey. Though  their music has been linked to genres such as Metal, Progressive and even Hardcore. Their sound and overall range make them a relatively hard band to describe or generalize. The simple fact that they are void of a  singer makes it even harder to comfortably generalize their sound.

Though I've never been a fan of purely instrumental bands I was very open to hearing what Lionel Pryor's "Siam" had to offer. Having seen them perform live earlier this year. I felt confident that, at the very least,
I would not hate what was about to invade my ears.

"Siam" opens with the ambitious 8:29 track "Nebraska". Musically living up to its title in that it sounds just as I would imagine living there would feel. Cold and isolated, yet beautiful and picturesque. Though Lionel Pryor work without a vocalist in the general sense. There are many moments when the instrumentals seem to cry out and speak in a lost, ancient language. As "Nebraska" came to an end. I sat surprised and somewhat bewildered.
"I just listened, unflinchingly to a song that doubled that of my normal attention span." (Impressive considering my history of ADHD)

"Apex Being" follows, playing on a  similar course.  This time a with a darker, more punishing affect and somewhat winding delivery. "Castor Troy", a villain if there ever was continues down that path while, perhaps building on that strength. Just when you've got the bands sound pegged "White Panther" throws us a Prog. Ambient curve. However, if there was ever a song that was written to be the soundtrack to the epic battle between
Heaven and Hell. It would be reserved for the ninth and second to last offering
"America in the 1980's" Closing the set is the epic and beautiful "Blight Dragon".

"Siam" reminds me that we are in a constant battle; Whether it be with ourselves, others, or the universe itself. We are in constant flux and we need to be if we are find balance in our lives.
Lionel Pryor is a trio really has to ask themselves "Do we really need a singer?"
After listening intently to "Siam", I really can't be convinced they do. I came into this convinced that a strictly instrumental act could neither keep my attention or fill the void that a vocalist fills. "Siam" and Lionel Prior proved me wrong twice. Whatever their choice;
I hope they take their time deciding it. James Damion

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Modern Chemistry - An Introduction

"An introduction" is probably one of the most understated titles to ever accompany a sampling as good as this. Modern Chemistry come out of the gate like seasoned pros with a distinct style and approach that is seldom seen in a band this early in their development.
"Remember this Bridge" and "Holla Atcha Boi" are instantly addictive tracks that have warranted countless listens.

The bands sound is a perfect mix of rock and post core with outstanding riffs complimented by an  impressive rhythm section and emotionally anthemic vocals. All of which blend together perfectly. Putting on a display that is emotionally charged without losing any sense of angst or aggression. I sensed a
Rise Against influence mixed with the appeal of New Jersey's The Wait.
The band itself sites Brand New and The Outfield amongst their influences. Pretty cool if you ask me.

New Brunswick has always had a proud history of producing one outstanding band after another. It looks as if Modern Chemistry are ready to join in that proud linage.
If this is an introduction to what Modern Chemistry can bring to the table... then we can look forward to  something very special.
James Damion

Modern Chemistry  Bandcamp

Big Putts - Bogey Nights

Every now and then a friend turns me on to a new band or one I may have overlooked by dropping something in my email or Facebook cage. The guys in Holy City Zoo have pretty much made it a hobby of theirs.
So when Frank DeFranco dropped this one in my lap.
I couldn't refuse giving it my full attention.  It takes a lot of balls to take both your band and the name of it's first release from golf references. Big ups to
Big Putts for showing they've got a set between them.
Despite the silly name this Boston outfit really offers an excellent record here. Comprised of the well rounded  Alex Molini on Guitar/Bass/Vocals/Synth,
Gio Coviello - Vox and Jesse Weiss on drums.
Big Putts create a moody and brilliant sound that has me wanting to look further into what these Bostonions are all about.

After listening to this a handful of times I was able to gain a wider appreciation for the bands approach and sound.  Excellent guitar sound with loose bass and dreamy percussion and synth. Vocals that create a nice Lo-Fi vibe that had me reaching for my copy of
Jesus & Mary Chain's "Psychocandy". Songs like "Nosejob Junkies",
"Cockroaches From Hell", "Mr. Malfunction"and my personal favorite "Autocorrect" stood out and stuck with me for the long haul. An excellent effort by these PGA hopefuls.
James Damion

Big Putts  Bandcamp

Michael Ironside - Gelatin Moon

Our blogs biggest WTF moment arrived the other day in a nondescript CD mailer.
As I opened it for closer inspection I was only faced with more unanswered questions. The note, "James, sorry this took so long to get out.
Had to order another batch. Look forward to your feedback" initialed, no scribbled, in a language yet to be born.
Thus adding more mystery to this ever growing plot to make me lose my mind. MichaelIronside, perhaps taken from the name of the actor who so perfectly played the villain in movies such as
Scanners, Visiting Hours,
Top Gun and Total Recall. The band, as it turns out features Adam Lepkowski (Sick Jerk) on vocals. Jeff Wasserburger (Four Fingers, Bombay) on Guitar and a ghost lyricist by the name of Ryan.

As I began to listen to the first four tracks I couldn't help but think this was the worst thing I had ever laid ears on. Something that a group of college nerds created while locked in their dorm rooms high on some synthetic hybrid they had just created by connecting their chemistry set to their sisters sampler. I kept thinking Devo on down syndrome.

Then as the fifth track began to spin it's wheels, I began to understand, maybe even believe that there was something to this. I felt that Devo influence and perhaps a little Beastie Boys mixed with a Lo-Fi version of Serge Gainsborg doing acid while listening to Pink Floyd's "Days of Pompei". I give myself a lot of credit for being able to sit through all fucking twenty-four tracks of this weirdness. In the end, I'm glad I did. This is definitely not for everyone. Not for a lot of people at that. But if your in for a penny, you better be in for a pound.
James Damion

MichaelIronside  Bandcamp

Pre-Order The Everymen's - "New Jersey Hardcore"

Pre-orders are now available for The Everyman's "The Everyman Presents New Jersey Hardcore". The record release date is set for October 9th and will be released on KillingHorse Records. Pre-ordering the record allows you "The coolest kid on the block" street cred award for the first week of October and an immediate download of the lead single "Coney Island High". Pre-Order  Here

Friday, September 28, 2012

Voivod Debut Single From Upcoming Album

Canadian Thrash Gods Voivod have debuted a new song via Pitchfork. "Mechanical Mind" will be released as a single on October 9th and will be featured on the bands upcoming release "Target Earth" due out January 22, 2013. Get it here Mechanical Mind

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bad Brains "Look Into The Future" Streaming

Legendary D.C. Hardcore band the Bad Brains announced a November release of the album
"Into the Future". The bands first album since 2007's "Build A Nation". The band is streaming the title track to "Into the Future" on Rolling Stone. You can listen to it Here .

Dag Nasty's Original Lineup to Reunite

The Black Cat in Washington DC will host an evening of DC hardcore/punk on December 28, 2012 that will include the reunion of the original lineup of Dag Nasty! That's right, the original lineup.
Brian Baker, Roger Marbury, Shawn Brown, Colin Sears

Scheduled to appear:

Dag Nasty (lineup of Shawn Brown, Brian Baker, Roger Marbury, and Colin Sears)
Government Issue
Black Market Baby
and special guests! (One can only allow their mind to wander.)

This is a night to celebrate the filming of ‘Salad Days’ documentary which should be released around that time.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mr. T Experience Digitally Release Entire Catalog

Mr. T Experience have digitally re-issued their entire catalog. Much of the bands material has become difficult to come by since the demise of the bands long time label Lookout Records. Amongst the many tracks that were released by the influential label. Their cover of the entire Ramones classic "Road to Ruin" album is also being made available.There is no news of physical records being re-issued at any time in the near future. However, we can hope that public demand will warrant such. You can buy the songs through Amazon and iTunes
James Damion

The Mr. T Experience

Samiam Offer Collection of Demos from 1994-95

Pop Punk giants Samiam are offering demos from their "Clumsy" and "You Are Freaking Me Out" recording sessions.  You can download them here and thank me later. James Damion

Samiam Demos  Bandcamp

"All These Noises" Download Available Now

StarBeat Music and
TJO Presents offer
"All These Noises". A collection of sounds from both companies. The music covers the local scenes of New York and New Jersey while spreading to Massachusetts, Tennessee and California.
The compilation features suck local favorites as Boy Things, Melissa and Paul,
Bern and the Brights and Boxed Wine amongst others. There's something for everyone here. How can you go wrong? James Damion

All These Noises
StarBeat Music
TJO Presents

Monday, September 17, 2012

Eastern Anchors - Drunken Arts And Pure Science (expected release date 10/06/2012)

In the Eastern Anchors I hear an underlying love for 90's indie rock, but luckily EA never wears their influences to boldly on their sleeves, which ultimately lets me enjoy the music based on it's own merits and not on its influences, and believe me there is a lot to love in the Eastern Anchors sound.
Musically, Eastern Anchors deliver all the catchy hooks you would expect from the best indie rock bands, however they also have a knack for infusing big heavy riffs into their's like indie rock on steroids, and I like it.

On the Eastern Anchors debut album "Drunken Arts And Pure Science" the band lays down 11 tracks of perfectly crafted, hook infused indie rock with a heavy edge that to my ears lands them  somewhere between Built To Spill, Chavez or even Torch at times...check out the opening riff to "Herzog Help Me" to get an idea of what I am attempting to describe.  In closing, if you like songs that you can raise your fist and bang your head to, yet also sing the melody in your head for the rest of the day then I urge you to give the Eastern Anchors a listen.Also, if you like a record that unfolds and reveals more and more nuances with each repeated listen then this record is for you, "Drunken Arts and Pure Science" is an excellent album that simply gets better and better with each repeated listen...Dave G.

Eastern Anchors
Band Camp