Friday, August 31, 2012

Maxwell's Hosts The Second Annual Camelfest

About a year ago to the day I was asked by Al of Dromedary Records to document two days and three shows at Maxwell's benefitting 'Roots and Wings', a foundation benefiting those aging out of the Foster Care system. Though just out of the hospital with about twelve fresh staples in my belly, I agreed. During those two days I saw twelve bands from varying backgrounds and sounds. It was a great weekend that raised money and awareness for a very worthy cause.  This year I was asked once again to roll film but with slightly different circumstances. One night, one show and a more focused, edgy lineup. How could I refuse?
Review and images: James Damion 08/25/2012

Bern and the Brights opened and although I was   unfamiliar with their music and sound.
I had heard the name mentioned frequently through reliable circles. Personally, this really wasn't my thing.
Two parts, nerdy, three parts folky and little bit too laid back to start the night off for me. Though there were definitely some beautiful moments within their set. It wasn't enough to feed my hunger for something with a little more angst and grit.
Bern and the Brights

After going outside for  quick breath of Jersey Fresh air,
I returned for The Brixton Riot.
I was really looking forward to seeing these guys as I've been Facebook friends with their drummer Matt for years and had a particular fondness for their recent masterpiece "Palace Amusements".
See review Here. The band mixes a 70's, early 80's Power Pop sound with gritty influences such as The Clash to cook up a tasty sound. Their set included a cover of Husker Du's "Could You Be the One?" and were joined by Stuyvesant's Sean Adams for a Lemonheads cover. It was just the tonic needed to put my spirits back on track.
The Brixton Riot

Now, during the first two bands I noticed that the majority of the folks at the show were either hanging towards the back conversing with their friends or seated to the side focused on their Blackberry's and iPhones. At one point I headed towards the stage and told Ev
(Cinema Cinema frontman) and told him "Maybe it's just me, but I don't think this crowd came here to listen to music." He turned to me and with a wicked smile said,  "I'm not worried about the crowd."
"They need to worry about me."
That's when I knew, it was on. I've seen Cinema Cinema a number of times in the last year and I can say, with all honesty. That this is band like no other. An act that blends beauty and harmony with dark, dark elements of dissonance. mirroring that of a spiritual possession or exorcism of demons already within.
I've witnessed people surrender to what Ev calls "The Trip".
I've seen people look on with eyes raised and jaws dropped.I've even watched as people walked away in confusion with their hands clamped tightly over the years. The true beauty of it is, nobody walks away unscathed. The band played a set that was less song to song than it was chapter to chapter. When recently interviewing the band, Ev described their sound as "Black Flag and Queen, Fucking!" I don't think I could have described it better.
The music just moves you.
Cinema Cinema

Gold Streets followed and completely knocked me and my ears on their collective asses. The Brooklyn bands mix of shoegaze, melodic 90's indie pop and various other angles is impressive and leaves a lasting impression. Just the right elements needed to calm and replenish frayed nerves the prior set may have created. It's a rare case when a band I've neither seen nor heard before moves me to this degree.
This was one of those times. I can wait to dig deeper and hear more.
Gold Streets

During last years Camelfest. During those three shows I witnessed a number of acts, old and new, for the first time.
One of the newer ones was
The 65's. A band Dromedary Records Al Crisafulli spoke so glowingly about. I thought he was going to wet himself. Imagine how surprised I was when they completely blew my mind. Well, here it was a year later. Having seen them a handful of times, voting their record "Strike Hard" as one of my top releases of 2011 and even attempting to interview their drunken, belligerent frontman at Six Brothers diner in Montclair. Throughout the night I couldn't help but notice the absence of their bass player Cindi Merkle. As the band took the stage I was told that Cindi was now the bands former bass player.
"Where have you been for the last %$& months?"
To be honest, I was kinda shocked. Now the 65's are pretty...... But they ain't that pretty. Though a bit disappointed, for whatever reason I regrouped and soldiered on. The band played a tight set featuring their signature grit and bar band swagger. There is a dirty goodness about this band that can't be denied. Not the kind of guys you'd leave your kids or your whisky with. That said, it was good to see them again after so long.
The 65's

Closing out a very big night were NJ Power Pop kings Stuyvesant. Talk about putting the icing on the cake. Here is a band that never ceases to deliver the spirits in the highest form. If ever there was a band that deserved a Saturday morning cartoon featuring an updated Mystery Machine,
it would be Stuyvesant.
Fueled by tasty riffs, endless sing alongs and plenty of alcohol fueled mirth.
They are the epitome of a good time. During the set, guitarist/singer Sean Adams noted what a great representation of Rock music the night had offered.
There was something for everyone.  I could not have said it better.
A really special thanks to everyone at Maxwell's, Todd Abramson, Dromedary Records Al Crisafulli and all the bands for an amazing night. See you next year.
James Damion

To learn more about the Roots and Wings Foundation
Click Here

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rat Storm - Fractured 7"

Rat Storm - Bloomington Indiana...Fractured 7"

Right from the opening drum beat and rumbling bass line of this 7", before the music really kicks in the band Ottawa came to mind. Once the music kicked in I realized that my initial impression was fairly accurate, at least to my ears. For a little background, Ottawa are a fairly obscure 90's power/grind band featuring members of another obscure 90's band called Current, so I have no idea if Rat Storm ever heard Ottawa, but it really doesn't matter as Rat Storm stand on their own as a fierce  powerful grind influenced hardcore band. Musically Rat Storm do a nice job of  mixing up the tempo, and adding some spoken vocals here and there to keep the listener on their toes, and speaking of vocals, I'm a big fan of female fronted hardcore and punk bands and Nathalie of Rat Storm certainly delivers a strong vocal performance that really gives Rat Storm an edge on the competition in my opinion.

Admittedly, my knowledge of this musical genre is somewhat  limited, however, once in a blue moon a band will catch my attention and make it into my regular rotation and Rat Storm just made the playlist...Dave G.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Snake Thursday - Cruise Mode 2012

Snake Thursday are a big fat riffing stoner band from PoznaƄ Poland. The band describe their music as  "stoner rock filled with energy, melody and dirt, built around memorable riffs and relating to heavy music roots". This description sounds good to me. Musically, the production on "Cruise Mode" is big and clear with a nice full bass sound and  melodic vocals layered over the top...think Kyuss with a touch more melody if your looking for a comparison...

Cruise Mode is available for free download from Snake Thursday's bandcamp if you like to smoke the gonga and rock the fuck out then spark up and fill your head with some free tunes...Dave G.

Snake Thursday webpage

Friday, August 24, 2012

Talking with Lamplighter Magazine's Patrick Boyle

Lamplighter is a New Jersey based magazine and media outlet that covers music, art, poetry, nightlife and alternative culture. As the magazine prepares to publish their third issue. I got to talking to the magazines editor and publisher Patrick Boyle the magazine's focus, staff, challenges and success. Thanks to Mr. Boyle for sharing his thoughts.
James Damion

James: What was the inspiration for Lamplighter? Did you know what the focus would be from day one? Or was it something that developed over time?

Patrick: The inspiration for Lamplighter... Let's fly way back to August of 2011, a few months after I had just graduated college, applied to a bunch of jobs, and found no employment. I was without a substantial writing portfolio and needed to write regularly about something I could access easily. At school, I ran Jersey Fresh, which was a radio show on WPSC playing only NJ / NY music. So, for me, writing about the local music scene
(and other NJ-centric culture) was a cake role to step into.

I guess it wasn't so much inspiration that brought Lamplighter into existence but desperation. The project started as just a website where we
(me, Dhru, Megan and Nadia) could post articles and build our writing portfolios.
Eventually deadlines and reality set in, and the upkeep was too much, so we expanded into the magazine format. But regardless of the iteration, the focus never changed--we are just as we launched.

Our focus, or manifesto, ignoring things like content categories, is to be a centralized roof under which the community can gather and see/experience/discover NJ culture. We're an amazing state stuck between places of pilgrimage, the "cultural centers" of New York City and Philadelphia. Lamplighter exists to show people there are great, fun, intelligent, thoughtful, musical, artistic happenings in NJ and that paying $7.50 for a bus ride to NYC is 50 cents short for cover to see awesome bands play in the next town over.

James: What meaning does the name hold for you?

Patrick: The name, Lamplighter, comes from Robert Louis Stevenson's poem and (almost more importantly) his essay
"A Plea for Gas Lamps."

We, Lamplighter, exist in a space where culture and its content/context fly by as fast as seconds tick away on the clock. People are blinded by opinions, desensitized to savoring because..."well it got a bad review somewhere so it just isn't any good." We want to hold the battleground and say "NO! This is worthwhile! There is substance here and you're missing it."

James: You decided to start a print magazine at a time when many of the one's we grew up with are struggling to survive or going digital. Why print as opposed to  a  strict blog or .com?

Patrick: We started a print magazine because, like I said before, the upkeep of a website was too much for four people every single day. Becoming a magazine allowed us to put ourselves in peoples' hands, expand the organization to more writers and photographers,
and really do work that we consider valuable and impressive. Plenty of people start websites--nobody starts a magazine, especially one of quality. We're the youngest in the market!
Our real competitors have been printing 10 - 20 years longer than us. I think that's a pretty big deal.

James: You've got a lot of talent working with you. Were you looking for any particular skill set or experience when finding your contributors?

Patrick: Finding people to work with / on the magazine has been unreasonably easy.
MOST of the current staff are my own friends and colleagues, and people who I didn't know before starting Lamplighter are now my friends also. I think people of talent are just associated with a community and culture focused mindset. I am very fortunate to have all of them on my team, even if only briefly or intermittently.

James: Over the years I've spoken to a few publishers who seemed to share a similar trait. It was their state of mind come editing and printing time.
Being that you and Nadia are in both a working and personal relationship, I was wondering if that ever takes a toll on the relationship.

Patrick: My relationship with Nadia vs Printing: Doesn't affect us at all. I'm pretty hectic and stressed as things roll closer to deadline, and I'm sure I bother people about getting stuff done, but because I do the layout, a huge responsibility is on my shoulders and no one else's. So I become more my own burden than I am on someone else working with me. Honestly, Nadia supports me through these weeks, making sure I get work done and giving me time to do it.

And that's just my life though...hectic. I work, I have graduate school, I have Lamplighter, and I have Nadia. Regardless of whether it's a printing deadline or a heavy work schedule or a paper due for school, she supports me all the same. And I think I give her the same space and support (I hope! She deserves it!).

James: What do you think has been the biggest challenge in doing a print magazine thus far?

Patrick: The biggest challenge of a print magazine has been finding advertisers.
Seriously, it drives me crazy that people will pay thousands of dollars to put ads in other local magazines that are horrible quality, and flooded with other similar ads, but won't consider an ad with us that's one tenth of the cost with half of the advertisers. If you want numbers, realistically, we could print the magazine with only 28 half page ads.
That's 28 advertisers, paying $50 each, filling only 14 full pages of the magazine.

Our downfall is being new. We don't have the time-tested quality that the other magazines have, and we don't have nearly the distribution, though we're looking to change that.
It's the position where I have to be shameless about my product and grind hard to show people it's worth believing in.

James: With two issues under your belt and one on the way. What are some of the lessons you've learned that you feel can help you in the future?

Patrick: With two magazines down, I think I've learned a ton, lots of little things, but more importantly found ways to build the staff infrastructure and streamline production. With so few people, making it work and distributing responsibilities took time to really figure out. By our fourth or fifth issue, it'll feel like a science. Keeping up communication with everyone, I've found, is key. Keep the conversation going, and it all comes together.

James: What kind of distribution are you working with. Are you using any channels beside the obvious Twitter and Facebook routes?

Patrick: Getting the magazine out into the public is tough. Again, we're young, can't buy a BIPAD number and don't want to bother with a regional distributor (because God forbid everything collapses or changes and we can't print!). Twitter and Facebook help us promote, but the website alone helps with a lot of hits straight off of Google searches.
We're also looking to be in ten or twenty stores across northern NJ for the third issue.

James: What kind of steps have you taken to insure Lamplighters longevity and consistency?

Patrick: I don't think I've taken any steps to ensure the longevity of Lamplighter. If the magazine sticks and keeps printing for years to come, I'll be thrilled because, honestly,
if I could do it every day and get paid, I'd die happy. We maintain consistency with style guides, heavy editing, and quality control work. Everything is reviewed before it goes out to the public. But even with consistency, we change a lot of stuff regularly to streamline the operation and image of the magazine. We're kind of like a teenager, growing inches (sometimes feet) overnight but "like...we're still cool, man."

James: Do you plan on keeping the focus local?

Patrick: The focus will always stay local. We might change the content we address or how we address it, but we'll always be a NJ magazine. It wouldn't be Lamplighter any other way.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

... And Now, A Few Words From Man on Fire

 Clifton, New Jersey's Man on Fire are a Hardcore band that caught our attention earlier this year with a few stellar shows and a record that perfectly fused some of our favorite elements of HardCore's past and present. With the bands new record "Strange Days Have Found Us" due for release in a matter of weeks. I jumped on the chance to reach out to the band to find out just what started the fire and how they plan to continue fanning the flames.

Man on Fire is:
Brian Goglia - Vocals  Matt Harvey - Guitar Marcin Wysocki - Bass  Dan Pelic - Drums

James: Tell us how the band got started and how you met.

Brian bought this shirt at the Michael Landon Estate Sale
Brian: I've been playing music with Matt for a while and we had fucked around in the basements of New Brunswick with me yelling obscenities and him playing pretty raw riffs while we were partying. He proposed the idea to that he wanted to start a punk band and wanted to do know if i would to do vocals.
I was way down. Any chance I get to make people feel really uncomfortable is cool with me.
It was orginally myself, Matt and our buddy Mike writing songs over in New Brunswick and then eventually adding Marcin on bass. Logistically we needed to find a drummer up in North Jersey and Matt had played with Dan in bands before.
He rules, so he came in and took over role as drummer boy/czar.

James: How long was it before you really began to gel? Did you originally set out to become a Hardcore band?

Brian: I'd definitely say it was when we started writing songs for our newest record.
A lot of the original EP was written by Matt and Mike, but once we started writing as a four piece things really began to take shape. We're definitely trying as hard as possible not to pigeon hole ourselves into one particular style. We all dig heavy shit and thats a huge part of what the band is; but youll notice a lot more experimental/shoegaze type influence coming in on this newest record.

James:What were some of the sounds that inspired you both individually and as a band?

Brian: my personal influences range all across the board when it comes to writing/performing; I would say the most relevant and pertinent would be Black Flag, Fugazi, Freddy Mercury, Bear VS Shark, MewithoutYou, Glassjaw, and the RZA, the GZA,
Ol Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Ghostface Killah and the Method Man.
Anyone who can give off gnarly energy that resonates to the listener inspires me, thats my favorite part of music. Just primal energy being thrown around like dookie in a drunken monkey cage.

Dan Pelic wrecking havoc with Chambers in 2010
James: The first thing that really caught me off guard was Dan moving from vocals in his previous bands (Chambers, Something About Death and Dying) to the drums. He was a pretty intense frontman. I'm very interested in what went into making that change.

Brian: It was literally Dan just being awesome and filling our need for a drummer.
He is such a huge asset to have in the band. Just giving tips for recording vocals, adding background vocals, ideas, etc. On top of that, being a sick drummer.

James: You've got another EP due out soon.  How far into the recording are you and when can we expect to hear the finished version?

Brian: We're doing a dual release weekend with our buddies in the band "France" on September 7th and September 8th in Clifton and New Brunswick. We'll have it streaming the week before and available for download starting the 7th before we get the means to press hard copies.

James: As it developed did you see much of a musical difference from
"I Thought My Friends Were Punk"?

Brian: We definitely expanded off that sound. "I Thought My Friends Were Punk" was a building block. Figuring out what works with the elements we have in order. Once we established that we tried to push things in every direction possible on this newest record. You'll hear songs that are very much old school punk/hardcore and others that are centered around grooves and hooks. Still, there are others that breathe a little more. Experimenting with different sounds and structures.
However, the foundation established on that first EP hasnt gone anywhere.

James: Did you record at Treehouse Studios again?

Brian: Hell yeah! We did with Frank Marra, who really gave insight into how to make these songs as big as possible. There are tons of layers, huge, heavy shit all over. We couldn't be happier with where we recorded and how it came out.

James: Was there anything specific Frank (Treehouse) brought out in you or your sound that made the difference?

Brian: As a vocalist he made me feel at home. He let me drink whiskey, record shit at my own pace and he was definitely open to ideas I had as well as providing me with his own ideas that would make a part go from pretty good to awesome. I'm not 100% used to being the vocalist in a band quite yet. I was always a bassist, so it was huge to have someone with patience and insight like Frank.

James: Brian, I've noticed that you tend to cling to the mic stand when playing live. You also have no issues with taking it to the crowd. Tell me a little bit about what you're going through mentally when you're kicking it live.

Brian: I find it best to have a clear head on stage. I spend the majority of the time just feeling out the drums and letting the music take me wherever it may be. It's always fun to mix it up with crowd. Apathy can be a killer, so i take every opportunity to get people engaged. A live performance is a give and take from both the performer and the crowd.
So my mentality is,  I'm here showing you what this music means to me and you showed up to watch. So lets make things interesting. Show me you have some type of raw emotion/music breeding inside you. We're not up there playing Top 40 covers.
You came to the punk rock show. Let's fuck this place up.

James: Dan, how is law school going to ultimately effect your dedication to the band?

Dan: School is the priority, but playing music is obviously a passion that isn't going away. I make the time for it. Other people I know who have started law school have seen their creative exploits suffer greatly because they just don't have the energy. Thankfully, I'm managing to excel in school and keep playing. If we ever became a "full-time touring band," the current shared view is that I'd write with the band, but not tour, except as my schedule allows. School isn't so much the ultimate constraint; it's when I begin practicing.

James: Tell us about The Fort and what went down there? Are there any plans to resume shows there or are the cops keeping a watchful eye on the place?

Dan: There was never any police involvement. It was a typical Landlord/Tenant dispute with an overzealous, townie landlord "with connections." He was trying to intimidate the proprietor of the place, claiming his "buddies" at the department had the place staked out as if what was going on there was illegal. That was found to be false. Basically, the landlord didn't like his lessee using the space for what he saw as some sort of dangerous and illegitimate business activity outside what was stipulated in their commercial lease agreement. There's talk between the landlord and his tenant to do shows there in a more limited capacity but I am not and may not become involved.

Man on Fire  Facebook
Man on Fire  Bandcamp

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Maxwells to Host the Second Annual Camelfest

Come to Maxwell's this Saturday to celebrate and support Dromedary Records second annual Camelfest. The benefit will raise much needed money and awareness for the 'Roots and Wings' foundation. 'Roots and Wings' does a terrific job helping children that are aging out of Foster Care. This years fundraiser has been scaled down from last years three day fest, to  a more focused and tighter one night bill.  Come have a few beers, rock our to some of the areas most stellar acts and support a worthy cause at New Jersey's best music venue. See you there. James Damion

Roots and Wings Foundation


Trailer for 'Riot on the Dance Floor' Documentary.

Check out this awesome trailer for the documentary film about the infamous City Gardens club in Trenton, NewJersey. The film features a slew of interviews with musicians from bands that performed  there. Directed by Steven Tozzi, the film represents a piece of 
New Jersey history that needed to be told.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pusrad - Akta Dig 7" 2012

Akta Dig is Pusrad's second 7" and like it's predecessor it goes by in the blink of an eye. In my review of the bands previous 7" "Smart Trams" I jokingly complained that "I wish they had made "Smart Trams" a one sided record so my lazy ass could spend an extra 30 seconds on the couch before having to get up to flip the record over"...well, my wish has been granted as  "Akta Dig" is indeed  a one sided 7"... however, I didn't get any extra time on the couch since "Akta Dig" clocks in at 5 songs in 74 seconds.

As far as reviewing the actual music, I will say that the music is super fast and impressively tight considering how fast the songs blaze by. Overall, this  is the perfect record for ADD suffers such as myself...Dave G

Akta Dig Bandcamp 

Angkara - Indonesian Death metal

Angkara are a Death Metal band from Indonesia who I know absolutely nothing about. I opened my email this morning and found 2 song files and a link to the bands Facebook page which didn't shed any light on the band for me as the page is written in Indonesian, but you know what...that lack of details  actually enhances the listening experience for me and heightens my curiosity.

Musically Angkara play an intense style of Death Metal with minimal production which serves these songs perfectly. Honestly, the stripped down production turns the brutality up a notch in my opinion.

Overall these two songs are a good introduction to the band, so give them a listen if death metal is your thing and throw some support Angkara's way...Dave G

Angkara Facebook

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Interview with our very own James Damion...Lamplighter Magazine

Lamplighter magazine was kind enough to sit down and interview our very own
James Damion.  Click Here to learn more about our United By Rocket Science
co-founder...Dave G.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An Interview with New Brunswick's Holy City Zoo

Holy City Zoo is a four piece juggernaut hailing from  New Brunswick, New Jersey.
The band mixes elements of Punk, Alternative and Hard Rock to form a sound that is both addictive and contagious. (Think, The Foo Fighters meet At the Drive In at a sweaty
New Jersey basement show.) Since first witnessing the Zoo's apocalyptic live set during 2011's Brick City Riot Music Festival. I've followed the bands progress closely.
With their new record, "Nobody Sells For Less" still fresh in my ears, I decided to reach out and ask some over due questions about the past, present and future. Here's what they had to say. James Damion

Holy City Zoo; 
AJ Russo- Bass/Vocals Joe Lanza- Guitar/Vocals Frank DeFranco- Guitar/Vocals 
Brian DePhillis- Drums

James: I first saw you guys live last year at the Brick City Riot Fest in Newark. However, I had heard the name and legend of Holy City Zoo long before.
Can you tell me a little background on the band and how you got your wings?

HCZ: We started out in some form back in 2007 and went through a few incarnations that ultimately led us to the line-up we have now. This line-up is about two years old. Our main goals were to be raw and straight-forward, as well as being as "DIY" as possible. We've been around NJ playing music for a while, so at this point in our lives it was easier to make connections and have the knowledge to set things in motion. This lead to forming the Tiny Giant Artist Collective with
The Nico Blues, which definitely had an impact on our band and is probably how you heard of us. It was a good mechanism to break out of where we came from, and ultimately helped others as well (which is/was the real main goal).

James: Your one of a handful of current bands that are somewhat defying the whole genre classification. You're not Hardcore. You're not really Punk and you certainly aren't a lot of things. On top of that you can't dance for shit. Where do you see yourselves as a band?

HCZ: Our band is basically a massaged collage of everything we ever wanted to hear and haven't heard. We are huge fans of 80's and 90's underground alternative acts, as well as today's underground movement of forward thinking music. Holy City Zoo, at this point, tries to meld together the musical sensibilities of both. A crude way of putting it is we want to mash together the Foo Fighters with At The Drive-In, or The Smashing Pumpkins with
The Fall of Troy, or Jawbox and RX-Bandits etc. We do our research in modern times as well as the past times. "Rock" or "Punk" has been so many things to us and others, so we try to reflect that. Short answer, we don't believe in guilty pleasures: we play what sounds cool to us. So we really see ourselves as a giant music masher/rearranger of things we love, then fuck it up even more.

James: Your live shows are quite animalistic. I think it's pretty safe to say you're one of the most animated bands I've seen over the last year.
However, you seem quite subdued and laid back otherwise. What is it about the music, performing live and interacting with the crowd that helps flip that switch?

HCZ: Our live shows are all about our own cathartic release of energy. We feel personal and global injustices all over the place and our music is simply a way to let it all out. We aren't exactly political or "emo", it's kind of a weird mix of both. So on the stage we are maniacally trying to make sense of our lives and what is around us by bashing out these tunes. It's our expression during our quarter life. When we aren't playing music, we are just regular people that are pretty subdued and laid back. The shows and music in general are the means of
(rather overt) expression. Otherwise we'd probably be running around the streets screaming our heads off. It's great performing in front of a crowd because we are being completely honest and emoting our true feelings, and if someone can relate to that, then that is beautiful.

James: You've got a new record with "Nobody Sells for Less". It feels like it was a long time coming. Maybe even long overdue. Tell me a little about the process and finally getting to see the fruits of your labor. The record also shows off a lot of the raw energy that fuels your live sets. Was that intentional? Was there a game plan going into the studio?

HCZ: The main goal of NSFL was to experiment with more major keys. The first EP was really dark, this one is bright. It diversified our assets and could mix things up a bit more. That's the goal of every subsequent release, to paint a better image of how we feel.
With this EP we went in trying to make a high fidelity version of what we sound like.
The studio that we went in to has top notch gear with someone who knows how to work magic with it. It's the same person who recorded our first EP, Jeremy Cimino. The goal for both EPs was to show off our raw band in the best sounding way, sonically at least.
We took our time and tried to make the songs sound well and honest, but not polished.
Plus, we were a better band than the first time around, so this EP was also a way to show our progress.

James: You released the record on vinyl at a time when a lot of your contemporaries are going the digital route. Why did you choose this ancient method?

HCZ: We won a competition held by the Institute of Audio Research, where Joe attended school. We played Kid PK at Arlene's Grocery and the crowd thought we were the best artist and choose us to win. Weird. So the school offered to pay for something. We picked vinyl. Why? We wanted to hear ourselves on vinyl because we are dorks. Nobody Sells For Less is also available digitally also. Gotta do both these days.

James: I immediately got a Crazy Eddie (Not sure you guys know the legend of Crazy Eddie and the department store commercials in the 80's.) vibe from the record title. Why the name "Nobody Sells For Less"?

HCZ: It was on the window of an Unclaimed Freight store in New Brunswick. We were going up to practice one day and decided that would be a funny cover for the EP. It was a joke that stuck. The images on the front and back are the actual front and back of the store, just caricatured by the wonderful Rob Gnarly. It's a little homage to the Hub City and thought it would be a cool conceptual art piece for the vinyl.

James: The vinyl also comes with a download card that features an
impressive assortment of older tracks. It really puts things over the top
and delivers on the records title "Nobody Sells for Less".
What led to the decision to include so many extras?

HCZ: Well, we love the ideas of "B-sides". A small part of it was to pay homage to the weird stuff bands we love released on the flip side of their singles. Mainly, it was a way for people to really hear us develop. It has the demos, live and studio recordings. It shows the progression of how we evolved. Not many local bands do that, so we decided to take the plunge.

James: We've talked about the New Brunswick roots in the past. The town has produced many bands that changed people's lives musically. It's also regenerated itself over the years as college towns often do. With Holy City Zoo being a part of that present energy.
I can't help but ask, What makes the area so special? Is it something in the water?
the basements? the bricks? or the classrooms? that makes New Brunswick produce on a higher level?

HCZ: The real answer is that it's a relevant college town in the middle of miles of suburban towns. It's the only cool meeting place in central NJ. Students live off campus and throw shows in houses. New Brunswick does have a history, which does make it a marking point for touring bands. They usually love it here cause we really do treat bands with respect
and I guess that gets carried on to wherever they come from. Holy City Zoo and all the other hometown bands are to thank for that. We really try and keep it real here. We think it seems special because this doesn't occur anywhere else in NJ really. It is a perfect storm of all the things explained that happened to turn out well.

James: In the time since the Court Tavern closed it's doors. There was a hot spring of
Basement Shows popping up in the immediate area. Are you playing a part and do you think they can maintain the energy and dedication they've given the scene and touring bands?

HCZ: Funny thing about the Court Tavern is that it never effected nor crossed paths with basement shows. That crowd kind of stay there and vice versa. That place was 21+,
which is a big turn off. Younger people want to see bands too. Basements thrived for that very reason. Plus the intimacy of a basement is also a bit more primal, which attracted people who liked that. The Court Tavern was a cool place, but the basement scene is where the breeding grounds of bands are (nowadays at least). They were two different places with different functions.

James: You've begun sharing rehearsal space with Man on Fire recently.
Frank also recently played a double shift with Holy City Zoo and Man On Fire at
The Clash Bar. Can we expect further collaborations and Kahootsing in the near future?

HCZ: We share a practice space with Man On Fire and France. So that collaboration came pretty naturally. Since we now have a 24/7 space, more collaborations are likely to occur. Keep the ears peeled for that.

James: How has Frank's playing topless effected the band?
Has his chest hair received any endorsement deals?
Have you noticed a spike in attendance since he's begun this ritual?

HCZ: We may start a raffle for the shavings of one peck of franks immaculate chest mane.

James: I saw you mention that the upcoming Maxwell's show will be one of your last for a while. Did I read that wrong? What are the bands plans for the near future?

HCZ: We want to get our lives in order, as well as a full length album. Our goal is to really come up with something special and cohesive, as well as thinking of a cool way of releasing it. We are getting pretty philosophical here at the HCZ camp.

James: If you could define Holy City Zoo's sound, approach or goals in one word.
What would it be?

HCZ: Truth.

James: Excellent. Mission complete.

Interview and Photos; James Damion

Holy City Zoo  Facebook
Holy City Zoo  Bandcamp

Monday, August 13, 2012

Texas is the Reason Talk About their Reunion

Here's a short documentary in which Texas is the Reason discuss their up coming reunion for the East Coast version of Revelation Records 25th Anniversary celebration. 
James Damion

Neurosis - Honor Found In Decay

Neurosis announce the title of their 10th studio album tentatively scheduled for an October 30th release in the United States on Neurot Recordings...Dave G.

"The follow-up to their acclaimed 2007-released Given To The Rising album, the music on Honor Found In Decay is both torturous and transcendent. It is the ongoing exposition of a vast internal dialogue that seems to carry the weight of eons. With the right kind of ears and eyes, it can seem like the trials and tribulations of mankind are being channeled through five individuals: Steve Von Till, Scott Kelly, Noah Landis, Jason Roeder and Dave Edwardson. And yet? They will be the first ones to tell you that they are just regular people trying to make sense of the world around them. Aided by Josh Graham, their resident visual guru, they transmit their interpretations through multiple sensory planes. The degree to which Neurosis allows them to step out of their everyday lives is the distance between one and zero, the distance between thinking and doing, the distance between this minute and the one that may or may not follow. Which is to say: NEUROSIS takes them outside of themselves and brings them closer to themselves. Simultaneously."

This next chapter in the evolution of NEUROSIS will see worldwide release through the band’s own Neurot Recordings this Autumn, in Germany October 26th, in the UK October 29th, and in North America on

Municipal Waste / Toxic Holocaust - Toxic Waste split 12" Tankcrimes Records 2012

Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust hail from Richmond VA and have been banging out the old school thrash metal jams for a number of years now firmly establishing  themselves as two of the main heavy  hitters in the Metal/Punk Cross over thrash underground.

If you're a fan of 80's thrash / crossover bands like Nuclear Assault, Leeway, Destruction. Kreator.Sodom etc. and you have somehow never heard either Municipal Waste or Toxic Holocaust then give this 12" a listen and go buy some vinyl from Tankcrimes...The label still has a variety of color vinyl options available for your listening and viewing pleasure, and musically this 12" is loaded with killer thrash riffs, loads of energy and everything you need to have a head banging good time...Dave G. 

Label Bio:

"MUNICIPAL WASTE and TOXIC HOLOCAUST, the two bands that brought Thrash back from the punk basements to the big stage, together on one record! Two tracks each, exclusive to this vinyl split and amazing cover art by Andrei Bouzikov too. Speed Metal Punx!"

Black Numbers Complete Discography Offer

The people over at Black Numbers Records are offering a can't miss package of their entire Discography for only fifty dollars. There's also a new option to purchase it digitally for only thirty dollars. Great artists like Static Radio NJ, Grey Area, The Sun The Moon The Stars, Banquets and more. Go claim your treasure. James Damion

Friday, August 10, 2012

Plastic Cross - Grayscale Rainbows ( Don Giovanni Records) 2012

Quick tight hardcore from New Brunswick NJ featuring ex-members of Kamikaze, Fanshen, The Degenerics, The Scarlet Letter, The Measure [SA], Down in Flames, and Nodzzz

In my opinion Plastic Cross are certainly a tight competent band who know how to deliver hooky punk/hardcore. However, I think Plastic Cross comes across sounding a little too clean and subsequently a little bit too polished for my liking on "Grayscale Rainbows",  as I prefer my hardcore/punk to be a little more rough around the edges.

To sum it up, Plastic Cross are really good at what they do and I think their music will appeal to a lot of the readers of this blog. Also, Plastic Cross may be right up your alley if you're familiar with any of  the members previous bands...Unfortunately, I didn't personally make a connection with this record, but don't let that stop you from giving Plastic Cross a listen...Dave G.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Living Laser - Versus Pigs 7" (Trip Machine Laboratories)

Living Laser  have a brand new 7" "Versus Pigs" scheduled for a September release on Trip Machine Laboratories. I for one was thoroughly impressed with Living Laser's previous cassette release titled "Ragged Glory",  and have been impatiently waiting for this 7" to drop for months now. Peep out the attached promotional video to see and hear why I have been so eagerly awaiting this release and purchase a record when it drops. I will provide ordering details when the 7" is available for consumption...Dave G.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Satellite Beaver - The Last Bow ep 2012

Satellite Beaver are a stoner band hailing from Warsaw Poland who formed in 2008. The Beaver play a down tuned, somewhat fuzzed out style of metal, with vocals that range from clean to being reminiscent of Matt Pike from Sleep / High on Fire. Actually, my knowledge of stoner metal is fairly limited but I think it may be safe to compare Satellite Beaver to Sleep/HOF.

For the most part the songs presented on the "The Last Bow" ep  move along at a nice thick mid-tempo pace, however Satellite Beaver put the pedal to the metal on the third song  "Way Before" which pummels at a  nice quick pace. Overall, these 4 songs are very promising and leave me curious to hear more. If you're a fan of stoner metal I think Satellite Beaver will be a welcome new addition to your playlist...check em out..Dave G.