Sunday, June 30, 2013

Stuyvesant Says Goodbye to Maxwell's

Last night I dusted off my old bones and headed over to Maxwells just in time to catch my favorite Crunch Pop nerds Stuyvesant. As the closing of
this legendary club looms near, every day I've had the opportunity to reflect on my twenty plus years of  going to shows on 11th and Washington.

From my early days of taking the Path from Manhattan to see acts such as Helmet,
Big Drill Car,
Sunny Day Real Estate,
The Doughboys, Knapsack and Dahlia Seed. (Just to name a select few.) To my nights walking or riding my bike from my nearby digs in Hoboken. Maxwells, for me and many others has been about the people just as much as it's been about the music.
The waiters, waitresses, bartenders, door and sound peeps and of course
Todd Abramson.
Each and every one of them played a part in making Maxwells a special place.

In recent years I've grown very accustomed to seeing the band Stuyvesant play Maxwells.
It wouldn't be any stretch of the imagination to describe them as Maxwells house band or for lack of a better term
'house blend'. The two go hand in hand in that I just could not imagine experiencing either without feeling a sense of joy. Good music, good vibes, good people. What else can you ask for?

No matter how tired, busy or downright sweaty I had become in the days leading up to Stuyvesant's final Maxwells show. I knew in my heart of hearts that there wasn't anything that was going to keep me from making an appearance. Prior to arriving; I can honestly say I was not in the highest of spirits. Thankfully that mood changed as soon as I made my way through the doors.

As the band took the stage with an unfamiliar face setting up behind the drums. "Where's Pete?" I thought. Turns out it was Friends, Romans, Countrymen drummer Dan Murphy. Without skipping a beat the crowd was treated to a single song quickie of a reunion with a performance of 'Marry Me, Fly Free'.
After a few hugs and some high fives from friends and family Dan became one of the crowd and Pete Martinez  ascended to his proper place behind the skins. From there on it was all Stuyvesant all the time.
The band put on a spirited set that brought to mind many exemplary nights at Maxwell's. The energy from both the band and crowd were electric. I don't think anyone really wanted it to end. The fact that we wouldn't let them leave the stage after two encores proves that.
The band was unplugging their gear for what might have been the third time when the crowds chants were met by
"Don't you people have to go to work in the morning?" The truth is, we didn't care. With a new record due soon, I know I'll be seeing Stuyvesant again in the near future. It's just kind of sad knowing it won't be at Maxwells.

Special thanks go out to Ralph, Brian, Sean and Pete for making it such a fun night.
I appreciate their giving into my nerdy request to each sign their set list. One day that shit is going to put my kids through college. James Damion

Friday, June 28, 2013

Nations Afire Streaming Debut Album 'The Ghosts We Will Become'

Nations Afire are streaming their debut full length 'The Ghost We Will Become'. The album is due out July 2nd on Redfield Records. The South California Hardcore band features current and former members of Ignite, Rise Against, Death By Stereo.

Get it Here: The Ghosts We Will Become

Images and Thoughts from Big Eyes show at Brooklyn's Death By Audio

Though it is way too late to do a review of the  Big Eyes performance at Brooklyn's Death By Audio;
It's never too late to post a few images and thoughts from the night. With a highly anticipated and praised debut album 'Almost Famous' in tow, the Seattle by way of Brookyn trio returned to their roots to play a high energy set at
Death By Audio in Williamsburg. There was plenty of positive vibes on both the stage and the dance floor. Kate is one of the fiercest guitarists I've seen, she packs a ton of energy and rock n' roll swagger into a small frame. I had the pleasure of speaking to Kate before and after the show and can't say enough about her or anyone involved with the band. This was my first trip to Brooklyn's Death By Audio and everyone involved with the venue were friendly and easy going. The club features two boxy rooms. The front features artful walls, a stage and sizable dance floor. Whlie the back features tables for band merch and an area for cheap refreshments. Overall, a nice little DIY space.
James Damion
Big Eyes Kate Eldridge
Big Eyes Chris Costalupes
Dance, Dance, Dance!!!
Check out my review of Big Eyes 'Almost Famous' Here

Images and Insight from the Black Flag Reunion

In the days and weeks leading up to Black Flag's reunion show at Warsaw in Brooklyn my interest in attending reached an epic low. The fact that my friends in Cinema Cinema were on the bill was an exciting addition but hell, I could see them most days of the week without the hassle of bouncers, barricades and drunken forty somethings trying to relive their glory days in the mosh pit.

Lucky for me, the excitement of my friends in Cinema Cinema and the fact that they were kind enough to get me on the guest list allowed me the opportunity to have a friend come along and enjoy what had become an extra ticket. By the time Jason got to the club we had already missed the first band and made it to the front just in time to watch Ev and Paul of Cinema Cinema set up their weapons of mass destruction. It was great to be there to celebrate their success. The band has been incredibly busy playing countless shows, recording, making videos while practicing brain surgery as a hobby. The duo put on an amazing show that really doesn't change with the size of the stage, venue or audience. Big, loud, manic hard rock beauty with lots of reverb, distortion and intensity. One of the biggest rushes I got from their set had nothing to do with what they were playing. It was seeing Greg Ginn and Ron Reyes leaning on every note while proudly wearing Cinema Cinema gear. That impressed me a lot. For as long as I can remember going to shows. I've seen too many bands hanging outside the club or backstage while other bands (many of which were their friends poured their hearts out on stage.) A great show and another great opportunity for this very deserving band. They've got a new 7 inch with a cover of PJ Harvey's '50 Ft. Queenie' out on Dromedary Records. Go scoop up a couple of dozen copies.

When I got wind that a forth band was added to the bill I was less than excited. In reality,
I was hoping for a short night and an additional band meant I wasn't getting home anytime soon. That all changed though when Good For You got down to business.
Honestly, I did not know thing one about this band beforehand, but by the time they were half way through their set, I was ready to run out and get the record. Take Black Flag and add skater and all around bad ass Mike Vallely's blues rock elements and you've got yourself a little party.
Mike makes an awesome frontman. During the set  many in the crowd had gotten very drunk, belligerent and downright stupid. Throwing beer at the stage (Yeah, you have to be pretty fucking stupid to waste beer.) But he took it in stride "Throwing beer at me is like throwing a glass of water at the ocean." When things got a little out he hand, he reminded the instigators that he could indeed beat the life out of them. It was a good set. One I was really glad to have experienced.

As Black Flag took the stage the crowd started pushing their way towards the stage. I couldn't help but feel a war was about to break out. I had no idea it was going to be world war III. The crowd went ballistic as Ron Reyes launched into the bands set. As much of my Black Flag history relies on Keith Morris, Henry Rollins and Dez Cadena. I wasn't sure what to expect from Reyes? Would I have a chance to experience a band whose early releases turned this and many other young teens into lifetime Flag bearers? Lucky for me and anyone with a ticket, the latter would firmly apply. This was no old man reliving his salad days. Ron Reyes' presence and overall performance was strictly legit and praise worthy. Watching Greg Ginn firing on all cylinders gave me an entirely new level or respect for him, his work and his integrity. 

As Black Flag ripped through their set I found myself fighting for my own survival, as the crowd pushed forward the photographers at the front were being crushed against the metal barriers. The constant pressing against the gates andassault of feet, fists, kicks and sweat definitely took it's toll. The people fighting to squeeze us out from the front didn't help much. Notable were the group of four or so forty somethings whose drunken mayhem was so idiotic, it made one of their wives visibly distraught.
Then there was the guy who spent most of the GFU and Black Flag sets giving anyone and everyone the middle finger while endlessly screaming "Fuck You" to the bands he paid to see. As I headed out I saw some old friends, many of which I was just to drained to stop and talk to.
Before I could leave I got into an altercation with a guy who almost knocked me over while pushing his way through the crowd. I threw the garbage can that he had pushed over in his direction which prompted him to swing on me. Luckily, he was so drunk that he missed me by a zip code. He would have most certainly ended me if cooler heads  hadn't stepped in to diffuse the situation. Overall, it was a great show that had it's share of challenges and frustration. All things considered, it gave me the chance to experience musical experiences both old and new. I guess you can go back every once in a while.
James Damion

Monday, June 24, 2013

Emotive Drive 1989 Demo Available for Download

New Jersey's Emotive Drive were a hardcore band that got their start in the late 1980’s and released an 8 song demo in 1989. The band played with acts such as Supertouch and Cause for Alarm at long gone venues such as Connecticut's Anthrax and NYC's legendary CBGB's. At the time, they were a personal favorite of mine, having appeared in my fanzine Unite. I still have the bands WNYU and WNYU's
Crucial Chaos sets along with the two tracks they were to contribute to the "Unite" compilation back in 1990.
 For now, you can go to their Bandcamp page and  download this 8 song demo for free. They also provide a brief history of the band and it's members.
Go check it out. James Damion

Emotive Drive  Bandcamp

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Poor Lily - Vuxola

Poor Lily play music that is a little hard to describe, and unfortunately, they only gave me two songs to sample from their sophomore album "Vuxola" which doesn't really give me the opportunity to see how the album is going to unfold, however based on the crazy energy on display in these two songs the band have definitely peeked my interest.

Song #1 "Crunchy Skulls" starts out with some badass bass rumbling with wah wah type guitar noise layered over the top. The vocals are a wonderful combination of anger and madness that bring Jello Biafra to mind.

Song #2 "The  Days Are Not Piano Keys" whips by in a high speed whirlwind that drops another awesome bass run in the middle of the song before whipping itself back into a fury as it heads for the finish line.

In closing, I have to say that these two songs are mighty impressive and they have certainly left me wanting to hear more.If you're an adventurous listener who would like to hear something that doesn't fit neatly into any particular genre and sounds like no one else out there at the moment then please give Poor Lily two minutes and twenty four seconds of your day (total length of both songs)...Dave G.

Poor Lily

Friday, June 21, 2013

Cinema Cinema Premieres Video for "50 ft. Queenie"

Tomorrow I'll be posting my review of Cinema Cinema's "50 ft. Queenie" single which was just released last week by Dromedary Records . In the meantime I wanted to share their video for the song. This way, when I describe they're approach to a PJ Harvey song as "diabolicalyptic", you'll know exactly what I mean. Caution, keep this video away from small children and adults with heart conditions. United By Rocket Science is not responsible for any exploding heads or melting flesh. Enjoy James Damion

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Violent Reaction - City Streets

Modern straight edge hardcore with a touch of  early 80's British street punk thrown into the mix, at least to my ears. Overall, the music is tight, angry and raging throughout the entire length of the Lp. Violent Reaction do a nice job of keeping the listener on their toes by combining  a good mixture of mid-tempo stompers with a few songs that move along at breakneck speed while still maintaining memorable hooks and thick chunky breakdowns...Good Shit...Dave G.  


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Family Matters with Brooklyn's Cinema Cinema

It's been almost a year since I originally sat down with Cinema Cinema in their dilapidated Brooklyn rehearsal space. During that storied interview I got an up close and personal look at Ev Gold and Paul Claro. That night I learned about the bands music, their family ties and what drives them to spend just about every moment of their free time on the road, in the studio and on the stage. Since that early July night I've grown closer to Ev and Paul. 
Close enough to honestly call them friends and have them consistently refer to me as family. So in the midst of a new single (A cover of PJ Harvey's "50 ft. Queenie) dropping this week on Dromedary Records, yesterdays interview with the Village Voice and an opening slot with the legendary Black Flag just hours away. It seemed like the perfect time to test that bond and it's limits by asking them for an interview. Remarkably, it worked out and I'm still getting invitations to family gatherings and ceremonial bloodletting. Here's what they had to share. 
James Damon

James: Cinema Cinema is set to open for the legendary Black Flag Saturday night.
You've spent a lot of time with Greg Ginn over the last couple of years.
Did you ever have any idea that a Black Flag reunion, however splintered, was ever a possibility?

Ev: NO. Not a word was ever mentioned of Black Flag reuniting during any of the previous five or six runs we have done with Greg and his other projects over the last few years.

Paul: It was such an unrealistic thought, it wasn't even worth dreaming about.

Ev Gold's take on the dueling Black Flag reunions; 
"One is authentic and has vital contributions to make to the cannon in a whole new way in the present day and one is a cover band that will play your event for the right price."

James: Were you at all surprised about your inclusion on the bill?

Ev: Honored and surprised.

Paul: There was some shock value, for sure. But once that wore off I was mostly,
just totally thankful.

James: You mentioned in our last interview that Greg was never one to rely heavily on his salad days. Did the announcement of these reunions catch you off guard?

Ev: 100%

Paul: Definitely wasn't sitting around waiting for that phone call, something that could never be anticipated.

James: What's your take on the politics of the different Flags being flown?

Ev: One is authentic and has vital contributions to make to the cannon in a whole new way in the present day and one is a cover band that will play your event for the right price.

Paul: What he said!

James: As time has passed the initial rush of the reunion has cooled off considerably.
My attention has turned to the fact that a couple of good friends are going to be kicking up the resume by playing the show. What do you think the kids (excuse the term) can teach their elders?
Do you think Black Flag can keep up with what Cinema Cinema has been known to deliver?

Ev: Believe me, we intend to absolutely destroy at these shows.. but i know in my heart that CC wouldn't sound like it does or work the way it does without the influence of BF and I am sure we will still be learning new lessons from the side of the stage after our set is over as the new lineup that Greg assembled for BF is the strongest one yet, in my opinion.

Paul: Absolutely. This lineup is NOT to be fucked with. I want to enter in an endurance test with their drummer.

James: In one of the oddest pairings in recent memory Cinema Cinema is teaming up with
Dromedary Records for their 20th anniversary "Covers" release. Though Al runs a stellar label, Dromedary isn't known for its heavy hitters or skull crushing acts. How did the opportunity show itself?

Ev: In such a natural and organic way that we couldn't ignore the chance to work together.
I will try to keep it brief: "big-hearted music loving NJ label head throws annual benefit show at Maxwell's for Roots and Wings foundation.
Cinema Cinema is asked to play the 2012. We made a good impression to a packed room. (somehow!Being crazy men has an appeal, who know?) After the show Al explains that he has run his label with love and care for nineteen years, keeping it alive through any and all changes in the business.
He asks us to be involved in the twentieth anniversary covers compilation for his label in 2013. The compilation, celebrating songs from 1993 (The year Dromedary started) We chose and recorded
PJ Harvey's "50 Ft. Queenie". Al's first reaction is "Holy Shit".
We thought we could stand alone as well and move forward with vinyl and digital "eye to eye D.I.Y." based deal for the cover song and one of the songs "Adult Themes" from
"Manic Children & the Slow Depression" as the B-side. In the end, everybody is happy.

James: Have you always been a fan of Harvey's work?  Was there anything specific that made you connect with that particular song?

Paul: Ev had suggested it as a possibility for our cover choice. I loved the song, but wasn't sure about it at first. But as soon as we got into the studio and fucked with it, the decision made itself.

James: Will you be playing the song at the Black Flag gig?

Ev: Anything can happen,
but I believe that we will be taking the set list that we have been touring hard and honing since last summer's release of "MANIC CHILDREN..." and deliver it to it's largest crowd yet. That set list does not include "50ft Queenie".
Why change an already proven and effective playbook when there are dozens of ears out there that have yet to hear it? "Queenie" WILL be added to the set this summer, but i doubt it will show up at the Black Flag shows.

James: We've talked about your kinship within the band in the past. But after seeing you at
Grand Victory and hearing about how busy you will continue to be in the second half of 2013 and beyond. I couldn't help but wonder about your relationships outside the band.
Does all that time away put a strain on your personal relationships? If so, how do you cope with it and how important is it as a musician or any artist to have a supportive and understanding partner?

Paul: I'm lucky enough that I get to do this with someone who is both my friend AND my family. So its not as hard to cope, but there's always going to be a certain amount of strain involved. For the most part though, our loved ones see we are on the right path. They see how hard we work to balance it all. So, I find myself becoming more grateful for the time I have with friends and family (those not named Ev Gold).

Ev: It is a dream come true to share these experiences with one of my best friends/family members. A sacred privilege. It has its demands but its rewards are priceless..especially when your not in it for the money, but rather the release it affords you. Best part is, as we go forward we learn even more how to attempt balance and moreover to respect what we do and treat others with that respect as well.

James: Last but not least, I've seen you a handful of times (maybe once or twice) and each time watching the crowds reaction is just as interesting, if not more than watching to perform. No matter the gig, the playlist or the crowd, there's always one certain.
You always close out the set with this reverb, distortion sacrifice to the gods that takes on its own ritualistic nature. When you're exorcising those demons (or perhaps welcoming them) what are you going through? Being that it's a major part of your set, how much of it is a natural release and how much of it is stage performance?

Paul: Total natural release for me. I'm always trying to put on a good show for whoever is present, but in the end...our shows have nothing to do with the audience. Its about being free to be the truest form of yourself and using that freedom to make a statement. There's a reason why it goes to that place every single time we close a set, regardless of how many people are there. We have no choice, its just what we do.

Ev: You can't just dig a grave, you gotta go through with the burial.

James:Where does Cinema Cinema go after this Black Flag gig?

Ev: Europe in November with Martin Bisi.

Paul: More hard work, day-jobs, tours, day-jobs, practice, Europe, more hard work.

Cinema Cinema  Band Site

Dromedary Records Get the new single here

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thinning The Herd - Freedom from the Known

If you've been following the many highs and absolute lows of Thinning the Herd over the past year or so you will know how absolutely important this record is to the band and it's founder Gavin Spielman.
With a number of personnel changes over the years and upon hearing of the very tragic and unforeseen death of the bands drummer Rich Cimato on December 26th, I'm sure many wondered about the future of Thinning the Herd. Would they sink or would they swim? Luckily for all involved, the future would prove the latter.

"Freedom from the Known" is highlighted by Spielman's exceptional guitar wizardry, trademark thick muscular riffs and powerful vocals. The album opens with the Motorhead heaviness and menacing vocals of "Never Wanted". "Doctor Reed", my personal favorite track follows, bringing early Metallica to mind  with it's angry growls and abusive guitar attack.
The albums third track "Sludge" lives up to it's title by bringing things to a slow, grinding pace. It's muddier than a Warrior Dash, with elements of unrelenting bluesy stoner rock, with Sabbath inspired rhythms and power. Spiraling , spoken word samples sprinkled in give the album a nice narrative feel. While the lyrics convey a spiritual and survivalist nature that hints at transcendentalism.

Released on St. Marks Records, "Freedom from the Known" is a stellar collection of songs and a soaring triumph for a band that's been through the ringer. Gavin's musicianship, leadership and overall resilience stand as testament of what can be accomplished with the drive and determination to execute the overall plan. James Damion

Get it Here TTH music

Big Eyes - Almost Famous

When I originally picked up
Big Eyes 2010 Demo Ep it was with the hopes of balancing out my Grave Mistake Records cart. There I was bringing my cart to an even sixty dollars adding a band unknown to me strictly based on the label cred.
Little did I know that the ep's four songs would become the highlight of that days purchase, thus introducing me to a band that was residing right in my back yard known as Brooklyn.

A few years later, with a couple of splits and the
"Back to the moon" EP tucked nicely under their belts. The band, now residing in Seattle, have unleashed their first LP.

"Almost Famous" finds this very talented trio in top form. Excellent songwriting and musicianship marked by Kate Eldridge's youthful voice and hook laden, riff heavy, guitar prowess. Though comparisons to Kate Shattuck of the Muffs are both accurate and complimentary. I can also hear hints of Joan Jett's early solo work. "Half the Time" ever so slightly recalls Jett's "You Don't Know What You've Got." The eleven songs featured on "Almost Famous" highlight the growth, maturity and overall focus of a band who's beginnings always seemed less than humble. As many of us less than talented rock writers hit the mid point of 2013 and begin looking at the years very best releases, "Almost Famous" sits rather comfortably at the top of mine. My turntable, not to mention my ears, humbly thank the band. James Damion

Get it Here  Grave Mistake Records

Cold Fur - Altamont Every Night

The highly anticipated debut has finally landed and damn, it sure is good. For those living outside of Jersey Nation, Cold Fur brings together members of Rye Coalition (Ralph Cuseglio, Dave Leto) and The Want (Adam Valk,Jeff Mackey).

"Altamont Every Night", which was engineered by the legendary Steve Albini delivers eleven songs of 70's Rock N' Roll excess and swagger, featuring
Ralph Cuseglio's signature screams, and  some nice dirty guitar work from  a louder than fuck rhythm section that would impress even the most dedicated Sabbath fan. Not only is it noteworthy, it's bastard sound is flat out praiseworthy.

Tracks like "Bro'd to Death" and "Just Like Brian Jones"deliver rock n roll genius with absolute savagery. While "Fat Vampires From Planet Wolf" drown the listener with its slow stoner pace and slutty guitar. Each song perfectly personifies the embodiment of the records title, with its tight jeans and big mustache imagery you'll feel as if your speeding down a dirty dusty road in search of those elusive Kiss tickets.

Fans of Rye Coalition will not be the least disappointed with this gem. While those seeking a departure from the sound that band delivered might be disappointed. Nevertheless, "Altamont Every Night" goes a long way to live up to its title. Providing everything you would ask for from a Rock N' Roll record and band. Get it. Live it. Let it kill you. James Damion

Get it Here  Bandcamp

Low Fat Getting High - Bad Yoga

Gritty and emotive post core that hits you like a rush of adrenaline into the blood stream. Four songs of thoroughly impressive rock that experiments with influences and sounds ranging from metal to post hardcore and grunge. The opener "Better, Better, Worse"  offers blazing guitars and pounding rhythms that bring to mind a fuzzed out power of Queens of the Stone Age and/or "Bleach" era Nirvana. "Childhood Friend" follows with similar speed and precision, while "The Claw" speeds things up. It's the closing track "My Hate", which is the longest song on Bad Yoga, and my personal favorite that brings the EP to a crashing, pummeling and titanic end.
"Bad Yoga" never lets up and never lets the listener down. Thus serving as an excellent introduction to a band with a less than inspiring name. I can't wait to hear more. James Damion

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pity Party - Do a Little Dance EP

After seeing Brooklyn's
Pity Party twice in just as many months, I decided to give a few of their records a spin to see if the bands recordings came close to their live energy and all inclusive party vibe.

Released in early 2013
"Do a Little Dance" does a lot more than it's working title might suggest. Offering a very danceable form of pop punk that, though indicative of everything those sub genres might suggest. Provides a little more edginess than that description might entail.
Lead singer Cassadys vocal delivery brings to mind a cross between The Muffs
Kim Shattuck and Big Eyes Kate Eldrige.
Worthy of mention is Fid's (Yeah, that's his name) edgy guitar riffs. They help give the seven songs some extra bite while adding some muscle and power to the bands overall sound. Did you happen to hear that, "Boys Don't Cry" riff towards the end of "Fortification"?  I sure did... And let me tell you, I really liked it.

All comparisons aside, Pity Party definitely have some good things to offer.
If you're in need of a little uplift or just want to get those feet moving. I'd highly recommend picking this up and checking them out live. James Damion

 Get it Here

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The National - Trouble Will Find Me

My wife has been a National fan for years, which means I have unintentionally heard their songs 100's of times and for the most part I enjoyed what I heard, but I always thought the music came across a bit to heavy handed for my liking.

On the new album "Trouble Will Find Me" the band have put together a collection of haunting songs that move along at a snails pace for the most part, but gone to my ears is the weightiness of the music that always seemed to stop me from being fully engaged in their albums . On this new platter the vocal delivery is clearer, the guitars are clean and even shimmery at certain points and overall I can't find a bad song in the batch. Looks like I finally found The National album that I am going to listen to because I want to hear it and not because my wife has it on in the background...Dave G.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Brain Vacation - "The Musicians LP"

I wasn't sure what to expect after the first thirty seconds or so of the opening track "Victims". In all honesty I thought I was about to hear a full on surf instrumental and found myself fully prepared  to move on to the next submission. Then suddenly something awesome happened. What had been coming down the pipe. Flipping a switch that gave way to a nice thick heavy riff. I was hooked and "Victims" quickly reeled me in.
The following track
"Reprimand Sandwich" bites even harder with an opening bass line and verbal attack that brings to mind the Bad Brains classic "Attitude". "Waste Mountain" is another favorite of the ten song album.
The song really put it's hooks in me with it's driving chorus, guitar chords and pounding rhythms.

Though I found the band is a little difficult to peg. (Which in essence is a good thing.)
The songs have an early LA Punk vibe reminiscent of bands such as Bad Religion and
The Adolescents. Brain Vacation can also be compared to current  Raleigh North Carolina's punks Whatever Brains in that both bands are fast and heavy with a sense of quirkiness in their approach. Overall this was a great listen that really kept my attention throughout it's ten songs.

"The Musician" is available for free download Here. However, I highly recommend ordering the vinyl. Pressed on severely heavy 180 gram “molten core” colored vinyl and housed in a printed matte jacket with 2-sided lyric sheet/insert, shrink-wrapped for posterity and limited to 250 copies. Pretty damn tasty if you ask me. James Damion

Michael Ironside - Top Shelf Hooch

New Jersey's experimental duo Michael Ironside return with their follow up to their surprisingly good 2012 debut"Gelatin Moon". The fifteen song "Top Shelf Hooch", a collection of love songs about an alcoholic trying to find himself in the 21st century. Proves to this listener that a joke, when good, should be short and to the point.

The LP opens on a promising note with "Top Shelf Hooch". Highlighted by fuzzed out guitars that bring immediate comparisons to bands like
Fu Manchu and Mudhoney.

Experimental, campy and downright annoying at times. MI come off sounding more like a comedy troupe in the midst of performing a comedic tragedy. As most of the album rely's on the comedic aspect, "Top Shelf Hooch" becomes more of an annoyance or inside joke than anything.

Though I really enjoyed brief moments on "Top Shelf Hooch". Those where guitarist
Jeff Wassenger gets to shine. Adam Lepowski's voice and the mode of it's delivery is so incredibly annoying and over fifteen songs, absolutely unbearable. If it's any saving grace.
I feel things could have been a lot different if the they trashed most of the album and made an EP from the tracks "Top Shelf Hooch", "Vapid Whore"and "Look What's Under the Hood". Unfortunately this album is comes off like a bad college prank that went on way too long. James Damion

Monday, June 3, 2013

Doziac - What Do We Do EP

Formed in October 2012 New York's three piece act Doziac seem to be searching for a place to fit sound wise. Describing themselves as pop punk, grunge, rock, alternative to name a few. They seem to be a band searching for both their sound and identity.
"What we do" features five songs of doze, doze, doze, uninspiring and underwhelming pop rock.
"Had a Baby", the EP's opening track is a good example of what's to come with it's campy and sometimes unbearable vocals. The downward spiral continues with a cover of Zebrahead's "Anthem". A song that would be better left uncovered. "What Do We Do" the EP's title song is by far the best track here. It's sweeping rhythms and vocals offer a nice pop flavor that's reminiscent of 60's pop puppets the Monkees. And while the song "Ecstasy" definitely has it's quirky moments. As a whole, it doesn't really grab me. It's follow up and the Ep's closer "Irrelevant Love Song" is a go nowhere doze fest that perfectly closes the EP out just as it was opened. Poppy, yet dull and underwhelming.
Though there is some very good musicianship on display here. I honestly felt no connection to the songs themselves. "What do we do" did nothing to make me want to hear more or invest any listening time in the band. James Damion

A rare side note; I understand the bands members are young and Doziac is still a band in it's infancy. But when describing your band and it's influences, stick to what you love. No one cares about what you don't like. Disrespecting another genre, regardless of any shortcomings it may have in your already advanced opinion is not very smart. And though you may have been influenced by The Beatles and Nirvana (Most bands have whether they like to admit it or not.) "We have been told we sound like The Beatles and Nirvana." 
Might be the biggest load of shit I've ever read.