Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dromedary Records Celebrates it's Twentieth Anniversary By Giving Back

This weekend friends and family gathered at Asbury Lanes for the two day event Camelfest III. An annual benefit that raises money and awareness for the Roots and Wings foundation. An organization that, since 1999, has been providing nurturing support, safe housing, educational support and practical life skills to young adults who have aged out of the child welfare system. The celebration also marked the twentieth anniversary of Dromedary Records and it's release of 'From '93 to Infinity'. A compilation featuring various artists covering  songs released during that fateful year. 

With the recent closing of Maxwell's. The event was moved from it's original home to Asbury Lanes. A full service bowling alley located  about a block from the boardwalk. Though Lanes host many a music event. Camelfest III was the one that broke my cherry. The first night featured The Everymen, Cinema Cinema, The Coffin Daggers and The Wax Darts. A rather eclectic and balanced mix that included Indie, Surf, Noise and Party Rock. Check out Dromedary Records and the new album 'From '93 to Infinity' Here. Below are some pictures and links to the bands pages. Most important is a link to the Roots & Wings Foundation Here. Be sure to take a look at what they are doing in your community. Until the next time, thank Al. James Damion

The Wax Darts

Instrumental Surf Rokers 'The Coffin Daggers'
Brooklyn's Cinema Cinema
The Everymen

Dromedary Records Celebrates it's Twentieth Anniversary By Giving Back Part II

Below are some photos from the second night of Camelfest III. Be sure to check out the bands and take a look at what the Roots and Wings Foundation is doing in your community. Roots and Wings
James Damion

The Anderson Council
The Brixton Riot
Stuyvesant's Ralph Cusiglio joins The Brixton Riot

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Valued Customer - Kalpa

What they say:
"Hey there James, hope all is well in the stratosphere! 
This one is for the Cosmic cats. I hope you have an antennae tweaked into the vibration of the Muse. me and my partner brought this album from the deepest parts of our Intellectual Emotional and Cosmic capacities. We know it isn't for everyone, but tireless we are in sending this vibration out because for a certain kind of wanderer, that connection is going to be made. maybe you are one of those and I really appreciate you taking sometime to open up. The songs are long but hopefully rewarding.
We wrote this whole album out in notation, no "jamming" moments... trying to keep the vibration from the Muse as pure as possible. Good luck to you and your pursuit either way.
Thank you, thank you, thank you again. Justus"

What I say; 'Kalpa' opens with 'Diamond Sigh', a track so grating, schizophrenic and unlistenable it made me want to fly to Canada to seek murderous and bloody revenge on the person / persons involved in created it. It's like an ice pick to the ears that immediately brings to mind the unnerving racket Yoko Ono makes whenever she opens her mouth. Mixing some of the worst elements of prog rock, experimental noise and computer generated effects, Valued Customer produces unbearable sounds that can be traced to causing epilepsy in dogs and small children. The rest, what I could bare sampling was an abomination to sound and art. "Kapla" which means success in Klingon, is a complete failure. Boldly going where no one would ever want to go. James Damion

Valued Customer Here

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cold Fur -Blouses of the Holy / 667 The Neighbor of the Beast

On their second EP to date Jersey City hell raisers
Cold Fur continue to take a blowtorch and chainsaw to what has become accepted as
Rock & Roll in many circles these days. Bringing a mix of abusive Stoner and Hard Rock to abusive levels of debauchery

Like a dark and heavy cloud descending on a small town, Cold Fur come heavy and loud. Offering unapologetic, balls out, tongue firmly placed in cheek rock at it's very best.
Killing Horse records should hire a tour bus to carry this bands cojones from show to show. Though the band,
it's personnel and sound will always share a connection with and ultimately be compared to The Rye Coalition  I don't think that's in any way a bad thing. Depending on your positioning, 'Blouses of the Holy' and '667 Neighbor of the Beast' will either keep you on your toes or knock you on your ass. Go get some. James Damion

KillingHorse Records  Get it Here

Hounds Basket - Delusions of Grandeur EP

It's never a good sign when your half way into a records first song before you realize you're listening to a Doors cover. What's just as bad, if not worse, is finally realizing that it's actually not a cover. Brooklyn's Hounds Basket self described mix of alternative, grunge, stoner metal come together rather nicely.
This seven song EP opens with 'Melatonin' and 'Master Plan'. Two sludgy stoners that would best serve as the closers.
It's not until the cleverly titled 'She's a Nihilist' riffs kick in 'til the ears perk up and wake me from my slumber.
'Dazed and Amused'
and 'Delusions of Grandeur' follow with similar results. Excellent metal rippers that really highlight the bands ability and promise. Strangely though, 'it's When in Rome' the records closer that is by far the EP's strongest song. Though it shares the sludgy stoner influences of the opening tracks. It's mammoth sound and grinding power have an incredible effect on the ears. There's some serious Alice in Chains love going on here. Though I'm not sold on 'Delusions of Grandeur'. I'm glad I stayed long enough to here the entire package. I'm cautiously optimistic about the bands future. James Damion

Hound Basket  Bandcamp


Saturday, October 19, 2013

"Science Rules Everything Around Me" - A.K.A. Papa Reese's Birthday Show

As I parked the car and headed across the street to the Clash Bar. I immediately noticed  a small crowd of familiar faces. It had been a long time since I last walked through the doors of Clifton's favorite watering hole... and for the life of me, I can't think of one good reason why it's been so long. The easily accessible rock bar owned by former Let it Rock proprietor "BOB" has been a go to place for booze, rock n' roll and a laid back vibe that sets it apart from the handful of music related bars in the area. On this particular night we were all gathered to celebrate the birthday of our favorite Viking, Papa Reese. The Clash Bar was in such high spirits on this particular night that the gods, whoever they may be, had to look up to Harding Ave. for inspiration and instruction.

I made my way inside just in time for Those Mockingbirds. In truth, I might not have made the final push to get off my ass and go if it weren't for the message Adam Bird had sent me earlier in the day "James, be there if you can. Everyone will be amped with your presence."
I've become somewhat of an introvert these last weeks and it's shit like this that help me want to fight my way out of whatever I'm going through.  I hadn't seen the band since the beginning of the year and to hear a mix of old favorites amongst songs from the yet to be titled upcoming album, including the single
'How to Rob a Bank'. In my history of show going it would seem that just about every band I've ever seen has a cover song they like to drag out. I've seen bands do this since day one and I'm all in for a good cover song to get the goosebumps bumpin'.
Those Mockingbirds rendition of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain' is one for the ages. For me personally, it rivals that of Seaweed's version of 'Go Your Own Way'... and that says a fucking lot. One of the most remarkable elements of any TM set has always been the presence of Tory Anne Daines (Violinist / Keyboard). However, on this particular night, the level of confidence coming from her side of the stage cannot go without noting. She brings an extra element of sound to the band that helps to set them apart. It's good to see her basking in the glow.
Those Mockingbirds

Reese Van Riper followed with their bluesy, whiskey soaked rock.
Birthday boy Reese had the whole place in the spirit. Making their Clash Bar appearance more than a show or a simple birthday bash.
Their set and the entire night took on the markings of a family reunion. I first met the band through the Tiny Giants Artist Collective and remember being introduced to their sound at the launching of of Lamplighter Magazine. Though it wasn't love at first site. The bands sound brought me back to the things I loved about soulful blues and whiskey soaked ballads. If memory serves, this was the first time seeing old friend and handsome guy Paul Beier (Pour the Pirate Sherry,
The Vapor Apes) on bass. The chemistry between Paul and Reese is instantly recognizable.
There was a lot of love for Reese and the band on this particular night. It was well earned, as far as I'm concerned. We all love the rock and live music. That much is a given. Seeing a band who puts their heart out on the stage while engaging everyone in the crowd just makes it all inclusive.
Reese Van Riper

Throughout their set Reese took every chance he could get to warn everyone that if they didn't stay long enough to see and support the band Science. There would be serious repercussions. Punishments that would include beatings and public scorn on any and all social media outlets. Not wanting to have my tires slashed and my camera sodomized.
I decided to stay put and see what all the hubbub was about.
As the band set up I made the social rounds. Saying hello to some familiar faces while making friends with a few new ones. Before long Science had assembled and launched into their set. All the mouthwash Reese had been sharing about the greatness that is the band Science didn't even begin the describe the energy and electricity Science delivered.
I give major credit to Reese's threats for keeping me from sneaking away to my car and heading home. Comparing the bands manic stage energy to it's overall musicianship is like arguing the whole chicken or egg question. The bands set was amazing and the impact their performance had on me leaves me speechless.

This was a show I really needed to be a part of. As much for myself and just feeling about life in general as it was to help celebrate a friends life and the music that's being generated in this area. I'm going to be look back on this one as one of thse special nights for some time. I may be fucking old, but I ain't dead yet. James Damion

Friday, October 11, 2013

The #1's - Sharon

On their second single 'Sharon' Dublin Ireland's The #1's deliver three songs that mix sixties garage with late 70's punk and power pop excellence while providing a little mystery for this particular listener.
Upon hearing 'Sharon' and 'Boy',
I convinced myself I was listening to another lost classic from the wide array of under the radar 60's garage rockers or one of the many
unreleased / self released
Punk bands from the late 70's. Songs that feature that raw garage rock feel will vocals that have me thinking of long time favorites The Buzzcocks.
While 'Sharon' and 'Boy' make me want to dance in a wild and unhinged manner. The 'B' Side 'Girl' slows it down enough for to let you grab your girl and get close. After a quick listen I immediately head to the
Sorry State website and ordered a copy. As I finish this review, finding the bands first single is quickly being added to my "To Do" list. You should too. James Damion

Sorry State Records  Bandcamp
Sorry State Records  The #1s - Sharon

Johnny Neutrino and the Secret Weapon - S/T EP

Some of the best submissions to this blog seem to appear out of nowhere. This one came with an interesting and unique sales pitch and eye popping visuals that demanded the intended party take notice and listen up.
What they say;
"Johnny Neutrino 
and The Secret Weapon are a band of rock and roll super villains bent on saving rock and roll and destroying the world. JNSW combine catchy hooks with fierce guitars, a driving rhythm section and dynamic on stage performances to create what is undoubtedly the greatest musical experience in the entirety of recorded history." 
What I say:
Here's an EP that goes a long way to make a lasting impression on both the eyes and ears. Drawn in by the captivating cover art. This three song had me captivated by devilish hooks, dirty riffs and arrogant vocal delivery.
Three hook laden tracks that had my body shaking and convulsing as if I was locked in a seizure. These dicks seem to think pretty highly of themselves. Listening to 'Doombots', '13 Men' and 'Forgotten Frequencies' helps me understand why. James Damion

Bandcamp  Download Here

Thursday, October 3, 2013

"From '93 'til Infinity", Celebrating Twenty Years of Indie Pop Mirth with Dromedary Records.

As Dromedary Records gets set to celebrate their twentieth anniversary with the release of 'From Here 'til Infinity' an album featuring various artists covering songs released during the 1993 when Dromedary first dipped it's toes in the indie landscape. I reached out to the labels founder Al Crisafulli to talk about the labels beginnings, the coming album and the signing of Cinema Cinema.

James: Congratulations on the labels anniversary, when you put out your first record on Dromedary did you have any game plan or knowledge on how sustain the label beyond that initial release?

Al: First of all, thanks. It's an incredible honor to have been putting out records for so long.
When we put out the first record on Dromedary - a horrible compilation of
New Jersey bands called "Nothing Smells Quite Like Elizabeth," I thought I had it mapped out pretty well. I was going to sell a bunch of CDs and cassettes, make a profit, and put out a Godspeed 7" with the money I made. Godspeed was an incredibly heavy
punk-sludge band from down the shore.
Best live band I've ever seen, even to this day. They were described as "Black Flag meets Black Sabbath."

Anyway, within about two months it became clear that I had no idea what the fuck I was doing, and that nobody was interested in our little compilation. I wound up giving away all the cassettes in the New Music Seminar promo bags, and about ten years ago I threw out most of the CDs. I think we sold eighty copies. We basically had to start all over from scratch.

For a long time I considered that record a dismal failure. It took 20 years for me to realize how many lifelong friends I made while working on it. Ralph Malanga, Mark Abney,
Steve Spatucci, Steve Bailey, Eric Greenberg, and a whole bunch more - all those friendships sprung out of that first record. So did our desire to use the label to support our charitable goals - the release party for that record raised $500 for a local food bank in Hudson County. Twenty years later, I think that record was a huge win because it defined everything we are in terms of friendships, community, and being a good citizen.  Most of the music sucked, though.

James: My experience with Dromedary goes back to an interview I did with Stuyvesant just a few years ago. Since then I've managed to see much of the labels bands live while hearing many others through your recent care packages.
Can you give me a background on the label and how it took route?

Al: After college, I wanted to work in the record business.
I applied to every record label that worked with a band I liked, went on a bunch of interviews, and got nowhere. Most of the labels told me that I didn't have enough experience.
So I figured I'd start my own record label, and get experience that way.

After two or three releases, I realized I had no desire to work in the record business.
I wanted to put out records MYSELF. So I started working hard at the day job to advance my career, and using some of the money I made to put out records by bands I liked.
I just wanted to document some of what was happening locally, in terms of independent pop music. In 1993 we put out a Melting Hopefuls single that SPIN called one of
the top 10 singles of 1993. There we were, on a list in SPIN with Beck and REM and Smashing Pumpkins. It was pretty kooky.

Eventually we branched out with the Mommyheads, who were based in San Francisco at the time - they were this funky little punk band that played jammy, quirky pop songs and toured all over the place, all the time.  We sold a bunch of copies of "Flying Suit," the record we did with them in 1994, and it sort of raised our profile a little bit.

At the time, all the music-related stuff was managed by me, and Sandy handled the finances and mail-order stuff. My best friend, Rich Grasso, handled the artwork and was kind of like my sounding board.  I didn't do much decision-making without much agonizing thought and alcohol consumption with Rich. As the label started to grow, the decisions got to be more serious, and the whole thing started becoming frustrating. Way too much 'business' and not enough 'music.' Right as I was starting to get super frustrated with the whole thing, Rich got really sick. He passed away in 2002. After he died, I lost a lot of interest in music, and basically stopped giving a shit about being a part of the scene.
I kept active by writing about folk music for Jersey Beat, but when Jim stopped printing it,
I stopped writing and went on a long hiatus. I simply did not care about music. I was kind of flailing about for a while.

It was only in 2009, when I fulfilled a promise I made to Rich by writing the story of Dromedary (in a blog format, which is still on my website) that I started to get the bug again. I pretty much made a new update every day for the whole year, telling all the funny stories about the label, how we started, how we ran it, interesting things that happened.
People were engaging with the blog and asking me why they were reading about these bands but couldn't buy the music anywhere.

At the end of 2009, I turned 40 and Sandy threw a big party for me at our house in the country. She got Footstone to reunite and play a show right there in our backyard.
First time they'd played together in ten years. People loved it. That's when I decided I had to figure out a way to put out records again. The last entry in the blog, at the end of 2009, was the one where I announced that I was going to revive the label.

James: I remember my first conversation about the label with Brian (Stuyvesant) .
I recall thinking "Drama Dairy, Dromedary" What does the name mean to you?

Al: It's a stupid story, actually. We agonized for weeks over a name, and had a whole shitload of different ideas. We had just about settled on one, when one day Sandy comes out of the shower and yells "DROMEDARY RECORDS." I had no idea what the hell she was talking about, but I figured that anyone who thought up stuff like that in the shower deserved respect. So we named it Dromedary Records. Plus we like animals. A dromedary is a type of camel.

James: I've come to know you as the guy at Maxwells with the ear to ear smile and attractive looking beverage in tow.
How would you describe yourself twenty years ago?
The beer, the chicks, the music?

Al: 20 years ago I was the guy at Maxwell's with the ear to ear smile and attractive looking beverage in tow. I've always been married to Sandy, and I've always been just thrilled to be there, digging the music, hugging people, blown away by the fact that I get to do this. Dromedary is this tiny little insignificant thing, and yet it's so important to the people involved in it.  Me more than anyone else, I realize, but it still has these little special moments. Twenty years of little special moments all added up starts to be a little significant.

James: "Micro Indie Label" GO…

Al: Big companies are concerned with commerce, on a big scale. They want to move units. It's like a factory, where artists are the product and they're fed into this giant meat grinder that spits out little boilerplate songs and videos that objectify women and encourage you to drink the soft drink and watch the movie and wear the sneakers. They just want brainless consumers with wide open wallets. And when the artist doesn't meet the financial projections, the product manager discontinues the product and R&D and Marketing launch a new one.

Micro indie businesses - not just record labels - care about what they make.
They want to make connections with people. They want to do something beautiful, even if only a few people hear or see it. They want to document something they feel is important. They want to help facilitate those little moments that lift people up. Sometimes it sucks, and sometimes it doesn't work, but it's almost always sincere.

Which one of those two things interests you? Go to D's Soul Full Cafe in Hoboken and have a muffin for breakfast, listen to the music, look at the art. Then go to Dunkin' Donuts and have a fuckin' cruller, listen to Taylor Swift on the Muzak. Which has more authenticity?

To me goes back to those little special moments I was talking about. We're seeing them every night this month in Hoboken with these nostalgic events leading up to the closing of Maxwell's. This week Speed the Plough played a set, and Glenn Mercer from the Feelies sat in with them. All these people who were part of building this scene back in the 80s were there.  Seeing Glenn Mercer and Speed the Plough, this is not seeing Springsteen jumping onstage with Bon Jovi. They don't write about this shit in Time magazine.  But to the people who were in the room last night, it was MAGIC. Chris Stamey, Freedy Johnston,
James Mastro, Glenn Morrow, The Cucumbers - all these people who helped define this scene 30 years ago, and most of them are still here. All those little moments give an artistic community its identity - whether it be a small town, a city, a state, a geographic region, whatever.  Some of it radiates out, and turns into Gaslight Anthem or
Titus Andronicus.  Most of it stays right here and turns into Wild Carnation or
Speed The Plough, and right now that's who's hugging everybody and telling them it's going to be all right. People came to see Ted Leo play because he's great, but when
Brenda Sauter sang a Velvet Underground song to close out the Feelies' set, they cried.

James: Looking back, was/is there a band or release that you feel defined the labels approach, sound or style?

Al: I tend to focus more on songwriting than on a particular sound. It's all noisy pop music, one way or another, whether it's Cinema Cinema or Guy Capecelatro III. All our bands are stylistically different from one another, but they all seem to fit together anyway, because a good song is a good song, as long as it's delivered with intensity and passion.

In terms of our approach as a label, I still just want to make beautiful stuff, help bands I like find fans to support them, and support whatever charitable organizations make sense for us. Same thing I did when I was twenty five, but, you know, fatter and with less hair.

James: Tell me about the album you're releasing to  celebrate the labels anniversary and how the idea came into play?

Al: I have always thought that 1993 was sort of a watershed year for indie rock. It was an unbelievably creative time, and some of the most influential labels were putting out great records by some of the most influential bands. We had just started Dromedary and we were focusing every ounce of our energy on getting this little company off the ground.
We were so immersed in music, and all those records really influenced everything we did.

At the same time a friend of mine put out a compilation that I still think was the greatest compilation ever.  It was a little double 10" record called "Why Do You Think They Call It Pop?" on a Boston label called Pop Narcotic Records.  It had Versus, Small Factory, Helium, The Grifters, Polvo, Wingtip Sloat, Monsterland and a bunch of others. It was a great record, it looked great, it sounded great, and it had a huge impact on me.

Anyway, when we decided to celebrate the 20th birthday of the label, I thought it would be cool to ask a bunch of bands I like if they'd cover songs that were released in 1993, for a double-album comp that I patterned after the Pop Narcotic record.  There were so many great records that year that it was pretty easy to get people excited about it.  But it's also a little self-serving, in terms of the bands I asked and the songs I asked some of them to cover.

James: The addition of Cinema Cinema to this years Camelfest lineup was a big surprise, to say the very least. However, the signing of the band to Dromedary records this Spring was to say the very least, a shock to the system. Knowing that bands on your label and your overall taste in music don't exactly fall into the face melting style of what CC does. I'm curious as to how you came upon them and what led you to sign them.

Al: I guess I don't see it as being as shocking as you do. There's as much of a stylistic difference between
Guy Capecelatro III and Stuyvesant as there is between Stuyvesant and
Cinema Cinema. Ev and Paul are phenomenal musicians, and they are definitely doing something unique, but I liken them more to artists like
The Boredoms or Borbetomagus than I do to Black Flag or Bad Brains.
I know they've found a home in punk circles, but to me, punk has never been about a type of sound, it's always been an ethos. I find it ridiculous that there's a part of the punk world that embraces a band like Fugazi but not The Feelies.
I never questioned how
The Ramones and
The Talking Heads in 1977 could both have been considered "punk" even though they were stylistically different. So to me, it's not at all weird to have Cinema Cinema do a project on Dromedary.
Dromedary has never really been as much about a style of music as it was about strength of songwriting and musicianship, and presenting it in an interesting way. Obviously the stuff on the label tends to reflect my own musical taste, which tends to lean more toward the pop end of the spectrum than it does to the noise end, but if you put on an old Mommyheads record and then a Cinema Cinema record, the two bands may use different instruments and they employ melody differently, but they're both challenging you in amazing ways.

Plus, one of the first bands we worked with in 1993 was Godspeed, and they don't get much louder or more insane than Godspeed were.

James: I understand it's a one record thing, but considering how well received
'50 ft. Queenie' was. Is there a possibility for future collaborations?

Al: I don't see why not.
Ev and Paul are both great guys, they make music that I find interesting, and they're very much DIY musicians.
What's important to me about the bands on Dromedary is that we approach each other as friends and don't engage in any egotistical bullshit. As long as there's mutual respect there, there's always the opportunity to work together.  I've been putting out Ralph Malanga's records for twenty years - part of that is because I love his bands and his music, but most of that is because we're friends, we understand each other, and neither of us have any silly illusions about what we're doing here.

James: You originally threw out some numbers of sixteen/seventeen artists contributing covers. What can we expect?

Al: It's called "From '93 'Til Infinity" and it's got sixteen bands, on a double LP with a nice gatefold jacket that pays tribute to the Pop Narcotic record.. I've already revealed the bands that would be covered: Superchunk, PJ Harvey, Versus, Souls of Mischief, Yo La Tengo, Liz Phair, Swervedriver, The Posies, Archers of Loaf, Teenage Fanclub,
The Jesus and Mary Chain, Smog, Seam, Vic Chesnutt, The Spinanes and
The Mommyheads. In a few weeks we'll reveal the actual songs that are covered, and then the bands that are covering them. We'll probably have an online listening party to debut the record at some point. This year's Camelfest will double as the release party.

James: Speaking of Camelfest and on a bigger scale, Dromedary Records.
Maxwell's has been so crucial in providing a great space, sound and collection of people to both the local music scene and to touring bands for decades. It's definitely been a home to our friends, their bands and especially to Dromedary.
I think we all knew in advance that it's closing was on the horizon. But it was that last month, July. that was particularly hard for a lot of people. I know for fact that it hit you pretty hard. Can you tell me what you went through emotionally. How you may have mourned or even celebrated that final month and what Maxwells has come to mean to you and to Dromedary Records?

Al: Brevity was never my strong suit, but I'll do my best here. The closing of Maxwell's was crushing to me. I realize there were a lot of people who practically lived there, who were tight with the staff, who'd been part of the culture for decades, and I realize I was not one of those people. So when I talk about the importance of the place, I don't want to speak out of school.

At the same time, I've been going there as a music fan since the early 90s, and Dromedary bands have been playing there for just as long. Some of the greatest shows I've ever seen happened in that back room, and I met people there who I now count among my closest friends. I've stumbled out of a lot of bars at 2AM with a smile on my face, but none more often than Maxwell's.

That last month, I felt almost desperate, like I had to go there every day. I live an hour and a half from Hoboken, so it's a real trek for me to get there, but I think I made it five or six times before it closed.  I was able to bring two of my kids there to see shows. I was there for the Bar/None party, and for the Feelies show on July 5th. I saw Stuyvesant's last show there, of course. I also went there once or twice just for dinner.

For the final party, though, I stayed away. I was in Chicago on a business trip, but I don't think I'd have gone anyway. I've got an enormous amount of respect for the history of indie rock in New Jersey. That last night, I thought, was for the "regulars" and for the people who built the place. It was awesome for me to see photos of the people who created this enormous piece of our lives, celebrating and enjoying the place one more time. I read the stories and watched the videos - there was a lot of love there, and a lot of tears, and it was a lot better for me to know all those people got a chance to reunite and enjoy the club once more.

As for what Maxwell's has come to mean to Dromedary, there has been no better venue, and no group of people more supportive of what we've been doing for the past 20 years.
I love to put together shows - I do two or three a year - and Maxwell's has been the "go to" place for us for years. It's also been the place where I go to meet with bands to discuss working together, where I get together with journalists for interviews, or to just go hang out for a beer. It's going to be very strange to have to find a new place for all that stuff.

What's even more important is the way our bands are treated. The best thing about Maxwell's was that you could go see The Feelies there on a Friday night, then see one of our bands on Saturday night, and there was absolutely no difference in the way the staff would treat those two shows.  Every band got professional treatment.  I'm not aware of a music venue that more great bands called "home," and I have no idea what will fill the void that it leaves.

A couple of weeks ago I walked into Asbury Lanes with a few friends, sat down for a beer, and felt like that might be the kind of place where we could establish the kind of vibe we like at our shows. We'll be doing Camelfest there this year. It'll be weird to do a show at a venue other than Maxwell's, but the people at Asbury Lanes have been super, and they come very highly recommended.  The venue has a great vibe, the people were nice, they serve local beer, it's a block from the ocean and you can bowl.  So hopefully that can become our new home.

Jean Homme & the Broken Telomeres  Sound Cloud
Dromedary Records Label

KillingHorse Records and Cicada Radio Offering Free Download of 'No Fate But What We Make'

Our friends at KillingHorse Records and Cicada Radio are offering the bands latest release 'No Fate But What We Make' for free download this week. If you don't have it or god forbid, haven't heard it. Here's your chance. Download Here  Here's a link to our review of the record. Review

No Mistake - Looking to Record New Record

Bay Area Hardcore band No Mistake are looking to record a new record.The bands guitarist Mike Bullshit (Bulllshit Monthly, S.F.A,, GO!, ABC No Rio, EGO) and me go back about twenty five years. Mike has been featured numerous times in the pages of Unite and here on United By Rocket Science numerous times. You can check out or review of No Mistakes 'Connect the Dots...Complete the Puzzle' Here. Now GO!, pledge. James Damion

7 Seconds - My Aim is You / Slogan on a Shirt

To be honest, it's been quite a long time since I gave any recording post 'Soulforce Revolution'
in close to ten years, if not more. Interesting, considering how important the band has been from the very earliest stages of my punk and hardcore existence.
My very first show at CBGB's was
7 Seconds. A night when me and my best friend Danny Doyle ventured down to the Bowery and didn't return until the next morning.
As the needle dropped on
'My Aim is True' I was immediately transformed into that fifteen year old kid who found his first
7 Seconds record in the back of a Queens, NY record store called "Numbers" and quickly feel in love with positive Hardcore. Inspiring anthems and pile on worthy choruses take my memories and love for this band from the rear view mirror to the present and the future. Just a great record in every sense.
'My Aim is You' and 'Slogan on a Shirt' the first songs from 7 Seconds in eight years.
The 7 inch also marks the bands debut on Rise Records and goes rather nicely with the bands just released re-issues. Thanks to the band for all the memories. Both old and new. James Damion

Rise Records Order it Here

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Boysetsfire - Bled Dry / Bring Back the Fight 7 inch

Released jointly by Magic Bullet and
End Hit Records and back on April 20th 2013 exclusively for Record Store Day.
Boysetsfire gave everyone one hell of a good reason to go out, celebrate and support your local record stores. 'Bled Dry' skips the melody so often associated with BSF and goes straight for the jugular with it's vicious riffs and searing vocals.
Whereas the B sides 'Bring Back the Fight' brings Nathan's vocal delivery to a level of savagery often reserved for darker Hardcore and Metal bands. The songs vicious rhythms and tribal beats had me thinking BSF were bringing more than just a grudge to this fight. One could picture the band sharpening their knives deep in the woods as the music played.
Looking back, I don't recsall picking up any record store day releases back in April. I'm just glad someone left a copy of this one behind.
Because there are some of the best 3-4 minutes my ears have experienced in a long time.
James Damion

Magic Bullet Reords

The Guns - Early 80's Hardcore from Cleveland

Every now and then I come across a friends music link on Facebook. Over the years my choice of what to investigate and what to pass over has narrowed down considerably thanks to know the certain likings of one friend friend or another. Dave G,, Chris Skelly 
(Dahlia Seed) and Joe G. (Red Hare, Retisonic, Blue Tip, Harden Variety) are notable "go to" guys whose musical tastes I tend to trust. This morning I came across this post and basically went into obsession mode. The Guns were a '82 era Cleveland Hardcore band featuring then pre teen singer Scott Eakin and drummer Dave Araca (12 and 13 at the tine this was recorded.) I'm only minutes into investigating a very young and amazing band that mixed sneering punk, hardcore and before it's time crossover. Thus far, I've found a couple of their tracks on the legendary early 80's 'The New Hope' compilation. In the meantime, check out these gems and get back to me with any additional information you might want to share about the band. 
James Damion

Washed Up Media and Moon Tooth Debut Video for Ebb/Flow

Sean Ageman of Washed Up Media and Long Island's Moon Tooth team up to release video for 'Ebb/Flow', the opening track from Moon Tooth's debut EP 'Freaks'. The video can be seen here and on you tube. The EP 'Freaks' can be downloaded here Moon Tooth Bandcamp Be sure to check in later this week for my review of the EP. James Damion

Gameface Reunite

After a series of reunion shows, South California melodic punk purveyors Gameface have officially re-united and signed to Equal Vision records.The band will be releasing a two song 7 inch titled 'Come on Down' on November 5th.  Check out the video to see what's in store.

Sacrilege - Thoughts are the Dreams till their Effects are Tried

The latest entry in documenting some of the lesser celebrated Hardcore/Punk bands from
New York's now storied history comes to us from what has always been a reliable source of quality in
 Freddy Alva and Wardance Records. Sacrilege, a short lived, mid level band whose activity took place during a time where
New York's Hardcore scene was going through a transitional phase. A time in which many of the old guard of '82 bands had either disbanded or had entered the realm of crossover. (A melding of Hardcore, Metal and Thrash)
A time that seemed like a holding pattern where the streets of the
Lower East Side and the Bowery were sort of tidying things up for the next wave of bands to arrive. It was post Rat Cage / Pre Revelation, so to say.

The short lived band notably featured former and future members of Agnostic Front,
Reagan Youth, Murphy's Law and Nausea. Relations that surely helped the band get on it's share of bills with such better known acts. The records A side features the bands 1985 nine song demo recorded at Don Fury's legendary Demo Demo Studio. While the B side features Bolt Studio demo recorded later in '85. When listened to in sequence the Don Fury sessions trump that of the Bolt session. Overall "Thoughts are the Dreams till their Effects are Tried" is a nice document of a time in New York Hardcore's history that is often overlooked and perfectly depicts a mid level band playing during a time of change and uncertainty in the NYHC scene.

The record includes liner notes from guitarist Victor Venom, bassist Adam Mucci and Wardance Records own Freddy Alva. Each painting an accurate picture of the bands history and what the NYHC scene was like at the time. (It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.) The lyrics, images and old show flyers really add to the overall story.
As I mentioned, I had never seen the band live but the"Halloween Monster Mash" show flyer was one of the countless gems that adorned my wall at the UNITE headquarters back in the late 80's.

Personally, I wasn't sure what to expect from this this. Having never heard their demos or seen them live. Sacrilege seemed like a band that just missed the boat, slipped through the cracks or maybe, just weren't that good to begin with. In the end, I'm glad I had the chance to find out for myself.
James Damion

Wardance Records Bandcamp  Name your price
Wardance Records Support

Ugh God - Heavy Flow

Recorded in a single car garage in the middle of a parking lot in Landsdale, PA., Ugh God and their ten song release
"Heavy Flow' are loud, experimental and fucking unbearable. There are no words to best describe how unbelievably annoying and unlistenable this is.
So instead, I'll leave you with the bands name, the title of their record, the ugly as fuck (for no apparent reason) cover and overly retarded song titles like 'Forced Child Laboration' and 'Megan's Cole Slaw' to speak for me. After listening to this I had hopes that after recording, the band closed the garage door and left the car running until the lives of everyone involved  were snuffed out for good. I wish I had been issued hard copy of this so I could fucking burn it.
James Damion

Ugh God <<< Absolute Fucking Garbage