Friday, September 19, 2014

Bad Daddies - You Ain't Right / Teenage Hell / I Don't / Head on a Rail

I really love what the people at Raleigh's Negative Fun Records are doing with their
"Singles Club,
find out more Here.
The labels subscription based singles club is off to a noteworthy start that quickly brings to mind the original
Killed By Death concept.

On my first single I'm treated to the Bad Daddies. The female fronted Livermore, CA band completely caught me off guard, keeping me trapped throughout the duration of their three song banger.
A powerful burst of mindful energy. The bands frenetic energy can easily be credited to vocalist Camylle Reynolds and her powerful vocal presence. The bands style immediately bring to mind Kathleen Hannah, Bikini Kill and some of the more authentic groups that ruled the sound and urgency that became known as the Riot Girl movement. This small sample of both Bad Daddies and Negative Fun Records left a lasting impression on me. One that had me craving for more.
I'm looking forward to hear more from both. James Damion

Negative Fun

Midnight Plus One - Like Camera / White Flowers

Comprised of current and former members of Black Skies, Challenger,
Americans in France and
Eagle Bravo. North Carolina's Midnight Plus One, are locally seen as somewhat of a supergroup.
On their contribution to Negative Fun's Singles Club, the band more than earns the right to that title. The A side "Like Camera" has a sinister vibe that's dark and addictive.
I didn't quite get the lyrics, but I'm pretty sure he's singing about the devil, or at the very least, the practice of devilish deeds. A perfect introduction to what Midnight Plus One has going on. "White Flowers" the records B side serves up Low Fi excellence and a dark, tribal element that will make you want to bathe in the mud with your demons. Excellent stuff here. Excellent stuff. James Damion

Negative Fun

Positive No - Automatic Cars / Slumber

This exclusive 7' with it's customized cover  and extremely limited press of 50 copies was waiting for me when
I got home last night.

Automatic Cars has all the parts required for building a great song. From the opening bass line to the spiraling guitar sound to Tracy's hypnotic voice.
The A side instantly reminded me of some of  the great Indie Rock of the 90's. Even drawing comparisons to early
Sonic Youth.

Side B's 'Slumber' inspires just what the title suggests.
Slowing things down with its soothing Indie Dream Pop
leanings that are both sweet and addictive. If you get the chance to get this exclusive cover version. I highly recommend it. If not, make sure to get the alternate cover from Negative Fun or download it from Positive No's bandcamp.
I really love what Richmond's Positive No is creating.
Each song leaves me craving for more. Luckily, Positive No seem prepared to deliver.

One can't help but get excited about what Negative Fun is doing with it's Singles Club.
It brings to mind what S.O.L. (Singles Only Label) was doing in the 90's with many diverse acts such as Bob Mould, Earth Pig and Moby. One can only wish them luck as they continue to release this level of quality and diversity. James Damion

Negative Fun Label

Positive No Band Site

Have Heart - What Counts

Boston's Have Heart were part of a Hardcore revival which brought back a style that was an inspiration for me and many others from the start.
With a sound comparable to  Massachusetts favorites Bane and In Your Eyes. The band carved out a nice niche for themselves playing heartfelt, uplifting Hardcore that left a positive foot print on the genre.

The one sided 12' version of  "What Counts", features each of the songs from their 2004 debut.  The record features an  impressive gatefold cover, comes on three colors, orange being my choice, and features a download card for all the MP3 nerds out there. Lovingly remastered at New Alliance in Cambridge MA. All together this is a nice package worth having in your record collection. I highly recommend it. James Damion

Triple B Records  Get it Here

Brotherhood - Till Death

Not long before bands like Nirvana put Seattle on everyone's musical map.
A band by the name of Brotherhood were putting the West Coast and many of their contemporaries around the country on notice. Though the band existed for just over two short years (87' to 89').
Their recorded history (a demo and two 7' EP's) was heralded as some of the best and most sought after material the genre produced at the time. Years later those 7' 's would cost most collectors a weeks food money at record shows while inciting epic bidding wars on sites like Ebay. Comparable to acts such as Chain of Strength, Insted, Uniform choice and Bl’ast. Brotherhood drew influences from earlier Hardcore acts such as SSD, DYS and New York's own Straight Ahead.  Harsh, yet expressive and emotive Hardcore delivered with a certain sense of authenticity.

While Greg Anderson would go on to play in the highly regarded Amenity and Engine Kid. Nate Mendel's membership in Sunny Day Real Estate and eventually, The Foo Fighters could be considered on of the monumental stage dives ever.

"Til Death" includes the bands original demo, two 7' EP's,  a 32 page 7”x7” booklet with liner notes & tons of photos from the era. Packaged in a thick Stoughton tip-on single pocket jacket. Painstakingly remastered by Brad Boatright. The record is available in various colors, including, but not limited to "True Blue".  As for the cover. Who could ever forget that iconic cover photo taken by Boiling Point fanzine Dennis Cheng? Overall, a must have for anyone who loves 80's Hardcore and it's very deep history. I highly recommend it.
James Damion

Get it Here  Southern Lord

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pusrad - Erarre Humanum Est

On Pusrads bRand new Lp the formula of playing quick short hardcore songs has not changed, but I feel the songs are becoming somewhat more memorable and structured. Somehow Pusrad has made an artform out of playing these quick, tight  songs that blow by in under a minute, but for the first time they have created an Lp's worth of songs that have me coming back for repeated listens.  There is something special going on in the grooves of this Lp and I highly recommend you jump on this Lp before the bandwagon takes off...Dave G.

Dead Beat Records 

Sheer Terror - Standing Up For Falling Down

If it were not for my close friend and fellow fanzine creator
Gina "Last Daze" Lawson,
(God rest her soul while providing it with plenty of drink, cigarettes and Hardcore.)
I probably would not have ever given much attention to
Sheer Terror. The truth of the matter is, that after first hearing them on my copy of
Big City Records
"One Big Crowd" compilation.
I never gave the band much more than a casual listen.
It wasn't until 2000's
"Bulldog Edition" that I really began to appreciate the bands legacy and well deserved reputation as the bastard sons of negative Hardcore.
"Standing Up for Falling Down", the bands first full length in eighteen years might be
Sheer Terror's best work to date. It would be hard to argue against it being their most cohesive. Raw, brutal, honest and surprisingly musical. Bulldozer guitar leads, dark bass lines and tribal beats led by Hardcores greatest MC and motivational sledgehammer,
Rev. Paul Bearer.  Perhaps Sheer Terror were an acquired taste for me personally.
As I get older though. I seem to find comfort in Sheer Terror's tongue in bleeding cheek style. Unlike many of their contemporaries. Sheer Terror just get bitter with age. If you love brutal, confrontational and honest Hardcore music. You have no excuse not to invest in this record. James Damion

Reaper Records  Buy it Here

GO! - 89' Demo 7' Reissue

Originally released in 1989 on cassette. GO's 1989 demo finally get the vinyl treatment. Delivered in 7' format.
"The Word Is" features
fast, loud and impassioned Hardcore delivered in short, angry spurts. A blueprint that served the band and it's fan base well during their very busy existence.
The demo features each of the original twelve songs, delivered in at about twelve short minutes. Perfect for those of us with a limited attention span or any ADHD issues you might suffer.
Includes classic GO! songs "Take Root" "Me VS. You", "The Word",  "Section 28",  a noteworthy cover of Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark's "Electricity" and "Breakdown", a ballsier East Coast rebuttal to the Uniform Choice shit storm "Silenced". GO! marked Mike Bullshit's departure from SFA and came during a time when NYHC was suffering from somewhat of an identity crisis. It also coincided a healthy shift from the often violent mood that had taken over the scene at CBGB's to the more healthy, proactive environment at Rivington St.'s ABC No Rio. Overall, a nice document of that time that brought many good memories and sing a longs. James Damion

Order it Here

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Getting to Know Amherst Massachusetts' Shakusky

My first time experiencing the band Shakusky was during an appearance at William Paterson University Radio show. At the time,  a collection of bands, most of which I had no prior knowledge of,  gathered for what seemed to be a last minute show at the radio station. Though impressed with most of the bands that played that night. It was Amherst Massachusetts Shakusky that stood out for me musically. At the time, I wanted to talk to the band about their unique style and the myriad of influences I, myself was hearing.  
Being surrounded by a room of college age people and not wanting to make a fool out of myself. I bought a CD and headed home. When I heard the band was not only returning, but playing in nearby Montclair. I made sure I wouldn't miss out on the opportunity to see them again. That night I got a special treat when the bands newest addition, Kira, took my appreciation for the band to a new level. After returning home from tour, I reached out to Shakusky's artful guitarist Mark Hilliar to learn more about the band. Here's what he had to share. 

Shakusky is; Eli Albanese - Guitar, Vocals / Liam Cregan - Drums, Vocals /
Mark Hillier - Guitar, Vocals / Leonard Schwartz - Bass, Vocals / Kira Mattheson - Vocals

James: When I first heard the name Shakusky, I got an image of some historical Massachusetts land giver or poet. Perhaps an infamous serial killer. What's behind the name and what drew you to it?

Mark: Haha! No serial killers!!
The name “shakusky.” actually comes from Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom.”
Sam Shakusky is a young kid who runs away from the
Wes Anderson mid 60’s equivalent of boy scout camp with a girl who he has fallen in love with. The band was named by a former member so I can’t attest to his feelings towards the movie when it was chosen but I’ve always really liked what the character represents in the movie and felt it a good fit over the course of all of our lineup changes in our time as a band.

James: Let's talk about influences. Your Facebook page mention Sugar Ray.
Honestly, I don't believe it for a minute. Tell me about the roots of the bands sound and style. What are your influences?

Mark: To be honest I didn’t even realize that was there. I mean it was probably me but I don’t remember doing it. As a band, our overlapping influences are mostly math rock bands and emo/punk bands (See: Tera Melos, Title Fight, La Dispute, blah blah blah) but we all have a wide range of varying influences. I’m huge into jazz and Lenny’s really into metal. And both of those influences definitely come through in our writing.

James: Okay, I kind of figured the Sugar Ray mention was a joke. Being that some younger friends were recently wetting themselves about a Sugar Ray, Smashmouth reunion.
I dare not assume. That said, I'm not going to let you off Scott Stapp free without challenging your love for Coldplay. Justigy yourself in 1,000 words or less.

Mark: Hey, I mean I’m pretty into Sugar Ray. And Coldplay!! Coldplay has some really great stuff. Parachutes is a great album. Yellow, Trouble, and Parachutes are such a good trio of songs. Clocks is what got me into math rock.

James: You guys are from Amhurst. We're always hearing about the bigger bands from
Massachusettes. What does the area offer for the smaller and mid tier bands as far as venues and independent record labels? What are some of the newer bands worth seeking out?

Mark: I remember the first time I came to Amherst was to see my friends in The Sharpest play with La Dispute in a basement. The year after that I ended up moving out here for school and saw Algernon. Since then it seemed to me a lot less bands were coming through town and most basements were getting shut down. So we all got involved with starting an organization called SALT that runs shows on and off campus which is really cool. It took a while to get it off the ground but things have been going really well with it. Aviator and
Vetter Kids are playing in town on Friday. We also have Odd Dates, People Like You, Diarrhea Planet and some other really cool touring bands coming through in the next few months.

There are a lot of really cool local music like Californiax, Mal Devisa, Carnivora, and Dérive that are very active right now. Pachangacha, Black Churches, and Chalk Talk were all out of Amherst too but I think they’ve since moved elsewhere in the past year or so?

James: Mark, you mention your appreciation for Jazz. One of the first things that stuck out for me was how closely you hold your guitar to your chest and even chin.. It seemed strange at first, being I've never seen it in all my years of going to Punk shows. Now that you mention Jazz, it all seems to make sense. How would you describe your style of play?

Mark: Haha, I don’t really know how to respond to that to be honest! I think I kind of just naturally hold my guitar like that. I think just because having it higher up makes it easier to reach up the neck with my strumming hand to do tappy/finger picky things.

James: You just got back from a short tour.
Where did it take you? Did you meet any bands along the way that particularly stood out?

Mark: We went west through New York, Ohio, to Michigan, south to Kentucky,  back to the east coast, and north to home totaling in 14 days and it was such a great time.
I had never been to most of the places we went and it was great. Almost every night we met stand out bands. The first night I remember thinking “Man the bands tonight are so good- stoked to play with them! How is the rest of tour going to live up to this!” And then I thought the same thing the next night. And then I thought it almost every night after. And we’re really grateful for that! If I had to do specifics our Philly show was one of my favorites.
One Hundred Acre Woods fucking kills it.

James: The last time I saw you there was a new edition on vocals. How did Kira come into play and how has she changed the dynamics of the band?

Mark: Yes! Kira is our new addition and we are loving it. Kira and Liam have been dating for a few years so we were all close friends well before she joined the band. When Liam and I began first doing vocals Kira taught us some techniques as she has formal training.
This turned into her recording some harmonies on Transient which led to her doing a few local shows with us and when she showed interest in coming on tour with us we jumped on it and made it an official “This is Kira and we are a 5 piece now” thing.

James: Had she been in any other bands prior to joining Shakusky?

Mark: She’d never been in a band before so when she decided to come on tour with us I think we were a little surprised like “really? You want to spend two weeks in a little car with your boyfriend and his three smelly friends?” Granted, we were all good friends beforehand but I 100% saw her getting very fed up with us (me) very quickly. But it all felt very natural and great and I think we’re all super happy about the dynamic as a 5 piece.

James: How would you compare your recent release "Transient" to your last
"Lancaster Market"?

Mark: Transient is such a change from Lancaster Market. A portion of Lancaster Market was written with a  different vocalist before Kira or I were even in the band- I was only involved with writing a few songs as a guitarist. I think Transient was a big push out of all our comfort zones as musicians and for Liam, Kira, and I as vocalists/lyricists which was great.

James: What went into the decision to release "Transient" on cassette? Do you think the format might limit it's reach?

Mark: The Cassettes were done by Too Far Gone Records and they came out really cool! We live in such a digital age that it’s almost not worth doing physical releases that aren’t vinyl but we really wanted to do something besides the digital release along with vinyl. We were originally planning on putting Transient out on vinyl as well as tapes but we had an opportunity to hop on a split so we’ve been focusing on that along with our future release instead.

Outro; In closing, I'd like to note that Shakusky reminded me of how important it is to go out, seek new music  and support touring bands. I've been taught time and time again that that random band on the bill, the one you've never heard of, just might be the next band you love and want to support. I highly recommend giving Shakusky a good listen and a further look. Sign them, book them, support them. JD


Big Cartel

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cinema Cinema - A Night at the Fights

On their third album and fourth release Brooklyn's artful noise duo take the sheer madness that highlighted and even defined their sound and turn it into pure genius.
While Cinema Cinema's maniacal delivery has always been the cornerstone of their sound. It was created and fostered in a very mindful and artful manner.

There's always been a manic, somewhat sociopathic quality to Cinema Cinema. One that anyone whose experienced trauma, depression or any of the various psychiatric meltdown life's realities might bring might experience.

The album opens with "Broad Daylight". A dark as coal call to war with apocalyptic screams, tribal drums and bloodletting riffs. First time listeners be warned. You will not be eased in gently and this isn't for the teary eyed souls that grew up in a world where everybody gets a trophy or a toy to take home with their Happy Meal.

On "A Night at the Fight's", the band relies heavily on that trademark vibe while experimenting with melody, harmony and other unexplored territory not heard on prior
Don Zientara produced work. Perhaps the production work of recent Cinema Cinema cohort Martin Bis deserves due credit. And while these elements show the bands growth and abilities beyond pure noise. They don't take any of the primal elements that make this duo so unique. As you listen to "A Night At the Fights" you'll find yourself quickly immersed in the album itself. As much as each song stands on it's own. It's the album as a whole you'll find yourself drawn to.

CC's bombast and knack for noise instantly bring to mind what Amphetamine Reptile was producing early on and  what it was like to hear bands like Jesus Lizard, Helmet and even The Melvins for the very first time. Not all music was meant for the masses.
For me personally, that's a good thing. For Cinema Cinema are not the band you bring home to meet the parents. Unlike the voices in our head we often pay good money to chase away.
"A night at the fights" not only welcomes the demons. It offers them permanent residence.
As where most artists producing and performing at such intense levels often burn themselves out early. Cinema Cinema seem to grow stronger. The release is now available at a name your price. I suggest getting your ass to a show and picking up a hard copy. Either route gets it done. James Damion

Get it Here  A Night at the Fights

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Moral Mazes - Magic Tommy Jackson 7' EP

While terms such as  "Supergroup" and "Studio Project" often leave much to be desired.
The right chemistry, game plan and execution can often take a collection of talented pieces and turn a masturbatory cast of  A -Listers into a cohesive amalgamation of the talent gathered. Formed earlier in 2014 when Jonah Matranga (Far, Onelinedrawing),
Jeff Dean (All Eyes West,
Dead Ending), Darren Zentek
(Office of Future Plans) and
J. Robbins (Jawbox,
Burning Airlines) veered their friendship towards a studio project
Though the studio collaboration only produced two songs.
"The Long Way" introduces
Moral Mazes with it's sinister vocals and tribal drumming while "Stay Unprepared" makes itself comfortable with it's winding guitar riffs. Moral Mazes put their varied influences and experience on display through a post core efficiency and familiarity  that grabs the listeners attention and keeps it while leaving a lasting impression. One that, though familiar, feels unique to them. While I've just put an order in on this record this morning. I've listened to the download continuously for the last hour or so.
Considering these two songs come in at just over 7 minutes. I'd say this more than won me over. I'm really looking forward to hearing this on the turntable. Until then. James Damion

Bridge 9  Get it Here