Saturday, January 31, 2015

Point Blank - 8 Song Demo

Hailing from Queens,New York. Point Blank are a relatively new band featuring a couple of Hardcore lifers with Danny Derella, a founding member of Underdog and NYHC representative Ken Wagner.

On their debut 8 song demo. The band delivers the goods with a mix of ingredients that give the early New York Hardcore sound a healthy update.
Point blank hit the mark straight from the opening bass line on the cd opener 'No More' to the all out verbal attack of
'Fuck Off' , and just about everywhere in between.
The demos forth entry
'Well Defined / It's Time' stands as my personal favorite with it's well paced delivery, anthemic vocals and break downs.
Point Blank's slow to mid pace sound brings Hardcore's past glories to the present righteously. And while listeners might find themselves placing Point Blank's sound somewhere in the mid 1980's.  Point Blank are in no way a nostalgia act. 

Point Blank's debut is a good one that leaves me wondering "What's Next?"
James Damion

Point Blank NYHC Bandcamp

Friday, January 23, 2015

D. Smith - Groping For Luna, Vol. 1

With the overwhelming amount of music we acquire on a weekly basis. It's become nearly impossible to gain a sense of intimacy with an album the way I used to.
That was until 'Groping For Luna' showed up in my mailbox.
On perhaps one of 2014's most surprising, out of nowhere releases of the year. D. Smith (Known to many as Dan Smith of Shirk Circus/The 65's)
gifts us sixteen songs that  give the singer songwriter bit a healthy kick in the gut.

'Groping for Luna Vol. 1' puts excellent songwriting, as well as a knack for storytelling in the spotlight. Each song shares a raw, honest and unflinching quality that is both haunting and real. It's hard to imagine songs that have this sense of darkness can also feel so beautiful and eloquent.

 From the muscular rock of Worst Case Scenario to the more restrained, folky
The Ballad of Squeaky Fromme. Smith approaches each song with enough grit, honesty and sin to earn the respect of anyone with  a soul to put on display. There were moments here where I felt Smith was channeling the great Bob Mould.  That somehow, there was a lost Husker Du album waiting to surface. From start to finish Groping for Luna felt like a record worthy of a sequel. Here is a record that makes me recall the days when an album, not just a song, but an entire album stuck with you and made for a conversation starter.
Not to be missed or overlooked. With the beginning of Al Crisafulli's Sugarblast Music..This very well might be the last we here from his long time label Dromedary Records for a while.
If that's the case. Dromedary may have left us with it's best release to date.
James Damion

Dromedary Records  Get it Here
Sugarblast Music  Also check out

No Other - Option C / Opaque

Another banger from
Negative Fun Records and their Singles Club. This one a lot different from the Hot Dolphin offering. The A side Option C brings to mind the Riot Grrrl era and bands like Bikini Kill with it's droning vocals and simplistic rhythms. The B side Opaque reigns as my favorite of the two. Perking up the ears with some instant gratification.
Melodic, upbeat and a step up in musicianship. The vocal delivery is more focused and enjoyable.  I love the bass line and fuzzed out guitars that run throughout. They give the song a psych meets surf rock vibe that really takes you in some nice directions.

There are a few remaining copies left at Negative Fun's bandcamp. Here You can also purchase it as part of NF's Singles Club box set Here or try contacting the band personally.
No Other present some really cool elements in these songs. Inspiring the listener to surf, party and start a riot along the way. This was quite an enjoyable listen. I'm looking forward to seeking out more music from this band. Until then. James Damion

Living Laser - Place on Earth

Simply stated, Living Laser is one of the very best Hardcore bands playing and releasing records today. While the upstate NY Hardcore act formed in 2010. Their sound and influences can easily be traced to the Hardcores early days and spirit. Inspired by bands such as the Bad Brains, Leeway, Chain of Strength and even more closer to my heart,
New York's Beyond.

On Place on Earth, Living Laser continue to establish themselves as one of Hardcore's best and brightest acts. Fast, energetic and electric. Smart, introspective lyrics.
Metalic riffs that give muscle to the songs Hardcore spirit. Jay's higher pitch vocals bring to mind that of Eddie Sutton of Leeway fame. Five songs that inspire, while feeding the listener with a caffeine like energy. The breakdowns and choruses are all up front and present. Place on Earth is just perfect from start to finish. A total must have for fans of the band and hardcore music alike.

Living Laser have become a personal favorite of mine for some time now and Place on Earth only serves to heighten my appreciation for what they're doing, which is enforcing my appreciation and love for Hardcore music more than thirty years after being introduced to the genre. James Damion

Frequency Deleted Records  Get it Here
Living Laser  Bandcamp

Hot Dolphin - 3 Song Single

I like the sense of mystery that creeps its way in when a nondescript record shows up in my mailbox. Catching the name Negative Fun Records on the mailer and iconic 45' record sleeve only fueled my curiosity. While helping to quench my thirst for more vinyl treasure.

What you get from Richmond's Hot Dolphin is a three song banger that feature a
fast and loose garage rock that has a sinister edge to it.
Body Snatcher, Cat Sweaters and Paint Dry are each solid in their own way.
The guitar assault on Paint Dry is particularly wicked and nasty. Making it my favorite of the three offerings.
With the garage rock revival racing past the decade mark like a drunken speed freak.
The style has produced it's share of sound a likes and copy cats. It's good to see a band with a name as silly as
Hot Dolphin do it justice. I recommend giving this a spin while checking out what
Negative Fun records and the Singles Club has to offer. You're bound to find something unique. James Damion

Negative Fun Get it Here

No For An Answer - You Laugh E.P.

While I don't make it a habit of reviewing reissues or represses of old records. This particular slab of vinyl shook the memory tree enough to warrant a few words. At the time it was released (1988) on Revelation Records. Hardcore had become my life's blood.

When Dan and No For Answer dropped their bags at the SXE house in preparation for the Free For All show and album recording at CBGB's. I took some time to interview them for the second issue of Unite fanzine,

I don't know why, but I did not think these songs would hold up well.  For as much as I love 80's Hardcore.
A lot of the music I listened  to back then has not aged well. Time just has a way of aging a record, a song or even a memory. Listening to this E.P. for the first time in close to twenty years immediately brought back a flood of memories. How, at the time  we waited forever Revelation releases with bated breath. Regardless of familiarity, you know that the latest release was going to satisfy your thirst for excellence. The release of No For An Answer's You Laugh was no joke. Powerful, smart straight edge Hardcore from California that  had a message and a purpose. Add to it an iconic cover image that brought to mind earlier bands such as SSD and DYS.

All these years later, the songs still hold up. The message still matters and the music feels as powerful as it did decades ago. Just Say No, You Laugh, When will it End, Liar and About Face were pleasing to hear again. Leaving me with the hope that their follow up A Thought Crusade will soon make the reissue rounds. Fans of band like Insted, Chain of Strength  and Unity take note. This  one's for you. James Damion

Rev HQ Get it Here

The Eulogy - S/T

Featuring former members of Agnostic Front, Madball and Mouthpiece.
The Eulogy sound like a band featuring former members of
Agnostic Front, Madball and Mouthpiece
set on making a record that sounded like Agnostic Front meets Madball.
While the bands sound seems to follow the lead of the members former bands.
The Eulogy definitely swim in the Metal end of the Hardcore pool.
The EP's 3 songs Pummel, No Matter What and The Plague do nothing to distinguish them from any other Metal Core bands that might have done the same thing in the 90's.

My only curiosity about this record lies in why a band that plays Metal and exclusively features members of East Coast acts considers themselves a Southern California Hardcore act. Did they decide to rent a place together near the beach? Was it a one year lease with an exit clause?
Let's hope this doesn't start a trend where NYHC starts outsourcing it's band members to other states. We may never recover. James Damion

All In Merch  Purchase
The Eulogy  Bandcamp

Forced Order - Retribution EP

The opening bowel adjusting vocal cry "ugggghhhh!" was the perfect description of what I was going to get from Forced Order and their four song EP Retribution.
(Actually, it sounds like three and a half.)  Featuring members of acts such as Tongues, Disgrace Harness and
Soul Search. The band are described as Southern California Heavyweights. 
A description that makes me think these guys spend a lot of time at the gym lifting weights and practicing their beefy metal riffs and growls. Along with the Metal onslaught you get lyrical terms such as "Revenge to Cleanse the Earth",  "Infernal Sanction", "Disperse the Disease" and my personal favorite "Annihilate the Weakness". If I ever decide to join a Dungeons and Dragons circle of hell, Forced Order are my dudes. When it comes to music, I'll pass. James Damion

Revelation Records Get it Here

Friday, January 16, 2015

United By Images; Archers of Loaf

While the 80's fueled my love for Hardcore and Punk music and the ethos I would come to live by till this day. I t was the 90's that expanded my taste in music while broadening my love of music and understanding and overall experience. Inspired by a long list of bands, including The Doughboys,
Big Drill Car, Velocity Girl, Small 23, Superchunk Mega City 4 and countless others. I was exposed to a world of varied music that, at the time and for me at least, went beyond the trappings of any set genre. One of those may bands during that time was Chapel Hill's Archers of Loaf. By the time I got wind of the band. I was already enthralled by what was happening in that particular college town of North Carolina. "Loaf" as I often called them, came at a time when bands like Superchunk and
Small 23 were already wearing out the reels of my tape deck. Along with the may flyers and posters
I had attained at Hoboken hot spot "Pier Platters" was my oversized one of the Archers playing live with their #1 fan Tracy Wilson rocking out all front and center. Looking back, I wish the original negatives I shot help up as well as my memories have. James Damion
The original poster I proudly displayed for years.
That's Tracy in mid Loafgasm at the bottom right.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Low Fat Getting High - S/T LP

While I won't kid you in saying
I have any idea what the name Low Fat Getting High eludes to. I will say that this is some of the best stuff I had the privilege to get a hold of as year 2014 came to a close. Having heard so much praise thrown upon this Brooklyn band in the last year or two. I was beginning to wonder if the hype machine had gone into overdrive. That was until I managed to get hold of a copy of the band's previous release 'Bad Yoga'. Those four songs were all the convincing I would need.

So when the band offered to send me a copy of their new LP.  I was more than willing to accept.
Raw, heavy and flat out noisy. This record makes me regret not posting a best of 2014 list on the blog this year. The self titled LP, which features twelve sonic tracks of post noise grunge rock validate all of the buzz that's been building around this band. While comparisons to grunge pioneers such as the U-men, Green River and Mudhoney can easily made. Perhaps a nod to Queens of the Stone age might suit those with short term memories or ones without music history degrees. Regardless of any genre specifications or trappings. I wouldn't go suiting up this Brooklyn trio in matching flannel attire anytime soon. Low Fat Getting High are perfect for what they are. Loud, raw and honest sounding. Overall, some of the best stuff out there. James Damion

Low Fat Getting High Get it Here

United By Images; Polyphony

My first taste of Polyphony came in April of 2011. That afternoon they played a rare all ages show in a disheveled room within the Court Tavern.
They were loud, abrasive and seemed to be in the throws of forging a sound that would guide them towards what they are today. In the three years that followed, I stayed in touch with Cameron, Marshall, Ariel and Wiggins through social media while getting the chance to see them play their first NYC show at one of my old haunts, ABC No Rio. There was an interview in the works for this blog at one time or another. Unfortunately, nothing came of it. The band is just now coming off tour and has played some local shows in the last week or so. Unfortunately for me, the flu has kept me from getting out to see them. Here's to hoping that 2015 offers new opportunities to see Polyphony again and again. James Damion

Polyphony Bandcamp
Polyphony Facebook

Donate to Help Nate!

I'm writing this with the sincerest hope that I'll be reaching as many people as possible to help.

If you're familiar with this blog. Chances are you might know Nate Gluck. As a musician he's contributed to acts such as Ensign, Vision, The Fire Still Burns, Strength 691, For the Love of, Manalive, House of Others and more.
If you're familiar with
New Jersey's independent  music scene, been to a show or two in the area over the past three decades. Well, you've probably ran into Nate and noticed he's one of the best people on the planet.
Last night, I learned that Nate has just been diagnosed with stomach cancer. I understand, full well, that Nate has a tough battle ahead of him. And while I feel his personality and positive energy will go a long way. He's still going to need a lot of help. This is where the Hardcore scene and just about anyone can show the true meaning of family, friendship and dedication to a just cause. This is when we ask the Hardcore community to put their money where their mouth is and turn words to action. Every little bit counts and every little bit matters.
Our thoughts, prayers and positive energy goes out to Nate, his family and countless loved ones. Get well soon Nate. James Damion

Click the link below to donate.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Indecision - "What it once Meant" Docu. Trailer

Brooklyn hardcore band Indecision will be screening their documentary 
“ What it Once Meant “ on January 25th at St Vitus in Brooklyn, NY. Seating for the screening is very limited get advance tickets here

MorseCode Recordings will be releasing the DVD which includes the feature length documentary, a multi camera show from The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, and deleted scenes. Pre-order the DVD Here
DVDs will start shipping on Feb 27th

Indecision's “What It Once Meant“ documentary, directed by Derek Morse and edited by 
Rob Soucy ( The Alkaline Trio, Defeater, Vanna) , explores the life and times of the Brooklyn hardcore band with an inside look at the bands journey while touring in the 90's. 
Indecision started in 1993 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, touring full time until 2000 when the band imploded in the middle of the tour in the desert city of El Paso, TX. In 2006, the band reunited for a one off show at the Superbowl of Hardcore in New York and the band has been playing a few shows per year ever since.

Upcoming Indecision Shows
Feb 14th @ Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ
w/ E. Town Concrete, VOD, The Banner, Suburban Scum

April 18th @ Worcester Palladium, MA
New England Metal & Hardcore Festival 
w/ Testament, Exodus, Nails, Incendiary, Wisdom in Chains

Battered Citizens - Police Brutality (Demo) LP Reissue

My decision to give Police Brutality a shot was based entirely on nostalgia. Having secured a copy of the original demo through an elaborate tape trading network back in the late 80's. The name rang a somewhat familiar bell. Thus bringing back a series of good memories from the time. Being fully aware of their guitarists current Hardcore band Killer of Sheep only added fuel to my curiosity.

The albums cover features the original cassette inlet and artwork boldly displaying just what the bands name and demo title infer. The raw, stark artwork and the covers overall it's D.I.Y. feel draw the eyes in.  Included with the record is an amazingly detailed two sided fold out poster the includes numerous images, show fliers and detailed liner notes that vividly tell the bands story.  For added sentiment, Mind Cure Records includes a free download code that, along with the 12 song demo, features two live sets from the band. I haven't even gotten to the music and I'm already thinking this was a good acquisition.

However, it wasn't until the needle hit the record, that my feelings began to quickly change. Maybe this one wasn't what it was chalked up to be. While the topics are just as relevant today as they were during the time of it's original release. The songs themselves haven't held up over time.  Taking into consideration this demo was recorded more than twenty five years ago is one thing. However, it's hard to imagine these songs being considered anything more than primitive, elementary and generic in their day.  And while fans of the band or those connected to Pittsburgh Hardcore in the 80's might enjoy it's nostalgic value. I would be quick to point anyone in the Killer of Sheep.  James Damion

Snake Thursday - Iter 2014

Snake Thursday hail from Poland, but they play stoner metal straight out of the deserts of California.  I'm digging the heavy dirty riffs and over all vibe of this cd, and for me the vibe is the most important part of any stoner metal album. If a stoner band can make me feel like I am on a journey through a desperate lonely landscape then they have me hooked and Snake Thursday succeed at doing just that.

The other aspect of this cd that I like is at times it has a tiny bit of a doom feel, however, the band is also not afraid to pick up the pace and  rock the fuck out like on the track Beyond Aurora or even touch on a bit of that futuristic Voivod vibe on a track like Ego Trip.

Overall, Snake Thursday have delivered an excellent slice of stoner metal that isn't afraid to spread its wings beyond the normal confines of the genre , and I suspect that ITER will be spending an extended period of time near the top of my playlist in the coming months...Dave G.


Friday, January 2, 2015