Friday, February 27, 2015

Sink Tapes - Creases

If it wasn't for Jersey Beat's Jim Testa and Holy City Zoo's Frank DeFranco I might have completely missed the boat on New Brunswick's Sink Tapes. The honest truth of the matter is, that with all the bands, shows and releases I take in. I find myself missing out on more than you might imagine.
Additionally, in helping create and sustain a music blog for almost four years. I've learned that, as much as I thought I knew about music, the scene and what's happening within.
I really know nothing.
Which ultimately brings me to Sink Tapes and their latest release 'Creases'. Recently named as one of the
35 NJ Bands We're Excited About in 2015.
Creases opens with the laid back and mellowed out
Maybe Gray. A song that more than lives up to it's title with it's melancholic jangle pop majesty. Bugs follows with similar results and by the time
Blow Me a Kiss, a personal favorite of mine, is done. You begin to understand and appreciate just where Sink Tapes excel. While the bands Lo-Fi approach and melancholy brilliance can easily bring praise from fans of the beloved Guided By Voices. I couldn't stop myself from planting my own "What if the Lemonheads, Jesus Mary Chain and
the Black Hollies had a threesome that produced a lovechild who possessed
uncanny super powers?" seeds as to where Sink Tapes sound took me.  
400 Mint Records and Sniffling Indie

If Creases 13 songs aren't enough to win you over. There are twelve bonus tracks that include demo and acoustic versions of many of the songs. 'Creases' is a perfect example of when an album takes you out of your usual comfort zone, only to put you in a new, unexplored one. I highly recommend exploring all of Sink Tapes catalog. Just make sure you start with 'Creases'. James Damion

Sniffling Indie Kids  Get it Here

Sink Tapes

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Rediscovering Jawbox's Self Titled Gem

Like many of the bands that came out of DC and in particular Dischord Records. Jawbox had an instant and lasting impression on me. Through the years I've had the pleasure of interview the band (at Maxwells) and years later with co founder J. Robbins. (one of my favorite producers/engineers)
Over the last three decades the band has stayed with me. The albums, the songs and the opportunities to see them at the two clubs, CBGB's and Maxwell's, that remained the most consistent for me throughout my life. With that said, all of that pleasure has been derived from the albums 'Grippe', 'Novelty' and 'For Your Own Special Sweetheart'. That was until yesterday. 

For about two years now I've been on a mission to tame my overwhelming CD collection. During that two year period and maybe longer I've turned my attention and passion back towards exclusively collecting and listening to vinyl records. Having finally thrown out my old Yamaguchi CD player. Compact Discs have become useless to me. Yesterday as I went back to the well to purge more discs from my collection. I came across the self titled 1996 release on Atlantic Records subsidiary TAG. The bands fourth and ultimately final full length record. It was the same copy given to me outside of CBGB's in 1996. While I can't really recall the reasons I was entrusted with a copy. I know for certain, I have not given it a listen in almost twenty years now. Imagine the feeling pulling this promotional copy with it's obnoxiously stamped cover and broken case. Being the music hoarder / archivist I've become. I had to download it to my computer before even thinking of parting with it. 
As the opening track 'Mirror' came on. My ears tingled and my eyes widen. much like they did when I first revisited Jawbreaker's 'Dear You'.  The album that is often referred to as their most commercial endeavor sound like gold on the ears.  

Everything you loved about Jawbox is up front and present. The angst, emotion urgency and intelligence. All recorded just minutes from where I'm sitting at Water Music in Hoboken. Considering how I've been making up for lost time over the past two days. I thought it fitting to share some thoughts and praise. I highly recommend dipping in to the vault and give this one a thorough listen. Hell, I'm putting it right here so you can do so. What are you waiting for. Happy listening, James Damion

Brooklyn's Cinema Cinema to Headline European Tour

Brooklyn's experimental Noise Rock duo featuring Ev Gold Guitar/Vocals and Paul Claro Drums will be heading out for their first headlining tour of Europe. Their first in late 2013 opening for songwriter/producer Martin Bisi. We wish them a fond "see you soon" and a safe return. Viel Gl├╝ck, James Damion

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

NGHTCRWLRS Debut Album!!!

New Jersey's NGHTCRWLRS are giving us all a sneak peak at their upcoming debut album on Sniffling Indie Kids. The band comprising of present and former members of
Holy City Zoo, Man on Fire, All Sensory Void, the Nico Blues and Washington Square Park. The band will have their record release party this Saturday February 28th at Jersey City's The Dopeness. Dentist (The Band), Cicada Radio and France ( The Band) will be joining the celebration.  For more information, as well as the address. Check the link Here. In the meantime. Listen, learn, love. James Damion


Friday, February 20, 2015

United By Images; Ben Franklin

Featuring Billy Gray - Vocals/Guitar                     Eddie Garza - Vocals/Bass                                 Adam Copeland - Vocals/Guitar                               and Sarah Tomek - Vocals/Drums.
Ben Franklin were are unstoppable presence on the independent music scene from late 2008 until their break three years later in 2011. The bands fierce Killing Horse Records debut 'Urgency' and follow up 'The Optimist' helped spark the label and a resurgence of uncompromising, balls out Rock. In the two times I got to see them live
(The Brick City Sound Riot and later at the beloved Kearny Irish.) Ben Franklin pulled out all the stops performing as if it were their last days on this planet. Loud, fast, bombast with an unapologetic, in your face style that put everyone in the room on notice. Though their time together seemed short. They managed to win over the respect of fans, bands and promoters. While they are no longer. They're spirit and influence live on. You can still go to Killing Horse Records if you'd like to grab hold of 'Urgency' or 'The Optimist'. I highly recommend you do. James Damion

Friday, February 6, 2015

Uniform Choice - 1982 Orange Peel Sessions

Nothing your listening to here sounds remotely close to the Uniform Choice you've come to know, love or hate. Not to say that's a bad thing. No, not in the least. What you get from 1982's Orange Peel Sessions
is a young punk band still in it's infancy.       A band yet to find the sound that made them so influential on the bands that followed their lead.
Though quite rudimentary, the sound itself reflects what was happening in their Southern California at the time.
More Punk than Hardcore and more Adolescents meet Agent Orange than
Minor Threat meets 7 Seconds. The four songs presented here Don't take the car, Non Forgotten Hero, Religion is Recruiting and my personal favorite, War is Here are a nice time piece. The insert included features lyrics, images and a detailed description of the bands early days. While these rough tracks aren't all that impressive. The liner notes themselves, really enhance the overall feeling and purpose of this trip through the past. The record comes on an unspecified  color vinyl. (My copy is orange.)  Get it while it's still old. James Damion

Rev HQ  Get it here.

The Problems - 2014 Cassette Demo

The Problems are a side project of sorts featuring former  Hello No frontman John Woods and some friends from Germany. The bands personnel originally crossed paths when John's band Hell No stopped off in Germany during their 1999 European tour. More than fifteen years later these friends have stayed close. Finally deciding to give their friendship a creative edge.

The demo opens with the song Drunk Again and while the opening skit/audio is absolutely unbearable. Problems Faced when Traveling. While Woods handles most of the vocal duties. You can easily detect a second vocalist on these songs.
It quickly moves in the right direction, ultimately winning this listener over with a sound that quickly recalls Soulside's
As for the previous mention of Soulside. There's no Dischord or Revolution Summer revival happening here. The rest of this tape seems to walk a line between the Killed By Death sound and that of early
Black Flag. Simple, raw and quite good. Not bad if you can get it.

Everything from the cassette format to the pedestrian cover art reads "No Frills" while recalling days gone long by and how, as kids of the 80's.
We'd scour our local indie record stores, fanzines and shows to get hold of the latest demo cassette before it was gone. So bust out the tape deck or dust off the old boom box and give this one a shot. James Damion

The Problems  Bandcamp
The Problems  Facebook

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Dead Empires - Secret Snakes / Silent Serpent

Dead Empires is  a band  that has completely blown me away live on a handful of occasions and now I can say that they have floored me with their recorded music as well. Imagine how incredible it would be if a band combined  the aggression of Converge with the heaviness and melody of Torche, well Dead Empires have done just that and the results are absolutely stunning.

Did I forget to mention that Dead Empires are an instrumental act? It honestly doesn't matter one bit as the music has a nice flow from beginning to end, mixing in equal amounts of hook filled melodies with punishing riffs that will have you fully engaged  for the entire length of the album.  In closing, I just have to say that this album comes with my highest recommendation, and though it is early in 2015, Dead Empires are currently sitting at the top of my year end best list....Dave G.

Dead Empires Bandcamp
Dead Empires Facebook