Thursday, April 23, 2015

Agnostic Front - The American Dream Died

On the legendary bands 11th full length studio album. Agnostic Front, a NYC institution as recognizable as the legendary Katz's Deli,
tackle issues that are as time tested as they are current. Songs about police brutality, injustice, the scene and war,
to name just a few.
Subject matter that was as relevant in the 60's as they are today.

The 2:01 intro featuring doom and gloom news soundbites and sirens introduces
The American Dream Died like a tried and true Hardcore clique. The end is nye, but first, a sound bite. The albums title track follows and your immediately reminded of Agnostic Front'a history of relentless, unapologetic crossover aggression. For better or worse. Love them or hate them. Agnostic Front have more than earned their reputation as the Godfathers of NYHC as well as the Mad Max's of
Road Warriors.

Stellar tracks on this 16 song bruiser include and are somewhat limited to Police Violence, Never Walk Alone. Old New York, the albums 10th track, might make one long for the days when NYC was awash with junkies, pimps, murderers and abject poverty. A time that many, including myself, look back on fondly. Preferring the stark contrast to the current sea of soulless high rises, franchises and yogurt stands.

No disrespect intended  but, listening to Roger Miret sing is like watching Guy Fieri cook. Unfuckingbearable. And while his caterwauling was the catalyst for what AF were to become and to be. That voice, along with the bands music. Just doesn't speak to me the way it did so many decades ago. it might have worked for me in the early 80's, more than 30 years later. I'd liken that voice to someone retching over a public toilet. If there's any saving grace in all of this. There are a couple A list guest appearances by Lou Koller (Sick of it All)
Freddy Cricien (Madball). Toby Morse (H2O) also makes an appearance. 

Overall, listening to The American Dream Died reminded of when I first hear
Cause for Alarm. and to be more specific Every album that followed. Lucky for me, none of these 16 tracks make the three minute mark. James Damion

Nuclear Blast  Get it Here

 Related; Agnostic Front - No One Rules

There Will Be Quiet - The Story of Judge (Part 3)

Here's Part 3 of Noisey's documentary "The Story of Judge". This moving chapter brings up closer to the bands fateful, yet unexpected reunion at Hardcore's Black N' Blue in 2012.  
I recall many of the rumors about Mike in the early 90's, but some of the one's hear are like that of the Vikings. I highly recommend keeping up with this series. One can only hope there's a new record in the future with a lot less outside bullshit to ruin one of, if not the best bands to ever come out of New York. Keep hope alive. James Damion

Archie Alone Post New Song "Alone" from Upcoming EP "Through the Door"

New Jersey's emotive four piece Archie Alone have posted "Alone", on their bandcamp page. It's the second track from their upcoming EP titled "Through the Door". Just click the link below and download to your hearts content. James Damion

Archie Alone Perform "Eighty Sixed" Live on Leftovers Session

Watch as local favorites Archie Alone perform Eighty-Sixed from the upcoming EP 
"Through the Door" on Leftover Sessions. The band will be performing at Montclair's 
The Meatlocker  tonightApril 23 along with Gregory McKillop, Daephne, Help Me Help You, and Ambary Lake at Montclair's Meatlocker. Enjoy. James Damion

Monday, April 20, 2015

Guest Editorial with Richmond's Sadie Powers; When Strobes Attack

No red lights. No strobes. This is the request I make to every sound guy and lighting operator whenever I load in for a gig. There’s always this moment when they look at me quizzically, almost combatively, before I punctuate my request:  ‘I get seizures.’
Not exactly, but close enough.

As a musician, there are few things that I enjoy more than going to a show and experiencing people push to be the best versions of themselves through their art. There is something about the honesty that comes through when one is performing, and the conversation that a musician is having with their bandmates as well as with their instrument, an electricity that is not only heard and seen, but also felt in your soul. When a performance is completely locked in and captures your senses and your imagination, and you surrender and get lost in the ‘there-ness,’ and you feel what can be possible through this synthesis of personhood and chemistry and sound waves and vulnerability and connection, one word that comes close to capturing this experience is Beauty. Another is Human.

There has always been some light show element in live shows, even in smaller-capacity venues. Usually it’s just changing the lights from back to sides, blue to green twice, maybe three times per song. But it seems that as of late, more and more bands and venues are integrating more – shall we say -- involved, and therefore troublesome, light shows into your regular run-of-the mill gig.

At a recent Sleater-Kinney show at the 930 Club, I was completely taken aback by the unruly amount of strobe lights, affectionately termed #DeathStrobes.
They were insanely bright, and they were focused directly at the audience’s retinas, and I squeezed my eyes shut,
my face buried in my jacket.
By the third song, my brain felt like it was going to push out through my eyes and ears and I saw spots, and I felt my right arm starting to go numb.
My Positive No bandmate, Tracy Wilson, and I eventually retreated to the basement bar, where we waited out the rest of the set.

You see,  I have chronic sporadic hemiplegic migraines (SHM), a rare neurological disorder that is characterized by having both the fun of a classic migraine with aura (thousands of flashing, zig-zagging stars in my field of vision) and the excitement of a stroke –tingling, numbness, weakness, and/or partial paralysis on my right side, lack of muscle coordination, slurred speech, problems with finding words, inability to speak, difficulties with concentration, dizziness, eye and facial twitching, balance issues.

I’m not gonna lie. It sucks. Imagine your brain feels like it’s swelling and is pushing up against the back of your right eye and the base of your skull, and it’s been pressing against your skull for so long that your brain feels like it has permanent throbbing bruises.
This is my normal. In fact, I can’t remember a time when my head didn’t hurt.
The other symptoms, well, they just come and go as they please, sometimes one or two, sometimes all at once, lasting from several minutes to a few days, usually triggered by some sort of stimulus, such as perfume, stress, heat, not enough sleep, changes in barometric pressure, hormones, caffeine, alcohol, and yep, you guessed it, light, especially fluorescent bulbs, sunlight reflecting off metal and glass surfaces, and flashing lights.

It’s really inconvenient.

Only a few people know about the extent my SHM, because it’s kind of a conversation killer, and I don’t want pity, and honestly, I’m not a delicate flower, and I don’t want my illness to define me. It’s something I’ve dealt with for 20 years, and I try not to let it get me down, and on the whole I have a really amazing life. Seriously, you would be totally jealous.

Tracy, a fellow chronic migraineur, and I told people about our Sleater-Kinney experience, and every person has asked us whether we were able to watch the NPR video of their show from the night before. I know they’re trying to be helpful and offer us a way to possibly regain something we lost, but that’s not the point. I mean, would you pay $40 to see Sleater-Kinney on Youtube? I really don’t feel like I should have to say this, but video footage is nowhere near the same as actually living it.

A week later, another friend and I had to leave a Gang of Four show early because of the strobes, which were unbearable, even though I had come prepared with sunglasses.

The strobe phenomenon has even worked itself into smaller clubs. Two days ago, I saw
The Gotobeds, Protomartyr, and Priests play at U Street Music Hall. Killer bill, right? Unfortunately, the experience was overshadowed by pulsating red and blue lights both on stage and overhead, and I left the show with my right side in a sad place: dragging my foot, not being able to make a fist, and my cheek felt like it had been injected with novocaine.
This was not a roller coaster. This was not a rave. This was not a multimedia extravaganza.  This was a punk show, with the light board manned by some random employee with an exuberant finger on the fader.

When I think about the best shows I’ve seen over the past couple of years – Swans, Perfect Pussy, Xiu Xiu, Einsturzende Neubauten, Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson, Dirty Beaches, Magnetic Fields, Nick Cave, Deerhoof, Yo La Tengo, Pharmakon – only one of them had any strobes. (Kate Bush, who can do what she wants because she’s Kate Bush. And she only had about 10 seconds of strobes during an entire 2 ½-hour performance.) Why is it, then, that so many other bands and venues feel the need to inflict seizure triggers on the rest of us? On some level, I understand: One of my bands, Dead Fame, had a DIY light show that we built (and tested, to make sure I was okay) in order to ‘enhance the performance’ and ‘give the audience something exciting.’ Maybe that’s it. Ticket prices are increasing, and perhaps bands and venues are feeling pressure to make it ‘worth it’ to someone shelling out $25-$50 per ticket. Perhaps there is some sort of unspoken competition to be
Bigger, Faster, Brighter, Louder.

By the way, Dead Fame eventually got rid of the lights when they got to be too much of a hassle and got in the way of the performance. We realized that we spent too much time worrying about the lights on stage and not focusing on the music. And isn’t the music why we go to shows? Isn’t it through that music that we truly connect and the reason why we’re willing to shell out some cash? Isn’t that what got people together in a room with instruments and ideas to begin with?

The bands that really touched me were just that: people, on stage, with their instruments, their tools, telling us their stories, showing us their truest, inner selves, going on an adventure and taking us with them, with passion and honesty and heartache and joy.
It was just us, together, in that moment. Any extensive lighting would have detracted from that connection, and honestly, would have felt disingenuous and contrary to the spirit of the bond between the audience and performers; it would have created a veil.

I accept that light shows are not going anywhere, but bands should be aware that they have fans who want to see them perform the music they love, who also happen to live with serious neurological conditions, which cannot always be controlled with medication. You can’t easily pick us out in a crowd, because our ailments are, for the most part, ‘invisible’ to the untrained eye, and because we are badasses who keep on living. But I ask that you please be more proactive to help us make informed decisions concerning our health. While neither is ideal, it’s far better to pass on a show than to have to leave three songs in. If the venue has a capacity of less than 500, don’t use house strobes. There’s no need for them in a venue that small, and it’s usually controlled by someone who’s just kind of fudging buttons to do whatever they thinks looks cool. If you have a contract, include a provision that states that the venue post signs stating that your show contains lighting that might induce seizures. Better yet, have the venue post it on your event’s page on their web site. Post it on your personal site and on Facebook. Instagram a venue’s warning sign. And maybe, just maybe, you could cut back on the #DeathStrobes just a little?

Because you don’t need them. What you give us is so much more than some flashing lights. Your music helps us get through the bad days, and we are forever grateful, and we’ve got your back.

Sadie Powers

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Holy City Zoo debut "Poor Little Pinkus" Single from Upcoming Debut Full Length on Bandcamp

New Brunswick's Holy City Zoo has just released a digital single, Poor Little Pinkus, from their upcoming full length debut "No Bunting". The track is available for a "Name Your Price" option and  includes a bunch of extras so don't be stingy.
Check it out Here

Friday, April 17, 2015

Into Another - Omens

Whenever a band decides to go the reunion route I can't help but think of the scene from
The Blues Brothers when
John Belushi say's "We're getting the band back together." Followed by Akroyd's deadpan
"We're on a mission from God."

Since his days fronting Underdog. Richie Birkenhead has owned the most dynamic and impressive set of vocal chords to ever come out of the NYHC camp. A quality that has aged well and carries the songs with an impressive sense of emotional command.

Overall, Omens was somewhat of a surprise and a markedly excellent return to form for one of the 90's most uniquely rewarding post Hardcore acts. Still sounding dynamic, original and ahead of their time.
After listening to Ignaurus almost exclusively for over a decade. I've found myself dipping deeper and deeper in to the bands catalog, finding hidden treasure within every release.
Whereas many reunited bands from past eras seem perfectly comfortable continuing as nostalgia acts. Into Another have proven they are much more. A band that, years later,
still has something to say. One that is determined to follow through on unfinished business.
It's easy to say that Into Another stand as one of the most important acts to come together over the past three decades. James Damion

Find it at the following;

Music Log Day 1; Orange 9MM - Dry (For Gina)

Welcome to a new feature on United By Rocket Science. One that I give full credit to my Aussie friend Ted Dougherty who recently started one under the same name on his Facebook page.  Each installment will feature a song, video or album. (Most likely a favorite of mine at one point or another) and a personal story or anecdote relating to it. Being that this is my first installment. I really can't say how this will evolve. There is no timeline or genre relation for these posts. I'll just post when the spirits are willing. You know, keep it loose. Thanks for the inspiration Ted. All proceeds go to a charity of your choice. James Damion

While I'm not sure if I was living in Hell's Kitchen or was still commuting to work from 
Staten Island.  At the time of Orange 9mm's debut release on Revelation Records I was working at a Jazz label that also booked floating Jazz Festivals with my best friend 
Gina (Last Daze) Lawson. At the time, we were both still heavily involved in the NYHC scene and major fans of bands like Absolution and Burn. On the rare occasions we managed to gain control of the offices stereo, we'd blast everything from Sick of it All to Sheer Terror to 
Eye Hate God. One one particular day, my lunch break took me over to nearby 
St. Marks Street where I picked up a copy of Orange 9mm's Revelation Records debut. 
The four song EP had some stellar tracks, with Dry being my personal favorite. 

My good friend Gina died some years back, but her spirit will always live on with me. 
Her smile, laugh, generosity and love for the music. How she used to call Sick of it All 
"My Boys" and how her burps always smelled like a mix of Heineken and Doritos. 
She left behind a son named Kyle whom I have not seen or heard from in years. She was loved by just about everyone, including my Grandmother Veronica. As far as Orange 9mm, the band went on to put out a number of successful albums. None of which resonated with me quite like that first EP. The records 3rd track Decide, is still in heavy rotation some twenty years later. 

Low Culture / Iron Chic Split 7' EP

I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned. Whoever it was that came up with the idea to make the first split 7' inch EP needs to have a monument erected in his/her honor. Most importantly, it should feature two completely different sides that show the differences... little or small and their overall uniqueness.

The idea for this particular split came like many before it. While two bands, Iron Chic and Low Control were out on tour. While the two bands shared bill along the east coast, southwestern desert and further north in Canada. The idea to not only make a split record, but to complicate matters further by turning it in to a split label release between
Mike (Iron Chic) Bruno's Dead Broke Rekards and Chris (Low Culture) Mason's Dirt Cult Records.

This split gave me my first taste of the band Low Culture. The mix of melodic Punk and southwest flavor is addictive. I was immediately drawn to the band due to this two week sample. I'm looking forward to hearing their demo,  s/t 7 inch and LP Screens soon.
As for Long Island NY's Iron Chic continue to raise the bar as one of my favorite "go to" bands for an uplifting energy buzz PMA booster that's helped me get through my day, my week, my month and even my year. The bands uplifting melodic punk always rates high on my list. Go pick on up now. James Damion

Dirt Cult Records Buy it Here
Dead Broke Rekards Or Buy it Here

Red Death - Demo 7' Inch

With the bands debut LP Permanent Exile already up for Pre-Order on Grave Mistake's page.
I did some hustling to finally pick of the 7' inch version of the bands incredible debut demo. The bands first recordings as infectious as they are powerful and ruthless. Reminding the listener of 80's crossover kings Corrosion of Conformity and their 1985 classic Animosity.
All comparisons aside, it's the sheer intensity and brutal power Red Death puts forward that now only draws but keeps the listener in a complete stranglehold. If you've already heard the demo, you'll know exactly what you're getting. Having it on vinyl only sweetens to pot. The record includes lyrics to each of the five songs as well as a digital download card. I'd suggest putting it in your cart with the preorder for their debut LP. You know what they say, "Better Red than Dead." Well, why not order Red Death and have both? The choice is simple. James Damion

Red Death  Band
Grave Mistake Records  Store

Siege - Drop Dead

I sometimes find it hard to digest that after 30 years involvement in Hardcore music as a fan, participant and fanzine editor.
There still seems to be a shit load of bands and recordings I've not even remotely heard or heard of. A truth that sometimes makes me wonder if I've had my head firmly place in the sands of an exclusive beach just off the shores of the east river.

Drop Dead celebrates the 30th anniversary of the original nine recordings, fully restored, with original outtakes as well as two bonus tracks from the 2006 reissue as well as bonus tracks from the 2009 reissue. Add it all up, this is the most complete collection to date. While Boston, MA.'s Siege and these nine 1984 recordings may not be known to the masses. The band allegedly was a major influence on classic bands such as
Drop Dead, Heresy, Infest and Ripcord to name a few. Raw, scathing and brutal.
While this was definitely not my thing. I would recommend this for both fans of the bands mentioned and hardcore archeologists alike.  The album comes on opaque green vinyl, features song lyrics and info on the back cover (There is no inlet included. Just the sleeve.)  and unfortunately does not feature a download code. James Damion

Deep Six Records  Buy it Here


Here's Part 2 of Noisey's documentary on legendary Judge Frontman Mike (Judge) Ferraro. As I watched this footage I clearly remember hearing the Judge demo tape for the first time at a party on Civ's (Gorilla Biscuits) parents block. How we all wanted a piece of it. 
We all begged Luke Abbey (Warzone) for a copy, but it was so secret at that moment. 
No one was getting a copy. As I watched this footage. I kept thinking how much the band meant to me and how, even today it stands as the most personal part of my time as a resident of NYHC. What you're about to watch is, to put it lightly, epically chilling. 
Having been to the shows, witnessing the violence and hearing the endless shit talking and rumors that involved the band and the straightedge scene as a whole. I found it hard not to shed a tear. I'm grateful the someone's finally taken the time to help Mike finally tell his story. James Damion

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


In the first part of Noisey's multi part series. The media outlet sits down with legendary and complex Judge frontman Mike Ferraro. Judge is truly one of the great Hardcore bands on the history of the sub-genre. Though short lived, the band and their powerful, yet self reflective lyrics made them one of a kind. The bands short lifespan, break up and the numerous rumors caused by the Ferraros' utter disappearance from the scene, the music and the overall landscape. "There will be Quiet" might be the most anticipated music documentary in decades. 

ABC No Rio to Host A Visual Retrospective Featuring Images and More from 1990 - 1991.

Coming this May, ABC No Rio will be hosting a visual retrospective feature photography, flyers, film and other visuals from 1990-91. The Retrospective will close on Friday May 18th with the screening of vintage footage of Citizens Arrest's 1990 ST. Patricks Day show. Created by Freddy Alva and John Woods. This is sure to be a must see event. 

Nude Tayne - Still Nude

By now we've all heard and hopefully learned from the term "Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover"
A term that has proven right time and time again. Well folks, it's time to go back and reinvent the wheel or at least admit the fact that, sometimes the cover should influence you to stay the fuck away. This, unfortunately for me was as clear cut a case as I've experienced in a long, long time.

While the Tampa, FL. trio come in first place when it comes to worst name choice, worst title for a release and the most juvenile and least appetizing album art. They won't win any awards for the music presented on "Still Nude". Scathingly frantic rhythms dumbed down by schizophrenic shouts and screams that sound like a promo for prison rape. If Yoko Ono had decided to start a power violence, electro screamo band in the mid 90's it might actually sound better than "Still Nude". James Damion

Nude Tayne Bandcamp