A sub-division of oldpunks.com

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Review: MC5*: A True Testimonial

So, ya see, The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers started a band and...

This 2002 documentary isn't on dvd yet, a surprise. MC5*: A True Testimonial is a band-friendly history that tells a one-sided story fairly well. With a band few people remember you can't have a rise without a fall so the last third details the destruction of the band and the self-destruction of its members. Behind The Music made it ok for Wayne Kramer to choke up at what went wrong and could have been, but there's so much more negative craziness to the story it would have obliterated the happy nostalgic message. Rest assured whatever is hinted at was a lot worse in reality.

Kramer hosts the film, taking us on a scenic tour of the MC5's Dee-Troit. He's well spoken and the best preserved of the remaining band members. It's beyond strange that he refers to the MC5 wanting to "kick out the jams" 35 years ago, as if Gene Simmons would remember a time they couldn't play and all KISS wanted to do was "rock and roll all night and party every day".

Early on the MC5 played psychedelic hard rock driven by heavy use of LSD and pot. In the studio they could sound like the Grateful Dead. Some of it is really good and the MC5 were immensely inspirational to bands more directly related to punk rock as it's done today. Has their sound aged well?.....

MC5*: A True Testimonial is also a slice of the hippie revolutionary 60s, and what Kramer and the rest don't seem to get is that the revolution was a crock of crap. Nihilistic Marxism and LSD truly are a deadly cocktail, and between the gun-loving White Panther Party and John Sinclair's Trans Love Energies hippie commune the lessons of this film can only be to learn from other's mistakes. Why it's revisited as if it were a great thing is a mystery, at least to me. That's where Kramer butters his bread, but at some level, under the dogma and ego, he has to know the MC5 never had a chance and had only themselves to blame.

Drummer Dennis Thompson is as bitter and angry a person can be without their head exploding. He sits, surrounded by MC5 memorabilia and an unloaded rifle, raging against the machine that stopped the MC5 from being the most popular band in history. When asked why anyone should care about the MC5 story since it's only rock and roll, he verbally stumbles, gasps for words and then aims his unloaded rifle at the director and pulls the trigger. That's telling 'em, Dennis.

In music, history is not always written by the winners.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Review: Last Resort: A Way Of Life (Skinhead Anthems) & The Best Of

Somewhere between The Shaggs and Spinal Tap lingers Last Resort, a first wave UK Oi band who managed to do most things wrong and still be popular. They grew musically as time passed (so did The Shaggs) but I'd say they have to be the worst Oi band to have a greatest hits collection. They're probably still around, releasing their last album in April, 2005.

In a 2003 interview, Singer Roi Pearce says "We have all learnt a lot musically over the past 20 years or so. So expect improved timing, phasing and pitching." The timing and phrasing are horrendous on their 1982 debut A Way Of Life, with lyrics so D.U.M.B. there should be laws against rhyming "free & society", "proud & crowd" and "fight & right". Their most famous song is "The Warriors", based on the film, and the lyrics compare Skinheads to a pride of lions. The Last Resort wrote songs for the dumbest and most violent of the non-racist skins. They're anthems of idiot pride with all the cleverness and insight of a Tom Green movie.

The Best Of is a bit better because the band either learned to play a bit better or they switched a member or four. "Soul Boys", "Rose Of England" and "Red, White and Blue" are the only tracks I can recommend to people who already like Oi. All others should avoid this like a Tom Green movie.

Oi kingpin Gary Bushell wrote: The Last Resort were a skinhead band from South London via Herne Bay, Kent, based around the Last Resort shop in Petticoat Lane, East London and financed by the shop’s owner Michael French. They too saw Oi as being bigger that skins. “Oi is uniting punks, skins and everyone,” growler Millwall Roi told Sounds in their first interview. “Now we’ve just gotta get away from football.”

Friday, February 24, 2006

Sex Pistols Just Say No

You may not have read it here first, but if you're reading this than you're at least reading it here at this time.

"They're being the outrageous punksters that they are, and that's rock 'n' roll."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Review: Eraserhead

David Lynch is Rainman with a movie camera and a large vocabulary. He's nucking futs but seemingly quite harmless - plus he's a great filmmaker. For years he was the only source for a Eraserhead DVD, and it sold for $40! Damn you Capitalism!! For some reason probably not fully understood even by Lynch himself you can now walk into (your local retailer here) and buy it for $20. Sure it doesn't come in the 8"x8" box with a 20 page booklet, but life is about choices.

Eraserhead came out in 1977. I saw it a number of times as a midnight show at the Mini Cinema on Long Island. I always managed to stay awake somehow, and at the time it made little sense because I never dared consider it might have an actual plot. It was just a series of weird events I experienced at the face value of its strangeness. Looking at it now it's really a very simple story expressed weirdly. After decades of watching strange and senseless movies the WTF factor is gone and the symbolism of Eraserhead is easy to figure to the extent that any simple Freudian theory is pretty much as good as another. Lynch claims nobody has interpreted the film exactly as he envisioned it, but the guy's so out there if he did explain it you'd think he was lying.

The feature length video of Lynch talking about Eraserhead is a treat. A slight wind sound blows the whole time. Lynch wanders from thought to thought and I finally understood why he's never recorded a commentary track. You might as well have Edith Massey discussing Desperate Living. Hearing Lynch explain his fascination with dissecting a dead cat I can fully believe the internet rumor that the baby was a puppeteered cow fetus. The baby is great.

Eraserhead was shortened 20 minutes after a test screening and it really did need it. Why he didn't keep most of the extra film is a mystery even to Lynch. His mother's reaction to the film was "Oh, I wouldn't want to have a dream like that." In Eraserhead, everything is fine.

Morrissey In The News

The guy's huge in Mexico and a threat to both the US and the UK.

What the hell does he mean about music being an "untouchable platform"?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Review: The Church - Under The Milky Way (Best Of)

I know it's unfair to judge a band on a greatest hits cd when their most popular song ("Under The Milky Way") sounds like just another track on a John Hughes soundtrack. Sometimes the hits packages lean toward the same vibe as much as possible. Still, half of this weighed down my eyelids, just like Echo & The Bunnypersons, and I'm not sure if the songs I did like were really that good or I was just happy they were faster and louder. Nothing here is bad - let's just say I can't imagine standing up to see a concert by The Church. I picture tables, toe tapping and staring into space when the mood strikes. Maybe it's thrash muzak with vocals.

Under the Milky Way: The Best of the Church collects 17 tracks, and while I don't care enough to see if they're in chronological order I noticed the best tracks were bunched directly in the middle. These were "Electric Lash", "A Month Of Sundays", "Shadow Cabinet" and "Myrrh". Vocalist Steve Kilbey sounds very much like Al Stewart. I don't mind Al Stewart but I never imagined anyone else had his voice, like a butch Tiny Tim.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Review: The Vindictives - Hypno-Punko

I guess The Vindictives are still around since they recently started a website that promises a whole lot of something to come. Their first single came out in 1991, a few years after Sloppy Seconds so you could say they were another junk rock band. The Automatics came years later and as I saw it they had their own genre. The lyrics were snotty, the sound hyperactive pop-punk and the vocals bratty and obnoxious like Jello Biafra without the post-nasal drip.

1995's compilation The Many Moods Of The Vindictives is a definite classic, filled with funny lyrics and hooks aplenty. Party Time For Assholes, an album of covers, came out the next year, and it pissed me off to no end that all the songs were on one track. I don't like practical jokes and like even less paying for the privilege. When Hypno-Punko came out in 1999 I passed because I felt the odd track list was another setup for disappointment. This morning was the first time I put on Hypno-Punko. I listened to the whole thing four times in a row and can state, with no equivocation:

Hypno-Punko is one of the greatest punk records of all time

Hypno-Punko is a rock opera dealing with Joey Vindictive's victorious fight against illnesses that almost killed him. It's a bit like Joey Ramone's Don't Worry About Me (released a year later) except it was written after the fact and Vindictive is still alive. I forget the exact details but a few years back Vindictive wrote a long explanation in a punk zine as to why he had to quit music for a while. Whatever disease he had was turning his insides to jelly, and he passed out while driving and suffered a horrible crash. I'm really glad he survived because the man's a freaking genius.

I think some of the "eh" reviews for Hypno-Punko would change if they knew the story is real. I won't analyze each song because I could for a long time, but there's so much greatness of so many types here you won't believe it's all in one package. The vibrating vocal harmonies on "I Will Not, Pt. 3" are pure freaking genius. The last track is 44:39 long and is a loop of the fadeout chorus from the track before it. It's hypnotic, punko and as catchy as "Row Row Row Your Boat". I made it 7:45 before turning it off.

I give very few records a score of 100. Leatherface's MUSH is one. The DK's Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables is another. I'm putting Hypno-Punko on that list. It's perfect.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Alien Loves Predator - The Kosher Edition

This hebe approves very much of this comedy classic. It's #171 in case it gets moved.

Review: Reagan Youth - A Collection Of Pop Classics

New Red Archives packaged both Reagan Youth studio albums into one disc. It's hardcore's finest example of a band that went from hero to zero in the space of two records. The first album from 1984 is the fastest melodic disc to come out of an 80s NYHC scene mired in speed metal, hip hop stage antics and multi-racial white-power thuggery. The recording sounded enhanced mono, the drums hollow and the guitars cheap. It's a very, very good record.

After they broke up a second record was compiled in 1990, and it's hippiecore for Dead fans who also love Hendrix. The notes I took on these later tracks read along the lines of "hard rock hippie", "hippie metal" and "psychedelic hippie". I imagine Dave Insurgent had dreads by this time. Some people like it but some people also enjoy cutting themselves.

You must read this page to follow the wacky hijinx of Dave Rubenstein, who founded Reagan Youth with his pal Paul Bakija, who called himself Paul Cripple. Punk names are even dumber than mafia ones. As far as Dave goes, what a complete loser. I'm sorry, but anyone who sticks a needle into their arm to get high is a fugging loser to me. Read between the lines of this, "By now, between the violent assault and his continued drug use, he was no longer an energetic anarchist. He had become a bit disheveled, and many of his friends from the punk scene no longer associated with him." Imagine what it takes to be "a bit disheveled" in the NYC crusty scene. That couldn't have looked or smelled pretty.

Look, here comes rock bottom: "David began dating Tiffany B., a prostitute who worked on Houston Street. David had told his parents that she was a dancer. Tiffany supported the couple and their drug habit by turning tricks. David would often hang out on the street with Tiffany, waiting while she serviced a customer, and then going with her to score drugs."

I'm sorry. I find this all funny. Punks love their heroes to be losers, the stupider the better. Dave killed himself. What a tragic loss... excuse me a moment while I don't give a s--t. Today the news brought this report of a guy who hated life so much he kidnapped, raped and then murdered an 11 year old girl. He has a sad tale to tell too. We're all beams of light, perfect in our own way no matter our faults. (Sigh).

2/21/06 update: it just hit me that the New Red Archives history of Dave's life and death spiral shows no pity for him. He must have really been a prick to everyone. The word "disheveled" probably also referred to his personality since hygiene is a non-factor here.

2/22/06 update: It's funny that on the New Red Archives' Reagan Youth page they use "Ha Ha Ha" instead of the "Heil Heil Heil" actually sung in the song.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Kevin Seconds Pops A Gasket

On an issue affecting literally TENS of people!

If it weren't absolutely true this claim might seem a little ego-aggressive:
"But honestly, when it comes to this kind of music, I not only play it and love it but I LIVE it and have helped pioneer the s--t and that’s not something anyone else who has ever done punk rock music on local commercial radio can really claim."

I Know It's True Because I Thought Of It First

"Either there are a bunch of phantom females out there, or somebody is lying."

I always thought this meant there were a few women in every locale who offered, like Vegas casinos, the loosest slots in town.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Rock The Cashbar

At least once a week someone finds this blog by searching for "Rock The Cashbar". The zombie of Joe Strummer is not pleased.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Review: Nine Pound Hammer - Kentucky Breakdown

Nine Pound Hammer remind me of both The Lazy Cowgirls and Doo Rag. Like the Cowgirls they create a whopping wall of Chuck Berry/Ramones guitar and the energy never wavers. Like Doo Rag they're a punk band playing warp-speed indigenous music with authenticity and, yes, respect. Given the chance both could win over genre purists. For Doo Rag that would be delta blues while Nine Pound Hammer play poop-kicking, chicken wire roadhouse country rock. Doo Rag were from Tucson so they had to be respectful at all times, but Blaine Cartwright (he also led Nashville Pussy) and Scott Luallen of NPH came from a small Kentucky town, so while they do write hysterically funny songs they're celebrating their way of life, and no sissy city-fugg can think they're better.

Kentucky Breakdown from 2004 is almost as good as their 1995 opus Hayseed Timebomb. Sometimes I think they're ZZ Top played at 78 rpm. I love this stuff. Not only do you want to scream "Yee-Haw!" throughout, it boasts a ton of memorable lyrics:

"So roll me a joint, fix me a turkey pot pie
It's just another damn day on the long wait to die
I'll pretend to care about all the things you tell me
If you just come on over, Rub Your Daddy's Lucky Belly"

I Must Buy One

Damn those kids!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Review: Punk Attitude - A Film By Don Letts

Don Letts is a fairly historic figure in punk history for single-handedly introducing reggae and dub to the nascent UK punk scene. In 1978 he put together The Punk Rock Movie, which boasts the production values of a Mexican snuff film. In 1995 he released Punk:Attitude, a beautifully assembled and fairly expansive overview of punk history. It's probably as objective as you can get for a genre that loathes objectivity. It leaves out some things, relies on unreliable sources and was led by the nose sometimes by available sources and footage, but all-in-all it's worthwhile and not a bad interpretation of history.

Punk is the most subjective of all genres. It insists it's "about something", anything can be punk as long as a self-proclaimed punk says it's punk and the people involved are many times the least mentally equipped to give honest assessments. Punk:Attitude repeatedly turns to Henry Rollins and Jello Biafra as authoritative sources. Jello is functionally insane and Henry is as bitter as raw horseradish. Having a lot of strong opinions doesn't make you an expert, especially when you have axes to grind. Jim Jarmusch is the most level-headed of the bunch and when he appears the film feels like a documentary and not a profile of talented kooks. The hook of the film is that punk is all about having an F.U. attitude, as if the music it grew out of didn't. Right.

The film's website claims "PUNK:ATTITUDE takes a highly original look at this movement." Actually it's very much like Volumes 8, 9 and 10 of Warners' History Of Rock and Roll, a truly great series from 1995. I wish the film dealt less with horrid cliches such as punk was a rebellion against the 20 minute guitar/keyboard solo and everybody at an early Sex Pistols/Ramones show started a band. While they may be true to an extent the ideas were beaten to death in the last ten punk documentaries I've seen. I also quickly tired of everyone saying this and that was "punk rock". My favorite was "The Internet is a punk idea".

Punk:Attitude could have been new and innovative in a field of study stuck in the same old punchlines, but it's not possible when everyone has an agenda. I'm convinced only a true outsider can make the definitive punk documentary. Up till now they've mostly been alike and about as objective as the Manson Girls on Charlie. It has to be somebody outside the scene who can sort through the lies, propaganda and self-promotion.

Siouxsie Sioux is aging into Al Lewis. John Cale looks like he could pick up a truck. John Cooper Clarke appears to have the same clothes, glasses and hair he did almost 30 years ago. It's like a Batman villain aimed a prune ray at him. Put a mullet wig on poor Mick Jones and he could play Riff-Raff in Rocky Horror. David Johansen looks like an old transvestite ape (no offense). I want to rub Howard Devoto's massive, shiny and perfectly round head for luck. Captain Sensible looks healthy. So does Steve Jones. Ari Up is nuts but she has that Jewish Rasta Hippie thing down to a science.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Review: On The Road With The Ramones - Book

Hopefully this is the last book I'll ever read that's composed mostly of quotes. It's a lazy way to write and a lazy way to read. It's not writing, it's editing. I could do it, so that's how I know no skill is required.

2003's On The Road With The Ramones was compiled by Frank Meyer with direct assistance from Monte Melnick, the Ramone's tour manager for their entire career, from pre and post. It ends just before Johnny dies but covers Joey and Dee Dee's deaths pretty well. Always the diplomat, Monte doesn't slash and burn but he can't help but be truthful, and he doesn't need to anyway since everyone else is cutting each other to ribbons as usual.

This is my fifth Ramones book so I know the story fairly well. I forgot that Bruce Spingsteen wrote "Hungry Heart" for the Ramones but was turned down. I also didn't know the first three albums, the trifecta of greatness, were written in the same period and recorded in chronological order for reasons only known to Johnny. I found most of it to be pretty damn interesting so I'd recommend the book to anyone with even a passing interest.

What Monte refreshingly brings to On The Road With The Ramones is an aura of believability since the band members have axes to grind and fish to fry. Tommy might be a reliable source but he didn't live it every day for the whole run like Monte. The books' worth it just to read the anecdotes of Joey's obsessive compulsive disorder. Touching down in the UK he flips out because he HAS TO fly back to NY and touch something, anything, at the airport. Poor Monte.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Review: Editors - The Back Room

Hey, a band from that British city Johnny Rotten sang about with the woman who terminated her pregnancy and then it screamed "I'm not an animal!", just like the Elephant Man did, whose real name was John too.

Editors are so much like Interpol you can make a mixed cd of their music and nobody would know the difference. If I wasn't such a sucker for this modernized and mostly peppy take on Joy Division I'd deride someone's (anyone's) lack of originality, but as it is I'm just happy the extra product is out there. What the Editors add to the equation is a tad more New Order and guitar like U2's The Edge.

Most of the eleven tracks on The Back Room start me up nicely, "Munich"and "Bullets" my favorite. The bass guitar steps up and drives the songs like lead guitar usually does. This earns extra e-points with me. Their EPs are also great. The lead singer's favorite color might be blue. I'll update this review if the pope ever gets back to me.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Devo 2.0y Vey

Oh my god! Have you heard?! Disney is destroying the legacy of Devo!!! No, wait, Devo did that themselves in 1984 with Shout, which yielded the classic hit, uh, hey look, a shiny object!

Devo 2.0 is a kid-friendly and kid-populated band who play Devo songs with lyrics cheered up and toned down for four to eight year olds. I've laughed hysterically at comments from the cool-crowd mafia either offended or sure it's a subversive plot on the part of of Devo to destroy civilization through the wee ones. "Subversive" is getting thrown around a lot. It's the self-centered ego-hump of paranoia applied to popular culture.

It's a quaint venture with nice songs kids should enjoy. There's nothing else to see, folks. Don't listen to anything Casale has to say about it since he's the king of the hipster doofuses. There's probably no person on this earth who feels his greatness has been slighted more than Gerald. De-Evolution is real, man!

Mark Mothersbaugh is also a general on the psi-ops war against conformity. Without him nobody would think for themselves:

Mark Mothersbaugh, Devo's lead singer, currently at work on a new CD, "When Pigs Fly," has just come forward to admit that he and his fellow bandmates put subliminal messages in their music. They have, he tells Wireless Flash News, instructed people to buy jeans because they're "the uniform of the proletariat."

But that's just the tip of the subliminal iceberg. Mothersbaugh says he's sneaked the message "question authority" onto the soundtrack of "Rugrats, " for which he wrote music. And says it's "entirely possible" that a cereal commercial he worked on secretly featured the phrase "sugar is bad for you," just to be subversive.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Review: The Soviettes LP, LP II and LP III CDs

When you look up The Soviettes on Amazon the list page also offers The Epoxies, which is the wrong comparison except to say by the third cd Annie of The Soviettes learned to control her voice in a similar fashion as Roxy Epoxy, or maybe Martha Davis of The Motels. Roxy is the better singer, but no offense.

If you listen to these three discs in a row there's a progression through the short history of Grrrl punk from Bikini Kill to more recent Sleater-Kinney with stops for Cub, The Donnas, The Buzzcocks and even a Joy Division guitar lick thrown in for yuks. It's mostly based in power chord pop-punk, and they make every song rousing and interesting on some level. The Soviettes are also good at rendering "emotional" guitar chords, which I trace back to Cock Sparrer and always loved on Sloppy Seconds records.

I like Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill and their ilk like The Soviettes but never find myself putting them on for entertainment. I do love Cub though and will never part with my Anti-Scrunti Faction LP. Pretty Girls Make Graves are a few times more interesting to listen to but you should sample a few tracks from each cd and see what you think (you can do this at both allmusic.com and amazon.com)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Review: Hey Is Dee Dee Home? DVD

Hey Is Dee Dee Home is mandatory if you want to see Dee Dee Ramone talk about Johnny Thunders and his own tattoos for an hour. Released to cash in on the death by heroin overdose of Gummy The Stabbing Hobo the year before, it's an interview of Dee Dee by director Lech Kowalski for an unfinished Johnny Thunders documentary, whose other finished work is Story Of A Junkie. There's a theme with this guy.

The Dee Dee who sits for this might be the drug-free one he claims to be, but who knows. He's president of the good posture club for sure, and the way his body and face moves reminds me of Charles Nelson Reilly. Dee Dee was always fun to read, look at or listen to -- in a sadistic way since he was always only moments away from some kind of insanity. Better this than sticking a finger up GG Allin's fudge tube. Recounting a domestic dispute, his psychotic girlfriend Connie pulled a butcher knife from her purse and Dee Dee was lucky enough to bat it out of her hand with a broom handle. Then, as the maestro tells it, "I went to go cop. I thought I'd make her happy.. and I got stabbed that day. I came home all bloody. Then we made up." Then he gives the standard Dee Dee look of extreme innocence, a gentle soul stranded in a crazy world.

If I had a nickel for every time he uses the word "cop", as in buying drugs, I'd have maybe $1.25. Buying drugs seemed to be his full-time job. He tells how Thunders demanded he cop drugs to earn the right to hang out with such an important rock star. I don't know, Thunders looked like a small, strung-out ferret to me so I take Dee Dee's side. Dee Dee also wrote better songs, including "Chinese Rocks", which Thunders stole.

Dee Dee was clinically nuts and on a psych 101 level you can enjoy this as an exercise in mental pathology. Dee Dee the reluctant heroin addict. Dee Dee who can't be within a mile of H without falling off the wagon. Dee Dee the passive-aggressive knife nut. He never portrays himself as pro-active, it's always Dee Dee taking abuse until he can't take it no more. The "good person" Dee Dee whose revenge fantasies might shock even Jack The Ripper. Oh yeah, he talks about himself in the third person, as in saying the shirt he's wearing is "Very Dee Dee-ish".

Hey Is Dee Dee Home is a chore to get through even at an hour but it ages well in the mind. His two autobiographies are definitely worth reading.

Rube Goldberg Device Caught On Video

I'm constantly referring to Rube Goldberg and constantly being looked at like I'm making this stuff up. Here's proof Rube lives!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Review: Department S - Is Vic There? CD

In the future, every band will have their 15 minutes of website. There are two cd collections of Department S tunes, the longer one with live tracks called Sub-Stance. Mine is this one - Is Vic There? The band history is worth reading as an example of the spirit of the day - especially the spirit of Stiff Records. Here's a good post-mortem interview with guitarist Mike Herbage. I'd take the swindle aspects of their tale with a shaker of salt because everyone's filled to the hat-line with poo.

Department S are best known for their 1980 single "Is Vic There?", but I remember 1981's "Going Left Right" being just as popular were I was standing. Hearing this collection it's obvious they did most things right but did drift into the shallower end of the new wave pool, culminating with band members wanting to copy ABC. They cut their loses just in time. Is Vic There? collects the 12 tracks from the recorded but non-released album Sub-Stance and adds single b-sides. The album tracks start with post-punk new wave and drifts into funky dance numbers. The best songs are front-loaded but the last two tracks are solid. The b-sides go left right too.

At their best you can compare them to The Teardrop Explodes, The Psychedelic Furs and Wall Of Voodoo. Herbage's guitar is killer but I still prefer WOV's Marc Moreland. At their weakest they're Haircut 100, Duran Duran and Bow Wow Wow. As a low-point they blow disco whistles on "Somewhere Between Heaven And Tesco's".

Department S deserve more recognition than they probably get and for fans of post-punk new wave I highly recommend this. The keeper tracks are fairly mandatory.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Are These The End Times?

A punk e-store is selling a belt-buckle with a knight mask that flips up to reveal a dead guy's face.

Imagine the visual on that gag, won't you?

Cookie Monster Vomiting

I recently described the singing style of my friend Seth's favorite bands as the Cookie Monster vomiting. Well, it seems the Cookie Monster thing is old hat. Here's some metal-speak that flew over my head at the speed of "wha?":

Before going further, it's important to clarify exactly what constitutes genuine Cookie Monster vocals. Really, the only genres in which vocalists use that particular style are death metal and its close cousin, grindcore – bands such as Napalm Death, Carcass, Obituary, and Suffocation, whose focus is, or was, death, decay, and other such existential dilemmas. This vocal style is not to be confused with the rasping, higher-pitched shriek of Norwegian black metal bands such as Darkthrone, the thick-necked barking of weight-lifter metal bands like Pantera, or the anxious roar of current Headbanger's Ball favorites like Shadows Fall.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Fashioncore Is Out Of Fashion

My pal Ratface posts a very special episode of her blog today, speaking truth to power about the #1 cold sore on the lip of the underground hardcore/emo scene -- Fashioncore, which started with men wearing women's jeans but spread to eyeliner and gawd knows what else, taping it down for a smooth crotch? Boys Keep Swinging, boys always work it out.

Rat's witnessing what might be her first natural cycle of a music scene created, developing, rising, growing fat and old, and inevitably dying. My little girl is becoming a woman (weep). Like the Byrds sang:

There is a season - turn, turn, turn/ And a time for every purpose under heaven/ A time to be born, a time to die/ A time to plant, a time to reap/ A time to kill, a time to heal/ A time to laugh, a time to weep/ A time to build up, a time to break down/ A time to dance, a time to mourn/ A time to cast away stones/ A time to gather stones together/ A time of war, a time of peace/ A time of love, a time of hate/ A time you may embrace/ A time to refrain from embracing/ A time to gain, a time to lose/ A time to rend, a time to sew/ A time to love, a time to hate/ A time of peace, I swear it's not too late!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Review: Propaghandhi - Potemkin City Limits CD

I have no idea why Propaghandhi put Potemkin in the title of their latest cd since it references deceptions of prosperity and happiness put on by communist regimes to dazzle foreigners. In this context it's like a German calling Bush a nazi. Maybe it's one of those lies that reveals a greater truth. ok.

A staple of the Fat Wreck Chords lineup, Propaghandhi until recently were a snotty and goofy slappy-drum, reverse circle rodeo pit pop-hardcore band typical of the label. This new record is, as a fan points out on Amazon, "Progressive Trash". To me it's more like, "Hey, you got speed metal in my pop-punk", "And you got hardcore in my emo." I can't stand metal in any form but it's not the featured sound of the disc, and I actually like half of this a lot. There's a good amount of emo in tone and pacing, and the added hardcore elements only make it that much louder. Here's where I plug Seven Storey Mountain, who also did this very well but without the metal.

On humanistic principles I'm automatically against political pedophilia but the lyrics aren't as in your face stupid as Anti-Flag, and they're dumped towards the back. In a recent interview one of them laments past shows where dogma was endlessly preached between songs. Perusing their site I can accept they're sincere in their intentions, and even though they reference Marxist scumbags Noam "Gnome" Chomsky "Crapsky" and Howie Zinn, they at least have the good taste to not link to the usual Stalinist front groups.

Original Propaghandhi singer John K. Samson left the band in 1997 to form The Weakerthans, one of the most boring bands in alt.rock history. Their debut cd flew out of my collection faster than a vegetable out of Al Bundy's mouth.