Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nar and Lizards | Split LP

Actually ended up with this when one of my punk/skater friends left it at my apartment back in the early 90's. He never asked for it back, and I never offered. A sort of pay it backwards for all the damn CD's and shit people "borrowed" from me back in the day and never returned before I implemented my no loaning out albums rule. Fucking don't get me started on the tragic loss of Melvin's Lysol LP. Still brings a tear to my eye. Anyway, this is excellent garage-type power-pop-punk from Sacto circa '92. Lots of teenage love-angst and sweet hooks for certain. Completely infectious.


Here's a review I wrote on RYM quite a while back.

"This is a split LP from the bands Nar and Lizards. These two bands produced some of the most pure and melodic garage punk your ears will ever have the pleasure of hearing. Nar and Lizards are reflective of the early 90's sound coming out of Nor-Cal from such bands as Crimpshrine, Riflesport and Green Day, cept' ten times better!! This is the real thing. Nar's Spacesuit is the greatest punk love song ever written. No doubt, go find this record if you can."

This is good stuff no matter what flavors of sound you like, and now you don't have to go far to find it. Enjoy.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Los Llamarada | The Very Next Moment 7"

Lots of buzz going on about this band over the past year or so. Los Llamarada take that shit-punk-noise veneer we're all liking, but is already kind of getting old, and morph it into something more interesting and predictibly longer lasting. I grabbed this single last year, and somehow it faded into the stacks of records, which is a shame, because a revisit has really paid off.

Anyway, I figure it's time to pull it out and share it with you fine folks. They also have a couple albums out you can get on SS as well as a couple of earlier Cdr's. You can get the debut, Close Your Eyes, here.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Saint Arnold Christmas Ale

This is the the first of the winter warmer's for me this year, and it seems like a fitting brew for today, seeing how the temperature has dipped down into the 30's.

Ok, let's get down to business. A two-finger tan head rises quickly to the rim of the pint glass while a flurry of excited bubble activity goes on down below. Retention is good, with the head fading slowly over a matter of minutes, leaving a thin sheet of lacing all around the glass. Color is amber with some pure red hues off and on throughout.

You get the malts rising to the nose at first, with a subtle spiciness right below that. A faint note of caramel is also noticed. Tastes spicy, earthy and bitter up front which is a nice effect. Then the malts and a bit of caramel sweetness join the party to balance things out.

Mouth-feel is medium, and it goes down fairly smooth with a noticeable alcohol heat at the very end. It's not too highly carbonated, but as mentioned, it has some good bubble activity.

I'm looking forward to some great winter warmers this year, and if even half of them are this good, I won't be disappointed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chriss Sutherland | Me in a Field

One of my favorite releases of the year so far, and barring some the release of some exceptional discs in the next two months, will definitely be in the top 5, and probably closer to the 1 spot .

There's a lot of tradition floating around here, mixed with many things new and fresh. It's very melodic, yet edgy and introspective.

Sutherland, of Cerberus Shoal fame, and also of the excellent folk quintet Fire on Fire, is an artist not to be missed in whatever musical form he and his genius decides to take.

Here's a review I wrote of Me in a Field upon a first listen a few months ago.

"Mellow range music for broken but unvanquished hearts sung in a foreign voice that somehow makes sense. Sutherland takes the familiar and crafts, hones and weaves his unique creation into something not only interesting, but also pleasing, while a musical wink of an eye makes you get it.

Melancholy echoes play off canyon walls and rise above a fireside picking with an edginess that is done so well it goes almost unnoticed, leaving a subtle and soft yet fulfilling substance. An empty space becomes active with an ineffable haunted shimmering resplendent with streaks of hope. A thirst for belonging and companionship is quenched by a communal spirit that rises from the ashes of a smoldering desperation.

Telling a story of a pioneering spirit, Sutherland takes us into an expanse we might want to avoid, but need to experience. In the end we are rewarded handsomely for our joining in the journey. This is the story of another genius bard that will undoubtedly go unnoticed while his poetry begs to be heard, but falls among a mass of deaf ears whose crisis could be ameliorated with his succor."

Buy it suckas.

Also, Fire on Fire has a new full-length coming out Dec. 10th on Young God Records. I'm sure it will be a barn burner if it's anything close to the ST EP from last year, which you should grab here. My compliments.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Failing Lights | True Form 7"

This intense slab of noise on white vinyl with perfect minimal packaging comes to us via Chicago’s Bloodlust! label. Limited to 300 copies as is seemingly standard these days, and apparently about sold out. One song on each side.

Side A, Discovery of a World in the Moon begins the planetary motif of the disc amid a churning of hateful noise, all covered with sheets of white hot feedback and drones which are kept alive by a pulsating star music borne possibly light years ahead of its time yet obviously honed directly beside it's peers.

After the abrupt culmination of side A, side B picks up a bit softer, but just as chilling, as it's sound delves into a deep space of haunting and endless electronic voices. Ideal Lunar Landscape leaves us a bit more circumspect with it's sharp contrast, but somehow it's atmosphere is still unsettling. As our mind numbs a funureal dirge evolves and the unwelcomed brevity of this passage is realized.

buy from label

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fun Fun Fun

Day 1

Despite the dirt and dust Fun Fun Fun Fest lived up to it's name and provided some tasty treats for the punk rockers. I showed up later than planned on day one, around 5:30, due to hitting the records stores and bars all afternoon. After grabbing a Foster's 24oz, which was the only choice besides Miller Lite (WTF!) I headed straight for stage 3, where I camped out for the remainder of the night.

I ended up catching the last half of Municipal Waste's set. I haven't seen a mosh pit that ferocious in years, and it kept up it's intensity in front of stage 3 (punk/hardcore) pretty much for the remainder of the festival. Municipal Waste seem to be a pretty fun band, but a little of that brand of hardcore can go along way with me.

Next up were Integrity, which much like Municipal Waste, I can get enough of really quick. They were followed by the highly anticipated Adolescents who kicked off their set with No Way and ended up playing through most of the ST with some other bits and pieces thrown in here and there. The crowd sing-a-long with Ameoba was fucking rad. A lady in front of me turned to me and said she'd been listening to the Adolescents since she was about "this high" with a big smile on her face and motioning with her hand way down low, and that about summed it up.

All immediately took the(b) stage and played a perfect set which included all the pop-punk classics, including Sex in the Way, Pretty Little Girl, Simple Things and She's My Ex. A good time was had by . . All. Despite rumors floating around the crowd, no Descendents songs were played, which is cool with me, because this was an All show.

Headlining day one were the Dead Milkmen, who came out way more powerful than I had expected. While the Milkmen have a lot of fun and sing about the most goofiest of shit, they mean fucking business when they hit the stage. They kicked things off with Punk Rock Girl and got that one out of the way quickly. I found it interesting that half the crowd were high schoolers or college age kids, and were singing along to every song. There is hope for the future! And it also made me feel not so damn old. Highlights for me during their set were Smokin' Banana Peels, Stuart and Methodist Coloring Book.

Day 2

Sunday night I showed up just in time to hear Joey Shithead and crew slam into some true hardcore DOA blasts from the past that showed many of the newer bands how it's done. After DOA's intense, non-stop set, some goofy fucking band with a singer that talked to much rock star played, and then came out the the Cro-Mags(Jam). While not the original lineup (missing Harley Flanagan and Paris Mayhew thus the moniker with [i]Jam[/i] added) the crowd was nonetheless treated to an overwhelming wall of hardcore noise with a good amount of traditional 80's politico speech making by singer John Joseph. I could have done without a lot of that, as much of it came across as dated, but what the fuck ever, We Gotta Know was the shit.

I know a lot of folks like Bouncing Souls, but they're not really my can of beer, so I headed out to drain the big lizard in the backyard and get another brew in preparation for what would be a transcendental set by the Bad Brains.

The Bad Brains were probably the first true hardcore punk band, with the exception of maybe the Misfits, that I truly got into. Theirs was one of the first hardcore sounds that actually struck a chord with me, and played a major part in developing my ear for punk. I remember seeing photos of H.R. and Bad Brains in Thrasher and thinking those were some cool motherfuckers, and after all this time nothing seems to have changed. They represented, and H.R. answered the question posed by one Austin paper as to whether he would "bring it". He fucking "brought it", and more.

This show was a long-time coming, and was the main reason I travelled 7 hours to Fun Fun Fun. While there were some great acts playing, I probably wouldn't have made the trip if it weren't for the Brad Brains. That being said I did have a great time hanging with a couple of very good friends and enjoying the Austin Scene, which was all icing on the cake.

All of this combined with some beautiful weather and I couldn't have asked for much more from a festival. And with the exception of one incident, that of being accused of stealing beer from the beer line (give me a fucking break, the customers where the only ones getting ripped off in the beer line) the folks in Austin were a nice and friendly group of people, and I'm ready to go back next year.

P.s. I want to apologize for the terrible quality of the photos (in forthcoming links). My compact camera was no match for the lack of lighting on stage and the dust particles floating in the air.

Fun Fun Fun
Fun Fun Fun
Fun Fun Fun

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Treetops | Permission/When I Was Younger

This, one of the many Treetops releases of late, finds it's way to our outstretched hands via the exceptional ArborCdr label.

Taking us deeper into drone forests canopied with petulant bursts of noise and echoing with a haunted desolation, Permission/When I Was Younger, takes a simplicity of instrumentation and creates a complexity of texture, crafting and mixing a hierarchy of sounds which result in a feeling of belonging despite a certain isolation.

Through a hoary and combustible air a rusty voice lingers, reaching, tentacled into the confines of a space that can only be described by sound. Words and theory suffocate, pictures and vision desiccate. All that is left is the aural sense. And that is all that is needed.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bleach | Killing Time

Part of the second wave of Shoegaze, Bleach were a bit more raw than some of their predecessors, and comparisons to Lush end with the fact that both groups had female singers.

Bleach were definitely a bit more unruly than most Shoegazers and were quite a bit less dreamy, but that's not to say they didn't have their ethereal pop moments. Take for instance Trip & Slide and Shotgun, both of which bleed some pop genius, but are are grounded with some attitude as well.

Killing Time is fairly raw, mostly driving, and has some good hooks and melodies. Good stuff any way you cut it. You can get this CD on Amazon Marketplace for dirt cheap if you want a lossless copy.

I always get to jonesing for some shoegaze from time to time, and like to throw some of the oldies in the playlist, so here's the vinyl rip for you folks like me that still dig that sound.

Highlights include Friends, Fall, and Trip & Slide