Thursday, September 24, 2015

Shortsight - "Why Spend Time Learning" 7"

Shortsight was a female-fronted Belgium hardcore band that was a part of the whole H8000 crew thing, which I was never really very interested in. I remember thinking Norway's Lash Out was a part of that whole clique (whose 1993 release The Darkest Hour is a real winner), but once I got my shit together, realized they weren't even from the right European country and (eventually) listened to the band Congress, I quickly lost interest.

This record was always a bit of a screwball for me, I dug the chunky, definitively mid-paced, "new school" sound they offered here, but new vocalist (as of this, their first release - Hans Verbeke, who ran Sober Mind Records and also played in Blindfold, manned the vocal duties on their demo tape...see what I did there?) Saskia Verbeke's relatively unique style never really entirely did it for me. I don't know, I guess her voice just always struck me as pretty monotonous...just my opinion. This four song ep is an early Conquer The World release, which is probably the only reason why I picked it up in the first place. Sometimes the recording of the drums (in particular that barely audible, yet somehow gruesome-sounding ride cymbal, man) just makes me want to set my house and all of my belongings on fire, and begin a new quest in life which mainly involves extinguishing the lives of people who've wronged me, all Master of the Flying Guillotine style.

For those who might be interested in these sorts of things, these kids were an edge band, and the lyrics of these songs dealt take an animal-rights, anti-media stance. It was recorded and mixed at Cats Studios in March 1993. CTW #03.

1) Anger
2) Darwin
3) Wheel
4) Trace

- the best part of this seven inch is the first 42 seconds -

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Equation Of State - "Exploded View"

This post is about a band I know very little about. My buddy Sean, who I've probably mentioned a dozen times already on this blog, picked up this cd somewhere during his travels circa 2000* (the original Siren Records in Doylestown, maybe?), and we were both pretty glad that he did. Equation Of State was a five piece emo/hardcore band that hailed from Halifax, the provincial capital city of Nova Scotia, Canada. They existed from ??? to ???, and this disc, from what I've been able to deduce over the years, is the only thing they put out. It was released in 1998 by fellow Halifax native Rich Lafortune, who played guitar in a band called The Chitz, which was active for a few years during the mid-90s.

Are you into somewhat spazzy, highly energetic emo that is reminiscent of bands such as Griver, Ambassador 990, Kurt, The Republic of Freedom Fighters and maybe a Receiver / Future Isms-era Milemarker, before they got all sassy and shitty? Take some time to cook all of that rock goodness down and then add a dash of fuckin' early Frodus to the boil? Oh yeah? Well, this album is probably going to be right up your alley then, friend.

Socially conscious lyrics, an overall raw, tone-y recording that is full and clear when it needs to be, Canadian heritage, a healthy amount of groove parts, personal writings, just the right extent of dirtyblah blah blah. It eventually adds up to a pretty solid full length.This was recorded in the basement of someone named Mike Canato's house during July 1998, and is Subprofit Records #3. "My Suggestion Is You Fuck Off" is a total banger, y'all.

* He also took these pictures and did an overall good job. Nice work, guy...V Street soon?

1) clay and mortar
2) my suggestion is you fuck off
3) self-fulfilling prophecy
4) appeal to reason
5) kill the whistle blowers
6) anamnesis
7) ridiculous notion
8) spiral jetty
9) giving up
10) anti-clockwise
11) new beginning
12) cure for cancer

- here -

Corrin - "Despair Rides on Angel Wings" 7"

Metalcore kids take note: this is an early Hydra Head release by five dudes from Providence, Rhode Island called Corrin. Corrin never achieved the same success as other like-minded New England metal / hc bands such as Overcast or Converge, but that doesn't mean anything you should skip over this two-songer. Along with this 7", they did a split with another frequently passed-over metallic band named Arise, who didn't sound like Sepultura, unfortunately, but did hail from Massachusetts, so you basically knew that they really liked metal.

I've gotta give this band some credit, while they weren't nearly as good as Disembodied, Morning Again, For The Love Of... or the bands mentioned earlier, I'd definitely give Corrin a fair go if the style is/was your thing, 'cause it's better than your average evil, metalcore 90s hc band. With a solid recording, a good layout (designed by a member of Converge, mind you), and absolutely scathing, straight forward lyrics like "A lifeless figure laying before my eyes, calling out my name. Guilt fills my mind, if only I had compromised", you should know precisely what you're in for.

These songs were recorded in January 1996 at Samson Studios in Tiverton, RI by Keith Souza, who also was responsible for the first Cable full length. The matrix of the vinyl is inscribed with "What is this that stands before me..." on side 7, and continues with "...figure in black, which points at me..." on Side 77. Works for me. This record is 666-02. Praise Jeebus!

1) Lifeless
2) Wintersouls

- side 7, followed by side 77 -

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ocean of Mercy 7"

Here is the lone record from an early 90s NYHC band that didn't exactly fit the mold when compared to other bands from the same era who called the same city home. It was released in 1992 as a cooperative effort between Oasis Records, which I'm almost positive I've never seen another record from, and Doghouse Records, which everyone should already be familiar with. The music is pseudo-youth crew-ish, very bass-forward, and fucking awesome. Gus Peña (aka Gus Straight Edge) was the frontman for Ocean of Mercy; his voice kinda reminds me of a toned down Martin Sorrondeguy, and the music is pretty melodic for the style, while retaining a good deal of that New York Hardcore "toughness" you probably would expect. I'd also say this band was a wee bit heavier than many other NYHC bands. This record certainly qualifies as something I'd consider to be (highly doesn't really sound fitting here..notably, maybe??) sought after, for two reasons: 1) for being an early Doghouse release, at a time when they were releasing hc records and not, well, you presumably already know where I'm going with this sentence. I'm not knocking Dirk Hemsath or his label by any measure at all. At some point in the late nineties, the label just changed quite a bit and he focused on releasing other types of bands, bands that found themselves dwelling outside of the typical "hardcore punk" category...I digress. Oh shit, I completely forgot to finish the fucking point I was originally trying to make... the second reason being the fact that this is the only O.o.M. release that I know of, barring a compilation or two, because this was, after all, the early 90's hardcore scene.

The players on this 7" included Gus Peña (Discipline), Franklin Rhi (Shelter, 25 Ta Life, Crown of Thornz, etc.) and Harry Minas (25 Ta Life), who is playing a sweet pair of Paiste Rude 14" hi-hats in the picture of him. Additionally, check out Gus's even sweeter Discipline pants on the back cover. They also spelled Dirk Hemsath's name incorrectly on their thanks list, which is hilarious. The kind folks in Ocean of Mercy also included the month each song was written in, as well as the time of each track, in case you were making a copy of this on a cassette and were unsure if you could fit this 7" on your tape.

These three songs were recorded in August 1991 at SD50 with A.J. Novello and Noah Adams at the helm, and were mixed at the infamous Don Fury Studios. Kids who listen to This World Rejected, Bold, Flagman, Transcend, Endpoint and/or Majority of One should peep this. I'd be willing to bet a few home brews that some fans of Turning Point and probably early New Age Rec's band Drift Again would be thankful if they checked this out, too.

Oasis #1 (the matrix area of the vinyl is inscribed OA 444) / Doghouse #??? - 1992.

1) Every Second
2) That Which Is Not
3) You Left Me

 - vessel to vessel becomes dust to dust -

King For a Day 7"

I picked up this two song ep shortly after it was released by Initial in 1997, and I remember really enjoying the bands heavily college rock-influenced post-emo stylings that are to be found on this record. The first jam, "Sleeping Hero" is pretty slow and meandering, taking me on a journey once again through the woods that were behind the house I grew up in. The same spot where myself, my little brother and the other neighborhood kids would hang out in tree forts, throw itchy-balls and rather large berries we found at each other, play ice hockey on the small, nearby pond throughout every winter, play some serious fucking games of Manhunt and harassed the neighbors dogs. The flip side - "Lazy"-  is a faster, more rollicking song with lots of the vocal harmonies that KFAD would employ on many of their songs. I honestly haven't listened to these two songs in quite some time, but I'm glad to report that I still enjoy 'em. They were both included on the bands discography, Before I Go, but probably get overshadowed by some of the sweet, sweet jams that appear earlier on that compact disc (namely "Dolly Llama" and "Windows").

These dudes originally hailed from the Detroit, MI area, before eventually calling Chicago home. I actually can't confirm this information, but I CAN confirm that the Before I Go disc (also released by Initial) gives the band a Chi-town contact address, so...I'm guessing they split town. Actually, the contact addy for KFAD in the liner notes of this here record lists a Northville, Michigan address, which absolutely blew my fucking mind when I first read it because my family spent two years living in that town when I was much younger (from mid-1983 to mid-1985, specifically). Still makes me crack a proud smile to this day, as if I had something to do with them getting together and playing music. I do, however, occasionally wonder if any of these dudes and I attended the same grade school at the same time, though*. As my friends in Assfactor 4 once said, life is wacky.

I could easily recommend this 7" (and the aforementioned, subsequent cd)  to folks who dig other Midwestern bands such as Elliott or The Get Up Kids. I've never entirely been sure why to be honest, but New Brunswick's Greyhouse sometimes came to mind throughout the years while listening to King For A Day, and this is clearly a compliment to the band whose record I've posted here. This eponymous release has a pretty nifty little layout, as well as two different playing speeds. A couple of these dudes also played in the bands Cleons Down, The Story So Far and Koufax. Lots of sung vocals and melody in this one. These songs were recorded at White Room in February 1997, and this record is Initial Records #21.

1) Sleeping Hero
2) Lazy

- I don't feel alone for a change -

* When two friends and I attended Michigan Fest in March 2002, held about 20 miles away from Northville in nearby Wayne, I dropped my pals Mark and Sean off at the fest that morning and drove my 1989 Dodge Ram high-top conversion van (aka The Great Granville) back to Northville and spent about two hours walking through my old neighborhood, in addition to walking the grounds of my old elementary school. It was definitely a pretty great moment for me, one that was pretty emotional and is something I will (hopefully) never forget.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Chokehold Reunion - Philadelphia, Pa

Here's some less-than-spectacular footage I recorded of the July 24th, 2015 Chokehold reunion show that took place at the Voltage Lounge in Philadelphia. Also on the bill that night was Florida's Morning Again and Baltimore's Noisem (who were both actually really good) as well as Pittsburgh's Eternal Sleep and Erie's Human Animal (who were both pretty awful). I genuinely felt bad for Morning Again to be honest, because they had to follow Noisem, who seriously ripped. I wasn't sure what kind of reaction they (Morning Again, that is) were going to get because I know they've been playing shows again for awhile now, and I didn't have a gauge on if people were excited or not. Thankfully, they pulled it off and kids were into it, moshing like complete fucking retards and going out of their way to kick other folks in the face / back of the head. Glad to see that the scene today is populated by mongoloid retards, just as I'm sure it was two decades ago, but I'm now (conveniently, I'm guessing) forgetting about. Anyways, I'm not trying to use this post to trashtalk those who wanna "dance", just those idiots whose goal is to act like complete douche bags while blatantly showing zero regard for other people in the audience.

Chokehold played pretty damn well for not having performed together since early 1996. Especially noteworthy was the execution of the songs by drummer Matt Beckman, who, let's be honest, played pretty sloppily on a few of the songs that appeared on various XchokeholdX releases. To quote my buddy Sam, "it looks like he practiced a bunch for these shows, or maybe he just got better". I was quite confident that I was just going to get all bummed out watching Chris Logan sing songs about veganism or straight edge when he clearly is neither of those things anymore (I ain't judging, I broke my edge in 2000, yo) but in actuality, didn't bother me at all during their set, nor did I really even think about it. I wished they played some of the jams from the Jawk 7" because it's a great ep, but hey.

Originally, I wasn't even planning to attend this show cause I'm old and bitter, but thankfully my pal Sean convinced me to stop being such a fucking boner and go. In the end I'm glad that I did.
Good times.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Politess LP

This blog is certainly geared towards exposing bands and their records that folks may have missed when they were originally released, many moons ago. Here, however, is some information pertaining to a relatively newer band, Politess. This Quebec band's debut full length has thirteen songs and was released a few months ago by three different labels: Beaver Club (ran by one of the folks in Politess), BGS and Blind Eye. After stumbling across this blog last month, one of the members,Simon Rousseau, got in touch with me and offered to send me a copy of their new LP, which I graciously accepted. I did not post a rip of the LP here, I'm posting a link to the Politess bandcamp page so you can download that shit for yourself. They were kind enough to release these songs digitally with a name-your-price option, which is always awesome to see. Translation: this means you should probably donate a few bucks to help out their cause, which is bringing you some spazzy hardcore punk.

Politess will presumably appeal to kids who dig bands like Book of Dead Names or Usurp Synapse (or any of a number of bands who released stuff on Witching Hour), as well as A Day in Black and White or This Ship Will Sink. There's a huge head nod to the screamo of 15 years ago on this record, which is probably a good thing. The recording is extremely bass-heavy, but without being too muddy. They keep it interesting, grindy, and oft rimes reminiscent of Racebannon or the previously posted Index for Potential Suicide. You should get the idea.

Simon and Dave were both kind enough to answer some questions (thanks, guys) that I tossed their way, so you can check out that shit below these links.

Politess B/C           Politess F/B      Beaver Club Recs     Politess Y/T

C.O.M. - Thanks for taking the time to do this, Simon. Firstly, who plays what in Politess and how old is he / she? When and how did the band come together and start playing? Did anyone play together in previous bands before this one?

 Simon – No prob, it’s actually really nice of you doing this. So we’re a bunch of people, from 24 to 26.  I play guitar and handle most of the noisy stuff via some broken/beer soaked pedals. There’s Jerry Lee, that’s the guy who screams his lungs out, he’s also the guy behind  Beaver Club Records (go check their releases, pretty rad stuff and everything’s free on bandcamp). Kevin, our drummer who usually makes people freak out cause he’s too much chill (and sometimes unreachable). Dave, our shirtless bass player who screams too and finally Jessica who plays guitar, yells and she’s much more a warrior than us.

 C.O.M. - The last time I played in a North American band was over five years ago, so my knowledge of current / active bands is probably a great deal below yours. What bands do y'all take the most influence from (musically and stylistically), and what active bands would you recommend to someone who has very little idea of what's happening in myself? Take me in any direction you'd like.

Simon - I really dig the Montreal music scene and I’m truly happy cause most of these bands are friends with us, bands like Black givre, CLC, Basalte, The expectorated sequence, Nous étions, Barricade, BP black piranha AND Jerry Lee and Jessica’s incredible noise rock band Nüshu.

Dave - Our influences come from many different backgrounds. We are all big music lovers.
As for active bands I would recommend :  IDYLLS, HX KY, Child Bite, Névrose, Fistfuck, Half Measures, Nous Étions, Black Givre, Gets Worse, The Afternoon Gentlemen, Powerxchuck, Svffer, Fissure, Angkor Wat, Biipiigwan, Greber, The Expectorated Sequence, Serpentine Path, Youth Code, Gas Up Yr Hearse!, Daido Loori, AHNA,

 C.O.M. - When did you have that "a-HA!" moment with hardcore punk, when you realized that our scene is something you would want to become a part of, or more importantly, when did you decide you wanted to play hc? Maybe there was a certain record that you heard for the first time that made you say "holy shit", or maybe it was that first punk show you went to? What happened to you specifically, Simon, that introduced you to the scene and made you want to stay involved?

 Simon - Funny thing is, the first “heavy “show I saw, was the band I’m currently in. I was a huge metal fan but when I found out it was so fake and it was mostly an ego trip for some I was over with it (and it got boring as fuck, but i know I am generalizing). Then I rediscovered my love for punk music, the whole DIY thing, the way people are more likely to help others than being selfish.

The reason I keep doing this music and injuring myself (and my gear) is simply the fun I have with these guys. When we all lived in the same city, we were almost hanging out 24/7, so touring is not that bad cause we’re pretty used to everyone’s habits, so you get to hang out with your friends, play music you like and travel to places you’ve never been, that’s a cool deal.

 Dave - I used to play classical music being a kid. I loved the feeling of playing in a big orchestra and the power that would come out of 50 musicians. Then I got into punk and metal through friends. I could find the same kind of power coming out of music. Then I started to play in punk, rock, jazz and metal bands and never stopped.

 C.O.M. - What's your beef with Wawa? Does it upset you that you don't have to talk to an actual person whilst ordering a delicious sandwich? Do you hate lemonades and iced teas? What do you know about Tastykake Baking Company, which is a Philadelphia staple? As a dude who grew up in Pennsylvania (and consequently, one who loves Wawa), I'm curious about the story behind "Never Going Back To Wawa". Let's hear it. Oh, also, Wawa is from Pennsylvania.

 Simon – Oops, the Wawa we’re referring to is Wawa in Ontario, probably one of the most boring places we’ve ever been. We were tired as fuck, just like our van, so we stopped there and it was such a depressing place to be. Nothing at all, only a crappy hardware store.

C.O.M. - Give me everybody's top three favorite records, in no particular order.

 Simon Propagandhi – How to clean everything, Loma Prieta – Our LP is your EP and Guérilla Poubelle – Punk=Existentialisme

Dave -- Streetlight Manifesto - Everything Goes Numb, Mr. Bungle - California and Bongzilla - Stash and Methods of Attaining Extreme Altitudes

Jerry Lee - Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (s/t, 1979), Mr. Bungle - Disco Volante and Portishead (s/t 1997)

Jessica - Melt Banana - Bambi's Dilemma, Sonic Youth - Goo and The Chinese Stars - Listen to Your Left Brain

Kevin - no answer yet, but it's probably something black metal...let's say 1349 and something grimmer.
(edit: Where you at, Kevin? I listen to tons of bm and would have APPRECIATED AN ANSWER! Let it be known, I've faked your answers accordingly: Gerardo - Mo' Ritmo, Milli Vanilli - Girl You Know It's True, and Debbie Gibson - Electric Youth...and anything by Cradle of Filth, because they are completely legit black metal)
C.O.M. - What was the last book you read, what was it about, and why do you want me to know about it?

Simon - The last book I read is called (yeah sorry it’s in French) “La cantatrice Chauve “, it is by Eugène Ionesco, and it’s the funniest shit I’ve read in my life. It’s so absurd that you brain cannot process anything. I’m also a fan of DC comics shit, so anything from Batman of the Flash is good.

C.O.M. - I am one of those dudes who would never in a million years sell any of his records / demo tapes / etc...For any reason ever. I would leave them at a trusted friend’s house for safekeeping if I were to become homeless. Talk to me about your feelings on this matter, and what your record collection means to you.

Simon – I feel the same way with my record collection, half of it is kinda “ rare” cause it’s from bands I saw or played with, so I guess if I lost some, I couldn’t  buy new ones cuz they don’t exist anymore.

C.O.M. - What can we expect in the not-too-distant future from Politess? Any planned future releases folks should know about? Will you be touring for the next three years straight?

Simon – I’d like to tour non-stop, but right now we’re in the process of writing new stuff, since we’re already bored with the new LP. We’d like to release some 7". I guess that’s what coming for the next couple months. Maybe a US tour soon, that’ll be really cool.

C.O.M. - What benefit, if any, did you notice from the recent Women's World Cup being held in Canada? Did you go to any games? Are y'all Quebec Nordiques fans? I'm naming my next cat Guy Lafluer, if that means anything to you. True fucking story.

Simon - Actually we’re not into hockey at all haha I played hockey for 10 years and I loved it but I’ve always found everything else related to hockey retarded….  But we won some medals at those games some I guess, hmm, it’s a cool thing haha.

 C.O.M. - Give me one or two tour stories you can tell that won't get anyone in trouble.
Simon – While in Ontario, I was driving while listening to the album “How to clean everything” By Propagandhi, and the hood of our van opened and broke our windshield, so we almost got killed by some huge trucks we almost died in a ditch. After the tour I was on my way to work while listening to the same album, same song (Stick The Fucking Flag Up Your Goddamn Ass, You Son Of A Bitch) and somebody hit my car. Just don’t listen to this song, it’s dangerous!

Dave : One time after a gig with Cerebral Balzy, Jerry our singer climbed at the top of a big structure in downtown Montreal. He tried to pee on us from the top but a city truck passed by and started honking at him. He jumped down and broke both of his heels and was in a wheelchair for months.

Thanks to the folks in Politess for the interest and doing the interview, and extra thanks to Jerry Lee Boucher at Beaver Club for sending over the LP as well as the tons of extra stuff! 


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Closure 12"

I'm going to keep this post short and sweet, y'all.

This record is recommended for everyone who thinks Saetia was the greatest thing since sliced bread, or at least since Portraits Of Past. I'm not trying to take anything any from Saetia, but in my estimation they were nowhere near as good as this band, who also hailed from NYC and were active during the same time period.

So...if you dig Saetia, Hot Cross, P.O.P, Gospel, J.R. Ewing, White Lion, Winger, Funeral Diner and/or ..Who Calls So Loud, then you owe it to yourself to download this masterpiece if you have yet to hear it. One of the hidden gems of the late 1990s, and one of the best emo / screamo / whatever twelve inches of all time. It's powerful, like a punch in the pancreas. These songs are infinitely better than the ones appearing on their previous split 7" with Breakwater.

Mountain C.I.A. #12, 1997 (thanks, Chris).

Bonus info: The fifth track, "Time Off" was ripped off (both blatantly and terribly) by Anthony Green's band Audience Of One on their Break Even Records' full length "I Remember When This All Meant Something" circa 2000. Hilariously, the three dudes in that band (as nice as they were) didn't know what to do when I called them out on that shit at a show our bands played together at the Killtime in West Philly around the same time period. For Shame.

- so goddamn good - 

1) KM
2) Sebastian
3) Silhouetted
4) Inferno
5) Time Off
6) Untitled