Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2010 in Popular Music

Essentially this year boiled down to four names. Robyn, Kanye, Janelle Monae, and Justin Bieber.

Let's run down the list:

Robyn. Dominated this year, releasing two EPs, and then an album made of the best songs from those EPs and five new songs. "Dancing On My Own" is the best fucking pop song released this year, bar fucking none. "Hang With Me", "Call Your Girlfriend", "You Should Know Better", and "Fembot" are slightly below the quality level established by "Dancing On My Own", which means, you know, they're slightly worse than the best pop song of this year. She's also notable for generally being a human being. In a year with Kanye's excess and Lady Gaga's smoke and mirrors art show, the charming and believable enthusiasm Robyn displayed constantly made her stand out. I saw her twice this year and both times she was dancing as unconsciously as everyone in the audience. Pure magic.


Kanye. Released free songs every Friday, produced maybe the album of the year, and made being crazy as fuck an actual art form. I loved the fact that he made an "arty video" with a sense of self-awareness, a sense of humor. "Naw man, I never noticed that," is one of the most clever bits of mythmaking I've seen all year. With one line, Kanye pokes fun at the over-seriousness of his 45 minute long epic, and his rep as a self-absorbed douchebag and in doing so, cleverly laughs off his detractors. It doesn't hurt that "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" is revelatory, producing new insights with every listen.


Janelle Monae. Straight-up hailed as the next coming of Prince. Not a far off call, to be honest. Her album "The ArchAndroid" ranges from straight funky jams like "Tightrope" to tension-filled burners like "Cold War" to English Folk-inspired numbers, and man, it's just all over the place and still sounds incredibly cohesive. "I was made to believe there was something wrong with me," remains one of the most powerful lines I heard all year, and the part where she tears up in the music video doesn't seemed pre-planned, or cliche, but an honest emotional reaction, a glance at an artist with their guard down. She's so great, guys. Seriously.


Bieber. I'm amazed at how many people hate on the Biebs, especially since they'll then turn around and talk about how much they love The-Dream. Who helped write "Baby". We also learned that when you slow down Justin Bieber songs quite a lot they sound like angels frolicking and cooing. Seriously, dudes, Justin Bieber got Kanye West to remix one of his songs, and Ludacris to drop an adorable G-rated verse about his first crush for "Baby". What'd you do this year?


Next time around, we'll talk black metal. There will be less videos.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Chemical Romance - Na Na Na



Reasons this video is great: wonderful outfits, fucking evil grant morrison, laser guns, and the best premise fucking ever.  I'm pretty sure the main influences for this are Turkish Star Wars and Mad Max.

"The video features a strangely garbed outlaw gang called the Killjoys (Gerard Way as Party Poison, Mikey Way as Kobra Kid, Ray Toro as Jet Star and Frank Iero as Fun Ghoul), who are being pursued in the badlands around Battery City by the sinister executive Korse (Morrison) of Better Living Industries (BL/ind) and his vampire-masked henchmen (the Draculoids); in between battles with Better Living, the gang are indulging in pornographic magazines, fast driving, and hacking vending machines. The Killjoys have a young girl as one of their members (her name is Grace Jeanette), who BL/ind is out to capture." - from the wikipedia article about the video

Get stoked.

(But what about the music, you whine? "Na Na Na" is a polished version of proto-punk, aggressive and sneering. It's catchy and high-energy. People will claim to hate it. They are lying to you, and themselves.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Strand of Oaks - Atlantic City (Bruce Springsteen cover, live)


Strand of Oaks crafted perhaps my favorite album from this year, effortlessly mixing the brutal honesty of Bruce Springsteen with the hallucinogenic lyricism of Neil Young. This is the second Bruce Springsteen cover I've heard from him, and both are equally lovely. Tim elongates the song, stretching out the misery, turning it into a howl, a last chance to be heard, not to be saved, just remembered. Gorgeous.

I would personally love to hear The Boss take on "Last to Swim". It's perhaps the most beautiful song released this year. The moment where the song opens up(you'll know) is so goddamned stunning.

Strand of Oaks - Last to Swim

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Copyrights - Planet Earth Nineteen Ninety Four


1994, fucked up on Listerine
Smoked anything we got our hands on
Loved anyone we got our lips on
Made excuses to not like anything
But we wore the world out anyway


A friend of mine is getting married tomorrow. I'm standing up on his side. I just got a promotion, and am starting to look into graduate school. I've got friends who are in graduate school, friends starting their careers, friends married, friends engaged... We're all growing up too fast, and sometimes the only clarity I get is in three chord songs about the past, and how things are changing.

The Copyrights are a pop-punk band from Carbondale, IL, and and this song is from their 2007 album "Make Sound". I bought it while I was living in Alaska from Vinyl Collective, listened to it once or twice, thought "Eh, this is catchy enough." I mostly settled on "Kids of the Black Hole" and never really listened to anything else off it. "Planet Earth Nineteen Ninety Four" came up on my iTunes tonight though, and I feel like it's worth sharing. Think of it as a reminder of your youth, and a reminder that the future isn't all mutual funds, bitching about your job while overpaying for drinks, or settling.

Here's the album version:

Monday, September 27, 2010

You are invited!


Feb 19, 2011 - The Metro. Tickets go on sale Friday.

Fuck yes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall(ing down), Getting Up

Fall's a weird season to try to predict. I feel like it's easy to hole up, throw on Joni Mitchell's "Blue" and drink coffee the whole time, wearing sweaters and scowling. Summer's over, winter's on the way.

No, I say! Fall is a season of renewal. You've got no high expectations, just crisp days full of sun, apple cider, corn mazes, time to make plans, time to execute them, long drives, time for yourself, for the people you love. This is a mix mostly for driving, but driving with people with the windows down and the cold air rushing in.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Metric w/Brie Larson - Black Sheep

Embedding is not allowed, apparently.

I was very impressed by the Scott Pilgrim movie adaptation's use of music, showcasing long running Canadian indie bands(Broken Social Scene, Metric), having the actors perform the music, and the way the music amplified the storytelling already present within the film.  Let's look closely at "Black Sheep" by Metric/The Clash at Demonhead as an example of this.

"Black Sheep" is a song designed to showcase Envy(Brie Larson) and also, subtly, Todd's(Superman) bass playing. Brie gets a breathy and sexy vocal line, Brandon(Superman's real name) gets a swaggering and dominant bass line. The Franz Ferdinand-ish bass line anchors the song, while the vocal line soars above.

Envy's played up as a threat to Scott and Ramona, but like the song, Envy's mostly window-dressing to Todd's muscle. I like that the bass line is simple, but commands attention. It's not overly flashy, but it's confident and undeniable as the main focus of the song. 

I'll also be honest, I think Brie's vocal performance might trump the Metric version that's actually on the soundtrack. The subtle electronic effects are awesome as all get out, and I think there's some slight emotional edge to the movie's version.  You can hear it at the link above. 

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is in theaters now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blind Guardian US Tour 2010!


Apparently there are opening acts, I don't fucking give a shit. Fresh off their strongest offering since "Nightfall in Middle Earth", Blind Guardian's touring the USA.

Dates!


11/19 Philadelphia, PA @ The Trocadero
11/20 New York, NY @ Nokia Theatre
11/21 Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
11/23 Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
11/25 Quebec City, QC @ Theatre Capitole
11/26 Toronto, ON @ Kool Haus
11/27 Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
11/29 Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
11/30 Minneapolis, MN @ The Cabooze
12/1 Winnipeg, MB @ The Garrick Centre
12/3 Calgary, AB @ MacEwan Hall Ballroom
12/4 Edmonton, AB @ The Starlite Room
12/6 Seattle, WA @ Showbox at The Market
12/8 San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
12/9 Los Angeles, CA @ Henry Fonda Theatre/The Music Box
12/10 Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
12/11 Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
12/12 Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
12/14 Dallas, TX @ Trees
12/15 Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
12/17 Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
12/18 St. Petersburg, FL @ The State Theatre (Florida Power Fest)
12/19 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
12/21 Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre
12/22 W. Springfield, VA @ Jaxx

Will be at the Chicago date, and I'm already growing my hair out in anticipation. Holy fuck yes.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Mountain Goats w/Kimya Dawson - Attention All Pickpockets/The Best Ever Death Metal Band out of Denton


I've always loved Kimya Dawson's soft, sweet vocals on "Attention All Pickpockets", and it's lovely to see her perform them live. Her addition to the end of "Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton" is charming and wonderful, and I shan't spoil it.

I asked the singer of Fishboy what the best ever death metal band out of Denton was, and he was only able to come up with some doom metal bands. We're now at the point where web-searching Denton death metal only comes up with this song. However, thanks to the obsessive weirdos behind the Encyclopaedia Metallum, we learn that there are a couple of recent contenders. Let's break it down:

Wrought of Obsidian
: These folks actually have two Encyclopaedia Metallum articles, as they used to go by Hyperion. They've got a new album out, and share a drummer with Devourment. They play polished death metal with a heavy melodic edge. It's not terrible, but I'm not impressed. There's no oopmh in the recording, no fire. Next!

The Cauldron Born: Man, I was so stoked for this based on the picture in the EM article! One man death/black metal band in sweatpants! Fuck yes! Unfortunately, there are some problems here. The myspace has the dude's location as Crosby, Texas. Disqualified!   However, this is actually some pretty ripping melo-death.  Minus points for the drum machine, major fucking bonus points for the furious vocals and the sweet meedly-meedly guitar riffs.  I'm actually really digging this right now.

Descendant: Holy shit. 'STACHE. Nothing else to see here.

Resigned to Fate: This is actually kind of rad! These guys remind me a lot of If Hope Dies or early All That Remains mixed with a bit of Creation is Crucifixion. Resigned to Fate plays the same sort of melodic metalcore that used to be huge in Massachusetts right before everyone decided to add over-produced clean singing. They mix it up a bit by adding some black metal-styled tremolo parts, and I'm digging this. This makes sense, since they share two members with Forever Mourne, a black metal band from Denton.  Not strictly death metal in the sense I was hoping, but hey, EM called this crust/thrash which is significantly more off the mark, so I'll allow it.

Rhome: Rhome is certainly the most brutal metal band out of Denton. Their vocalist switches between a piggish gurgle and a high-pitched screech while the band grinds competently behind him. Weirdly enough, this only applies to the first two tracks on the myspace. The rest sound like an entirely different, and much worse band. 

Overall, I'm thinking that Resigned to Fate might be the best band from ACTUAL Denton I've heard doing this short experiment. I really wanted to discover some filthy OSDM, but unfortunately, it looks like Denton is/was a hotbed of shitty melodeath worship. Resigned To Fate, good job! The Cauldron Born comes in at second, only because they appear to no longer really be from Denton anymore. Dude shreds.

Hail Satan.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bjork/Robyn - Hyperballad


I've never been a huge fan of Bjork, but a friend posted Robyn's recent performance of "Hyperballad" at the Polar Music Prize ceremony, and I took a moment to investigate the original. Despite my overwhelming love for Robyn, I really think the original might take the cake here.

It's a song about the rituals we create that transform the unbearable into the bearable. The protagonist throws objects off the side of a mountain in order to make it through her days. There is the implication of a abusive relationship, and the statement of semi-suicidal thoughts, but the bulk of the song is focused on the ritual and the purpose of the ritual, as one must be in order for any magic of this kind to work. The skittering and burbling electronic background of the original emphasize the ordered nature of the ritual, then exploding during the chorus which showcases the unbearable nature of the situation, and the demanded and desired effect of throwing car parts from a mountain("So I can feel happier, to be safe again with you."). This sort of subtle nicety is missing entirely from the symphonic version performed by Robyn, trading the unstable feeling for a shallower "epic" feel. Robyn's vocal performance also lacks the nuance of Bjork's unique vocal physicality, again robbing the song of it's depth.



Most people put the pain first, and then the salve comes later. Bjork understands that the most effective way to deal with pain is to head it off at the pass, to create a self that cannot be affected by events to come. Beautiful song, and it is unfortunate that Robyn's version does not do it justice.

Friday, September 3, 2010

BB + HD = 4eva


Still just about the best thing ever.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Unhearit

Here.

I get shit stuck in my head constantly. Today was, in order "Paparazzi" by Lady Gaga, "Umbrella" by Rihanna, "Giant Steps" by John Coltrane, and then "Orange Ball of Hate" by the Mountain Goats. This website is a godsend. 

Oh, my goodness. It just played "Spanish Flea"! 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Songs from Will Sheff

Watch 'em here.

Some thoughts:

"Walked Out on a Line" sounds a lot more country influenced than a lot of Okkervil River's stuff. You can mostly hear it in the high falsetto parts. The lyrics seem more surreal than the usual grounded-but-eloquent, and I'm not sure how much I like it. I get that the song is about doing quite a lot of drugs, but I always loved the stark simplicity of Sheff's lyrics, the elegant way they disemboweled you. This song seems a little bit more obvious, I suppose. It's pretty enough, though to allow me to overlook some of my reservations.

"Lay of the Last Survivor" is more in line with the songs he wrote for "The Stand-Ins". The little wordless whine he does later in the song is more yelp than musical, but it works. The crescendo near the end is effective despite being a well-worn trick in the Sheff toolbox.

The two songs are enjoyable, and I'd love to hear them properly worked up, and recorded with the whole band, but they're not as exciting as I hoped. There's an oomph that's missing, be it the weight of the full band, or the more impressionistic lyrics resonating less. We'll see how things shape up, I suppose.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kid Dynamite - K05-0564(live at This is Hardcore)


Just ordered a copy of the This is Hardcore pressing of the Kid Dynamite discography. So. Fucking. Stoked.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Codeseven Reunion Show/Tour


In my young young days, I caught Codeseven opening for Love Lost but Not Forgotten, and Hopesfall. I want to say as I Lay Dying might have played as well, but I think we left during their set. It was a weird show, but I remember Codeseven had just released their album "The Rescue" and kids were bummed that they went from melodic screamy stuff, and were all into spacey rock. I fucking loved "The Rescue", and spent their whole set rapt with attention. LLBNF also were great.

Back to the point. Codeseven recently just played a reunion show, footage from which can be seen above. They're also doing a reunion tour opening for Circa Survive and dredg. Dates are here.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Thermals - I Don't Believe You


I thought this video was weirdly creepy upon my first viewing, but subsequent viewings just make me think that being friends with the Thermals results in them hiding tiny speakers all over your flat, and waking you up with catchy poppy punk songs. This is a catchy song. The Thermals seem like dicks.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Middle School Dance Night


Last time I saw Matt and Kim they inexplicably covered this. The grown-up frat boys and their girlfriends loved it, but were less charmed by M&K's actual songs.

I do really like this song. I have vivid memories of super awkwardly dancing to this in the cafeteria as the girl I had a six-year long crush on danced with my grade school rival. Going to school in New Hampshire was sometimes exactly like a teen TV drama.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rachel Bloom - Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury


As a fan of Ray Bradbury, and power-pop, and silly songs, I could not be more amused by this.

This seems like a good time to mention Jesus H. Christ & The 4 Hornsmen of the Apocalypse and THEIR raunchy power-pop track "Connecticut's for Fucking". It is also pretty great.

The bass player from Bridge and Tunnel pointed this out to me, so make sure to check out their upcoming tour with the Gaslight Anthem and Fake Problems! Here's some dates:

Monday 9/20/2010 Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL
Tuesday 9/21/2010 The Vogue, Indianapolis, IN
Wednesday 9/22/2010 Bogart's, Cincinnati, OH
Thursday 9/23/2010 House of Blues, Cleveland, OH
Sunday 9/26/2010 Northern Lights, Clifton Park, NY
Monday 9/27/2010 The National, Richmond, VA

The Wrens - Crescent

New song from the Wrens! Do I really need to say anything more?

Here's some background: It's from a compilation called "Dear New Orleans", which is a benefit album. "Proceeds from the sale of this album will be granted to New Orleans based nonprofits working to support and sustain the region's unique musical and cultural traditions, and to protect and restore vital environmental and community resources for future generations."(taken from the Dear New Orleans website) There are apparently quite a few unreleased tracks on here from indie notables, so it's definitely worth a gander. In addition, there appears to be a cover of "Kick Out the Jams" featuring Erin McKeown. Interesting.

Listen to the new Wrens' song here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cap'n Jazz - Live at Wicker Park Fest


I was lucky enough to have two chances to catch Cap'n Jazz on their reunion tour this summer. The first time was at a sold-out Bottom Lounge, with Tounges(the worst band I've seen in a very long time), and Gauge opening. It was great to hear those songs finally, but the set went a little too long, and I was slightly cranky from the heat and the close quarters.

Their set at Wicker Park Fest solved all my minor quibbles, and in doing so, was one of the best shows I've seen in a long while. It was a lovely night, and Cap'n Jazz was just on top of their game. Each new song was greeted with cheers, and when I looked around, everyone was singing along. There was more dancing than standing still, and the night air was cool enough to keep everyone from being drenched in sweat. The set ended up being about 45 minutes, and they ran through "Basil's Kite", "Ooh Do I Love You", "Oh Messy Life", their cover of "Take on Me", and a number of other songs from their expansive catalog. Great night.

In other Cap'n Jazz reading, The Reader has a great interview with Tim Kinsella about his feelings on this tour.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Blind Guardian - At The Edge of Time


German power metal is the best kind of power metal. Blind Guardian is the best kind of German power metal. At least, they used to be. Their penchant for combining epic riffs and over-the-top vocals with the aggression and speed of thrash catapulted them head and shoulders over nerd metal crap like Rhapsody. As of late, though, their albums have been over-produced and overwrought. To say I had low expectations for this album would honestly be an understatement.

It's pretty fucking good. The album opens with "Sacred Worlds" which is a rattlesnake of a song, starting out as a fast-paced orchestral thrasher, and turning into a half-time epic ballad with the occasional death growl. This kind of experimentation seemed half-baked on "A Twist In the Myth", but gels much more naturally here. "Tanelorn(Into the Void)" and "Ride into Obsession" offer some of the speediest moments on the album and particularly impressive vocal performances from Hansi Kürsch. His penchant for multi-tracking his vocals is in full force here, but man, it sounds fucking fantastic and so epic. "Control the Divine" has a chorus that is straight out of the Klaus Meine playbook, and rules as a result. There some songs that aren't as much fun, like the obligatory folk song "Curse My Name", and the weirdly proggy/poppy "Valkyries", but the majority of this album is head-banging good times.

Blind Guardian seems to have gone back to their roots with this release, incorporating speed metal much more prominently, but still acknowledging their growth as a band, skillfully utilizing additional instrumentation, and some more popppy song structures(see "War of the Thrones" and "Control the Divine" especially). This is certainly the strongest and most savage work Blind Guardian has done since "Nightfall In Middle Earth". Well worth your time.

Blind Guardian - Ride Into Obsession

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Seidr - Cortez the Killer Tour EP


Credit: I found out about this awesome EP from the fine folks over at HSS. They've been a little quieter than usual lately, but still the best source for strange, kvlt and unfathomable metal.

Seidr is an Norse term for sorcery, for witchcraft. Seidr is a band from Lousville, KY that practices "ritual doom". Seidr is a band that recently played Chicago and I fucking missed them because I only just became aware of them.

This is a two song EP featuring a reworked version of the song "Gullveig", and a cover of "Cortez the Killer", originally by Neil Young. "Gullyveig" is a harrowing 11 minute sludge fest, with nice bits of melody peaking through in the guitars from time to time. The vocals are appropriately harsh and evoke images of criminals gurgling their ragged defiance while being hung. It's the contrast of the sometimes sweetness of the riffs and the oppressive nature of the vocals and drumming that makes this really interesting to me.

"Cortez the Killer" is essentially a doom song already, and Seidr do the song justice. The drumming is much doomier than the original, leaving plenty of space between each drum hit. The song starts clean and spacey, and ends with screams, echoing on and on as the guitar mournfully picks out the melody. What a killer, what a killer.

Did I mention that this is free? Yeah, go check it out. It's pretty great.

Head over to HSS to download the EP.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Good Luck - Acoustic Performance from 07/25/10


Southside DIY has posted videos from a recent acoustic Good Luck performance on their European tour. It's a smattering of songs from "Into Lake Griffy", their recent demo release, and a Weakerthans' cover("Confessions of a Futon-Revolutionist"). It's a good chance to see how strong their songwriting really is. Without the distractions of amplification and heaving masses of sweaty bodies, their charming and cleverly simple songs stand entirely on their own merits. Good Luck remains one of Our City is Burning's favorite bands, and this series of videos only cements that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Robyn - Hang With Me(video)



yep. just going to post about robyn from now on. so wonderful.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mythos and Maps

A while ago I stumbled across a Google map, exhaustively notated with every place John Darnielle has ever mentioned in a song(minus the Moon, I think). The Mountain Goats effortlessly conjure places both exotic and mundane, and seeing them all laid out in front of you is thrilling.

Place plays a huge part in Bruce Springsteen's work as well, but he conjures his own universe, one were "guitars flash like switchblades", and everyone knows who the Chicken Man is. The Mountain Goats ground their struggles in strange names, familiar places, and Bruce writes of the New Jersey that should be.

Here's your guide to that place.

Now someone just needs to map the Hold Steady.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Robyn - Hang With Me



Eek! New single from Body Talk Pt. II!

Real talk:

This is fantastic. Yes, it is a re-working of the acoustic song from Body Talk Pt. I. I love this too much to complain about not getting an entirely new song. The shimmering synths, the upbeat chorus, the way that the song fucking burns into your brain after one listen... Good god. Between Robyn and Janelle Monae, this has been a fucking great year for pop music.

Speaking of Miss Monae, surely you remember her transcedent Letterman performance? Yeah, Robyn just did one of those too.


God, she's so fucking good.

News stolen from Pitchfork, opinions are mine.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Planes Mistaken for Stars reunion show?

Seems that way.

This isn't their first reunion(they played a three song set at the Fest last year), but still, this is exciting news. One more chance for a last dance.

I've got no more details, I just noticed this browsing through Sub-T's site, and can't find anything about it on No Idea's site, or on PMFS's myspace.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pitchfork.

I am going to the Pitchfork Music Festival for exactly one reason:


I am so excited. I will be joined by Wilde.Dash from Pop Candy Arcade, and we are going to have so much fun. El-P and Liars should be good times, too. Sunscreen ahoy!

This is a good time to mention that if you're not listening to "Body Talk pt. 1", you're a fool.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

redwing blackbird


Redwing Blackbird are from New Hampshire, which immediately endears them to my heart. They play gentle and beautiful folk music, which also immediately endears them to my heart. They've just released a new album, "That River Skinned a Bear", and the songs on their myspace are enchanting. The clear standout is "Argentina", and the live version above is absolutely amazing.

Redwing Blackbird will be playing two Chicago shows this Friday, the 17th.

5 PM show is at 1037 N. Damen, apt 3.

9 PM show is at the Ottoman Empire. I will hopefully be at this one.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Austin Lucas and The Wooden Sky @ Ronny's

Chicago is in the middle of monsoon season. I spent most of this evening huddling in a co-worker's house, playing Left 4 Dead 2 and listening to tornado sirens. Luckily, by 8 pm the storm had passed, leaving curiously empty streets. I made my way to Ronny's(a small dive venue on N. California) and after a slight mis-communication with the door-person, settled in for a night of country-tinged goodness.

The first two bands were solid, but entirely unremarkable. The first seemed to be made of high-schoolers entirely inspired by their dad's record collection. They were much more talented than I expected, but often suffered from wildly conflicting dynamics. Their drummer drowned out the rest of the band far too often for me to bother remembering their name. With practice though, they could definitely make something of themselves. (Oh! They were called Pilcher's List. Internet detective work ahoy!)

The second act was (I think) one of the singers of local Chicago group, The House Gloria Vanderbilt, and she played a charming, but lyrically clunky set of singer-songwritery stuff. I didn't catch her name.

I wasn't expecting a thing from the Wooden Sky, and they blew me away. They opened with a stripped down version of "North Dakota" off their album "When Lost at Sea", and I was hooked from then on. The Wooden Sky plays that sort of hyper-literate country-tinged indie rock that Canada seems to have an almost monopoly on. Their songs are short stories of desperation, of trying to make good, of failures, of successes born of failure. In their music I hear traces of The Band, Bruce Springsteen, the sort of dark country the Handsome Family has mastered, and the indie brightness of fellow Canadian Rock Plaza Central. They were entrancing, melodies shimmering over gorgeous guitar work. Later, I chatted with the lead singer briefly, and he told me they're normally a much louder band, and they adapted for the space. It was a gorgeously intimate set, and perhaps that was part of it, and perhaps it was partly the amount of people, but I honestly believe they'd manage the same sort of trick in a bigger room. They were just a great surprise, and I urge you to check them out.

Austin Lucas bullied everyone into gathering almost awkwardly close to him before he would begin his set. He was joined by a banjo/violin player, and Christina Wagner. Christina and Austin have a tour split out, which I believe you can only pick up at these shows. They played without the aid of amplification, and as a result the set was tenderly beautiful. Austin has one of the most expressive and emotive voices going these days, and seeing him utilize it so effectively in such a small space was tremendous. It's amazing to me that he hasn't been more of a crossover hit, as he essentially plays country music with a bit of a bluegrass twang. It's unfortunate that his audience is mostly punk kids, as I think he'd do great with the type of crowd that adores Bloodshot Records. I should clarify, unfortunate only in the sense that more people should appreciate his talent, not unfortunate that he appeals to punk folks. "Go West" was the highlight of the set, as everyone in attendance sang along with the chorus, creating the sort of show where everyone forgets the line between performer and audience. We're all just people, connected by this one song, and it was a really magical moment.

Do your best to catch the Wooden Sky and Austin Lucas on tour. They're really wonderful artists, and deserve your time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chicago, I love you.


Tonight there was a really great thunderstorm, and it reminded me of this song. This performance is oh so charming. It's a shame Chris blew his voice out, but everything must pass.

I jumped in puddles, and soaked my sandals.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bruce Springsteen - No Surrender(live, featuring Brian Fallon)


This video should be entitled "Brian Fallon is the luckiest boy in the whole wide world". I have such a huge smile on my face right now.

Portal live at MDF 2010


Here's a pretty solid video of Portal from MDF. You won't get the whole effect for sure, but it's not a bad document. Thanks are owed to Wreck Your World for filming.

MDF Day 3

Sorry this has taken so long.  I've been swamped with work lately, and a couple of personal issues I won't bore you with.

Sunday was the day I fell in love with MDF.  I felt energized almost the entire day, pumped up by the tremendous amount of awesome metal that happened.

We showed up in time to catch one song of Surroundings, who sounded good enough, but not exciting enough to be super bummed about missing the rest of their set.  Krallice played outside, and sounded pretty good, but couldn't match the sound they conjured up last year.  I'm sure part of this was due to them playing on the crappy uphill stage.  Gorod was the next band I remember(they took the set times off the MDF site, so I'm super doing this from memory) and they were fun as fuck. Their Necrophagist-style tech-death metal came across really well, despite only being able to hear one guitar, and they were pretty energetic for playing in the harsh sunlight.  I think Grindlink was next, and they were fucking mindblowing.  They played all of their new cd "Orphans", and goddamn, did they destroy.  Jon Chang was manic, jumping and shrieking and shaking.

Here's where my temporal sense gets hazy.

I remember watching a bit of Pentagram, and enjoying it, but not being blown away.  I remember going to the convenience store and coming out right as Eyehategod started playing.  They sounded so fucking good from behind the stage that I braved the torturous sun(It was right at the perfect level to obscure your vision) to watch them.  Filth oozed from their amps, and Mike Williams was as caustic as you'd dream of.  Brilliant set.  They'll be playing the Empty Bottle this weekend with Nachtmystium.  You should go.  I remember watching part of N2002 and enjoying it, though there were guitar issues.  I remember Captain Cleanoff being furious and fast.  I remember Black Breath being fun as fuck, even if the singer seems a little full of himself.  I remember watching part of Entombed from all the way in the back and being kind of bored. 

I know Converge was the last band we saw, and I remember being thrown across the pit by a fat dude.  Converge played a incendiary set, focusing mostly on songs from their new album.  They were fantastic.  The grump in me wishes they had played some older stuff, but that's not too big of a complaint.

I could not tell you anything about bands we only watched one song from or bands we sat in the grass for.  If I didn't mention them, we didn't see them. 

MDF was great, and then we drove home, and then I was sick for a week and a half.  Shit takes it's toll, believe me.  Good times, though.  Good times.

Blog the Music Industry!

Asian Man Records are re-releasing the back catalog of Bomb the Music Industry!  They're offering a deal where you can get all 5 lps for $40.  If I didn't already own all of them, I'd jump on this deal.  In addition, Jeff has released a new acoustic song.  Check out the deal/song here.  Bomb the Music Industry will be playing Reggie's(yuck, but better than Ronny's) on July 26th.  I should be there.  We shall see.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

white whale, holy grail


I have been searching for the self-titled Portrait 10-inch almost since I started buying records(almost ten years, at this point). In freshmen year of high school, I got desperately into Saetia, and through them, Portrait. Portrait played an extremely emotive style of hardcore, dealing mostly with interpersonal relationships. Their most distinctive characteristic was their use of a viola player. Beauty in the chaos. I found their last seven-inch at my local record store(Bull Moose in Salem, NH) and played the shit of it. It's still one of my favorite records that I own. The 10-in commanded impressive prices on the 'Bay when I was in high school, and so I resigned myself to never owning a copy.

Today I went down to Reckless Records(Wicker Park branch) to pick up a used copy of "Cold Blue" by the Hope Conspiracy. As I poked through the used records, I saw this staring back at me. I quickly glanced at the back, saw the song titles I hoped to see, and now I own a record I never thought I'd own. Fuck yes.

Here's a live clip from YouTube.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hanalei - One Big Night

Hanalei(Brian Moss of The Ghost, and Olehole)'s new album is streaming in full over at Punknews.org. He's got a way with words that just makes me swoon. Quiet, twinkly indie-rock that smells like summer. Enjoy!

Until next time, turn your tires towards the street, and stay sweet.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

MDF Day 2

We showed up late on Saturday, and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at McDonalds instead of watching Howl. While we consumed our sausage biscuit sandwiches, Watain walked in. Watching a small child watch Watain was ENDLESSLY hilarious, as apparently they wear leather vests reading "BLACK METAL MILITIA" on the back all the time. Live the gimmick, friends.
We showed up in time for Fuck the Facts, and I thought they were absolutely tremendous. Their singer shrieks pure venom, and their mix of melodic guitar parts and rending grindcore was a lot of fun to watch.
Ingrowing was fast and grindy and great.
Obliteration was good. My cohorts LOVED this, and I thought it was ok. I dug the shit of their cd when we listened to it on the ride home, but for some reason I wasn't really feeling it live. I might have just been overtired. Saturday was a really exhausting day for me, even that early in the day.
We watched a bit of the Chasm who were on the shitty side-stage, and as a result, their sound was terrible. I wandered into a little bit of Jucifer, which was much more intense than I expected. Their singer has great great great vocals. The performance wasn't up to the level of her screaming though, and so we wandered elsewhere.
Impaled was tremendous amounts of fun. Costumes, stage banter about the "GORE CORPS", etc etc etc.
Melechesh had sound issues, and set-up issues, but were great fun. I adore that kind of melodic death metal.
Repulsion was tremendous amounts of fun. One of the members of Cretin(Marissa) guested on the last couple of songs, which was great to see. Lots of stage dives!
Asphyx and Autopsy were both solid, but I'm not a huge fan of either. Asphyx was on the shitty stage, and their sound suffered hugely as a result. They didn't match the thunder of last year at all. Autopsy was good, but played for far too long.
Wolfbrigade was crust-fest. They were a lot of fun when everyone knew the words, less fun when I had to avoid choking on dreadlocks.
We've touched on Portal previously. Incredible.

I apologize for the brevity of these reviews. I'm doing it all from memory at this point, and MDF is just such an exhausting event that even trying to recall details is tiring.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Robbie Fulks & Nora O'Connor - So Much Wine(The Handsome Family cover)


I went to see Robbie Fulks and Nora O'Connor last Monday, and it was beautiful, and funny, and incredible. I highly recommend that you check out one of his shows at the Hideout in the weeks to come. This is a cover of a Handsome Family song and it is so beautiful.

MDF Day 1

This is going to be brief, I am exhausted and mostly just killing time until my co-travelers wake up. I really really want to shower, and one of them is sleeping next to the bathroom. Such are the sacrifices we've made.

Day One:
The Communion opened, and played a tremendous set. One of their guitarists recently passed, and the emotion(not to be crass) was palpable.
Putrescence was unremarkable, though their singer was entertaining.
Defeatist were furious. Their sound mix was muddy, which was upsetting, but not deal-breaking.
Tombs was solid, but didn't impress me overly. I don't care for them on record, so perhaps that was a large factor in my enjoyment.
Nazxul was quite enjoyable, playing a blistering set of symphonic black metal that suffered from some sound problems, but overcame it with rage and theatrics. The sound resolved as the set when on, and near the end, they were unfuckablewith.
Jesus Crost was tremendous. They are a two person grind band from the Netherlands, and they are incredible. They had an absolutely huge sound for only two people, and they were very very tight. They also had huge infectious smiles in their faces, and at one point, the drummer used his sticks to make an inverted cross. I really enjoyed this.
Malignancy was fun, but played on the worst stage. The side stage is at the top of a hill, and has shitty sound. The singer's stage banter was great.
I caught a little bit of Watain, but it was so crowded I couldn't see a thing. What I heard wasn't that impressive.
Gorguts was mighty, and crushed any of my doubts. Colin looked like he was having the most fun ever.
Gride was fun enough, but a hard transition after the technicality of Gorguts.
Coffins was too crowded to see anything, and the music didn't grab me, though I do enjoy them on record. We jetted after a couple songs and then went back to crash. Exhausting day.

Brief Portal Review(apologies to Alan Moore)

Portal closed tonight's day of metal, and I am almost without words to describe their set. Their performance was a singular event, one for which I have few reference points.

Part of my issue with most death metal is the weirdly strict adherence to a certain set of rules. Something about mid-to-fast-paced anti-Christianity screeds leaves me cold, and odes to slicing open a woman's womb leave me colder(Not in an awesome way, but in a bored way).

Portal invokes none of these cliches. They are the first death metal band I've seen live and left feeling unsettled and shaken, bordering on legitimately scared. Their show felt like the kind of thing you'd walk away from, with a new understanding of some kind of Ur-langauge, and a new willingness to examine the way human beings are put together(with a knife). The wall of noise is unrelenting, and the faceless beings creating it inspire no sympathy, no sense of humanity. At times The Conductor's eyes appeared to shimmer in the light, but this was merely the stage lights reflecting off his Black Bishop's hat. These were not humans, but instruments of beings beyond mortal ken. Raising the horns seems pointless in the face of all this bleakness, Satan a humanistic conceit of a self-absorbed society. Instead, I raised my hand, palm-upward, fingers curled like the tentacles of the Great Old Ones, in praise of their eventual reclamation of our spoiled world. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fthagn!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Maryland Deathfest 2010 is very fucking nigh.

Our City is Burning is currently reporting from Baltimore, MD. My comrades in metal(Andrew, Ryan, and Idol Threat) are currently at the pre-fest, which I decided to not attend in favor of saving my stamina, and my ears. Instead, I am sitting here, drinking the fanciest of root beers, listening to early Alkaline Trio, and playing GTA: Chinatown Wars. Our City is Burning fucking loves GTA: Chinatown Wars. Our City is Burning is also digging this gnarly thunderstorm.

Let's talk about the fest.

Tomorrow is honestly a pretty light day. I'm excited for Malignancy, Nazxul, Watain, Trap Them, Gorguts, and Coffins. I'm a little worried about the black metal bands since both Mayhem and Absu lacked the proper punch(sound and ambiance wise) playing outside last year, and both Nazxul and Watain will be performing on outside stages. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, however, so perhaps nature will accent the rage and provide the proper backdrop. The rain will probably also wash away the pig's blood.

Saturday is filled with bands I am either ambivalent towards, or don't particularly like. I am excited to finally see Melechesh, and the Chasm. Asphyx should be a highlight as well. I'm not familiar with Autopsy or Repulsion but hopefully they will overcome the whole "not being bands really" business. Everyone is my group is really excited for Portal, but I honestly feel pretty hit or miss with them. Impetuous Ritual(Portal side-project) is fucking great, but the main band is something can only get into sometimes. I imagine the costumes will be worth the price of admission.

Sunday is really the day I'm most excited about, and the day I will probably spend the most money. Gorod, Gridlink, Krallice, Black Breath, Eyehategod, Nirvania2002, Converge, and From Ashes Rises should all be tremendous. I've been waiting literally years to see Eyehategod, and my excitement level could not be higher.

I am excited for the whole shebang, but I do think I was more excited last year. I was coming off a six month show drought, and was listening to a lot more metal back then. Currently, I am listening to pretty much only the new Robyn album, and I just found out she's playing the first day of Pitchfork. Apparently I am going to Pitchfork? I guess seeing El-P and Robyn is worth $40. Mergh.

Anyway. Deathfest. I'll be trying to write thoughts up, but I make no promises. I get pretty fucking overwhelmed pretty quick. I'm hoping for some new shirts, some new vinyl, some new tapes, and some awesome fucking memories. I am excited.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Janelle Monae - Tightrope(Live on Letterman)



Label this under "Things Our City is Burning" slept on. It took repeated insistence from Pop Candy Arcade and a very good friend of mine to finally give Janelle Monae a chance, and they were right, I should have gone to see her at Schuba's, and I should have been listening to her for months. I was a hater for no real good reason, and I was dreadfully wrong. Her debut album "The ArchAndroid" is tremendous fun, skipping from genre to genre gleefully, and gracefully. This video is her performing the lead single from that album on the Letterman Show, and it is tremendous.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Isis Broke Up

Seven years too late, amirite?

Because I could give some fucks about this news, here's John Darnielle at his ranting prophet best, covering Furniture Huschle's "Terror Song". I remember when this used to be a live staple for the Mountain Goats, and here's a particularly great version.

The Mountain Goats - Terror Song(Furniture Huschle cover)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Summer in the City

Chicago rules in the summer, and Chicago rules in the summer because of street festivals.  Last year I saw Justin Townes Earle, William Elliot Whitmore, and Rock Plaza Central(twice!) for $5 a pop.  Let's take a look at what you can look forward to this summer. More exciting shit is sure to be announced.

Do-Division Street Fest(June 5th - 6th)
Not a whole lot here to be excited about. The Good Life might be worth seeing if you're a big Tim Kasher fan.

Metronome Celebration(June 12th - 13th)
Sunday is the day to go to this sucker. The Arrivals, Pegboy, and Deals Gone Bad? Sounds like a plan, man. Also, akron/family should be intriguing.

Taste of Randolph Fest(June 18th - June 20th)
Fuck yes. Superchunk, Lucero, Mucca Pazza, The Waco Brothers, what the fuck else do you need? Goddamn, I'm excited for this weekend.

West Fest Chicago(July 10th - 11th)
Bloodiest and Fucked Up both are playing this bad boy, which means this'll be loud as fuck. I'm excited to finally get a chance to see both these bands. I expect great things.

A lot of the street fests haven't announced their musical acts yet, but honestly, I can't imagine a more exciting show than Superchunk. Pretty stoked for that.

a song for dio

Last night, The Mountain Goats played a solo set at the American Theater Company in Chicago, and I was luckily able to attend. It was a tremendous show. Robbie Fulks opened, and he was funny, and amazingly talented on guitar. He's currently playing every Monday at the Hideout, and I think you all should go. His soloing reminded me of Leo Kottke, and his songs were bitter, and biting, and raucous country tunes. John from the Mountain Goats came on afterwards, and proceeded to play pretty much every song I wanted to hear. He played two songs from the new album, and everything else was from "The Sunset Tree" and before. I've embedded two songs from the recording I made last night. I apologize for the sub-par quality, I used a tiny mp3 player's microphone. It really was a one-of-a-kind show.

Set-list(stolen from therainechild over at the Mountain Goats forums):

I've Got the Sex
Have To Explode
Alpha Incipiens
From TG&Y
The Boys are Back in Town
Grendel's Mother
Matthew 25:21
Love, Love, Love
Going to Georgia
Dance Music
Part of "World's Greatest"
Going to Maine
Color in Your Cheeks
Jenny
02-75
Alpha Negative
Tulsa Imperative (A close friend requested this, and I am beyond glad he played it.)
Cotton
Up the Wolves
Against Pollution
The Sign
This Year

New Song
John 4:16
Cubs in Five
Rainbow in the Dark(in memory of Ronnie James Dio)
Golden Boy
Twin Human Highway Flares
Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton

The Mountain Goats - From TG&Y(live)



The Mountain Goats - Rainbow in the Dark(Dio cover)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Life's a never ending wheel


thank you. requiescat in pace.

It's no better to be safe than sorry


A-Ha just played their last Chicago show ever on Thursday. "Take on Me" is still a fantastic song. Cap'n Jazz will be playing reunion shows in Chicago July 17 and 18.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Women's Basketball - An Octopus, But Like, An Octopus With Massive Wings And Junk

Somewhere between Atom and his Package and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone is Women's Basketball. This is low-fi pop music with rambling lyrics about going on facebook drunk, or calling people you date because there's no-one else to hang out with.

That's all you get. I'm going to go play SWAT 4 and listen to the new Robyn album.

Go here to download.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Best Thing I've Heard All Year


Yeah. I hope the rest of the cd is this much fun.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

These are truly the last days

Metal Haven is still not closed, but their Farewell show was last night. I stopped by their premises on Friday, and picked up Malignancy's "Inhuman Grotesqueries" and Withered "Folie Circulaire" on vinyl for about $18. I've briefly listened to the Withered, and I love it, but mostly I just want to listen to songs that sound like this:


Forest City Lovers are a band from Canada, and I have been in love with them for over two years. They provided the soundtrack to many a walk in Alaska. Something about their wistful and pleasant indie-folk just fit perfectly with that small town, with wanderings through the forests, to coffee at the bagel shop. They are working on a new album, and you can check out a song from it here:

Friday, April 30, 2010

Various Artists - Wish I'd Kept A Scrapbook

I was talking to a friend of mine at work yesterday. Normally we talk about scuzzy punk rock, and low-fi black metal, and yesterday he broached the topic of indie-pop. I fucking love indie-pop(c86, sarah records, k records, all of it) so much, and I brought up Tullycraft as my favorite example of indie-pop or twee or whatever you want to call it. They're currently inactive as a band, though two of the members still play together as The Special Places(They have have a cover of "Enter Sandman" on youtube, and it is goshdarn adorable. Watch it here.)

Back to Tullycraft. While they are inactive currently, a gentleman named Lee Grutman is currently in the process of creating a tribute album, assembling some of the best in the current indie-pop scene. I'm swooning to the idea of Fishboy and Math and Physics Club playing Tullycraft songs. He's got a Kickstarter page up, and they're only $90 away from making this happen. Check it out here. Donate! Tribute albums are great for mix tapes.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Good Luck - Demonstration 2010


I let out an inadvertent squeal of glee when I discovered this EP existed. Good Luck is one of my favorite current bands, and I knew they were working on new stuff, but I didn't expect it to be out so soon. I also am glad to report I am not let down in the slightest.

God, this band is just so amazing. They don't deviate tremendously from the sound established on their full-length(Into Lake Griffy), but this is not a band treading water, either. Two loud songs, two soft songs, two songs sung by Matty, two songs sung by Ginger, three originals, one Prince cover. I would argue the two soft songs show a side of Good Luck we haven't really seen before, where urgency isn't sacrificed for dynamics. The lovely noodly guitar playing is still intact, and Ginger's powerful bass playing is just as impressive as it's been before. This is absolutely perfect summer music, for porches and bike rides and picnics.

The EP can be picked up at their shows, or digitally here. It's a pay as you like download.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend Nachos - Bleed

Weekend Nachos has just posted the title track from their upcoming EP on their myspace. It'll be coming out on Relapse Records, and man, this track seems like a pretty big stylistic shift for the band. The first two minutes are slooooow sludge, and then the band kicks into a different gear, but still, doesn't seem as fast as most of their grindy early work, settling instead for almost a moshy NYHC tempo, much like songs from "Unforgivable". The song kicks back into doom/sludge territory near the end, channeling Khanate or something. The whole thing is 7 minutes long. I'm interested to hear the rest of the EP, but it seems like a pretty big departure.

Lemuria signs to Bridge Nine Records

You can read more about it here. I think it's a rad move on both their parts. Lemuria gets a little more label-oomph behind them, and Bridge Nine signs a band that I don't hate. I also think this means Lemuria and Agnostic Front should tour together. The article also mentions that Lemuria is apparently recording their next album with J. Robbins, which is exciting news.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

S - I'm Not As Good At It As You


Finally! For sale here. Listen to the whole album here.

I fucking adore this album. Jenn Ghetto plays sparse, painfully fragile songs based around shimmery guitar, and layered vocals. Her simple words are often transformed into indicators of tremendous emotional stress, heavy weights almost too much to bear. "This is Love" is perhaps my favorite example of this, utilizing both repetition and stream of consciousness to achieve a sort of intense desperation. The song opens slowly with a slow guitar solo, and then becomes a galloping rush, Jenn spitting out words as quickly as she can. She slows down only for the parts that are repeated, which sound like she's trying to convince both herself, and the subject of the song. The stream of consciousness parts only enhance the unstable ground the narrator finds herself on. "We should take off all our clothes, I'm sure you're the one for me," comes off as drunk recklessness, a last ditch effort to try to avoid the tawdry reality of the situation. A one-night stand becomes a settlement of sorts, even as the narrator attempts to convince herself that it has the potential for something more, something beautiful. The subtle use of music to enhance the subject matter of her songs is what really elevates Jenn Ghetto. "Through It All" for instance, repeats the title over and over, each time in a higher register, culminating in a lovely falsetto. When Jenn hits that last "through it all" the fragile nature of her hope is a physical thing. It is a fragile hope, but hope none the less. It's telling that while most of the album is unflichingly about human weakness, about the shitty ways people act, this song offers a tenuous light in the midst of so much darkness.

S has created a beautiful, ghost-like album, and I most strongly encourage you all to buy it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Justin Townes Earle - Atlantic City


Justin Townes Earle covering Bruce Springsteen? Sign me the fuck up. As covers go, it's fairly faithful, but it's still neat to hear one of my current favorites sing a song that I love a whole bunch. This is part of the A.V. Club's cover songs project. Ted Leo, Cursive, the Alkaline Trio and others have already contributed, I'm excited to see who else they rope in.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Feel and Create In New Ways




Just wow.

EDIT: I am less impressed with these since I have learned that most of these are not actually chiptune covers, but more midi conversions of pre-existing guitar tabs. I don't know exactly how these two were made, but apparently most of the YouTube "8-bit metal covers" are created by converting tabs. Bummer. I was all excited that there were chiptune nerds releasing metal covers.

Deathwish Inc - MMX Spring Sampler


Deathwish Inc has put out their spring sampler, and you can download it here. It contains new music from Integrity, Starkweather, Killing the Dream, Narrows, and shit-tons of other awesome bands. From a brief perusal, I can tell you that pretty much everything on here rules, with tremendous status being awarded to the "Let's out Hope Con the Hope Con"-style Narrows track, the venom filled song Killing the Dream contributed, and the wonderfully disturbed nine-minute long Starkweather piece.

Gods and Queens - Untitled #2

Gods and Queens are in the process of releasing a new EP, which is exciting. It's currently up for streaming here. Sons Of Vesta is releasing it on a one-sided 12-inch with screen-printing on the other side. Sons of Vesta is an Italian based label, so expect this to cost more than you'd like.

For those not familiar, Gods and Queens is the latest project from a Mr. Jamie Getz(formerly of lickgoldensky). They play noisy post-hardcore, and on this release display a tendency towards the unsettling. "Untitled 10" is my favorite, with the lurching guitar, and the way Jaime switches between a croon and a howl at the drop of a hat. The whole album evokes that sort of creepy breed of post-punk/indie rock that the 90's birthed, but definitely isn't just a love-letter to older music, this is original and interesting. I'm glad to see they're still active. Aimee Collet Argote of Des Ark provides additional vocals and guitar.

Gods and Queens put out a full-length about two years ago on Robotic Empire that is also worth your time and dollars. I picked it up for $5 a little bit ago, with some searching, I can't imagine you'd have to pay much more than that either.

Jamie Getz also fucking LOVES ultra-violent wrestling. I had an long e-mail conversation with him about it, with hopes of publishing it in my zine, but we never finished it. Definitely knows his shit, though, even though we disagree on a lot(I'm much more of a BJPW guy, he rocks the CZW, different strokes for different folks).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Best news of 2010?


Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Andrew WK - My Destiny

In other Andrew WK news here's a song he supposedly wrote when he was 17, and overwhelmingly in love with a girl. After hearing this song, she filled a restraining order. I'm not entirely surprised, since it's creepy as fuck. I would be surprised if it actually is a song from when he's 17, since his voice sounds exactly like it does now. Another mysterious mystery from Mr. WK.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Andrew WK - I'm a Vagabond



I think this is better than most of the tracks I've heard from the new Hold Steady album.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bird from the Abyss - II


In an order from Deathsmile Records, I found a strange envelope containing a booklet with strange rune-like markings, and a cd. According to the cover, I was now in possession of an album entitled "II" by a group called Bird from the Abyss. Upon doing a little bit of internet research, I've discovered that Bird from the Abyss is a one man "anti-band"(his words, not mine.) from Finland. Upon listening, I was pleasantly surprised that Bird from the Abyss was not yet another black/drone hybrid, but instead of strange combination of Egyptian/Middle-Eastern music with distorted guitar chord-doom floating in and out. Some of Neil Young's more out-there electric guitar experiments might not be a bad reference point for some of the sounds on here, though with a definite bent towards conjuring an Egyptian ritualistic atmosphere. I am very intrigued by this release, and I"m excited to see where this fellow goes next. He just posted a new song up at his myspace, which is also worth your ear-time.

If you're interested in checking the whole album out, you can stream it here. His first EP is available for free download here. You can purchase this album for $4.50 from the Starlight Temple Society here.

A839 Recordings Sampler


A389 Recordings just released their 2010 sampler, giving us crazed fucks a sneak peak at some of their planned releases. Let's run down who's got new music on here: Integrity, Roses Never Fade, Triac, Gehenna, and Pala. ALSO a live track from the A389 Recordings epic party thing they held in January where Pulling Teeth acted as the backing band for Canada's best export, THOR. Yeah, you need this. A389 is pretty much the go-to label for holy terror hardcore heads, but they release a bunch of wicked stuff, and not all of it is Integrity worship. They also get major props for making their releases special, be it with neat pre-order bonuses, or simply just immaculate attention to detail. Definitely check this out.

To download, go here and enter the code: A3892010

Laura Stevenson and the Cans - A Record

Two months ago we mentioned that "A Record" was finally getting released on vinyl. Update: It's out. Go fucking buy it. If you're still a scummy poor person who can't afford health care and wants the government/record lablels to give them handouts, you can STILL download "A Record" here.(Note: I support the health care reform, and do not support people who says things like I just said. Fuck selfishness and apathy.) Honestly, though you should pick this album up on vinyl. Laura's music is essential, and music is meant to be listened to away from your computer, meant to be interacted with. Her songs are too good to be background noise, to take up the air while you're playing Peggle Nights for the ten thousandth time. It's ten fucking dollars, and comes with bonus tracks! BONUS TRACKS.

She also has a new seven inch available from Mandible Records. Pick it up here. It's $5, postage fucking paid. Punk rock rules, right?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Story of the Eye.


Tune in, tune out. Wreck your neck, wreck your ears. Check out the double Chicago dates. Fuck yes.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Have a Nice Life - Time of Land

We've spoken previously about Have a Nice Life. They were supposed to play a tour with Alcest, it didn't happen, my hopes and dreams were crushed, life continued on. They recently played their first show ever, and sold a limited edition ep on cassette tape. Luckily for those of us who don't live in New York City, they have also released it as a free digital download. For those not familiar with the band, Have a Nice Life straddles the line between no-wave/post-punk, drone, and black metal. Essentially, imagine a more depressing, more drawn out Joy Division, and you're somewhere in the area. I think they're fucking brilliant.

Download here. Fuck summer.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Footage from Alcest's first live show has surfaced


Alcest just played their first live show this week, and footage from the event has shown up on the youtubes. The band sounds great, guitars shimmering everywhere and the vocal harmonies are tight as hell. I'm also blown away by the atmosphere of the venue. The candelabras on stage are very cool, and the chandeliers are stunning. I'm pretty jealous of Romania, since Reggie's is a shithole with fake graffiti everywhere. Definitely good to see that Alcest can pull their songs off live, as I was a little concerned about this being their first tour, and how expensive tickets were. Pretty stoked for April now.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Against Me! - We're Breaking Up

Dear Against Me!,
1984's Bruce Springsteen called. He wants his keyboards back.

Also, he wonders if perhaps he didn't already write this song.(I think he called it "Bobby Jean".)

Love,
Our City is Burning

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Gila Bend - S/T 7-in


I went record shopping yesterday, and stopped in at Laurie's Planet of Sound to peruse their used 7-in section. They usually have some gems buried among the piles of old 45's, and I happened across a bunch of emo/punk 7-inches from the middle nineties. I wasn't familiar with any of them, but they were a dollar each, so I grabbed 'em, and took them home. I was very impressed with my luck. The vast majority of them were fucking great, but this Gila Bend band impressed me the most. Gila Bend was apparently a Chicago-area emo/punk band from the mid-nineties, and I'm shocked they're not more well known. Their packaging is gorgeously screen-printed, and expansive. The record came swaddled in a book, with each song getting a page of lyrics(gold print on black paper, absolutely stunning). The music reminds me of early Hot Water Music to a degree, but with more 90's-emo twinkly guitar. The vocals are hoarse, filled with emotion and sometimes sung, sometimes screamed. This just sounds like the kind of music people make when they can't hold it in any longer. It's a vibrant release in every aspect. It's out of print, and probably not that easy to find, so I have provided a download link to the 7-in in question, and a collection of their tracks on various compilations.

Gila Bend - A Falling Star



Note: I found these links on the intarwebs, neither one are my uploads.


Gila Bend - S/T(Liberty Park Recordings, 1995)


Gila Bend - Compilation Tracks

Vinyl Junkie has this 7-in for sale currently. Buy it here.