Thursday, January 31, 2008
It's sad to see them go. This is the only place in the area where you can peruse an etensive metal collection that includes black, death, grind, power, folk, gore, and all the other little subgenres. I'm sure goth folks feel the same way about that collection, and the techno folks likewise. No where else could you get this stuff from a store in this area.
I can't say I'm surprised though. I don't think there will be any brick and mortar record stores in five years. For nostalgia's sake, I'm gonna miss 'em, but I'm kind of excited about how the record business is going to change. Lots of things have contibuted to the CD industry downfall, so just blaming one like illegal downloading is misguided. There's still gold in them there hills, someone is gonna get real rich when they shift the entire paradigm of the music business. I think Radiohead made bold steps by releasing In Rainbows for any price the consumer wanted. They are thinking ahead and it has payed off. Yeah, maybe 60% of the people took the record for free, but 40% like myself paid an average of $10. When you factor in 40% of an estimated 1.5 million downloads, while the record only cost like $50,000 because there was no promotion or production, these guys made an absolute killing. Good for them.
Anyways, enough ranting. If you like a band, give them money somehow. If you want you can buy the record. If you'd rather download it, for goodness sake, go see 'em live and buy a shirt. And drag a friend. You know the deal. And go to Strangeland between now and March 17 and buy as much as you can. These are good guys and we don't them in too much debt.
7203 Columbia Pike (Second Floor)
Annandale, VA 22003
(703) 750-1571 1-877-505-3282
Monday, January 28, 2008
The Dwarves- Blood, Guts, and Pussy
So I was exposed to Mudhoney at about the age of 15 and immediately had to buy everything on Sub Pop Records. One of the first I picked up was this gem by the sleaze punks known as the Dwarves. First take, album cover has two hot, naked chicks on it covered in blood and a naked dwarf in the background with a butchered rabbit. What the fuck!? I had to hear this! Second take, pop it into the CD player: 12 songs, 13 minutes. Are you serious? Then came the catchy and filthy sound of the opening guitar riff to "Back Seat of My Car" and I'm in heaven. For thirteen minutes, I experience sex, drugs, and rock and roll aurally that no suburban teen can ever really be a part of. This was the real shit. These guys didn't give a fuck, all probably had syphilis, and huge crank addictions. Plus they listened to all the great punk bands and turned it disgusting singing about how they wanted to get AIDS. I would have bet these dudes lived in an alley and humped crack whores all day. Craziness.
Plus, check out these song titles:
Back Seat of My Car
Skin Poppin Slut
Fuck You Up and Get High
Topic: The F Word
I was floored and 17 years later, still love it. They never really put out any music I dug after this gem, but chances are if you like perverted punk rock, some of their later releases probably will appeal to you. These guys were disgusting like GG Allin, but unlike GG, they made rock and roll sound fun and dangerous, as opposed to just sick.
Check out this video for Drugstore. I've seen it a dozen times, but never noticed until just now that at one point the singer has no pants on. Gross, but not unexpected.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Ignore the stupid plot of the video. "Straights" come down to the world of the outcasts (beneath an interstate underpass) and get their car demolished by disinfranchised metal youth. Whatever. However do not ignore the cool breakdown in the middle where they all do that headbang in a circle at the same time thing. Fucking cool.
Their Myspace with cool tracks:
Sunday, January 20, 2008
If you asked me who was the greatest hardcore band of the 1990s, I wouldn't hesitate for a second. That would be Columbia, South Carolina's Assfactor 4. These guys managed to write the most vital, emotive, and uplifting hardcore ever. And it was catchy as fuck. To this day I can't for the life of me understand how these college kids managed to write songs like this, that sounded like no one before, and still haven't been copied today. Just an amazing lost gem of a band. Their live show was chaotic and breakneck and most of all fun.
From a musical standpoint, their greatest achievement was the amazing dual guitar interplay that was never a part of hardcore music. It's my guess that most hardcore musicians just weren't able to play at a level that made this possible. I mean the two guitars might start off together than break off on two distinct and complementary melodic lines, then snake round each other, then reconvene for a visceral punch. And the tones of the guitar were perfect and sounded great together. They were like a hardcore version of Judas Priest or Thin Lizzy. I don't mean in sound, but in the way they used two guitars to make one dazzling sound. If you like this style of guitar, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
These guys put out two full length albums, 2 seven inches, and a number of tracks on compilations and splits in their career. A CD discography of all their music is in the works and hopefully will see the light of day. Below I have provided a link to a file of their best 7" entitled Smoked Out. This 7" contains 9 tracks of melodic and abrasive beauty. I digitized this record myself from my personal vinyl. I hope you enjoy it. And please let your friends know about it as well. I don't want these guys music to be forgotten.
Smoked Out 7":
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Anyways, I've been recently digging into black metal and finally picked up my first Darkthrone album. These Norwegians have 13 albums out, which for a bm band, is quite an achievement. For whatever reason, this is not a genre that begets long careers, but of course there are exceptions. Darkthrone are legendary and considered one of the godfathers of the style.
One of the things I had always read about Darkthrone was that their production values were terrible. This began because they lacked the resources to record properly, but was continued throughout their albums because it kind of became their moniker. The lo-fi production adds to the grimness of the music and is considered more kvlt. Now, I grew up on bad production values listening to punk and hardcore, and many of my favorite records were recorded on 4 track. I also have listenend to some bm with ridiculously poor production (Striborg, Furze). With that said, I didn't think the production was that terrible. I mean it doesn't sound like Mutt Lange recorded it, but it's not that bad. The vocals are a little up front, but you can hear all the instruments, and the drums aren't terribly muddy.
Do I like the album? Yes, but the answer is not that easy. There are two songs on the album En Vind av Sorg and Hans Siste Vinter which are among two of the finest bm songs I've ever heard. These songs stick to the traditional bm style where the uberfast drums and guitar picking make the whole song sound like its been blurred or smeared, which is sonically what I love the most about bm. The other four proper songs are good, but are in a style that is slowed down and more akin to Celtic Frost and Venom (by which I mean heavier and more riff oriented). And the guitars tend to "chug" instead of "needle". How's that for a great description? As you can tell I have taken lots of music theory. Anyway these songs are cool, but I want more tunes like the first category. The last song doen't count because it's just some dumb chanting and strange music. Ooooo....scary! They like Satan. Fuck that, that shit is for kids who want to scare their parents.
It is my understanding that this album was a bit of a stylistic change for Darkthrone. I've heard that their previous albums Under a Funeral Moon, A Blaze in the Northern Sky, and Transylvanian Hunger are stylistically more like the two songs I dig, and the other four are more of a direction explored on later albums. If true, I am looking forward to snagging these early albums first (I'll check out the newer ones too eventually) and further rockin' out with Mr. Nocturno Culto and Mr. Fenriz. I can't wait to see what else they have in store for my virginal ears.
Hans Siste Vinter:
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Anyway, I go to this show in Baltimore amped as all hell because there is a band called Gorgeous Frankenstein opening the show. I wasn't all that interested in that band per say, but the presence of one of their members. See, their guitar player is Doyle who was the guitarist for the Misfits. He is also a giant, but that's beside the point. It was advertised that during the Danzig set, Doyle would come out for a Misfits set. Just the thought made me dizzy. Danzig singing Misfits tunes with me in attendence. I was giddy.
So Danzig hits the stage and is kicking ass. He sounds great, looks good, and the rock is just being laid thick. The show is kicking ass until about an hour in when they were doing the song "How the Gods Kill". Danzig is standing on the front of the stage just going for it and he fell off, falling about 7 feet and landing squarely on his shoulder. Rock and roll right? Well, not quite. When he got back on stage the whole mood of the show turned sour. Danzig started yelling at his guitar player and was obviously uncomfortable. He did a few more tunes and consulted with the band. Then they played "Mother" and "Twist of Cain" and left the stage. Next thing, here come the house lights, no encore, and more importantly, no Misfits set. I was not the only one disappointed obviously as the crowd started chanting "Bullshit............Bullshit". I join right in, screaming Bullshit at one of my heroes. I left all bitter and pissed off.
It turns out that Danzig dislocated his shoulder in that fall and he ended up cancelling either whole or parts of many of his later shows to heal up. See, when i first heard that I thought he should have just told the audience why he left and we would have understood. The more I think about I'm glad he didn't apologize. This is Rock, no excuses, no my shoulder hurts and I'm gonna use it as an excuse. He gave us a great show and then after dislocating his shoulder hung in there and delivered the hits to his fans and didn't once whine or cry about it. Sure we didn't get Misfits, but an hour and a half of Danzig stuff still makes for an excellent show.
So that's that. I'm very sorry I chanted Bullshit at Danzig and I want to take it back. Glenn, you are the man.
Here's the video of the fall (the spill occurs at 4:09, but I recommend you watch the whole video because the song is fuckin' rad.)
Monday, January 14, 2008
Ohio's finest dirtball thrashers. Excellent thrash riffs with a little black metal influence in the vocals and guitar strumming. Also showcases some excellent dual guitar leads ala Priest and Maiden. Will make you bang your head.
9. Njiqahdda - Njimajikal Arts
Some Christian guys took the atmospheric and droning style of certain black metalers and then made it totally their own. Epic and beautiful. This would be huge if they were European and Satanists/Pagans.
8. Forgotten Woods- Race of Cain
Totally bizarre black metal from Norway that walks the line between totally mind-blowing and severely inept. I can't decide which. That is what makes it awesome. These guys don't give a fuck, but you should. Pick this up.
7. Wolves in the Throneroom- Two Hunters
More black metal. This time from some eco-hippies that live on a commune in Oregon. Seriously grim and emotive. Their music sounds like catharsis for a bunch of fellas that wish that society would crumble and we would all return to a more pastoral life.
6. Today is the Day- Axis of Eden
Hard to describe TITD, except to say they are very unique, very sonically harsh, and one of the best metal bands of all time (who doesn't get the respect they deserve). I've loved them since I first saw them live in 1992. This is their best album since Temple of the Morning Star.
5. Melechesh- Emissaries
Blackened thrash metal from Israel. It has all kinds of cool middle eastern influence. I am hoping they make it the US shores sometime soon. I must see this band. Just amazing.
4. Deathspell Omega- Fas, Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum
This band of French black metallers are so fucked up, they are operating on a whole 'nother level. The first time you hear this you will say "What the fuck?" They write music that is unlike any I have ever heard. I get no point of obvious reference, with the exception that it is played in a black metal style. Guitar lines snake around, tempos shift, it sounds like it is gonna fall apart in a million pieces, but it doesn't. Seriously damaged, seriously cool.
3. Cephalic Carnage- Xenosapien
Death metal, grindcore, noise, free jazz, catchy riffs......it's all here. This band of Colorado potheads are insanely original. I've heard other bands in the scene (who are much bigger) I think have tried to emulate them, but couldn't even come close. These guys should be huge.
2. Sloan- Never Hear the End of It
Believe it or not, I don't only listen to metal. This album is 30 of the catchiest pop melodies, pretty acoustic numbers, and obvious Beatle worship I ever heard. It's long, but you can listen to it from start to finish and still be wanting more. It may have come out in 2006, I'm not sure and I don't care. This album is an all-time classic.
1. Pig Destroyer- Phantom Limb
My criteria for album of the year was simple. Dick. Check. Knocked into the dirt. Check. Holy shit, do these guys pummel you. Obvious reference point is grindcore, but it is so much more. And the craziest thing.....the songs are all catchy. You will hum this music. Scott Hull comes up so many crazy good riffs, he can't cram them into songs fast enough. A bassist would just get in the way.
These guys are the most vital extreme metal outfit active today.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
For audio/video please go to:
The Dillinger Escape Plan:
Everytime I Die
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Sound clips and record reviews can be found here:
Monday, January 7, 2008
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Friday, January 4, 2008
What to expect: record reviews, show reviews, links to mp3s, diatribes on inane musical things that interest me, etc. I am also hoping to convert many of the vinyl treasures I have emassed into mp3s that y'all can download. I have a ton of punk, hardcore, and metal LPs and seven inches that are never going to be repressed and I want to get these out there to people who never heard 'em the first time round and to those that thought they would never hear 'em again.
Let's do this.