Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The Ordeal demo is something I never got super attached to, I think I just enjoyed them because they were around. They were from Bellingham but they managed to make it down to Oly more than once. Also they covered Beyond which is a big plus. Looking back on it now the lyrics don't really make much sense and the word "culture" is vulgarly misunderstood. I like Ripped to Shreds a lot better anyway, songs were shorter and gnarlier.
I put up the Looking Up tape and it reminded me of this demo because of the tour they did together. I drove around with them for a day or two but never got to make too good of friends with any of them. I did spend some time with Jared (also of Pressure for a while) down in California. I remember we stayed at Travis' with the intention of going to Rivalry fest 2007 at Gilman. Travis dragged us along partying until the wee hours of the night and ended up going all the way to Tijuana. I got food poisoning and felt like shit, Travis passed out drunk. I tried to wake him up because we had a six hour drive ahead of us but he wouldn't budge. Eventually he caved and handed over his car keys and we (myself, Tanar, Jared, Rob and I think Luciano?) were on our way. My food poisoning began to get the best of me and I was piled on top of by a shitload of people while Betrayed was playing. I ended up throwing up underneath everyone. If anyone who was there is reading this, I was the guy who threw up on you. Without further ado you may download below. Lead By Example 'a tribute to infest' is pretty funny.
Once Josh and I had a conversation about hardcore bands covering Oi songs. Sometimes I think it's awesome (see Negative Approach doing 4-skins 'Chaos') other times I see it as hilarious or downright awful. We got into an argument over Judge's cover of 'Warriors'. Josh argued that it was better than the original Blitz song and I argued, along with Gina, that it was not. Josh's argument was that the wimpy 'war-ior-iors' back ups on Blitz were countered by hard gang vocals on the Judge cover. Where I can see his point of view, I almost never think a cover is better than the original. Josh went on for a long time talking about how good hardcore oi covers were so it seemed only logical that I would make him a mix for his big '40'th. A lot of the songs are from 'The Worldwide Tribute to the Real Oi' (just the ones I deemed useful or listenable) and some are ones I added myself. I forgot to put Warzone doing the Business "the Real Enemy' so I included it in the download. That's a really well done cover. Most of the covers are laughable and have a purely comedic value but Josh has an interesting taste in music. Judging by how excited he was when I gave it to him I think I did well. Madball doing the Last Resort could have been so awesome had they not added that ludicrous break down and ridiculous gang vocals at the end. I also figured Biohazard doing 'Working Class Hero' was a pretty hilarious ending. If you're looking for something to cheer you up with hilarity, give it a download.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Sojourner is also a band I have covered my opinion on in their seven inch review. I'll make a long story short; this is a good'n. More tunes in the same style as the 7" with some more goofy Brian-esque flare added to it (see my comments on the Fever record). This goofy flare consists in a "Sojourner SES 253" shout out, a Yuppicide cover, the fuck seattle label, and a spoken word outro. Track 2 "Alleyways and Underpasses" has some vocal help from good ol' Ian Bracken of Trainyard. Jay was telling me that the LP still isn't technically 'officially' released (which is odd for how long it's been done) but if you get in contact you can buy a physical copy.
So I've already covered how much I appreciate and have enjoyed Insubordinate's exploits in my post on the Demo Tape. The final release before their unfortunate end embodies what I really enjoy about a hardcore record. There are no boring recycled, re-hashed hardcore formulas and no tired generic lyrics. What you find on the insubordinate full length are goofy instrumentals, heartfelt honest lyrical content, and an overall un-mimicked sound i.e. originality. So, hardcore punk music, however abstracted, is always subject to interpretation. Fast and angry music for the sake of fast and angry music is all well and fine but what really sets a band apart for me and what really gets me going about music is the lyrical content. What separates hardcore punk from pop-music, or any other musical project to be absorbed without participation or thought, are earnest lyrics. Regardless of if you agree with the subject matter being addressed, as long as it is well thought out, non-melodramatic and delivered with conviction, you'll have my attention. Insubordinate embodies this ideal for sure. The record comes with a booklet that addresses the authorial interpretation of each song as well as where you can go with this information (a channel that rarely is paid attention to in hardcore). It also contains goofy artwork and information about the band from each member. To give an idea of anything it could be nearly comparable to, James used to wear a home-made Nihilistics shirt almost every time I saw him, the influence shows in some areas of the record. Seriously an awesome project. Download it and jam it often. James still has copies so if you want one email me and you can get what you need.
Get da record!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Ancient Head briefly existed in Olympia, WA. During their short run they played a shitload of shows and unfortunately, only released a demo, which, in my opinion, are their worst songs. Because of my opinion I have included some unreleased tracks in the download, "Selective Liberation", "Open Up Step Back", "Fight Your Own War", "Everyday", and "Barricadas". This is not a complete discography in that their first song "No Restraint" isn't included because Josh doesn't like it. Anyhow, Trainyard and Ancient Head used to have an alliance until Tanar started beef. "Open Up Step Back" was originally a Trainyard song that was given to them. On the recording Ian does guest vocals. Trainyard later covered the song and Josh sang his parts, haha. "Everyday" and "Barricadas" are my personal favorites. Josh, the vocalist, is an Iraq War Veteran who now runs Coffee Strong in Tacoma, a venue/anti-war coffee shop that provides information for soldiers of their rights, just down the block from Fort Lewis. Pretty ballsy and just awesome in general. Ancient Head is named after the Beyond song but they never covered it. Amongst the covers under their belt were Cro-Mags "World Peace", Negative Approach "Pressure" and Undertow "Kill".
Looking up is the band Steven (father of oursound and also of the crazies, blind, in debt, outlook, the answer, stinking ships, and red & black fame) sang for when he moved from Olympia to LA. They ran for about two years, did a few tours, released a full length with Panic records and broke up. The tour they did with Lead By Example was a funny one in that all I can really remember from it was Walter coloring his penis green. Another funny story was when Tanar and I were down in LA in 2007 we went to one of Looking Ups shows. Apparently Steven had gotten a flat tire and in order to stall for time the two pieces of Looking Up who were present played covers. Tanar jumped in on drums and I sang Project X. Refused was also done but I didn't know all the lyrics... needless to say the covers sucked. Anyhow, melodic powerful hardcore in vein of 90s acts like Battery? I guess that wouldn't really be a fair comparison. I don't know, give it a listen for yourself. Hugs and Kisses. There is a hidden Project X cover at the end.
I should preface with my bias; I love Outlook. I already gave my two cents on the band in the demo review so I'll focus mainly on contrasting it with the demo. The recording quality for the record is a lot better and the music is a lot more diverse. Maybe diverse isn't the correct term... I'd say more complex. More intricate parts in some songs. "No Purpose" and "Fuck GEO", a blatant attack on the fucked up Detention Center in Tacoma, are my two favorites. The song structures are crazy and awesome. The record is great, the communicativeness and outreach to the listener is personal and refreshing, and Outlook as a whole refuses to fall into total general characterization as a youth crew band. With the exception of borrowing some stand-out influences from Minor Threat ("Turn It Off") and Jerry's Kids ("In the Red") Outlook creates their own sound, one that is very difficult to characterize. If you think it generic, you probably just don't have enough familiarity with the genre. Give it a listen and buy the record for there are still copies for the taking! If you're interested contact me at my email and I can get you a physical copy. Much love.
The record also comes with this nice little note:
I had to chop up the insert so here it is in somewhat of an order:
Vagrant is a relatively new band out of Seattle. I've only listened to the demo a handful of times but I enjoy it more and more each time. I like the lyrics to "No Purpose", Blissful and Ignorant", and "Last Day" a lot, specifically "Blissful" and its commentary on it not being 'convenient to care'. Good work boys and I will definitely be putting you guys on more shows. Rat Pack affiliate.
Despite the goofy stage antics White Ambassador has it going on. They have an awesome tape demo that could be classified as 80s hardcore revival, a 'snotty' poison idea so to speak, but fall more in line with contemporary acts like 'Youth Attack' bands and the now defunct Cold Sweat. They also have intense live energy. The one thing that holds them back for me is the "image" conveyed by the band, but that is beside the music, which is the subject of my reviewing. I love the Distract kids no matter what they do really, they always end up creating something hilarious and awesome. If you like work boots, hard-hats, and smoking cigarettes you will love White Ambassador.
A funny side note is the Dostoevsky quote in the tape. Dostoevsky was one of my favorite authors when I was younger. Since I was 17 I have been reading a lot of Existential philosophy pulling from favorites like Sartre, Dostoevsky, Kirkegaard, Heidegger, and Nietzsche among others. When you're young and can't quite figure out why you're so pissed (aside from the obvious things like abusive pasts, drug abuse, not fitting social roles, etc.) you delve heavily into the role the individual plays in society (the way the world is shaped now has a srious focus on the individual consumer apart from society). The logical consequence is that you become a recluse, so to speak, and end up not caring how your actions affect others because, 'everyone else is so fucked up'. This leads to blaming abstract social institutions for your problems. This led to my reading of a lot of Thoreau particularly Walden/Civil Disobedience and Walking. Figuring out your problems in isolation and finding a way to transcend your role in society to become a positive influence on others, and to take a corny peace-punk reference, "strive to survive causing the least harm possible". This pushed me into studying rationalist and empiricist philosophers in depth and finding a serious passion for the work. I'm currently working on a lot in language-based philosophy. So true White Ambassador boys, a search for reason for human actions/nature is entirely useless, there is no basis for abstract concepts like reason, purpose, justice, morality, etc. and a quest for these things (in your own validation) leads to harm to others. It's not until you can transcend your role in 'society' and the 'human political world' that you will see the way you behave and the way you think is shaped by these things. Long story short, you get pissed off and want to smash things/cause harm to distinguish yourself from others, to rebel, to simply live, exist, have fun, but the only reason you feel this desire is because you're still a pawn. In the realm of society you can apply reason: get violent to fight oppression, burglarize and steal from corporations, smash private property, validate your existence in a way that is constructive. But here comes the dialectic: no matter what, people will still choose to act out arbitrarily, so although 'everyone' (loosely) may not agree on ethos and all have arguments that can be logically validated, we can reach for transcendence. Enjoy this band. Shit gets too serious sometimes, let's let our true kantian light show haha. I contacted them for lyrics and got this response:
"yes i do, and here they are:
I AM MAD ABOUT GIRLS AND LIFE AND SUCH, I AM ALSO DRUNK."
I should probably clarify that I have no beef with this band or the members, I am just giving my commentary.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Back to the Northwest. Hailing from Tacoma WA, Marrow is an intense project made up of some former members of Greyskull. I got the chance to see them not too long ago for the first time in a long while. I wish I had some of their new recordings because they sounded incredible. If you like super crazy drumming coupled with some nu-crust melody held together by a hardcore edge (is that too weird of a description?) you'll definitely enjoy Marrow. These demos were screened at our old house, and if my memory serves my correctly, at the same time as Owen Hart shirts which, when set in the oven, almost smoked us out of the place. The lyrics are quite poetic and demonstrate a deliberate prose though I can't seem to make too much sense out of them. Fortunately Adam facilitates this with on-stage explication.