30 March 2007

Trapped in an alley, scared of clowns

Clown Alley's Circus of Chaos is a really fantastic re-release from Southern Lord that I really should have taken the time to post on during my hiatus from posting. This puppy was originally released in '86 on guitarist/producer Mark Deutrom's Alchemy Records. Mark and bassist Lorax (Lori Black) both played bass for The Melvins, something I'm assuming garnered them more notoriety than Clown Alley. Before this package got to me, I knew nothing about the band, though apparently they were a major act in San Francisco during the heady days of mid-80s crossover thrash metal. (Hey, I was 5 when this was first put out, so excuse my ignorance.) Thank Southern Lord for putting this out on CD for the first time, and just putting it back out there in general, because it's an awesome piece of musical history that includes rare bonus live material.
As for the album itself, Circus of Chaos combines the energy and attitude of early-80s hardcore with metal musicianship and songwriting. The guitar riffage is fast and precise while the rhythm section foreshadows early death metal. It's not overly complex, but it's also not as straightforward as most hardcore of that era. Fuck it, man, it's crossover! Basically the album rips and you should go get it. Also, make sure that beer and skateboards are at the ready; you'll understand why once you listen.

26 March 2007

8 year olds, dude

I'm currently listening to one of the worst "albums" I've ever heard: Nefaria/A Tragic Journey Towards the Light by Australia's Striborg--a one-man black-metal ambient project. The temptation to turn it off is haranguing me, yet I'm oddly enthralled by sheer terribleness. I got this in the mail during my "I don't feel like posting" phase and it's really the epitome of why I chose not to post for a while. Most of what I was receiving to review was sub-par at best and dangerously unlistenable at worst. Striborg falls completely within the latter camp. And "camp" is a good word for what this sort of black-metal is these days. Forget "kvlt". This shit sounds like a petulant pre-teen was learning how to use a 4-track and let his younger brother fuck around with some of the instruments. I'm baffled by how somebody okay-ed this and let it go to press with international distribution. My crappy high school hardcore band was 1000 times better than this.
Shame on everyone involved with making this album a reality.

23 March 2007

Slaving the Parochial Nimrod

In yesterday's post I completely neglected to mention that Asshole Parade and The Holy Mountain were going to be playing at 538 Johnson in Brooklyn. Well anyone who was around and didn't go totally lost out because it was one of the raddest shows I've been to in a while. Last night was my first visit to 538 and at least as far as I've seen, the place doesn't disappoint. It's the perfect loft for punk rock shows and the kids (i.e.; folks younger than my aging 26) were tearing it up (the place was packed, btw.).
There's a whole gymbag of shows scheduled there in the upcoming months. I'm particularly excited about Coliseum and The Young Widows. It will be my turn to make up for getting kicked out of Northsix during Coliseum's set last fall. Can't wait...
538 Johnson schedule

22 March 2007

Longmont Potion Castle

I just recently got turned on to something I wish I had heard long, long ago. No, it's not "music" per se, but it is so wonderful on the ears. Longmont Potion Castle is one man, a telephone and a cheapo recording device. These aren't just simple stupid prank calls a la Jerky Boys, this is total surrealist telephonic rediculism. I can't possibly explain this other than say it's fucking hilarious and there are 5 volumes of this or something. Go to the website, then send me a thank-you rod.
A lot of this stuff is out of print I think, but you can probably search it on soulseek or oink or other findy-type places on the internet.

Longmont Postion Castle

16 March 2007

Out of hibernation?

It appears that I haven't posted anything here since early January. My own fault as I got bored with writing about music and have been heavily concentrating on playing it. I'm also employed again--not that it means I have any money to speak of, but that my time is much more precious than it had been for months.
So I have a few things to get to and I'm gonna change up how I've been doing this (that is, if anybody is still paying attention). Whereas previously I was only posting about new albums being birthed, I'm now going to broaden this to include old stuff that I stumble upon in my search through musical family trees and through suggestions of friends.

I figure the best place to restart this whole deal is with a bunch of friends from the beautiful Mid-Hudson Valley (there's my full disclosure) who've just recorded a completely sick debut full length:

Rising Up Rising Down

Monster Crusher
Maple Leaf Underground Records

Poughkeepsie, NY-based RISING UP RISING DOWN lead off their debut with an "Anthem" for a sludgy new tomorrow. Impressive as this winding instrumental piece may be, it only signals half of what this band is capable of, because everything quickly turns to full-speed mathemadness! This is grind like all the others don't grind: incredibly low-end heavy, these three gentlemen don't like their mud to flow so slowly. They also write riffs to amuse and confuse whilst retaining memorability. You can (and you will) move to this, but only in short bursts because they've already moved on and you've gotta catch up.
It takes fucking talent to write songs that turn from punishing to playful and back without losing bite. So no standing there and just bobbing yr skull, I don't care how high you are, you still gotta pay attention.

Monster Crusher was recorded a couple months back with Will Dandy at Dead Air Studios. He did a hell of a job, 'cos when these guys play live it's fucking loud and destructive (I think the album title is representative of the work as a whole), so to be able to capture it for the record is impressive. The album is short because the songs are short, but they've made every second of it count. Anyone who is bummed that Nasum is no more (and really, who isn't?), should get a hold of this, as RURD is legitimately a younger American cousin. I can't comment on their artwork or lyrics really (although I know there's a lot of relevant social commentary in there), because I got a special advance copy from them because we love each other, but if it's half as awesome as the music, then it will still be rad. Whatever,
go check out their myspace page and see what the fuck I'm talking about.