Saturday, April 28, 2012
Culture Kids are a punk rock band from San Francisco. The first time I saw them was also the best time. Before the actual show started, some hippies did a reenactment of something involving Jesus, and they left the cross on stage. When the Culture Kids were going to play their singer took it and propped it up upside down. Pretty punk. That was the most energetic I've seen them, and the most energetic I've seen the crowd. A lot of people seemed to be into them, and I slam danced while trying to avoid the beer everyone was slipping on. Eventually the singer got into a fight with some guy who was yelling random stuff in between every song, and had apparently hit a girl. I actually wrote a review of the show for one of my friend's old zines, but I wrote it on a typewriter in 2009, which means I can't paste it here and my friend probably didn't hang on to it anyway.
They played with two great bands that are now broken up, Parasitesgo! and Yankee Kamikazi. In fact, that show was Parasitesgo!'s last. I used to talk to their singer at SF State. Yankee Kamikazi featured members of Abi Yoyos, some of whom recently formed the band Violent Change. Anyways, Culture Kids might have been using someone else's gear that night, because they often use very little distortion, which sounds pretty weak and uninspired live. It makes them seem like a punk band with the volume and intensity turned down. It's clearly on purpose, though, so I guess they want to sound that way.
Due to some printing error, they all have that smudge on the front cover. I bought this from someone in the band (Charles) over myspace summer of 2010. It's self released as far as I can tell. It's been a while, so I imagine it's sold out. They do have a new LP out on Make A Mess Records though. The cover is pretty bad. I bought the cassette version before the actual record came out and was pissed to find that there wasn't a lyric sheet. I do, however, like the picture on the back of the 7" lyric sheet.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Peacebreakers are a band from Massachusetts featuring members of Boston Strangler, Waste Management, Social Circkle, Confines, Blank Stare and Scapegoat. Not a bad list, eh? All these guys came together and stripped hardcore back down to its basics. The production and vocals are reminiscent of Negative Approach, and "Join Or Die" sounds pretty similar to "Whatever I Do." I think it was recorded in the same place as the Boston Strangler tape. Either way it was recorded by the same person, Boston Strangler's singer Ban Reilly.
It features three short songs, clocking in at a little less than four minutes. I wish there were more, but they might be saving songs for another release. I wouldn't be surprised if they put out a 7" in the future.
My scanner cut off some of the border around the lyric sheet, but you can still read it.
You can purchase it from their guitarist Cliff on discogs
Friday, April 20, 2012
Available on Video Disease Records
Yadokai is a band I've posted on here before. Stressors played with them, Needles and On Parade at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records in Oakland and I nabbed the flyer after the show.
Their bassist Max also sold me this pre-release version of their 2nd 7". It's in a similar style compared to the demo, though it's recorded better. It has three songs, but I like "An Apparition" the best because it has a cool breakdown at the end, and the most interesting lyrics. I actually just noticed that there's a volume jump between An Apparition and Contrition, but It's 6am and I'm going to bed soon so maybe I'll fix it later. I had to separate the tracks a few times because I kept having problems with gaps between the songs.
Daiki, who plays guitar on this record, lives in San Diego now, but he comes to the San Francisco Bay Area occasionally to play with Yadokai. He's also coming back for one of his other bands, Vaccuum, who is playing with Antisect and Bloodkrow Butcher in late May.
I don't know the singer, so I can't say much about him other than that he likes herping, which is a word I find amusing. He has a blog where he posts snakes, lizards and other weird stuff. Behold!
Jake, the other guitarist, and Max also play in Hunting Party, a new(ish) punk band who just released a 7" on Hesitation Wound Records.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
This is one of the last things Skull Stomp released while they were an active band. It's also one of the best recorded things they did. This and "No Hipsters" are my favorite things from this band. I bought this from them a few days before they left on tour. It was the summer of 2008. They played in our friend Justin's (who now sings in Beat Guts) back yard. One of my old bands (The Schizos), Negative Choice, and The Cassavettes played as well.
They were still pretty young back then, and I think that was the only tour they ever did. They ended up going to a few other states like Arizona and Oregon. They also played on UC Davis radio, but I only have a few songs from that. Here's them in Portland, Oregon.
I particularly enjoy the lyrics on this release, it seems like I often "re-discover" the stuff I end up putting on here. I mean who can't relate to feeling lazy and disappointing their parents?
Skull Stomp was fast and thrashy, but hardcore thrash not metal. This demo was recorded at Punk Barn Studios, who I've mentioned before. Austin, their guitarist, ran it. He always seemed to mix the bass too low in Skull Stomp recordings. Austin later "dropped out of punk" as Ed, their bassist would put it. In fact, Austin passed up a Skull Stomp show (meaning they couldn't perform at all) with Cult Ritual and Ecoli to go water skiing. I'd say it's a pretty good bet that the band fell apart because of him. After Austin left, I was considered to become their guitarist, but they decided to end it for good and start another band later. That band ended up being Zero Progress, which features 3/4 of Skull Stomp. I'll definitely be putting them up on the blog sometime.
Monday, April 16, 2012
The sound of Merchandise has been shuffled around since their first release a few years ago. I bought this from them on their tour. They played San Francisco last Friday with Neo Cons and Rat Columns. Neo Cons set was shorter than usual and I think it was because Jason was jumping on the crowd like he always does, but when he fell off he did a front flip and landed straight on his back. At least they riled up what was otherwise a pretty docile show. I like a lot of indie bands, but I never know what to do at the shows. You can be a total neanderthal and still know how to slamdance for punk music. At indie shows people mostly just stand around, and I feel like I should be moving but i'm not sure how. Rat Columns was really great though. It's the solo project of David West, the singer of Rank/Xerox. When I bought their 7" we talked about Rank/Xerox and Extortion and other music stuff.
It seems like I'm talking about everything that happened at the show but Merchandise, which is because they took so long to set up and start playing that I only saw them perform one song before I had to go catch the last BART train home. I'm glad I bought this from them though, it's outtakes from the new LP. I often prefer real drums over drum machines, and this is no exception. Perhaps they toured with a drum machine because it was easier, but their last few recordings have featured one as well. Punk is more my area of expertise, so their sound is a little hard to describe. Some of the songs certainly remind me of Joy Division, but I'm sure they're influenced by other, more obscure artists that I've never heard. "What Did I Say Last Night?" is probably my favorite overall. I just wish some of the songs could be heard more clearly. "Become What You Are" is an interesting song whose greatness is muted by excessively loud background noises. All of the songs are pretty long compared to the stuff I usually listen to, and because of that fact Merchandise is a band I'd probably rather listen to at home than go out and see. The soft acoustic sounds of the untitled track is a welcome relief after the harshness of some of their other songs.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Stay Scared were a punk band from Oakland, California. They featured members of Nightstick Justice, Strung Up, Second Opinion, and Dust Ward. They were around 2009-2010, and this is their only release. I think I saw them about 4 times, and once at Burnt Ramen they covered "All This And More" by The Dead Boys. That was cool. Anyways, they don't sound anything like that. I didn't pay a huge amount of attention to the lyrics up until I re-discovered this in my room a few months ago. I like them a lot, and wonder what some of the songs are based off of.
It was recorded in kind of a strange way, and sometimes the sound pans back and forth a little. Also, in some songs you can hear weird noise and interference coming through, like in the middle of "Knifed Neck." Who knows, maybe they added it on purpose. I like the melodic edge that this band has, especially "Throatpuncher" and the solo in "Ghost Town."
Michael, the singer of Stay Scared, is now in Dust Ward. He's also a fabulous chef at a pricey restaurant in Berkeley. I have to go eat something, I'm getting too hungry from looking at the menu
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
I just got back from playing a show with Systematik and Permanent Ruin, so now is as good a time as any to post new music.
Posthumous releases are always a little depressing to me, because it means I'll never be able to go see the artist play the songs contained on the album. This is Total Abuse's last release, and even if they play another "last show" somewhere, it probably won't be near me. I did see them twice, two days in a row, but at the time I didn't really listen to them and didn't appreciate seeing them like I would today. The last time they played in the Bay Area I was at the beach. I'm sure it was a good show though: Total Abuse, Zero Progress, Ecoli, and Streetwalkers. Fuck. As a side note, the first time I saw Total Abuse was also the first show at The Swamp, a venue (basement) in Oakland that my band plays way too often.
Rusty Kelley is the singer of Total Abuse, and his interest in noise music has crept into all of their LP's. The opening track, entitled "Final Passage," makes for decent background noise if you're into that kind of thing. Every time I try to listen my mind wanders on to other things. I don't listen to noise, so I can't properly describe it. It starts out with feedback, then some indecipherable guitar clanging, and continues on with distant screaming voices. As I was typing that last line, my cat called out from upstairs in her strange chittery way. I think the ghost of Rusty Kelley's character from Cabin Fever 2 is in the house. Anyways, that goes on for six minutes before some sort of whirring saw is heard, and possibly a hammmer......hammering? A long noisy track also opens Total Abuse's self titled LP, but I only listened to it once in its entirety and deleted it. Once they've bored you into a stupor, it's time to let you listen to the good stuff.
Overall, this LP is certainly on par with their others. The vocals sound different though, because unlike on their previous efforts, Rusty's voice is relatively left alone, and less distorted. He also seems to be singing in a higher tone than usual, but I'm not sure why that is. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with a lyric sheet, but you can make out some of the words when you have finely tuned noisy punk ears like I do. The topics are similar to their previous releases: self disgust, sexuality, and others things that make you go "ew" in the night (like drug addiction). "Hogg" appears to be somewhat of a sequel to "Sex Pig" from their first 7".
The tape ends with cymbal crashes, reverbed words shouted ad infinitum, and after awhile, the sound of dripping water. I'm not sure if the water is supposed to further disgust you (the tape is called Prison Sweat after all) but to me it sounds kind of comforting, and makes me think of a leaky house in the rain, or a fountain. Then the water dies away and you can go back to living your life. If you want.
An interesting interview with Rusty Kelley conducted by the Bay Area's own Matt Saincome of Zero Progress is available to read on-line in issue 3 of Punks! Punks! Punks!
Ian Mackaye is interviewed in the same issue, so now you have no excuse not to read it, right?
Friday, April 6, 2012
Spearhead's Band Camp
Spearhead is a brand new punk band from Toronto, Canada. This demo is noisy as hell, and a little sloppy at times. The production makes me think of the SQRM and Yadokai Demos. However, unlike the SQRM Demo, this has a bass to hold it all together. This prevents it from crumbling into a cacophonous mess. The vocals remind me of the School Jerks, but I don't know if it's the same guy. The actual tapes aren't ready yet, but I'll update this if the situation changes. I was going to list my favorite songs but they're all pretty awesome. I guess I'll go with "A Raid," a great, old school sounding, floor tom and snare song that you can bash your head in to. Happy listening.