Thursday, January 29, 2009

Supermachiner...This Week Keeps Getting Better

...just a short bit about Supermachiner whose latest album, Rust (actually a compiling of the first album Rise of the Great Machine and some unreleased material), was put up for order today at Deathwish Inc. 

Supermachiner was a side project of one, Jacob Bannon, the vocalist of Converge, a while back and this record has been a long time coming. Rise of the Great Machine was an underrated release when it first came out and continues to be mentioned mostly as just a side project with little other mention of its quality. Though, as much as I may enjoy Converge, I find myself listening to Supermachiner much more often and more religiously. 

Rust's release is exciting to me and a few others I know. Check it out if you get the chance.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Grad School

So, my first week of this latest Grad school barrage is complete. To be honest, it was a cakewalk; we'll see what the future holds for this class. My learning team seems eager, but I am not getting my hopes up for them yet. The 2nd week has the first real Team project so I will know after that if they will be adequate people to work with this time. 

Thus far my soundtrack for the school work has been pretty typical for while I am in grad school with lots of instrumental and ambient work:

Mamiffer- Hirror Eniffer
Everlovely Lightningheart- Cusp
Everlovely Lightningheart- split with Oakeater
Everlovely Lightningheart- Particles and Fields
House of Low Culture- Gettin' Sentimental
House of Low Culture- Submarine Immersion Techniques
Jesu- Sun Down/ Sun Rise
Nine Inch Nails- Ghosts I-IV
Nine Inch Nails- the Slip
Old Man Gloom- Seminar III: Zozobra

All great for working to so far.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Coalesce...DAMN RIGHT

So the new Coalesce was announced today or whatever. It is going to be called Ox. Today, with the snow now officially awesome.

I love Coalesce... LOVE THEM.

Hearing that Ox is coming out is like a kick in the ass. At 14 songs and 35 minutes or so, it is sure to be a blistering record.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cars, Vehicles, and Pains in the Ass

Cars suck. I hate them. If I lived in a big city I would not have to worry about having one, but I live in the burbs so it is a necessary evil. In truth, cars are nothing more than money pits that we constantly dump money into to keep them running or running efficiently or running well. $30- $50 to fill the car with gas, roughly $25- $40 every 3,000 miles for an oil change, $20 or so for tire rotation every 6,000 miles, $1500 for car insurance a year, etc etc, forget it if something like an accident occurs. So much of our yearly income simply goes towards maintaining our mode of transportation.

I hate cars.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Finding New Music

So, my friend Dave had been bugging me for weeks to listen to this new record called Hirror Eniffer by Mamiffer; and it continually got pushed to the backburner until I received the record to review. When I initially popped their debut EP in, the subtlety of the Hirror Eniffer was lost to me; but something compelled me to play it again...and again...and again. While listening to it repeatedly, unbeknownst to myself, Mamiffer had sunk in to my thick skull; I realized how much I actually enjoyed the album and immediately understood my friend's proselytizing enthusiasm for Mamiffer (to which I also began to do the same as my wife and brother can attest).

After some minimal snooping on the internet, I found that Faith Coloccia (the person which Mamiffer revolves around) also was involved with the recently ending project, Everlovely Lightningheart. Now, I had heard some of their work on the Pyramids remix record and did highly enjoy those remixes that they did, so intrigue began to set in for the band. Also, around the time that I found myself subconsciously indoctrinated into Mamiffer's goodness, Hydra Head announced that they would be finally releasing the last Everlovely Lightningheart recordings. So naturally, I did everything I could to acquire the Everlovely Lightningheart discography. Thus far, I believe I need two releases, the upcoming Sein Weal Tallion Rue 2xLP on Hydra Head and a super limited record the band self released.

I must say that I have not been disappointed in anyway by Mamiffer or Everlovely Lightningheart. It would definitely be worth anyone's while to check out both bands. It is really funny the path which people find new music.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another Graduate Class

Yes, another intellectual hurdle to conquer is just getting started. During my last class, I suffered a pretty serious nervous breakdown which combined with severe anxiety attacks almost destroyed my life. Now, I am continuing to pick up the pieces and mending. So, it is with some trepidation, much determination, and the end in sight that I tackle the one of the final four classed which I need to complete to obtain my Masters of Information Systems.

We'll see how I hold up this time around, but I do think that my mental health is in better shape to handle the stress and work. Combine all of this with my terrible overachieving academic career (a 3.93 GPA currently in grad school), and my main emotion is one of excitement. The end is in least for now. I have not decided what, when, where, or how I am going to do my Ph D; but first things first.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Radio and Playing on It

Gholas was able to play on the radio, 91.7 in Philadelphia (Drexel Radio) on Sunday. It was a real good time. All of us enjoyed it, and I hope Adam (the host/engineer) did as well. Adam rules. We played a decent batch of songs; here is the setlist (with pertinent and anecdotal details):

1. And the Lives Come Flooding (this song is almost a year old to the band; we think it came out well)

2. the Witch (working title, this seems to be a band favorite, possibly the beginning of something new)

3. 9000 Reasons (Us playing really damn heavy and discordant; again it sounds pretty good)

4. Untitled (This was not broadcast due to some issues; I can't wait to hear it though)

5. Her Trainwreck (Off Here I Am, Here Is Infinity, a decent version)

6. Do We Dream (Another off the record, and another decent version)

7. The Void (A really old song that is affectionately called the room clearer; we hope to record this the right way some time soon)

8. Walk Without Rhythm (Working title, not broadcasted...we just played this to lay down a demo)

We also attempted to play our newest work. It was a mess haha. But the rest of the set was pretty awesome. During "Walk Without Rhythm" a weird whistle like someone trying to get us to stop playing happened. Adam, Chris (our guitarist), and myself heard it. None of us knew where it came from or how it happened, but it was very distinct and very real.

Once Adam gets the session all together for us, we will be releasing it in a very limited quantity on cassettes and maybe a small CD run. We will see. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gholas Plays with Tombs

This past Friday, Gholas was given the opportunity to play with Tombs as well as our drummer's other band (Deathbeds) and another band that I can't remember the name of at this moment (which sucks because they were all great dudes)...wait...Bastard Sapling (that was their name). It was a fun night because we were playing with a bunch of good bands and friendly people as well as it being on a weekend which meant I did not have work the next day.


A bunch of hardcore kids playing sludge a la Eyehategod. I think that I went through this phase as well and can relate. They rely heavily on Sabbathian riffage and pummeling drums to drive their point home.  The singer does a real nice job of being engaging which can be difficult at times when one just sings, but he does it real well. It will be interesting to see what happens next for these guys; the second batch of songs usually has a band moving beyond their initial inspiration and can make or break a band. 


We played. The sound man hated us, did not listen to us about our equipment, seemed to hate life that night (he did not even take a cookie when we offered one as a peace offering). Our set was short at only 4 songs...

1. the Witch
2. Her Trainwreck
3. And the Lives Come Flooding
4. 9000 Reasons

We had fun. John (the bassist) was upset, but people were nice and said we sounded pretty good; although I kept kicking my cable out of my amp (because it was lying on the floor due to space issues) and Chris (the other baritone guitarist) broke a string. We are still working out some kinks in the live situation. I cannot wait to play our next show. We have been talking a bit about expanding our set.

Bastard Sapling:

Their drummer was awesome both playing wise and personally (very friendly). And even though their bassist was MIA, the two guitarists did not seem to miss a beat. Their vocalist was highly entertaining. And even though their set was a bit long, it was definitely enjoyable.


It is difficult to explain their set. "Gossamer" is an awesome song. It was excellent finally getting to see them. Their set made me super excited for the upcoming full length, Winter Hours. Tombs is definitely on my list to see again.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Revolution Summer

The last few days, I have been reading Mark Anderson and Mark Jenkin's book, Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital here and there. This is something that I seem to do regularly and cannot really answer why. The last few times, there is a bunch of skipping, usually straight to the section on Revolution Summer. When this occurs, it is inevitable that the next few weeks of my music listening is spent on the related bands, which I do enjoy immensely.

Embrace might be my favorite of Ian MacKaye's bands. They strike a huge chord with me and find myself listening to their sole record more than any of the other Revolution Summer bands. The really crazy thing is that the band played roughly 9 shows in 9 months and that was the extent of their existence. Still, their lone album is a great record that never seems to get old. Sometimes, as much as I like Fugazi, I wish MacKaye and company could have kept this going for a few more years. "Said Gun", "Dance of Days", "Spoke", "Do Not Consider Yourself Free", "I Wish I", "Money", "No More Pain"...are all classics of punk rock and are usually sadly overlooked in comparison to Minor Threat and Fugazi (but still nowhere near as obscure as other MacKaye projects like Egg Hunt or Skewbald/Grand Union).

I would be completely remiss if there was no discussion of Rites of Spring at all when speaking of Revolution Summer; because in many respects, they were a major catalyst in its occurrence. I guess the best word to describe this band would have to be catharsis; any other explanation fails horribly. It is simple and complete. On record, I am sure there is much lost in the translation, but it is still there for those of us not there at the time.

Seriously, search out this book.  Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital is an excellent document of several stages of DC punk and hardcore with lots of great anecdotal material.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The "Rock N Roll" Hall of Fame

First off...

I know that the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame is really a big joke. But if the electors continue these types of shenanigans, it will lose all credibility. I mean, if it was a popular music hall of fame or something more inclusive sounding, go for it. But, if it is going to be called the "Rock N Roll" Hall of Fame. Then let's get with the program.

Seriously, Run DMC? They are not remotely related to Rock N Roll. I know there are other rap artists in there too, and they do not belong either. It is a shame that they all get in before the Stooges, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Sun Ra, MC5, etc. 

The same goes for Metallica. What the hell is that? Eventually, yes, but there are other deserving groups and people that should be in there before them. 

John Reis better get in when his 25 years comes up or heads are gonna roll.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Reading the Classics

In preparation for writing my own novel, I figured that I would get into it by first reading several classics some of which I already read and some new. Lately Russian literature has been really gripping my reading time. Dostoevsky has always been a favorite of mine ever since reading Crime and Punishment in high school, and after reading The Brothers Karamazov and The Idiots, I developed a deep and abiding appreciation for his work. So with that in mind, I drafted a reading list for the month of January.

- Crime and Punishment
- The Brothers Karamazov
- Anna Karenina
- War and Peace

 and finishing it up with Victor Hugo's Les Miserables (Yes, I know this is not Russian).

For this past Christmas holiday, Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina found its way into my hands. Now, I must admit that Tolstoy had until recently remained an untapped well for me; but, dear lord, this book has been quite amazing thus far. Thus far, this novel has flowed with an artistic precision which I have not experienced in quite some time. It is not something that I am zipping through as I do with so many other books. Instead, I am purposely taking my time as if I am savoring every word like a morsel of my wife's vegan baked ziti.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

While We Are At It

So since looking back at 2008, I recently found my top 25 lists for past years. Here is my Top 25 from that year and a bit about how I still feel about each one. After time, some records definitely grow in stature and some fall; tastes change as does critical thinking. 

1. Young Widows- Settle Down City (Jade Tree)

Surely, almost three years on, a record might just grow old, but that really is not the case with Settle Down City. It still holds a special place in my collection, and based on their follow up, 2008's Old Wounds, I feel completely justified in this record being my #1 of 2006.

2. Tom Waits- Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards (Anti)

Ah the great Tom Waits, this monster of a record at 3 CDs and not a bad song on it. I still feel comfortable with this here as well.

3. Tragedy- Nerve Damage (Tragedy)

Tragedy is a force. Love the records. Love seeing them play. And even though this might be their weakest record, it still destroys 90% of what others put out.

3. Black Heart Procession- The Spell (Touch and Go)

Such a good record. I remember not being able to choose between this or Tragedy as my #3. I still can't. The Spell really is a gem.

5. Isis- In the Absence of Truth (Ipecac)

Ok...this one drops, although I am not sure where yet. I love Isis, but this is the first record that they recorded which disappointed me in some way. Not that In the Absence of Truth is bad, but I definitely do not find myself listening to it as often as anything else they have done. 

6. Sunn0)))/Boris- Altar (Southern Lord)

Another one that drops, Alter was good; but it was not amazing to me. SunnO))) was another band that was gold up until this point for me, and I am still waiting for them to fully recover. Pentemple and Domkirke are getting there though but neither really gets them back to top form. Boris on the other hand does nothing for me at all and that might be another reason why this languishes more and more for me.

7. Isis/ Aerogramme- In the Fishtank Vol 12 (Koncurrent)

This record still rips, and I still listen to it pretty regularly. Something about it just continues to strike a chord with me.

8. Jesu- Silver (Hydra Head)

Yes, Silver was down at 8 for me in 2006.  Not sure if this rises, but I have come to enjoy it more now than I maybe did then.

9. Converge- No Heroes (Epitaph)

Converge is one of those bands. I am really into what they do; I respect them as artists and musicians. No Heroes was another feather in their cap.

10. Hope Conspiracy- Death Knows Your Name (Deathwish Inc)

Death Knows Your Name was one hell of a comeback record.

10. Planes Mistaken for Stars- Mercy (Abacus)

So was Mercy which is why they tied.

12. Micah P Hinson- And the Opera Circuit (Jade Tree)

Micah is great. I still enjoy this record thoroughly.

13. Envy- Insomniac Doze (Temporary Residence)

Here is one that would jump a ton of places. Insomniac Doze was the record which put Envy on my map. 

14. Coliseum/ Young Widows (Auxiliary)

A good record and has Young Widows material not available anywhere else.

15. Red Sparowes- Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun (Neurot)

Red Sparowes is interesting to me. I enjoy them live much more than on record. This is their 2nd album and is good, but does not match their first for me. I still think this would fall around here though.

16. Sonic Youth- Rather Ripped (Geffen)

Another album that would relatively stay put. Rather Ripped is a good record. 

17. Mastodon- Blood Mountain (Warner Bros)

Blood Mountain would plummet. I really like a couple of songs on the album but that is pretty much it. Does not have anywhere near the potency of Leviathan.

18. Versoma- Life During Wartime (Robotic Empire)

OK, so I really think that this record would move up quite a bit. I listen to this more and more. Versoma just had a that I still want to hear. The fact that this band spawned two really good bands also helps its case and will probably be one of those criminally underrated records in a few years that people talk about like a religious experience.

19. The Draft- In a Million Places (Epitaph)

Yes, I still really like this as well. It certainly would not fall.

20. Johnny Cash- American 5: A Hundred Highways (American)

Same here. Probably Cash's last album, American 5 does have quite a bit of sentimental value; but I still listen to it. 

21. Rainer Maria- Catastrophe Keeps Us Together (Grunion)

Catastrophe Keeps Us Together probably would move up if I am being honest. I still really dig this record even if it is not Rainer Maria's best.

22. Rocky Votolato- Makers (Barsuk/Second Nature)

Seriously, Rocky makes good albums, this one probably jumps a few spaces as well.

23. Rise and Fall- Into Oblivion (Deathwish Inc)

This might go up a bit as well. Still waiting for a new album from Rise and Fall.

24. Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan- Ballad of the Broken Sea (V2)

Really enjoyable record. It would still make this list.

25. Sick of It All- Death to Tyrants (Abacus)

I love these guys, but I probably would not include this in the list again.

25. Cult of Luna- Somewhere Along the Highway (Earache)

Somewhere Along the Highway would definitely move up the rankings here, Big time. I still think my review of this record is right on, but I like it more and more in any case. For a while, earlier this year, I listened to this album obsessively.

25. Fleeting Joys- Despondent Transponder (Only Forever Recordings)

OK, I probably would still include Despondent Transponder still. Fleeting Joys are another band which I am awaiting a follow up from them.

Starkweather- Croatoan (Candlelight USA)

Now this record just might peak up into the list. I should have included them in the first place.


It is a bit different, but I think this is more accurate as per what my listening habits and desire to hear the record have become. Here is my revamped list:

1. Young Widows- Settle Down City (Jade Tree)

2. Tom Waits- Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards (Anti)

3. Tragedy- Nerve Damage (Tragedy)

3. Black Heart Procession- The Spell (Touch and Go)

5. Envy- Insomniac Doze (Temporary Residence)

6. Jesu- Silver (Hydra Head)

7. Isis/ Aerogramme- In the Fishtank Vol 12 (Koncurrent)

8. Cult of Luna- Somewhere Along the Highway (Earache)

9. Versoma- Life During Wartime (Robotic Empire)

10. Converge- No Heroes (Epitaph)

11. Isis- In the Absence of Truth (Ipecac)

12. Micah P Hinson- And the Opera Circuit (Jade Tree)

13. Rainer Maria- Catastrophe Keeps Us Together (Grunion)

14. Coliseum/ Young Widows (Auxiliary)

15. Rocky Votolato- Makers (Barsuk/ Second Nature)

16. Hope Conspiracy- Death Knows Your Name (Deathwish Inc)

16. Planes Mistaken for Stars- Mercy (Abacus)

18. Red Sparowes- Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun (Neurot)

19. Sonic Youth- Rather Ripped (Geffen)

20. The Draft- In a Million Places (Epitaph)

21. Johnny Cash- American 5: A Hundred Highways (American)

22. Rise and Fall- Into Oblivion (Deathwish Inc)

23. Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan- Ballad of the Broken Sea (V2)

24. Starkweather- Croatoan (Candlelight USA)

25. Sunn0)))/Boris- Altar (Southern Lord)

25. Fleeting Joys- Despondent Transponder (Only Forever Recordings)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Top Records of 2008 Well...

...#26-50 actually.

My Top 25 of the year got posted at Scene Point Blank late last night in the big year end feature. Go check that out. 

These were all really good records in their own right that I wanted to list them

26. Aughra- Proof of Dark Matter| Light the Lights (Magic Bullet)

27. Trap Them- Seasons In Barren Praise (Deathwish Inc)

28. Fucked Up- The Chemisty of Common Life (Matador)

29. SunnO)))- Pentemple (Southern Lord)

30. Disfear- Live the Storm (Relapse)

31. The Gutter Twins- Saturnalia (Sub Pop)

32. Hope & Suicide- Hope Suicide (Supernova)

33. Steve Von Till- A Grave Is A Grim Horse (Neurot)

34. 5ive- Hesperus (Tortuga)

35. Fight Amp- Hungry for Nothing (Translation Loss)

36. The Night Marchers- Scene Report (Swami)

37. Crevecoeur- II (Denovali, 2008)

38. J. Bannon- Blood of Thine Enemies (Deathwish Inc)

39. Gridlink- Amber Grey (Hydra Head)

40. Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan- Sunday at Devil Dirt (V2)

41. Capsule- Blue (Robotic Empire)

42. City of Ships- Tour (self released)

43. Rocket from the Crypt- RIP (Swami/ Vagrant)

44. Nadja- Desire In Uneasiness (Crucial Blast)

45. Pyramids- Pyramids (Hydra Head)

46. Stove Bredsky- Black Ribbon Award (Hydra Head)

47. The Kills- Midnight Boom (Rough Trade)

48. Haiyano Daisuki- Headbanger’s Karaoke Club Dangerous Fire (Hydra Head)

49. Grey Daturas- Return To Disruption (Neurot)

50. Celeste- Nihiliste(s) (Denovali)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Future Is Unwritten

So, I finally got a chance to see this documentary on Joe Strummer yesterday, and I still am torn as to whether it was good or not. But, I digress and offer some background. 

It is truly interesting that after Ron Asheton's recent untimely death, Joe Strummer's pops back into my life at roughly the same time. You see, Strummer was a huge inspiration to me as well and informed a great deal of what I made musically for a time. His voice always sounded hopeful and still does whenever I hear it.

Anyway, this documentary was pretty interesting. I think I would have liked to have seen or heard more from his later days with the Mescaleros, but otherwise it was enjoyable. If you get the chance, check it out, particularly if you are a fan of the Clash or Strummer.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Today Is My Wife's Birthday

Happy birthday to her and many many more to come.

Perhaps pictures might make here afterwards.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Debut records from 2008.

Hearing good new bands is something that I really enjoy getting to do. It might be one of my favorite aspects of music; hearing different combinations of people making really great music is awesome and just never seems to get old. To an extent this goes against common attitudes that many people have (comparing new bands negatively to vaunted bands of the past is a common occurrence), but this strikes me as really strange.

In any case, 2008 had a bunch of great new records. My list over at Scene Point Blank barely scratched the surface of some of the great debut records that came out this year. I definitely had more that were more than worth mentioning so here are more debuts by bands and people that were noteworthy in 2008:

True Widow- True Widow (End Sounds) 

True Widow's self titled debut is good on many different levels and full of subtle beauty. It is tough to really pick pieces of the record out so listening to it from start to finish is really the only way to listen to it. True Widow made a cohesive record that makes me jealous. Definitely a record more people need to check out.

Gods and Queens- Untitled (Robotic Empire/ Adagio 830 / Dead Format)

Noisy and urgent sounding, Gods & Queens untitled debut hits people in the gut with a thick sound and volume to match. A real killer that finds its way onto more stereos because it is that good. I really hate comparing bands to others so...go listen to them and make up your own damn mind. If you go to the Robotic Obscurities blog (linked to mine over there to your right), there are some demos and rarities from the band as well.

Aughra- Proof of Dark Matter| Light the Lights (Magic Bullet)

Aesthetically speaking, Brett Eyestone (the lone member of Aughra) contines to put out great art and music. Proof of Dark Matter | Light the Lights is the long time coming first full length from this ambient/ soundscape project, and it continues and broadens the paths which Aughra has tread on a 7", Cassettes, split, and an EP/Book. Hopefully there is more to come from Mr. Eyestone with Aughra. 

Mamiffer- Hirror Enniffer (Hydra Head)

Calling this album infectious to my personal ears would be an understatement.  The more that I listen to it, the more it creeps into my listening habits (to the tune of my listening to it 2 to 3 times a day at present). It is a beautiful sounding record and though it might not be considered a true full length, it is a deserving debut. It is brutal because now I need to hear more from Mamiffer...damn them for being so good.

The Gutter Twins- Saturnalia (Sub Pop) 

The long talked about pairing of Greg Dulli (of Afghan Wigs and Twighlight Singers fame) and Mark Lanegan (of shredded vocals, Queens of the Stone Age, Screaming Trees fame) does not disappoint in any way. I think this record sounds incredibly sleezy (in a great way) and just sounds great. Think of a dark, smoky night club and this record could probably be the soundtrack.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More Year End Lists

Being that with the sheer amount of music being created all the time, it is bound to happen that people will miss out on albums, EPs, what have you. In this case, given the facts, it can also be extrapolated that people could continually miss good music. If such music continually is missed, these pieces of music can and might fall into obscurity and being rendered out of print. Another scenario that might cause a record to go out of print could be that the original label that issued the release could no longer support the release or keep it in print due to finances (it happens). Yet another scenario (which is mostly tasteless in my opinion) is when a label purchases a release from the original label with the express intent to re-issue the music. 

Regardless how one views them Re-Issues can be a tricky thing. Sometimes, the re-issue is more than worth it as the record label puts a lot of time, love, and effort into the new version of the record; while, at other times, the re-issue comes out with nothing different from the original release and seems to be nothing more than a cash grab. Besides the list that I wrote which will be available on Scene Point Blank here are more Reissues/ Rarities comps that were worth it to me that were released in 2008:

Envy- All the Footprints You’ve Ever Left… (Temporary Residence)
Envy- Compiled Fragments (Temporary Residence)
Envy- A Dead Sinking Story (Temporary Residence)

The re-issue series which Temporary undertook to make available or more widely available is possibly questionable. Though I am not sure how available All The Footprints... and A Dead Sinking Story were at the time, but Compiled Fragments never was really all that widely available in the United States. Nothing new was really done with the records, but at least they are out and people can find them. The records themselves are all excellent and well worth getting. People who already owned them, though, really have no reason to pick them up again.

Hot Water Music- Till the Wheels Fall Off (No Idea)

This nifty collection compiles demos, outtakes, compilation tracks etc that normally took a lot of tracking down to collect. Neatly packaging all of this material and making it available in one place is a boon for Hot Water Music fans.

Rocket From the Crypt- All Systems Go Vol. 3 (Vagrant/ Swami)

Another nice collection that takes unreleased tracks and combines them with singles and alternate versions of songs from the massive Rocket From the Crypt catalog. This record really produces some nice gems (Like "Total Bummer") as well as funny liner notes produced by Speedo himself.

Cavity- Laid Insignificant (Hydra Head)

Ah...a long out of print record sees the light of day again. I was so glad that Hydra Head re-issued this so that paying "collector" prices was not necessary.

Supermachiner- Rise of the Great Machine (e-vinyl)

Finally available on vinyl, Rise of the Great Machine sounds like it was meant to be in this format. I am glad someone released it on vinyl because it was long overdue. Packaging looks great as well.

Planes Mistaken for Stars- We Ride to Fight (No Idea)

All of this was pretty much available previously, but compiling it into one nice package was a neat idea. I am sure some fans of later Planes Mistaken for Stars were surprised by how this sounds.

Today Is the Day- Today Is the Day (Supernova)
Today Is the Day- Supernova (Supernova)

I never realized how good early Today Is the Day was before hearing these reissues, partially because getting a hold of them could prove to be a bit problematic. Now that they are more widely available, hopefully more people will check these out because both the self-titled and Supernova are definitely worth it. Even thought his music has evolved over time, Steve Austin still made disturbing music even at this stage in Today Is the Day's development. 

Skullflower- IIIrd Gatekeeper (Crucial Blast)

This Skullflower record is another album that was very difficult to find or acquire. Crucial Blast really came through in re-issuing this. It is more structured than later Skullflower releases, but that crushing noise which the outfit is known for is still evident on IIIrd Gatekeeper.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

RIP Ron Asheton

Ron Asheton (1949- 2009)

Wow! This is pretty shocking news coming already this year.

Ron Asheton as you may or may not know was the guitarist of the Stooges are their Self Titled debut album, 2nd album Fun House and their latest album, The Weirdness while playing bass for them on Raw Power. His impact on punk rock and music in general probably shouldn't be trivialized in something like this other than to mention it.

On a more personal note, Asheton's guitar playing hugely influenced my guitar playing as well as serving as a huge inspiration to a previous band which I did called Walk Like Ghosts. We worshipped the Stooges at the time and loved his guitar playing. It is times such as these that make me realize how much other people can influence you.

RIP Mr Asheton...You will be remembered.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Top Music Lists of 2008

Sometime soon, the online zine which I write for, Scene Point Blank, will be publishing our year end Feature for 2008. We do it a bit later than other places, but we tend to jam releases that are released pretty late in the year into it. One of the pieces that I popped in will be my Top 5 EPs of 2008. 

EPs are great. They give artists a wide pallette to do many things with their music: experiment, expand, tease, hold over fans, etc. From a listeners point of view, EPs are usually a treat in some way. This year had quite a few which I enjoyed, and besides what you can see in Scene Point Blank's feature, here several more EPs that I liked that came out in 2008:

The Night Marchers- Scene Report (Swami)

Bulwarked by the great song "Scene Report", this single, which is available only from the band on tour, reminds me of why singles can be awesome. These quick three songs blast by with more fun and reckless rock n roll abandon than most horrific sounding garage acts can muster ever.  "Scene Report" itself is one of the Night Marchers best tracks and was recently included on the double LP issue of their debut album See You In Magic; so if you missed out on the single and don't want to pay ridiculous ebay prices...look there.

The Night Marchers- Mystery Machine/ Rock-a-Bye Maybe (Swami)

This is the second tour only single which the Night Marchers have released, and it is worth getting a hold of (again from the band on tour). I really like the Night Marchers are utilizing the single format; it is exciting going to see them and seeing a new single available. Although for those unadventureous types, you miss out on these records.

J. Bannon- The Blood of Thine Enemies (Deathwish Inc)

A haunting debut and teaser for future solo work from the vocalist of Converge and artist of note. The Blood of Thine Enemies is a marked departure and light years away from what Converge enthusiasts. The plinking piano, subtle swirling electronics and low bass hum underlay Bannon's clean vocal performance create this haunting atmosphere. The single is intriguing enough to create anticipation for more of this project. 

City of Ships- Tour (self released)

This little EP still serves as quite the pleasant surprise when I pop this on my stereo or headphones. A rocking 4 tracks from a powerful sounding three piece, this tour EP was just what I wanted at the time; and I didn't even realize it until I sat down to write my review of it. I cannot wait to see what City of Ships does next.

Haiyano Daisuki- Headbanger’s Karaoke Club Dangerous Fire (Hydra Head)

When I first put on Haiyano Daisuki's debut, I was frothing at the mouth expecting grind mayhem akin to vocalist Jon Chang's awesome Discordance Axis. Imagine my surprise when the thrashing style of Headbanger's Karaoke Club Dangerous Fire came rushing out of the speakers. The inital disappointment quickly wore off as I noticed a great many things that made this good in its own right. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Year End Music Lists

Writing for Scene Point Blank can really make me think hard about what music I listen to in a given year. I do a ton of reviews and those eat up so much listening time that this time of the year I can spoil myself and really check out new things. It also gives me the chance to listen to a ton of records from over the course of the year in order to make tons of these ridiculous lists. 

However ridiculous they may be, I think these lists do serve a purpose of sorts in that they allow one to compartmentalize the music in order to digest it. Rationally, so much music comes out in a given year that it is impossible for all of us to listen to so much. So, when records are on multiple lists like these, it kind of allows for people to check out records they missed in this manner. I miss good records every year, hence why I write a top 5 or so list of good records that I missed the previous year.

On Scene Point Blank, I just submitted this slew of Top 5 lists from 2008. 

Top 5 Record Packaging

- Top 5 EPs

- Top 5 Re-Issues

- Top 5 Debuts

- Top 5 Splits

- Top 5 Missed in 2007

Over the next several days, I will post additional tracks that did not quite make these Top 5 lists. Consider them additional material...consider them honorable mentions...what have you.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Why I Have Such a Hard Time Going to the Movies

Has anyone else out there sworn off movies lately? There was a time when I loved going to the movies, but as time has passed I hate it more and more. 2008 proved to be the year that I saw the least amount of movies in theaters since before I could drive. The reason why is simple. People are rude as hell.

When I go to the movies, I go to watch what is on the screen, not talk to friends, not talk on the cell phone, not text people. In the past year or so while going to the movies I have witnessed in the theater: a couple having sex, talking on the cell phone through the whole movie, a fight between two groups of people, the movie stopping and police escorting people out of a theater, and a whole host of other events. Every single time, it was a ridiculous event.

So, Jenn (my wife) and I went to see the Spirit on Friday evening. For a while it looked as though we hit pay dirt and were going to be the only ones in the theater, but that was an illusion because as the movie began people were still filing into the theater while the movie was beginning. For the most part, the talking was at a minimum until several people walked out roughly midway through the film. It was all pretty disruptive, but it was not the worst experience that I have had in the movies lately. 

This caused me to think. Why do people go to the movies at all if they are just going to talk on the phone or to their friends? Couldn't they do that somewhere else? When I was younger the movies were a treat because I could not always afford to go. Maybe people kind of take the movies for granted now. Here's to not going to the movies again probably until the Watchmen comes out in March.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Fine Art of Self Reflection and Other Nonsense

Maybe it comes with the territory of a new year turning the page; maybe it has to do with strange traditions around this time of year, but lately much of my energy has been turned to re-evaluating things that I have done, am working on currently, will be working on, should be working on, et cetera et cetera. My wife and I have spoken a couple of times about New Years Resolutions and such wondering if either of us were going to make any. Normally, I steer clear of these types of "traditions" because they feel so shallow or trivial to me. Still, the goals that I set for myself seem to actually be these types of resolutions (mine just are not lose x amount of pounds or go to the gym more often type of resolutions). 

Some of my goals for 2009 include, but are not limited to:
- Get tattooed by my wife
- Record the first Gholas full length and release it
- Graduate from Graduate school with my Master's
- Write my first novel
- Less Quantity, More Quality
- Write 100 reviews this coming year for SPB
- Write 12 articles for SPB
- Go on at least one vacation where I leave the tri-state area
- Write this blog regularly
- Get My brother to write his novel

Some of those look daunting, particularly getting my brother to write his novel as he is lazy. Even now, I look at that list and ask myself what the hell am I thinking trying to do all of this this year. But, that is why they are goals...things to shoot for completing. 

Are these ridiculous? Who knows? I would have these goals regardless of if it was a New Year or not so maybe they would not seem that way in this case. 

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Writing of a Book

This is an undertaking which I have attempted on numerous occasions, too many to count actually. My brother and I were discussing yesterday about a book idea that he had, and it hit me. His idea was great and I wanted him to write it and bugged him to get a preliminary outline done. Then I decided that both of us should write our own novels this year. March 31st, 2009 is the deadline for the first draft. Probably not a hell of a lot of time, but it is what I will be shooting for anyway (he is much more realistic about his terrible laziness). 

Procrastination is a terrible terrible act. Many of us struggle with it on a routine basis. In writing, I struggle with it a great deal; fresh ideas pop in my head and the beginning stages occur but often there is little follow through. Maybe an outline and a chapter are completed; maybe a a ton of research. Once I did get four chapters of a potential novel written before giving up because the dialogue was so terribly awful.

Reading books about writing is funny although I have done it and find that some of what the authors say make sense and try to incorporate their hints and suggestions. The thing is with the amount that I read, I feel like contributing in some way. This is why it is such a draw for me and something to attempt. 

That is all over. I aim to get a first draft done by March 31st of this year. And I will push my brother to do the same.