Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pretentious Long-Winded Sophomore Album Title>>

Wow, way back when I was proclaiming good ol' Whale as the "next big thing that never happened" my pretentious ass never even realized those crazy Swedes actually released a second album just three years later. With the delicious Cia Berg again at the helm (talk about the pioneer of the "hottie nerd" revolution, no?), Whale's second slab of wax delivers in just that way late 90's alternative rock did. Of course comparisons can be made with nearly every female-helmed band at the time (Breeders, Garbage, Veruca Salt, etc) but Whale owns a weirdly Euro Pop sensibility that most bands this side of the pond lacked (or at least lacked at the time). The band eschews a rocking "Hobo Babe" anthem on this record for a lot more depth and darkness; a bunch of slow, heavy-lyric ballads mixed in with lots of manic trip-hop. Not quite the party album as their debut (unless you are still holding raves in your basement) but a lot more satisfying a listen. The epic "Go Where You're Feeling Free" cannot help but bring shades of "Happy Colored Marbles" or some similar bigger-than-its-britches mini-epic. Solid stuff that still sounds as good 20 years later. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Another Dimension Of Rhythm

Take one part Big L and one part House Of Pain and you pretty much end up with A.D.O.R. With rap skills straight outta Mount Vernon, NY, A.D.O.R.'s career began with producer extraordinaire Pete Rock (just then coming into his own) producing his first single, "Let It All Hang Out" which enjoyed some significant 1992 radio and video play. Floating through the scene and eventually signed by the majors, A.D.O.R.'s career stalled significantly when he was dropped by Atlantic on the cusp of his debut LP release for "creative differences" (generic industry-speak for artists not falling into line with label demands). The Concrete never saw the light of day save for limited promo/review copies and the world would have to wait another year until A.D.O.R. released a quasi-revamped version on his own label (entitled Shock Therapy). As far as the music, it all sounds terribly familiar and will constantly remind you of any number of early-90's rappers (especially anyone on Tommy Boy) but man, it is nice to hear some old-school hip-hop I haven't played to death (to gotta be honest, I had never heard of A.D.O.R. and only recently stumbled upon him thanks to SiriusXM's Backspin). The rip I have is culled from vinyl (possibly one of the promo out there?) so there are some skips and cracks but it's the most complete version out there I could find. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Glamorgan Sludge

Oh man, is it about fucking time for some heavy music. Merciful thanks to the Welsh sludge quartet Hogslayer for not falling into the typical post-debut breakup rut and staying together long enough to release their sophomore studio album Defacer. What a surprise it was to randomly stumble back upon Hogslayer’s bandcamp page only to discover they released a motherfucker of a full-length album way back in July last year. Jesus, where the fuck was I? Another crushing audio siege from these Welsh sludgelords, the 8 tracks pick up exactly where the previous eponymous EP left off, pounding Iron Sloth-influenced dirges overlayed with a howling vocal assault. Don't expect any big pick guitar solos or wailing harmonies - each song opens with a blister of feedback and followed by a hypnotic bombardment of downtuned riffs. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dream Punk

Already a fan of his long-running Rocket Science blog, I was pleased to read curator Dave G’s involvement in the promotion of local record label Killing Horse Records. Himself the once-owner of a DIY indie label defunct for nearly two decades, Killing Horse launched in 2010 and focused primarily on northern NJ bands (half of which the guys were friends with). One of the earliest records Dave G reviewed was 2012’s self-titled debut by NJ’s Wreaths, a refreshing genre-spanning album which quickly brought to mind flashes of Ween and the Flaming Lips. At a time when Ween had just broken up (and, to be honest, I never found La Cucaracha terribly satisfying) this was exactly what the doctor had ordered. Clear Quebec influences aside (shit, half the songs have a weird "Chocolate Town" groove to 'em), Wreaths exudes a wonderfully trippy vibe that gives the record an almost ethereal quality (and makes you want to instantly drink/smoke yourself into a stupor just to immerse yourself in it). The opener, "Coke Straw" would make the Boognish proud, a cosmic pounder that is probably my favorite track, although nearly every song stands out on its own. Heavy use of the reverb pedal here folks, nearly every rhythm chord is stretched for maximum sustain - a space rock sludgey-ness which really sounds cool. The latter half of the record is more akin to an alien instrumental space dirge spanning one track to the other - "Love Me, Dark Wizard" reminds me of something the Black Keys have done and is a fitting close to the LP, a looping feedback overdub spanning the stereo channels to wrap up the 50-minute acid rock trip. The band has a few other releases floating around out there, your best start is with Discogs, Soundcloud and their Facebook (oh, and buy the record here). Good stuff for sure. Enjoy.

In case you’re interested (or an incredibly esoteric vinyl collector), info on Dave G’s circa-90’s Rocket Science Records can be found here. Killing Horse Records is still actively releasing records and you can check out their bandcamp page here. Lastly (for those who are not tired of links), while Dave G’s blog isn’t really updated anymore you can still noodle around the pretty cool archives here.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bad Trip

Richmond, VA’s Black Cash could not have picked a better time to drop into the city’s local music scene. It was 2005 and the recently-deceased Johnny Cash was basking in massive posthumous career success; not only with his American album series but the huge (and eventual Oscar-winning) crossover box office from the Walk The Line biopic. A completely new generation, tired of the godawful pop country so prevalent on present day radio, was beginning to revisit and appreciate the outlaw country legend’s vast musical catalogue; and Black Cash and the Bad Trips were there to, well, cash in on the hype. Less of a bandwagon grab and simply the result of good timing, Black Cash played a respectable setlist of career-spanning Johnny Cash covers, along with a few Nick Cage and Ween songs if stage time allowed. The brainchild of members from local nü-ish metal acts Eyeshine and Atomizer, the group quickly achieved quite a modicum of national success far outside the River City borders, satisfying the growing demand of the public to hear the classic songs live. The group avoided studio recordings as the Cash estate’s copyright prerequisites were simply too involved to justify anyone’s extended effort towards the thing; as a result one of the few demos that does exist is a promotional 6-song setlist recorded by the original lineup at Richmond’s now-defunct Alley Katz. My clear favorite of the set is “Rusty Cage,” starting off straight-Cash then devolving into the Soundgarden-esque grunge version most of us MTV-generationers are familiar with. The metal roots of the band clearly shine though. Black Cash’s lineup began to change after a few years and eventually show dates began to wane, with the group dissolving in late 2009. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bald Headed Beats

I've had this one sitting on my hard drive for a while and simply haven't had time to upload it... unfortunately it's not quite as complete as some of the other "sample compilations" I've done in the past and I was hoping time would help fill some of the gaps in the break beat list. Oh well. Willie Dee's epic debut, 1989's Controversy is a work of absolute DIY raunchy genius and oozes a strange aura of cut-and-paste charm to help overcome the sheer amateurishness of it all (and the fact I'm writing about it over 25 years after its release proves it). Peering once more into DJ Ready Red's late-90's record collection there are a few new nuggets for those who downloaded the Geto Boys and Mr. Scarface Is Back comps - including a rather rare track from forgotten British funk obscurity Olympic Runners. I couldn't find or figure samples from a few of Controversy's tracks (primarily "Kinky") but did the best I could. Notable omissions include the strange-but-cool organ overdub on "Put The F'in Gun Away" and the back beat ("wooo!" included) from "Trip Across From Mexico". I know these are somewhere hidden in some 8-minute Meters or James Brown jam but simply cannot find them!

Still, here is the CD track-by-track breakdown:

1. Do It Like It G.O.
        • "Apache" by Incredible Bongo Band
        • "Superfly" by Curtis Mayfield
2. Fuck The KKK
        • "Smiling Faces Sometimes" by The Undisputed Truth
        • "Impeach The President" by The Honey Drippers
        • "Bring The Noise" by Public Enemy
        • "Funky Drummer" by James Brown
3. Kick That Shit
        • "The Boss" by James Brown
        • "If You've Got It, You'll Get It" by The Headhunters
4. Willie Dee
        • "Willie Dee" by Martha Reeves & The Sweet Things
        • "The Champ" by The Mohawks
        • "'The Twilight Zone' Opening Theme" by Marius Constant
5. Put The F'in Gun Away
        • "Synthetic Substitution" by Melvin Bliss
6. Trip Across From Mexico
        • "Movin'" by Brass Construction
7. 5th Ward
        • "Think (About It)" by Lyn Collins
        • "Kool Is Back" by Funk, Inc.
        • "N.T." by Kool And The Gang
        • "Funky Drummer" by James Brown
8. Bald Headed Hoes
        • "Kool Is Back" by Funk, Inc.
        • "'Dragnet' Opening Theme" by Walter Schumann
9. Welfare Bitches
        • "Don't Let Up" by Olympic Runners
10. Kinky
11. I Need Some Pussy
        • "Yes We Can Can" by The Pointer Sisters
12. Fuck Me Now
        • "Different Strokes" by Syl Johnson
        • "Think (About It)" by Lyn Collins
        • "The Big Beat" by Billy Squier

Additionally, I was really hoping to find the full sample of whatever comedian (?) does the kinda gross "greasy split" monologue at the bookends of "I Need Some Pussy". Some old grumpy Redd Foxx-esque motherfucker sitting at some dank nightclub to scattered drunk applause. Amazing that there is still some shit out there today that the Internet can't figure out for you!!! Any advice or submissions will be promptly added to the catalog - until then thanks and enjoy.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Gutrot Hogfrenzy

Wow, has it really been a decade since Regurgitate released their last full-length? Sad times indeed. Once assiduous kingpins of Relapse Records' goregrind catalog, the Swedish three-piece ostensibly dropped off the map after 2006’s Sickening Bliss, releasing only a handful of 7" splits over the next few years. A satisfying blend between the more ridiculous groovy gurgle-core of their early days and the more technical, straightforward grindcore of 2004's Deviant, Sickening Bliss rarely gets tiring. Pitch-shifting through the two subgenres in both vocals and guitars, it is full of enough manic blastbeats, stop-start riffage and bile-gargling vocal modifiers to keep most fans interested. Personal highlights include the absolutely sick breakdown bridge in "Cavernous Sores" and definite throwback to their old school days with "Excremental Ingestment". And finally a RGTE song you can sing along to... "(We Are) Sadistic Hateful Scum" – the title of which they just repeat over and over. For what it's worth, most websites still regard the band as "Active" so hopefully there will be some new material in the future… until then the 25 minute-or-so goregrind blasts of Sickening Bliss have stayed as fucking sick and refreshing as they did so long ago. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Tenacious Z

I don't know what I was searching for when I stumbled upon this lo-fi gem but it raised enough of a dry smile to earn a spot in my somewhat selective music library. Recorded at some point in 2011, Best Songs Ever compiles several (each entitled Best Songs Ever 2, 3, etc. etc.) short YouTube recording sessions into a full-length LP (and many thanks to the person who had the patience/tolerance to rip said videos). Obvious comparisons to Tenacious D aside, some of the songs are pretty funny, some of the more offensive ones ("Ever Since I Fucked My Sister (She's Been Acting Kind Of Strange)" and "Remember That Time That Your Dad Molested You?") actually elicited a guffaw from my jaded soul. Based out of New Orleans, the Straight-Eff's consisted of TJ Kinkaid on vocals and Cody Weber on acoustic guitar and while basically a duo there appears a guest bassist as well whose name escapes me. There are also some pretty solid (i.e. professional) remixes tacked on as well but you'll just have to listen to the record to understand it all. Unfortunately it seems the guys had somewhat of a real/fake falling out after a few months and their tethered musical future dissolved just as quickly but both have continued to do online shit here and here. In short, the album works a little bit better in its original 10-minute bursts, after half an hour of TJ screaming it can get somewhat nerve-frying so be forewarned and enjoy. For those who dig, they have a bandcamp page with some extra material for sale - check it out.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Stimpak Soundtrack

Like the 15 million+ other people out there I am painfully addicted to Fallout 4, just like I was to 3 and New Vegas. Currently on my 28th in-game day or whatever in the post-apocalyptic Commonwealth, there are times I feel like I'm more concerned what's happening in that world then the real one. The commercial is an absolute work of genius and using "The Wanderer" was an ideal choice; fitting in perfectly with the frozen-in-time 50's art deco vibe of the whole game. I was surprised to see that Dion didn't burn out as the teen idol I pegged him to be, he's still churning out records to this day - switching genres through the decades from blues to eventually more religious-themed stuff; impressive for a guy pushing 80. "The Wanderer" was on the second single from his 1961 Runaround Sue album, his first solo LP after splitting with the doo wop trio The Belmonts. Paired with "The Majestic", "Wanderer" ended up with a ton more airplay than its A-side and ended up actually hitting #2 on the Billboard charts. Will all that being said, here's something a little different than my usual posts, an oldies revisit thanks to a game taking place 200 years in the future. Of course you'll know some of the songs on the album, notably the title track but and "Dream Lover" but there are a couple humorous forgotten rock & roll treasures worth a listen. Ironically, "Kansas City" sounds almost exactly like the "Wanderer" and has become my second favorite track on the record. So grab some RadAway and enjoy a trip down memory lane.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Old Nü Metal

No folks, this blog's not dead just yet, just been too busy juggling two jobs along with all the other miserable shit in life to get around to this forgotten corner of the web. Oddly, been listening to a lot of music as of late so hopefully there will be some regularity/frequency to forthcoming posts. Regardless, let's jump into the time machine back to the early years of the new millennium where 90% of bands that could have simply gone the way of radio-friendly alternative rock simply downtuned their instruments, added some quasi-witty white-boy rap lyrics and tagged themselves nü metal. Cincinnatti, OH's V-Mob (or V-MOB depending on which website you visit) was birthed in 1997 and released a few demos, ep's and samplers before calling it a day with 2002's Equilibrium mini-album. While it's a huge jump in quality from their rather unlistenable demo from five years earlier, I'm simply not terribly wowed by it. Case in point, the opener "Transparent" (arguably the best song on the record) sounds like a weird remix of Slipknot ("Sic"), Korn ("Need To") and Phunk Junkeez ("Snapped") songs from years before. I guess there was just such a ridiculous demand for this stuff back then that no one called 'em out (or cared). "Mime" is pretty good but devolves into a weird Vanilla Ice-ish bridge at one point which just sounds funny and "Reflection" opens pretty strong. Evidently Equilibrium got the band a legit record contract which they never signed, fired their lead singer, and promptly faded into obscurity. The band has since been compared to Slipknot, I'm not sure if that's due to their very similar sound or the fact that they come from Ohio and people are just confusing that with Iowa (shit, they're basically the same state) but it's probably better than the band deserves. There seems to be a rather strong cult following for V-Mob and the guys have done some reunion shows through the decades but maybe I just missed the bus or by 2002 simply didn't care about the genre any more. Come to think of it I can't remember anything i was doing in '02 so whatever. Long story short, if you're craving some obscure nü metal then you can't go wrong with these 20 minutes. Enjoy.