Sunday, December 20, 2009


If you didn't know already, THE HELM are flying out to the East Coast next week for a week of shows around the Northeast. They will be joined by the ever-affable OAK & BONE on all dates.
A few of the details are still a bit fuzzy, but here's the itinerary. Definitely go to one of these shows as it's not often The Helm make it out this way! One last thing- if anyone can help with a last minute show on the 28th in the region (house, basement, attic, storage closet, whatever!) hit me up at
OK, here it is:
Sun., 12/27- Brooklyn, NY @ Stolen Sleeves Collective
Mon., 12/28- HALP!
Tues., 12/29- Boston, MA @ Unit 11 (Allston)
Wed., 12/30- Burlington, VT @ 242 Main St.
Thurs., 12/31- Rochester, NY @ Flying Squirrel Community Space
Fri., 1/1- Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon w/ Black S.S., Forfeit, many more
Sat., 1/2- Philly, PA @ address TBA
Sun., 1/3- Baltimore, MD @ Charm City Art Space

I'll be with these cats the whole trip so if we know each other come hang out and show us love. Make sure to speak loud if you talk to me because I'll be deaf from nightly barrages of heaviness.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Man alive it's getting pretty friggin' cold around here. Time to brew up something warm, stay in your pajamas all day, and read some record reviews. Screw going out in this winter mess.
This batch of reviews here, I must say, is heavy on the upstate NY region (present and past residents). And let me just state that once again, it must be something in the water around these parts because there are quite a few awesome bands that spring up around here, and a lot of them having been putting out records lately.

ANOTHER BREATH, “The God Complex”
I’ll be the first to admit that Another Breath is a band that I’ve never cared for on record, but always a total blast in the live setting. Yet, within the last year that they’ve been playing out select songs from what would be “The God Complex” at shows I thought to myself, ‘man, I can’t wait to hear how this sounds on record!’ Well, this thing has been in the can for probably a year now, but there was no label to release it until now. So here is officially the first AB record that I’m giving repeated daily spins with because it seriously fucking shreds. A sick, lurching intro and the words, “there’s still no god!” open up this fucker and if that isn’t a good enough start to make you love hardcore than now’s probably a good time to see how far you can make it through a Phish album while cutting your own head off. Half the record follows AB’s general vibe of rough melodic hardcore, while the other half takes a more riff-oriented approach, whether it’s the breakneck pace of “I Want To Live”, or the more rocking feel of “Belly Of a Whale”. Lyrically, much of the record takes a big swing at the man upstairs in various ways and it’s very well-written, mostly on a personal level. So yeah, I’m digging the fuck out of this record. Well done fellas! (Panic Records)

These aren’t discarded tracks from “OX”. this is more like a companion piece that works awesome for a band that (once again) reunited and dropped an album that made me want to chain smoke humans with a blowtorch and a jet turbine... puny humans. Book ended with some wild percussion tracks everything in the middle pulls out more of those dragging, sludgy skull melting songs that pummel you like a drunken sumo wrestler who has secretly been masterminding your demise for weeks. They again let loose with a bit of what the band is calling their “Americana” style, but if you ask me it sounds creepy and weird yet totally awesome. It’s more like some crazy asshole with a steel guitar who polishes shotguns on his porch in his spare time. Regardless of all my hyperbole, if you at all liked “OX” there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pick this gem up as well. It’s just as essential and is basically an extra treat for dorks like me who couldn’t get enough of the full length. (Relapse)

CONVERGE, “Axe To Fall”
Do I really even need to review this? There is a hype machine rivaling the size of Egon Spengler’s Twinkie Theory (that’s a big Twinkie) behind this release and what further justice can I do to clearly state that this record is indeed bitchin’? Though I must admit, my hair wasn’t blown back (figuratively, seeing as I’m bald) by every track the way that every other review outlet has been giving out verbal handjobs to this record. A couple songs here, while interesting experiments, aren’t really my thing. I speak of the Steve Von Till track (which could have just been a Neurosis song) and the Genghis Tron song (again, a cool song, but it just doesn’t fit on a Converge record). It’s totally understandable to mix things up every now and again, but part of making that work is to retain some identity of the band doing the mixing up and in this case, these two closer tracks sound more akin to something their guests would make on their own rather than a collaboration. Either way, a good example of this collaborating that works great is “Effigy”, which features the Cave-In dudes,and you can definitely hear Steve Brodsky’s unique leads all over Converge’s thrashing hardcore punk in the 1:47 space in which the listener gets floored. Either way, whatever little gripes I may have are easily made up for with the title track, which manages to be one of my favorite songs of the year in less than 2 minutes. Jesus Christ, how does Kurt Ballou play that fast? It’s just inhuman. Much of this record races right by with such speed and intensity that it’s a very satisfying record, and makes me happy that Converge can go for this long and still sound like a hungry band in their prime. Kudos to that. (Epitaph)

ELDER, “Reflect”
To be perfectly honest, I’m kind of surprised that this project band (of sorts) has dropped a sophomore effort. Their initial offering kind of felt like a one-time deal of a few dudes that are busy in other bands coming together to hash out some songs in homage to Japan’s Envy. Well, they apparently couldn’t get enough and are back with round two of Envy worship- ya know, loud, quiet, loud hectic emo (jn the very best sense of the word). They seem to be a bit more tuned in as a band this time around and create some solid songs- 6 in the span of about 25 minutes. While most maintain a similar feel track five, “Vultures”, finds the band doing their best Gravity Records circa 1995 impression with nice results. The whole deal comes in a fancy fold out package with some cool artwork. And with that you got your Elder, record 2. (Forge Again Records)

FORFEIT, “The Lower Depths”
Forfeit may be from Syracuse, but they’ve probably been mistaken on more than a few occasions of emerging from a Sunday matinee at CBGBs, circa 1989 via some weird time warp. It’s understandable. These dudes have such a strong NYHC vibe going on with “The Lower Depths” it’s ridiculous. Their first proper full length clocks in at just about 22 minutes with 11 tracks, only three of which break the two minute marker. While their 7” was really good one can see that these guys have put some time in working on their chops and adding some diversity to their sound. They’re not busting out clarinets or anything, they’ve just put some more thought into these songs by adding a bit of crossover (a la S.O.D. or Leeway) thrash, abrupt transitions (the end of “Parallel Worlds”), and a good dose of the same bouncy and chugging hardcore fans have come to expect from them. It’s a solid first full length effort. I’m sure you’ll see them all over the place a lot this year, I just can’t be certain if AF, SOIA, or a 13 year-old Freddy Madball will be there too. Time travel is weird like that. (Reaper)

HIGHER GIANT, “Al’s Moustache” 7”
Somewhere else I read about this record and the only thing the critic said about it was, “this is the guy from Warzone?!” Hey, people grow up and their interests change ya know? As if anyone who ever followed anything from Ernie Parada couldn’t see this in the trajectory- Token Entry, Grey Area, and now Higher Giant. Over the years everything has gotten more and more on the poppy side. For those totally unfamiliar this sounds kind of like early Saves the Day (who, of course, are 3rd and 4th generation poor copies of what these dudes in their previous bands did years before those kids hit puberty). The musicianship is good, the songs are fairly catchy, the singing is a little annoying, but at least they reference how much Sick Of It All rules. And that most certainly counts for something. (Black Numbers)

I’ve listened to previous material by this band, but I feel as if the music on this effort is going in a bit different of a direction... perhaps a little more loose and rocking. There’s a distinct quality to the dudes vocals versus the rest of the music. He definitely doesn’t fit in with it, but it’s working, and it most definitely reminds of another band but I can’t put my finger on it. It’s in that vein of how End Of a Year does it, but in a decidedly more post-hardcore vein... perhaps in a bit of a West Coast 90’s emo, a la Ebullition way? There’s accompanying female vocals on a couple tracks that sound really great and bring the music in a slightly more shoegaze direction, yet still retaining some of that loose and hectic feel like the rest of the album. It’s nice mix of styles and works decently. Seriously though, Phratry Records has to do something about these record layouts they send me. Man, work with all that blank space on every release! (Phratry Records)

LIKE WOLVES, “Paths” 7”
Yes! This band is finally get their bearings and rocking the shit out of me. I liked their previous material (and seeing them live is always a blast), but I felt it was a little too all over the place... sort of in that Lords vein of chaotic hardcore, but even more wild. On this self-released 7” they unleash four new songs that still retain a lot of that Louisville style of really loud punk hardcore, and total Black Widows/ Black Cross worship. But I feel like they’ve worked on sticking with some great riffs and rather than jumping around way too much they’re writing better songs overall that stick in your head a bit more. These Rochester kids really have their shit together with this awesome record, really great design on the record, and they did it all themselves. Fuck yeah, let’s hear it for upstate New York bands just flat our ruling! (Like Wolves)

NOT SORRY, “Moving On” 7”
I like how a couple fairly known Northeast bands break up and some of the members of each band coincidentally moved to the Northwest and start another band together. Seriously guys, moving to a new town means getting out and meeting new people! Well, at least their drummer is from Seattle! Ha! All kidding aside, Not Sorry is a straight edge band comprised of dudes who most recently did time in How We Are and From the Ground Up and it’s not really too hard to guess what the results are. I guess if there is a noticeable difference between members past efforts and this is that right out of the gate Not Sorry feels really, really pissed. “Moving On” is a pretty fucking vicious song, but as the record moves on there are some more thoughtful lyrical themes that arise around personal health and environmentalism. As a first effort it’s a pretty fun record for the traditional hardcore fan in you. (Lifeline Records)

Despite anything you might have heard there are actually dudes in Buffalo who are over the age of 30 and still straight edge. To me that’s pretty killer, seeing as they’re all dudes who were regulars at shows when I still lived there. It’s always good to know some people are lifers for this music and not just because they are losers with no other prospects in life. That’s a given for any of us at this age who still frequent punk shows and it’s a sad fact that we’ll deny in person but secretly admitting to ourselves as we scour the B9 board at 2AM on a Tuesday. Still, here we have Reason and they have delivered unto us 7 songs of straight edge hardcore fury. Each of these dudes has probably been in every Buffalo band ever (minus Zero Tolerance) at one point or another so if you were a fan of No Reason, or Dead Hearts, or Halfmast, or Envy... the list goes on and on. It’s basically no frills, in your face, and fast Buffalo hardcore. This is seriously what I thought every Buffalo band (besides Snapcase) sounded like when I first started going to shows there. (

Jesus Christ, this is fucking heavy. Chris from Square Of Opposition described this to me simply as, ‘heavy as shit’ and that’s really all that needs to be said about this band. Good lord. Kicking off with a good dose of grindcore and then breaking into these ridiculously heavy and repetitive breakdowns over the course of four songs each one is noisy, mean, and awesome. I’d say there’s a bit of Coalesce in mind here, but more primal... not as evolved with the weird tricky parts. It’s like watching that scene from Goodfellas where Joe Pesci beats the guy to death with a shoeshine box while Robert Deniro kicks him over and over again. This should have been the background music for that scene. This band tore me a new one. The lack of information on the record just increases the allure. I can pretend in my head that they chase people with hammers or something while they play. (Square Of Opposition Records)

This somehow successfully cross-breeds two distinctly different styles that really shouldn’t mesh, but seem to work wonderfully together with this group. You have some of that intricate-noodley math rock stuff akin to maybe Algernon Cadwallader mixed up with a bit of the loud and brash, somewhat sloppy and noisy Gainesville punk sound. You’d think that you can’t be sloppy and play noodley right? Well, each song on here sort of feels like they’re working that intricate stuff for a bit, get tired of it just when it’s starting to get pretty good, and need a break so they can throw their instruments around a bit, and go full bore with a heavier rocking thing near the end. It’s really cool. I like the very obscure Simpsons reference in “Methuselah Rookie Card”.. clever. Silkscreened covers on all these suckers. Get one, get nerdy for a bit, and then throw beer cans at their head. It rocks. (Square Of Opposition Records)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


So when it starts getting cold here in Syracuse I start to hibernate. Ok, I actually sleep late, drink tons of coffee, and try not to go insane. It's a good thing that a lot of stuff around Hexquarters (TM) is hand-assembled.... it keeps the craziness and Winter doldrums from setting in. Kind of "The Shining" style, ya know? Anyway, check some of the stuff that's been getting put together here- the final versions of the 10 Year comp., and the End Of a Year 7" covers (all hand-folded)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


So the fine folks over at Razorcake fanzine have done a big, fat investigative article regarding the demise of Lumberjack/Mordam (who some of you may remember as being my former distributor). Hex Records was interviewed for this, along with many others that gives a history of LMMG and how things got so messed up. This issue features part one of the story, so it's pretty exhaustive. But I'm glad to see someone is shedding light on this ugly little situation that nearly bankrupted my label (along with many others) over the Summer. Go check the link and pick up a copy at your local joint that sells punk magazines (I believe you can find it at most larger chains)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The end of 2009 brings some really awesome news- first off... ACHILLES shows! Yes, it's rare, but fuck me sideways if it isn't always an amazing event when the dudes decide to (or I should say, have the time to) play a couple shows!
Second bit of awesome news- THE HELM are coming back to the East Coast for a post-X-Mas/ New Years run of East Coast dates. This will be a very special event for these guys as they will be flying out to play some shows and they'll be doing all of it with OAK & BONE. Most of the dates are firmed up (or close to) with just one TBA (so if you live in the Northeast fill it!)
So anyway, check out the shows:


Thurs., 11.19- Syracuse, NY @ Westcott CC w/ Prayers For Atheists, Counterpursuit
Fri., 11.20- Albany, NY @ Chapel House w/ Prayers For Atheists, Mistletoe
Sat., 11.21- Bethleham, PA @ Secret Show Space w/ Prayers For Atheists, Mistletoe
Sat., 12.12- Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon w/ Another Breath, Achilles, Engineer
* tour with THE HELM
Sun., 12.27- New York, NY @ 538 Johnson Ave.
Mon., 12.28- Providence, RI
Tues., 12.29- Boston, MA
Wed., 12.30- TBA
Thurs., 12.31- Rochester, NY
Fri., 1.1.10- Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon Annual New Years Day show w/ Black S.S., etc
Sat., 1.2.10- Philly, PA
Sun., 1.3.10- Baltimore, MD

Sat., 12.12- Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon w/ Another Breath, Oak & Bone, Engineer, This Is Hell
Sun., 12.13- Rochester, NY @ Dubland Underground w/ Rosetta, The Body, Like Wolves

Fri., 11.20- Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon w/ Stay Six, The Hideout

THE HELM- Northeast tour with Oak & Bone
Sun., 12.27- New York, NY @ 538 Johnson Ave.
Mon., 12.28- Providence, RI
Tues., 12.29- Boston, MA
Wed., 12.30- TBA
Thurs., 12.31- Rochester, NY
Fri., 1.1.10- Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon Annual New Years Day show w/ Black S.S., etc
Sat., 1.2.10- Philly, PA
Sun., 1.3.10- Baltimore, MD

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Hey all... so in keeping with my word to get a bit ahead on all this stuff I have a fat stack of reviews here. Actually, it's not that many, just more than normal. So read on brave explorer.

ATOM AGE, “Epidemic” 3” CD
There are three songs on this mini-CD. The whole thing clocks in at just under three minutes and the first minute and a half of the last song is a mid-paced intro while the last 20 seconds of it is a grinding blast of fastcore. That leaves the other two songs at about 30 second each. That’s it. Infest worship that sounds like it was recorded in a garbage can, yet somehow gets a good bass sound with that ridiculously thick fart sound. I can get down with this, but moreso in the live setting. (

“BETWEEN RESISTANCE AND COMMUNITY: A Documentary About Long Island DIY Punk”
Instantly upon watching this documentary something about it felt a bit dated, and once I actually read the linear notes I noticed it was made in 2002. I’m not sure why it’s just coming out now, but my guess is that it is being re-released for a larger, or different, audience. Nevertheless, it’s pretty difficult to encapsulate the entire Long Island punk-hardcore scene in 45 minutes, even if it is just focusing on one particular year. A number of (now defunct) bands are featured and their opinions on what it means to be involved in DIY punk as they go on their first tours, hang out in their hometowns, play house shows, and so on. Additionally, a handful of other contributors to the scene, most notably those who host shows in their homes, offer up their feelings and experiences. In one sense it’s your typical run through one summer full of shows, hanging out, going on tour, and getting an idea of what life is like in one small corner of the Long Island punk scene. In another sense, it’s a little strange to see people who are clearly a lot younger, and thus a bit more naive, speak about a particular local band signing to Revelation and how that somehow constitutes a complete change in ethics, ideals, and seems to be on par with committing war crimes. I also like how whoever made this made some completely false statements about that label and blew them up to be some massive faceless corporate entity. It’s almost laughable in a sense. Tired old debates aside, it’s a fun little romp that probably isn’t too much different than any DIY scene in the country and people’s experiences within it. If only this was a bit longer one would be able to (hopefully) see a lot more of the Long Island scene, which has always turned out a variety of different and awesome bands, and also had it’s fair share of cool venues (anyone remember Free Space?). Lots of live footage to boot. (Cantankerous Titles,

It’s great to know there is a semi-regular local zine that focuses on the local almost exclusively. I feel it’s necessary to promote one’s scene to the rest of the world (or at least anyone willing to listen) to show that there is a distinct flavor to our town. And anyone in any other town should feel the same way. There’s nothing more bland than cookie-cutter carbon copy scenes that seem to permeate the nation where no one and nothing is any different no matter where you go. Blech! So thank you Josh Smith for stepping up and showing others what’s going on in Syracuse. Here we have tour reports from a few Syracuse bands and the adventure’s the incurred on the road over the Summer. There are a few columns from some locals and a great interview with one of the most quality pop-culture sub-referencing men in town, Black S.S. guitarist and local tattoo artist Mike Tommyrot. Yeah, it’s a quick read for the whole zine, but one I enjoy each and every issue. (Barbarossa Records,

FIGHT AMP, “Manners and Praise”
I’m hoping these Philly-area dudes developed elephantitis of the groin-area because they’re going to need some pretty big stones to follow up the full-on face-rager that was “Hungry For Nothing”, their last full length. That record made a such full on attack against anything moving that I think it was brought up on crimes against humanity (in a good way though, like opening fire on a shopping mall the day after Thanksgiving) so here’s hoping “Manners and Praise” holds up just as well. In my assessment it comes kind of close, but not quite. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but maybe it doesn’t quite have the same killer opening salvo like the last record did? I think it might be more in the overall recording. While “Hungry..” didn’t exactly have the hottest recording, something about how filthy it was just made it that much better. This one sounds a bit more polished and clean, and that sort of thing doesn’t doesn’t resonate with me quite as well seeing as this band deals in grimey punk noise rock the way local mall developers deal in crooked deals with the city. Yes, I’m actually kind of vouching for a shitty recording here, I know. But believe me, it would kind of work in their favor. Fight Amp can write a riff that would drill it’s way into your skull and hammer it in with obscene amounts of volume in less than two minutes. That’s’ the mark of good band. So yes, good record. It just needs to be a little shittier ya know? (Translation Loss,

HEART SOUNDS, “Until We Surrender”
So these two kids from a metal band got sick of doing that and decided to go write a pop-punk record together. It’s nice when people can drop what’s sort of expected of them and try something new and that’s what this dude and lady did. I don’t think it quite works as well as they wanted, but it’s OK. I’ve never actually heard this group, but this is what I think in my head Paramore probably sounds like. I could be totally wrong. But the basic idea is real melodic, pop rock played slightly faster with ultra polished production and female vocals. You can tell they want to escape their metal roots, but still can’t quite get away from it as some random over-the-top guitar flourishes come into play every now and again. And is it me, or do other people think that Horsebites Design stuff is overhyped. I mean honestly, some of their work is OK but a lot of it really isn’t all that great. (Creator Destructor Records,

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anything new that Jello Biafra has done. It’s not that the guy hasn’t been keeping busy, I just haven’t been keeping score. But if you have any mild inclination towards punk music you ought to at least be familiar with the man and his ultra-nasally, totally fucking weird voice that has been a staple of the scene for the last 25+ years. This new band, or project, or whatever (which also happens to be rounded out by former Faith No More bassist Billy Gould) kind of treads the same territory that Biafra has done in the past and as far as lyrical fare goes... well, again, cynical takes on current events with clever wit and vicious sarcasm on the evils of the world. Pot shots at the hype/’hope’ of a new administration, environmental wreckage, America in the shitter... you know the drill. I feel like I’d enjoy this more if it was just a 7” instead of a full length because let’s be perfectly honest- Jello Biafra’s voice gets on my fucking nerves after awhile. It’s certainly an asset for instantly grabbing you by the throat and forcing you to listen. But after 4 or 5 songs it just gets irritating, especially when the rest of the band refuses to let a song die before the four minute mark. The point is made after two minutes. Wrap it up. We get it. All that aside some of this is good stuff. It just needs to get done with faster. I feel like the most interesting thing here is the varied art (no credit given to anyone) adorning the layout, from a very Obey-inspired cover to the cartoon-ish poster inside. (Alternative Tentacles,

This group falls into something that’s not quite full-on stoner rock, or heavy metal, or hardcore, but instead a little bit from each column for a pretty bitchin’ heavy mix. Maybe some Eyehategod minus a good deal of the feedback, perhaps some Kylesa without getting too far into left field. I definitely like it though. Unfortunately it’s only two songs though each is a decent length so it sorta makes it all work out. I’d definitely be stoked to hear a few more though. (Forcefield,

MAYFLOWER, “Lighter Fluid” 7”
A couple years ago some Oswego-area kids started a band for fun to play gruff East Bay-style pop-punk and the result was sloppy, East Bay-style pop punk with lots of depressing lyrics and lightning quick three chord jams. It was alright. Since that time Mayflower has become a bit more serious, added and subtracted some members and is now full force, realizing what I think they were aiming for in the first place. Reminiscent of groups like Off With Their Heads in terms of gruff vocals and a highly cynical lyrical wit this self-released 7” showcases a couple of songs from an as-yet unreleased full length, as well as an additional song exclusive to the record. It’s good to hear a band that understands what pop punk ought to be and not the shitty mall version most people are familiar with. It’s not always pretty, it’s typically very rough around the edges, but it definitely gets a party started. I’ve seen these guys a lot and it’s always in a small place and for some reason the only place where I feel the perfect setting for them is in someone’s garage, playing on the fly before the cops show up to shut things down. One of the best parts of this record is the matrix scratching, which just furthers the dark humor present here: “Live simple, die complicated”. Right on. (

NEW NOISE zine #1
I’m really liking this re-emergence of locals creating print zines that are not only committed to documenting the scene, but quality as well. For a first issue this is very well done- very clean and simple layout, comprised entirely of interviews (Polar Bear Club, Unholy, Not Sorry, Foundation, etc) and reviews (think lengthy Skyscraper style). While that may sound average to most I feel like for a first outing it’s a great attempt. Plus, upon reading this one can see the desire to work towards making this as good as can be. This also comes with a comp CD of mostly local bands that’s pretty sweet. My suggestion for next issue though- break out the spellcheck brother because this is a grammatical nightmare at times. Otherwise, everything else is pretty top notch! (

This rather short-lived New Jersey band is pretty much what you’d get when you get a few guys who like Black Flag just as much as they like Rage Against the Machine and bob Marley. The band is composed of former members of Charge, and follow a similar path, albeit a little straight ahead punk sounding. This CD collects all their recorded output into a nifty limited screenprinted package. It’s pretty cool. Shawn makes for a pretty good vocalist, but on songs like “Brainwash Mind Games”, which have a far more laid-back Bad Brains style reggae feel the screaming just doesn’t really fit. Overall though, if you dig this sort of hardcore mish-mash of sounds Overstand is a pretty cool band to check into, even if they may not really be a band anymore? (Gaotu Records,

This is a pretty cool idea- get a bunch of people together who have first hand experience with significant physical ailments to contribute pieces on their condition and how their life has been affected because of it. In one sense it’s very depressing, and quite frankly, filled me with a sense of dread about my own mortality for a few minutes each night I picked this up and read through a few more stories. On the other hand, it was exceptionally informative in certain respects as well. I’ve never personally had to deal with something temporary (yet long-lasting) like Lyme Disease, or 100% life changing like cancer so I learned about a bunch of new diseases/ genetic disorders that the contributors have faced, or are facing. Some people discuss how they discovered their illness and what they have done to make life easier on themselves because of it, some discuss the total fucking displeasure of dealing with doctors and insurance (something I think anyone can understand), or how frustrating it can be. Some offer up tips of how to deal with these issues as well. There is a lot of talk of how to comfort friends and loved ones who are dealing with major illness, and so on. There is one recurring issue within these pages that irks me though, and you can call me callous and shallow for it, but it doesn’t change my opinion. That would be this idea that the world needs to accommodate one person because it’s a some sort of radical punk thing to make ‘radical spaces to talk about illness’... listen, not everything has to be ‘radical’ OK? If you have some crazy immune issues and you CHOOSE to live with dirty crusty kids why do you think it’s their responsibility to not dumpster possibly bacteria-infested food just so you might not get sick? The smarter option would probably be to not live with filthy crust punks, right? It’s this, ‘the world revolves around me’ thing that drives me nuts and reading about it just makes me sympathize less for your situation. People who have serious health issues that choose to live in a way that is working against their health shouldn’t get a free pass on sympathy. That’s just my take. Other than the little annoyances this definitely is informative and gives a window into a subject I don’t typically explore too much. (Microcosm,

I know this band is still kind of new so I’m giving them a free pass on not quite knowing what they want to be just yet. Of everything they throw at you it’s all heavy and pretty bitchin’ overall, but I just can’t quite figure what they’re actually going for. At times there’s a strong From Ashes Rise style of crusty hardcore mixed with some more traditional metal. At other points they go for the Mastodon thing with plenty of riffy noodling. In fact, parts of the third track (“The Watchful Eye”) sounds so close to “Blood and Thunder” you’d think it was a cover, or that Neil Fallon was waiting in the background, ready to jump in and make a cameo. A number of other influences poke their head in and make themselves known. It’s a decent first effort, but it just needs some time to get a bead on what their aim is. (Translation Loss,

Here we have the last recording of this short-lived Syracuse band and it’s a full length of chill jams that continue what they were doing with their demo. Think clean and meandering guitar lines that have a sort of jazzy feel, mixed with maybe a bit of early Tortoise stuff, anchored by thick and simple bass parts and somewhat intricate drumming. The percussion is definitely keeping time in unique ways and full of flourishes so that some of these songs appear to build up to more monumental climaxes, yet it’s never overkill. So in that respect it achieves a pretty cool dynamic overall. Nice home recording and cool handmade packages round it out for a band that has a kind of Chicago- Steve Albini thing, but way more chill vibe. I imagine listening to this when sitting on a porch of a seaside cottage, thinking about Regulator Watts or something. Yup. (no contact)

It may be ignorance on my part, but I really had no idea that there were two different bands on this record. They both sound the same. That’s not to say they’re bad because they both rock a very No Idea Records style of catchy and accessible punk with a hint of Superchunk going on. Cool stuff. They like cats a lot. Fine by me, I like cats too. (Forcefield Records,

WHITE GUILT demo tape
I’m quite aware that whatever sort of criticism I may lob towards this local band regarding the almost unlistenable quality of this recording they clearly will not give a flying fuck and will continue bashing out crazy noise with little to no regard for others hearing. Most definitely taking cues from current hot shit bands like Drunkdriver and Cult Ritual, White Guilt goes for primal fast noise, near powerviolence levels of speed, and bizarre vocal reverb, and throws it all in your gapping maw like so much burning trash down your gullet. I can definitely get behind the extremely raw nature of this group’s intent. I’d just prefer to hear it in a bit more cohesive manner. Of course, I don’t think that will happen. (Barbarossa records,

Sunday, November 8, 2009


So a couple weeks ago I threw a big show in recognition of running Hex Records for the last 10 years. So I assembled a pretty sweet lineup of bands on the label, or that I've at least done records for at one time or another. Everything went pretty freakin' awesome in my opinion.
Highlights included Ed Gein playing at the Westcott Community Center for the first time in about 3 or 4 years, Prize Country's first time in Syracuse (as well as additional free after show with Git Some) to very warm reception, the final No Idols show after a three year absence, and a swine flu-ridden Pat Kindlon from End Of a Year singing with a surgical mask.... yikes!
The first 25 people in the door got a free copies of a special numbered edition of the Hex Records 10 Year Anniversary compilation (of which there are just a few remaining before the real version comes out... there's actually not much difference at all), as well as a raffle for test pressings of some of the records that were released on Hex this year.
Check the photos below for some of the action. All black and white pics, plus the Night Owls pic were taken by Enrique Blanco. Go to his page for some additional photos from this show and the after show. The rest were taken by me.

Crowd at beginning of show
Hanging dudes
Night Owls
Oak and Bone
End Of a Year
Prize Country
No Idols
Ed Gein

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


OK, so I won't personally be there (which is unfortunate).
BUT you will be able to find my records there, as well as a couple bands on the label playing as well!

So, first off, Friday at registration in the Flea Market make sure to stop by the Generic Insight Radio table and Barrie will be happy to sell you some of my releases. Friday only!

Next, LEMURIA will be rocking the fucking house on Saturday at Common Grounds at 7PM. They will have the new 7" in tow... so get it!

Finally, the PRIZE COUNTRY dudes will be playing on Sunday at Rum Runners at 3:30. They will also have their new records with them so make sure to buy one. The boys had a rough week as their van broke down after Syracuse and it set them back a bit, so show up and give them some love!

Last but not least... let me know how the Fest is. I wish I could be there!

Friday, October 23, 2009


So this weekend is a big deal. Ten years in the 'biz', haha. Weird.
If you're in the area come celebrate.
I'll be giving out free show-only editions of the 10 year comp., selling coffee mugs, selling all back catalog stuff on the cheap. Plus NO IDOLS is playing it's long-delayed final show. We're also getting rid of all our extra crap (shirts, LPs, CDs, etc.) on the cheap as well.
There's also a stellar FREE after show too (for those over 21) at Half Penny Pub with MISTLETOE, PRIZE COUNTRY (two sets in one day!), and GIT SOME.
And on Sunday is the annula Halloween Bash with ANOTHER BREATH, ARCHITECT, TORCHBEARER, and MAYFLOWER. Come and get silly.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


So a ton of records showed up today. Re-printed (i.e. 'correct') coffee mugs within the next couple days. Comp. discs pretty soon after that. Bad news: the End Of a Year 7" will be a few more weeks. So instead of keeping people waiting, those who ordered that plus other stuff I'm going to send the download card with your order and send the physical copy when I get it. If you just ordered the EOAY 7"... well, sorry, you'll just have to wait a little longer. It's pretty much a one man operation around here and I work as fast as I can.
Expect most orders to start shipping out by this weekend and the rest next week.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's about time for some reviews!

It certainly has been awhile since you've seen some of these huh? Well, in case you haven't been keeping score it's been a little busy around here. I do what I can. But hey, thankfully a lot of the new stuff I've been jamming on has been pretty stellar. So let's get with it, shall we?

Well, someone certainly has set the bar higher. I guess if you’re going to go out do it in a way that’s going to make everyone else attempting to publish something in print basically give up. The last two issues of At Both Ends (combined as one gigantic 150+ page zine), a long-running zine based out of Vancouver, really went all out here. This thing looks great (and features the ever hairy Timm Trust of The Helm on the cover!) and features butt loads of content. The interviews are pretty good and drill Verse, Sick Of It All, Shook Ones, Wait In Vain, To Kill, Shai Hulud, Greg Bennick, Anchor, and Dave Larson, among others. To me, the strong suit for this zine has always been all the other content- an exhaustive tour diary of Bane in South America, a retrospective on Sparkmarker and Brand New Unit, a roundtable zine discussion, random tales from various punkers about their favorite places to travel, the process of vinyl mastering, Canadian geography, crypto zoology, science fiction, indie filmmaking, and the city of Tacoma. Pretty random, but completely entertaining. Weak spots are the reviews as they are mostly brief and kind of dated. Otherwise, Steve has laid down an excellent final issue. Oh, did I mention this comes with a double 7” featuring new stuff from Bane, Grade (yeah... Grade), Unrestrained, and Between Earth and Sky? Crazy! (At Both Ends,

BURNT BY THE SUN, “Heart Of Darkness”
Some people may have a problem with bands that remain the same. They want development, maturity, some ‘next level’ shit. I feel like Burnt By the Sun is a band that, despite the wide gap between this and their last record (5 years I believe) has changed very little. Aside from more gray hairs, possible status change from ‘renting’ to ‘owning’ a dwelling, kids, and possibly a larger waist size they essentially sound like the same band. This is hardly a knock against this band and their obvious talent as musicians. It’s more of a welcome continuation of a group that has consistently created some of the most abrasive, and at the same time, accessible heavy metal of our time. Somehow their wild riffs, weird breakdowns, and slightly off-time chugging flow seamlessly into well-oiled musical machines of mass destruction. It’s good stuff. My only gripe is that I think I am always wanting more out of Dave Witte. His drumming clearly fits the music- tons of double bass, solid rhythms, and so on... fitting somewhere between classic metalcore and death metal styles. But I know he can blast faster than just about anyone out there and for some reason I want to hear more of that. But that’s not necessarily this band and I am content with the final offering I am receiving with this very well-done record. If you gotta go out, go out the way you know best and give ‘em what they expect. This is definitely a kick-ass piece of work. (Relapse,

While this is only 5 songs this could probably count as a full length for this Central New York metal machine that have been slugging it out for the last couple years here. On their first real deal release their blend of swampy metal, drony hardcore, and hot-shit leads may get a bit carried away in the length of their songs, but typically redeems itself by letting the riffs get stuck in your head. Bellowing vocals present a good deal of variety with a commanding, yet soaring presence. They have the type of leads/solos that when they’re done playing them it’s as if they take a step back and look to where they were just standing in awe, as if to say to themselves’ that’s right, I just played that part standing in that spot’. So again, while I think some of these songs could be trimmed down in length a little bit at certain points it works to their advantage, like the closing song and it’s incredibly catchy chugging, followed a closing part that recalls Hum, strangely enough. Fans of early mastodon would be wise to take note of this group. (self-released,

KOWLOON WALLED CITY, “Gambling On the Richter Scale”
Here we go. There are a lot of bands lately going for a stoner metal vibe, or the Mastodon thing. But few doing it in a way that is interesting. Kowloon Walled City combine subtle elements of both, but end up with their own unique thing. I’m loving this CD. So friggin’ heavy, yet so well-written and brooding at the same time. KWC drop huge, dirty riffs with slight progressive riffs every now and again, but appear to aim more towards the ‘crush, kill, destroy’ style of slow bulldozer death. Vocally this guy sounds almost identical to Chris Spencer from Unsane in the way that his voice is gritty, a bit distorted, and yelling like someone’s dragging a rake across his voicebox. The first track, “Annandale” and the title track are easily my favorites, but everything on here is a winner. This is probably going to be a sleeper jam for most as I don’t think this group gets out of the West Coast much. Take this write-up as a cue to stop nappin’ and start checking this band out. Really good stuff here for anyone into pure heaviness. (The Perpetual Motion Machine, www.the

A rather weird mix-up of people from bands that don’t really sound too similar (New Mexican Disaster Squad and Municipal Waste) come together to lay down some music in the form of No Friends. There’s a generally good vibe here- tossing the catchy youth crew punk feel of some Gorilla Biscuits right alongside a heavy dose of older Avail style. The first half of this flies right by and keeps you at the edge of your seat, but the second half loses a bit of steam and doesn’t keep the attention as much. Overall it’s a solid release and everything about it looks pretty dope, down to the simple design of the layout. If anyone remembers that rather short-lived band Trial By Fire this sounds almost exactly like them. (No Idea,

PISSED JEANS, “King Of Jeans”
What the fuck. This band just pissed my jeans. Their last two records were high on the awesome scale, but this one really kicks it up a notch. For a band that plays so noisy and loose they sound more together than they ever have, if that makes any sense. The rocking punk songs are louder, feistier, and more rocking. The slow and sludgy tracks are more gruesome and mean. I’m having trouble deciding which I like the best, but I think I’m leaning on the crushing stomp of “Pleasure Race” and the deplorable ‘everyday mundane boredom as epic life failure’ of “Spent”. When you can make a climactic closing lyric out of “the weeks fly by and my only prize/ Is watching my waist increase in size” you’re either well past the point of caring about what, vocally, gets committed to tape permanently, or you have a nasty sense of humor seeing as the song could have easily been penned with some Satan-worship Black Sabbath love given the slow and evil thunderous mass of the music. Instead, we get a picture of one lonely mans day walking around in sweatpants with a semi-erection eating doughnuts. I don’t know, you tell me which is actually a scarier picture? And yet, sweat-oozing, balls-to-the-wall riffs get more than half the room on this record in catchy ragers like “Human Upskirt”, “False Jessei II”, and “She Is Science Fiction”. Easily one of my favorite records of the year. I dig the insert live picture of some random girl fan choking out the singer. (Sub Pop,

POLAR BEAR CLUB, “Chasing the Hamburgler”
I know that’s not really the title, but I thought it was more humorous that way. And given the very humble and lighthearted approach to which this band has taken their recent surge of popularity I think they would also happily consider this as an official alternate title to their new full length. So here’s what I think about the actual record, and not some lame joke about it that I just thought up. I’m not that into it. I know that’s blasphemy to the kids at large right now, but I’ve given it a few listens and it’s just not coming through. I’ve heard them play some of these songs live on a handful of occasions and they sound great, but on here it’s just not translating. Maybe I’m just a sucker for the chunky riffs and bouncy rhythms of their earlier material, which I thought was really great. Here they opt for, I guess you could say, more ‘mature’ songwriting maybe? Either way, it seems it’s the writing of a band that’s thinking about their next move, planning it out, making everything flow nicely together, and come up with a decent rock record. Perhaps the older material was a bit more off the cuff and somewhat spontaneous? I’m not sure. Whatever the case it’s a well-written record, just one that’s not doing a whole lot for me. But I’ll tell you this though- if this thing had come out in the Summer “Living Saints” would be my jam for the whole season. I’ll just have to keep jamming that one ‘til next year so I can make it my jam for summer 2010. (Bridge 9,

TORCHBEARER, “The Worst Is Yet To Come” 7”
Torchbearer are from around New Brunswick and like many bands that have emerged out of that scene they continue to do something interesting. So many influential bands have come out of that little town, all of them have done their own unique spin on hardcore and punk, and it’s col to see that Torchbearer are doing their own cool thing. While in many ways their sound lends itself heavily to a variety of mid-to-late 90’s styles colliding into a frenzied blur, but it’s welcome and just a little scary at the same time. They fuck around with noisy guitar freakouts a la Die 116, and lurch with droning sonic mass like Kiss It Goodbye, and finally round things out by setting a solid foundation with a touch of mid-90s moshy hardcore. Kind of a weird mix huh? Yeah, I think so too. But I’m into it, and I think it works well for them. I have to say I’m a little partial to their previous EP, though mostly because the recording on this 3-song record sounds a little thin for what they’re doing, and that last record sounded heavy and meaty. But the last song here has a killer riff going for it, so it’s a close one. Definitely a band to check out on record because I don’t think they make it out too far from home for shows. (Soul Rebel Records,

On their initial CDEP Brooklyn’s Tournament definitely seemed to pining for the lost years of KARP and the Jesus Lizard. It’s not like that bothered me at all as I love both of those bands and you could tell that Tournament liked them a lot too. So on this new full length I feel like they cast off that influence somewhat in favor of a lot more weird songs. There is a good deal of spazzy guitar effects, sort of like the corpse of Frodus getting dragged through the mud and then thrown into a ditch so passerbyers could break out a poking stick and, ya know, poke around. The band seems to piloting a ship to the sun, reveling in their space madness, and enjoying the deathride with a lot of cheap beer and equally as affordable hallucinogens. It’s pretty good overall. I just gotta ask this- what’s up with a) the mangina on the cover?, and b) why are the lyrics printed on the inside of the sleeve? Is it weird just to be weird or a misprint of some kind? (Forcefield,

UNHOLY, “New Life Behind Closed Eyes”
A record like this needs to come out the gate totally tearing your face off. In 2009 being a metalcore band (in this case leaning farther on the metal side for sure) is a tough business and if you don’t have the stones to keep on top of the game you will most certainly fall into the never-ending pit seemingly overflowing with complete bullshit bands with terrible played out music. Thankfully Unholy have a long history of talented musicians within their ranks that have been at this for years and understand the pressure they are under to do something worthwhile in a genre that typically fails miserably. The first song on this immediately yanks your scrotum right out with a spastic riff that breaks into a nice and fast double bass part, followed by some end-of-the-world type leads and unrelenting metal. A good Meshuggah riff carries another song for a good percentage of the time, while some warped guitar riffs flow in and out, again inspiring bible-burning end times fuck-you-all paranoia. Lyrically the themes of humans as a cancer, macabre visions of the world coming to an end, and so on round this sucker out with some seriously disturbing artwork within (don’t be fooled by the somewhat fantasy-styled cover art, which is quite awesome in it’s own right). Unholy definitely bring about a style that may have some roots in late 90’s/early 2000s metalcore, but without a doubt can wipe their ass with most bands that consider themselves metal today. (Prosthetic,

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Thought I'd sneak this in there real quick- Prize Country made a video! And you can see it here:

They're in the middle of their long-ass tour so go see them!

Also, all the vinyl shipped yesterday. I ought to have it back here early next week and I'll start shipping orders right after that. Psyched? I am...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Just got back from Seattle where I saw THE HELM play with motherfucking Undertow and Unbroken. Holy shit that was awesome. But now time for some bizzzz-nesss...
Throughout the Fall a number of our bands/best friends will be hitting the road and playing shows. First and foremost will be the massive Prize Country tour in support of their new full length, "With Love". The CDs just came in and those orders have been sent. Still waiting on the LP, though it ought to be within the band's hands around the halfway point of their tour.
Here's the dates. You have no excuse to NOT see them because they are playing about every inch of this nation.


Oct 08 - Chico, CA - Cafe Coda w/The Makai!

Oct 09 - Reno, NV - Tonic Lounge w/Swamp Donkey

Oct 10 - SLC, UT - Burt’s Tiki w/Microtia and Accidente

Oct 11 - Denver, CO - Three Kings w/Git Some and Accidente
*GIT SOME join us for a while. YAY!!!
Oct 12 - Kansas City, MO - Riot Room w/Git Some and Shots Fired

Oct 13 - Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville News w/Git Some

Oct 14 - Omaha, NE - O’Leavers Pub w/Git Some

Oct 15 - Fargo, ND - The Aquarium w/Sleeping In Gethsemane

Oct 16 - Chicago, IL - Ronny’s w/Git Some and Imperial Battleship

Oct 17 - TBA - Help out if you can

Oct 18 - Lansing, MI - Mac’s w/Git Some

Oct 19 - Pittsburgh, PA - Smiling Moose w/Git Some and Flypig

Oct 20 - Philadelphia, PA - TBA - Help out if you can

Oct 21 - NYC, NY - TBA - Help out if you can

Oct 22 - Providence, RI - AS220 w/Git Some and She Rides

Oct 23 - New Bedford, MA - The New Wave Cafe w/Git Some and Nature/Nurture


Oct 24 - Syracuse, NY - 1/2 Penny Pub w/Git Some and Misstletoe(TWO IN ONE DAY)

Oct 25 - Brooklyn, NY - The Charleston w/Git Some

Oct 26 - Washington DC - Red And Black Cafe w/Git Some

Oct 27 - R
ichmond, VA - The Triple w/Git Some
Oct 28 - Charlotte, NC - w/Git Some

Oct 29 - TBA - Help out if you can

Oct 30 - Jacksonville, FL - Doozer’s w/Git Some

Oct 31 - FEST 8 Drunk day off…

Nov 01 - FEST 8 We play Rum Rebellion

Nov 02 - Athens, GA - Caledonia Lounge w/Git Some

Nov 03 - Birmingham, AL - Magic City Studios w/Git Some and Gainer

Nov 04 - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn w/Git Some and Dropsonic

Nov 05 - Vicksburg, MS - The Doom Room w/Git Some and Buzzardstein

Nov 06 - Dallas, TX - The Doublewide w/Git Some

Nov 07 - Oklahoma City, OK - The Conservatory w/Git Some, City Of Ships, and Traindodge(This might as well be a fucking festival. Everything you could want in independent music right here!!!)

Nov 08 - Albuquerque, NM - TBA - Help out if you can

Nov 09 - Phoenix, AZ - TBA - Help out if you can

Nov 10 - Tucson, AZ - The Living Room w/Loom
*LOOM joins us for dates and make out sessions(watch out John) Nov 11 - San Diego, CA - TBA - Help out if you can
Nov 12 - San Diego, CA - Radio Room w/Loom and Rats Eyes

Nov 13 - Hollywood, CA - Labcabin w/Loom and District Of Evolution

Nov 14 - Ventura, CA - Billy O’s w/Loom and Snake Mountain.

Nov 15 - Fresno, CA - Chinatown Youth Center w/Loom, Rats Eyes, and Moth Voices

Nov 16 - Santa Cruz, CA - Blue Lagoon w/Loom

Nov 17 - Oakland, CA - The Stork Club w/Loom

Nov 18 - Sacramento, CA - The Blue Lamp w/Loom

Nov 19 - Arcata, CA - Aloha House w/Loom

Nov 20 - Portland, OR - Satyricon w/Akimbo, Loom, and Rat’s Eyes***This is a RECORD RELEASE/GET HOME FROM TOUR SHOW…this means that EVERY motherfucker we know in PDX better be there***

Oct. 17th- Utica, NY @ 1621 Taylor Ave. w/ Atom Age
Oct. 24th- Syracuse, NY @ Westcott CC for HEX RECORDS 10th ANNIVERSARY SHOW
Nov. 19th- Syracuse, NY @ Westcott CC w/ Prayers For Atheists, Counterpursuit
Nov. 20th- Albany, NY @ the Chapel w/ Mistletoe, Prayers For Atheists (Kill All Everybody Pt. III)
Nov. 21st- Bethleham, PA @ TBA w/ Mistletoe, Prayers For Atheists (Kill All Everybody Pt. III)

THE MINOR TIMES (yeah... the Minor Times)
Oct. 30th- Lansdale, PA free Halloween show

Oct. 21st- St. Catherines, ON @ 73
Oct.30- Nov. 1st @ The Fest 8 in Gainesville, FL
Nov. 12th- Fredonia, NY @ BJs

And then there's this show:

That's right. We're 10 years old and we're throwing a show for it!
Here's the info (in case you can't read the flyer):
Saturday, October 24th
Westcott Community Center (826 Euclid Ave., Syracuse)
5PM. $8

ED GEIN (first time playing WCC in over 3 years)
NO IDOLS (final show)

There will also be a FREE after show (21+ though) happening around 10PM at the Half Penny Pub downtown (1005 E. Fayette St.) featuring:
GIT SOME (ex- Planes Mistaken For Stars)
PRIZE COUNTRY (two sets in one day)
MISTLETOE (current rock o' douche)

And one last bit of news before closing this out, it looks like THE HELM and OAK AND BONE will be doing a short East Coast tour (only about a week) right after Christmas/ early New Years. If this sounds interesting to you, and you've got the stones to book a hell of a show for them drop 'em a line and let 'em know. The exploratory committee is currently fielding research to determine how this little tour will play out....

Monday, September 28, 2009


So I've been pretty busy lately. Not that I don't have 4 records on pre-order or anything right now. I've also been out of town a lot lately. I picked a great time to do that huh?
Well, if it's any consolation at at least I wasn't around because I traveled a distance to see this band:

They were great, by the way.
I also had a brief run-in with this guy:

It's not actually Jeff Bridges or The Dude, just a guy who looks like him.

As soon as I got home Mistletoe piled in the van and hit the road for the weekend with Oak and Bone and played some marvelous shows. Before we left though, I saw that the Hex coffee mugs had shown up and were ALL printed wrong. I'm working on fixing that now. The Helm, "Home" CDs also showed up. They rock.
I picked up the Lemuria covers in Buffalo that night and spent all weekend (between shows) folding them. I'll post some pics later on.
So I'm home for a couple days to take care of as much business as I can before heading off to Seattle for a week. The Prize Country, "With Love" CDs ought to be here by the end of the week, but of course, I won't be in town to see them. S all CD pre-orders will go out as soon as I get back on the 6th.
So that's just an update for you all to show what's happening with things momentarily.
Plenty of tour dates also coming up as well....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


And that's not even all the boxes. Oh why, oh why did I go gatefold? Just in case you're wondering, these are just the LP jackets for The Helm 12" and Prize Country 12". The actual records have yet to arrive, though the test presses have been approved. So the wait shouldn't be too much longer!
But I thought it was impressive enough to post.
Keep in mind the pre-order deals are only good until this Friday, so get to it and order so you can save a few dollars!
Hex Records store

Friday, September 4, 2009


It's finally here. After all the work and wait I feel like I can put up a pre-order for 4 awesome new records I have coming out this Fall!
You gotcher' Lemuria, "Ozzy" 7"
Then we got the End Of a Year, "More Songs About Transportation and Intercourse" 7"
'Round left there's The Helm, "Home" CD and LP
Take a turn and you're at Prize Country, "With Love" CD and LP
Each of the records comes with a down
load card (the Lemuria single will have an extra song on the card!)
Additionally, we made coffee mugs too. They're 15 oz. and look kinda like this:

And on top of that, there's this cool compilation CD we're making, all DIY style that's a zine about the history of the label with a good 20 songs of material from the label, a bit of a description about each song, and then a handful of unreleased B-sides at the end that will be given away with larger orders! So take that!

So, in all, please order some of these records! There's some cool package deals I'm doing for the first couple weeks that will save you a bit of cash in the long run and worth checking into!

Go here and order away:
Hex Records Store

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


There's such a cool variety of good records in this batch here. Between some things I picked up and stuff I found in the mailbox it was a pleasant surprise to get cool stuff across the spectrum. So read on all ye faithful and seize these audio jams...

While I can appreciate the approach, and even get into the music a little, this is overall not really doing it for me. Imagine a really slow version of Murder City Devils, or The Animals doing “House Of the Rising Sun” on repeat real slow and creepy-like for an entire record. I mean, if you want to chill, smoke weed, and watch “Blue Velvet” all day this might make for a decent soundtrack. But personally it gets a bit dull for me after awhile. (Perpetual Motion Machine,

CATALYST, THE, “Swallow Your Teeth”
Having no idea that this was even coming out I was stoked to have the new full length from Richmond’s The Catalyst awaiting me in my mailbox. To describe The Catalyst is like tossing old KARP (or I guess just old Melvins) into a blender (note the wretched grimy riffs on “Sterling Is a Hole”) with the spacey melodies and intense delivery of Majority Rule (“40212” definitely steals a riff from “American Feature”), and set the whole thing to non-stop raging party. While these guys beat the shit out of their instruments and make everything sound as if it’s consistently about to fall apart they still write awesome songs with catchy riffs, scathing lyrics, and piledriving heaviness. A filthy bass tone and higher-range screamed vocals permeate the entire thing while an occasional second drummer comes in to further beat the hell out of your speakers (though I could only clearly hear it on one track). The recording does leave something to be desired, sounding only slightly better than their last outing, the totally bitchin’ “Mariana’s Trench”. I feel like this band ought to have a noisemonger like Chris Owens behind the boards to let out the raging band that is only getting a small dose of the sonic justice they deserve. On the live front, if they’re going to do the two drummer thing, best to separate the kits because facing them together only completely cancels out the bass drum and some of the ‘oomph’ is lost. As far as how this sucker looks, it’s essentially the exact same layout as the last record, except with some witches on the cover instead of fish. Whatever the gripes, get this and have you face rocked the fuck off. (Perpetual Motion Machine,

CONSTANTS, “The Foundation, The Machine, The Ascension”
This is a whole concept record split into three sections (based on the title) and a total of 12 songs. It’s overtly complex and involved with slow-moving epic songs in the vein of all your favorite metalgaze-type bands, though I’d say with a bit more emphasis on a prog rock feel as well as dabbling with a variety of instruments outside just the traditional guitar, bass, and drums set-up. There’s not too much information to be found here either except one really long record that, personally, I just don’t have the patience or attention span for. It’s not to say it’s not well executed, or well-written. I’m just not feeling it. (The Mylene Sheath,

This is the new project from Eric Richter, who has graced the indie scene with outstanding, and often overlooked, indie bands such as Christie Front Drive and The 101 over the last 15 years or so. Golden City is the newest project, picking up right where The 101 left off. I’d say this strongly follows what was happening with The 101, though a little more developed... and yet a bit more mellow it seems. Where The 101 seemed to almost be going for a kind of mod rock vibe (I’m thinking Chisel or The Jam), mixed with Richter’s trademark slightly (though strangely soothing) nasally vocals and airy guitar work Golden City tones it down ever so slightly. It feels like their a bit more reined in, or perhaps just treading lightly as a new band? This is a good record and if you’ve been a fan of Richter’s stuff in the past it won’t disappoint. But I was hoping for it to be a little more hopping. Very nice cover art by the well-known Daniel Danger makes this pretty much worth the price of admission. (Magic Bullet,

I’m not exactly sure how I can describe this without putting off some people because the people who tend to read this blog are probably music elitists. I know this because I’m a music snob myself. So should it come as a surprise that I’m totally blown away by a rap-rock record? Yeah, I said it. Prayers For Atheists is the punk band fronted by slam poet extrordinaire and Rhymesayers Collective (Sage Francis) shadow walker Jared Paul. Here, Jared’s exceptional vocal delivery concerning public protests, resulting arrests, eventual victories, patriarchy, bike riding, and eco-awareness collide with music that runs from vitriolic one-minute Bad Brains-styled punk dirges (“Tom Delay”) to meaty head-bobbing rockers (“Bike Song”). The obvious comparison is to Rage Against the Machine and it’s safe to say that Prayers For Atheists legitimately holds up both lyrically and musically with that group, as opposed to simply being a cheap imitation made for frat initiation parties. Personally, I can chime in from a historical perspective as I witnessed the marriage of rap and rock in it’s most successful experiments, from Run DMC (“King Of Rock”), to Public Enemy/ Slayer (“She Watch Channel Zero”), Public Enemy/ Anthrax, and up to Rage Against the Machine. Prayers For Atheists gets it. They understand how to make these sorts of connections and they don’t even need a DJ to do it. They approach the style from the basement show perspective and drive a message home that may tread familiar social justice topics, but in such a way that is both clever and poetic at once. These are definitely uplifting victory anthems delivered by a group with a lot of passion. I suggest checking it out for yourself. (Strange Famous Records,

Apparently this band played a show to five kids in a basement here a year ago. I wouldn’t know. I wasn’t there. Fast forward to Dudefest Indianapolis this year and I see that they’re playing. Since my friends were so excited about them I figured I ought to check them out. Before they even play I see a familiar face in the crowd and realize our old bands had played some shows together on the West Coast, and that he’s also one of the guitarists in Punch. Seeing as I was a huge fan of his old band (the highly underrated Bullets*In) I imagined Punch had to be good. And yes, they were awesome, but in a totally different way than my friends old band had been. Seeing them a few days later in Syracuse (to a much bigger audience than last year) sealed the deal of this band’s radness. I regret sleeping on them last year and this self-titled LP should wake up any sleepers out there as well. While some might be quick to pigeonhole this band into powerviolence and Infest worship there’s more than that going on. Yes, those are obvious reference points, what with blast beats in many songs, most songs staying below the two minute mark, and plenty of slow and sludgy breaks. Mixed within it all are lots of traditional hardcore breakdowns and mid-paced anthems, all made that much more angry by the absolutely throat-shredding screams by vocalist Meaghan (no last names given) that tackle subjects from the perspective of an all vegan straight edge band, though in a usually not-so-obvious way (except on the closing track “Feminists, Don’t Have a Cow” which, big surprise, calls attention to getting feminists to see the correlation between feminism and the dairy industry), as well as the occasional sing-along part (the ironically named “Not So Posi After All”). While this band sounds serious as a heartattack, and vicious as heartburn after a late night binge at HK Chinese Take Out, there appears to still be a good dose of lighthearted fun as well. Some of that may be the simple, yet effective, record cover and bubblegum pink vinyl. Maybe I’m just stoked to see a good hardcore band with respectable ethics not bore me. This is good stuff indeed. (Discos Huelga,

For me, this is a very anticipated release. When they first started out Soul Control was one of the bands bringing back an awesome mid-90’s, sort-of post-hardcore sound that I held very near and dear to my heart. It was a much needed shot in the arm to the youth crew scene- in which they have been somewhat unjustly been lumped into- that could use a dose of substance. Now that they have gone through considerable lineup changes and grown a little more Soul Control feels mostly like the same band they were when they started I guess. While the press release suggests that they have delved deeper into elements farther from hardcore and closer to the noise rock scene I’d have to disagree with this because I’m just not hearing it. What I am hearing is much more of the same songs that I enjoyed when they started, perhaps with a greater love for guitar effects that carry at least three of these songs into one another in the form of brief interludes. To get an idea of what to expect listen to any of the four seven inches they released early this year because all those songs have been re-recorded, along with a few new quick and fast ones, and an excellent outro jam. “Flux” still remains my favorite song, while opener, “Beyond Words” is about as good of a leadoff track as you can get to lay it all out on the table. A good point of reference, I feel, for what Soul Control is doing is to take the best elements of what Wreck-Age Records was doing in the mid-90’s with groups like Mind Over Matter and Stillsuit that pushed boundaries with the melodic and spacey elements of post-hardcore with the hard-hitting basic song structures of fast traditional hardcore. It was definitely it’s own thing and up until Soul Control I’d never heard anything like it. So, in short, I don’t feel as if they’re doing entirely anything new with this new full length and new lineup. But I still really like what I hear quite a bit. (Bridge 9,

TEENAGE COOL KIDS, “Foreign Lands”
After friends had talked this band up all the way down to Gainesville Fest, and then I was thoroughly blown away by their style at a random backyard morning show after a long weekend in Florida, I was waiting with baited breath for this new full length. And I must say, it definitely does not disappoint. While it is so similar to their last amazing full length, “Queer Salutations” it’s almost eerie I’m hardly one to complain. Perhaps the only real difference here is a crisper recording and their technique of having half these songs flow into one another seamlessly. Otherwise it’s the same clean and jangly guitars, occasional dirty bass (most notable on one of my favorite songs here “Calm Me Down”), unfuckwithable melodies that instantly cram themselves deep into your mind to be hummed for the rest of your natural life, incredible breezy and lighthearted back-up’s, and the best indie pop songs you’ll ever hear. Maybe a Pavement for the end of the decade? Built To Spill’s younger cousins? The Beach Boys illegitimate progeny? These dudes are the secret pop band the punk kids can claim as their own... but for how much longer before the rest of the world gets their paws on them? Fuck a Get Up Kids reunion, they always sucked anyway. If you dig indie pop stuff with a punk ethos here’s your jam right here. (Protagonist Music,

TITLE FIGHT, “The Last Thing You Forget”
I played with this band in Pennsylvania a couple years ago and the kids went absolutely batshit crazy for them. My band, on the other hand, stuck out like a sore thumb. I think since that time they must have changed a bit because this certainly does sound like a different band here. This CD collects all their material to date- 4 new songs, their “Kingston” 7”, and their first seven inch. You can definitely see the progression that works favorably for the band. While the older stuff is pretty cheesy, the stuff in the middle pines some saves the Day territory (blech) and the newest material actually sounds pretty decent. In fact, it’s the newest material that sounds the most like a hardcore band messing with catchy punk melodies and so forth, perhaps in a manner more akin to Samiam or something. So yeah, the old stuff is pretty blah while the newer material is definitely more intriguing. (Run For Cover,