Sunday, February 28, 2010


Awake yet? That's good. It's a Sunday so you're allowed to sleep until noon. Now, while you eat maybe a bagel and sip some coffee, contemplating the day ahead read some reviews about books and records (the truly meaningful things in life) and repeat this mantra, "Mongo just pawn in game of life...."

From the ever-reliable and rocking Phratry Records comes a split between two very straight-forward, very rocking bands each delivering a good song. Honestly, there’s nothing exceptionally weird or wild about either band. But both just deliver solid rock. Really, I can’t elaborate any further. It just rocks and that’s just perfectly fine by me. (Phratry Records)


Two bands with really terrible band names crank out one solid tune each. Although I must state, on the Caterpillar Tracks side I already heard “Glad He Ate Her” via Young Widows (and by default, “Gladiator” by Jesus Lizard) so while the homage is appreciated I’d rather get an original instead of a cover masked as an original. The AA side is a bit more punchy, dishing out a heavy post-hardcore rocker replete with some Jawbox love, and perhaps a passing similarity to Syracuse locals Night Owls. It’s a good split overall with the type of post-hardcore I love, it’s just that the influences may be worn just a bit too much on the sleeve. (Phratry Records)

Al Burian’s Burn Collector zine has been one of my favorite reads since I first came across it several years ago. It doesn’t come out often and each issue is a surprise. I find it so entertaining because Al is able to write about the most mundane of subjects with such an illuminated insight that is both profound and humorous at the same time. Maybe that paints things with the ‘amazing brush’ a little too thick. OK, let’s try again. Generally, Burn Collector reflects on a myriad of topics that are fairly blasé’ by everyday standards. But there’s a stream-of-conscious sort of way they are written about that asks much broader questions, looks at things from a skewed angle, and comes up with some really clever insights. There, how’s that? Additionally, there’s usually some very simple but effective cartoons that accompany these rants, whether related or their own story altogether. In this issue of Burn Collector pages are dedicated to the wonderment of exploring Chicago via public transit and bicycle, and the joys and tribulations that go with it. Further musings are directed towards DIY band playing on the corner for change vs. DIY band playing basements around the country. This leads to an in-depth report on the state of basement venues in Chicago and how it’s actually pretty cool to have them constantly getting shut down and then popping up somewhere else randomly in the city. Finally, there is a huge chunk dedicated to comics and their relevance to culture at large, particularly a dissection of Dan Clowes 1997 Modern Cartoonist diatribe, that somehow segues into some weird comic about a guy going to Hell and traveling a path fraught with cavemen and weird jack Kirby-style characters. I know, this seems to make no sense, but just stay with me here. In the end it all comes together in a weird sort of way, which is part of why I really like Burn Collector. It’s not the best issue of BC I’ve ever read, but it’s s till a good one. (Microcosm)

GOVERNMENT WARNING, “Paranoid Mess” 12”

Regardless of how much I’ve seen their name around in the last few years I’ve never gotten around to actually hearing Government Warning until now. So I’m not sure if their other stuff is similar to this, but if it is I consider it a pretty cool style they’re going for. While subtle, I hear hints of Void in their music, particularly in the vocals. Everything else flies by at warp speed, 14 songs in maybe 20 minutes? It’s heavy on the noisy punk tip, but sharp and pounding in the hardcore department. So it’s, ya know, both kinds of music. (Grave Mistake/ No Way Records)

GREAT FALLS demo tape
Cassette tapes are becoming a big deal again. Sure, why not? I think the only problem most will encounter is no one having tape players anymore. Both my Walkman and stereo cassette player are busted so any time I get a new tape I have to listen to it in my car. This particular tape comes from two of the guys who made up Playing Enemy. If you were at all familiar with their wildly discordant and abrasive noisecore Great Falls is a further step into the noisy side of things. Since it’s just the two dudes they have employed the use of a drum machine to keep beats. Yet this is the big difference. Their model must have been bought off Genesis P. Orridge when (s)he was cleaning out the garage for an industrial yard sale as it sounds clanky, mean, and... well.. really industrial. It definitely adds a cold feel of mechanistic lifelessness to the grinding and sharp guitar riffery and sluggish bass. In all, eight tracks were banged out on this fucker. Fans of really old Today Is the Day, Swans, and Suicide would probably get a kick out of it. I have to admit, at first I was a little confused, but I’m digging it pretty hard now. Unfortunately, it means I have to drive more if I want to listen to it (there’s actually a download code included for those living in the 21st century). (Great Falls

Leaning somewhat on the metalcore side of things with some minor nods to later-era Planes Mistaken For Stars and an admiration for crusty sludgecore seeping in just a bit Litany For the Whale not only made good on deciding on a bad band name, but they drift between songs with interludes of spatial noise and drone before breaking back into their metallic storm on most of the songs here. Not too bad, not amazing though. They’d do well to hang with the likes of The Catalyst, Majority Rule, and other Northern Virginia noisemongers past and present. (Teenage Disco Bloodbath Records)

MISSION OF BURMA, “The Sound The Speed The Light”

Band forms in the late 70’s/early 80’s. Refines and develops punk into a beautiful mess of noisy melody, tape loops, and incredible anthems that quietly influences every post-punk band after that. They unceremoniously break up and fall off the map. TWENTY years later they reform and proceed to drop three amazing full lengths. How the fuck did that happen? How do you just jump back into it after twenty years of nothing?! I’ve been asking myself this question since I first saw Mission Of Burma on their first string of reunion shows about 7 years ago. Now they have just released their third post-reunion album “The Sound The Speed The Light” and just witnessed them live again and they are still kicking the ever-lovingly shit out of me with how good they are. The new full length opens with a barn burner punk jam called “1,2,3.. Partyy!” (purposefully misspelled) and continues with thoughtful post-punk awesomeness. Bassist Clint Conley remains one of the best in his field with his rubbery rhythms and playful yet melodic singing. Vocalist/ guitarist Roger Miller, despite living with tinnitus, still kicks out the polished riffs that while lacking much distortion still fill the speakers with walls of sound, especially when he frequently dives into squalls of feedback and strangely textured solos, the likes of which Thurston Moore sits at home taking notes on. Drummer Peter Prescott gives everything a little added heft with his background hoots and howls kicking everything into high gear. Finally, the only member of the group affiliated with the band that wasn’t there from the start is Shellac bassist Bob Weston, who is the man behind the boards adding weird tape and feedback loops to many of the songs to give them that slightly unearthly air to them. Take it from me, this is a band that just knows how to deliver from start to finish, whether it’s beautifully melodic and noisy slow jams to propulsive shitkickers this is certainly not your grandparents punk rock. (Matador)

This is the second edition of the comic by Liz Baillie that collects the last five issues of the comic. I reviewed the first edition of this some time ago and in that review I kind of alluded to how I wasn’t too into this. But I can clarify that a bit more because I see that my relative indifference to this book has to do with the fact that I’m a grumpy old man now. This is a comic about life as a teen fuck up, and the characters are pretty much all gay and dealing with their issues being queer, punk, and living in NYC’s vitriolic Lower East Side in the 90’s (before it was GAP-ified). The young me would be all, “I’m not gay but being a teen and into punk rock is a tough and fucked up life!” The grown-ass man in me just gets annoyed with their reckless shenanigans, frustrated by their bullshit behavior, parental disrespect, recreational use of hard drugs, and petty issues that seem to cause them so much grief. I think more than anything I’m just relieved that I am grown up and not plagued by the same petty things that seemed to consume my still naive mind when I was a teen. Now I have a whole other laundry list of petty things that drive me crazy! Yeah, so My Brain Hurts- gay teen fucked up life tribulations with a happy ending! There ya go! (Microcosm)

Holy Q and Not U worship! Bass heavy dance punk with wirey hook-driven guitars and slighty-snotty yelped vocals. I mean, sure, Q and Not U got it from Gang Of Four in many ways, but with the generation gap this band seems to pick up right where “No Kill No Beep Beep” left off rather than checking into “Entertainment” first. I’m not necessarily complaining because they’ve released a couple good songs here. But man, the influence here is pretty obvious! (Phratry Records)

UNEMPLOYMENT, Aaron Lake Smith

This is not something that I’d necessarily review given that it’s sort of a one off separate thing by some dude with a regular zine gig. But seeing as I’m in the same boat (more or less) as the guy who penned this thing I can relate. This is a dude’s situation with getting laid off and not being able to find work despite his considerably impressive resume’. He suddenly has lots of time on his hands, but he feels ashamed because he’s not doing what society expects him to be doing (working), and the trap of not being productive due to mindless distractions grows ever more enticing. Furthermore, there’s the ever-present fear of being able to pay looming bills given he lives in a large city. And finally, the insult of being offered work that pays so little in comparison to what he has been paid in the past. Yet in a shitty economy that we are in right now what else is there? Hopelessness? Well, let me impart a little wisdom from extensive personal experience- the pressure of society’s scowl? It gets easier. The lack of productivity? That’s tough, but just push on with what you love to do. The money? I’m not much help there, but just try to live as frugal as possible. Anyway, just want to say I know where you’re at and it’s really not that bad when you think about it! (Microcosm)

WASTED TIME, “Futility”

Some people hear folk music and it all sounds the same while true fans pick out the differences from artist to artist. I’m kind of that way when it comes to noisy hardcore and rock. I see all the little intricacies while others see it as all the same. When it comes to very straight-forward, bare bones hardcore I definitely find it sort of hard to make out differences. While as a whole I generally respect and appreciate it, and definitely listen to my fair share. But I’m not going to pretend that I can point out key defining things other than ‘fast’, ‘hard’, and ‘faster’ (insert, ‘that’s what she said’ joke). Wasted Time’s new record is hardly trying to pull the wool over anyones eyes either. It’s a black and white cover, bold type, some image of a smokestack, or tornado, or some other substance most likely choking the life out of anyone that has heavy exposure to it and the back cover of a dude screaming his guts out while a crowd watches on. It’s on Grave Mistake Records. There is no other way to interpret what kind of band this is other than a straight forward hardcore band that plays short fast songs. Either you’re already circle pitting, shaving your head, and spitting on cop cars, or you’re daydreaming about that damn sand trap on the 9 hole between business meetings. Understood? (Grave Mistake Records)


Here’s a zine that is oozing fun and a sincere love of just doing a zine for the sake of doing a fucking zine! There’s no agenda, everything is hand-written and hand drawn (quite well I might add), and hand-assembled. This issue has a freakin’ die-cut cover, while previous issues have had the title assembled in cut felt letters. The contents mostly consist of the author’s misadventures in LA going to see cool shows, meeting Pee-Wee Herman, breakdancing, muppets, and plenty of reviews of movies, records, zines, and so on. Yeah, the whole thing takes about 15 minutes tops to read, but when I’m done with it I feel like I’m a 12 year old seeing a live wrestling event for the first time. It must be rad to live a life where EVERYTHING is exciting all the time! (

Friday, February 19, 2010


Well then, since many of you have probably been like, 'where the fuck is my End Of a Year 7" that I ordered months ago?!' and I have been like, 'where the hell are the End Of a Year 7"s that people ordered months ago?!' I have now gotten to the bottom of things here at Hexquarters.
It seems the pressing plant has been out of clear vinyl for some time now and have no clue when they will get more. This seems to be a problem with pressing plants from time to time and it's never quite certain when a missing color will be back in stock.
Nevertheless, I have decided to press on with a new color. Instead of the intended 100 clear, 200 white, and 200 black there will instead be 100 on solid green to replace the clear.
So anyone who ordered a copy on clear will get green instead. I hope that doesn't bother anyone too much. I know I'd rather just get the record at this point regardless of what color it is.
If you have a big beef with this and want a different color instead (white or black) drop me a line and I'll change your order-
So things have been squared away with the plant at this point and everything will move right along at this point and should be in my hands in a couple weeks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Here's the (pretty much) finalized dates for the PRIZE COUNTRY Spring West Coast tour! If you live in, or around, these areas go see them. Just a couple last dates to finalize.
And if you haven't picked up "With Love" yet, go get it in the Hex Records webstore now!


March 19th- Seattle @ Rendouvous Theater w/ Great Falls
April 2nd- Portland, OR @ Plan B
April 8th- Reno, NV @ Tonic Lounge
April 9th- Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court w/Loom
April 10th- Salt Lake City, UT @ Burt's Tiki
April 11th- Las Vegas, NV @ Boomers
April 12th- Scottsdale, AZ @ Rouge Bar
April 13th- Los Angeles... HELP!
April 14th- ??? HELP!!!
April 15th- San Diego, CA @ Ruby Room
April 16th- Santa Barbara, CA @ Muddy Waters
April 17th- Ventura, CA @ Billy O's
April 18th- Monterey, CA @ Lounge Underground
April 19th- Santa Cruz, CA @ Blue Lagoon
April 20th- ??? HELP!!!
April 21st- San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside
April 22nd- TBA
April 23rd- Eureka, CA @ Little Red Lion

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Hey Midwest- OAK & BONE is making their first real deal trek to your nook of the country. Most of these dates are pretty set, but there's a couple still needing some assistance.
Check these dates out, mark your calendars, and get sonically plowed by these dirtballs.
For more info, or to lend a hand, get in touch with the boys here:

Friday, April 9th - Buffalo, NY
Saturday, April 10th – Pittsburgh/Johnstown, PA? - HELP!
Sunday, April 11th - Cincinnati, OH
Monday, April 12th - Louisville, KY
Tuesday, April 13th - Milwaukee, WI
Wednesday, April 14th - Chicago, IL - HELP!
Thursday, April 15th - Grand Rapids, MI
Friday, April 16th – Dearborn, MI
Saturday, April 17th – Kent/Cleveland, OH
Sunday, April 18th - Erie, PA

*This will be updated with more specifics when they become available.