Thursday, October 14, 2010


Howdy! This will probably be the last batch of reviews before Gainesville Fest... which I'll be doing a thorough report upon getting back. Oh yeah, and the last batch before my birthday, which is all the more reason to send me things. I mean, you only turn 33 once right? So let's get on that.
Also, don't forget about the CD sale in the webstore. A couple weeks left on that. Get 'em here

This is probably the best demo I’ll hear all year. Here we have a group that is a project band of sorts for a few people who keep themselves pretty busy with a wide variety of other Syracuse bands, yet unite to do something that sounds like it would be way too over-the-top, much too complicated, and with a serious issue of too many cooks in the kitchen. Still, it comes together flawlessly and sounds awesome. I really can’t describe what these guys do aside from write fairly lengthy and epic songs. They employ the use of keyboards, two drummers, and some other neat effects, but they can hardly be said to go the Mogwai, or Explosions In the Sky, or shoegaze route that other ‘epic’ bands go. They just jam the fuck out of some great riffs, sounding very inspiring, uplifting, fun, yet thoughtful. And then they dive into a heady riff, all the while the vocals, nasally stream of conscious yelping and almost Americana at times, deliver stories of growing up and moving on. It’s simply great stuff by some dudes who all are exceptionally creative in their respective primary bands. So getting them all in the same room to hash out these huge songs is a treat that could go horribly wrong in most instances, due to butting of heads and egos, yet results in the best possible outcome one could hope for. (

This Syracuse band debuted a few years ago and then fizzled out for awhile. Now they have returned and have recorded a few more songs. They describe themselves as a black metal band, but it’s really only on the final track where it sounds like a straight black metal band. The other two tracks lean more towards an old school death metal vibe with some thrash and the occasional mid-tempo metalcore (and I mean that in a good way) tendencies. Yet, with a song title like “Defile the lamb Of Christ” one is inclined to believe that this thing comes packaged in a goat’s hide, rancid blood dripping from the CD. It doesn’t though, and that’s OK with me. And unlike many black metal bands this doesn’t sound like it was recorded in a dumpster, yet I’d suggest that the leads could use some polishing. (

The second untitled EP from Philly’s Gods and Queens also continues their trend of not titling their songs. But that’s not terribly important. What is, though, is that we get a handful of songs from one of my current favorite bands to kick my ass. There is a somewhat more reserved tone overall on this one, part of it is the addition of some more leads on the guitars (making for less of a ‘wall-of-sound’ approach), part of it is the recording. Unlike their first EP, which was like an homage to the huge sounds of My Bloody Valentine this EP explores a bit more in terms of melody, but still retaining the familiar character of their previous stuff. I’m way into it, obviously. This also has a lyric sheet that doesn’t quite correspond to the songs, but seems to tell a narrative of sorts. Who knows, maybe these songs all have a similar lyrical theme. Regardless, I enjoy listening to it, making up my own meaning to it all, and getting destroyed by sonic beauty. This also is a one-sided record with a screened b-side. It came out on a Euro label so it’s been a little tough finding it in the States, even though the band are giving it away for free on their site. (Sons Of Vesta)

This is easily the weirdest, wildest, and funniest thing to come out since... I dunno... comedy? The premise is page after page of single panel comics drawn by a few different artists regarding an idea that Henry Rollins and Glen Danzig are ‘domestic partners’. Their neighbors are 80’s rock icons Hall and Oates, who are also Satanists. You see their journal entries, you see them argue, they get cuddly with a movie at home, Hall and Oates try to kill their cat. Ya know, the basic stuff. I have no idea how this idea came to fruition, I just want to see a part two already. (Igloo Tornado)

How could I not be interested in a zine that is named after one of my favorite Deadguy songs ever? And like Deadguy there is a lot of frustration within these pages about basic growing up, work-related bullshit. On the other hand, it takes a more mature spin by digressing upon the small details. The little things about hitting thirty, sort of settling down, not quite understanding hardcore in this day and age, and attempting to keep a piece of that youth and excitement about punk after you’ve pretty much seen it all. I can relate in many ways, which is why reading these zines was interesting to me. There’s not really much other than writing in here so don’t expect a lot of pictures or reviews or interviews. Some of this is very funny too, in a ‘Punk Kid Walks Into a Bar...’ (it’s another great 90’s zine) sort of way. (

The author of this has been a regular contributor to many well known zines over the years and in here he strikes out on his own to discuss his upbringing, as well as current, issues dealing with sexual identity. It’s always a bit odd for me to read these types of publications simply because I’ve always been a pretty plain ‘ol straight white male. So I’m about as average as they come. Yet reading them is always a window into a pretty uncommon and somewhat foreign lifestyle for me and hearing about how others live can be interesting, if not educational. Nevertheless, the author discusses growing up experimenting with both males and females, identifying as queer, but retaining a bi attitude towards relations... actually, it gets pretty confusing. Additionally, the author also has an in-depth conversation with his parents where his father (already in his 60’s) comes out as transgender, and is undergoing a sex change slowly but surely. Yup, it gets that confusing and weird. Through it all though, the author takes a very simplistic and humanistic approach to his relationships with significant others and his family. Yup, it’s a strange read, but hey, here we are! (Microcosm)

SHOPPERS tape #2
I was pretty excited about the first tape from this Syracuse three-piece simply because, in this town, you don’t ever get to hear a band that sounds like this. That made me pleased. And on tape #2 they continue this style of very noisy, very angular noise punk in the vein of early Sonic Youth and Huggy Bear, on a crash course with some almost no wave early 80’s NYC punk, all within the context of recording on a $100 budget. So yeah, it sounds pretty trashy, but I’m sure that’s the point. Yet, each of the three songs on here basically rolls right into the next one as if they were all just one big song about 9 minutes in length. While I dig this band and what they’re doing I sort of prefer the short blasts of weird melody, raw punk, and sung/yelled vocals contained within a single song. It gets a little challenging when it sounds like one big song. I need space! (Drugged Conscience)

Three bands dropping two songs each across 12 inches of wax, who all fit the bill for the modern version of loud noise rock. And if you know me, you know I’m a sucker for that stuff. These are the bands that grew up on Botch, Unsane, and the entire AmRep catalog and are now making their own noise for the 21st century. Fight Amp is probably the most familiar of the triad, having already released two full lengths and a slew of splits over the years, and probably the heir apparent to the Unsane school of filthy, grating noise rock genre. Their two jams hardly disappoint and are a good raging slab of the stuff I dig. Kowloon Walled City rep from the West Coast and have a more dirgy low-end thing going, slow in tempo, bass vibes that could cause unexpected bowel movements, yet with a keen sense of melody and tone that shows that while these dudes are older and don’t tour much they have a wisdom that informs the listener that they know exactly what they want out of their sound. These songs follow in the vibe that their somewhat recent, and most excellent, EP/full length, “Gambling On the Richter Scale” did, yet at a slightly slower pace overall. Finally, we have Ladder Devils, the new project from Tim and Matt from The Minor Times, as well as a former member of their other older band Inkling. Their two songs here are quite different from one another, though you can recognize the familiar song writing style of the members though they aim to get a little more rocking and less mathy. Imagine them continuing on the route they were headed with the final MT full length and polish things up a bit. It shows promise and I’m naturally interested to see where they take it. This record has a small pressing and comes in a silkscreened package with cool art and clear vinyl. Fancy shmancy all around. (Brutal Panda)

This is a compilation of Syracuse alternative/indie bands from the early 80s up to some more current bands. It leaves a substantial amount of bands out, so I’m guessing it’s sort of based upon favoritism, or at least bands that were of personal relevance to the curator of this comp. What a lot of people don’t know is that Syracuse has had a pretty good history of excellent indie bands over the last couple of decades. Then again, many of these bands don’t or didn’t tour much at all so it’s no wonder no one knows about them. Nevertheless, some of the groups represented here are the Pixies-influenced Flashing Astonishers, the sloppy proto-hardcore punk of 80’s band Milton’s Disciples, the New Wave sounds of 70s/80s group The Trend, down to the Clutch-styled bar rock of Thunderosa. While many of these bands are familiar to me, if by nothing but name, others are completely off my radar, having fallen through the cracks of time in this town. All in all, 15 tracks of history are on this thing, and I’m thinking a volume 2 is in order to further document the scene here past and present. (

The nicest thing about this zine each issue is probably the cover. It’s very well-illustrated and interesting, always. The contents, though, don’t do much for me. Basically, this is a zine that is about reviewing and discussing other zines. The concept is nothing new and it’s perfectly fine to dedicate a zine to other zines. Heck, maybe you would find out about some reads you hadn’t otherwise known about. Where this zine tends to frost my ass though is how out of the dozen or so contributors each gets to discuss a handful of their favorite zines of late, yet each contributor tends to talk about the same zines over and over, as well as give verbal pats on the back to their fellow contributors who also make zines. It’s like reading the same review 12 times over, through the course of 70 or so pages. How is that not redundant and annoying? (

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