Tuesday, December 28, 2010


It's a dumb tradition here, but one we maintain nonetheless where those associated with this label in one way or another get to beef about their favorite stuff from this year.
I enjoy knowing what other people were digging, especially those whose opinions I value. So I always get a kick out of seeing what's on the lists.
Personally, I thought 2010 was a great year. Just overall. Saw a lot of great bands, heard some great music, went a lot of fun places, spent a ton of time in my garden, went to a lot of weddings (strangely enough), and there were no disasters. It was a good year to just be doing what I do, and that's all I can ask. So let's just hope next year goes as swimmingly!

OK, enough babble, here's some lists from a few people I dig.

JEFFREY POSO, Uno world champion, The Helm

1. Getting married.
2. The Helm/Owen Hart Summer tour
3. Kylesa- Spiral Shadow.
5. Cursed -John Peel 7".
6. My October bike crash.
7. My November bike crash (not as bad).
8. Inception.
9. Rope Swings all Summer long.
10. Recording the new Throne of Bone full length.

SEAN DOODY, Self Defense Family Man, End Of a Year

I’m awful at keeping up with current music, underground or otherwise. There are some current tracks I’ve dug (“The Weekenders” by the Hold Steady; “I Can Change” by LCD Soundsystem; “Ready to Start” by the Arcade Fire) and some I haven’t (“Barricade” by Interpol is so bad that it makes me wonder why I liked their first two LPs), but I haven’t checked out any of those full albums yet. So instead, I’ve listed my Top 10 new experiences, new discoveries, or what-have-you of 2010:

1. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Rattlesnakes. On the recommendation of Patrick Kindlon, I found this album, the Commotions’ 1984 debut, at the library and uploaded it to my iTunes last March. Cole’s lyrics sound like he was born to be a literature professor at a New England liberal arts school; indeed, he now lives in the Pioneer Valley, writing, recording, and playing lots of golf. Ultra-cool Eighties British indie, with a distinct soul influence and a singer who has impeccable taste in books, clothes, and everything else.

2. Taking care of myself, i.e., eating vegan again and quitting smoking. This is simple: I realized I was turning into a cartoon slob from a Replacements video. Quitting smoking was easy, actually, once I realized that I hate being around other people who are smoking. And I’ve felt much healthier and lost weight once I stopped inhaling every Hungarian street sausage or slice of sketchy pizza I could find, just because I hadn’t had it before and it was cheap. Yeah, I haven’t had the mumps either; doesn’t mean I want to give it a go.

3. Reevaluating my record collection. Goodbye, later Gang of Four records. Goodbye, mod revival bands that “sound like the Jam,” except that they can’t come close. Goodbye, every hardcore record I hung onto out of nostalgia and nothing else. Hello, more Talking Heads and Julian Cope and Belle & Sebastian and Pixies records. We’re going to get along great.

4. Dramamine, self-titled LP. End of a Year played with this band in Münster, Germany, on our European tour last spring. Live, they just sounded like any one of the rash of Wipers-influenced bands that have cropped up over the past several years. Feh. On record, though, Dramamine are much more than that. Sure, the Wipers are in the mix, but so are Fugazi, the Jesus Lizard, and – crucially – a strong sense of how to put their influences together to build something new and distinct. Check out Dramamine at the Sabotage Records website and definitely pick up their LP if you can find it.

5. Swans, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky. Michael Gira is older than my parents and has been playing in bands longer than I’ve been alive, yet he still has a constant desire to make music he hasn’t made before. And I appreciate his approach towards reviving the Swans name: he felt that what he was writing would be better as a Swans album than as a solo album or Angels of Light, so he put together a Swans lineup and that was that. I hope to be as driven a musician as Gira when I’m his age.

6. My new Rickenbacker 4003 bass. I’ve never bought an instrument new before, and I’m thrilled with this one.

7. Being employed again. I appreciate the paycheck, but more than that, my current job has finally solidified the fact that I need to move out of Albany and never move back.

8. Rediscovering my enjoyment of music and writing. Two things that I had felt burnt out on for years, frankly, because I’ve been expecting too much out of them, both as an experience and as something I make. Psyching myself out of enjoying anything is a really bad look, and I’m glad to get away from it.

9. Unknown band whose album I heard on the U-Albany radio station the other week. I have no idea who it was, just that it sounded like the Swell Maps or some other jerky Seventies post-punk band tried to write Damaged. The results were fascinating. I called the station to find out what it was, but no one picked up.

10. Ke$ha, Animal. Yes, it’s beer-and-lifestyle music. It’s not the beer I’d drink, and it’s definitely not my lifestyle, but I can take a peek at both from a distance without having to clean up the puke afterwards. Yes, I’m serious about this.

RYAN HEX, pick pocket, label person

Here’s a combination of favorite records, as well as best shows since there weren’t enough ‘favorite records’ that stuck to make a top 10, but there were a heckuva lot of great shows.

1.) 108, “18.61”
2.) BLACK BREATH, “Heavy Breathing”
3.) END OF A YEAR, “You Are Beneath Me”
4.) TORCHE, “Song For Singles”
5.) COLISEUM, “House With a Curse”
7.) MAYFLOWER, “Second Best Sunsets”

2.18- Mission Of Burma @ First Unitarian Church, Philly (intimate atmosphere, killer set, great new record)
3.27- Rollins @ Westcott Theater, Syracuse (finally got to meet the man)
6.11- Shaun Luu Horrorfest day 1 w/ End Of a Year, Mandate Of Heaven, Like Wolves, Mistletoe @ Westcott Community Center, Syracuse (Best MoH set in ages, hilarious EOAY set, Like Wolves letting me sing “Merchandise” with them)
6.22- Tortoise @ Bug Jar, Rochester (been waiting about 15 years to see this band and on a microscopic-sized stage no less)
7.7- Devo @ Town Ballroom, Buffalo (small-ish venue, great vibe, so much dancing)
8.11- Public Enemy @ Town Ballroom, Buffalo (again, smaller venue, excellent set of mostly their best two records and I’ve been waiting 20 years to see them)
9.7- Unsane, Keelhaul, Surroundings @ Ottobar, Baltimore (loudest, most punishing Unsane set I’d ever seen. My ears were numb afterwards)
10.3- Achilles/ Another Breath @ Bug Jar, Rochester (one of the wildest reactions I’ve seen in years for Achilles. So much fun)
10.28-11.2- Soul Control tour/Gainesville Fest (best vibe, and hanging out with great dudes)

WESTON CZERKIES, Founder www.Westonsucks.com, Oak and Bone

1) Nina Worf Wolfpaw DeVoe Czerkies....the kitten.
2) New Syracuse DIY show space!
3) Merchandise LP
4) Burning Love - Songs For Burning Lovers LP
5) White Walls - new tape and live performances
6) Eyehategod live @ Maryland Deathfest
7) Iggy & the Stooges live @ All Tomorrow's Parties (for free!)
8) Oak & Bone disaster tour. It had its moments.
9) birth of Hunger Pains. vVv.
10) Girls Nite in Glen Spey with KDV, DP, SOB

RORY VAN GROL, Achilles Van Grol Control

- Another Breath - A God Complex
- Dangers - Messy Isn't It
- Torche- Songs for Singles
- Fang Island - Day of the Great Leap
- Black Angels - Phosphene Dream
- Rochester, NY , including me moving home and The Owl House (owlhouserochester.com), and Like Wolves Live
- RVIVR - Dirty Water EP
- Coliseum - House With A Curse
- Black Breath- Heavy Breathing
- The Body - All the Waters Turn To Blood 2XLP

ROB ANTONUCCI, Achilles, “Proctor”

Terror - Keepers of the Faith
Black Label Society - Order of the Black
Against Me - White Crosses
The Damned Things - Ironclast
Katy Perry - Teenage Dream
Soilwork - The Panic Broadcast
Sleigh Bells - Treats
Holy Grail - Crisis in Utopia
The March - Demo (7")
The Curl and Drag - Demo

Monday, December 20, 2010


TRANSLATE strikes back! The brand-spankin' new issue that is a big, fat 76 1/2 size pages of nothing but interviews... but with who? Absolute nobodies, that's who. This time around I chose to simply interview almost 20 of my closest friends, ask them about life, growing up, how we met, and all the simple joys in life, as well as the tough times. Stupid kid memories, terrible high school classes, making our way across the country, having children, marriage, adult stuff, and maybe a little music because... well, it's inevitable. Maybe you know some of these folks, but you probably don't. So take a walk in my shoes and see what all the hub-bub is about.
Get it HERE
On a personal note, I've had the idea to do a zine like this for about 5 years now. It's not terribly original, but it sure is rare. I just couldn't wrap my head around how I was going to execute it because how weird is it to ask your friends about things you already knew? So once I did construct a framework idea of how to carry this thing out, and come up with a list of potential interview candidates, I dove right into it. The whole project was completed within one month and somehow I came up with almost 20 interviews and 76 pages. I had to cut a couple out even, as it just got a little out of control and my goal was to be done by Christmas. Well, here we are. So check it out, won't you?

Thursday, December 9, 2010


It's been a little quiet on the blog front lately, but it's mostly because I've been putting a shitload of work in on the new issue of TRANSLATE, which I think will be a really cool one. Aside from that, a lot of snow has been getting shoveled... also, quite time consuming.
On the news front though, I'd like to announce that I'll be releasing the next LIKE WOLVES recording. They'll be putting out a long player on Hex come summer 2011. Recording will take place late in the Winter. Color me stoked, not only because of a long-standing love affair between Rochester and Syracuse peoples, but because there is a consistent wealth of good bands that come from this area, and good dudes in those bands.
Along with that release, OAK AND BONE will be readying their first full length release for the same time. The riffs are getting riffier, and the smoke is getting thicker. This thing will melt your stereo when it is finished, this I do believe.
OK, that is all for now. Coffee and transcribing interviews from now 'til Christmas.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I always put some scratch aside to pick up some records and stuff while I'm at Fest because I know it's a veritble buyers market for the new and the obscure, rife with people and distros around every corner looking to hawk their stuff. This year was no exception and I was happy to spread a little love around to the bands both familiar and new that I enjoyed, as well as seek out those hidden gems in the back of some cardboard bin. (* not reviewed on this list: the bootleg Nation Of Ulysses shirt I scored, holla!)

1.6 BAND, “Broke Up”
Who? Yeah, I know. This is one of those bands that were very influential in their time, but mostly to other bands and then pretty much disappeared off the map. They reformed recently and dropped a seven inch that is just as good as the material on this early 90’s discography of their 7”s and long players on one shiny plastic CD. Wildly talented and technical for a hardcore band in the early 90s, but still rooted in the melodic and catchy vibe of Dischord bands like Dag Nasty. 1.6 Band had this really cool sound that has been hard for bands to match since. For music nerds get a load of the jazzy and complicated drum parts, the off-time tech-y riffs, and noodly bass parts. For the rest of you, notice how it does not get mired in how technical it is and check the balance of spazzy aggression and melodic punk. A million bands of this nature followed, but none quite the same. $3 at a record store. Take that.

Heck yes. Awesome debut 7” from the guitarist/vocalist of Cheeky. The approach is sort of garage rock with a sort of 60’s vibe on the melody, but most certainly punk rock. I don’t know why I want to use this as a descriptor, but I’m also getting a little Joan Jett and the Blackhearts feel here too. Whatever. Four songs of catchy garage rock punk, good melodies, sneering yet sweet vocals. I dig it.

Most of these songs made it on the full length, but there’s also a Battalion Of Saints cover on here. I kind of like the recording on this better than the full length, and maybe that’s because it is a bit more rough around the edges, giving these already hostile jams a bit more of a gnarly sound. Turbonegro-meets-Entombed style riff worship and loads of solos. Get into it or don’t.

DEAD MECHANICAL, “Addict Rhythms”
I’d been meaning to get this record since the Summer but couldn’t find it anywhere. Luckily, one of the guys who released it happened to have a table right next to me so I just had to get it. Once again, DM made a great collection of songs here. While the rest of the album is stellar, the re-recording of “Sidewalk” from one of their 7”s is still my favorite tune of theirs pretty much ever. A close second is “Pictures In the Hall”. a departure from their typical vibe, mostly due to the somber vocal quality that lends an awesome feel to this great song. The rest of the record is a collection of melodic pop punk rock with bratty and snarled vocals, yet somehow has something more complicated lying beneath... like they listen to a lot of The Police or something. It’s not your typical three chord pop punk record and I love that about them.

DEEP SLEEP, “Turn Me Off” 12”
It seems that a bunch of bands were planning on having Fest as a record release show of some kind and instead just had a test press version available, which is the case here. ot that I mind or anything, as Deep Sleep had their first 12” (I’m guessing that it might have been possible to fit it all on a 7”) in test press form, complete with silkscreened cover art (made out of turning Government Warning sleeves inside out). Either way, I’d seen this band move from standard fare fast hardcore to something that was still fast, but played around with a good deal of melody and I may have made a Wipers comparison in the past. That was wrong. If anything, Deep Sleep has a love affair with all things Descendants and Adolescents, especially on “Be With You”, the opener on side B, as ultra quick and fun as it is. Short record, fast songs, good band. I enjoy.

GIVE, “Boots Of Faith” 7”
I wasn’t super impressed with their 12”, but really liked how wild they were live. This 7” definitely improves upon bringing that live vibe to wax and results in their best song to date, “Boots Of Faith”. It has an excellent melodic quality that just further brings to mind the often made comparison of Swiz to this DC group. The B-side is decent as well, but not nearly as awesome as the A-side. I figure now I ought to check out the React 7” they just dropped as well.

HUNCHBACK, “Pray For Scars”
This was in the free bin at the No Idea record sale/BBQ. Ooof, I can see why. All over the map with no real direction and a lot of bad songwriting. I just can’t figure this one out. It’s pretty bad. Sometimes noisy, weird, and experimental works. Other times, like this, it just fails miserably.

This is the only Jesus Lizard recording that I don’t have a physical copy of. So when I was finished setting up my distro table, well before the masses were actually allowed to enter the room, I checked a few of the early offerings from other people. I noticed a guy selling an original vinyl pressing of this and instantly asked what he wanted for it. Five bucks later I was rushing back to my table to secure it like some gem, afraid others would see it and try to scam it off of me. Just like basically everything else this band did this is nearly flawless. I mean, how ridiculous is “Killer McHahn”? Or the winding, serpentine thwack over the head of “Seven Vs. Eight”? God damn, I love this band.

LIQUID LIMBS, “Dichotomy” 7”
Two more songs of face-melting sludge rock from this Florida duo. They definitely don’t get the attention I feel they deserve, but that’s just me. I have described them before as Torche-meets-Big Business- meets King Crimson, and I still stand by that description. Yet these two songs have way more of a Melvins feel to them (which I guess isn’t a stretch from some of the other comparisons) due to the way heavier focus on thick riffs and wild snarled singing going on. I want another full length. Right now, soon, please. Thanks.

I traded one of my records for this based mostly on the cover. I don’t know who Tigon are supposed to be on their side, but Olehole is dressed up as the Furies from The Warriors on their side. Very nice. As far as music goes the Olehole stuff is a little more straight-forward rocking than their EP they dropped a couple years back. A little less on the post-hardcore tip and a bit more in the ‘let’s just rock’ style. Tigon is a bit harder to pin down as they toss in equal parts sort of sludgy rock and more noodly guitar work. It’s pretty decent overall.

PUNCH, “Push/Pull” 12”
Easily one of the best sets at Fest, this new record is just as wild and vitriolic as the live performance they deliver. Punch, for the uninitiated, is a incredibly fast and pissed hardcore band from the Bay Area that mixes parts traditional hardcore and powerviolence blast beats. Their singer has a high pitched piercing scream that some seem to find irritable. Personally, I think her voice is rad and just adds even more anger to the already raucous music. As far as any improvements made from their previous full length there really are none. Essentially it is just more of what you would expect. That certainly isn’t a bad thing, especially given how fast everything flies by. Lyrically it seems a little more personal, a bit less issue-oriented, and somewhat more straightforward lacking those small flourishes of humor I noticed on the last record. The opening track, “Stay Afloat” is probably the best track, especially with the absolutely mind-fucking swirl of drums going on.

TOUCHE AMORE, “To the Beat Of a Dead Horse”
Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone knows who they are and I know this was released awhile ago. But to date, I have only had a shitty burn of it so it was time to get the real thing, because I actually like physical copies of music I enjoy from bands I like. I wasn’t completely sold on this band early on, but live they are a monster and really deliver like no one’s business. Plus, as far as bands that have a sort of mid-90’s screamo vibe thing happening TA really takes it in a cool direction with their own little twists and turns. Definitely one of the best live bands around right now if you want fun and excitement.

I also ought to make note that there were a number of bands that I didn't bother to check out until after I had returned home and now I'm kicking myself for not going to see them play. As an act of contrition I have since ordered some records from them. I, also, urge you to check these bands out: Senders, Grids, Averkiou, and Worry Ship

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Most everything was in place for Fest this year a few weeks before actually leaving. I had a press pass set so no worries about a ticket. I had paid for a vendor table to hawk my wares. Friends from NYC reserved a hotel room and I’d arranged to kick in for it. Now I just had to figure out how I was going to get there. I could drive down, but knew no one else from Upstate going that wasn’t already in a band touring down. I could fly there, but then have to deal with lugging all my records around.
The solution presented itself when the Soul Control dudes let me roadie for them on their short (AKA ‘mega’) tour to and from the Fest. Their singer lives in Rochester and would have to get to Providence anyway to start tour and I’m on the way. Sounds perfect. Let’s get weird.

“So what time are we leaving?”
“When I get out of work”
Sounds vague enough. Little did I know this would be around 1AM. An overnight drive through the rain to Providence and arriving to town just in time to see the sun rise. We caught a two hour power nap at a friends empty apartment before going to the Soul Control practice space to load up and get on the road. There was the option of bringing swords with us and I wish we had brought them, if anything, just for kicks.

So let me just say that New Jersey is the biggest shithole in the USA, forever and always. Every show I’ve ever seen or played here has been a lot of fun, but the state itself can go to hell. Fortunately, we were not playing here. The population here somehow exist by traveling endlessly in one direction. There is nowhere to turn around, anywhere.
I saw a store in some random Jersey toxic breeding humanity trench called “Teens and Cribs”. I cringe at the thought of what they actually sell.

Approximately $1000 in tolls later we arrived in DC proper. Toll Control ought to be the name of this band.
The show was temporarily at the Corpse Fortress. Every band I’ve known that has played here has had a good time but warned of the stench of this dive. They weren’t lying. As we loaded in all I could think of was how every inch of my being crawled at the thought of putting my head down to sleep anywhere in this putrid mold hive. Good lord, try some Fabreeze once in awhile.
As luck would have it we were told that the show would be moved to Hole In the Sky instead. This proved to be a far better situation as there were actual people at this show, and bands that seemed fairly fun- Monument (very Braid-esque) and Algernon Cadwallder (not my favorite group, but quite a bit better than the last time I saw them). Not exactly a bill catering to the SC dudes, but a nice change of pace for them I’m sure.

This venue is very comfy and kick ass. Working as a collective model, but having an actual plan, as well as nice accommodations, Hole In the Sky gets a big thumbs up for doing things right.
The night concluded with food and the best rest I’d had in days. Even though I was awoken in the middle of the night with a phrase that would become legendary throughout the weekend, and repeated ad nauseum to randos everywhere- “Do you need help... partying?”, Eric’s plea to the other residents here who were clearly partying fine on their own on the other side of the wall.

Jim brought coffee and a coffee maker on tour and nothing was more welcoming this morning than hot coffee, a snack, and enjoying it all on the roof of this place as the sun spread it’s warmth across DC.
Before leaving town we did the only logical thing left to do and got Soul Veg. I ate every last speck of food on my plate. A rare, and potentially dangerous feat to attempt at Soul Veg as their portions come close to ‘mammoth’.
Additionally, a new term came to be: butt sunglasses. I’ll leave that to your own personal interpretation.
Somewhere on the 7 hour drive to Greensboro, NC we stopped in Henderson for gas. A veritable cesspool of human garbage rife with filthy strip malls and residents that speak a dialect barely recognized as the bastardized, thrice-over inbred version of the Kings English rule this concrete land. I wonder what exactly goes on behind the closed curtains at Brothers Internet Cafe? Do people even use Internet Cafes anymore?

Legit Biz is a legit venue. Another case of DIY dudes doing DIY things the right, and awesome, way. The lineup: stellar. The turn out: so-so. But between SC, Oak and Bone, and Burning Love it was more than enough entertainment for all of us, crowd or no crowd.

The post-show plan was a three-way caravan between all three bands straight to Florida. But Oak and Bone must have lost the memo and peeled out before we could leave. So to make up for this we did our best to weird out and intimidate Burning Love’s drummer for no good reason whatsoever.

Attempts at sleep were shoddy at best and I was awoken at 6AM for driving duty from somewhere South Carolina to Gainesville.
We arrived at around 10AM and I promptly began to load all my shit indoors and set up shop for registration/tabling. There was good company around me except for the unruly and drunk English fella who basically loitered my neighbors table the entire day. Just as a note, distro people HATE it when you unnecessarily block their table. Please, stop doing that.

Soon, my hotel posse found me. I’d known Nate and Sarah for some time now and I was introduced to our other weekend roommate, Erica. Seemed like a solid group of party people.
The Oak and Bone dudes soon followed. Since they were not actually playing Fest, but instead just loitering all weekend they took it upon themselves to essentially run the pool party. They pretty much took complete ownership of the “do you need help... partying” phrase as soon as I told them it and ran headfirst with it. Never have I seen dudes make the most out of a dull situation.
Having a distro table at registration is pretty awesome because you eventually see everyone you want to see all weekend at some point in this one room because they all have to pass through it. I passed my old pal Murray who I hadn’t seen in years. He may be the only other person alive with a “purity and control” braille tattoo. This counts for a lot.

After registration was over I packed things up at my room, checked out some pool partying, and then headed over to Wayward Council because they always have cheap records. I got myself a bootleg Nation Of Ulysses shirt as well as the 1.6 Band discography. The crust monger behind the counter asked me if “I was sure” I wanted to buy that. Yes. Yes, I do you elitist scum farmer. I know it’s easy to displace your inner frustration of complicating your hippie anarcho ideals by selling wares in a capitalist set up by insulting your customers musical tastes, but I promise I won’t tell anyone that you’re furthering consumerism! Really, I’ll keep it a secret, OK?
Onto better things, Burning Love once again totally ripped Fest a new one with one hell of a set and a great way to open the weekend for me. They closed with a cover of “Jack the Ripper” that made most every band that weekend sound like little wiener babies.
Next, I took about ten steps next door to The Venue to see Hard Skin. I’ve only heard stories about this band and that’s it. I was curious to see the real thing. Basically, they are all old grizzled anarcho punks from the UK who make the catchiest Oi music ever and simply make fun of themselves and insult others. Any band that spends about 5 minutes insulting the audience, other bands, and Gainesville before even playing a note gets a thumbs up from me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more beer cans hurled at a group at one time in my life.
Back to 8 Seconds for the Kylesa/ Torche/ High On Fire triumvirate of heavy. I was already pretty beat at this point and the indoor smoking just made it worse. Kylesa had this great projector thing going their whole set of the spiral shadow cover art and it got pretty trippy in there. Torche can really do no wrong and brought the place to it’s knees. I wanted to rage for the whole High On Fire set because they sounded incredible. But after three songs I was toast.

Seriously, this smoke is fucking destroying my will to live. Florida really needs to get out of the 20th century and establish some no indoor smoking laws. Goddamnit. Just swallow your cigarette for chrissakes and get the job done quicker.

Back at the hotel I caught up with my Fest-mates and attempted to make Ramen noodles in a coffee maker with mixed results. In fact, it was mostly just a big mess with minimal food obtained in the end.

Morning dawned with a fresh approach to life after getting some of the best seven hours of sleep ever. A dip in the pool made things all that much better and I started to truly feel as if I were on vacation. Ah.... hotel life.
Breakfast followed with a walk over to Karma Kream for coffee and a bagel. Typically I will not pay for a bagel when Dunkin Donuts gives them out for free back home, unbeknownst to them. Well, when in Rome, pay for things I suppose. It was worth it too.

Back to the business of seeing bands. After a quick visit to 1982 to catch a few songs by the stellar Big Eyes it was over to The Atlantic for a long day. Oh, what is this? A line for Touche Amore? Ha! Multi-pass, thank you once again. Yeah, hate all you want, I worked for this thing and I’m going to use it as much as I can. Nevertheless, Touché Amore is a band that just gets better each time I see them. So much intensity, crowd interaction, and passion for their music.
I took a side step and checked out Arms Aloft at Rum Runners for a bit. Musically, not much separates them from other high-intensity pop punk bands, but they have really solid gear and that goes a long way in terms of how good they sound. Gear nerd style, what’s up?
Back to Atlantic to take in a set by Comadre. I’ve seen this band many times and while I really have little interest in their actual music they are always an awesome band to watch because of their energy, the always frantic crowd response, and the fact that they’re all rad dudes.
Deep Sleep followed soon and their Descendants/ Adolescents vibe was a grand thing to see. And while I detest indoor smoking (did I already mention this?) the one and only exception to this all weekend was watching their bass player wildly beat the bejeezus out of his instrument while puffing a smoke down to the filter. One and only exception.

At this point a break was needed and I just relaxed for awhile, snacking on some snacks and waiting for Mayflowers set to begin over at Rum Runners. Once there it was great to see basically all the Upstate NY people at one place and we had ourselves a little hang time prior to the set. Mayflower ended up getting a great response and I was really happy for them. When they broke into “I’m a hack of all trades, master of none” from “The World Needs Ditch Diggers” I couldn’t help but launch myself atop the crowd and scream at the top of my lungs. That song seems to sum up my life situation perfectly these days.

I hung around for awhile to see Former Thieves who were good. Although after the high from the last set they just weren’t as good. It’s not their fault that Mayflower were so much fun, I still like Former Thieves just fine.
A hop, skip, and jump over to The Venue to see, for once, a formal Paint It Black set. I’d missed them in ‘08 but caught their infamous U-Haul ‘set’. This time they had a stage and reliable electricity to power their jams, and the absence of any cops on horses. Their set was equal parts the energy of the music and what Dan says between songs, and those nuggets of wisdom were pure gold.
I bailed a little early on their set so I could try and see a bit of the Bridge and Tunnel all covers set, just to see how that was playing out. When I got there all my hotel roomies were there jamming as well. The vibe was so killer and we locked arms, and raised fists, and shouted along to “Rise Above” and “D.E.A.D Ramones” before all leaving for the Atlantic for the last few sets of the night.
Over there Hour Of the Wolf had just started and I wasn’t about to miss their particular brand of madness. Earlier in the day their guitarist had made note of how bitchin’ my Rocket From the Crypt shirt was (he was correct) and we discussed the finer points of how they were the world’s greatest rock n’ roll band for a good twenty minutes or so. This automatically makes HotW ten times better than they already are to me. They obliged with a killer set, sans nakedness, blood, and trash cans. But it was still wild and Lance’s between-song verbal screeds and off-putting psychotic humor makes things all the more enjoyable.
Before the end of the night I must have received another ten compliments on my shirt. Shit, I’ve been wearing this all day, where you turkeys been?

So, as an aside, during HotW set there was a line wrapped around the block (multi-pass) awaiting a ‘surprise’ set by Off With Their Heads. Now, I’m not a huge OWTH fan. I like them, but not enough to wait in line for an hour or more. After HotW ended and OWTH (got that?) was to begin the room almost emptied out and it seemed like they weren’t letting anyone in. Seeing as I was no super fan or anything I thought people more deserving ought to be seeing this and I made mention of it to the door guy that the room was empty. Apparently, he did not realize this and soon started letting some people in. It was the least I could do to alleve my pangs of guilt. Later on I discovered that apparently the fire marshall had been watching the Atlantic like a hawk and that was why they were being extra careful about letting people in all night.

OK, enough about that. How about fuckin’ Punch. I missed them when they canceled their East Coast tour this Summer, skipped Rain Fest in the Spring, and I wasn’t about to miss them again. Their singer, Meghan, came onto the stage in a yellow jump suit and it seemed rather odd until she introduced herself as April O’Neil and talked about the Foot Clan taking over the Fest. The rest of band got in stage in full Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle garb and started tossing cardboard throwing stars at the crowd, and then laid waste to the whole freakin’ building. Fucking stoked. Halfway through their set, in true TMNT fashion, they took a pizza break and gave the crowd some slices. Easily one of the top 5 sets all weekend. Raging hardcore, plus cheeseless pizza, plus some childhood obsession, equals great times.

Some wild after shows were again planned, but once more the sleep wall hit me like a ton of bricks and it was time to mosey back to my quarters. As we all sauntered back packs of roving pre-Halloween scantily-clad college girls flaunted what I guess passed as ‘costumes’. Yet amongst it all one lone girl had made an elaborate giraffe costume and it was so bad ass that we had to get a picture with her.

Sunday is always a late starting day. People sleep off hangovers, and in my case I was sleeping off a crucial bang over, AKA metal neck.
I ventured out fairly early to obtain breakfast and made the poor decision to use up that remaining hummus I’d left out for three days. Thus began a bout of the ‘itis’ that stuck with me for the next couple of days. Not long after eating it struck while I was getting ready to go for a swim. I was able to put it aside for awhile as I enjoyed the water but it snuck up again while trying to catch The Sidekicks solo set and I had to leave. See, in my case, I refuse to throw up and have held that oath for 10 years now. Next to centipedes nothing is more revolting to me than puking. I’d rather put a gun in my mouth than willfully puke. Instead, I usually walk it off, and it usually works, but not always. See, I’m on a deadline here. If I can’t get down for Lemuria in about an hour I’ll probably have to start killing people or something.

Success. The ‘itis’ has been suppressed because the power of Lemuria got me dancing and shaking my butt. Multiple stage dives, sing-alongs, and joyous dancing with random people I never met got me thrilled. I mean seriously, if you can’t have fun during Lemuria you probably have no soul anyway. So since I’m typically Mr. No Fun (over 30, vegan straight edge... yup, no fun guy) I made it my job for those thirty minutes to be the life of the party. I think it went quite well if you ask me. I did not require any help... partying.
After Lemuria I had to make a stop back at the hotel. Walking back I was riding such a wave of awesomeness that not even the shitty crust folk punk being played by some filthy degenerates across the street could deter my mood. I planned on giving their grime-ladden hippie filth a little rock walk in support as I approached. That is, until one of their scum brothers sprawled out in the middle of the street puked all over the place and harshed everyone’s buzz. Of course, this led me to re-visit my ‘itis’ and potentially join him in a hurl fest but my blood oath to never throw up kicked in and I passed the stench posse with little to no fanfare, nor respect for that matter.

Back at the hotel I had to grab a box of records and head over to The Atlantic to do merch stuff for Soul Control and see bands I wanted to see anyway. I rather dreaded the idea of walking all the way back to the show carrying a big box of records until I noticed a shuttle bus in the parking lot. I inquired at the front desk about getting rides to places and they happily stated that if you were a guest they would drive you anywhere in town your little heart desired. Well hot corn, I think I’ll take advantage of this!
I grabbed some snacks, records, prepared my now tamed stomach, and headed downstairs to where my chariot awaited. Here at Hex Records we ride in class.

I got there in time to see City Of Ships and met with the SC dudes to set stuff up properly.
Liquid Limbs followed soon, and just like their set two years ago they had a small crowd. It’s too bad because that band is fucking unreal good. Equal parts Big Business, Torche, The Melvins, and King Crimson as performed by only two dudes they slayed my face repeatedly. Get your hands on their 12” or 7” immediately, care of Sound Study recordings. It will be worth it.
I helped the SC dudes load the rest of their gear in afterwards and when they weren’t looking I snuck in a little surprise for their set. All week they had a pot leaf decorated snuggie in their van that some other group had left and it served as a fine blanket on those overnight drives. But this evening it would serve a different purpose. Oh yes, it would.
Before taking off for a quick minute to try and witness a bit of what would undoubtedly be a wild Municipal Waste set I saw a few songs from SLCs overlooked and over-rocked Loom. Good stuff.
So, at the Venue- enough cigarette smoke to choke a horse? Check. Unnecessary pre-set mosh by drunk idiots? Check. Drunk crusties who somehow scrounged up enough change to get in smelling up the place? Maybe, my sense of smell had been annihilated by the smoke. MW entered with intros for each member who were dressed up as some cloaked doom dude, a nun, a juggalo, and Dee Snider respectively. That’s really all I needed to see to be honest because the rest went exactly as I would have expected it to.

OK, back to see the SC set. Thankfully, they had a respectable sized crowd that were quite responsive despite having to go against some stiff competition at other venues. I snuck off for a minute mid-set to put on the weed snuggie, tied tightly at the waist so I didn’t trip and executed some surprise mosh/stagedive action as the weed wizard in order to initiate full room enjoyment of the set. This was shortly followed with a leapfrog stagedive over Rorys head, it being only the second time in my life I’d been able to attempt such a feat. Needless to say, I was quite proud of myself and it was a fitting conclusion to a most excellent weekend. By set’s end, no one here needed help partying.

So instead of packing up and getting on the road since we had to be in Virginia the next day the SC dudes decided to play an after show in a dead end street, complete with a forest behind it, with Touché Amore and Defeater. They managed to kick out two songs (one of which was “School” by Nirvana) before Rory slipped and knocked over most of the drums, thus pre-emptively ending their set. The ensuing confusion was actually kind of funny to witness.
OK, so are we driving now? Nope. Let’s get a few hours of sleep and leave at 7AM instead. Fun.

It was still dark when the van rolled up and I sank into it as we began to head back North.
At some rest stop somewhere in the South, while waiting to use the single stall restroom Eric heard the following Deliverance-styled out take uttered between a son and Father: “Paw, you take a shit while I piss” . He proceeded to use the ladies room instead where their Mother had just exited leaving behind an enormous mound of shit in the toilet.
We stopped at a Dennys in South Carolina somewhere. The menu here has about twice the amount of items as it does in the North. This menu seriously needs it’s own index it’s so big. Things that probably should never be combined, nor consumed, by humans are proudly displayed in this encyclopedia of bad ideas. How to make a grilled cheese better? Let’s put mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings in there too! My arteries hardened just thinking about it. I opted for coffee and potatoes. This set in another bout of the ‘itis’ though and I had to take a walk outdoors to relieve it and reconsider my previous theory that my cure for this was stage diving. I mean, it worked during Lemuria. It was entirely plausible that any debilitating disease could be cured with a healthy dose of stage diving honestly. Common cold? Stage dive. Cancer of the stomach? More stage dives. It’s medically sound, or so I thought. This bout had me aching all the way up to Harrisonburg, where the show was that night.
The band played somewhere that looked like a metal dungeon, or part time goth club, downstairs from an upscale Ethiopian cafe. Certainly an odd combination, but it resulted in a free platter of Ethiopian food for us. I once again forced the ‘itis’ aside because 1) Ethiopian food rules, and 2) how often does one get a free platter of it?
A band called Mirror Cage played this evening. Their name instantly conjures up images of glam dudes looking to ‘make it’ as they wait for that Atlantic A&R guy to show up to one of the umpteenth local dive bar gigs they play and sign them, finally. Instead, they turned out to be cool dudes, very talented, and extremely metal. We dubbed their brand of music ‘long metal’ as there really isn’t a metal band around that plays for no less than 40 minutes.

Back in Providence in time to flop on same empty apartment couch and sleep through the afternoon. This is how I spent a good portion of my birthday and I was happy with it.
But the evening proved to be more birthday style I guess because, seeing as Rory has worked essentially every cool job there is in this town, I was hooked up with free Nice Slice Pizza and a pound of coffee from New Harvest, whose roastery happened to be in the same building the last show of ‘tour’ was in this night.
It was a big show with Howl, Trap Them, and Every Time I Die, with SC opening things up to a very receptive audience.
I hadn’t seen ETID in a couple years live and they were expectedly wild. Within the first couple songs someone threw a trash can on stage and they seemed completely unfazed by it, as if it happens every night... which it probably does. Either way, great dudes, great band. They even gave me a little birthday shout out. How kind!
Of the few people I know in this town I think I saw all of them, and Providence opened it’s arms to me and I graciously accepted a big, fat burly hug from her. It was a good birthday and a nice way to end a very fun and exhaustive tour. Now just one more overnight drive back home to get back to real life.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


OK jerks, put down your crack pipes and pay attention. The mighty OAK AND BONE are leaving this week for a three week tour of the East Coast/Midwest.
They're playing some pretty neat shows along the way and then crashing The Fest in Gainesville, in which they will attempt to budge their way into whatever house show happens to be going down.
As an added bonus, Hex Records will be representing at The Fest as well. We will have a table at registration on Friday and basically be the only non drunk dude raging all weekend. Look for the bald head, short beard, and coffee-fueled fiend all up in your shit.

Anyways, below are the OAK AND BONE tour dates. Check their blog here for more details on each show.

10/21 Syracuse, NY @ Spark Art Gallery w/ Black Throat Wind, more
10/22 Bethlehem, PA @ Secret Art Space w/ Ladder Devils
10/23 Philadelphia, PA @ Danger Danger Gallery w/ Towers, Snowing, more
10/24 New Brunswick, NJ @ TBA
10/25 Washington, DC @ Hole In the Sky
10/26 Morgantown, WV @ 123 Pleasant St. w/ Ancient Shores
10/27 Harrisonburg, VA @ Crayola House w/ Earthling
10/28 Greensboro, NC @ Legitimate Business w/ Soul Control
11/1 Tampa, FL @ Unit 19
11/2 Pensacola, FL @ Sluggos
11/3 Mobile, AL @ TBA
11/4 Birmingham, AL @ The Firehouse w/ Hostage Calm, Transit, Afficionado
11/5 Nashville, TN @ Little Hamilton Collective w/ Imbroglio
11/6 Somerset, KY @ Kingbee Ground Sound w/ Highgate
11/7 Cincinnati, OH @ TBA w/ White Walls
11/8 Cleveland, OH @ Now That's Class

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. (myspace.com/blackthroatwind)

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. (myspace.com/ebonysorrow)

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. (pinsandneedleszine@gmail.com)

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. (zippypops@yahoo.com)

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? (davida@leekinginc.com)

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I know CDs are going the way of the dinosaur. But ya know what? I still like them. I still play them often. And, of course, you can too. On the cheap. All month every CD from the catalog is $5. And if you get two of them it's $8
The deal is for anyone worldwide (the only catch being those outside the US have to throw a couple bucks towards shipping, but it's still a deal). Americans- no shipping.
Get on that and make my attic shelf space reappear!

Webstore linkage here

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


In what I'm guessing will be the last show they play this year (who knows though), ACHILLES will lay waste to their hometown of Rochester, NY.
after that they'll take some time to write and record some new songs destined for release before the end of the next millenium, or probably some time in 2011.
Here's the info:

Sunday, October 3 · 6:00pm-11:00pm
The Bug Jar
219 Monroe Ave.
Rochester, NY

Doors: 6 PM
Cost: $7

Achilles (http://www.myspace.com/achillesband)
Another Breath (http://www.myspace.com/anotherbreath)
Like Wolves (http://www.myspace.com/likewolves666)
The Curl and Drag (First show - members of Achilles, How We Are, Dasha, Like Wolves, Pistol Buckets - http://www.myspace.com/thecurlanddragband)

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/eve ... 654&ref=mf

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I don't do show reviews that often, but when I do it's because there was something really, really kick ass about it. And for some reason, there have been a lot of kick-ass shows this year.
So why the beginning of a holiday weekend sucked so much ass on a ridiculous level is beyond me, but it probably had something to do with a karmic balancing act to counter the unfuckwithable amount of ass-kicking that occurred in the second half. Things have to even out somehow I guess.
The ever posi and enthusiastic Motion rolled up to my house and we got on our way to Philly in the early afternoon. We got to town with plenty of time to kill, and a number of dudes I hadn't seen in a long time were already present, so some catching up was had. We needed some food soon though and some guy (Jamie Getz, nobody special) directed us to a Mexican joint a few blocks away. I realized I'd been to this place before (La Cantina) and things got comfortable quick. They soon got a little more comfortable when, in the distance, I could see a tidal wave of people coming down the hill. I quickly recognized this as a critical mass bike ride, probably about 2000 people deep. Yet something was off. As they drew closer I realized most of them were nude, or close to it.
Apparently it was the annual naked bike ride, and we just happened to be in the right place at the right time to see it. How fortunate for us. So yeah, I took pictures.

Upon returning to the show things had just began and Zann, from Germany, was getting pretty spastic on the little stage in this packed tight room. I quickly spotted the majority of the dudes from Minor Times/Inkling hanging around and was excited to see them all as it had also been some time since we all caught up.
OK, enough of the schmoozy talk.
Now, don't get me wrong. I love Young Widows. But I've seen them a lot, and while it's always a pleasure, my main reason for coming here was to see Helms Alee. I mean, they barely ever leave the West Coast and I live on the East Coast and, well, who knows when I'll ever be able to see them. So I had to do this trip you see. And as I expected they just killed it. So goddamn loud, but everything sounded just right. I naturally wanted to hear more off of "Night Terror" but they brought out around 4 or 5 new songs I'd never heard. The structures were a little hard to grasp, but by the next night of hearing them it all made sense and I'm looking forward to hearing them on record. Honestly, if you don't have their record you need to get it now. Like, stop reading and get it from these people.
If you need more info their singer/guitarist Ben was in Harkonen and that familiar Northwest KARP/Melvins vibe is there, but with a great melody that brings to mind parts of Sonic Youth and Unwound. Additionally, both ladies in the rhythm section provide vocals as well to round it out and work as a team to deliver some of the hardest-hitting, loudest playing, jams I've heard in years. They also play in a cool band called Lozen if you're so inclined to look into their music too.

After my perma-grin had faded ever-so-slightly when they finished I noticed my pal Scott had called. He's an ex-Syracuse dude living here and I figured he had received my e-mail about me being down here. In fact, a friend of his had randomly called my number on his phone and he had no clue I was here. I quickly informed him to get his ass to kung Fu Necktie to see Young Widows. He complied.
YW ripped it up, of course, and the new jams sound tight. A couple were familiar ones I'd heard a few months back, others were new to my ears. All I know is that band knows exactly how they want to sound and do it splendidly every time I see them.
Between the rest of the evening and the next afternoon Scott insisted on taking us out to places to eat various sandwiches. How can I see no to that? We were also introduced to the solo album by hip-hop artist Dee Dee King (AKA Dee Dee Ramone), and his song "Funky Man". Let's just say the rest of the trip we were saying "well all-right" every chance we got.

A surprisingly traffic-free drive to NYC got us there way early for the show, which had already been pushed back an hour from the posted calendar time so we basically wandered around SoHo for a few hours.
The regular NYC crew was absent tonight as they were either out seeing Sleep, or they were really asleep. I'd never really seen a show at Cake Shop, though I'd wandered around it a couple times. It really is terribly small and sweaty down there. But it sort of made both Helms Alee and Young Widows sets that much more bad ass (with the exception of the really tall guy behind me during YW that kept hand-banging directly into my shoulder).

Regardless, we took way too long to say our goodbyes, probably because the weekend was so great that I didn't want it to end. It was a long drive home, but by 5AM I was in bed, and totally fucked up by throwing off my body clock and too much coffee had taken it's toll. Well worth it though.