Wednesday, August 29, 2007

zen and the art of mix tapes #006

Zen and The Art of Mix Tapes #006 Please Kill Me

I woke up this morning thinking of the best mix tape. Namely because I was in the mood to listen to some of this stuff, and also cuz it symbolizes an era when punk took its form. The rest is history. Punk branched into hardcore, so on and so forth, and it may have been the best thing America ever produced. Punk and its influence has spread all over the map, even going so far as to influence the inspiration they began with. It is felt in all corners of the rock world, and definitely a huge reason why I ended up the way I did and ended up here, with Zen and the Art.

It was with a strange feeling of synchronicity that I received word that Hilly Kristal, the owner of the legendary CBGB, died today. It then became imperative that I come home and complete this mix, not only in an honor of the era and its reach, but in honor of man who intended to host a venue that featured Country, Blue Grass and Blues and instead fell victim to the burgeoning punk scene of 1970's NYC. Hilly Kristal made possible much of what we love today. Not to say it wouldnt exist, but it would be a different beast entirely. I think we can agree on that.

So this mix is to Hilly Kristal for giving a bunch of unruly kids a chance, to the bands for changing the face of rock and shaping the punk landscape in its infancy and onwards, and to the fans, for giving it our ears and our heart and allowing it to exist to its current day.

PS. I broke the rule again too. I couldnt decide on which Stooges song to put. They are both so different, and both so crucial. So you get both. The Ramones song was chosen as a semi tribute to Gabba Gabba Hey, for obvious reasons. Enjoy! The music will never die.

1. Dead Boys - Sonic Reducer
2. The Stooges - No Fun
3. The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat
4. MC5 - Tonight
5. Television - See No Evil
6. Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Love Comes In Spurts
7. Talking Heads - With Our Love
8. Lou Reed - Vicious
9. Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers - Chinese Rocks
10. The Stooges - Down On The Street
11. New York Dolls - Jet Boy
12. The Ramones - Pinhead
13. Bad Brains - Pay To Cum

zen and the art of mix tapes #005

zen and the art of mix tapes #005 - fabricated trinity

this one is fabricated from 3 mix cds. one was a mix that i made for a friend in a mix cd trade a couple years ago and never got a trade back. one is one that i was making back in may and couldn't get it right and the other is one that i made that wasnt all that good and never made it to the car. so i took these and combined them into one. deleted out the multiples from each cd and trimmed down tracks from the same artist to my favorites. so what you have here is my newest car cd. i think for the next couple editions im gonna go with a theme, just to pull some different styles together with the same lyrical content. enjoy!!!

the rezillos - somebodys gonna get their head kicked in tonight (fleetwood mac)
bellrays - revolution get down
murder city devils - lemuria rising
rose tattoo - nice boys
nirvana - turnaround (devo)
iggy & the stooges - hard to beat
mudhoney - hate the police (dicks)
sahara hotnights - alright alright
kaiser chiefs - i predict a riot
magazine - shot from both sides
love as laughter - temptation island
the starlite desperation - hot for preacher
nick cave & the bad seeds - red right hand
elvis costello & the attractions - lipstick vogue
the rifles - peace and quiet
999 - me and my desire
nick lowe - heart of the city
the suicide commandos - you cant
shock - this generations on vacation
the (international) noise conspiracy - smash it up
buzzcocks - sick city sometimes
french toast - the letter
lou reed - im so free
the rapture - dumb waiters (psychedelic furs)

zen and the art of mix tapes #004

zen and the art of mix tapes #004 - the politics of produce

heres an entry from sweet baby jaysus on his blog

his entry...

I love making mixtapes, it seems no matter how old i get i still revert back to the slow process of stop, start, record, rewind. Hours spent sitting in front of the stereo, a pile of records by my side trying to figure out that perfect transition. I had been planning on making a mixtape for this platform for a couple of weeks now, but just hadn't gotten around to it yet, that was until this morning when i woke up and took a jaunt down to our good friends at Zen And The Art Of Face Punching and noticed Maize was on the same wavelength the only difference was he had the follow through. So now i have to pony up, and i couldn't be happier to be a part of it.

Side One
01.Solitary Man - Controller 7
02.Ballad of a Thin Man - Jamie Saft Trio (Feat. Mike Patton)
03.No Pussy Blues - Grinderman
04.Burn It To The Ground - In/Humanity
05.Sliding - Franklin
06.Last Train To Satansville - Swervedriver
07.Heart-Shaped Glasses - Marilyn Manson
08.New Years - Asobi Seksu
09.Mountains Made Of Steam - A Silver Mt. Zion
10.She Is Beyond Good And Evil - The Pop Group
11.Food Stamps And Drink Tickets - Hickey
12.I Don't Wanna Marry You - Dios Malos
13.Pity City - Headlights
14.Within Your Reach - The Replacements
15.Runnin' Down A Dream - Tom Petty
Side Two
01.Losers Of The Year - Pinhead Gunpowder
02.Up On The Sun - Meat Puppets
03.Revolution - Spacemen 3
04.(Unknown) - Julia
05.Rock 'N' Roll/EGA - Daniel Johnston
06.Disengaged - Fuel
07.Down Inside - Monsula
08.River Deep-Mountain High - Ike & Tina Turner
09.Someone Great - LCD Soundsystem
10.Thank Me With Your Hands - Panthers
11.The Open Book - Mates of State
12.The Blues - Guns 'N' Roses
13.Reflections On Milkweed - Indian Summer
14.Caffeine or Me? - Karate
15.Ain't No Sunshine/Lonely Avenue (Live) - Isaac Hayes

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

zen and the art of mix tapes #003

Zen and the Art of Mix Tapes #003 Cat Skills

One more, then I'll let someone else add theirs..

This is one of the first mixes I made in quite sometime. My girlfriend and I were going to the Catskill Mountains for a weekend earlier this summer to go camping and hiking, so naturally we needed good music to listen to while driving. (Something I dont do so often these days) I figured why not make a mix, and I asked her input which consisted of the first song by Mew (which she requested be the first song), the David Bowie song, the Pixies song, one of the Snowden songs and The Shins song. So I fashioned the mix around those touchstones, and here is the result. For us a was a fun an eclectic mix, and the HiM song Slow Slow Slow became the vibe with Under Pressure becoming the anthem of the trip.

1. Mew - Comforting Sounds
2. The Walkmen - Little House Of Savages
3. HiM - Slow Slow Slow
4. Snowden - Black Eyes
5. David Bowie w/ Freddie Mercury - Under Pressure
6. The Shins - Sleeping Lessons
7. The Cansecos - This Girl And This Boy
8. Interpol - Who Do You Think?
9. HiM - The Way the Trees Are
10. Pixies - Where Is My Mind?
11. The Walkmen - The Rat
12. Snowden - Between The Rent And Me
13. Tristeza - When Morning Steals the Sky
14. Pinback - How We Breathe

zen and the art of mix tapes #002

Zen and the Art of Mix Tapes #002 Post?Post!

Like Maize said, mix tapes are great, and at this point, a lost art.
This set is a mix I made for my friend upstate who says he hasnt heard anything good for quite some time. Being a big Fugazi fan, I thought I'd hit him off with some Dischord stuff plus a little extra for breadth. This was the result, and I tried my best to make it have a flow. I hope you enjoy this, and I hope more people make some mix tapes for sharing. If you are not a contributor to the blog, but feel you have a good mix that would fit well with the site, please leave a comment, and give a title and the track listing and we'll work out a nice mix trading scheme.

1. Q And Not U - Line In The Sand
2. Black Eyes - Deformative
3. Les Savy Fav - The Sweat Descends
4. Bear vs. Shark - The Great Dinosaurs With Fifties Section
5. Faraquet - Carefully Planned
6. The Plastic Constellations - Evil Groove
7. The Constantines - Arizona
8. The Joggers - Wicked Light Sleeper
9. We Versus the Shark - You Don't Have to Kick It
10. Rival Schools - Travel By Telephone
11. Q And Not U - Nine Things Everybody Knows
12. Black Eyes - Someone Has His Fingers Broken
13. Les Savy Fav - We'll Make A Lover Of You
14. Minus The Bear - Let's Play Clowns
15. Faraquet - Study In Complacency
16. Maps and Atlases - Every Place Is a House
17. The Joggers - Yawning Brahmins

Souvaris - A Hat

Im rounding the third time Ive found myself obsessed with this album, and its about time I share it with those who may not have heard it yet. I picked it up due to a review describing it as "Slinty" (one of my favorite terms) and when I gave it a spin, at first I was let down. Slint it was not. But somehow, something drew me in. They definitely pull of quite a mathy approach to a style of music that has been almost exhausted by Explosions in the Sky and the likes. This, in and of itself, is mostly what piqued my interest. Complex drumming and polyrythmic guitar signatures have always had a warm place in my heart. Souvaris has pulled off so much more here though..

And coming around to my my first bout of obsession, I relaized that this is indeed a very Slinty piece of work. It is not immediately accessible in that realm, at first, but this band knows how to ratchet up the tension and even give a few bitch slaps for good measure. Hand or Finger is a perfect example of the Slinty punch these guys are capable of. The sound is far more fleshed out with elements of prog and ambient and of course the obvious post-rock touchstones. Souvaris comes across as hybrid of Slint, Explosions in the Sky, Tortise and From Monument to Masses. Knowing when to stretch things out across the sonic canvass and when to reign things in is a big part of the delicacy of this album. And considering I mentioned Prog as an example of their sound, it is with deft hands that they know when to ride the sharp edge of playing really technical and keeping it from becoming a wank fest of self gratifying guitar and drum work.

My two favorite songs on this album are easily Quit Touching my Ass, the albums statement of intent, and the opus of the album, Nobody is Fine and Everybody Needs a Drink. Quit Touching My Ass starts off with the perfect amount of ambience and drops right into the off kilter drumming that is present throughout the album. The song winds and dances for 13+ minutes, like snow devils, occasionally compacting on themselves to form a compact snow drift of dense ringing guitars and chopping bass and drum work.

Nobody is Fine reaches the 14 minute mark and has a number of distinct sections. Beginning with a simple marching drum style and adding a somber piano, the first section gives Mogwai a run for its money, reaching high and wide eventually reaching a head with a drop off right after. The second section stretches out a bit more with a heavy piano lead once again, but theres something heavy, not in a metallic way, but emotively. This sections an amazing ride with the drums marching into a trot and the guitars pulling off some nice polyrythms while another guitar soars in the background. Another sharp drop brings on more piano that Rachel Grimes would be proud of (Rachel Grimes from the Rachels, of course). Once again building with a strong weaving guitar lead and some nice mathy drumming, only to drop off all instruments but the drum and the bass, zinging with a hopeful airy feel. Handclaps accompany the rest of the section while guitars enter again to dance and waltz around the rhythm section, eventually ebbing to an washed out ambient droning section, still with drums and piano though. Ringing into the next section, the guitars lightly push for the stratosphere, with an insistent bass bringing in some tension, all working towards a very Tarentel-ish space rock feel that builds with some nice martial drumming and ever so gently pushes you off to space. At the end, left floating, the piano comes back to reintroduce the beginning of the song. It is a very complex and emotional pieces and has so many twists and turns, it has been a highlight now for quite sometime.

I strongly suggest checking this out if you are into any of the aformentioned bands. Souvaris are from Nottingham, UK and have something really special going on right now. The rest of their songs are all impressive and, of course, they have a myspace page, which all of you skeptics should check out.

zen and the art of mix tapes #001

zen and the art of mix tapes #001 love:maize

i hope this is ok, blend....

i love mix tapes, i make them for myself all the time, even though they are mix cd's now. i wanted to share one that i made for myself back in april for a car trip and i thought it came out really well. think spring and driving across virginia.
nothing really new or too underground just some good tunes. hope you dig it. maybe some of the other contributors will follow suit. (hint hint)

smashing pumpkins - bullet with butterfly wings
the libertines - cant stand me know
hedwig and the angry inch - tear me down
pretty girls make graves - speakers push the air
hole - credit in the straight world
joe strummer and the mescaleros - coma girl
monochrome - who me
sense field - chimney
sonic youth - kool thing
supergrass - causght by the fuzz
t.rex - 20th century boy
plastic bertrand - ca plane pour moi
the white stripes - seven nation army
smashing pumpkins - 1979
the smiths - this charming man
r.e.m. - pop song 89
public image ltd. - god
the saints - (im) stranded
riff-raff - i wanna be a cosmonaut
q and not u - fever sleeves
pixies - is she weird
social distortion - its all over now
the flying burrito brothers - wheels

sense field

sense field - s/t

i went through a little phase where i was really into revelation records stuff, especially the 1st shelter album, when i was at the record store and saw the cassette of this album i snapped i t up. i was like "wow, new krishna-core band on revelation, gotta be good!" so i paid the 8 bucks and went on my way. i popped in the tape and heard non-distorted guitars and clear singing!!! i was like, crap what have i done???

i was thinking this was the new live album but throwing copper was just released. but i decided to give it a chance since i had worked almost 2 hours to buy it. i ended up loving this record and its still one of my favorites today. this cd was actually their demos and at least one turned up on their next album. their future albums were good but didnt grab me like this one did. im glad i didnt try to return it or throw it out the window.

the band formed from the hardcore band reason to believe and the vocalist later fronted further as forever as their third vocalist.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

ween - 12 golden country greats

ween - 12 golden country greats

heres my favorite ween record, im a country fan so this one really does it for me. what can i say? its ween, and papstar has said it all already.

oh and heres a wiki explanation for the title of the album....

There are two theories regarding the title of the album. The first claim is that it refers to the dozen veteran musicians, known as The Shit Creek Boys, who played on the album. The second claim refers to the fact that the band did indeed record twelve songs during the demo sessions for the album. When it came time to record the actual album, the band chose not to use two of the songs but also decided not to change the album title. The two removed songs were titled "I Got No Darkside" and "So Long, Jerry." "So Long, Jerry" did wind up as a B-Side on the "Piss Up A Rope" single.

Ween - The Mollusk

Ween - The Mollusk (1997)

I have already spoke on the fact that I am in love with Ween. The Mollusk was the first Ween album that I can remember waiting for the release date. I recall calling around to all the local cd shops to see if anyone had this in, only to find it at a Sam Goody of all places. Well 18.99 later I had the new Ween. While they recorded this disc, Ween set up shop in an old mansion on the beach. Halfway through it was flooded out and they moved someplace else. I think some of the water actually ruined a lot of what they had worked on up until that point, so they just started over. That's when the nautical themes came into play. No other band could pull off this type of cd. They try their hand at love ballads, Irish drinking songs, and old sea shanties. They do all of this quite well. This album will deliver you to the bottom of the sea, or perhaps to a bar full of drunken pirates. They are all fun places to be while listening to Ween.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Video from CUTC show last week.

Track 10 from the new EP.... once again, this was taken with a camera, so the sound is overloaded... But its still cool. Helps if you know the song...Otherwise it just sounds like static.

Vanilla - Plays Fantastique

Im a dumbass, and my flight to Seattle doesnt leave til tomorrow. Somehow 18 and 19 look alot alike on the computer screen (smacks forhead).

Well, I've been jamming this shit like a mini-Michael Jackson in the seedy underbelly of NYC since some of the crew linked it a while back. I was gonna get all into doing a post, thinking people need to hear this band, despite their demise, but it turns out Sweet Baby Jaysus over at Burning Down the Dreams of Forever had already done just that. So I am gonna highlight his review. Be sure to visit his blog and say whatsup.

------------------Review from Burning Down the Dreams---------------

"Birthed from the ashes of Parisian heavyweights Fingerprint and Ivich, comes Vanilla. A super group if you will.

I picked up a copy of their Tightrope Walker 7" about four years ago in Oklahoma City, and i have never been the same.

I would play the 7" over and over again until one day i came home and it, as well as a good three-four hundred lps and 7"s had vanished from my life with my girlfriend. I was saddened on many counts, angry on one, and all around disappointed. Finding French Hardcore in Oklahoma is very tricky yet i had done it, and now it was gone.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder they say, and by god i missed my records, but more over i missed Vanilla. I Immediately hit up the internet trying to find out what i could about Vanilla, but it's such a broad term on google that i ended up with ice cream and cake recipes. For some reason i started flipping through old MRR's and came across an ad for Vanilla's final LP Plays Fantastique, and i flipped. It didn't take too long for me to get a copy, and like the 7" it was unbelievable.

Mostly sung in English (a nice gesture for us americanos) the band plays through an amalgamation of sounds of their previous outfits, mixed with an almost Hoover meets Fugazi twin guitar attack sound. The crazy bass rolls, tensions mounting while the guitar plays clean to distorted the vocals actually sung over interesting instrumental sections. What is not to love about this album. It's rather a shame they weren't more widely recognized here in the states, unlike their previous outfits they managed to churn out a real discography (two albums, multiple 7"s, and compilation tracks) instead of just a few songs.

Of course with all great bands, this one too is now defunct, but their music will forever live on in the hearts of men.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Going to Seattle...

I will be gone til Sunday the 26th.

Hopefully will be able to meet up with Sweet Baby Jaysus.

Pray no Grizzly Bears attack me while I am in the Cascades...

Take care of the house while I am gone, and remember:


just kidding, tear the place apart.


Ween - The Pod (original Shimmy Disc)

Ween - The Pod (1990)

Ween. I can talk for hours about this band. Some people love them, many hate them. But no one, once they have heard them, will ever forget them. I was away visiting my friend at college when I first heard these guys. I had taken some magic shrooms and was in a strange college house and some guys put on 'Chocolate and Cheese', which I found out later was their most mainstream album at the time. It blew me away. I went home and purchased everything I could get my hands on by Ween. When I got The Pod, I remember racing home from the store and putting in the cd and laying on my bed to fully take in the experience. This was some fucked up shit! The album was recorded on a 4-track over the course of a summer, while they were living on a farm in Mt. Hope, Pa. They were under the influence of many, many narcotics while recording this, and you can definitely tell. The cover of the album is a spoof on the old Leonard Cohen album, except it features their friend Mean Ween on the front, and he is sporting a contraption they created called a Scotchgard bong. I won't go into what that is if you don't already know. Now I can't really explain much about the music, except to say, just listen to it and form your own opinion. But you must keep and open mind, it's not your typical song structure, in fact,their might not be any song structure. The music is fun, and you can tell they had fun making this album. Ween is comprised of two best friends from junior high, that got together and made music that was way ahead of their time. Well, I have rambled enough and have managed to give a horrible description of this album, so I think I am done. Please download this and try it. enjoy. oh and as a side note.. the song 'Mononucleosis' is a favorite of mine. Both Dean and Gene Ween contacted severe cases of Mono while living at The Pod, and it bleeds through to most of the album.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


The Forty Ninth-Parallel compilation consists of bands like Still Life, Acrid, Submission Hold, MK-Ultra, Three Studies For A Crucifixion, and more. I picked it up many years ago when I was living in Pennsylvania. My friends and I used to take trips to Lancaster, PA to go to a record store called CI Records. I was introduced to a lot of great bands from the help of that store. Instead of having bins of CDs, they had a giant wall that had all the CDs hanging up. I used to stare at that wall and grab records I thought had cool artwork. Not the best way to buy music but it helped introduce me to bands I would have never learned about otherwise. The Forty Ninth-Parallel compilation was bought for this very reason. The package was totally handmade. It consisted of a brown lunch bag cut to size for the cover and the inside had crudely cut photocopied pages also cut to CD size. The cover had the title printed in a typewriter font. Not the most elaborate cover but I've always been a sucker for any handmade music package...
The picture above is of Still Life.


Tracklisting :
01. Swallowing Shit
02. Still Life
03. Karenza
04. Tho Ko Losi
05. Eliot Rosewater
06. Mk-Ultra
07. Acrid
08. Three Studies For A Crucifixion
09. Submission Hold
10. Inept
11. Gates Of Dawn
12. Resin
13. The Last Trick

Brian Eno

Here Comes the Warm Jets (1973)

Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy) (1973)

Another Green World (1975)

Before and After Science (1977)

I almost feel like I bit off more than I can chew here. Reviewing these three albums all at once requires something of a literary light, some flash from on high, to even minutely grab the scope of this music. These may be three of the best albums ever written in the pop music format, and by "format" i dont mean that there is a format. Hardly that. Eno essentially took the previous format of pop and art rock (laid forth in part by his previous band, Roxy Music) and pissed all over it. Danced on it, and did a jig and then composed a symphony on its dead and ragged form.

Eno is a genius. Every sound he has ever come across has been given intense scrutinization and intense "Treatments", as it were... I really dont even feel comfortable describing these discs...

Suffice it to say, Here Comes the Warm Jets is the most straightforward, in terms of Pop Sensibility and linear though, if you can even call it that. His stream of conciousness lyrics are something of a quandary, and while I am sure there is intended meaning behind them, it seems as if they can form numerous images and outcomes.

Taking Tiger Mountain adds a good deal of trickery and electronics to an already spaced out formula. Some of his best songs are on here (Burning Airlines, Third Uncle, True Wheel etc etc.) and it is clear here where almost every quirky indie-pop band has taken a page from his book. Yet no one, regardless of 30 years time, has ever one-upped Enos sound, in style and execution.

Another Green World is the most somber of the bunch, and it is a clear indicator of his upcoming journey into ambient soundscapes. It still retains some very good pop melody and that what tethers this album , but also gives it that uniquess that has yet to be only scraped by Boards of Canada in their most subdued. A good deal of the songs are simply analong synth washes, backed with some simple keyboard and a light rhythm here and there. The few actual songs (St Elmos Fire, I'll Come Running and Golden Hours) are some of his best as well and, patched together with the alien soundscapes of Sky Saw, The Big Ship and Sombre Reptile, it makes for an extremely other worldly tapestry of sounds that is at once sensible, dense, breezy and abstract.

If you like experimental music, I suggest you try all three of these. With any luck you will be completely blow away now and for years to come...

Cease Upon the Capitol w/ Third Memory - Live @ Cake Shop, NYC

So this shit should get you all frothy and hot in the pants...

Went to go see Cease Upon the Capitol last night (hence the clever post-title). Their recent 2007 EP has been one of the goddamn jams of the summer, thanks to the wily fuckers over at PV. I was so hot and bothered over the whole thing that I had to go an order it up as soon as my grubby fingers could type the address. I figured why not go to Cease Upon the Capitols website to see if I could order it directly from them. Sure enough, emailed em, and they got back to me within the hour saying they had about 15 of them left. I ordered the s/t LP too, since I figured I couldnt go wrong with it. The drummer, Ryan, told me they would be in Brooklyn coming up in August and that they were playin with The Third Memory. He said I would really like The Third Memory if I didnt know them already. So I told my friend Sean that he had to hear this EP and he had to come see the show with me...

Fast forward to last night. Somehow we went back in time without even realizing it. I make my way their, stuffing pizza in my face and reading Harry Potter while walking down Houston. (Dont talk smack, Potter rules my life right now. I must be going soft in my old age.) When I get there, Yes, Sensei is opening up. They were pretty good, screamy punk hardcore of the variety we all seem to love. They could go places, so keep an eye on them...

Cease came up after that and immediately tore into our faces with sick death metal paced hardcore. Now mind you, I dont mean "actual" death metal. If you can see where I am coming from, alot of these "screamo" bands have an aesthetic that while totally different in the outcome, utilizes alot of aspect of Death Metal and Grind in terms of drumming and picking styles... Of course the melodies and the lack of muted chords and solos changes the face entirely. Cease managed to bring a full sound with only three members and they played every song absolutely incredible. The three members all share screaming duties and what a racket they made. Their sense of melody and dynamic is impressive. How they can go from a crazy blur to a soaring peak in a second flat.. Truly great. They closed with their epic Untitled track 10 from the new EP, and that was the end. Out of the 20 or so people there, I'd say we all had an immensely good time.

Time for The Third Memory. They are from France, and remaining true to their country, they sing in French. What else would you expect? Well, I didnt expect them to completely melt my head right off my body, but thats what happened. I left my brain on the floor of the Cake Shop, surely to be scraped up and filtered into next mornings coffee. Third Memory was AMAZING! Really liked it was an understatement... I havent seen a unknown (to me) band live and been that impressed in, well, maybe never... Truly sick. Great stage presence, awesome sound. They reminded me of an amped up Daitro on crack. Pushing four times the melody in half the time. Sean and I just kept looking at each other with awe in our faces... then we both went and bought their record. Very nice design on it to. The record below is the French release, and the American release has a great silkscreened cover, white on black w/ silver (Released on I've Come For Your Children, Ryan from CUTCs record label.

All in all it was an incredible night, and Sean and I just kept talking about how good both of those bands were.

Here are some pics I grabbed of both the bands, and goodies after the jump. I have a decent video of the last song, track 10, from CUTC, but youtube says its too big, so I have to figure out how to shrink it. Any advice, you know where to comment.


Do these bands a favor and if you order, order directly from them, as they barely make any money and they do this mostly for the love. Also, if you really like this stuff, do them an even bigger favor and show your appreciation by either writing to them or seeing them at a show and telling them they rock. It takes so little to make something so worthwhile... enjoy.

Cease Upon The Capitol - EP (2007)

The Third Memory - Et de Cela Rien ne Ressort (2007)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My Conversation With Jaysus...

I didn't mean to single anyone out, or bitch that no one was writing. Well I guess I did, but I didn't mean to slag on my readers... They are most important to me...

I wrote a little response, but the gist is that I was just in a bad mood... I had a terrible subway ride, and I let it get me down.

But the underlying truth is that so many times in my life I have been a part of something so small and so hidden (not being elitist, hope you understand, just when I grew up) and ive watched so many people talk it up and then not do anything about it...ive watched so many people fall off, and never look back.

It was like that for skateboarding. I started in 89, when skating was at an all-time low, and I skated with my small crew, and we would go to different towns, and meet other small crews... We got dissed in high school for wearing skate clothes.... We read thrasher.... We listened to punk. We loved every minute of it.

It was near incredible when skateboarding started blowing up. Same with hardcore and punk, shit just started blowing up!

Of course with any explosions comes the detritus. And that comes in the form of hangers on, poseurs, kids with less heart. Dilution of the key ideas that started any scene and made it see so vital to the few that were involved. But with it comes new blood, fresh love, wider recognition. Things that help the scene out of its little hiding place and into the greater consciousness.

I guess it all comes down to cycles... There are cycles of birth and rebirth in everything we do, voluntary or involuntary, and with breath of new life in any scene, comes its inevitable collapse.

The best thing about those smaller, more hidden from view times, is that the small group of people involved all have tons of heart and are in it for the pure reasons... The show I went to last night... Every single person was into it fully. The bands shredded for 20 people. And that's heart, and that's what matters. That's what's rare in this world.

But it doesn't stop me from feeling isolated, like I have felt so many times.. It doesn't stop me from wishing there were more people to share it with... And, inevitably, there will be. It will hit an upswing, like it has before, and it will be exciting, watching it rise from the ashes, and eventually it will become overloaded and diluted. People will drop off, and the few with true heart will remain.

That's the struggle of sticking to your guns. Experiencing that cycle from start to finish, or middle to finish to start again, wherever you got on, you'll be sure to hit all the stops if you stay on.

But man, what matters is what you see when youre there. And at that show, I saw two extremely passionate hardworking bands, who do this for love. And with Zen, I see a number of people who are psyched to have this forum to discuss and share, not only music, but the excitement of having been a part of something at some point, the excitement of hearing an awesome riff, or an awesome lyric. This is what matters most, and this is why Zen will never die...

In 30 years, expect posts from the beach, In between surfing sessions. Beard core will have new meaning, and Zen will still be Zen. That's why I named it that...

The Plan - This Time is Not the Place

The Plan - This Time is Not The Place (2000)

The Plan. Well, I am definitely on a Canadian kick. They hail from Halifax, but don't let that discourage you. These guys kick some serious ass. This 40 minutes of music is some of the most intense, cohesive music I have heard lately. Many reviews I have read have labeled these guys as math rock. While I surely see the comparison, I wouldn't be so quick to pigeonhole them into one category. One second it's intricate guitar work, the next it is blazing punk rock. The dual vocals aren't overwhelming like some bands in this genre. They alternate between singing and screaming, but never , ever lose their intensity and ferociousness. Please download this, you should enjoy it. And once again...artwork sucks. any help would be appreciated.

Blake - Self Titled

Blake - Self Titled

Blake is a band out of Ottawa, I believe. Don't know too much about them, other than the fact that I have been consumed with this cd for a few days now. I discovered them on some bbs that had a thread on Canadian screamo. I wouldn't really label them screamo, but they definitely have the soft then screamy vocals that are typical of the genre. I couldn't find any good artwork, this is from their 7". If anyone has it, please lemme know.

dont know

dont know if its because im not giving away free music, or dont know if its because everyones away for the end of summer...

or maybe the show just isnt everybodies thing, maybe the new blogs just arent everybodies thing...

wheres the support...

this blog dies when nobody cares.

Monday, August 13, 2007


As always, the internet community is ever growing, and I would like to announce the advent of two new blogs from a longtime Zen user.

GabbaGabbaHey (gotta love the unveiled Ramones reference) has started a music dedicated site called HARDCORE FOR NERDS which has kicked off with a nice post of a band called Han-Shan.

He also is taking us all down a less traveled path and has started a literature dedicated site called STEADY DIET OF BOOKS (gotta love the unveiled Fugazi reference).

He has already got off to a good start by posting one of my most favorite books, Jack Kerouac's Dharma Bums, which if you have never read you should just jump off a cliff...

No, just kidding! You should really just read the book, and save yourself a whole lot of trouble.

So, summer has been busy. I intended to close down for the summer, but, as you may have noticed, I added a few great posters instead, and while things have slowed down a bit Zen will be sticking it out for the long run. Expect all sorts of juicy stuff and empty promises* this fall and winter.

There are plenty of other blogs done by great people that have been springing up lately, many done by frequent visitors to this site, and while I havent always made a post to highlight your blog, be sure that I have mad respect. If you see it in the links on the side, stage right, then you know you are loved...

So big hands for all the peeps who visit, all the peeps who contribute, and all the lurkers who probably make up the majority off all blog visits....

* Empty Promises - I had mentioned a ways back about doing some tees for Swiz and Rites of Spring and doing some sort of raffle, and while I still want to do this, I have yet to figure out how to achieve the raffle part of the deal. I also have the first ever Zen and the Art of Face Punching tee shirt in the works right now. I talked to the tee shirt factory today and will hopefully have something out this fall....more empty promises, LOL!....

As you may remember, I had a run of tees that I had done with a friend last fall, and while we were very psyched, and some people even expressed interest in purchasing, shit hit the fan with the two of us losing out jobs and running out of money. Instead, he focused on getting a second art show together and I focused on getting a new job. As of now we have no plans to continue this operation, though we do have a load of shirts just sitting in his basement here in Brooklyn.

We'll see. I am going to see Cease Upon the Capitol tomorrow. and will have more pics of that coming up...


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Brainworms Live - Last Night - Brooklyn @ The Woodser

This video has no rhyme or reason to it. the sound is terrible, half the time i was pointing at the floor or the ceiling, the song is Born With a Beard, I had to dance... It is complete chaos, it was fucking awesome!

Pics and commentary later. I must go outside!


It's later, so heres the scoop...

I was supposed to go upstate last night, but as it turned out, my night was free. At the same time, I was lucky enough to hear of a possible Brainworms show in Brooklyn. I asked my girlfriend Lara if she would go with me, despite the fact that punk music isnt her forte, and she surprisingly said yes. She got a really dope new camera and I told her it would be a fun time and good for photo ops...

I borrowed her older digital camera and we set off around 8. The show was at a place called The Woodser which turned out to be a loft that people lived in and happened to throw DIY punk shows in twice a month. It was a pretty cool place with an awesome rooftop porch area and lots of people hanging out. We got some $2 Pabsts and hung outside while the first band went on, a local act, Achten. They had no change for the beers, so we needed to go break some bills and headed out and ended up going to a local haunt, Spuyten Duyvil. They have the bomb beers... We hung in the garden until we felt it was time to go see Brainworms...

It turned out to be good timing as the last band had just finished and the 'worms were up next. It was jungle hot in that place, but I persuaded Lara to wait inside as there were far more people than space to watch from inside. We got ourselves situated and the band quickly got prepared and proceeded to their first song. The place immediately erupted into a sweating writhing mass as Lara and I took some pics.

Well, as the band played on and the songs got more furious, It was hard not to be a part of the mayhem so I succumbed to the longing in my legs to bust out some dance moves. LOL!!! Oh yeah, I "danced". It was great, I was alive and having a blast! Greg, the bearded singer was flinging himself everywhere in the crowd and the band was tight as a drum.

Speaking of drums, their drummer was intense and amazing. Words dont do much justice, and neither do pictures really. The video above comes somewhat closer to the frantic maelstrom that the Woodser became under the 'worms influence. Someone actually picked up Greg and bodyslammed him on the ground!

It was all over quick, and my heart rate was nearing the bursting point. There was beer everywhere, the smell of BO and smiling sweaty faces all around. It was a sight to see, and I think I added (or took off) a few years to my life.

We stayed for Pink Razors, who were headlining, and they were actually pretty awesome live. They rep a more traditional punk style that is somewhat influenced by the Ramones, but faster and, dare I say, more punk.

Best of all was that Lara enjoyed herself at her first punk concert. Though she did admit to being scared when everyone started going apeshit, though I think it had more to do with her camera than her own physical well being. She rocks and shes a good sport.

Well, enjoy the pics.. I took about 60 and these are the only ones that came out. Lara has more, but I am not sure if shes upped them yet.

Brainworms on Myspace

Friday, August 10, 2007


Blood on the Wall - Awesomer (2005)

I posted this aways back, when this was a newer blog. I have a number of albums like this I'd like to spotlight somehow... bands I think deserve a closer look and more apreesh, but for now I am jamming out to this and it occured to me that this post went unnoticed. Generally I wont repost. Its not in my nature to jam something down your throat, but you all need to hit this up... if the rapidshare link pisses people off, then let me know, I'll update...


-------------old review----------------

I picked NYC's Blood on the Wall up based on the Pitchfork Media review. Yes, I do that from time to time. Even though Pitchfork is sometimes contrived and elitist (similar to my beloved city), I owe a great deal to Pitchfork for all the music they have turned me on to and they can be pretty clever at times. They are knowledgable about their bands and are always good at throwing in the proper reference points. Like the review for the album Awesomer (whiched recieved an 8.1 rating out of 10), the reviewer compared it to Pavement, Pixies and Sonic Youth and even said, "I readily admit these fuckers bite all your favorite bands...". And I dont see the problem with that. When I went to buy this I was listening to a lot of Sonic Youth, specifically Goo and Daydream Nation, and Pavement and the Pixies are two of my all time favorite bands. So this seemed like a no-brainer to me, "Just go buy it!" (I bought the Joggers album "A Cape and a Cane" too). Damn, am I happy I did. So, while not being all original and expanding the envelope of modern rock music, Blood on the Wall serve up some tasty treats of dissonat stoner inspired indie rock. The band is helmed by the Brother/ Sister duo of Brad and Courtney Shanks and they both share the vocal duties, Courtney coming off with a very druggy Kim Gorden impression and Brad delivering his best voice cracking rendition of and early Stephen Malkmus meets Black Francis minus the rhetoric. The music is well played and raw, something all the aformention bands eventually lost as they polished their sound. Blood on the Wall is a great reminder what made all their predescessors so great in the first place. That unbridled and unpolished rock and roll that has been making teenagers horny and want to party and making older people relive their youth when they feel that modern music has left them bored.

The Social Registry (Record Label)