Friday, February 27, 2009

Cheap Tragedies - 2000 and 7: Demo

Hey all!! Sven from Prediction.Error.Signal (and an all around great guy with good tastes) pointed me in the direction of Tony Erbas new band, from Cleveland of course, and its damn good time.

For those of you who dont know Tony Erba, he originally sang for the hardcore band Face Value, who had one really great record (The Price Of Maturity) and a few not so great moments after that. Erba then went on to perform with H-100s, 9 Shocks Terror and Gordon Solie Motherfuckers. Erba has a certain quality to his voice, that while still simple and mostly in the talk/screamed punk vein, comes off with a great old school hardcore vibe.

Cheap Tragedies definitely mirror Erbas previous bands, and I could probably make a bunch of comparisons here, but suffice to say, its fast, catchy and definitely something I think a lot of you will like. Its hardcore at heart, relentless in a way, but not in a suffocating, life draining, low end rumble. Rather a high speed energy boost, like the good parts of Sonic the Hedgehog with lots of great bouncing breakdowns.

Excuse that absurd comparison. Im so tired and Cheap Tragedies is about the only thing keeping me awake right now. Sing-a-longs and lyrics that you can actually understand aren't such a bad thing either. You know, this reminds of some of later era Sick of it All if that stuff were actually any good. Or maybe like Kid Dynamites first album, but with much better vocals. I dont know, tell me what you think.

Check the myspace, notice they have a new LP out and another 7" and jump on board this old school juggernaut and never look back.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Monument - A 3 Song 7"

Monument is a band. They play music very well. Their enthusiasm for a propulsive and dynamic melody is evident in every note. They seem like the kind of guys who would get pumped if you enjoyed their music. They seem like the kind of guys that would want to share the keg with you, cuz it would be more fun if everyone was partying. They still might pee on your front lawn though.

"What does this add up to?", you might be asking. "Does this mean they are going to crash my house and drink all my beer and pee on my lawn?" No, you missed the point. They will crash your party and make sure that everyone is having a great time and then you will all pee on your lawn together. The real grass is inside anyways.

Okay, maybe another way. Monument seems like the kind of band that wants to generate a good positive mood, something all inclusive; no one too geeky, no one too tough to enjoy their harmonious indie/emo hybrid. The songs speak to this idea by being accessible on the surface; offering group sing alongs, poppy, sunny melodies with just the right amount of introspection, and riffs, riffs to nod your head too, riff to drive a point home. But they offer just the right amount of complexity to widen their draw. Mathy, quickly plucked guitar runs shoot and scatter all over while skittering drums alternately tighten then loosen their grip on the track, keeping things tied up when they call for it and allowing the songs to breathe when necessary, veering it away from something too formulaic.

What it really comes down to is these guys really have a handle on songwriting, and if these songs are any indication than we have a band that is going to be the next step in the evolution of such like minded bands as Kickball, Algernon Cadwallader and Castevet. In fact, the band, on their myspace page, describes their sound as a combination of American Football, Braid and Monument. Being that they have a very whimsical sound bolstered by a more direct sound yet still wholly their own I think that it is very fitting.

Monument really do seem like the kind of guys you want to have play a house party and I can picture everyone smiling in the crowd at a Monument show.. especially when they play "Memory and Location" and everyone yells "Get Rad!". This is really good stuff. The 7" is $5 bucks direct from the band. It can be purchased elsewhere as well. You can see their Myspace for the various ordering options. Also, the 7" comes with a hand made lyric sheet which is actually kind of cool. Be the first on your block to rock Monument this spring, cuz once the word is fully out there these guys are going to catch on big.

Monument on Myspace

You can also download their demos from myspace and they are totally worth it. Get on this shit!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Black Kites - Advancement to Ruin (LP Pre-Order!!)

Pre-Order Black Kites at Ride the Fury

Black Kites is a great hardcore band. I posted a 3 song sampler that the band put out and you can grab that and get a good idea of what these guys are up to. They play a heavy, balls out, bass heavy metallic brand of hardcore that chugs and stomps its way out of your speakers and into your body, filling you with the energy needed to do stage dives and windmills. The Kites have a nice pedigree which can be read about elsehwere. Suffice to say, these guys know what they are doing and this record is going to rule you face. This will be one of the best hardcore records all year.

There are 100 Clear pre-orders and 400 Regular black records

11.50 each which includes shipping / paypal / all that jazz
20.00 total if you decide to order both


Also, each record will include a link to a free digital download so you can listen to the record on your ipod or in your car or where ever!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Punch Yourself, Repeatedly, In The Face.

Firstly, I dont aim to take away from the last post by posting this dribbling, tripe filled mix of awesomeness. So if youre here and youre reading this, than make sure you read below and check out Castevet. They are a new band making good music. This mix is all old and defunct and only serves the purpose of me writing about 11 songs that I really like for a particular reason.

Each song on this mix has at least one part that makes me love the song at least 10x more than usual. Most have a number of parts that do this. My aim is to direct your attention to these little pieces within the larger framework of each song. Maybe they will make you like each song 10x more.

1. Lusitania - June of 44 (Tropics & Meridians)

Okay, this is already harder than I imagined. Theres at least 100 things I like about this song. From the warbly weird guitar line to the choppy, shuffling drumming to the whispered / shouted lyrics about sinking ships, everything here matches up. One thing, before I get to the juicy part, is that the drumming in this song so easily brings to mind a roiling sea; waves pounding against the hull of the boat, sea sickness threatening at every crest of a wave, a bellicose vocal delivery that sounds like torpedos firing through the water.. All these things just tie up a great package. But the ultimate part, the part that gets me every time is right about the end of the song (2.40 to be exact), the pace is quickening, waves crashing over the deck as the damaged ship begins its aquatic descent, then stop... then POW!!! One final crash and the death bell is rung in one horrendous torpedo shout. That kind of shit seals the deal.

2. Gladiator - Jesus Lizard (Liar)

Another song that has a particular sort of insistent drum beat that will eventually be seen as a theme on this mix is one of Jesus Lizards best. David Yow always manages to sound like the depraved kind of lunatic that you wouldnt want to meet in a dark alley. The song has a very basic delivery, producing the same stop start dynamic for most of the song, but each time they revisit the verse everything has been ratcheted up a few notches, and everytime they hit the chorus, Yow sounds likes hes gone even further off the rails. A bridge brings us back to start and this is where things start to get interesting for me. The build up of the song is feverish, like some satanic sexual rite. Around 3 minutes in Yow sounds like hes either giving birth to a demon or having an orgasm, or both... And those lyrics... "And the warm sun, and a pain in my side" seem so fitting yet so incongruous at the same time that they leave me smiling like they are the key to some dastardly plan... The last section is where the particular moment comes in. After Yow has his orgasm/birth/death, right after another bridge, with the whole song reaching its climax, around 3.40 Denison rakes the strings with his pick making this sick razor sound that just blows my mind. The song actually climaxes at that point for me, releasing the whole juggernaut of tension they built up in just a few quick flicks, like the light reflecting off a switchblade thats just been drawn on you.

3. Blue Baby - Circus Lupus (Super Genius)

Where as the first two songs had particular moments spanning a few seconds time, this song instead has a section that really grabs me every time and keeps me coming back for more. Sure Chris Thomsons ranting is always worthy of a listen and the strange guitar patterns of Circus Lupus are always generally entertaining, but something about the bass line of the chorus is in this song is so fluid amidst such tense and jerky guitar dynamics. Its a yin and yang sort of experience, with all this atonal stuff going on and then this extremely languid yet powerful bassline pulses through, beckoning calmness among the discordant Circus Lupus swirl. Its mesmerizing, like the eye of a hurricane must be. A small part of me wishes they only did that part once, to really capitalize on how much weight it has, but hearing three times isnt something I will complain about.

4. If It Kills You - Drive Like Jehu (Self Titled)

I mean, aside from this song being long, its Drive Like Jehu, so, I mean, theres about a thousand things to love. I absolutely love every second of the song, and there are so many sections that I am certain I could write a whole post about this one song (and maybe another for Luau or Atom Jack). But there is one particular moment that always sticks out to me. It makes me laugh and makes me want to start pogoing right into traffic. So... about 4 minutes in they pull out this really strange (for DLJ) and sort of aggressive muted guitar part, that sounds way more hardcore than DLJ ever really were, but around 14 second later they toss in some shitty laser sounds that may have come from one of those crappy plastic keychains that made dumb noises. Its both startling and totally hilarious. And yes, it makes me like this song at least 10x more than I already did without that part. The last minute is also totally engrossing and mentally jarring. Oh, and Trombinos drumming, like always is sick powerhouse styles. WTF.

5. DNA Timebomb - Clikatat Ikatowi (Orchestrated and Conducted by..)

This is a really short song, and while its all good, the galloping harmonics that set in about a little past a minute in are totally awesome. While not my favorite song, this part makes it my favorite. I dont know what else to say. Its such a short song and on this mix, coming right after DLJ its seems so obvious that they were obviously influenced heavily by their socal friends. But yeah, galloping harmonics.

6. Good Morning, Captain - Slint (Spiderland)

Yet another song with an ocean like drum beat. Very similar to the June of 44 song, this song is a full package. Another story of a sinking ship, with drums that can only be an angry sea, the guitars flecking the face like sea mist while the bass roils and the drums roll, back and forth, back and forth. The imagery and sound collide to create this perfect picture of distress.... and I bet you think Im gonna tell you that the pay off in this song is the end... right? Where he screams "I miss you!!" Of course thats the intended payoff, and it delivers in no way short of astoundingly, with the guitars churned up and Brian McMahan shouts giving most of those within ear shot the chills.. but no.. thats not the part. Simply put, its the drum beat... with a little fill added in at the end of each alternating meter. No instrument or band has ever reminded me of a force of nature as succinctly as this song and its little drum have. And that is why I love this song 10x more than I would have otherwise.

7. Distracted - Helmet (Strap It On)

Oh man... this is my favorite Helmet song. People get all gushy over Meantime and that jazz, but damn it, this is the fucking biz right here. This whole album is actually top notch in every way, but Distracted has two counts going for it that rule my face. First, Page's voice, his half drawl, half shout is not only the coolest sounding thing in heavy music, but its completely unsettling, so disaffected and pissed at the same time, as if Page has many demons and is totally fine hanging with them, probably playing guitar and writing nasty breakdowns... The second and more powerful thing that makes this song so damn good is the chorus breakdown... I dont really know how to put it into words (which is why I am giving you the mix to listen to) but its so bad ass... Listen after the first verse, about a minute in and tell me you dont want to windmill down the main street of your nearest town and just churn up the concrete. Sick kick drumz going on here.

8. Treading Out The Winepress - Craw (Map. Monitor. Surge)

Another long ass song with a bunch of great sections. Of course there is one part that sticks out over all, but we'll get to that. Lets appreciate the slithery opening punctuated by humungous jabs of muted guitars - each one sounds like a boulder dropping out of the sky. The drums tell us right off the bat they will not be held down and proceed to climb and spiral all over the place for the duration of the song. Around 3 minutes in Craw delivers a few more boulders of distorted glory before launching into a frantic fast section ad then coming to rest on an eerie quite section. This is where the sweet spot comes in. The song couldve easily ended after the last blast, but instead Craw makes room for some more slithery trickiness and delivers a cryptic set of lines, bringing to mind ancient rituals and forgotten deities, while slowly bringing the song to a boil... "What do you want of us, have you come to destroy us, we know who you are" and thus the riffs beckon the terrors from above and below, colliding at once to create a scathing outburst that eventually collapses on itself with only a mighty drum fill to claim the victory. I also love the way it ends on the downstroked bass chord at the end.

9. Electrolux - Hoover (The Lurid Traversal Of Rte 7)

I have loved this song ever since I first heard it. Theres not a single part of this song that gets lost on me. The halting drum beat, the phat phat phat bass and the tiny plucked guitar lines that punctuates itself with each meter, like an exclamation point, are all so perfectly matched but then the bass drones and Dunhams whispered lyrics enter before a storm of distortion threatens to overwhelm the whole song. Toss in a horn why dont you? Sure, why not... The sweet spot comes in after the storm of distortion has settled. The bass resumes its pattern from the beginning of the song while the guitars spew feedback into each channel and heres where the sweetspot is: The feedback cuts around 6.14 and Fred bass has taken on a roll, bending the notes and tossing in this one extra note between each measure, a run down the fret? or just another bent note? Either way, Dunham screaming "Leave it alone" while that bass just rolls is amazing. By the way, this is the second song on here with Fred Erskine playing bass.

10. Song of the Minerals - Shellac

There were so many songs to choose from At Action Park and at one point I had at least three of them on here, but I didnt feel it was right to have a song from each band and then have three Shellac songs. So to start, I'll tell you that I was originally going to put My Black Ass on here, but thats just a good song through and through. Then I had the Crow, with its shattered guitar rantings and shadowy bass work. I also had the Dog and Pony Show with its lurching, slinky styles acting all hot bothered. I settled on Song of the Minerals instead because of all those songs, this one has that one particular quality that sticks out that makes it 10x better. The song, for the most part, is an experiment in tensionm with an insistent bass line leading the fray until Albini comes in with more of his razor guitar work. Its towards the end of the song, 3.29 to be exact, where all the tension just evaporates. Its such a powerful moment that it makes me back up the song quite often to see how they did that, and its really simple but quite genius. The bass repeats the same line over and over for most of the song, becoming quite hypnotic and then just drops off and the guitar takes over the same note pattern. So simple! So effective!

11. Room Temperature Suite - Don Caballero (What Burns Never Returns)

Wow! This song has about a million particular parts that jump out at me, which is why it fits as the last song. Lets see.... Song starts off good, normal enough, I mean, for a Don Cab song. 33 seconds in, I dont know what Williams and Banfield are doing with their guitars, but damn it, its amazing, it sounds backwards, but I dont know with these guys. They have lots of tricks up their sleeves.. Some double bass drumming then 1.04 in the drums half their pace, something about it is so great... there is lots of indescribable greatness going on this song, usually in the interplay of Che's insane drumming and the three guitars all locking into weird patterns. Oh wait, 2.11, what they hell are they doing now?! These insane guitar sounds, like they are raking their whole hand across different parts of the fret board. Then 3.52 they reprise the beginning with some great bass lines before looping off into more weird territory before bringing the song to a close with some awesome stop start stuff and Che banging the drums like the octopus he is.

And that concludes my 11 songs that I like 10x more than I wouldve had they not had the parts that I brought to your attention.

Castevet - I Know What A Lion Is (2009)

This is some new shit for you to wrap yourself up in. Castevet is a new band from Chicago offering up a good mix of styles, all soaked in ultra melodic guitar lines and gruff yet strangely tuneful vocals.

Everytime this EP starts I think it is some other band. A post-rock band no less.. There is something so familiar about the swell of the guitar and bass that I always get thrown off guard when the second guitar starts a down stroked 2 bit piece that instantly reminds me that this is going to me a much more grounded affair. The down stroked guitar sets the rhythm for most of the song while the singer comes in with a hoarse sort of shout sing that reminds me of someone else but I can never think of who. The post-rockiness of the beginning isnt just a rouse either. The band demonstrates a knack for twinkly guitar interplay and beautiful melodic layering. Pieced in with the stop start dynamics of the song arpeggiated guitars twirl amongst each other while a well timed rhythm section really keeps every ones heads nodding.

The second song plays on that same melodic layering and exhibits some influences that might not be too far from the Kinsella family tree, but there is a bit more speed evident in this track. The vocals and good songwriting keep this from becoming the often ripped off midwest emo sound and instead displays a bit more power, maybe even something like the early Seam material (Seam was also from Chicago, hmmm) mixed with a more American Football-like prettiness.

The third song meshes what the first two songs offer and expands the template in every direction. It really shows that this band is going to have a lot to share with us in the short future. The mix of post-rock, emo and indie music is nothing new these days, but it takes a deft hand to tread this territory and come out smelling like roses. Castevet sound like they have been doing this for years and could even claim to have some say in the creation of some of these genres, but I am not sure who is in this band or what bands theyve been in before. All I know is I cant wait to hear more.

Castevet's Myspace