Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Red Robot

I don't exactly know how to start this off. Maybe just a history lesson of sorts. I used to be in the Syracuse NY band Amorous Radio. I wont get into much about that band. I will say that I was not a original member. The band existed for at least a year before I joined. Amorous Radio's drummer Anthony (who I went on to start Ladies & Everyone, Kaihoro, & One Hundred Metronomes with and who also played in Know Nothing & Cancer and now plays in Tailings. You've probably heard me mention him before.) told me stories about their US tour. (Besides being blacklisted by the Syracuse music scene, that band really did do things ahead of their time. Especially for the genre of music they played. A whole US tour before This Afternoon OR Long Since Forgotten, their supposed local musical peers, ever dreamed of doing such a thing.) On that tour Anthony met Mat Calderon who if i remember correctly was playing in the band Hand Over Fist at the time. Through the years, Mat and Anthony kept in touch, and it was later that i heard of The Red Robot through Anthony. In typical Anthony fashion, he talked the band up so much that, to be completely honest, i got sick of hearing about them. He eventually showed me some songs by them. They were early tracks but they were good. But i think Anthony always resented me because my immediate reaction wasn't one of shitting my pants. (I will say, as Ive said many times in the past, if a band is hyped to me on a constant basis, chances are, I'm going to judge them pretty hard.) But one thing was sure to me after listening to the tracks, I liked the band and was going to follow them. And I did. Their sound is the kind of thing i like, and it would be a surprise to anyone who knows me. Ian MacKaye-esc sounding vocals. Music that is definitely influenced by Fugazi, but could also be compared to At The Drive-In, Drive Like Jehu, and at times even Faraquet. Recently The Red Robot broke up. Which has left me heartbroken. I never got a chance to see them. Too my knowledge, they never did tour outside of their immediate area. Which is sad. I think about them playing DC and other places and killing. Early videos of them showed that they had a large following. And just personally, their videos reminded me of Bad Cops shows from when the Syracuse scene was in its prime. Crowd singing along, everyone smiling and having a great time. And its just so awesome when you see that happening at shows and to bands that aren't meathead hardcore or dumb MTV2/Fuse mallcore. I'll continue to follow the members new bands, but The Red Robot will always mean alot to me and hold a special place in my heart. I highly suggest everyone giving them a listen.

Self Titled (I included the songs "Modern Living" & "Wrangler Butts" in this download.  They may be from the Grun-Tu-Molani EP that I've never been able to get a copy of. These two songs are the songs Anthony showed me all those years ago. You can get a actual copy of the album here. If you're in Syracuse, you might also be able to get one from Anthony. I know he had some copies not that long ago.)
Memory (Their last album. Only released online.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Cancer Conspiracy

I liked this band from the second I heard their name. (The band name comes from the idea that there is a conspiracy to keep a cure for cancer hidden. This is perpetrated by members of the pharmaceutical community who would lose unimaginable amounts of money if there was a cure. The real money comes from constant treatment. Lots of expensive drugs for a long time, if not for the rest of that patient's life, makes a pharmaceutical company more money than a one off treatment that gets rid of the disease for good. The pharmaceutical companies use their influence in Washington and in the media (newspaper, tv, magazines, etc.) to keep treatments that could be a threat in the dark. That's the story. Go watch the movie "The Beautiful Truth" or the short Film "A World Without Cancer" for more information on the concept.) But then a awesome thing occurred, because besides just agreeing with what their name references, their music was right up my alley. Its always sort of been acknowledged that math rock took serious cues from progressive rock. But for my money, The Cancer Conspiracy might be the first band that can be both genres simultaneously. Its strange to say, but you can definitely hear it track to track. More so on the full length albums. Fripp guitar influence can be heard on some tracks. But I have to say that I'm sick of reading reviews of mathy bands and always hearing King Crimson mentioned. In this case, its actually accurate. But i don't dig name dropping that band unless it actually fits. end mini rant. I would suggest this band to ANY fans of progressive rock. I would also suggest any fans of instrumental math rock checking them out. Like the majority of what i listen to, they aren't together. They haven't been for a long while. The album "Ω"  wasn't released till years after they had broken up. The bassist went on to be in Daughters which doesn't mean anything to me.

Buy them if you like them

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Q and not U - No Kill No Beep Beep

I can safely say this is the only record this band released that I care about. There were a couple tracks off of Different Damage that were okay, but this is a great record. I know people who HATE this band, and they have never heard this record. Not trying to be a dick, but i can totally understand. With later releases, Q and not U got into all this keyboard based techno bullshit. I guess if you like that stuff, that's okay. But understand that there are people who hear that and cringe. I think that anyone who hears this record and falls in love with it, would have the same response to the band's later works. This is my favorite set up for a post hardcore band. guitar guitar bass and drums. You cant beat it. Especially when the two guitar players are able to play off each other so well. This is their only album as a four piece, which might also be why I like this album and not the rest. Essentially, to me, this album is like if Fugazi listened to more dance bands. It has a sound that fits right in with that Dischord post hardcore sound, but is different enough to keep you interested. I wish I had been able to see the band in this era. I saw them years later, and it was a very big disappointment. This is who they will always be in my eyes, even though i realize that is wrong.

Buy it if you like it

Monday, May 25, 2009

Piglet - Lava Land

I found Piglet because they were labelmates with one of my all time favorite instrumental bands, Volta Do Mar. As I honestly recall, Piglet were the only band on Arborvitae Records I did look into. Couldn't tell you why. I am glad I did. The Lava Land EP is immensely enjoyable. Chicago instrumental math rock all the way. At the time of me first hearing this, I hadn't heard a band that sounded like Piglet. Even now there really isn't a band that I can say "yep, they sound like Piglet." The only band that is at all similar is Dakota/Dakota. And as much as i enjoy that band, its just not the same. I've listened to this EP crazy amounts of times, and love it deary. I'm very sad that this is the bands only release. If you go on youtube, you can find videos of them playing later material, and that stuff just destroys. Hopefully someday they will either reunite, or at least get together to put that stuff out. sooooo good. i really doubt that if you are into instrumental mathy bands, you haven't heard this record. But if by some strange chance you haven't, well fuck, have at it!

Buy it if you like it

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rainer Maria - A Better Version of Me

the other night i went to a show with my girlfriend. it was slingshot dakota. i hadn't fucking seen those guys since they played a free show with Damiera at Oswego college YEARS ago. it was good seeing them again. anywho, the first opening band Scudworth was really not doing it for me. it was the simple case of, if they played better, they would be a better band. Lots of potential from a songwriting perspective but maybe a song in, i was just waiting for it to be over so i could see Mistletoe play. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a bright light in a dimly lit set. A outrageously untight cover. BUT, one that even with all of its flaws still had me singing along.  It was "Artificial Light" by Rainer Maria. NOW as pissed as I was that such a great song was getting paid such shit service, AND that this band would forever be known in Syracuse for covering Rainer Maria, it did get me thinking about a band I hadn't thought of in a little while. I was introduced to Rainer Maria in 2003. It was around when Ladies & Everyone was in talks. We had already got Rachel on board, and were just waiting till all of our schedules worked so we could get together. We had started with no thought of being instrumental. Both Rachel and I were going to sing. Anthony in a attempt to show me what he imagined the band would sound like, from at least a singing perspective, showed me a Rainer Maria song. It was "Tinfoil" off of the Past Worn Searching album. Besides enjoying the vocals, i really dug the music. I got more into the band, and would even get to see them for free out at Colgate college. They played a few songs off of this record when i saw them, including Artificial Light. Which was fucking excellent. I don't honestly know if this is their best record. But I know that for me, its the one I've listened to the most, and the one that has the most sentimental attachment. beginning to end, its a fantastic record. 

Download the album here (this is Dan Caf's upload from L.T.T.O. I only have the album on my zune)
Buy it if you like it


there has been alot I've wanted to write in my blog in recent times, but I'm having a hard time. i don't think its motivation. its more, "oh i want to write about this, wait, this, no wait this...." and then I cant decide, so i just end up not writing at all. :-(
I've been listening to Dasha in the shower the past few days. I really enjoy them. I wish they were huge. well, maybe not huge, but signed. I think they would do really well in places that aren't syracuse & the surrounding areas. chicago for sure. there have been bands I've known over the years that i really wish that for. the newlywed intercoastal was another band. they were so young, and so talented. 
i got this VHS that had old Ladies & Everyone shows on it. it was really cool to get, but massively depressing because, well, we aren't terrible on the tape. we weren't a bad band. massively under appreciated? yes. i don't want to rave that we were the greatest thing ever, because i don't believe that. I just know that we didn't suck, and actually tried to do something different in syracuse. something non-hardcore or punk. It blows to know the two people who led to me getting the tape were two of the only people that liked us and gave a shit. i hate that we don't play together anymore. i miss it. watching the video made me miss us more than usual. its also sad when i go to shows now with bands of similar style, bands that have admitted to our influence on them, and lots of people are there.  The last few times we played, we played to pretty much no one. hopefully some day (soon i hope) rachel and anthony can get over all of their bullshit. because it ruined a great band. as much as its the thing to talk shit on anthony now, and I'll agree that he gives much fuel for this, he was a great drummer then. and the 3 of us really had great chemistry when playing together. i realize I've made a few posts that get all sad like this. i can only blame that on what happens when things end unfinished. I've contemplated recording the last songs with anthony and having rachel come record her basslines at a later time. Maybe it would work. Idk. Ill have to see. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oh, Canada (Part 6): Place Hands

Years ago, I had become aware of Canadian musician Heidi Hazelton. She was (is?) label mates with two of my favorite Canadian bands, Rockets Red Glare and Burn Rome In A Dream, on DIE!venom Records. Oh Evan Clarke, you can do no wrong. Anyway, as was my way in the days of Canadian exploration and discovery, if i found a label with one band I liked, i would listen to all the artists that were on the label. Hazelton's songs I'd heard then, and since, were touching, heartwarming indie sample folk. i don't think that's a real genre but oh well. haha. Very sweet music that makes boys like me get crushes. FLASH FORWARD TO A WEEK AGO. I cant remember what i was doing, or where I was. I think I was on looking into the Rockets Red Glare LP they have on there when I came across Place Hands. I clicked the link for their album, Inscribed In Glass, and was immediately treated to a clip of one song off of the album. It was enough to be like "WTF?" and start my search for more of their songs. The brief bio on the site mentioned Heidi Hazelton was in the band. Which was a awesome surprise for me. Her vocal style is completely different from the majority of her solo songs I've heard. Idk. I can honestly admit I don't listen to many female fronted bands, and the majority of the ones i do listen to don't yell or scream. (Uzeda and Bellini being the exceptions) So my basis for vocal comparison might be massively off. I apologize in advance. The Fall On Deaf Ears was the band that I thought of when i heard how Heidi sings in Place Hands. Like I said, probably terrible. Fuck me, right? Vocal duties are shared by Lee Sheppard, who often reminds me of Okara (who i still need to do a "Oh, Canada" about, I know.  One of my favorite bands period) when he sings. Vocals go from switched off back and forth between the two to being shouted together, which I love. Musically this band is Canada all the way. They follow in the footsteps of Canadian bands like, Shotmaker, Rockets Red Glare, Blake, Three Penny Opera, blah blah blah. As you may know from reading past installments, i hate comparing bands. Mostly because I don't think I'm any good at it. Canadian post hardcore at its finest is a real easy way to put it. haha. I have no doubt that fans of the Dischord, Touch and Go and San Diego styles of Post Hardcore would enjoy this as well. So all you Fugazi fans take note. I love the lyrical usage on this record. There are lines that just pop out. I'm sure the authors would rather you look at the lyrics in whole, but some of these lines are just gold to me. "I dreamed my arms were tentacles. I dreamed my fingers were seaweed. You were the life preserver!" UGH. so fucking good! "Streets" might be my favorite song off of Inscribed In Glass. You can thank Heidi for that with her opening and closing sections of the song. GUH. its gets me man. I regret having accidentally bought this via Zune Marketplace (dont ask. guhh) because I want to own a real copy of it. Its that good man. Trust me. I hope they are still together. I cant believe I havent heard of them until now. Fingers crossed. Maybe I can book them in syracuse. :-D
Support Independent Music!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Shellac - 1000 Hurts

I've been listening to this album alot lately. so much so, that i brought it in my mom's car and made her listen to it. haha. To me, Shellac is what the Chicago sound is. Just like Fugazi will forever be D.C. to me, the same goes for Shellac. Granted, they really only apply to the post hardcore genre. Cause like, Tortoise is Chicago to me, but Post Rock. haha. Well anyway, I'll quit my blabbering. I love this album. Alot of people rate it lower than "At Action Park" which I'll never understand. I think they are AT LEAST equals. Though I personally would rate this higher. "Prayer To God", "Squirrel Song", and "Watch Song" are my favorites. I just really like it beginning to end.

Please buy this record if you like it. 
Support Independent Music!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mogwai - Mr. Beast

Mogwai is one of my favorite bands. And I finally get to see them tomorrow night in Buffalo. I'm so excited! Mr. Beast is my favorite album by them. I often get flack for this. I don't know why. Most times I cant explain why I really love something. And idk. "Happy Songs..." is great. I love the "Government Commissions" comp record. "The Hawk Is Howling" is a solid, awesome record. I really dig everything I've heard by them. But this record just does it for me. Ive listened to it so many times. It has a pattern to me. Odd number tracks seem to me the more mellow or ambient numbers. While the even tracks are the ones that really rock. Maybe this isn't even accurate and its some sort of personal bible code I've devised for the album from listening to it over and over again and going crazy for it. haha. I have no clue. Glasgow Mega Snake may be one of the heaviest songs ever. I know that much. haha.

Buy it if you like it

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Oh, Canada (Part 5): Weights & Measures

I've decided that since I do write in this blog fairly consistently, I would revive my old Listen To This Once series "Oh, Canada". What better way to make a comeback then with one of my faves.

I owe alot to Matlock Records. ALOT. It all started with me finding out about Rockets Red Glare, and went from there. North Of America, The Plan, Kepler, and of course Weights & Measures. Of all of those bands, Weights & Measures really stick out as being different. The Canadian underground sound was highly influenced by the emo/screamo sound of legends/grandfathers Shotmaker. Later bands like Okara and Blake would take that basic idea, and add mathematical elements making a sound similar, yet unique, to the Drive Like Jehu mathy screamy post hardcore sound. Alot of Canadian bands would continue following that sound and style for years after. What Weights & Measures seemed to do was to take the Mathy portion of the equation, without fully leaving the post hardcore sound. What you end up with is a unique math rock band. I cant honestly think of another band that really sounds like this band. They aren't prog influenced like The Cancer Conspiracy. They aren't spazzy like Hella. They aren't non coherent like Don Caballero could sometimes be. They play together well and they rock. And not in that dumb meatheaded "I'm going throw the horns up brah!" way. Their drummer now plays in The Arcade Fire. I don't know the conditions for which this band broke up, BUT, if it has anything to do with him leaving to be in that band, well, I think people know what I have to say to him. haha. If you like instrumental math rock bands, give a listen to these guys. They were fucking great and utterly unique.