Tuesday, June 30, 2009
we had the first Rejouissance practice tonight with Jeff. honestly, he and mike couldve been getting together. All i know is, all we need is Jim and we will be set. the majority of stuff i would've been comfortable playing at a show tomorrow with the two of them. I'm officially stoked. This past weekend was great. got to see the knife crazy reunion. hang with people i hadn't seen in awhile. bought a bunch of loganberry soda. ahh. good times.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
This will probably ruin all sorts of "street cred" i may have had, but Michael Jackson died today. And I was really upset. On the verge of tears. I don't really know why. He hadn't released anything of note musically in a long time. And yeah, he had become a fucking weirdo over the years. But its weird. Music is a very powerful thing. And when I hear alot of his songs, I think of growing up. I think of my childhood. God damn anyone who tries to make me feel shitty with the "He was a asshole pedophile. blah blah" line. I will NEVER defend what he did, or what he became. But I can say that he created a musical legacy that surpasses all of that. If you cant see that, I feel sorry for you.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
so starting early July I'm going to be disappearing for awhile. I don't know if anyone checks this regularly enough to care. But I've been trying to post more, so i feel like i should explain why I'm leaving. Back in April, I was supposed to go on a week long tour playing guitar in my friend Jim's band Rejouissance. The tour fell through a day or so before we were supposed to leave. After everything, I was told that a summer tour would be in the works. I was down to play, and now the tours coming, and I am playing. I'm really excited. Ladies & Everyone was never able to even play out of New York state because of Anthony and Rachel and their "reasons". They ended up being bullshit reasons when Know Nothing later played all over. But i digress. I'm just wicked excited to finally tour. and what a tour. Here are the dates I've been able to wrangle up...
Sunday, June 21, 2009
very rarely do I write about a band that was previously mentioned in a blog post the day before. But i don't know. I hate making reference to bands that not alot of people know about and not having anything for them to hear. plus, I really like Check Engine and i wouldn't mind some other people possibly diggin' on them. I heard about the band through their bassist Paul Joyce. He was the bassist of the band Lynx. And as I think I've probably mentioned in past blogs, I've pretty much followed everything he has done musically post, and pre, Lynx. He is easily one of my favorite bass players. Though I first heard of the band because of Paul Joyce, I later found out that it also consisted of two of the ex members of Sweep The Leg Johnny. Awesome? Yes. In fact, when I would try to tell my friends about Check Engine, I would usually describe them as if the members of Sweep The Leg Johnny were more into Chicago indie rock and not post hardcore. I mean, Check Engine isn't unaggressive by any means. But there is a obvious difference. If anything, Check Engine is easier for the lay person to get into then Sweep The Leg Johnny. And there really isn't comparison to Lynx, except for some of the guitar interplay. Really, Check Engine are a math rock band in the vein of Chicago math rock. Not that wacky shit coming out of Cali nowadays. Though sometimes, the guitar lines are likable to Rumah Sakit, which is funny because as the informed know, Rumah Sakit did splits, played shows, and even shared a member with Sweep The Leg Johnny. Enough of my blabbering.
Some songs on here remind me of the 80's. Yep. I'm a weirdo.
Buy it if you like it
Ska. Its a four letter word to most of the kids that i know in the underground scene. This is usually not based off of where the style of music originally came from. It seems like with alot of genres, there is the real version of the genre, and some later bullshit being mislabelled. Emo is a good example. Ska is another. The original ska out of Jamaica represents very little of what would later be considered "ska" in bands like Save Ferris, Real Big Fish and all the other crap that was around at the same time, or went on to be influenced by said bands. (I actually enjoy some of the 70's and 80's British ska, so i wont attack that) Now, knowing this, I've purposely distanced myself from anything called ska or anything similar to this style of music. But every once in awhile something will sneak in unexpectedly and surprise. The first time I heard Cougars, I had no clue they contained ex members of a ska bands. Though it could be suspected due to them having a horn section, that was the end of any sort of comparison. I had heard of them because their drummer played in one of my favorite bands, the ex-Lynx/ex-Sweep The Leg Johnny powerhouse Check Engine. Being that Check Engine had a sax player, i wasn't really surprised by the horn section in Cougars. Call that limited, call it what you will. Now the musical styling of Cougars is completely different from Check Engine, and it has no resemblance to ska whatever. The band is a Chicago band. I know its unintelligent to say, but i think just listening to them, you can tell. It doesn't hurt that this album was recorded by Steve Albini. The band plays a style of rock that works quite well with Albini's style of recording. Big drums, powerful bass, angular guitars, and gruffy pissed off vocals. The band always stays on the cusp of straight forward hard hitting rock and Chicago math rock through out this whole album. I really love the horn section's role within this band. Its not too often that you find a horn section playing in a band that isn't a ska band. And I personally think its so cool to hear a horn section in what is a essentially a Chicago math rock band. It works and is refreshing. Here's a dumb, but also funny statement.
Cougars: The Albini Chicago Transit Authority.
Buy it if you like it
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Somewhere in life I've realized something tragic. And honestly, I don't know if this is a general truth, or just something that relates to me and my life. But often times, the bands that are the most important to me, go unnoticed. Either unnoticed or they don't reach their potential. Tamiroff, The Newlywed Intercoastal, Bad Cops, Knife Crazy, etc. Awake/Sever The Hands is in this list, if not right at the top. The first time I got word of this band was after a show Bad Cops, Ladies & Everyone and The Mandate Of Heaven played the day before Halloween. It was 2004 I believe. We were walking from the Westcott down to Munjed's and I was talking to Jim. In the conversation he mentioned his new band and ended up giving me a link to their website. I really liked Awake. It was cool to hear Jim doing music in Brooklyn. And it was cool music. A mathy screamy post hardcore type band. Definitely not like just another Bad Cops. Awake eventually ended up playing a show armory square, downtown at a bar (i cant remember the bar's name) that very few people went to. But i was there and I loved them. At the same time i started playing in the band One Hundred Metronomes. We played a bunch of shows with Awake. Later they changed their name to Sever The Hands. One Hundred Metronomes eventually went on indefinite hiatus, but L&E continued the band relationship up until the band broke up. The members went on to do more bands. Jim and Damian did Monolith with Bad Cops bassist Jon Peters while John did his solo project Explorer, Conquerer (eventually changing the name and becmoming known as Weightlessness). Monolith broke up because of distance issues. Jim got really into his solo project Rejouissance, Damian moved away and John continued with Weightlessness. Nowadays, Jim is still doing Rejouissance along with some other projects. Damian moved back to Syracuse and started the band Tailings. And John got married, though I'm sure he continues to make music. I guess what I'm trying to say is, time goes on and on, and this band is still important to me after all these years. They bring to mind a time in my life when things weren't that terrible. When things were fun and bands that were good musically were friends and played shows with one another. I'll never forget Sever The Hands. And I'll never understand why they never got the recognition and respect they deserved as a band. My only hope is that I can show Sever The Hands to people now, and have them enjoy the band. Here is everything they recorded...
Friday, June 12, 2009
I recently purchased this album. But what is weird, is that its been one of my favorite albums going on close to 5 years now. i know that i am one of the few people who feels this way. one thing I’ve found with engine down and their catalog is that its split into 3 groups. The first group is people who like the band’s first album, and that’s it. This is because their first album has more of a resemblance to peers from around the same area. Bands like 400 years and Sleepytime Trio. The second group likes more material overall from the band but likes the “hit” album Demure more than any other. Now I don’t want to take away anything from that album, because it is a great album. Its just that it’s the bands most accessible album. The third group, as it tends to be with any underground/indie band, favors some obscure album/7 inch/etc. These are the type of people who are into it more so just because its hard to come by or because most people don’t know of it. Shit pisses me off to no end. Why aren’t their more people into “To Bury Within A Sound”? I really don’t know. I know a lot of people whose first introduction to the band is the song “Intent To Pacify” and that song is on this album. So I have a hard time understanding it. The album starts off with what is easily one of my favorite album openers EVER. “Retread” starts off soft and slow but blows up into full force. Ah I love it. Its pace follows right into the drive of “Trail Error”. I love the overall feel of this album. If I remember correctly, “Depth Perception” was the first song I heard off of this album. And for me it really encompasses the overall feeling of the album, with all of its extremes. Its starts off really moody with depressing sounding guitar lines intertwined mixed with cello. Eventually building and building till it blows up into a driving feel. The song eventually gets a more optimistic feel with its vocals and music and ends with a more ambient feel. Like I said, its got it all. This album is like if “Under The Pretense of Present Tense” and “Demure” fucked and had a baby. Its my favorite because it has the heavy driving elements of the first album, and the more laid back introspective songwriting of Demure. They blend and make a great album.
Buy it if you like it
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Its sort of strange how I attacked this "series" from the get go. Really, I should've attempted to go at it in a chronological order. I just had a really hard time doing that for whatever reason. But I'm going to attempt to at least right one wrong, if you will. I've made reference to this band over and over again in the past. And after each time I would make a reference, I would think "I really should've written about them already." Especially considering that Evan Clarke started in this band and he is sort of a personal musical hero of mine. Its also important to note that their drummer was one Gus Weinkauf, who went on to start Rockets Red Glare with Evan later in band life. I love the music Blake created. Its young. And like youth, sometimes its aggressive, and other times its mellow. They followed suit with the style of canadian hardcore that Shotmaker played, but expanded further taking influence from Okara (who I also still need to write about in this series). The band could be tagged with the "math" label I suppose. Its funny, I hate throwing that term around certain times, even when it fits. Lets just say, when I say math in reference to Blake, its not relating them to Tera Melos or Giraffes? Giraffes!, its relating them to the original trinity. Slint, Chavez and Polvo. Musically, they dont share much with any those bands. But their concept of mathy music fits much better with what those original bands created. Do you like canadian emo bands from the 90's? Well, if so, you may already know of Blake. If not, give them a listen. For fans of all good DC post hardcore and all Canadain & Virginia screamy hardcore-ish stuff.
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