Friday, August 31, 2007

More 7" reviews: the Jury, Wasted Time, Everything Falls Aprt & more

Here's that other bunch of 7"s I thought deserved the ol' review treatment. That should give you something more to read while I get my ducks in order for another sort of update with more material. I should mention that if you're in the Montreal area and feel curious enough about any of these records to pick them up (and they're all recommended), you can do so at Sound Central as they got copies of all these here pieces of wax and a hell of a bunch more.

Wasted Time- No Shore 7"
You have to hand it to Grave Mistake Records. I must admit not being terribly interested in the majority of what hardcore was producing for a number of years-- at least, the cross section of it I was encountering. Part of this was due to being way too busy with other things at the time. (Yes, it happens. And will probably happen again at some point.) Some of the things that got me to take a bit more notice again was coming across a Career Suicide 7", and then there were a slew of great 7"s coming from this Richmond label Grave Mistake. That first Wasted Time 7" was one of them. About a year and a half later, after Wasted Time developed enough of a name for themselves where they could have easily dropped an LP, they opted instead for another 7" on Grave Mistake, showing how both the band and the label can do some great justice to the format. Beefy hardcore punk with gruff vocals; the tempo remains pretty constant throughout, but with enough hooks to make the songs sound distinct. It's amazing how far some angry tunes and some rub on letters will go.....
(Grave Mistake)

Time to Escape 7"
Time to Escape is a DC band, and they really wear it on their sleeves... quite literally, as the record sleeve is emblazoned with a picture of a rally of some sort on the Capitol Building's steps. I've seen this record compared to the likes of Government Issue and the Faith, and I'm not going to disagree. It's got a similarly blown-out sound as the Faith side of the Faith/Void split, and some of the guitar work recalls the crunch of GI's "Boycott Stab". Apparently, these 5 songs first saw life as a demo with limited circulation, and Grave Mistake saw it fit to put it on vinyl. Lest I give the impression that the sound is derivative, it's got the same energy and heart you'll find on those other Grave Mistake Records, so while it draws liberally from those bands of yore, it has a fun and vibrant quality to it. In other words, GM done did good in giving this one a second life on wax.
(Grave Mistake)

Everything Falls Apart- Escape 7"
Here is another 7" that isn't quite that new anymore, but deserves a mention nonetheless. I actually sought this one out myself after seeing a very favorable review on Hardware courtesy of Dave K. The band released this themselves, and did a nice job on the packaging, screening some smaller, Dangerhouse-style covers, and hand stamping the labels. Musically, they straddle styles a bit, at times leaning more towards the thrashy hardcore punk style of the spectrum. Still, between the breakdowns and some of the riffs, they also seem to draw from some of the faster youth crew style bands. Nitpicking about micro-genres aside, as a first outing and having done it all themselves, Everything Falls Apart pulled it off very well, and hit on a pretty good sound, treading similar territory as Tear it Up, for example.
(self released)

the Jury- Can't Fight the Feeling 7"
Here's the newest 7" by Albany's the Jury, who just recently had a record out on Gloom and did some US dates with Japan's Total Fury. Upon my first impression, I thought they had a bit of a Nine Shocks Terror vibe going on between the speedy thrash riffs, rockin' breakdowns, and throat-shredding vocals. I'd reckon my favorite track on here is "Endless Hunger" with the guitar solo piss-take at the end; the Jury's definitely got their own take on that sound. Speaking of sound, though, my one complaint would have to be the sound quality, as the vocals overpower a lot of the instruments in the mix and the drums sound a little flat. They definitely aren't in need of great production, but a little bit of punch in the drums and some more depth to the guitars would serve them well. Still, this 7" was over in heartbeat, so the sound "problem" doesn't persist long enough to really offend. This disc appears to be self released, numbered and limited to 500 copies. I bet the Jury have some more tricks up their sleeves, and I'd be keen on hearing more, particularly with a bit more flattering recording.
(Electric Mayhem)


Thursday, August 23, 2007

REVIEWS of some recent 7"s: Government Warning, the Crunky Kids & more!

I'm hoping to get some more interviews up here soon-- I've got some good ones in the works! But take that with a grain of salt as I've been saying it for a while. I did take some time to write some words about some of the better 7"s that have happened into my paws as of late. Some of them are newer.... some not so much. They're all pretty good. I've got another batch I'll post in the next few days as well.

Government Warning- Arrested 7"
After a stellar 7" and subsequent LP, along with countless shows having kids swear by their intensity, I'm sure no one is looking here to be reading about this new-ish Government Warning 7" for the first time. That said; I'll keep it brief. It seems that Government Warning seem to have gotten popular for their tight and nimble approach to hardcore; they rather adroitly keep the pace quick while keeping the riffs catchy and even tuneful. In that respect, their stuff counts amongst some of that great late 90's era Out Cold material. However, it's the title track that opens up the record that really stays in your craw. It slows down the pace just a tad recalling a more SoCal hardcore sound-- a more aggro DI perhaps? And then the guitar solo in the second half of the song just nails it. Great record.
(Grave Mistake)

the Crunky Kids- Theories of Hate and Time 7"
Some Clevo degenerates you might recognize from other bands (H100s, 9 Shocks Terror, Upstab, etc) get together to record a 7" of messy, distorted, lo-fi hardcore. If any of that means anything, your expectations should be rather high. While the Crunky Kids don't add any new ingredients to the mixture, they do good job of proving it's not necessary if you can pull it off well. This single is driven by pure piss and vinegar. It sports the production values you might expect to find on a garage-punk single, but trades in the twangy guitars and staccato rhythms for distorted lo-end and Poison Idea-style ruckus. Nice!
(Schizophrenic Records/ My Mind's Eye)

Dry Rot- Permission 7"
It's probably not the best candidate for a review at this point because this debut Dry Rot 7" has been out for a while now, and might very well be out of print. But I keep coming back to it and it might be because this little has so many of those qualities that make hardcore 7"s nice little fetish objects. First of all, it seemingly came from nowhere (well, California)-- a band I had not heard before, with very little background information accompanying this aside from lyrics and credits. Well done, yet simple and ambiguous packaging. Yet, it manages to pack a good wallop of off-kilter hardcore into side one-- 7 songs to be exact. Fast and out of control musicianship with anvil-sounding drums that bring Infest or even Neandrethal to mind. On side B, and this is the kicker, is a slower, rhythmic jam in the vein of Sonic Youth or a quieter Dinosaur Jr with a good amount of noises (sounds like someone running a tone generator through an echo-plex). Totally throws you for a loop, but juxtaposes nicely with side A. I think these guys released a follow-up 7" on Painkiller which I have not heard, but if they can figure out a way to integrate both into their sound, they might be onto something pretty interesting. If not, they'll still be a pretty kick-ass hardcore band.
(Cold Vomit)

Nightstick Justice 7"
Ronald and Noel from Amsterdam team up to release this short hardcore single on their Way Back When and Even Worse labels. My understanding is that N.J. are a young band from Northern California and this is their vinyl pressed on to wax. They wear their influences on their sleeve a bit, and with a name like "Nightstick Justice" you can guess as to what one of the major points of reference might be. They boast a nice fuzzy bass sound like Negative FX, and similar thrashy stop/ start song structures that aim at sounding like simple bursts of blind rage. Given that, the lyrics aren't exactly nuanced, even for thrashy hardcore (over the course of a whole album, even Choke got a couple of verses of good wit in there), but when they slam into one of those breakdowns, that hardly seems the point.
(Way Back When/ Even Worse)

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Track list for podcast #2

So, I held off on giving the track listing for this last episode of the podcast. It was a little experiment to see if it would have any effect on how many listeners the podcast got. I thought perhaps more people would give it a listen if they would be surprised and didn't know what songs to expect.

Did it work? Well, many more people listened to this second podcast than the first one. CLEARLY, this was because of the lack of the track listing. But I will no longer keep those people who who might want a textual reference to the songs played in the last podcast. They were:

1. YDi- Mad at the World
2. Negative FX- Mind Control
3. Outpatients- Land of the Lost
4. Out Cold- You'll Never Learn

5. Coptic Times- High Strung (live on the radio)
6. Double 0- You've Lost
7. Cynic 19- Out of Control (intro)/ Mercy
8. the Krayz- Believe

9. Altercation- Vigilante Song
10. Abombanation- Something Must be Wrong
11. the Arsons- Not Kosher (Abombanation cover)

12. the Sonics- Strychnine
13. the Undertones- Teenage Kicks
14. No Hope for the Kids- Rainy Day

And if you want to listen again, you can do so HERE.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Dan Scheme's podcast #2

Fear not, there is more content on the way for this here blog. A couple of cool interviews will be coming through the pipeline shortly, and I'll throw some more other writings up as well. In the meantime, though, I put together another podcast for your listening pleasure. Got a pretty good response from the first one and it seemed like a lot of people downloaded it (either that, or one person downloaded it a few hundred times, but either way...)

But I decided I'm not going to post the playlist on this one until next week. That way you'll actually have to LISTEN to the damn thing first. Without further ado;

Dan Scheme's Podcast #2

I will leave you with this hip Kraut video I saw on youtube, though.