Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Last Days of Cursed (2009)

Featured today is a short documentary about the last moments of the band Cursed. This was during their fatal 2008 European tour in which everything ended up being stolen from the band and thus, dismantling the band entirely. Colohan described as a "bullet to the head". It really is a travesty that such an intelligent and punishing band was subject to so much bad luck. These series of videos sheds some light on the band's last days through an interview and a series of live recordings spanning their whole career. Cursed was, and still is, a very important band to me and this is something that must be shared to people who felt the same way.

Link to the first video, with four more parts following.

Edit: If you don't have the patience to watch the whole series, at least watch the last one. It is an 12 minute video solely about the song "Friends in the Music Business" and a performance of said song. The explanation about the song in the interview and the diatribe Colohan says before they play the song are more than worth hearing if you are in a DIY band.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sebadoh - Bakesale (1994)

Let's talk desert island here. No, wait, not desert island. I wand to discuss pure isolation type of stuff. Such as, the rapture has happened and you just happen to be saved amongst the flock and find yourself sitting next to people the likes of Steven Tyler and Axl Rose. Because they are going to be saved, right? Right. So what do you have to keep you sane? Well, I don't know if sane is exactly the right word there, because you are well past the point of return. What small comforts do you have left, but 5 albums. What would you choose?

For me, the answer is always changing, but one thing is for damn sure, Sebadoh's 1994 record, Bakesale, would be there. Many people prefer Bubble and Scrape, or even the barely listenable early recordings Barlow and Co made. Personally, this takes the cake. The breadth of maturity Sebadoh reached when recording this record hits a plateau, that for me, few have been able to reach. A full encompassing sound in which straight influence becomes pure creation. Every single song is delightful. And few songs hit me in the same way that songs like "Mystery Man", "Together or Alone", or "Drama Mine" do. The record is as sublime as it is angsty, as grungy as it is poppy. A damn near perfect statement.

Now, I realize that obviously most people own this record in some form, but it was just recently reissued. Not that I am reliving the record, it is a staple on my ipod and most playlists, but that it was reissued as a deluxe record with a whole albums worth of demos and b-sides, and I personally can't wait to get my hands on it.

  1. License to Confuse
  2. Careful
  3. Magnet's Coil
  4. Not a Friend
  5. Not too Amused
  6. Dreams
  7. Skull
  8. Got It
  9. Shit Soup
  10. Give Up
  11. Rebound
  12. Mystery Man
  13. Temptation Time
  14. Drama Mine
  15. Together or Alone
Very serious note here, Lou blows J out out of the water any day of the week.

Austin Lucas - Collection (2010)

One day I would like to write a thesis on the impact sad songs have on the human psyche. Personally, sad songs resonate with me much more than most other types of a song. We can all relate to someone pouring their soul over a guitar and the tremble in their voice that becomes some sort of emotional reaction. Maybe it's just the human condition. Either way, more sad sack songs are coming your way in the form of Austin Lucas. Whereas the punk gone folk songwriter movement is awash in a sea of mediocrity, Lucas was bred for this genre of music, traditional bluegrass folk. I won't go into detail about what Lucas means to me, just understand Lucas is extremely talented, and shouldn't go unnoticed. This record is a collection of demos that was done before Somebody Loves You, but wasn't unearthed until a year ago. These songs are stripped down to the bones and the imperfections shine through their production. It's these imperfections, especially in his voice, which form that much needed connection between listener and performer. Throw this version of "Go West" on repeat and feel the rumble in his voice.
  1. Go West
  2. Life I've Got
  3. I Know I Know
  4. She Did
  5. Singing Man
  6. Wild Boar
  7. To Daddy
  8. Oakland Skyline
  9. My Momma's Son
  10. Sweeter than the Flowers
  11. Easy Listening
Life is full of dead ends.
(link borrowed)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sweet Cobra - Praise (2003)

Some of the fondest memories of my time in the Chicago Hardcore community was the incredibly diverse, sound-wise, the shows were of the early 2000's. A show you could go to and enjoy several different takes on the theme of aggressive music. In which, one could hear the sounds of a youth crew band, heavy hardcore, classic hardcore punk, and so on. These shows were thrilling to me, especially since it was a time in which I first started really exploring the early local community.

One band that always seemed to stick out to me was Sweet Cobra. I swear I have seen this band play more with youth crew hardcore bands than bands of their own ilk. These guys would get up there and pummel right through a set of blistering, sludgy hardcore. The best part was that they were so loud my ears always hurt in my foolish non-ear plug days of my youth. Seeing them play at the DePaul classrooms was always a treat, the context of the show, as well as the fact that the poorly constructed walls were always heavily reverberating due to the massive wall of sound the band carried with them.

Praise was one of my early introductions to hardcore that wasn't of the current flavor, or any of the classic bands of yore. A record that made a coalescence of sounds via bands like Black Flag, Born Against, and Neurosis. The intensity of the record was heightened when the band dabbled in mid-tempo songs, such as "River of Crimson", which was a cathartic moment of tension built up through the first half of the record. And songs like "Upon Torn Knees" rip right through you, fast and groovy, the band showing their excellence.

Unfortunately, the Chicago Hardcore community took a heavy hit when Mat Arluck, guitarist of Sweet Cobra among other bands, passed away in 2009. The band lives on, though it is hard to watch the band while knowing an integral part is missing, and missed. While the bands later albums haven't resonated as well as Praise, I will always value Sweet Cobra among one of the best local bands from Chicago.
  1. Upon Torn Knees
  2. Ruin
  3. Leviathan
  4. Content with the Tide
  5. Bandicoot
  6. River of Crimson
  7. Hatchet Wound
  8. Mother's Harvest
  9. Fear No Father
Rip Mat Arluck.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

War All the Time - Raw Attack Demo (2004)

Here is an interesting entry, which was brought to my attention by the Terminal Escape blog, run by the bassist of No Statik/Artimus Pyle/I could go on. It peaked my interests when I saw that it was a supergroup of sorts consisting of people from What Happens Next?, Talk is Poison, Look Back and Laugh, Conquest for Death and more. As a connoisseur of all things punk in that family tree, I knew I would at least somewhat enjoy this, and I definitely do. Aside from learning that they only played three shows, and may have another demo, War All the Time seemed to primarily be a LBAL side project. Sure, the music is similar, fast, raw, classic USHC inspired, albeit less chaos than LBAL, but still very similar. So similar, that it a little research proved an even more beneficial when I found a couple live videos of the band. Down below is a video of a song that if you are familiar with LBAL's output, you will find this interesting. It's a shame this band was so short-lived.

  1. Dimonds
  2. Admit It
  3. Global
  4. Yellow Tape
  5. Crude
  6. War
  7. Armageddon
Street Terrorism.

William Elliott Whitmore - The Death Valley Sessions (2003)

Readers beware, this post was stolen from a favorite blog of mine. Legitimate posts huh? Well, being the Whitmore superfan that I am, I had to post this gem. This session was done shortly before his first record, Ashes to Dust, hence most the songs being rather familiar. While living for a brief period in time San Fransisco Whitmore was approached by a friend who wanted him to record some of his sparse folk music on his random plot of land in Death Valley. What became of the session is an introduction to Whitmore's prose, combined with the rustlings and whisperings of the valley. At times the session is as erie as it is cathartic. It is also strange to think of his music outside of the context of Iowa. I have a strong belief that a person's landscape vastly influences their work in whatever medium, and Whitmore is exemplary of this, with his strong association with the Midwest and Iowa. Anyway, go make some moonshine in a tub.

Note: After a little research sparked by this session, it seems there are several sessions out there Whitmore has done throughout his troubadour tenure. If, and when, I find some more, I shall let you know.

  1. Introduction
  2. Instrumental
  3. Does Me No Good
  4. Pine Box
  5. Lord Only Knows
  6. Old Lady Duet
  7. From the Cell Door to the Gallows
  8. Diggin' My Grave
  9. Lift My Jug
  10. Old Lady Duet 2
  11. Our Paths Will Cross Again
  12. Instrumental 2
My road to Hell is surely paved.
(Link borrowed from Heavybootsmusic.tumblr)

Dillinger Four - Vs. God

File under: classics. Here is something to tide you folks over while I get a couple legitimate posts up this evening/tomorrow morning. And what a perfect time to post your favorite Northern land punks? Summer air, veritable walls of humidity, and my favorite, traveler punks. D4 just recently played Chaos in Tejas, and I must say that out of that whole stacked line up I would have extremely excited to see this band again.

  1. Who Didn't Kill Bambi?
  2. Get Your Study Hall Outta My Recess
  3. Maximum Piss & Vinegar
  4. Last Communion
  5. Suckers Intl. Has Gone Public
  6. Total Fucking Gone Song
  7. Music is None of My Business
  8. Define 'Learning Disorder'
  9. Let Them Eat Thomas Paine
  10. Shiny Things is Good
  11. J. Harris
  12. Q: How Many Punks Does it Take to Screw in a Lightbulb?
  13. Wreck the Fantastic Planet
The devil, ouch.
(link borrowed. I was in a hurry)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ben Nichols - Last Pale Light in the West (2009)

I apologize for the lack of updates, but alas, I am back and have several posts planned. So now that that is out of the way, lets get on to the good stuff. Lucero has always held a special place as a band for me. Their sound is incredibly versatile, taking southern alt-country and tweaking it through punk rock. What becomes of this is a dichotomy of sound, songs of hope, redemption, loss, and heartbreak. They have a penchant for writing some of the saddest songs this side of the Mississippi, and their meditation on loss is what makes me connect with them. It is sometimes as though, when listening to a song like "When You Decided to Leave", it conjures up the lowest depths of loss in you, and the pain of the song is instantly transferable to one's self. Their last record certainly wasn't their greatest, but it still had some great tracks on it. And they are still up there as one of the best live bands I have ever seen, always willing to give it their all, as you could see from their recent Krazy Fest set.

Ben Nichols, the man behind Lucero, released a solo record back in 2009 entitled, Last Pale Light in the West, a narrative album culling from Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. A record of what Nichol's is known for, sad and redemptive songs, but this time told through a dismal and gritty tale. Nichol's isn't breaking a new ground, musically, here, but the record is more about his penmanship than deviating from a sound. It's his chance to show us he is one amazing lyricist and writer.

  1. The Last Pale Light in the West
  2. The Kid
  3. Davy Brown
  4. Chambers
  5. Tobin
  6. Toadvine
  7. The Judge
We are the last of the true.

*BONUS* I was perusing Ben Nichols on youtube when I came across this track, recorded in Janurary of this year. The uploader doesn't seem to know whether it is a Lucero song or a solo song, but one thing is for sure, Nichol's still hasn't lost it. More sad songs, please.