Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hardcore Is a Festering Sea of Bullshit Part II

This is sort of a knee-jerk reaction to a comment posted today on this post. There's going to be a lot I leave out, and it might not "flesh out" alright, but it's in one draft, save for links I'm posting within the blog to give some people who don't know some of the bands we're talking about more information. You should probably read the comment before reading this. I ask that anyone with thoughts on this (on any side) to please add them in a comment.

I don't think the ratio of good bands to bad bands is any worse today than it's ever been. There have always been a few great bands of any era and a thousand copy cats filling up the void. People talk so much about how great the 80s were, but looking at the literally thousands of bands on flyers that I've never heard of, or hearing all these random obscurities pop up that are usually awful, points to tell me that the ones who are famous are famous because, for the most part, they were just better. Sure, there are some really amazing bands from the 80s (and 70s and 60s and 50s) that have been lost to time due to a lack of legit releases/lack of touring/national disinterest/whatever, but there are millions of bands throughout the annals of rock history that are just plain awful.

Saying that older bands should headline big shows because bands today "suck", right after passing off the 90s as a stagnant era in heavy, underground, or rock music is absurd, ignorant, and lazy. Your example of Kurt Cobain is sensible to a degree, but Nirvana (even though I hate the band) recorded a lot more material than most of the "greats" from the 80s hardcore era and influenced countless bands to pick up where they left off, whether or not he offed himself before he reached his artistic pinnacle. The fact is that, with few exceptions, hardcore bands from the 80s only ever had one, maybe two LPs, and 7" that are worth listening to.
The example of Layne Staley, in the context you used it, is also irrelevant because he overdosed in 2002 (I remember it vividly), so he had the whole decade prior to work with.

But discounting the mainstream examples, I don't see how you, or anyone, can shrug off the 90s as being irrelevant in hardcore punk. Born Against blew open the door to the 90s with a completely new take on NYHC. Some East Coast bands mellowed out, some more found God (in various forms), and others abandoned all that had happened before, but that's what made it so interesting. You can't tell me that His Hero Is Gone ripped off anything that came out of the 1980s. Monuments to Thieves succeeds at showing the American lifestyle on a bleak plane of nihilism to a soundtrack heavier, more intricate, and less formulated than anything Black Flag or their contemporaries did. The Refused infused jazz onto an ancient punk aesthetic in a fashion that most of the people trying to "evolve" in the 80s never would have imagined. Los Crudos could outplay anybody trying to speed things up in '86. And none of those bands even survived to this decade, so now we've got younger kids picking up where that era left off and building their own sound. Listen to Circle Takes the Square, Anodyne, or even a straightforward band like the Boils and tell me they're just throwbacks that're bending over for the old guys they open for. You'd be lying through your teeth.

And that's not even to say that it's even the progressive bands that need to recognition. Fear City are selling out bars in the Southside consistently, and they definitely have a vintage sound. Skate Korpse put out three absolutely genius 7"s that were totally based off early 80s SoCal style with a heavy dose of 60s surf thrown in, and by the time they broke up, they were being talked about at every DIY show in the US.

The problem is the scene, sure. It's the uber punks who keep younger kids out of the real underground scene. But it's also the old bands who think they need to teach us something. Like we could learn from shit they did 20 years ago. Believe me, I read it in a book, and that was probably a lot more romantic and exciting that what really went on in NYC in the mid-80s. And honestly, I could give a fuck less. It's 2007, times are different. You can tell us that it was scary growing up under Reagan and you lived in fear all the time because you're a paranoid schizophrenic. Emosadboohoo. Like growing up in the 90s/00s was so fucking easy for working class kids and we've got nothing to be pissed off about.

There are some great 80s bands still recording good material (Demented Are Go and Mad Sin both recorded their best material in the past decade), and even some US bands (the Freeze seems to be the best example off the top of my head) but to most of us, the 80s hardcore scene is almost irrelevant now. The "reunion" shows are mostly just old men reliving their "glory days" in front of kids they would have made fun of in high school. Go see I Object! the next time they roll through your town and let me know how much better they are than whatever shitty 80s band is reuniting at the club across the street to five times as many people for twice as much money.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Violent Society/The Boils split 7" Download

This is from 1996 on Schuylkill Records. I don't know anything about Violent Society except what I've learned from the short Wikipedia article about them (which lists this record as having come out in 1998, though it came out in 1996). Apparently they were together for over a decade and toured with some big bands, but this is all I've got by them. I assume they're named after the Special Duties song, who they also happened to do a split with later on. Their tracks are solid examples of late-90s hardcore punk, but nothing compared to the Boils.

The Boils are one of those bands that make me hate punk rock. They've been around for a long time and put out tons of great records, but they still get outsold by all the fucking PunkCore Records or Bridge9 bands or whoever is hot at the moment. They had a couple other splits before this 7" I haven't tracked down, but the maturity of the band so early on is surprising. I'd suggest getting one of their more recent records The Ripping Waters EP. It's one of my favorite punk 7"s of all time. They've always had great lyrics, and this is no exception. The example I'll put out is their first song, "Dependent" (with their disclaimer: "this is not a straight edge song, this is the goddamn, fucking truth!":

Experiment expeditions made you lose all inhibitions
It went as far as anything you could get your hands upon
A blanket of security, windows of oppurtunity
Opened the doors you couldn't open up before
It became a necessity, physically and mentally
But you can't deny it and sat 'it can stop anyday'...

Side A
1. Violent Society-Times of Distraught
2. Violent Society-Another Casualty
3. Violent Society-Decide
Side B
4. The Boils-Dependent
5. The Boils-Paper Dolls
6. The Boils-Gone Dead and Buried (the MP3 cuts off the last half second of this, so it's an awkward outro, sorry, but I didn't want to spend mroe time ripping it again for such a small piece)

Download Violent Society/The Boils Split 7"

Monday, October 29, 2007

News You Should Know

Police in Lansing, MI are in training for any disaster, and conducting mock disasters to establish logistics. Included in their scenarios is apparently a zombie attack. They've decided upon chainsaws as their chief form of defense.

A hunter in Pennsylvania who set up a camera to photograph deer claims to have accidentally photographed a child Bigfoot.

OK, that's it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Joy Division, Billy Bragg

I always loved videos of Joy Division because they don't look anything like they sound, to me. Ian Curtis is so skinny and awkward and his voice just booms out of his tiny little voice box. There's also the fact that even when he makes an effort to dance and "put on a show" I guess, he still looks depressed and desperate as hell. I guess this video comes from a movie about Joy Division, but I never heard of it. I never was a very active Joy Division fan, so the fact that I've never heard of it doesn't mean it's really all that obscure.

And while we're on the subject of awkward British dudes, here's an absolutely ancient video of Billy Bragg doing "Between the Wars" on Top of the Pops. Apparently it's a big deal that he's playing live instead of lip-syncing, as that was what they usually did, I guess. I don't know, I never saw the show before.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The first Podcast

Ever since I was a little kid (like 8), I wanted to be a DJ. I listened to the Oldies station in the morning ride to school, when the Oldies were pre-1972, and I thought the morning DJs (Burt and Kurt, haha) were the coolest.

And in the age of podcasting, I'm able to do it. This isn't great. It's short, it's not too diverse, and I'm a little timid/boring when I talk, but I am, as the name of the show says, Learning to Crawl (10 punk points if you catch that not-very-punk reference).

Born Against-Half Mast
Anti Nowhere League-I Hate People
Slumlords-Our Own Worst Enemy
Sick Things-Committed to Suicide Australia 1981
Asphalt-What is Held
Droids-A Reminder to All Young Men
Banner of Hope-A Wrench in the Machine

I removed the embeded file because I didn't see a way to stop it from automatically starting.

You can download the file here, or I have a separate feed set-up for the podcast here. You can suscribe and all from there. I'll be integrating the feed with this blog soon, hopefully.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Profane Existence

I know I haven't been updating much lately. Not because of a lack of interest, I've just been ridiculously busy and haven't had to time to do much. I just wanted to draw attention to those of you into the whole thrashy hardcore side of things.

It appears that Profane Existence is in some money troubles. I know a lot of you are wondering why you should care since it seems that a lot of the people that read this regularly aren't into their politics (and neither am I), but they're an important label/community for DIY and need to be supported. Profane Existence will help just about any DIY band or label with distribution without asking any questions. They believe in autonomy and building a community outside the "industry" and have taken more steps to make that a reality than any other single entity I can think of. And if you're just in it for the music, think about the fact that Profane Existence is responsible for bringing the majority of the foreign hardcore releases to the US and distroing them here for affordable prices.

They mentioned money troubles when they initially unveiled their Vinyl Retentive Series. The idea was to release a special version of their LPs limited to 150 copies and with a little more expensive prices to raise some money for the label. I'm not happy with the way they did it (only because I can't afford it!) but it's a good idea for the collectors out there who want something a little special. The idea is cool, and I hope there are enough people into it that can afford it (the thing that sucks is that you have to subscribe to it instead of buying the individual releases, so you have to fork out $100 up front for a few records instead of just $15 at a time) to make a difference. The label has also raised the prices in their distro, and 7"s are now around $5 instead of $4.

The point was not to talk about how they've raised prices or come up with strategies. It's to tell you to check out their distro and buy stuff. They have the biggest DIY distro I've ever seen, and I'm sure you could empty your bank account on it if you want to. Whether you agree with their views on politics or not, supporting DIY underground hardcore punk labels is important because it lets the people who try to market to us know that we still fucking hate them. Up da punks!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Droids-Ja Bede Bardzo Dobry 7" Download

This one is from 1994. Maybe some of the native Midwesterners who read this can shed some light on this band, but I doubt it. According to the insert, they were only a band for 3 months.

The Droids were from a Polish neighborhood in Green Bay, WI (and not actually from Poland). Three of the five songs on this record are actually sung in Polish. They've got sort of a melodic sound, but it's still edgy. I don't really have much to say about them because I don't really know anything about them. Any of the native Midwesterners who read this might be able to shed a little light, but I doubt it, this record seems pretty obscure.

I did Google this and found a couple mailorder catalogs that have ancient copies of this, as well a couple of copies floating around on eBay. I also found a page for Power Ground Records, who released this record, but with NO info other than a discography (which includes an earlier Droids split 7" with a band called Boris the Sprinkler) and a header that reads "WE'RE BACK" posted April 17, 2007. Who are you people!??

Download Ja Bede Bardzo Dobry

Sunday, October 21, 2007

V/A-Hardcore Amerika CD Download

Hardcore Amerkia collects selected tracks from the Eat Me compilation (1983) and I'm Buck Naked (1984), which were volumes #3 and #10 of the Borderless Countries Tapes series. The reissue was put out by Shizophrenic Records and Enterruption.

It seems like a lot of people nowadays think of the American harcore scene in the 80s and think there were only a handful of bands and they were all from LA, NYC, or DC. What was important about the BCT series was that they represented all the little scenes in between. This comp. features bands from Ohio, Wisconsin, Washingtion, New Jersey, and other smaller scenes outside of the Slash/SST/Dischord spectrum. The label was also one of the first to expose foreign hardcore bands to a US audience.

Some tracks are easy to overlook, but there are bands on here that are at least as good as some of the DC stuff. Trenton, NJ's Detention are incredible. The tracks here are live versions that smoke the 7". "Dead Rock n Rollers" (listed on this comp. as "Dead Rocker") appeared on Killed By Death Volume 2. The always superb KBD Records blog posted the original versions here.

This one's out of print, but some distros may still have it. You should pick it up if you come across it. You should know before you download this mammoth beast that it's an epic 57 songs.

Download Hardcore Amerika

Saturday, October 20, 2007

V/A-The Best of Oi! Records Download

(NOTE: I was drunk when I made this post).

This record was in my 'to-be-posted' pile, but HXCPunksn Skins beat me to it. The Best of Oi Records is a good representation of the late 80s Oi! scene, if a little biased. Roddy Moreno of the Oppressed started the label by putting out ads in all the punk zines that read "Oi! bands wanted, neither red nor racist". The result was a run of 16 records, mostly English material, and some great stuff from the late 80s. Obviously, the best stuff came out of the US bands the label decided to issue. I think that since the US scene remained pretty patriotic, Roddy wrote them off as nationalists (which is retarded). As a result, the US scene wrote anyone leaning left as commies and refused to support the "red" skinhead bands. Further proof that the skinhead scene is full of bullshit drama and I'm allowed to call it out because I'm a skinhead so FUCK YOU if you think I'm just hating on "your" fencewalking scene (I SAID IT!).

The download is available here, enjoy!

This record is out of print but still available. It's doesn't have a lot of cool shit inside, but if you like, you should buy it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Flash Attacks-Revenge of the Fruitflys 7" (Circle F)

Korova played with the Flash Attacks a few years ago at a skatepark in Birmingham. It was a pretty good bill. It was us when we were a three piece (between guitar players, lasted like two shows), Skeptic? with the original line-up, a Nashville band called Public Offence (who went on to do small tours with a bunch of PunkCore Records bands and then break up, which was followed by several very tragic events involving almost every person to have played with the band that I don't feel the need to go into), and the superstar line-up of APA with members of No Holds Barred, Anti Heros, Condemned 84, and the Templars filling in. Flash Attacks were pretty good. I was a little drunk, but I remember them as a four-piece and they had that scumfuck sort of swagger, and I'm positive about the "Bite It You Scum" cover they did that night. I also remember one of the more lasting impressions they made, which was introducing Birmingham to the "chainsaw" hardcore dance move, which is apparently a Jersey mainstay. The demo they were selling on the tour was pretty solid save for the track "Circle F", which is what they decided to name their label after. I was unaware of an LP they put out last year, so this is the first thing I've heard from them since.

The insert lists only three members, so I guess someone got cut. The sound is different then I remember from the demo, it's much less cluttered. The production is clean, but that's far from the only improvement. They rip through four tracks at a moderately fast pace (it's definitely fast but they aren't doing the speedfreak thing) and keep everything together well. They actually show off some really good musicianship. Poison Idea comes to mind as a good comparison, and there's a fucking awesome breakdown on the track "Ripped Apart" that reminds me of early MDC. The sound really sort of drifts around to different parts of the early 80s West Coast scene, which is cool. It's sort of a mix of a lot of stuff I was listening to early on, it's got a little In God We Trust, Inc. here and a little bit of The Blue Album there. They don't do a lot to break out of the "old school" norm, but they do it with a great flair and personality. Definitely one of the better "throwback" style hardcore records I've heard in a while.

Flash Attacks on MySpace
Buy It On Interpunk

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dead Kennedys 1978 Demos Download

I'm not 100% about this. I've got several different "versions" of this, but this has the most tracks (17), all of which appear in the other versions (most of the others that I've found have been 6-9 tracks. There are three versions of "Forward to Death" on this, though, and two sound identical. Everything else seems to be in order, though, so for the sake of digital completion I've included both, against my better judegement (maybe they just nailed it twice?).

I think this may actually be two seperate demos, "Cold Fish" and "Dreadlocks of the Suburbs", put together in one file. Who cares? It's awesome, and there are four songs here you've never even heard of before, so download it!

Download 1978 Demos

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Peacocks-Touch and Go LP (I Used to Fuck People Like You In Prison)

I don't even know why I'm bothering to attempt to review this because if you've ever heard the Peacocks from Zurich you already know that they're incapable of writing a bad record. They're the only band I can think of that's been around well over a decade (I think closer to two) and manage to make every album better than the last one. Honestly, I'm a little scared of new Peacocks records because it means I appreciate the former one a little less. See, the Peacocks are one of those bands you sort of grow up with. Their last LP, It's Time For... is about growing past punk rock and all the bullshit, but appreciating the outlet more than ever. "Older Than Punk" is the perfect jaded old schooler anthem. I will never forget their show in Chicago last year. It's one of just a couple of times I've seen a band and sang along to every word to every song and was still disappointed that they left certain songs out of their set.

Touch and Go is a lot less poppy than It's Time For.... It's a little more like Angel their second most recent LP, but it's more crafted and a tad more angry. There's a lot more of an American rockabilly edge to it, but they smoke most US rockabilly style bands. They can play so great, but they don't ever overplay or wank, everything is right in place where it should be. You get the slow songs, the fast songs, the rock songs, the sarcastic lyrics, it's all here. It's like a phone call from an old friend.

I feel bad for future generations that will stumble upon this band in hindsight by downloading their MP3s on Soulseek or whatever people will be using at the time. They'll probably love it, but they'll have none of the excitement of anticipating the next release, wondering what their favorite band will come up with next, where they'll go from here. They'll never understand the joy of having this band grow with them, and that's a shame. Long live the Peacocks.

This review pertains to the European version on I Used to Fuck People Like You In Prison Records. The vinyl version is only available through them and is limited to 500 copies on blue wax. There is an American CD version on Stomp Records that has a slightly different track listing (I HATE THAT BECAUSE I'LL HAVE TO BUY IT NOW!)

The Peacocks on MySpace
Buy LP on Interpunk

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bitter Bois-Self Titled 7" Download

Late 90s Oi from Finland. I seem to remember a lot of people making a big deal out of this band after their appearance on Punks, Skins, and Herberts (I'll probably put those tracks up here sometime). These songs would be great if they were shorter, but they get a little tiresome. "Bastards in Blue", the A side, is a great anti-cop anthem that's everything you'd expect it to be, plus about 45 extra seconds. This record was pressed by a German label called Blind Beggar Records and the original pressing was on white vinyl. Their page for the record states that it's a "double A side record" and both sides should have "Bastards in Blue" on it, but I ripped this 7" myself and so I know for a fact it's a two song record. Weird.

Don't know much else about these guys. They put out one more 7" that I don't have, but that's about it. Any other info?


Download Self Titled 7"

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Reagan SS-Universal and Triumphant (Rebel Sound)

I let this sit for almost a month after listening to it the first time. It was too good. After their last 7" delivered on my hopes, I was expecting even more out of this, and I honestly couldn't believe it was even better than I expected. I'm too much of a skeptic.

This doesn't sound like their 7"s. This is much more matured. This is more nuanced and it's even darker than their earlier stuff. They put time into putting this together as a solid LP instead of a compilation of some stuff they were writing at the time. This record flows from fast to faster to heavy and sludgy and back to warp speed again. It's all the best parts of Rollins era Black Flag with all the best parts of Minor Threat with none of the bullshit. There's nothing else to even say about this. It seems like Reagan SS reviews are the shortest ones I write, and there's a reason for that. There are only so many times and so many ways you can say something fucking rules. If there is one band that I feel defines underground hardcore right now, it's Reagan SS.

Reagan SS on MySpace
Buy it on Interpunk

Sunday, October 7, 2007

One Last Shot-From Riches to Rags (SSR) (w/download)

I popped this in after it came in the mail the other day and had it on the background while I was chasing my son around the house. I guess I immediately decided I wasn't really into it. One of the problems with listening to things peripherally is that you don't really soak up what's going on with it, and in this case, not paying attention to this record makes it sound kind of stale. I gave it another shot driving to work the next day and realized I'd made a mistake.

This band walks a really fine line between metal and punk, and they set themselves apart from a lot newer metal bands by proving that they can really can play. I can compare them to Reagan Youth, but that's more in a plain aesthetic sense, the fact that they mix metal riffs with punk vocals and song structures, rather than pointing to how they actually sound. You can hear Sabbath in their sound, you can hear some Anthrax, some Scorpions, and an array of other metal bands, but it would be misleading to call them a metal band. They seem to be taking as much influence from NYC streetpunk bands as they do from metal, and by keeping things down to a mostly mid-tempo rock sound, they're able to achieve a level of character in their songs that a lot of bands mixing metal and punk lack. The riffs are well written, and the guitar work is excellent.

This record isn't perfect by any means. There are a couple times where the guitar solos get overbearing. There are times when they start to meddle in typical bar band fodder, but those times are few and far between. Conceptually, it's great, but they fall short of really breaking out out their mold. This record is definitely worth giving a chance, really giving a chance, but the potential this band shows is far more important than their current documentation.

There is a note on the back of this CD that says "This artist supports filesharing. Unauthorized reproduction of this recording is encouraged and not a violation of anything." Because of this, I have kept the real descriptions, acknowledgements, and comparisons out because I feel it's better to just offer the CD to you to check out, which isn't something I'd normally do. Remember, if you like it, support the band.

Download Riches to Rags
One Last Shot Website
Buy it on CD Baby

Friday, October 5, 2007

Positive Reinforcement-S/T (aka Summer Tour) 7" Download

EDIT: Re-updated with scans of the sleeve

I've mentioned this a couple of times on this blog and finally decided to post it. This is one of my top 10 favorite 7"s of all time, and after Googling and it finding ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on it, I figured it was time to step up to the plate (sorry I don't have the cover here, but I don't have a scanner). There were 300 copies pressed, and I don't know how many were sold to distros or what.

This record sounds like they went to a studio to record it and the engineer told them he wanted $80 an hour, and they said "Fuck, we've got $60, what can we do?" and just threw down the tracks live in one take. It's perfect. The quality isn't bad, it's just raw as hell. It's real. Nowadays everything is either overproduced, too slick, or it tries to hard and it sounds like they recorded it on a boombox with one mic in the drummers kitchen while the dishwasher was running. This is intense. And the lyrics are amazing. I'd post all the lyrics, but I was on the phone with my sister the entire time I was ripping the vinyl to computer and I'm kind of drunk so just want to get this over with.

(side a)
1. Skate and Create
2. Hardcore Is a Festering Sea of Bullshit
3. Study Dates
4. The Good Times Are Killing Me
(side b)
5. Makes Sense to Me
6. Lieber's Shitty Song
7. What the Fuck Don't You Understand?
8. All Balls, No Brains

Download Summer Tour 7"

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Armed Suspects/Skels split 7" (Pirates Press)

I don't like giving negative reviews. See, I love getting bad reviews. I don't know why. I think I'm one of those John Lydon types that feeds on negativity. But I hate writing bad stuff about somebody else's music. I guess I just feel like anything I write will be read by the band and they'll just pass me as off an asshole because I don't like their music, and I'm not a jaded rock critic so it bothers me. As a result, I have quite a few records that I don't like sitting around waiting to be reviewed, and I'll start with this.

Over the past couple of weeks the Armed Suspects side of this record has grown on me. When I first listened to it, it sounded awful and I couldn't even think of what to write about it, but now it's reached a level of mediocrity that makes it hard to hate, but impossible to like. It's completely forgettable. I can't even tell you how many times I've listened to it, and for the life of me, five minutes after it ends I can't remember what it even really sounds like. Both songs sound a lot like Pressure Point, the first one being along the lines of their earlier, more melodic Oi styled records, and the second song has a lot more of a hardcore edge. It's not awful, but it's really nothing exciting. You should probably just buy a Pressure Point CD instead.

The b side is a Jersey band called the Skels. They're an Irish punk band, which is about the most awful trend to come out in punk in a long time. I hate the whole concept. The Pogues did this 30 years ago, and nothing any American band has done since has even come close, and they just sound ridiculous. It's like Avril Lavigne trying to sing punk rock, it just doesn't work. The only band I've heard in the past few years that's done this well was Blood or Whiskey, and they're actually Irish. Go figure. Anyway, if you ever watched the TV show Whose Line Is It, Anyway? (the American version...the one in the UK was total shit), you might remember a skit they used to do called "Irish Drinking Song", that was a cheesy, simple little melody that was so typically, unashamedly trying to be Irish it was funny in and of itself, before their lyrics were even added. The first song on this record sounds exactly like that. When I first put it on my wife and I immediately started going "Ohhhhhhh, eye-de eye-de eye-de eye-de eye-de eye-de eye!". The second song is a little more interesting, but still does nothing for me. If you're into bands like Flogging Molly or Al Barr era Dropkick Murphy's, you'll probably think this is the greatest thing ever.

Comes on half yellow, half red vinyl. What else do you expect from Pirates Press?

Armed Suspects on MySpace
The Skels on MySpace
Buy It on Interpunk

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Parallels Between Those Who Blame Each Other

Scared of Reality posted two great documentaries in the past week. A few days ago they put up
Skinheads USA: Soldiers of the Race War
, which is an old HBO special from the early 90s about the neo-nazi skinhead scene in Birmingham, Alabama, led by Bill Riccio. The other post was from a documentary put out just last year called Jesus Camp, which follows the stories of a few children who attend an annual camp for evangelical Christians, which is run by a women named Becky Fischer.

Now, both are good documentaries in their right, as they're both able to remain unbiased, but still show the evils in both parties. I've read accounts from people involved in both movies who said they were happy with the way their respective organizations were represented, which I think is just further proof as to how fucked up all these people are. Wikipedia tells of the only example where someone featured in either film was upset:

"There is also a scene at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Levi and his family go on vacation to hear its renowned pastor, Ted Haggard. (Less than two months after the release of the film, Haggard became embroiled in a high-profile scandal involving, among other things, homosexual prostitution, and methamphetamine possession.)...

Ted Haggard has disavowed the film, saying that "You can learn as much about the Catholic Church from Nacho Libre as you can learn about evangelicalism from Jesus Camp. It does represent a small portion of the charismatic movement, but I think it demonizes it. Secularists are hoping that evangelical Christians and radicalized Muslims are essentially the same, which is why they will love this film."

Ted Haggard is represented as an uninspired, phony, corporate asshole who's all about the money. He probably doesn't even believe in God. The funny part? There's absolutely no commentary about him at all, the film just shows him talking. They only portrayed as he is. But that's not my point.

My point is that both films are ultimately about children being led by a single adult. In both cases, the adults are charismatic, idealistic, and and articulate. But, they're really so much alike it's scary. Watching the interviews with Becky Fischer, there were parts where she almost quoted Bill Riccio. Their motives, and excuses for using children to further their causes, are so close they might as well be working for the same organization.

At the end of the day, we'll never really be safe. They put Bill Riccio in jail. Becky Fischer's camp ended up getting shut down, but some new nutcase will come along thinking they're saving the world, and seduce our children into their cause.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Hudson Falcons, First Wave, the Stranger at the Beat Kitchen 9/29

Saturday night I headed up to the Beat Kitchen to catch the First Wave and Hudson Falcons show. The crowd was a dissapointment (at most, it looked like there were only about 50 max, on a Saturday!), but the show was incredible.

The First Wave is a Clash-influenced streetpunk band along the lines of early Rancid. They say they're a half Memphis/half Philly band, but to me they'll always be Southern boys, as they're friends and I know them from back home. Their set the other night was the first time I'd seen them as a two-piece (they lost a bassist on tour and just decided to carry on without him). The sound loses a little, but not enough to make it unenjoyable. The bad thing about their set was that they were playing to a drinking crowd that wasn't really paying attention to what was going on, so there ended up being a lot of talking over them, which was annoying as hell. Seeing these guys play to a hometown crowd that knows their songs is the best way to see them until people start really paying attention.

The Stranger played next, who are a local Chicago band. I'd never heard them, and I wasn't really expecting much based on the fact that they had an upright bassist (who also plays in Deals Gone Bad) and a rockabilly looking guitar player with a hollowbody electric. I love good psychobilly/neo-rockabilly, but it just seems that the vast majority of them are awful. I've also found that since I moved out of the South, I've become increasingly critical of bands that are trying to play Southern style music. Anyway, I was too quick to judge, because while they did have a good bit of neo-rockabilly style, they were more about old Northwest style garage with a heavy dose of Chicago style blues. They were unique, their songs were all top-notch, and their stage presence was amazing. They're also the only band I've ever seen cover the Sonics and not completely butcher it (incidentally, they played "The Witch", and not the standard "Strychnine").

Now, the Hudson Falcons. I've got a little history with this band I should explain. When I was 15 years old, I got an e-mail from the Hudson Falcons about playing a show Birmingham, where I had only booked like two shows at that point. I'd heard of them, but didn't really know who they were at the time, but I did my best to get them a show anyway. The Boiler Room had just closed and there were no all ages spots in town, so I ended up having to get them a show at a bar called the Upside Down Plaza and I had to get an older friend of mine to cover everything at the show as I wasn't even old enough to get in. While I put it together, I started to get way into them and my interest in the band never really let up. A year later they played Nashville and I looked forward to it for weeks. The day of the show my ride fell through and I didn't make it. A couple of years later, Slag got offered a spot on a show with them in Baton Rouge, and I thought that was finally going to be it. I don't even remember what exactly happened, but we had to cancel and I couldn't go. Last year they played Champ's in the Southside like a week after my son was born. I had already resigned myself to staying in that night because I needed to be with my family even though I wanted to see them, and at the last minute my wife just told me to go. I did get to see them, but they got pushed back really late and the club only let them play for 20 minutes, which still felt like a letdown. Add that to the fact that they had stopped selling the "Working Class Motherfucker" shirt that I'd always wanted (dumb, right?) and I couldn't help but be a little dissapointed.

Anyway, my point is that Saturday was the first time I'd ever been able to see a full Hudson Falcons set. I stood in one spot, watching these guys in awe, for over an hour. I've never done that before, ever. Even when they're jamming or winging it, every note sounds spot on, every song you recognize from the albums that sounded so great on your stereo completely comes to life in this little club with 20 people crowded around. I hope I don't have to wait too many more years before I finally get to see this band again.

The Hudson Falcons and the First Wave are both on this weeks Digital Mixtape. Just scroll down one post.

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