Saturday, May 31, 2008

Legion-Savior 7" (Wake Up and Live)

I'm really happy about Legion. They're one of two Birmingham bands right now (the other is Now I Have a Machine Gun) that I feel are representing the best of what Birmingham has to offer as far as the musicians in the band, and are making the effort to tour and prove that Birmingham has a lot more to it than rednecks or Christian hardcore kids. I finally got to see this band for the first time a little over a week ago when I visited Birmingham for the first time in a while. They played a house show and the crowd was pretty nuts considering the close quarters and Alabama heat. Their show last night in Chicago (w/their tourmates Die Young, Ceremony, Life Long Tragedy, the Muzzler, and Sabertooth Zombie) was top-notch. Their van had just broken down and were behind to the tune of a grand on tour, but they went out played just as loud and fast and you could hope for.

I got their new 7" on Wake Up and Live Records the morning of the show (that's a fucking epic story I'll save for later). Matt Whitson, who does a great job recording a lot of local bands, recorded the 7" at their practice space instead of his basement studio, which adds a great raw element to the production, which definitely benefits the sound. The band switches between slow, sludgy metal parts to break-neck speed powerviolence style seamlessly and the vocals are an indistinguishable mess of anger and resentment. All the tracks are tight as hell, which isn't surprising to me considering how awesome some of the previous bands these guys were in have been (JAWZ!). A good comparison for this would be His Hero Is Gone, but they don't sound like a band who would point to them as influence because I'd hate to pigeonhole them like that. I hear some more metal elements and some of the slow parts remind me of Iron Monkey or even Anodyne. A lot of the fast parts, especially with all the starts and stops, seem to pull a lot from Japanese bands from the 90s.

This is a fucking sick record.

Legion (GO SEE 'EM ON TOUR)
Wake Up and Live Records (ORDER IT THERE, FOOL!)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Podcast 5/17/08

Currently drinking: Moylan's IPA. A spectacular IPA for the price ($3.50 for a bomber). A great American style IPA, full of hop but pretty even, without the bitter taste IPAs are typically known for. Reccomended!

This episode is a little heavy on the Midwest (especially Chicago!) bands with a classic track by the Quincy Punx from Minneapolis, and new ones from Rager, the Sidewalk Cracks, and Sweet Cobra, all Chicago bands. The Midwest stand out here is from the State, who are legends in the Michigan scene due to their classic 7" from back in '84. The track on the show is BRAND NEW from a record that just came out and smokes their old material. I don't leave out classic American hardcore, though, as proven by the stellar Siege track from the Dropdead demo in 1984 from Boston, and there are even some international bands thrown for good measure. L.S.D. and Stanhansen are both Japanese (the L.S.D. track dates back to a rare 7" from '86!), Marching Orders are heading up the current Austrailian Oi! scene, Unkind are a heavy and melodic Finnish punk band, and Enola Gay were kings in the Danish scene back in the 80s. This is also the most straight-forward hardcore episode I've done to date. Pretty much everything on this is heavy, even the Demented Are Go track! Enjoy!

Tracklist:

Quincy Punx-Tina
L.S.D.-Jast Last

Unkind-Arjen Juhlaa
Siege-Conform
Demented Are Go-Body Bag
Sidewalk Cracks-Lower Wacker

Marching Orders-Back on the Streets
Enola Gay-Destructive Hjerner
Sweet Cobra-Ruin
Stanhansen-Truth and Generalization

Rager-Save It For the Axe
State-Spiesburger
Rentokiller-The Erotic Principle


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Naked Raygun-Throb Throb LP (Haunted Town)


Throb Throb is one of the top 10 best 80s USHC records of all time, and it's absolutely the best Naked Raygun record in my opinion. I have a CD version of this that that was sort of a rush job done in the 90s, which is what I've always listened to. There was NO mastering, it was like they just plugged in the record to a DAT and cut out some pops. The tinny, thin production lent something to the recording, it made it sound dated and, in some ways, even more "hardcore", but it wasn't the way this record was meant to be heard. Haunted Town has done a great job putting this version of the record together. The artwork is perfectly re-created and there's a complete lack of over-sized label logos and contact info (which is sadly almost the norm now in high-profile reissues). The mastering job is huge. When you drop the needle and "Rat Patrol" comes in with just the one guitar, it's a long few seconds waiting to really hear how it's going to sound, and when the band kicks into full gear, the sound is all over the place and it's just so huge and pummeling and you know that this is what Naked Raygun, in their infinite punk-wisdom, were going for.

Of course, there's almost no point in talking about the record because you either know it or you don't and if you don't, you probably do know that there's something missing in your life. Everything from the sing-alongs in "Rat Patrol" to the slow, driving beat of "Roller Queen" to the too-short-notice "No" (bonus track not included on the original) is to-the-point and, above all, strictly Naked Raygun. Raygun were never ones to bullshit or beat around the bush, and they never recorded a track they didn't absolutely need to, which is what makes their material so vital. They were one of the few bands in the 80s that managed to carve out their own niche in hardcore punk and create a sound that was like nobody else in the world. This album is essential.

There are 800 of these on gold vinyl and 550 on oxblood. I've got the oxblood version, which is like a dark purple with a black haze, and looks awesome.

Buy It on Interpunk

Friday, May 16, 2008

L.S.D.-Discography LP (Schizophrenic)


I slept on this record for a looooong time. I honestly avoid a lot of Japanese releases because they're pretty trendy. This is a case where I have humble myself and just admit that I missed the fuck out.

L.S.D. were one of the early Japanese hardcore punk bands and this their entire recorded output, spanning 1984-1986 and culled from five separate sessions. The A side is really what you're after here, which includes all the original recordings of their songs. There is a recording that was originally released as a flexi in 1984 (flexis seemed to be really popular among Japanese groups), a 7" they recorded in '86 called Jast Last, a song from a comp. LP and one song from a demo later in their career. All the music is excellent, a good mix of mid-tempo punk and faster thrash style hardcore that is pretty fucking heavy all the way through. The coolest thing about the whole side of the record is that the different sessions don't offer a huge contrast. Releases like this tend to be a little hard to listen to because of the differences in quality or production, and this flows really well, I'm amazed there are no mastering credits and all these songs just happened to flow this well. Fans of any early Japanese hardcore (Gauze, Stalin, etc) will go nuts over this and will obviously love the price-tag, a mere 13 bucks, compared to the hundreds the originals would set you back.

The B side of the record is a live set from '84. The recording quality is really good and the set is top-notch. It's a great addition, especially considering the fact that only a couple of the songs are repeated and the rest of the set is made up of previously unreleased songs. Schizophrenic Records really set the standard with this one.

Buy It On Interpunk

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SSD To Tour This Summer

You may or may not have heard about the SSD "reunion" happening this summer. This is all you need to know:

"There is absolutely no truth to any speculation that SSD will be performing this summer. The fact is original vocalist David Spring "Springa" is assembling a band of hired guns to tour and rip off the public playing under the name SSD. Due to his selfish actions David Spring has officially been terminated from ALL association with the band SSD. His attempt to recreate SSD in 2008 will utterly fail and I hope the public will not attend his performances and if they do they make it as miserable as possible for him to remain on stage safely. I know I personally will make every attempt to make him pay for his corrupt, cheating selfish actions. SSD will always be a team with integrity. It's unfortunate that a fat overweight "has been" and "nobody" will try to fool the public under the mighty moniker SSD.

His overall contribution to what made SSD such a special band is so far under the radar and almost next to zero. Anybody intimately involved and close to the band understands his contribution. The real fact is that the band had to go out of its way to compensate for his talent, work ethic and criminal behavior.

I feel bad for those fans who have been waiting for a chance to see the band but attending this Dave Springa performance is a travesty and borderline criminal. He is a terrible human being and I'm not just saying this now. He is basically the reason the band dissolved. Our relationship has been civil since we stopped playing but clearly after then band dissolved his musical and organizational ability pretty much guaranteed his ability to get to get zero accomplished. He couldn't write a song if it fell in his lap. Having said that, I have been monitoring this potential SSD ripoff roadshow for sometime and I have done my best to discourage it through various legal and illegal tactics. I have actually held off some royalties and payments to hold over his head and help him make the right decision.

He is basically following the business model laid out by Cliff from the Freeze, Chris Doherty from Gang Green, Choke from Slapshot. I can only speculate but I believe their motives are clear. I hate to throw anybody under the bus but I'm sure this support system of 40 year olds living in the past has helped David Spring organize the tour.

Motives

1) Rip off the public as 40 plus year-olds playing music made by kids and capitalize on American Hardcore Movie.

2) Make enough money to buy their alcohol, drugs and coke and whatever else.

3) Pounce on as many foreign chicks who think these American punk rock stars are special and give them 20 year old pussies. Hopefully they will give them something else as well.

4) Escape their miserable lives and US wifes and girlfriends to pursue their sexual fantisies.

5) Hopefully come back to US with enough money so they can collect unemployment and continue their life avoiding a disciplined work schedule in which you wake up and go to work. They will repeat the cycle every two years.

If it wasn't for my efforts, Springa would have justified this plan and pulled this shit sooner. It seems like he might pull it off this time but I am a fucking fighter and I don't take well to people ripping me off and tarnishing the name of my band. I am assemblng a network of supporters who will help do everything possible to make him uncomfortable and fearful for his safety at each show. If he gets close to the Boston or New York area then I will execute the plan. My goal is to make the tour fall apart due to poor attendance, hopefully get the promotors to back off after my legal representative serve papers. I would also appeal to the general public to understand when they are getting ripped off and for them to NOT BELIEVE that this lineup is SSD. It's just a fat overweight scumbag breaking ranks from the band. He must be stopped.

Please share this letter to anybody or any punk rock news outlet. It's time to put a stop to these rogue motherfuckers who have no integrity. Anyone who can help make David Spring's life miserable will be on my list of close friends who I will be entirely indebted to and hopefully I can repay the favor somehow.

Thanks

Alan Barile
Leader SSD"

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Podcast 5/04/08

Well, I'm back. Work is still crazy and my shifts are being moved around, but I had some time and wanted to put this together. This episode is a little NYHC heavy (Token Entry, Stimulators, H2O), but it also hits Finland for some awesome progressive metal/hardcore, and pulls a couple other great selections from Europe with Mad Sin and the 4Skins. The obscurist points are here as well, with a great number from Agness Bernelle and a lost Freddie and the Freeloaders track recorded at the legendary Sun Studios back in '65. While I was not doing these, I forgot how boring this shit gets when I drink too much and ramble on forever about some bands. Sorry, it won't be so bad next time.

The Process-Svidande Kritik
Naked Raygun-Rat Patrol

Cut the Shit-No Integrity
Agnes Bernelle-Chansonette

Mad Sin-Wicked Witch
Stimulators-Loud Fast Rules!
Token Entry-The Bright Side
4Skins-Plastic Gangster

H2O-EZ.2.B.Anti
Freddie and the Freeloaders-The Octopus Song
Gorgonized Dorks-Cycle of Depravity
Tom Waits-Green Grass


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