Thornberry has reviewed loads of new CDs for us...cheers
PSYCHO "Never" (Black Hole)
This was so amazingly horrible my ears bled. What's shocking
is that somebody at a label actually sat through this entire
thing (without a pistol in their mouth), and then said "Yeah,
I'll put thousands of my company's hard-earned dollars into
reproducing and distributing this! No problem!" Michael
Psycho starts this magnum opus off with a pointless intro called
The Day I Failed The Majors, and goes straight into your favorite
1 a.m. bar rawk, with drum machines so sloppy, and poorly played
they could only remain humorous if they were done by the Boredoms,
Half Japanese, Wesley Willis, or someone else "uniquely
bizarre" so I knew it was intentional.I laughed so hard
listening to this I choked on my dinner, and almost barfed on
actually has the audacity to brag in the lil' clipping sent
with this disc/frisbee to boast about it being "completely
recorded, produced, written, performed, mixed, mastered, planned,
funded, and pimped and pandered by Michael Psycho". He
also wastes paper with his boring philosophy about why music
sucks nowadays (zzz). Here's an idea: keep that job at
the paint store, dude! Instead of shelling out ca$h for your
fruitless little hobby, finish getting your mini-truck customized!
He flips me off from the cover of the cd/projectile. Such a
rebel! I'll bet Mr. And Mrs. Psycho (What's that, French?) are
"The Unseen" (Stones Throw)
I slept on this release, and didn't actually hunt for it until
I read reviews calling it one of the best albums (hip-hop or
otherwise) of last year.
is a apparently some kind of anteater looking little dude. The
Stones Throw website has a photo of the chap, and he appears
to be a bit like one of my old stuffed animals. But he has skills.
of the amazalistic, super-duper Lootpack, got invited along
on this twenty-four track hip-hop excursion into waters most
emcees are afraid to touch. "I like anything that turns
shit green." That's why people think I'm into some weak-ass,
watered-down piss when I wear my Hieroglyphics Imperium t-shirt
on campus. Terms like 'bizarre', or 'odd' don't even get close
to this layers-deep exploration into audio absurdity, and creativity
that works about 93% of the time, which is a lot better than
when anybody else tries to be 'weird'. I'm actually not so sure
Quasimoto is actually trying very hard. Rather than wildin'
out, or jockin' the bitches, he's "a soldier in the town
drinking Butterflly Snapple. I'm walking round the street handing
out poison apples."
delusions of hardness here. Speaking of which, I know of a particular
emcee who loves to spin yarns about how he's a bad mu'fuckah
from the streets of (blank). Meanwhile, he's immensely
wealthy, and lives in a mansion, in an extreeemely suburban,
ivy covered, white-bread college town, where there's a cop on
almost every corner. Having lived, for a time, in both
places myself (the one he 'represents', and the one where he
gets his mail sent) I'm almost physically ill when I see his
puh-thetic mug looking up at me in contrived contempt from the
cover of one of his awful cd's. Yeah! Put down the caviar, climb
out of your jacuuzi, grab a gat, and smoke my ass, you dick!
tempted to liken The Unseen to a hip-hop Trout Mask Replica,
but Quas has to get in line behind Kool Keith first, and nearly
any project he gets near (especially Dr. Octagon).
back to The Unseen being an expedition of sorts, one of the
best songs on this album (Return of the Loop Digga) pauses while
Madlib ventures into a record shop, and catches the clerk off
guard by when he actually appears to know what he's talking
about for a change, rather than "You got that song that
goes doot-doot-dooooot, doo, doot-doot-dooooot!?"
production seems to have been vastly important here, and is
interesting all by itself. Dr. Octagonecologyst got a nice 'instruments
only' album, with a slight remix, as the nuances of the vocals
were no longer crucial. I think an Unseen remix is justified
too now. I know I'd listen to it, and probably put even more
of it on my answering machine than I have right now.
album did peter out toward the end, but I really feel like 20
of the 24 songs were strong enough to find me with the a case
of the double take's, and replaying certain tracks, even though
I knew I was hearing quotes (like: "tryin' to do what we
do, we livin' like 'What?', some niggaz can't even keep their
mouth off my nuts") correctly the first three times I played
know, you may have been sleeping too. Go straight on back to
that record shop, trade in that wack, commercialized, thug bullshit
you bought just because of that Hoochies in Heat video clip,
and grab a copy of this before it disappears into someone else's
TEXT "Never Judge A Book" (Asha)
With mic skills in English, Spanish, and Spanglish two
hard boiled, rogue emcees came together with a whole new spin
on the Hispanic Hip-Hop made popular by Funkdoobiest, Delinquent
Habits, Cypress Hill, and Ozomatli.
things went sour for a deal with Ruffhouse/Columbia Records,
Gusto, one half of Raw Text, parted company with his old crew,
and went to work on some solo projects. Meanwhile, Spits, the
other cipher, was doing, more or less, the same thing: looking
came in the form of jobs working with rapper Af The King, after
they had already hooked up, and started making the demos that
would make up a chunk of the Raw Text live show, eventually
getting hold of the mic on Lovely from his excellent Torture
Taught Ya' album. He spins with almost as much authority as
he has on the microphone, and proves this with his guest cuts
on Gimme Da' Mic.
and Gusto will "verbally abuse ya like a white-trash biker
kid" on any of the sixteen tracks on this praiseworthy,
highly qualified debut cd.
most re-playable tracks here include Accessory Ta' Murder, In
It For Life, I Love It, the Open Mic Nite set, My World, Pay
Dues, and What'cha Want? with co-producer Angela Piva's sultry
vocals. The bonus is the live instrumentation that gets mixed
imperceptibly with the cut up, funky, hip hop score. Recommended!
Angela Piva Angela@ASHArecords.com
FOXXX "Industry Shakedown" (KJAC/Landspeed)
The man known as Bumpy Knuckles is infamous for stepping into
an actual boxing ring somewhere, and wearing several other emcees
out. When he tells you he'll "slap you in your mouth,
and your drinks'll be un-sippable" you know in your
bones that he isn't some studio gangsta like Chris Rock in CB4.
He'll "beat you down and send yr ass home" if necessary.
struck me first about "Industry Shakedown" were the
lyrics. Despite the copious flow of braggadocio, and the impending
threat that his furious fists were gonna eventually make their
way through my stereo speakers to work me over Bumpy is actually
a funny guy. In the same way that I thought The Exorcist was
a really dark comedy, I feel like Industry Shakedown has its
moments where I laugh at the thought of him about to "hunt
a nigga down like the Predator". I certainly wouldn't say
to his face that I thought some of this record made me bust
up, because I wouldn't want him to ever think I was laughing
at him. Like Ray Liotta in Good Fellas, I'll backpedal
and tell you now that I think his delivery, and witty,
whole-hearted, and unflinching belief in what he says is occasionally
quite humorous. You try listening to this and not smiling!
"I do it to young niggaz, old niggaz, rock niggaz, soul
Bumpy makes rap seem dangerous at a time when most of the so-called
competition is just flavorless "soft shit, like velour".
Yes, rap has unfortunately succumbed. It's as played out as
Alternative and Indie Rock have both become now that most of
the "Indie" sensations are recording for labels big
enough to afford big Christmas Bonuses for their A&R's whose
became a fan of all things hip-hop in about the third grade,
a few years before Run DMC spit Hard Times. Rap was on shaky
ground then. Scary, relatively obscure. It was often compared
to Disco, which at that time was going strong. I memorized Rapper's
Delight, and never thought I'd see the day when rap music was
being used to sell soft drinks. Bumpy apparently is disgusted
by commercial hip-hop too.
a time when the whole notion of "keeping it real"
has just become a hollow cliche, and cats who "rep-ruh-zented"
are living the good life, far, far away from that beam of light
from the police helicopter. When "thugs" sport their
own clothing lines, and strike poses for rabid photographers
as they leave Places To Be Seen with their Supermodel girlfriends
Bumpy Knuckles steps in to examine the ghetto pass of playas
while they're waiting to get their own t.v. sitcoms.
mention the guest work that the mighty DJ Premier (from Gang
Starr) did, as well as The Alchemist, Pete Rock, M.O.P., and
Diamond D, but unlike some rap albums that keep things padded
with a string of guests so the project'll stay afloat, this
is cd *belongs to Freddie Foxxx. This was a full contact listening
experience, and one of the best, most assured debut rap albums
HUMAN "Arvada" (Direct Hit)
Arvada is a soundscape that's not too far removed from Nurse
With Wound or an even more bugged out Herbie Hancock. This band
dresses up for this little party too, complete with partially
a shaved head and beard on one guy so it looks like a big donut
landed on his head while he was pen to paper for the ditty Kill
All Humans. When one of the duo changes their name to Raldron
you know something's not quite there.
cd's a bit like being trapped inside an old Atari 2600 game.
I used to spend hours as a little kid playing Missile Command,
Space Invaders, Asteroids, and other quirky games full of bleeps,
blips and bloops. I actually enjoyed this album. Well recorded,
and with some good femme vocals too. The piano seemed to stand
out from the more modern keys (and I am NOT old fashioned),
and guitar is used sparingly. It also sounds like there could
be some cuts (scratching, dj'ing, turntablism) in there as well.
don't know why it just popped into my head just now, but the
sheer wackiness of this group's Modus Operandi brought to mind
an episode of that 1980's t.v. show Moonlighting. Cybil
Shepherd and Bruce Willis are seated in a Mexican restaurant
when a trio of mustachioed men holding acoustic guitars arrives
at the table and burst into song. Willis leans toward them and
guys know any Sabbath?"
BRUISERS "Better Days" (Taang!)
man... Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the
water The Bruisers release another one! I reviewed their last
effort (In the Pit - Live & Rare), and was fairly courteous
when I deemed it: "A pointless collection of this crappy,
macho group's brand of regurgitated Oi meets sweaty beef street-punk.
I've always thought bands like this played such shockingly derivative
music by GUYS for GUYS, because they have painfully small whammers,
and looked upon their own concerts as therapy sessions."
I'll bet at least half of this band owns a couple of those huuuge,
American pickup trucks with absolutely nothing being hauled
in the back. A friend of mine says that vehicles like that are
an extension of their owner's manhood. Or lack thereof.
to the alleged "songs" on Better Days: Will someone
puh-leeze ask the singer to find a key and stay in it?! Or take
some vocal lessons and smoke less! They've only just begun their
voyage into The Gates of Hell (track five) and I feel ready
to vomit copiously into my stereo. They should make death row
prison inmates listen to the collected works of this outfit
continuously. When the axe falls, the rope tightens, the switch
is pulled or they finally get that lethal injection it will
seem like a tender mercy. They'll smile as life exits their
being. "Free at last! No more having to hear Messed
Up, Forty Miles of Bad Road, or Mainliner!" Evil behaviors
will decrease substantially if you merely whisper to
those having criminal tendencies the possibilities of playing
them a single verse from any song off of Better Days.
I know why The Bruisers (probably) headline tours of those aromatic
nightclubs that let the bands perform until "last call".
Places where the audience is just drunk enough that a
gibbon could spring up onto the bar counter, encircle the patron's
faces with his nappy ass-flesh and cut really boisterous, really
wet farts into their open mouths. What's the difference between
experiencing that and being subjected to this compact disc?
Probably not a whole lot. At least I got a free drink the last
time the ape-thing happened. As far as the latter goes, the
doorman would probably like for me to pay him to watch The Bruisers.
Rather than the other way around.
guess this'd be a fantastic soundtrack to life in a trailer
park, or if you have an IQ anywhere below 80 and think your
sister is looking H.O.T. these days.
" Some Dusty" (Kindercore)
My friend Dorothy loaned me this cd the other day. She's always
attempting to drag me to these K Recs/Kindercore/Grrrl shows
where there's three women on various guitars and keyboards,
then perhaps a token guy on drums on a shaky stage or a living
room rug. It usually isn't very good, but since it's (shhh!)
feminist rock I'm not supposed to take notice of the
fact that they can barely play, and would make The Shaggs seem
like, say, The Cars, or any other semi-musically accomplished
band you would care to name. I went to one such show where straight
away the lead vocalist yelled "Okaaay! All you men!
Go stand in the back. Give us some room! We're strong women.
We don't need you anyway!" Then she said something
about "Girl Power", failing to notice how much that
behavior was really like Bruce Springsteen, or Jon Bon Jovi,
or any other *MALE giving his all on a spiel that night. The
Boss between songs: "You know, when I was a kid, growing
up in Jersey." Whoever She Was: "You know,
when I was a kid, growing up in Olympia.".
was in 1994. Before Dorothy. Back when Bikini Kill were crankin'
out the songs alongside The Fakes, Milky Wimpshake, and Huggy
Bear (who's Taking The Rough With The Smooch is one of my top
100 albums despite the fact that because I own a penis, and
the tunes are supposed to go over my head). "Riotgrrrl"
was a possibility back then. A few albums produced in that time
actually caught my attention as being pretty innovative and
catchy in ways I had never really thought of before. Unfortunately,
for every one good record there were at least five others that
skated by on nouveau-hippie posturing, blinkered, silly idealism,
and shite, or non-existent songwriting.
that was then. This is not to try and drag Birdie into the whole
Riotgrrrl/sloganeering feminist propaganda machine that "indie
rock" flirted with in the nineties. But, unfortunately,
if girls like Dorothy can identify with Birdie, and at the same
time stand in line to buy tickets to see Bratmobile, then this
group could quickly find themselves stigmatized, or type-cast
as 'cuddly', or 'twee', but also not very
*proficient. To Birdie's credit they actually do know how to
play their guitars,, and even throw in violin, cello, viola,
mellotron and trumpet,. And there's actually only really three
girls in this seven piece band. 'Debsy', however, is the only
member of Birdie allowed on the cover. She plays about twenty
different instruments on Some Dusty so I guess she's earned
it. Opening the cd jacket I notice two of her compatriots pictured,
but where are the other four? Do they have terrible Limp Bizkit
jock-on-probation style? Or beards? Flab? Explosive relief-map
liked the production on Some Dusty quite a bit, which was not
so much lo-fi as it was vintage-fi, with a warmth
to the whole thing that I'm positive bands spend millions of
dollars trying to capture in big studios in L.A. Overall this
is a decent debut, but not anything I'll be looking for
on my own. The vocals were somewhat one-dimensional, fatigued,
and the whole band sounded a bit bored. Like they couldn't wait
to get finished being sensitive and go back to covering Loverboy.
"Black Rebel Motorcycle Club" (Virgin)
I think my friends have good taste, so I when I overheard Love
Burns with that very hooky chorus in the salon I go to I asked
who it was. I got the cd a few days later and have since had
several songs become wedged in my skull.
San Francisco trio creates a dark, and morose at times soundscape
that hangs precariously on overcast, joyless but melodic guitar
lines. This debut has a rather dingy and gray sound quality,
though all of the performances are distinct. If the Black Rebel
Motorcycle Club album had been released in a day-glo sleeve
with the band members dressed as clowns immersed in a smiling
birthday cake fight I'd still be calling this a dark album.
after Marlon Brando's rough and trumble gang in the 1950 film
The Wild One this group are able to evoke the gloom of Joy Division
with the collated dissonance of The Jesus & Mary Chain and
the sarcasm of early Cure. Recommended. Standouts include Awake,
Love Burns, Red Eyes and Tears, Rifles, the Lennon-ish Head
Up High and Salvation.
"Another Mellow Spring" (Cyber Octave)
With two previous efforts under their belt Mellow step into
this record with a similar mindset and much the same overall
feel that 1999's Another Mellow Winter had. As this cd is potentially
a prelude to the Mellow take on summer I'll look forward to
that. Fans of early Pink Floyd atmospherics and duo Air (minus
the Supply) and Lull (Mick Harris) take note. It would be oddly
humorous if this band charged out on track one with double bass,
palm mutes and praises to the Dark One, but Mellow basically
stays true to their name. There are eleven tracks here with
three versions of one named after the band itself. Instant Love
is my favorite.
TAH "Into The OH" (Virgin/Luaka Bop)
File this album under "G", because Geggy Tah are actually
Pomona California's most popular triplets, who have as much
in common with the cerebral pop of XTC as They Might Be Giants
or even Devo.
be hard pressed to pin them down to a single style on Into The
OH, or on their two previous albums Sacred Cow and Grand Opening.
They're clever without being cheeky about it, like on Special
Someone, where Geggy Tah are like a far less excruciating Paul
Simon playing a choice number from Randy Newman's songbook and
backed by E.L.O.
entire album is worthy of repeat listens, particularly Sweat,
Goodnight To The Machine (where the sound of a telephone receiver
coming down gently becomes an unlikely backbeat), Aliens Somewhere,
One Zero, I Forgot, and Holly Oak. Highly recommended.
ARROGANTS "Your Simple Beauty" (Shelflife)
Much to my dismay this band have recently packed it in. At least
they ended on a high creative note. Somber, but elegant and
dreamy pop by one of the few Orange County (Calif.) bands who
didn't high-five the front row at their concerts. The best moments
of The Red House Painters, Cocteau Twins, and very early Cranberries
(sans the Zombie bombast) get highlighted here, and at the end
of what turns out to be too short of a cd (good sign) you're
left with Lovesick, which gets an acoustic re-appraisal as an
appended bonus. It's far, far, farrr better than the quick,
skippity, punkish tempo the original version has as track three,
and there's a line singer Jana Wittren does that I played over
and over last night as I typed, rigid and wired. Maybe it was
the coffee? Don't think so. Fantastic. Tortuously brief. Indispensable.
EFFECT "self titled" (Glue Factory)
Fountain Valley California is the home of this trio who take
the pomposity out of the newer breed of struggling guitarock
pilgrims and injects their eleven song debut with actual
songs! There are a few brief flashes of that dreaded thing
some refer to as "Emo", but they flew by before I
could hit the <FWD> button on my stereo. Here's to album
number two. Emo-Snore is already dead and buried. "Over",
so I'm looking forward to the next. My favorites: Famous-Like,
Still Life (not a remake of the Iron Maiden song), Take and
Last Half Champions with that cool prelude. I'd recommend this
I haven't heard a single album that utilizes the vocoder as
effectively as 1988's Cacophony by Rudimentary Peni until now.
If you only previously made time for bands clutching sweaty
guitars this could (should) be your introduction to house music.
When you hear somebody say "French duo" you immediately
think of Air, right? How about Shiny Parisian Automatons? Seriously.
Formed in 1992, this pair of DJ's (Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo
and Thomas Bangalter) were quickly swept up in a bidding war,
before Virgin issued 1997's Homework. The best disco hits you
never heard get sliced, diced, filtered through an ocean of
different effects, and are transformed on Discovery, which is
catchier than the flu in a crowded elevator in mid February.
65 "Man Overboard" (Anticon)
I was doing my usual afternoon routine, digging thru piles of
dusty forgotten records and cd's at this local music shop when
I heard the intro to Battery by Metallica. Six somber notes.
Then I heard it again. And again. And again. With some drums
underneath. Some guy was dropping rhymes about "having
a head like a rat's nest", and being "harder
than a math test". Then his voice aged forty years,
he became Wilford Brimley, and went on about being an "amateur
coin collector, John Q. Taxpayer. Shy around girls with my face
all scarred. The only thing in my wallet is a baseball card".
the fuck is this?" I asked the girl behind the counter.
just got it. Buck 65."
the very cd she was playing over their little P.A. home with
me and haven't had it out of my stereo (except to temporarily
transfer it to the boombox on top of the toilet so I can listen
in the shower) since.
from Nova Scotia producer/emcee Buck 65 (named after his weight)
used to Deejay for the Biz (Markie) and the Beastie Boys, and
now creates his own cuts and drop some verses that effortlessly
stand way out in today's hip-hop climate, which has become
fairly sodden with tired macho clichés and self conscious,
chest-inflated grandstanding. I guess it's been that way since
it all started, but Buck 65 can make it almost painful to listen
to some other rappers. It's only when you hear stuff that's
truly different that the regular shit seems so last
year. Weary. Insipid. Stale.
d love to tell you how great that song about his mother is.
She died from breast cancer and Man Overboard is dedicated to
her, but there aren't any song titles, so if you're lucky enough
to snag a copy of this (most likely at a small independent shop,
since Buck 65's not likely to be on Empty-Vee any time soon)
it's Track Nine. I'd give you my list on which tracks to skip
to, but that's take the fun out of it. Make your own list. Maybe
you can trade in your Poop Soggy Frogg collection for this or
Buck 65's Vertex album.
Overboard is one of the best albums of 2001.
Any genre. Hands down.
MURPHY'S/THE BUSINESS "Mob Mentality" split cd (Taang!)
Before I even plopped this shiny lil' disc into my stereo I
knew I probably wouldn't like it very much: I saw the Smurphy's
a few years ago on the Van's Warped Tour. Ozomatli and Eminem
were great! Both of the bands included here on Mob Mentality
crank out (assembly line style) masculine, sweaty, Caucasian,
working-class (that's a nice way of saying they don't really
seem like rocket scientists) hawwwd-coahhh, Oi-ish, rock
'n roll. The title track is the two bands helping each other
play a four chord, shite snooze-a-thon with grouchy, shouted
choruses that sounded like my fat-bastard dad bitching from
the couch the day our air-conditioner broke. Mob Mentality gets
done again at the very end of this twelve song trip to Hell,
and I was about to congratulate the boys on actually being able
to play the fucker twice, but this version sounds exactly
like the original go-round.
did like the Dropkick's cover of The Who song (The Kid's Are
Alright), and I found them to be a bit less sleep-inducing than
The Business who were all work and no play. Is there some law
I'm not privy to, where if you audition to sing for an "Oi"
band you have to be fucking tone deaf?
for pound both bands are decent at what they do, but this sounded
played out in 1985 when I first really heard punk rock. Oooh!!!
Both bands have their names superimposed on beer logos so I'll
be sure to mention that they'd probably enjoy it if you passed
any of them a good Irish stout at their next gig. Now that's
unique! D+, douchebags.
"Rock and Roll Killing Machine" (Revelation)
Am I just getting old finally? Black Flag's White Minority was
my introduction to punk rock back in 1985. It was on a very
well-worn cassette copy of the soundtrack to The Decline of
Western Civilization with the Flag, Germs, Fear, X, and several
other amazing (original) bands. Yeah, you can call me an old
fogey or a record snob when I say that punk is now as dead as
it could possibly be, but think for a minute. Tell me you've
never seen a fourteen year old with a Crass t-shirt on!? Little
Bobby plunks down $21.50 of his mowing-the-lawn cash but knows
too little about the band to even realize that paying that much
for a band shirt is against everything Crass ever stood for!
I just a Germs t-shirt in a rack at the fucking mall!
Yeah fuckface, wear it and pretend you understand: "Dood!
My mom saw this band when I was still in her stomach! My very
first haircut was a Mohawk!"
does my rambling have to do with Drowningman? Everything unfortunately.
When I read the bio enclosed with this here cd that finds the
band "at a new level" I got nostalgic. What, were
the members of this outfit maybe all of about five when
when Black Flag (the last "punk" band) played their
final show (in Detroit, MI, June 27th) in 1986? Even Greg. Henry,
and co. stopped being punk about two years prior, after Bill
Stevenson left. I think Bill even grew a beard. Yeah, punk came
much as Rock and Roll Killing Machine would really like to make
me wanna disembowel my parents, teachers and football coach
in a blood orgy this album just sailed way over my head,
and when it was finally over I threw the new Guided by Voices
cd back on. That's not to say I dislike the harder stuff at
all! I've probably forgotten more about punk rock than these
guys will ever even be able to comprehend.
contents of R&RKM: an angular, dissonant, very metal sounding
riff-o-rama with some twat blithering on & on & on &
on & on about how much it sucks being misunderstood. Sample
lyric: "I'd rather be your coffin than your pillow".
Deep! A few sample song titles (and I am not making these
up, I swear): This Year's Most Fashionable Signs of Weakness,
and Last Week's Minutes From The Meeting of the Secret Society
of Your Friends Who Actually Hate You.
this band are pretty adept at the whole volcanic math rock style.
Thing is, how much longer is this stuff going to get called
"new" or "hardcore" or even "punk"?
They should have just called this The Angry Short Haired Heavy
Metal Assembly Line and been honest.
SERG "Golden State of Mind, Bay Area 1992-1997, Insidious
Urban Mixtape" (Insidious)
From the chap who brought u Blastido Breaks come his reinterpretation
of five years worth of (sadly) underground hip-hop. This album
could be categorized as a "Various Artists" effort,
but Senor Salsa (Serg) cuts up, mixes and reiterates the seventeen
tracks here, fleshing out each of their better moments and making
them all his own for a time. For a few of the artists here,
their "better" moments are hard to find since the
"average" minutes by them are usually leagues beyond
the likes of that utterly preposterous bullshit that sells like
hotcakes to people who think real hip-hop is about uneducated
dickheads with cheesy promo videos full of "broke ho's
in swimming pools."
is joined on Golden State by several very fitting sound-bites
from that 80's movie Repo Man, one of my top films of
all time, just for the absurd, trashy and dumbhead aspects of
it. And, of course, for the role played wonderfully by Harry
Dean Stanton, whose use of the diatribe "dildo" has
become one of my favorite terms of endearment now.
AKA The Microwave Mexican also unearths a brilliant track by
his Various Blends crew, which features (Cali Agent) Rasco,
who almost dominates Golden State of Mind with his fluid rhyme
skills and personality. He's one of two of my "better/best
moments" emcees. Great re-workings of the always, always,
always great Blackalicious, whose Swan Lake (from 2000's Nia,
an essential), and tunes by DJ Shadow and Peanut Butter Wolf,
Big Nous, Encore, Plan B, The Dereliks, Bored Stiff, and Hobo
Shadow and Peanut Butter Wolf take cut & paste splice-a-thon
music and downtempo off into uncharted, alien realms, with obsessive
crate digging to find just the right beats and textures.
Like Goldilocks, they're both picky as fuck. Get copies of Endtroducing
(Shadow) or My Vinyl Weighs a Ton (Wolf) to see for yourself.
They've each probably forgotten more about hip-hop than
I'll ever know.
bonus track by (the other Cali Agent) Planet Asia brings Golden
State of Mind to an close that will have you going "already?"
even though the cd is just over an hour long. Great stuff! Asia's
another huge favorite. He's dropping a full-length on
Interscope soon. If you're halfway cool you already probably
have it on your want list, and if not, you have been forewarned!
(site was down last time I checked)
WAX "Aisle 10" single (Grand Royal)
This cd single is being tested right about now: How many times
will I actually be able to play this before I've worn it out?
You see, in the old days (around 1983) you went into a music
shop, bought a vinyl record or a cassette of an album, and if
it was truly enjoyable you eventually had to get yourself another
copy. The record got all noisy and popped a lot or eventually
skipped, you'd spill Fresca on it, or your little brother would
throw it on their dinky Fischer Price turntable with that crappy
steak-knife needle and give it a hard day's night. If you bought
the cassette it'd get maybe twenty plays before the (audio)
bias faltered, there were "drop outs", or your machine
just ate the thing. If you were an anal douchebag like myself
you would have probably been very meticulous, never getting
even fingerprints on the record, and making immediate
duplicates of the cassettes. I know a deejay who
has a vinyl "dish set" in his kitchen and will eat
off of old Carpenters albums that would probably all fetch $$$
on Ebay. He doesn't seem to care. Another friend of mine takes
old John Denver acetates, and random fucked-up campfire sing-a-long
12 inchers and glues or nails them to the walls of his office.
listened to the two songs on this single so many times now that
if they were on vinyl Masami Akita (Merzbow) would wanna make
his next noisefest with them. First up is Aisle 10 (Hello Allison),
which has a ridiculously catchy chorus and is remixed
by Madlib (of Lootpack and Quasimoto fame), the Funky Redneck
(Kutmastah Kurt) and Black Matador. Almost Fine is a sleeper
hit because it probably won't wind up on Okeeblow, the subsequent
full-length, when it's brought out. If this is Scapegoat Wax's
idea (government name: Marty James) of a "throwaway"
Okeeblow is gonna be just fine. Especially with lyrics like:
"Spent my last five dollars at Burger King."
or "I'm still tripping off my
ex-girlfriend, we broke up three years ago last week. I still
write songs about that girl, but she's moved on very nicely."
my boombox is making a funky smell now, so I'll give Scapegoat
Wax a break. Until tomorrow.
OR NOTHING H.C. "sacrifice, discipline, bliss" (On
The Rag Recs)
Reviewing albums put out by your friends will always leave you
in a tricky spot. Honesty? Sincerity? Nope! You can lie to their
face and go, "You guys rock!" at a gig or
in a record shop, but if they actually send you the album they
dropped eight quarts of sweat over, and you don't shoot a sticky
batch right on top of the case while your listening to it, or
harp endlessly in print about how what they did was sooo fantastic
that it was almost as though you were deaf before you heard
them then you
instantly become The Asshole. I'm learning that the hard way.
told myself when I started doing reviews that I wasn't even
gonna mention somebody's band in print or on-line if
I was even passing acquaintances with them. Then I ran into
some friends of mine in this little soon-to-be-broken up group
who wanted to give me a copy of their only cd as a farewell
to the whole project. I already knew before it arrived that
I'd probably like it because they were so good live and I really
dug their demo. So I cleaned listened to it again & again
& again, and filed it in my
music collection, knowing that I'll wanna dig it out and listen
every few weeks. It was that good. That band was the exception.
Or Nothing H.C. are a Corona, Calif. outfit who truly tested
how "good" of a pal I really am. I'm not even that
much of an actual friend of the member who sent me their fourteen-song
cd. I just used to bump into this person quite a bit at shows
a few years ago. "You should send me your
album!" It arrived, I gave it a listen, and put it
back on the book shelf with my Guinness Rockopedia, Get In The
Van (by Henry Rollins) and about a dozen different record guides
I like to read when I'm on the toilet (like yourself, I do my
best thinking on the porcelain throne, and sometimes suddenly
just have to know what label Caterwaul first recorded
for in their short career (it was Lost Arts, 1987, thanks).
I listened to this album two more times yesterday while I was
cleaning my house, and tonight I got some fuel (coffee), grabbed
the cd and took a seat in front of my computer.
Adequate musicianship. Kinda that whole melodic hardcore style
that tears up Oldies Radio now. Not exactly difficult stuff
to play. I seriously doubt their flute player had a stack of
charts to thumb through before getting tunes like Don't, Hate,
More, Event, Enough, Create, Never down pat. A bit formulaic
actually. An oxymoron? Maybe 'formula' and 'hardcore' eventually
became one when that whole skippity Bad Religion drum beat with
the guitar and bass chasing it got committed to wax for the
fifty-thousandth time in the name of "taking chances".
song Create borrows the first few notes from the main guitar
riff for Subliminal by Suicidal Tendencies (off their first
and only good album), and I actually thought this band had a
sense of humor and decided to cover the thing.
and what's the 'H.C.' actually stand for? Harmonic Country?
Hiccupping Camels? I'd guess it's safe to say that All Or Nothing
H.C. hate me now. Especially the singer, but please don't spear
my testicles when I see you! I'm just being honest! To Renae's
benefit I think she's a talented singer, but she sells herself
short with this band. Points deducted for the Exploited t-shirt
on the bass player too. Couldn't let that one slide.
"Always On" (Revelation)
This Orange County (Calif.) group used to do the whole Cruz
Records thing (i.e. sounding a bit like The Descendents, Chemical
People or Big Drill Car) back in their early days. Milo could
almost afford to go to med school if he had a shiny quarter
for every band that paid homage (maybe a bit too closely)
to those coffee swilling, porno lovin', pop-core crews.
Gameface sacked their old drummer, drafted the very talented
Steve Sanderson, and went less Bill Stevenson with their sound.
There are still some odes to the ladies (The Warmest Heart Attack),
but Always On is kept from taking itself too seriously when
Gameface rock Anyone Can Write a Song, which is a catchy number
reminiscent of the Doughboys, who had Scratch & Sniff dreadlocks
and probably even made desperate women ill.
Gameface did flirt briefly with "Emo", and their name
reeks of "jock" but I forgive them on both counts.
Good album. Definitely recommended.