Send. Help. Quick.

by on @ 11:36 am

Thick Records just reissued the Blue Meanies’ Full Throttle a couple weeks back. Go buy it.

The disc is remixed, remastered, has three bonus tracks (including their cover of Queen’s “Stone Cold Crazy”), and the video for “Smash the Magnavox.” It is 10x more rocking than before. You should own it, if for no other reason than it is one of the best discs for living room dancing on the face of the planet. You can spazz out to your heart’s content, and Full Throttle will not disappoint.

In other Blue Meanies-related news, former frontman Billy Spunke has put together a music festival called Valley of the Vapors at Maxine’s in Hot Springs, Arkanasas. It’s four days, March 16-19. Visit their website for details. It promises to be an interesting event.

CD Review: Kaddisfly – “Buy Our Intention; We’ll Buy You A Unicorn”

by on @ 11:08 am

When a press release says you’ll like a band if you like a laundry list of styles, that says to me one of two things: either the group is in fact quite ecelectic, or they just threw everything at the wall and hoped it would stick.

Kaddisfly falls somewhere in the middle. They seem to be grasping at straws at the opening of Buy Our Intention; We’ll Buy You A Unicorn, but slowly and surely, the album’s diverse mixture of styles begin to come together. The opening five tracks or so come awfully close to aping A Perfect Circle, but by the time “Let Weight Be Measured By Merit” kicks in, Kaddisfly is standing strong on both feet.

I never thought a group could actually pull together jazz and hardcore, but this works. Sure, bands have worked in jazz drumming (Refused, anyone?) by the score. But never has jazz guitar noodling and hardcore riffs flowed into one another. And this fucking works. I’ll admit, it took me about ten listens before the album clicked with me. Once it took hold, tho’… man… this works.

To be honest, this is NOT for everyone. Someone expecting something like Thrice (this is Hopeless, after all) is going to be sorely disappointed. But if you put Buy Our Intention into your cd player with an open mind and open ears, you’re going to be in for a treat. It’s punk, but it’s not three chords and a sneer. More like bebop with a smile.

Hopeless Records

CD Review: Armor For Sleep – “What To Do When You Are Dead”

by on February 25, 2005 @ 3:48 pm

Armor For Sleep’s sophomore album, What To Do When You Are Dead, picks up right where their debut ended. It’s a really warm-sounding record, as was Dream to Make Believe.

Armor For Sleep has this amazing ability to take what is by now average and somehow manage to turn it into gold. A lot of this has to do with that aforementioned warmth. The band makes records that are the musical equivalent of laying underneath a blanket while on your couch. It’s a very cozy, relaxed sort of feeling.

There are screams, to be sure, but they come off as more cathartic, rather than angry. Armor For Sleep may play a variation on post-hardcore screamy rock, but it’s a variation that’s all their own. There’s some serious melody in their songs, but they seem to be comfortable with it, rather than struggling to “stay hard” like so many other groups in their genre.

I’m also impressed with the little booklet that came with the cd. It’s not much bigger than a credit card, but is this nifty little booklet about preparing for the afterlife that is a nice takeoff of that manual from Beetlejuice. It fits perfectly with What To Do When You Are Dead‘s themes of life, death, and what lies beyond. It’s a minor thing, but shows a commitment to a totality of vision that so many other bands lack.

Equal Vision Records
Armor For Sleep

VJ may as well stand for virtual jockey

by on @ 2:18 pm

So, the new issue of Wired showed up in the mail today, and it’s all about the death of radio. Y’know, vis a vis XM, Sirius, and the ubiquitous iPod. All fun and good to read, but the really amazing bit came towards the end of the issue, in a story entitled “You, Too, Can Be A Podcaster.

The amazing bit? “Adam Curry’s show, ‘Daily Source Code‘ was the first ever podcast.”

Yes, that Adam Curry. The MTV vj. The first host of Headbanger’s Ball. The guy with the long hair pretty boy look. And it seems he’s started a revolution. A minor one, yes, but it makes running a WinAmp ShoutCast stream look like small potatos.

Give peace a chance

by on @ 6:08 am

So, a man gets to Heaven. He’s talking with St. Peter outside the Pearly Gates, and St. Peter’s telling him all the amazing people who’ve made it to Heaven. He points out Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, and is talking about how Heaven works when the man looks over and sees a guy with wraparound shades and a leather jacket lounging in a chair.

“Wow,” he says. “Even Bono’s in Heaven.”

“Nope,” says St. Peter. “That’s God. He just thinks he’s Bono.”

And now, they’ve nominated that Irish twit for a Nobel fucking Peace Prize? BONO? From U2? That Bono?


You and I in a little toy shop

by on February 14, 2005 @ 4:14 pm

Department store chain JC Penny decided to use ’80s German pop star Nena‘s song “99 Red Balloons” in a recent Valentine’s Day jewelry ad. The opening lyrics go as follows:

“You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons with the money we’ve got.
Set them free at the break of dawn
‘Til one by one, they were gone.”

That makes sense for the ad. The ad’s a jewelry sale ad for V-Day, so they show a guy giving a girl jewelry as they let all these red balloons go. The whole thing’s shot in the vague soft-focus sort of way, and it seems all happy and romantic. Ideally, I suppose it also makes you want to buy your woman a heaping of gems and precious metals to dangle off her body. There’s a problem with the whole thing, tho’. See, the whole song is actually about nuclear war. The remainder of the song talks about “the war machine spring[ing] to life” and “call[ing] out the troops” and so forth. I don’t exactly bloom with warm fuzzies when I think about a city turned to dust.

Two other examples of idiotic commercial song use include Lou Reed‘s “Perfect Day” in an NFL ad (the song being about dying from AIDS). There is also my personal favorite: Iggy Pop‘s “Lust For Life”, in a commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines… “Lust For Life” dealing pretty much exclusively with drug use and abuse.

For more info on such cultural disjunction, check out Rob Walker’s article “The Commercial Clash.” He mentions the songs I’ve covered, as well as a healthy slant towards the Clash‘s use in advertising.

The Esoteric posts advance new music

by on February 9, 2005 @ 2:20 pm

Kansas-based grindcore band The Esoteric (featuring members of Coalesce and Reggie & the Full Effect) have posted an advance track from their forthcoming new album. The track is called “Ram-Faced Boy” and is available for listening on their MySpace site and available for download exclusively at the Prosthetic Records website. The new album is entitled With the Sureness of Sleepwalking and is available in stores April 19.

Look for them to tour the West Coast with Node of Ranvier March 10-26 and to head out to the South and East with Remembering Never, the Acacia Strain and Since the Flood for all of April leading up to our appearance at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival at the Palladium in Worcester, MA on Saturday, April 23.

For more info, check out their website or go here for a smapling of mp3s and live videos clips.