American Steel / Punk Reunions

Posted on August 27th, 2007 in , , , , by daniel || 1 Comment

I am bewildered by the string of recent posts on punknews.org and similar sites about the reformation of American Steel. I remember seeing this band play on my 21st birthday and being wild about their 1st and 2nd LPs. However, no one (besides me, apparently) gave a shit about them at the time, so they COMPLETELY sold out and formed some kind of Faint-esque dance-punk band called Communique. When said venture failed they got the old punk band together and now all of a sudden people care… really? I don’t know these guys or anything, but a glance at their biography makes their return to punk rock seem entirely dubious.

It seems that nowadays the shortest path to success in the punk scene is to put out a halfway decent record or two, break up for a couple of years and come back to thousands of new fans pretending like they were into you the first time around. Case in point: Lifetime. I actually think they were a decent band on their last 2 LPs, but their breakup gave them a mystique that made them seem WAY more important than they ever were. This fascination with reunions is even more pervasive in the hardcore scene… in my own distro the most obscure reissues of 80s records sell better than all but a very few new releases. I also remember Aston from Boss Tuneage telling me that his Exit Condition reissue CD was one of his best sellers of recent years, selling WAY more than any releases by new bands. I fucking LOVE Exit Condition, but seriously who are the people buying all these things and why don’t they give a shit about current bands? Maybe Cross Laws can do a reunion tour when Dennis gets out of the Peace Corps in 2009 and we’ll get in on this action.

In a completely unrelated note, out of curiosity I downloaded the new Against Me! album. I was prepared to really like it, but with the exception of “White People for Peace” (which I think is a pretty amazing song) it kind of blows. Consider yourself informed.

Another unrelated note: mine is currently the default pic on the infamous Budweiser sweater myspace page. Score!






A Public Service Announcement

Posted on August 25th, 2007 in none by daniel || 14 Comments

References to Corrosion of Conformity in any written media attempting to describe, review or otherwise assess or promote the Raleigh, North Carolina hardcore band DOUBLE NEGATIVE are hereby banned. That shit is completely played out; COC has and had absolutely nothing to do with Double Negative. Instead of thinking that Double Negative are going to fulfill your adolescent wishes of COC, you need to realize that Double Negative will fulfill your middle-age dreams of seeing fucking Double Negative. So, just to spell things out for you:

Unacceptable band comparisons for Double Negative:

  • COC

Extremely played-out and borderline irrelevant band comparisons for Double Negative:

  • Subculture
  • Scared Straight

Appropriate band comparisons for Double Negative:

  • Discharge
  • Monster Magnet (I know for a fact they have heavily influenced Justin’s bass sound)
  • Void
  • Venom
  • Tiny Tim (as long as not reference to Poison Idea’s Feel the Darkness LP is contained therein)

That is all. Please follow these instructions and you won’t embarrass yourself.

R.I.P. Chelsea from Paintbox / Death Side

Posted on August 22nd, 2007 in , , , , by daniel || 7 Comments

Normally I don’t repost quote unquote “news” stories, but it is truly amazing to me how little this is being talked about. A few days ago one of the greatest punk guitarists of all time passed away. If you heard Death Side then you are probably obsessed with Death Side, and that obsession is probably centered on Chelsea’s guitar playing. Randy Uchida from G.I.S.M. may have pioneered the awkward combination of Fast Eddie Clarke from Motorhead’s rhythmic sense and Iron Maiden’s grandiose lead play that is the signature trademark of “Burning Spirits” style Japanese hardcore, but Chelsea is the man who ultimately molded those influences into something totally fluid, natural and indeed beautiful. His work with Death Side (which, amazingly for a band that did as many records as they did, actually got better with every release) is genre-defining, but his follow-up band Paintbox was just as good. In this band Chelsea’s lead guitar took a less prominent place in the mix, with the guitarist concentrating on making some of the catchiest riffs I’ve ever heard in punk rock. Just as Death Side combined metal and punk so seamlessly, Paintbox integrated pop melodies into the Burning Spirits style in a way that probably would have been corny and lame in anyone else’s hands.

Though I haven’t read any independent confirmation of this, word is that Chelsea died from a heat-related illness. Apparently, the combination of heavy drinking and a lack of air conditioning in his home proved lethal. What a terrible story…

By the way, as a tangential end-note to this post, I’ve been waiting for days to see news of Chelsea’s death on punknews.org, but they still haven’t posted a story. This supposedly punk site reports on the new Foo Fighters album and notes every move of every shitty emo band out there, but they remain oblivious to the passing of one of punk’s greatest musical forces. It’s not that I expect that site to be the punkest thing on the planet, but it makes me wonder why I still read it.

Effigies on NPR

Posted on August 13th, 2007 in none by daniel || 3 Comments

My love for NPR has been documented before on this site, but I thought this deserved special mention. I was going through my podcasts at the gym today and, much to my surprise, the Effigies were the featured band on Sound Opinions! In case you haven’t heard it, Sound Opinions is a quote unquote “rock n roll talk show” hosted by Jim Derogatis and Greg Kot, two longtime rock critics currently based on Chicago. I’m completely addicted to this show even though at times I hate it. Mostly, I think Derogatis and Kot are both guilty of that rock critic problem of reading about music more than they actually listen to it (a probably I often have myself), but despite my qualms with the show I still listen every week.

Anyway, this past week their guests were the Effigies, who played a live version of “Mob Clash” from the Haunted Town EP (which was honestly a bit tepid, but you have to cut bands some slack on live-in-the-studio performances) and a song from their new LP that sounded really, really good to me. They also talked with the band quite a bit about the history of Chicago punk. Click here to go to the Sound Opinions web page; the show in question is #88. Note also that there’s a little piece about Naked Raygun at the end of the show as well.

Back from Japan

Posted on August 11th, 2007 in none by daniel || 2 Comments

Well, I’m back from Japan. Actually, I’ve been back for about 2 days now but I haven’t really had time to think about the blog. There are so many things to do when you get back from a trip like this… in fact, I’m still feeling very swamped and overwhelmed, so I apologize if you’re one of the many people whom I owe a phone call or an email.

The trip was, as you can imagine, amazing. It was very different from last year’s trip, partly because I knew a little more about what to expect and partly because we were visiting different parts of the country. This seems obvious in retrospect, but Tokyo is very, very different from the rest of Japan. Only going there is sort of like going to New York and thinking you’ve seen the United States. Sure, New York is American, but it’s also completely bizarre and almost like its own country. Tokyo is exactly the same way. I would love to live in a city like Tokyo, New York or London one day. Hopefully I have chosen a profession where that’s a feasible possibility.

Now that I’m home I wish I could lock myself in my room and binge on records for the next 2 weeks, but I have a ton of work to do. I got so many good records, it’s ridiculous. A lot of it was things I already know well but didn’t have on vinyl, but there are a lot of records that I’m not that familiar with and can’t wait to immerse myself in, like the Los Violadores LP, the Bones LP, the Swankys, etc. I also got a lot of new Japanese CDs I’m excited about, like the new DSB album (the guitar player is now handling vocals, which I’m skeptical about), the G-Zet Discography CD, the Ghoul Discography and the new Nightmare / Burial / Crude 3-way split. Clearly I have a lot of listening in front of me.

While I was gone the first Sorry State release from a Japanese band arrived, and I’m very excited. They’re called Bored to Death, they’re from Sapporo City and they sound a lot like 1st EP-era Government Issue or the Formaldehyde Junkies. In addition to being my first Japanese band, this was also the first record for which I did a full-color layout. The record looks and sounds awesome… I’m really excited about it. I also have new 7″s by Cross Laws and Crossed Eyes which should be out in early September, so I’m not sure whether I’ll put the Bored to Death record in the webstore before those come out or not. I definitely won’t be doing distro orders until all 3 records are out. After that there’ll be a new 7″ from Double Negative and the long-awaited Raleigh comp 7″, and some other things are already in the planning stages. Very exciting indeed.

OK, that’s all for now I think. I have no idea what I’ll be posting here over the next few days/weeks. I’ll probably be reviewing some of the new Japanese releases and maybe posting some other things as they come up. Aside from Cross Laws’ last show on September 1 there aren’t a lot of shows coming up around here, so don’t expect too much on that front.

Japan So Far…

Posted on August 2nd, 2007 in none by daniel || 3 Comments

No time for writing a drawn out post, so here are some things that have happened:

  • slept in a capsule hotel for 2 nights in Tokyo; the actual room wasnt too bad and it would have been a pleasurable experience if it werent for the amazing amount of protocol at these places
  • Mt. Fuji was one of the worst experiences of my life. I walked around Tokyo for an entire day, then boarded a bus that dropped me off halfway up Mt. Fuji at 11PM. Hiked through the night, alone and in the rain, arriving at the summit at 5AM just in time to watch a thoroughly underwhelming sunrise. Made it back to the bottom at 8AM only to have to take a series of 7 trains and buses in order to arrive at Nagoya by 8PM. I didnt sleep and barely ate the whole time due to altitude sickness. Fuck Mt. Fuji.
  • Kenji and Saori of Answer Records are two of the coolest people I have ever met in my life.
  • Record scores are plentiful yet again, but this time the shops are strangely devoid of Japanese gems. Ive been stocking up on European and US stuff instead… best scores so far are the Unseen Force LP (so weird to find this in a shop in Tokyo…), the Mad 1st EP, FUs 1st LP on X-claim, Los Violadores LP and too many other things to count.
  • Kyoto-style ice cream rules

OK, thats all for now. Theres free internet at the Ryokan where Im staying in Kyoto so perhaps Ill post again soon.

Cross Laws Video from Athens

Posted on July 25th, 2007 in none by daniel || 2 Comments

Well, I’m leaving for Japan in about 7 hours, so it looks like I won’t have time to post a gastronomically obsessive tour diary of the Double Negative / Cross Laws southeast tour this past weekend. In fact, I haven’t even had time to go through all of my pictures. However, we were videotaped by Mike of All Go No Slow podcast (thanks Mike!) so check this video of 3 songs from our set in Athens. It’s pretty ripping if I do say so myself.

Cross Laws Southeast Tour this Weekend

Posted on July 18th, 2007 in none by daniel || 5 Comments

Be sure to come out to these shows, because they’re some of Cross Laws’ last! After these shows we’ll probably only play 1 more NC show and then that’ll be it! All dates are with DOUBLE FUCKING NEGATIVE!

Fri July 20 @ The Treehouse in Lawrenceville, GA (near Atlanta)

Double Negative
Cross Laws
American Cheeseburger
FYH
Trash
Nothing Lost

Sat July 21 @ Peter St. in Athens, GA

Double Negative
Cross Laws
American Cheeseburger

Sun July 22 @ the Sound Idea Store in Brandon, FL

Double Negative
Cross Laws
Control de Estado

Also, we will have a very limited number of TEST PRESSINGS of our new EP for sale at these shows. Before you ask, NO, WE WILL NOT SELL YOU ONE OF THESE OVER THE INTERNET. YOU MUST COME TO THE SHOWS TO GET ONE!

See you this weekend!

Rabies, Warkrime, Obtruders, Cross Laws, Direct Control, etc.

Posted on July 18th, 2007 in , , , , , , , by daniel || No Comment

One of my most-looked-forward-to events of the summer finally happened this weekend: Rabies and Warkrime rolled through town on their gigantic US tour. Everything totally ripped. Unfortunately, the show in Raleigh was shifted around at the last minute due to tension from Johnny Law, who was rolling by the house well before the show even started. Just in case the whole thing got shut down we moved Cross Laws to the headlining spot. The Obtruders opened and rocked the hell out of their demo release show, Nardcore style. Warkrime was next and played a rough set of their confrontational hardcore while me and a handful of other people went absolutely wild. Rabies was the highlight for me, though… which makes sense as I suppose by now I’ve invested thousands and thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of time into this band. Raleigh was totally pumped for these guys and I think we showed them a good time, moshing extra hard and singing along to every word. Cross Laws played last and I guess that was our last Raleigh show because we’re breaking up… the people definitely lost their shit for the occasion and we responded with one of our best sets… if not the tightest then definitely one of the most intense. This was easily one of my favorite 1 or 2 sets we’ve ever played.

The next night I drove up to Richmond to see it all again. After giving Max and Sean from Warkrime a tour of Richmond historical sites we made our way down to Oregon Hill for the show, which took place at a new house just a couple of doors down from the now-defunct Bone Zone. I had decided not to drink since I had to drive back to NC that night, but someone handed me one of Mark Schubert’s many Sparks and I drank it. Bad idea, since I’d forgotten how fucking cranky I get when the only thing I drink is Sparks. Rabies played first and they killed it… they were even better than the show the night before. People we dancing really hard, and it was driving me crazy that they kept knocking into the band. Rabies don’t play bullshit simple 1-2 hardcore, so if you want to hear all those crazy bass lines and guitar fills maybe you should use someone besides them to hold yourself upright. Whatever. Warkrime played next and it looked like a brawl was going on the whole time… in fact, I think there may have been 1 or 2 actual fights going on but I didn’t even notice because shit was so crazy. I was un-pumped on everyone screaming “RICHMOND!” while everyone in Warkrime screamed “BAY AREA!” back at them. Who the fuck cares? Warkrime ripped, but it seems as though a lot of the people there see them as a gimmick band and their gimmick is… tada!… the word FAGGOT. Someone had made a giant banner that said “Welcome, faggots” that was hanging in the living room where the bands played. Warkrime are a good band… I say like them for their music and not because they give you license to act like a shithead. At any rate I think that Warkrime brought out some of my least favorite aspects of the Richmond punk scene, though their set still ripped and it was fun to watch. Direct Control were supposed to play last, but the cops showed up and the girl who lived in the house got a ticket. They already had their equipment set up and wanted to play, so they did a short 5-song set despite the girl pleading with them not to play. Not the choice I would have made, but whatever. Direct Control always rip. I guess all the bands went over to Nara Sushi and played another set but I had a 3-hour drive in front of me so I got on the road. Bummer, I would’ve liked to see them all again, but I felt like the vibe at the Richmond show was all wrong. Cue someone calling me a pussy in the comments…

First of all, before I post any pictures these bands are still on tour for another MONTH, so go see them. Here are the dates:

krissummer2007

After you make plans to go see these guys, you can see pictures from the Raleigh show here and pics from the Richmond show here. And here are a few of the best ones:

The Obtruders:

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Warkrime:

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Rabies:

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Cross Laws:

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Rabies:

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Rabies:

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Warkrime:

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Direct Control:

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The crowd during Direct Control:

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No Way Fest

Posted on July 5th, 2007 in none by daniel || 9 Comments

Well, it’s been almost 2 weeks now, so I think I’m ready to write about the No Way Fest. As a number of other people who went have commented, with something this big it would be boring to do a band-by-band summary. Suffice to say there wasn’t a single band who was less than very good and most of them were straight up ruling. It was a small miracle that Brandon and Lauren managed to gather so many rad bands and rad people in one place for the weekend. If anything, it was a bit too much to handle… mid-way through the second day I thought that my batteries were totally drained. However, that was about the time that Government Warning took the stage and watching their set was like having some shove meth up my nose while blasting Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes on repeat. So, here are some notes on the fest and a few of the more choice photos. You can see all of the photos I took here.

  • We got there on time but still missed the first two bands because it took an hour and a half to get through the ticket line (even though I bought advance tickets).
  • The band I was looking forward to most (at least out of the ones I hadn’t seen before) was Socialcide, and they were great. Zach is a wild frontman, throwing himself around the stage and basically abusing himself for the entire length of the set.
  • A few of the bands got more muted reactions than I expected… Acid Reflux in particular deserved a better reaction than they got, because they killed.
  • Easily the best Career Suicide set I’ve ever seen. Heavy on tracks from the new LP, which is a great thing in my book (it’s easily their best stuff to date).
  • Double Negative totally lived up to the hype and anticipation they were getting all weekend.
  • Direct Control killed it. The last few times I’ve seen them it’s been a bit of a drunken mess, but they were firing on all cylinders.
  • There was a bit of a side-beef about cover songs running through the entire weekend. Some bands snottily noted the fact that they weren’t doing any covers. For those of us who like hearing covers every once in a while (especially when bands don’t make them the focal point of their set), Life Trap easily took the cake with covers of “It’s OK” by Koro and “Bad Attitude” by Articles of Faith.
  • Socialcide had 50 copies of their new EP for the fest and they sold out in 5 minutes. I didn’t get one, unfortunately.
  • Speaking of limited records, the Cardiac Arrest rip-off sleeves were hilarious. Limited Tomorrow!!
  • The champagne pool party early on day 2 was fantastic. Later on in the day I’d randomly hear people talking about the crazy party full of beer, champagne and blunts that was happening at some hotel pool. That’s how we do it in North Carolina.
  • The shirts and posters drawn by Brian Walsby were great, especially since I’m pretty certain there’s a cartoon representation of me on it. How awesome is that? I’ve never been caricatured before.
  • The afterparty was almost more awesome than the shows. Life Crisis played a fucking blistering set and the vibe was so positive and fun. I was stunned when I looked down at my watch and it was 4AM… I still wasn’t ready for sleep!
  • Apparently Inmates were selling percocet at their merch table. Wow.
  • Caustic Christ knocked me the fuck out. Honestly, I had started to write this band off after their 2nd LP wasn’t all I’d hoped it would be, but they just destroyed, and their slight crust influence really separated them from the pack. I really think these guys could become the American Totalitar.
  • Mimosas! Drunk at 11AM!
  • Zach from Acid Reflux snatching Rob from Cardiac Arrest’s bandana was definitely a highlight. I would’ve bet a very large sum of money that Rob was bald under there, but instead we were all treated to some luxurious, flowing locks.
  • I had a blast bonding with the Deep Sleep guys over 90s UK punk like Snuff and Leatherface. They played a ripping set as well, including some promising new songs.
  • Finally getting to see Civic Progress was another highlight. These guys are eerily similar to Socialcide, right down to the manic, rail-thin, self-abusive frontmen. Get those two bands on a split!
  • I would love to know if Fucked Up had ever attempted to play “Just to Get Away” by Poison Idea before. It seemed improvised, and I would be highly impressed if it was. If they actually practiced it… well, not so much…
  • Who got the best reaction of the entire fest? I’d say Wasted Time… they played early on the first day when everyone still had their energy and I think the band and their crowd are both very stoked on the new EP. Trust me, that band at their peak (and they rarely stray far from it) is something to behold.

Double Negative:

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Government Warning playing while Nice from Life Trap busts out a sick stage dive:

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More Government Warning:

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Life Trap:

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Socialcide:

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Career Suicide:

IMG_3189

Wasted Time:

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