Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Three Short Stories

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Not So Black and White and White

Wrong! I don't say I was wrong with ease, but in this case, I'm wrong. There's no escaping it. I admit my wrong on the bloody boot-heel of two officers being shot during civic unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Initially, I didn't think that Michael Brown was shot because of his race. I really thought, and to some degree still acknowledge, that social-prejudice coupled with good ol' fashioned class struggle were to blame. I thought Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown not because of his race, but because he lived in a poor neighborhood that had a bad reputation. In fact, I thought most of the racially motivated incidents that the media reported were spun wrongly using the race issue.

I thought the cops, despite their race, had a superiority complex that played more into situations than race. In Michael Browns case, I think it was a racially motivated crime after all. Darren Wilson is a murderer.

As I write this today (Thursday, March 12th, 2015) this morning it was reported that the unending unrest in Ferguson led to the shooting of two officers over the night. "They were shot because they were cops..." I overheard from a news report on the TV in the adjacent room. If the two white officers were shot just because they were in a police uniform, as it was suggested, then there is an element of prejudice after all that could be based on race and assumption. Basically, Michael Brown verily well could have been shot just because he was black despite guilt. Darren Wilson is a murderer... And he got away with it because he was a cop!

I'm not saying that social-prejudice/class-struggle is entirely ruled out as factored, but I'm not ruling out the distinct possibility that Michael Brown was killed just because he's was black and in the wrong place, at the wrong time and in the wrong place... Michael Brown was killed because of the element of hate, bias and fear that exist in Ferguson and, sadly, just about everywhere else.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Learn Loudly with Kill The Hippies

The big secret about being in a band, especially a punk-rock band, is to take those people who say "I'd love to record your band sometime" up on their word. Torpedo the future and its plans, do what you can, when you can. Fuck-it if you don't know how your material will be released, if ever it! Just take baby-steps. Conquer the moment before moving on... As you finish one recording session, start planning the next. Maybe you will have some new songs for that session or maybe take some old songs and re-write them. Keep shit loose and by shit I mean plans... Really, when it comes to the format at which your recordings will be released on, once more, do the best you can. Vinyl records are cool but you gotta do what you can, as best you can as frequently as you can. Punk-rock depends on it!

Cleveland (by way of Kent), Ohios KILL THE HIPPIES (KTH) is the embodiment of that idea. A band that's well known to anyone who reads my bullshit... KTH is the best punk-rock band that has ever existed! I've said that before-- and will definitly do again. KTH has the stomp, swagger and awareness that bands can definitly learn from. So turn it up! Learn loudly.

Upon the release of last years You Will Live With Us Forever LP, and their Bandcamp accessable DL, it got the KTH punk-rock rolling! Let's Start A Band Nobody's In collects three distinctive releases of which include two full-length releases and an out-of-print'cassingle.' Yeah, you heard me, a cassingle! Whereas KTH has an impressive catalog of 7"s and other tracks of which were collected on their double CD titled Eretrospective in 2005, it almost seems with this CD, that KTH have been active when it seems, there was no activity at all proving the point that you just don't know! The sheer volume of material KTH have released, accompanied with their skill, is undeniably an awesome feat of rock and/or roll.

The disc begins with 2006's Public Address with many of the songs may seem familiar due to the aforementioned Erectospective CD, but trust me... Multiple versions of KTH songs have the rareness with me as being just as listenable as previous versions I heard. In fact, I wanna hear more! Let's Start A Band DOSENT subject you to the same songs over and over that would make some feel like they are being subjected to recycled music-- the same old thing-- in a new package, Let's Start A Band hits hard, slapping you in the face and humbling you and your petty definitions of punk-rock.

Continuing on, you will hear two tracks from 2004's Hot Commando Cassingle. Done at a time BEFORE the cassette format found renewed interest, wasn't popular to release a cassette, much less a cassingle, but this cassingle joins the vast number of other KTH limited edition cassettes.

A personal KTH favorite "Jung Tuffs" ushers in 10 more ragers under the title of Nowhere Fast. Imagine a sweet mix of The Vibrators, Adverts and The Lewd. These songs wield daggers made from pure punk cynicism bringing poignant doses of loud, fast, and snotty to the forefront. The time tested vocal switch is a nice progression throughout any KTH release and especially on Let's Start A Band. This CD really shows how far KTH have really came. Recording whole albums and not having the money or interest from others to release them... It's frustrating being in a situation as this... But if anything, Let's Start A Band is a piece of I-Told-Ya-So. it's more befitting now, 10 years late, that these songs get a proper release... a proper chance solidifying the resolves of a modern day punk band.


Their first full-Length CD
Odd-out CD-R
 2xCD "Erectospective"

Friday, March 6, 2015

Toasty Grandpa. Lo-Fi City.

What have I gotten myself into now? A cassette tape (CT) with a solitary, celebratory piece of 'toast' named Toasty Grandpa, which is apparently hammered. Sounded cute. Cute enough to the point of being a bore, but as it would turn out,  it wasn't... I foolishly let my guard down to the same level with my expectations. If this CT didn't have an attachment with the local Insta-Label Lo-Fi City (LCF), I'd maybe not give this a listen... But that's bullshit, I know... And really,  just aesthetically wrong. Upon hitting the appropriate buttons, I immediately fell in love with the minimalist nature (a LCF trademark) that was taken with Toasty Grandpa once more! 

If you close your eyes real tight, and crank-up the volume knob, you could just as easily be taken back to your earliest listens of installments of the Killed By Death series! In example: The Eat, Child Molesters and Screamin' Mee Mees... Maybe even The Embarrassment! I didn't give LFC a 'preferred status' within the non-pages of Thwart for nothing! LFCs releases, like Toasty Grandpa, have won me over. Again... Still... You know, all that Jazz...

Still though, what the fuck is Toasty Grandpa? Taking it straight to the top, I got a hold of Jonny Lo-Fi , the anchor of LFC himself to find out.

"Toasty Grandpa was Matt Archibald's band in high school along with John Mattock (both members of Little Trees and Toboggan Race) I believe what I gave you is a mix of songs mainly recorded on boom boxes during their band practices (a couple ft. me on drums or back up vocals).       

 One of the things that I appreciated was the 'I need a label/Now I have a label' movement behind the LFC project. "I just figure most of my collective of friend musicians have a lot of underexposed music we've made over the last 10 years and if it's just sitting around it might as well be out out there, even if it ends up no one listens to it. Oh, and also a 

Providing more background on Toasty Grandpa, Jonathan explains more:

lt started as just John Mattock and Danny Grosh. They struggled to keep or attain drummers since grunge and music of that nature wasn't popular at the time. They were in a bit of a rut until Matt moved here from Chicago. He came to school and looked grungie and just downright cooler than all of us and John and Danny automatically wanted to talk to him. Ends up, of course, he was super cool and had a lot to show us as far as music goes. Plus, he had seen he Melvins before which we thought was awesome!" 

As always though, life is a hard-fucker-- and then you start a band.

"Unfortunately they [Toasty Grandpa] still struggled to keep a drummer. Eventually Craig started playing drums for them (even tho he was basically a non-musician) and Andy (brother of Matt from the founding fathers) started doing some noise on synth." 

This isn't the end though... There's still more to come:

"Toasty Grandpa eventually recorded a full, low-fidelity album on some early digital recording software that I'll be releasing eventually. I just want to remix it"

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