Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fear The Gang

Today on Route 4 By-Pass (Southbound) in Fairfield Ohio near a Walgreens... You know, that one on the corner of good times and money laundering, I seen my newest hero. Re-created below (because I'm a man without a picture-phone) I seen a box truck with a rush spray-paint phrase that I thought said 'Butler Gang' but upon closer inspection said Butter Gang.

Whereas 'Butler Gang' is still rather weak name for a gang (in my opinion) it still made sense. After all, Fairfield is in Butler County... But as Butter Gang, the sighting crossed the line of being a sub-par act of vandalism and became a hero and artistic statement (to me) in the process.

Below, you will see an approximate re-creation for clarification purposes.

Friday, May 22, 2015

How Sweet Suite Can Be

A Review from Special Guest Troy Turner!

Suite: a set of selected pieces from an opera or musical, arranged to be played as one instrumental work.

The most recent release from this talented Columbia, Missouri trio, New Tongues, is a four-song EP titled Suite and should perhaps be taken at face value: a bona fide suite. These songs flow really well together in order but, regardless, the overall sonic result is textural, tribal, brutal and often beautiful. New Tongues are able wizards of post-hardcore heaviness with an obvious reverence for those great bands in the past who threw down the Noise gauntlet during the 1990's glory days of Amphetamine Reptile and Homestead Records.

"...These nets are here for safety!" 

Opening with "Suicide Nets," you're met with a tribal, Swans-like cut. Highlighting the work of a great rhythm section (Justin Nardy on bass/vocals; Mike Quinn drumming/vocals) in an exceptionally tight anti-dirge; more a plea to the living -- or those who might stay alive courtesy of suicide netting. The heaviness of Shane Johnson's guitars playing (which is great throughout this record) is equal to theseriousness of subject matter. 

Escape Hoods

Captivating instrumental. Grabs you from the jazzy opening, then it seamlessly glides into into an almost hypnotic space that lends positive comparison to the sound of early Don Caballero or Unwound before the pummeling crescendo. Yet another track on which Justin Nardy and Mike Quinn really shine. 

"Guilty on the ground, I'm guilty in the air..."

In the 1990s, the word "drone" was used more (deridingly or not) to describe the sound of many an Indie Rock band. Today, sadly, the term is known more for the collateral damage they -- drones -- inflict in the name of keeping the fight 'over there.' Easy to imagine and commiserate with a young man/woman tasked with being an "air-conditioned Templar" in a never ending Middle Eastern war zone. You'll find that this song genuinely conveys the frustration and anger felt by all who question this suspecpolicy. 

"The saddest sound"

From the opening lilt of "El Condor Pasa," a wee Spaghetti-Western guitar tease, this novel cover of the well-known Simon & Garfunkel nugget soon gets the heavy treatment. Each line is accentuated by a heavy drumbeat; an angular guitar solo morphs into an ambient blast that ends before it has a chance to develop into a 20+ minute, quasi-psychedelic blowout -- which would've been cool, too! 

The saddest sound? Not sure but, no matter what, remember: New Tongues are the hammer and you're the nail, my friend. 

Four songs -- 22-minutes -- isn't long enough. This EP, the follow-up to 2013's We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For is so good, you'll want to put it on loop. 

This pedigreed band -- with Cincinnati kid, Shane Johnson (formerly of Caterpillar Tracks and No Good Heroes) together with Justin Nardy and Mike Quinn (both seasoned veterans of Columbia's hardcore scene) have released an excellent disc just as satisfying as it is short; much more visceral than eviscerating. 

Doubters beware, indeed. 9/10

Monday, May 18, 2015

I Am A Poseur

In 1990 I finally got to the point where the bands on Decline of Western Civilization sounded good, I went to my first punk show (Fugazi in Dayton, Ohio) and more importantly, I made my first Homemad GERMS shirt. In true fashion, I got a roll of masking tape, a couple cans of spray paint, a plain white T-Shirt, made a stencil of the famed GERMS Circle-1 symbol and made one. Later I had the idea to add long sleeves from a pajjama top, but got bored of sewing and only got one sleeve done, so yeah, the shirt only had one sleeve that, surprisingly enough, wasn't uncomfortable at all. I it was my favourite shirt in the whole wide world.What I didn't relay though, is that I made my GERMS shirt and a CRASS one and a couple more Crass-type slogans because finding a band shirt was almost impossible. A few years later, my GERMS shirt vanished. I'm pretty confident it was my mom and dad who invaded my basement bedroom, retrieved the shirt, and threw it away. It's still a touchy subject that my mom and dad, to this day, haven't confessed to doing or more importantly, not doing it,

But society caught up to my size and before long, it wasn't so unheard of to find a bands shirt, in my size, AND readily available. So, eventually, I received a Unknown Pleasures T-shirt (Joy Division) for a present.

Now, every time I put it on I'm reminded not only how at one time I never thought I would own an 'official' band shirt and that one time I got interrorgrated at a Starbucks at 9am from two guys who were really into Faith No More about who, what, why, where and how Joy Division operated. I just finished Peter Hooks' Joy Division book so I guessed that I did ok because they still talked to me every now and then, and when the occasion arrived, the one guy with a pompdour would roll his car windows down, blast Faith No a More (or was it Ramstein?) at a loud volume waIting for me to look at him and validate his coolness being represented by that loud volume that sounded uninteresting.

I never looked at him.