Monday, July 27, 2009

I keep all my shit here, but don't you dare call this my home

Gone Dead Train - American Buffalo

I know fucking nothing about this hey. And I hate the term 'alt country'. Some of them were in that band Order of the Dying Orchid. Apparently they were around sort of 05/06, changed their name to American Buffalo, split up, couple of the dudes are now in a band called the Cinnamon Band.

All I do know is I can't stop listening to this shit.

Friday, July 17, 2009

humming to a dead song

Welcome the Plague Year - s/t LP and extra songs

Recently I've been feeling pretty fucking old. And realising that I care about the 'screamo' thing and the way it's changed and shifted over the course of the last nine or ten years because it was the first hardcore thing that I was in almost right at the start of. To have actually been, I dunno 'there', whatever that means beyond listening to the records (not much probably) to see the way it's changed from this violent, urgent spasm of hardcore that was pissed off with everything else in hardcore, to this thing it is now is what's making me feel old of course.

Movements in punk rock always begin with that initial urgency that's probably never going to be re-created. They are, after all, usually a reaction to a time and place. But they can set a template within which some amazing music can be made. Calvary weren't reacting to the same things Rites of Spring were, but they took what was established and built their own thing off it.

When the Welcome the Plague Year record came out I checked it out, thought 'hey this is really' cool and didn't listen to it that much. Combination of a couple of things really; crappy car stereo and just not being in the mood for that sort of music anymore. A friend said at the time 'we're all getting a bit burnt out on chaotic screamo' when talking about how good this record was and yet how he didn't really listen to it. He was right.

I still play shows with 'screamo' bands and in that hessian $kramz whatever scene. To some extent. But I feel like there's less to identify with there than five years ago. Not so much a matter of no substance as...different substance I guess? I don't know I've always been more about lyric sheets at shows and long photocopied essays in LPs than wacky song titles and vague or confusing art statements (not that those two don't have their own appeal). In fact I look at the attitudes of a lot of people compared to when it started and I'm like ''re the people I came to this music to get away from'. Arguing about it, I'm realising, is pointless. Instead of provoking discussion you're just accused of wanting everyone to think like you do, and being told to just 'enjoy the music' like the substance was somehow able to be seperated. Well maybe it is for people who have a different experience, that's cool. And in attempting to define the politics of a 'scene' or something I find myself sounding more and more like the crimethinc regurgitating punk fest anarchists I can't fucking stand.

So when you get old and a thing changes to this point, what do you do? I can understand why a lot of people move on, why noise music is so filled with people who grew up on hardcore punk. And hey we all always move on but, and maybe this is totally stupid and sad of me, I feel like I also need to hold on and keep doing the things I did. The format is established than you can work with in and hey you're not going to sound like the 'revolution summer' LP but you can at least be making music as passionate and intense, and as about something, anything, as that time and place that inspired you.

And bands come along and do that. This Ship Will Sink. Sinaloa. Majorca. Circuits. Quebec (the story of how I hated them up until the last few shows when I really paid attention to what they were doing, especially Tim's lyrics, is another post in itself). Takaru. Former Fucking Republics. Welcome the Plague Year are like that too. I have this feeling that maybe in five years people might realise how incredible this band really was, based off this collection of songs. This is one of those records that sounds like an ALBUM rather than a collection of songs. In fact when I only had the LP I wasn't really sure where one song started and another ended. The recording, the sound of it, the bits of noise and the lo-fi guitars and reverb drenched production all combine to lend an incredible atmosphere to the record. It's like some sort of apocalyptic crust record, or even Slint's spiderland, in that it's just plain fucking creepy. It's a scary, dark, heavy record that sounds like all the fucked aspects of 21st century human life that the two vocalists were singing about. It's like the soundtrack to William Gibson's future. It's a fucking unbelievable album, one I, you, we, should all listen to more.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

godspeed you corrupted wolves in the throne room

new band me, rob and raddy are doing. Can download our first recording there.

Friday, May 15, 2009

first world problems.

It's amazing how quickly shit can start to suck. A few weeks ago everything was going super rad and I was like 'okay...what's the catch'. So maybe I brought it on myself haha. Either way suddenly everything feels really fucking bleak. I love playing in ex so why am I fucking up so bad every time we play? I hate my lyrics and the shit I say between songs and the way I can't play as well as the other guys are and yeah...fuck. Crushes are stupid too. Unrealistic, unrequited ones that I don't even fucking want. Why haven't I been able to accept the fact that a) I'm going to be alone anyway unless I meet someone blind or with some weird pathological attraction to ugly people and b) I'm much, much better off this way anyway? Shit. And gear worries. And my incredible paranoia acting up again so I'm there thinking that my band is seen as this huge joke to all the, fuck I dunno crusties or hesh people or whatever, all the people I've been around for so long and actually kinda consider friends or whatever; how I've always felt inferior and out of place and how I keep thinking that to them ex is 'dase's emo thing' (derisive sneer). And the fact that I've got three weeks of uni left and then I have no idea what the fuck I'm going to do. I know what I need to do (move out, work) but I'm so fucking scared. And me drinking and flying into super rages straight away that make me try to fight anyone who's a smug dick to me. And friends being in such horrible, messy, much worse places and I don't know what I can do for them. And the fact that plowing my car into concrete barrier on the way home keeps seeming like the easiest way to solve this all.
Balanced I guess against the fact that I know these days I'll never do something like that, no exactly where those thoughts are coming from and how to ignore them. And how different that is from a few years ago and how lucky I am to have survived those years.
And so what am I gonna do about it? Well I made a mix of all the embarassing music I'm sort of ashamed to admit is like my paranoia, self hatred depression music. Here it is.
1 Engine Down - songbird
2 Red House Painters - medicine bottle
3 Cat Power - good woman
4 Wrangler Brutes - sudden adult death syndrome
5 David Bowie - ashes to ashes
6 Billy Bragg - levi stubbs tears
7 Feist - lonely lonely
8 Fleetwood Mac - the chain
9 Five Eight - she's sleeping (I hate this version btw, demo is way better)
10 Frodus - 6/99
11 Pygmylush - dreams are class
12 Unwound - october all over
13 Dinosaur Jr - raisins
14 The Hal Al Shedad - ivan's devil
15 Small Brown Bike - the outline of yr hand
16 Steve Von Till - willow tree
17 Afghan Whigs - my curse
18 City of Caterpillar - maybe they'll gnaw right through

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

the 90s, lulz - part 2: cabin fever


Featuring XGreg AndersonX who would later go on to fame as that guy who isn't Steven O'Malley in Sunn / one of the first people convicted and executed for crimes against the climate at the UN environment-crimes trials of 2037 for irreparable damage done to mother gaia via the continued exposure of petroleum products, specifically the manufacture of unnecessary editions of coloured vinyl on Southern Lord records (gatefold sleeve 4xLP remix available for preorder now).

You know what? I don't remember this being this good. I must've heard some other kind of era Engine Kid because this shit is actually pretty cool. Rev records post hardcore rock stuff, chuggy but with melody and a fair degree of Slint/Touch and Go worship in parts. Worth a listen at least, even for the excerable cover.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

the 90s, lulz - part 1: grandfather clock.

Roosevelt's Inaugural Parade - Discography

I've mentioned on here before that I was reading about a lot of bands in well thumbed copies of status and second nature during the time they were around, but my only real exposure to them was through the occasional mixtape and the comps that came with a lot of those zines. Then came the internet and downloading music (for me only in the last year or so. Haha yeah. Lame). And I could finally listen to some of those bands I'd always pictured as being so amazing and so far away from whatever high school angst I was stuck in. A lot of it is music I would hate if a band were playing it today, unless I had some connection to it where I could judge it by some arbitrary standard as 'sincere' or some shit. But yeah. A lot of that music belongs in the time and I enjoy it as that. Otherwise known as 'haha...the, yeah'.

Next few posts are going to be devoted to those kinda bands. Including this one, whom I never actually heard until recently. Roosevelt's Inaugural Parade. I think they did a demo, 7" and a split 7" with someone. Noisy, heart on sleeve 'emo' hardcore, very earnest and sincere. Reminds me a bit of Car Vs Driver except they have the sung, Ashes-steez female vocals. Contrasted against the noise of the music and the other vocals it sits really well. Good listen.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

october all over

Unwound - Leaves Turn Inside You

Finally make it out of bed several hours after you first woke up. Stand in the shower for what feels like hours after the timer's run out, head leaning against the stall, eyes closed, not thinking about anything, not noticing the hot water pounding against yr back. Pull on the same jeans and jumper you've been wearing for weeks over cleaner underwear and shirts (a friend of mine once referred to it as a 'depression suit'). Drive to work by the same route you take every day, so on autopilot you can't even recall any details of the journey. Work for hours, always returning to fix mistakes because you seem unable to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes at a time. Waste time posting inanities on the internet. When yr mind wanders try not to annoy yr friends by texting the same inanities. Try to push away the feelings you know are no good for you; you'd rather have a friend than romance besides who would ever feel that for you (but still catch yrself wondering as you're going to sleep what it'd be like to be in her arms). Wait for everyone else to leave the office. Eat some horrible and questionably vegan takeaway for dinner. Try to study over dinner. Read the same paragraph fifty times. Go out, maybe see yr friends and escape it for a few hours. Maybe not feel it and leave after one band, wishing you could pull yrself out of it to talk to people and enjoy shit. Go back to the office. Write down lame attempts at profundity to try and describe this feeling in songs that will never get written because you don't play guitar much. Try to get more work or study done. It takes four hours longer than it should because you can't concentrate on anything. Drive home on autopilot. Think about these travels like you'd shoot it in a movie: soundtrack of hastily strummed guitars that you think of as 'shoegaze' or 'krautrock' even though neither description is really accurate, but, you know, like that scene in Lost in Translation with the MBV song. Get home in time to sit on the couch with law and order on in the background, trying to draw or play guitar and coming up creatively bankrupt. Go to bed late enough to ensure you won't be out of bed until midday again the next day. Repeat.

That's been my life for like the last month or so, off and on. This record has been the soundtrack to it.

I can't say much about Unwound. They started in 1991 and broke up ten years later. They played that music that was the whole mix of post hardcore and indie and whatever. They used cheap guitars, effects and crappy solid state amps that would cut out in mid-song and switch back on when smacked with a flat hand or headstock. This record (their last) was made over two years at their own studio. The drummer was phenomenal and any time some guitar store douchebag is like 'girls just can't play rock drums man' play them 'scarlette'.

I've got no real reference points for this band. They're pretty fucking definitively 90s sounding to my mind but I slept on them up until like two years ago. This shit would have been life altering to me had I heard it in highschool when I was discovering bands like this. As it is now I've got a whole amazing back catalogue of a band that seems incredible in some way I can get from bands that are around now. And as I said this particular album has been the soundtrack to that weird, metronomic, repitive depression lifestyle I've had for a while now.