Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Year in Review -or- Fuck 2008, Here's to '09

Man, what a fucking year. I couldn't be more happy that it's over. Well here's hopin' that 2009 will be my bounce back year. Ok personal bullshit aside, time for the music! It was a pretty solid year for music, not great, never the less, I assembled a lengthy 40 full length album "best of" on Rate Your Music, as well as lists for EPs/7"s and Comps/Collections. I'm only going to go in to detail for the Top Ten of the year, mention briefly the 11 honorable mentions, and if you want to see the full list, you'll have to go to my RYM page. In addition to their numerical ranking, which is less concrete than it seems, each album will get its own best of. So here we go!


#1. Album of the Year/Best Lyrical Album/Best "Fuck the Sophomore Slump" Album
The Gaslight Anthem-The '59 Sound: This was indeed one of the most anticipated releases of the year, by all of those who heard Sink or Swim, the band's stellar "come out of fucking nowhere" debut ('07 Album of the Year). I didn't think it was possible to follow up with an album that would be as good, let alone greater in many aspects as that. The second I found out it leaked I downloaded it, locked my bedroom door and listened intently. I was torn. "What the hell is with the reverb on his voice? What is this lame song singing about Tom Petty? I fucking hate Tom Petty!" etc. etc. Despite this, there were a few stand out tracks that kept me coming back. After all, I didn't like Sink or Swim at first, and then I saw them live and was hooked. The more I kept coming back to listen to songs like the title track, "Great Expectations," and "The Patient Ferris Wheel," the more it grew on me. I began to love every single track (except for "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,"I actually like the track, but fuck Tom Petty...) I got over the production and listened to what it was really about: the music. The lyrics hit me like a semi-truck, and I welcomed the collision. I only wish this record came earlier in the year, but along with #2, it helped me get through the tough times. Musically, its as if soul, punk, folk, and americana had a wonderful bastard child. The punk is less pronounced than its predecessor, but the urgency is still there on many of the songs, and as a result, they sound mature, but not boring. There was a point in August where I listened to this almost daily because I couldn't get enough of it, and I still barely can't. This band is gonna be huge, and they deserve it. I'll be just glad to say I got to see them play in a bowling alley in Asbury Park before they started playing stadiums. (sound familiar? cough cough) Rating: 9.6/10

#2. Best Album to Kill Yourself To/Best Pop-Punk Album/Best Debut Full-Length
Off With Their Heads-From the Bottom: I had high hopes for this album, and it totally delivered. Though I was hoping for more "new" songs that I hadn't heard from myspace prior to its release or previous 7"s, it is none the less a fantastic fucking album. Its dark, morbid pop-punk that has renewed my faith in the genre. Its catchy as fuck, makes you want to pogo around your room, and tie that noose at the same time. My roommate came upstairs once and said to me "Dude, I think I've been listening to too much Off With Their Dudes..." "Why? You feel like shit?" "Yeah..." It's an album that makes you feel like shit and great at the same fucking time. As long as Ryan keeps singing about life sucking ass, and not actually offing his head, we should be fine. Rating: 9.4/10

#3. Best "Album that was supposed to come out this year, but officially might not til 2009, but was way too good to wait"/Best Sound Progression
O Pioneers!!!-Neon Creeps: O Pioneers!!! new album was also highly anticipated for me. I had only recently gotten into them at the end of last year, and I loved their brand of Hot Water Music-influenced folk-punk. On Neon Creeps, Eric and the boys step away from the sound and go for something entirely of their own. Featuring shorter, more concise lyrics, late 80's Dischord musical vibes, a voice thats less screaming but still beautifully rough, and a bass guitar (!!!), it's the direction I wish Against Me! took, instead of the poppiness (or should I say poopiness, har har har) of New Wave. These guys played in my basement in September, and mostly showcased the new stuff, and I was blown away even then. I'm surprised more people don't know this band than do, but I guess I spend too much time on punknews.org and Vinyl Collective. I've been spreading the love for this band to my friends for a while, and this album finally got their attention. Rating: 9.4/10

#4 Best Come From Behind, Damn This Is Awesome! Album/Best Electric Folk-Punk Album
The Riot Before-Fists Buried In Pockets: Richmond, VA's The Riot Before were a band that took me forever to get into. They were getting frequently repped around the internet, and needless to say I wasn't too impressed by Horseshoes and Handgrenades, and So Long, the Lighthouse was ok, but not great. I eventually changed my views on the latter, and the former still has some faults in my eyes. Two things brought this about. Seeing these guys open for The Gaslight Anthem, and this album. The flow and "theme" of this album works wonderfully, with tales of losing faith in your beliefs at the same time as touring the country, sleeping on floors and playing in basements. They take the major Against Me! influence, and take it in their own directions. The lyrics to "I Have My Books" gets me everytime, very simplistic and powerful. This band is full of heart and passion, and I can't wait to see where they go musically. Like O Pioneers!!!, I've been spreading this band's awesomeness all around. Hopefully one day they can cross the Mississippi on tour and play my basement. Rating: 9.2/10

#5 Best Album to Play Outside a Church/Best Hardcore Album
Paint It Black-New Lexicon: Like Off With Their Heads renewed my faith in pop-punk, Paint It Black were one of the bands (like Modern Life is War, Fucked Up, and Verse) that renewed my faith in hardcore. The 80's are over, and most people's conception of hardcore is the metal-influenced screaming crap that plagues the airwaves, or the way too bro-ed out guys on steroids stuff (granted the latter was always prevalent, but at least it still sounded punk). Paint It Black keeps the punk in hardcore, but still brings it in new directions, but doesn't over do it like Fucked Up did on their new album. Dr. Dan just spits venom at every injustice in society, and religion is the prime target. His intelligent lyrics are what puts this album above and beyond their contemporaries, sort of like what Greg Graffin did for Bad Religion. This album made me want to chuck shit around in my room and punch a hole in the wall first time I heard it. I listened to it while mowing the lawn once and I wished there was a priest in front of me. Its hard to say whether or not this album is the best yet, because I love all three of their full lengths. I guess its almost on par with Paradise, and slightly better than CVA. I seriously need to see this band live, like what the fuck, come to Colorado. Rating: 9/10

#6. Best Comeback Album/Runner Up Best Pop-punk Album/Runner-Up Best Album to Play Outside a Church
Dillinger Four
-C I V I L W A R: Holy shit, has it really been 6 years? 2002 was the first time I heard this band ("Noble Stabbings!!!" on the Atticus: Dragging the Lake comp) and I immediately like them. They were one of the first real punk bands I listened to in my post-blink 182 hangover stage freshman year of high school. They have always stood out to me as the best pop-punk band ever. The kept the hooks and the catchiness, but still had the aggression of hardcore, and no frills whatsoever. The fans have waited forever for this to come out. When I finally had it on my hard drive (yes I downloaded the leak, you serious? I bought the vinyl of course!), I almost couldn't believe it. I was almost worried when I first listened to it, but those fears were squashed. Its not quite up there with Midwestern Songs for the Americas or Versus God, but I like it more than Situationist Comedy. The Paddy songs are few, and sound slightly forced, but are still great. The real gems are the ones created by Erik Funk. Goddamn can that dude write a catchy motherfucking tune. "The Classical Arrangement" is a lyrically fantastic, scathing attack on religion. "Gainesville," the poppiest track on the album stands out for its sunny outlook, but honestly, how could you not feel that way at The Fest? However, the greatest song is "Ode to the Great American Snake Oil Distributor," and the chorus of "smash your fucking halo" is glorious and I was singing it all day long for weeks after I heard it (still am). The album's closer, "clown cars on cinderblocks" has a special place in my heart. This was totally worth the wait. Rating: 8.8/10

#7 Best Cowpunk/Alt-country Album/Runner-up Best Lyrical Album
Two Cow Garage-Speaking in Cursive: This album was a real grower on me. I picked it up after listening to some songs on their myspace page, and thinking their whole alt-country Lawrence Arms style sound was pretty fucking cool. It wasn't until I started listening to the lyrics that the album really clicked with me, and jumped up several spots on this list. "Humble Narrator" is one of the best openers I've heard in a while and highlights the dynamics this band has. A few songs really strike me personally, like "Folksinger's Heart" ("older brother, oldest son, I was never really good at either one..." "it was arrogant to think from the start that you were the only backyard Dylan with a folksinger's heart") The "Swingset Assassin" song is also a pretty cool story of the writer's music tastes. There are a couple weaker tracks, those song by the other vocalist, but overall this is a fantastic album.
Rating: 8.6/10

#8 Best Album From A Genre I Didn't Know I Liked Until This Year/Best Album to Shake Your Ass to.
Eli "Paperboy" Reed & The True Loves-Roll With You: Well goddamn! This album is awesome! I didn't know a white dude could sing soul so well! So well that I decided maybe I should check out this whole crazy genre. Now I can't get enough of Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, etc. You can tell Eli has a deep appreciation for his forebearers, and Roll With You covers a wide range of style, from the slow, deep ballads to the pseudo-funky dance numbers. A few of the songs on this sound pretty musically similar, but whatever, the sound is great. Everytime there is a party at my house, you can be sure this album will be in the rotation at least twice.
Rating: 8.5/10

#9 Best Album by a New Favorite Artist/Best Folk Rock Album
Frank Turner-Love Ire & Song: As I stated in my previous post, I just discovered this man, and all I can say is holy shit, why haven't I listened to him earlier? Turner echoes fellow Brit Billy Bragg in his sound and is not afraid to add some new elements to his acoustic guitar songs. He carries elements of his 2007 album Sleep is for the Week, with songs about becoming disenchanted with the protest scene ("Love Ire & Song), being heartbroken ("Substitute"), songs about his friends("I Knew Prufrock Before He Was Famous"), and songs about being a 20-something in London and not having a direction (all over). Despite the bitterness, there is still rays of hope shining through in some of his songs, like the title track and his touching ballad about a deceased friend. Basically a great album for this point of my life. Bravo.
Rating: 8.5/10

#10 Runner-Up Best Hardcore Album
Verse-Aggression: Although it may seem a bit silly to name a hardcore album Aggression, but it does put the focus of the album to the forefront. They are incredibly pissed off at the state of the country and they are going to let the listener know all about it. The highlight of the album is the three part "Story of a Free Man." This was a pleasant year end surprise that pits Verse up with the cream of the hardcore crop.
Rating: 8.4/5

Rest of the Best
#11: Chuck Ragan & Austin Lucas-Bristle Ridge, Rating: 8.4/10
(Best Folk Album)
#12: Jon Crocker- The Dust Will Settle, Rating: 8.3/10
(Runner-Up Best Folk)
#13: The Slackers-Self Medication, Rating: 8.2/10
(Best Ska Album)
#14: Street Dogs-State of Grace, Rating: 8.2/10
(Best Album to go "hey! hey! hey!" to)
#15: Lagrecia-On Parallels, Rating: 8.1/10 (Best First & Only Album)
#16: The Cute Lepers-Can't Stand Modern Music, Rating: 8.1/10
(Best Powerpop Album/Runner-Up Best Album to Shake Your Ass To)
#17: Drag the River-You Can't Live This Way, Rating: 8/10
(Runner-Up Best Cowpunk/Alt-country/Best Album That Plays Itself Twice)
#18. Tim Barry-Manchester, Rating: 8/10 (Runner-Up Best "Fuck the Sophomore Slump Album")
#19. TV Smith-In the Arms of My Enemy, Rating: 8/10 (Best Acoustic Folk-Punk Album)
#20. Heathers-Here, Not There, Rating: 7.9/10 (Cutest Band of 2008)

Honorable Mentions:
Billy Bragg-Mr. Love and Justice.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds-Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
The Tossers-On A Fine Spring Evening.
Monikers-Wake Up.
Shorebirds-It's Gonna Get Ugly.

Best EPs/7"s
#1. The Gaslight Anthem-Senor and the Queen
#2. Gatorface-Sick and Stupid
#3. O Pioneers!!!-s/t 7"
#4. Jello Biafra with Brown Town West-Jezebel
#5. Tim Barry-Live at Munford Elementary
#6. Statues-Same Bodies, Same Faces
#7. The Gaslight Anthem-Sink or Swim Demos
#8. The Cute Lepers-Terminal Boredom b/w Prove It
#9. Cobra Skulls-Never Be A Machine
#10. Andrew Jackson Jihad-Only God Can Judge Me
#11. Mischief Brew-Jobs In Steeltown
#12. Bomb the Music Industry/Mustard Plug-Under the Influence, Vol. 3
#13. Career Suicide-Cherry Beach EP
#14. The Measure [SA]-Means to An End
#15. V/A-Incestival-Orlando's Worst 4-Way Split (NMDS, Gatorface, Virgins, Polluted Youth)

Honorable Mentions
Billy Bragg-I Keep Faith
The Measure [SA]-Songs About People...and Fruit N' Shit
O Pioneers!!!/Mike Park-Split 7"
O Pioneers!!!/Announcement-Split 7"
Killed By the Bull-Return of the Spell

Best Comps/Collections
#1. Hot Water Music-'Til the Wheels Fall Off
#2. The Measure [SA]-One Chapter in the Book: A Collection of Standard Waits and Measurements
#3. Statues-Terminal Bedroom
#4. Mischief Brew-Boiling Breakfast Early
#5. Frank Turner-The First Three Years

10 Best Shows of 2008 (Total shows this year=27)
#1. The Gaslight Anthem/The Riot Before/Scream Hello/Laserhead, Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park NJ, May 30th.
#2. Against Me!/Ted Leo + The Pharmacists/Future of the Left, Gothic Theater, Denver Oct 21st
#3. The Revival Tour w/ Chuck Ragan/Tim Barry/Ben Nichols/Jon Snodgrass/Austin Lucas, Marquis Theater, Denver Oct 23rd
#4. O Pioneers!!!/10-4 Eleanor/The Masters of Suspicion, my basment, Sept 4th
#5. Alkaline Trio/American Steel/Sleeperhorse, Cervantes Ballroom, Denver, Aug 2nd
#6. Planesmistakenforstars' Final Show w/ Mustangs and Madras/Kingdom of Magic, Marquis Feb 16th.
#7. Hot Water Music/Only Thunder/Mustangs and Madras, Gothic Sept 7th
#8. Ghost Mice/Heathers, my basement, July 20th
#9. Pinhead Circus (reunion show)/Sleeperhorse/Eyes and Ears, Marquis July 26th
#10. Streetlight Manifesto/Zox (ug)/Dan Potthast, Ogden Theater, Denver Apr 8th

Biggest Dissappointments of 2008 (no particular order)
-Against Me!'s short, lackluster show at the Aggie Theater in Fort Collins Feb 29th
-Having to leave Rise Against early when they started playing good songs.
-planesmistakenforstars breaking up (great last show though)
-The Bronx-The Bronx (III) (its ok, but I was hoping for somthing better)
-Alkaline Trio-Agony and Irony (at least it was better than Crimson)
-The Copyrights-Learn the Hard Way (still in my top 40, but its their weakest album)
-The Ergs! breaking up, and me not being in NJ for their last show
-Flogging Molly-Float (bummer)
-Me not being in NJ for the Bouncing Souls 3 night extravaganza again
-Kevin Seconds and His Ghetto Moments-Rise Up Insomniacs!
-Rise Against-Appeal to Reason (but honestly, what did I expect?)
-This Bike is a Pipebomb-Convertible
-Static Radio NJ-An Evening of Bad Decisions (They went from Kid Dynamite to Lifetime, lame.)
-Anti-Flag-Bright Lights of America
-New Mexican Disaster Squad breaking up
-Family moving from New Jersey to San Diego (epic lame)

Hyped Albums of 2008 That I Don't Get
-The Hold Steady-Stay Positive
-Lemuria-Get Better
-Banner Pilot-Resignation Day
-Bridge and Tunnel-East/West
-Dead to Me-Little Brother
-Polar Bear Club-Sometimes Things Just Dissappear
-Star Fucking Hipsters-Until We're Dead
-The Steinways-Gorilla Marketing

Other Notables of 2008
-reissues of The Replacements' Tim and Pleased to Meet Me
-reissues of Alkaline Trio's Goddamnit (w/ awesome DVD and demos) and Maybe I'll Catch Fire (vinyl again woo!)
-The Falcon's first EP being issued on vinyl (Congrats Vinyl Collective Cooperative on that success!)
-Me snagging a white copy of The '59 Sound
-Ghost Mice, Heathers, O Pioneers!!! and Jon Crocker are some the nicest people I've ever met
-Being one of 3 people singing along to Gaslight Anthem at the Rise Against show in November
-Gatorface and Virgins (the two bands that formed from NMDS wake) are totally awesome
-listening to way too much 60's garage rock than I should have
-discovering the awesomeness of Neutral Milk Hotel's "Holland, 1945"

Looking Foward to in 2009?
-Playing a show with Off With Their Heads in a bike shop in Feb!
-new Propagandhi album?!
-new Bomb the Music Industry!, Bouncing Souls (sort of), Austin Lucas
-hopefully new albums from Andrew Jackson Jihad, A Wilhelm Scream, The Lawrence Arms
-Ska is Dead 4!
-Reel Big Fish w/ Streetlight Manifesto (I've seen this show like 12 times, but its always fun)
-The Gaslight Anthem at the Gothic
-Maybe I can finally stop being so goddamn single

and last but not least here is my 2008 Super Awesome Mixtape/Playlist!

Download link

1. The Gaslight Anthem-The Patient Ferris Wheel
2. Off With Their Heads-Self Checkout
3. O Pioneers!!!-Stressing the Fuck Out
4. The Riot Before-I Have My Books
5. Paint It Black-Shell Game Redux
6. Dillinger Four-Ode to the Great American Snake Oil Distibutor
7. Two Cow Garage-Folksinger's Heart
8. Eli "Paperboy" Reed & The True Loves-The Satisfier
9. Frank Turner-Love Ire & Song
10. Verse-Old Guards, New Methods
11. Chuck Ragan & Austin Lucas-Judgement Day
12. Jon Crocker-Six Day Sinner's Son
13. The Slackers-Every Day is Sunday
14. Street Dogs-The General's Boombox
15. LaGrecia-The Montage
16. The Cute Lepers-Terminal Boredom
17. Drag the River-BrOOtal
18. Tim Barry-Texas Cops
19. TV Smith-In The Arms of My Enemy
20. Heathers-Honey Please?!
21. Billy Bragg-O Freedom
22. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds-Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
23. The Tossers-Whiskey Makes Me Crazy
24. Monikers-80 Proof
25. Shorebirds-Nutter
26.-I Walk the Line-Black Wave
27. Henry Fiat's Open Sore-Faster Phil Spector, Kill Kill!
28. Teenage Bottlerocket-Nuthouse
29. Virgins-Another's Gun
30. Statues-Dead or Alive
31. Gatorface-Sick and Stupid
32. Cobra Skulls-Never Be A Machine
33. Andrew Jackson Jihad-Jesus Saves
34. Tom Gabel-Anna is a Stool Pigeon
35. Mustard Plug-Waiting Room (Fugazi cover)
36. Mischief Brew-Jobs in Steeltown
37. Static Radio NJ-Bothered
38. The Ergs!-blahblahblahfuckyoublahblahblah
39. Bouncing Souls-Man In Black

hope everyone has a wonderful new year's, and look forward to a revamped folking the system. more music reviews! more playlist downloads! more new bands to shove down your throats! more posts! gratuitous female nudity!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blag?

School has been kicking my ass lately, and I've been neglecting this thing. I'm incredibly happy this semester is over, despite liking most of my classes, I just need a break to do nothing for a while and reboot my system. Right now I'm suppose to be writing a paper on Indian revolutionaries that is due Tuesday, but of course I got distracted. Maybe record my new songs on better equipment. I've been wanting to play some shows outside my house for a while, but just haven't had the time. Last night we had a fancy smancy wine and cheese party last night, and I got drunk enough to play a few songs. That was pretty fun, even my aborted "Holland, 1945" cover that I forgot the chords too...oh well.

Speaking of shows, the awesome Jon Crocker played a show at my house last week after a last minute email. It had been snowing all day, so we ended up only playing for a crowd consisting of my roommates and my bandmates. The thermostat was also broken that night, turning my house into a sauna. so that was fun. He's a fantastic musician, and his cd "The Dust Will Settle" made it into my top ten list this year (take that Street Dogs!). I look foward to seeing him if he comes through again. Pictures will be posted later

what else what else....

I just recently discovered the illustrious Frank Turner, whose name I had been hearing for a while, but I had never checked out music. Turns out he is phenomenal. This song "Substitute" from his new album "Love, Ire & Song" particularly stood out to me.

The first girl that I fell for was a fair and faithful fighter
She smouldered with a will to save the world
I did my best to help her, yeah I stood shoulder to shoulder
On the front lines with my visionary girl

I wish that she had cared for me
But in the end her ideologies
Occupied the fortress of her heart
I wrote her 15 songs, but still we had to part

And if music was the food of love
Then I'd be a fat romantic slob
Well music, it's my substitute for love

The last girl that I loved she was a low and lusty liar
She set my heart on fire, but made me choke
Her beauty was a sight to see, but she didn't save it all for me
I found other fires by following the smoke

I wish that she had either cared for me or
let be me
But she chased me from mind and from my home
I wrote her 16 songs, but I ended up alone

And if love is really all that we need
Then even all my singing is never gonna save me
Music it's my substitute for love

Well I've had many different girls inside my bed
But only one or two inside my head
These days I cuddle up to my guitar instead
But oh, what I would give, not to stumble but to really fall in love
And I could substitute my singing for the sound of someone sleeping next to me


word up Frank Turner.

Also, in glorious holiday tradition, the giant glowing red pentagram is back on our roof after 2.5 hours of nailing, stretching, and high mathematical calculations. This year we went with the inverted model. Hail Satan! pics to come soon!

My next post will be an epic "Best of 08!" sort of deal.

Monday, November 24, 2008

God Lives in NYC


Tom and Kevin played a "reunion" set this past weekend at the Knitting Factory. They played all of Crime plus a bunch of other amazing songs. You've got to be fucking kidding me.

Set:
(Just Tom)
"I Dreamed Bob Dylan Was a Friend of Mine"
"Random Hearts"
"Amputations"
"Joy"
"Harsh Realms"
"Anna is a Stool Pigeon"
"Wagon Wheel"
"Jordan's First Choice"
"Tonight We're Gonna Give It 35%"
(Tom and Kevin)
"Walking is Still Honest"
"What We Worked For"
"Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious..."
"I Still Love You Julie"
"Shit Stroll"
"Impact"
"Ya'll Don't Wanna Step To Dis"
"Burn"
"We Did It All for Don"
"8 Full Hours of Sleep"
"Sink, Florida, Sink"

















Friday, November 14, 2008

Douchefest 08!

Ok the title is a bit of an exaggeration, but its still a fairly accurate description of the crowd at Rise Against last night. I went primarily to see Gaslight Anthem and Alkaline Trio, and both delivered.

I was bouncing with excitement for the 30min wait between my arrival at the Fillmore and when Gaslight took the stage. I told everyone around me who cared to listen about how the opening band was going to to trump every other band they would see tonight From the second they busted into "Great Expectations," I could tell that I was one of a handful of Gaslight fans in the audience. From what I could see, there was only one other dude in the audience singing along (I happened to run into him again while boarding the bus back to Boulder, funnily enough) but I didn't fucking care. I sang as loud as I could, and I'm sure everyone around me was getting annoyed. The set was '59 Sound heavy, as expected, but I went to the show so I could hear just that. Still wish they would have played "Drive" though. It was weird hearing them over such a loud system, as opposed to say, Asbury Lanes' or the Marquis Theater's. It seemed they won a good portion of the crowd over, and hopefully they hooked the Rise crowd enough for them to buy merch. I wasn't expecting to buy anything, but I couldn't pass up on the shirt that was a mockup of the Asbury Lanes' sign.

Great Expectations
The Patient Ferris Wheel
The '59 Sound
We Came to Dance
Old White Lincoln
Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis
Angry Johnny and the Radio
The Backseat

(this may be out of order in a couple places)

I used to really like Thrice back in the day, but I stopped listening to them after The Artist in the Ambulance. The opened their set with two songs from that album ("Hoods on Peregrine" and "Melting Point of Wax") and then proceeded to bore the shit out of me for the rest of their set. Although the cover of Helter Skelter was pretty cool...

Alkaline Trio played a phenomenal set filled primarily with oldies, but I wish they could have played longer. Matt Skiba's new look is a bit weird, but whatever, they fucking played "Cringe!" The pinnacle of the night was when they brought out Brian from Gaslight, and played a fantastic cover of "Astro Zombies" Goddamn that was amazing. Not too many Misfits fans in the house though...

Private Eye
Calling All Skeletons
I Lied My Face Off
I Found Away
In Vein
Emma
Cringe
Sadie
Goodbye Forever
Astro Zombies

I'll give it Rise Against, their recent material may kinda suck, but they still know how to put on a good fucking show. The amount of lighting they have seems to grow exponentially every show, and it adds a lot, to say the least. I stayed towards the middle of the crowd, near the pit, because I didn't feel like getting crushed while listening to mediocre new material. I had to leave early to go write a paper on Gandhi, but the set was surprisingly good despite a couple songs. As I made my way to the door, Tim started talking about the crowd not knowing their first album, and as their guitarist nonchalantly played a chord in the backround, I said audibly "no fucking way." My suspicions were correct, and they went into "Everchanging." I was on a tight schedule to catch the bus, but I couldn't miss this song. Thankfully I made the bus (with only seconds to spare) and got back to Boulder, rubbed the Misfits cover in my roommate's face, and finished my crappy essay about non-violence.

New Song (I think its the first track off the new album)
Give It All
State of the Union
New Song
Ready to Fall
Re-Education (Through Labor)
Chamber the Cartridge
Everchanging

I wish I knew what else they played...


and to top it off, I found the greatest news ever

http://brooklyndiy.blogspot.com/2008/11/jerk-house-110808.html

Blake Schwarzenbach is back and ready to unleash his musical fury on the world once again. (and with Aaron Cometbus none the less!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Remember Halloween...

...or most of it.

This past weekend was awesomely fun, minus the loss of the Descendents' Frank Navetta (RIP my friend). The Masters of Suspicion and I teamed forces (and its looking to be a permanent team) to play Misfits covers all night at two locations

First show was the Bulldog Bar on E. Colfax in Denver. We went there not knowing what to expect, but knew not to expect much. We were right. The staff were incredibly nice and accommodating, despite their bar not being much of a music venue. For starters, the stage was about 3 feet deep and 15 wide. You try fitting 4 band members and gear, and still have room to breath in that cramped space. We also had trouble setting up their PA system (shouldn't they have set that up before any of the bands arrived?), and then found that the bar's only mic didn't work. Thankfully we brought one of ours as a back up. With the regulars looking awkwardly at us, and our 10 or so fans (my roommate, drummer's girlfriend, my parents and 4-5 of their friends, and one Misfits fanguy who was actually pretty cool) cheering on, we busted into our set with Halloween. We made best with what we had, I had a hard time singing with the loose mic rotating away from my mouth, and trying to backup vocals was near impossible. We had a ton of fun, and even our screwups weren't so bad. We finished in about 30-40 minutes, packed up as the next band was arriving, and drove back to Boulder

Our good electronica friends/neighbors RNGDS had just finished setting up when we arrived. Much to the enjoyment of all, they had built floor lighting boxes complete with flashing colors, strobe lights, and a smoke machine. Awesome. They were substantially less drunk than last time, and had brought us all a much better PA, and played well, even being dressed like Sunny and Cher. Dance parties are always fun at the Soulquarium.

After a long breakdown, we got our gear in the basement as quickly as possible, soundchecked and were ready to go. It was incredible. The whole basement was alive and energized, and everyone nearly died of heat exhaustion. I don't even think we screwed up more than twice, and it wasn't even noticeable. We were all much more comfortable in a basement surrounded by friends and people who enjoy the music, and also having, you know, room, and uhh, three microphones. I was jumping all over the place, and I'm surprised I didn't give my self a concussion from the ceiling. Especially considering how much mead I drank. Singalongs and dancing were abound, and I nearly got knocked over by my friend dressed as a giant vagina (filled with teeth none the less)!

Here was our set:

Halloween
Where Eagles Dare
We Are 138
Skulls
Night of the Living Dead
Hybrid Moments
Astro Zombies
London Dungeon
Teenagers From Mars
Some Kinda Hate
She
I Turned Into A Martian
Horror Business
Violent World
Bullet
Braineaters
Last Caress
Braineaters + Astro Zombies (Reprise, haha)


After we finished, a DJ friend of RNGDS "spinned" some tunes the rest of the night in the basement. One of my friends asked if I was going to play some Jack's Smirking Revenge, and I agreed after some more mead and a smoke. With what voice I had left, I went through a few new songs for a few friends and my bandmates outside. That was pretty fun as well. I guess I passed out at some point, and woke up confused in my clothes, and my Flava Flav clock annoying the shit out of me.

The next day I had work, which was relatively exhausting, followed by painting signs for my Amnesty Int'l group, and then another party, after which I walked home at 3am. Alright time for some pics! I'm sure more will surface, and I'll post those at some point too if I find them worthy. More will probably be on the Masters of Suspicion myspace eventually.

It looks like half of the images are getting cut off, so you'll have to click on them to see the full
















OH! one more thing. I acquired a copy of the entire Denver Revival Tour audio, and I uploaded it on Mininova. So go forth and download!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Classical Arrangement

I've heard the things you've spoken
The conviction in your eyes
I believe that you believe them
But I can't empathize
You wanna live life your way
And not let others do the same
The world turns to a desert while you pray for rain

I'm glad you found your answers
In your parents' fairy tales
Spin around in circles with no wind to push the sails
Mythology and magic, religion's all the same
The world turns to a desert while you pray for rain

And I have faith, I have faith in me
Faith in things that I can see
And I have learned some things about devotion
Stop judging me and I won't judge you
We're all looking for our own truth
And we are only tiny droplets in the ocean
Drops in the ocean


So I got Dillinger Four's new LP in the mail the other day. I actually got about 8 LPs in a 2 day span from friday-saturday, which is always fun. I haven't even had the time to listen to all the awesome new music I got, (Fucked Up, Two Cow Garage, Weakerthans, Lagrecia, Chuck Ragan/Austin Lucus (more on those two later!), Ghost Mice/Andrew Jackson Jihad, Mischief Brew!!!) but back to D4. Honestly, this album is stronger lyrically than it is musically. Musically its a pretty standard D4 album, lots of gruff midwestern pop-punk, but less hardcore sprinklings than their first two full lengths. So its a pretty solid "progression" from Situationist Comedy. But this album boasts some pretty strong lyrics which is what puts it in the top 10 albums of the year for me (right now its #6 on my preliminary list). The above example is one of my favorite songs on the album. Its incredibly minimalist instrument for the majority of the song puts the emphasic on the lyrics, a scathing attack on religion, a theme that pops up previously on (what I consider) the album's best song ("Ode to the Great American Snake Oil Distributor"). Further standouts are "Fruity Pebbles," a Paddy sung ode to a fallen friend, the opening track "Jingle for the Product" (I'm a sucker for whoa-ohs), and the closing track, "clown cars on cinderblocks" whose lyrics I feel such an emotional connection to, I'm gonna post them, and you can't do anything about it!

December drags on
It's thirty-one days too long
This silence is killing me
I fear it when I'm tryin' to sleep

It's been one thing then another
Taking all the strength that I can muster
Not to pull the plug
When did I run out of luck?

Watching for the double-cross
I always knew I wouldn't escape without a scratch
Felt my feet on solid ground
Until I saw those fingers
Your fingers
Were crossed behind your back

Drown the pain with cheap champagne
And wake me when it's time to go
I'm far to faded to celebrate it
This clock is moving way too slow
One more year like this one
I could never make it on my own

I smoked my last cigarette
I emptied any bottle that dared cross my path
Lying in this spinning room
I contemplate the remnants of my life
And curse away the past

Drown the pain with cheap champagne
And wake me when it's time to go
I'm far to faded to celebrate it
This clock is moving way too slow
One more year like this one
I could never make it on my own

I'd offer up a sacrifice
If I thought it would do any good this time
I recognize the pain I've caused
But I can not pay these crimes
I'm not sure I expect to be here New Year's Day

word.

In other news I totally didn't have the time over the weekend to make a post regarding the complete and utter awesomeness that was The Revival Tour. I went down to the good ol' Marquis Theater on Thursday by myself (as usual) and it was on the most fun shows I've been in a while. It was also nice to be up front and watch the music without fear of being crushed. Its been a while since i've been to a non-punk show. The show started at around 8 with all of the members currently on the tour (Chuck Ragan, Ben Nichols, Tim Barry, Austin Lucas, and Jon Snodgrass) playing a few songs together before splitting off an allowing each member to play individually before everyone coming back together at the end. Of course there was contributions between a few of the members at times (especially Chuck and Austin) and that added to the overall brotherly comraderie feel to the tour. Austin Lucas looks like like the last person you'd expect to be playing traditional folk/country, but the former crustie played some amazing tunes from his forthcoming album on Suburban Home (and at times yelling at Virgil, who runs the label and its sister Vinyl Collective, to clap along) as well as his split with Chuck.

Jon Snodgrass played next, and also played considerably well, and had a sizeable amount of fans in the audience, due to Drag the River being from Colorado and all. I really need to check out more of their music...Tim Barry, who was is always a treat came up next with his simple songs (with simple boring chords to quote him) infected with Richmond, beer, and traveling. He has a penchant for talking alot though, which is perfectly fine, it adds more personality to the performance. And Tim is certainly a man with a lot of personality. He briefly mentioned the Iraq Veterans Against the War, who had a table in the back, and how amazing and important they are in general. The veterans there even joined him on stage for "South Hill", and that was pretty cool. Ben Nichols of Lucero (whose album Nobody's Darlings is goddamn amazing), who looks pretty damn funny with a full beard, did his best to get through his set, despite how visibly drunk he was (and that only intensified over the night, haha).

Chuck Ragan came out (by came out I mean got up off of the box he was sitting on on the side of the stage most of the night) and went straight into his passionate folk songs from his debut full length, some from his Austin Lucas split, and even a Hot Water Music song (God Deciding!) and some folk standards. He played the longest of the night, since he was technically the "headliner" and ring leader of the whole tour. After he finished his "solo" set, he was joined by the rest of the tour members for a few more group songs. I began to get antsy, as I had to catch the 12:06am bus back to Boulder, and time was getting short. However as that time approached, they still weren't finished, and it was too much fun to leave. I made a good decision, and it was totally worth watching that extra 15 minutes of show in exchange for 45 minutes in the bus station.

Finally, the Masters of Suspicion super awesome Misfits cover show is shaping up pretty good. We have about 17-18 songs down, and a couple more that are rougher than the rest that we probably won't play. In addition to the Soulquarium basement party show, we will also be playing at the Bulldog Bar in Denver right before. So that will be interesting to say the least. Hopefully we can get a good turnout. Cause honestly, who doesn't love getting drunk and playing/listening to the Misfits? I sure do!

Word.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We Found Our Own Reasons To Sing

I nearly died on the highway driving fast through the rain. I was determined to get there as early as possible and get just left of center at the front of the stage. to hell with the wait. I struck up a conversation with some people from Parker about how shitty the barricade being there was, and then we talked about previous shows.

Future of the Left started at 8pm sharp. Their post-punk/indie style kind of bored me for most of their set, but there were a couple songs that got me nodding. Their bass was way to fucking loud, it drowned out the guitar and the singing. and I happened to be right in front of his monitor. Their last song was my favorite of their set, even more so when their bassist climbed over the barricade (and myself) played in the middle of the impromptu pit, and the proceded to pull himself up (with some help from the audience) into the balcony and play up there. It was astounding.

Before Ted Leo + Pharmacists began their dance friendly set, I was tapped on the shoulder by a girl who recognized me from the Streetlight Manifesto show that I went to on my birthday the week prior. We struck up a conversation, and I turned out she and her friend had come to the Gothic by the way of bus from Boulder. I told them I avoided coming to Englewood via bus like the plague, and offered them a ride back to Boulder after the show. I just couldn't let them wait for the bus in the cold following the show, like I had done so many times before. Ted Leo and company (his pharmaceutical company of course) went through a great set, even though they didn't seem to have that many fans. I shook around like a epilleptic through every song. I only recognized a few, and even less by name. "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone" and some songs from Shake the Sheets were the highlights.

I began to get anxious as they began setting up their gear. The last two times I had seen them were lackluster and dissappointing to say the least. But I still had hope, despite what some of my friends asserted. I knew they still had it in them to pump out a great show. My nose even miraculously cleared up, no longer impeding my singing ability in anticipation for the main event. Their roadies had a problem with one of the amps creating some godawful feedback, and once that was sorted out and everything was soundchecked.

Under red light, they grabbed their instruments and busted straight into "Cliche Guevara" and at that moment I knew the night was going to be amazing. They followed up with 3 songs from New Wave, including the worst song they've ever written. However the worst was over. They followed up with 4 songs in a row from Reinventing Axl Rose, and in that span, I almost lost my voice and passed out from sheer excitement. They were doing what they do best: not stop. They just pound through their set to fit as many songs in as possible, and keep the energy going at a maximum. As Tom strummed the opening notes to Miami, a song I hadn't seen them play in years, that excitement only grew. I took a break from singing for the next song, rocked out like a maniac for "Americans Abroad,"and then took another break during Borne On the FM Waves of the Heart. Good thing as the next song was the not often heard "TSR." following that short yet triumphant burst, they closed their "official" set with some less energetic tunes, but included "Pretty Girls" which I've never seen them play ever.

They took a long break before their encore, and Tom came out alone and played a song from his "solo" album, entitled "Only Cowards Sing at Night." With its chorus of "come back home johnny, come back home from Vietnam" its a clear jab at the McCain Train (wreck). What happened next caused me to audibly yell "oh my fucking god!" as they started playing "The Disco Before the Breakdown." The only surprise encore song that has topped that was when they played "What We Worked For" in Boulder last year. They closed the night out right with two of the greatest sing alongs they have written: "Sink, Florida, Sink" and "We Laugh at Danger (And Break All The Rules)." sadly, no one took the iniative to bum rush the stage as is typically appropriate, but it didn't matter. I got Andrew to hand me the setlist, I made my way to the merch booth, found my new acquaintences and flew back to boulder to write this.

Fuck the haters. This band means the world to me.

Cliche Guevara
New Wave
White People For Peace
Stop!
Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
Reinventing Axl Rose
Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious
Walking Is Still Honest
Miami
From Her Lips to God's Ear (The Energizer)
Americans Abroad
Borne On The FM Waves of the Heart
TSR (This Shit Rules)
Pretty Girls (The Mover)
Don't Lose Touch
Thrash Unreal
--------------
Only Cowards Sing At Night
The Disco Before the Breakdown
Sink, Florida, Sink
We Laugh At Danger (And Break All the Rules)

Friday, October 10, 2008

In Defense of Denver

Dispatch from the front:

So I went and saw Street Dogs last night. surprisingly this was the first time i've ever actually seen them headline and not open. So that was pretty cool I guess. I got to the Marquis right before locals Frontside Five started the night off right. I see them pretty regularly opening for other bands, and every time they seem to get better. However, I was surprised to see that they're singer was not present, and their two guitarist had taken over lead vocal duty. Even more surprising was when their singer actually came up to sing for one song ("Drinkin' Until Dawn"), but then left right after. I don't quite understand what the deal is, but whatever, good times. Especially the Minor Threat and Naked Raygun covers! ("I Don't Wanna Hear It" and "Rat Patrol" respectively). Their covers set the stage for the night, as every single band would at least cover 1 song.

Flatfoot 56 came up next, and I had never heard anything about them except that they were kind of like Chicago's Dropkick Murphy's, in the same way that The Tossers are Chicago's Flogging Molly. Armed with distorted guitars, drums, a mandolin, and bagpipes, they kept the energy in the room at a high their whole set. Although their "frontman" kinda annoyed me with his, shall we say, overt macho-ness. They played some good tunes, but kinda seemed like dicks. Maybe just their main guitarist/singer. Whatever. In addition to their mid-set Cro-Mags cover, they ended their set with "Amazing Grace," but not after first making the room split, and run at each other like punk Braveheart.

fuck you Time Again, and fuck your Pennywise cover.

Hooray for Street Dogs! They wasted no time coming out after everything was set up, unlike most headlining bands, and ripped right into "Mean Fist," the first track off of their new album. The kept the pace going with a great mix of new, standard, and old school. The ongoing joke between my friends and I is that the Street Dogs always play the same set everytime we see them. With a new album, this show broke tradition with a healthy amount of songs from State of Grace. and they didn't close with "Fighter!" crazy right? I know! Mike was charismatic and talkative as always, dedicating songs to fallen friends and fallen soldiers, and lauding the "unity pit" that was going nonstop. At one point Mike stated something about them "being a band since 2003" and I looked at the banner behind him, and it stated "Street Dogs est. 2002." Nice. I almost considered not going to this show because I figured I wouldn't be missing much, plus Masters of Suspicion and I need to practice the Misfits (little more on that later). However, I think I made the right decision, goddamn I love Street Dogs. I even got to get on stage and sing "Borstal (Boston) Breakout!"

I grabbed the setlist, and its the most detailed one I've ever seen. Not only did the put all the details for the show (venue, openers, date, etc), they put the tuning for every song next to the title.

Meanfist
Guns
Not Without A Purpose
Kevin J O'Toole
--------------------
In Defense of Dorchester
Back to the World
Drink Tonight
------------------
Two Angry Kids
----------------
Final Transmission
Tobe's Got A Drinking Problem
Katie Bar the Door
General's Boombox
----------------------
Justifiable Fisticuffs (on the set list marked as "audible old school" as they took requests, haha)
Rise Above (Black Flag)
Fatty
-------------
(Encore)
Free
Savin Hill
Borstal (Boston) Breakout (Sham 69)


In other news, The Masters of Suspicion, my roommate, and I will be covering The Misfits all night at our Halloween party, so that will be pretty fucking sweet. There was also talk of covering other bands as well, but we will see how practice goes (once we get going of course). I'll post audio from their most recent show at the Buffalo Rose at the bottom.

O Pioneers!!! new album, Neon Creeps, leaked, and its at the top of the list for albums of the year for sure. I have a copy (hopefully) in the mail system somewhere for me...


The Masters of Suspicion
Sloppy Seconds: Live 10/2/08 at The Buffalo Rose, Golden CO

1. Kenny G Experience
2. Alchoholocaust
3. No Scrubs
4. Stool Pigeon
5. Intervention
6. Give My Love to Rose
7. 1000 More Fools
8. Fistfuck
9. Larry Walker
10. Uncle Benny
11. Heaven Is A Place On Earth
12. Fisticuffs
13. Lager Lullaby
14. Fools and Kings
15. Gunslinger

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

(Goddamn.)

Dear mother,
This is just survival.
Cannot promise your children everything,
But you would lie so they can sleep tonight.
Defeat tasted nothing like you said.
Still 22 days left till the end of the world.
My legacy was making you a man
For a justice I could not change.
This is one voice not to forget;
"Fight every fight like you can win;
An iron fisted champion,
An iron willed fuck up."

Can anybody tell me why God won't speak to me?
Why Jesus never called on me to part the fucking seas?
Why death is easier than living?
You can be almost anything
When you're on your fucking knees.
Not today,
Not my son,
Not my family,
Not while walking is still honest,
And you haven't given up on me.

Dear shithead,
This isn't happening;
The sky is really falling,
The paint's all made of lead,
There's asbestos in the walls,
Hell's coming to rip off the doors
To your priveleged heaven.
Do you want to love and feel it?
You can look but you can't taste it.
You can reach but you'll never have it.
We are untouchable;
Untouchable is something to be.

Can anybody tell me why God won't speak to me?
Why Jesus never called on me to part the fucking seas?
Why death is easier than living?
You can be almost anything
When you're on your fucking knees.
Not today,
Not my son,
Not my family,
Not while walking is still honest,
And you haven't given up on me,
And you haven't given up on me,
And you haven't forgotten me...


(this song rips out my heart).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Praise Al Gore, the Wait is Over




God bless Al Gore indeed.

C I V I L W A R is fantastic.

and NN2S is back!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fuck Fuck Fuck

New Mexican Disaster Squad broke up today

I'm not terribly surprised, but it still bums me out.

The Ergs! broke up a couple days ago as well, which is also pretty lame.


fuck.

well at least the new Gatorface and Virgins records come out this fall!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Have My Books

Well I'm not gonna call you right
cuz that'd feel too much like failure
oh and i'm not one for begging
naw naw naw naw
I am an island
I won't admit that I actually need
naw I'm fine with just me
insist constantly
and I always repeat
I always repeat
and the other night
when I was trying to get
underneath her clothes
she said, Brett, don't we already know
where all this will go
yeah tomorrow
oh you'll just try to get rid of me
and i had to agree
yeah see there's something in that morning sun
oh it just floods through the windows
and fills
would a night
would a night
would a night
would a night
would a night seem so empty
so i'm just gonna
leave that phone be
I'll stay all alone
I'll stray replete
and I'll always
I'll always
I'll always
I'll always
I'll always
I'll always
I'll always



I got The Riot Before's new cd today. Damn its good. I remember them playing this song live at Asbury Lanes, and I got chills. This album is really, really, really good. I'll elaborate later on, after I give it proper listening treatment.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I Hate This Place, But I Love These Chords

What an awesome fucking weekend. And by weekend I mean from Thursday to Sunday. And by awesome I mean just those two days. Friday and Saturday were pretty fucking boring. Actually Friday wasn't too bad, I played risk with a couple friends, and I fucking love Risk. anyways:

Thursday:

O Pioneers!!! was a smashing success. We had a great turnout, the basement was packed, and the all the bands were fucking awesome. I look foward to both O Pioneers!!! new album coming out this month (hopefully) and 10-4 Eleanor's new whatever they are recording this month. Seriously go check out 10-4 Eleanor, they have that whole gruff midwestern melodic punk thing that everyone is into (myself included). So I guess that means they're orgcore. They brought a bunch of friends down from Fort Collins, who got the (basement) floor moving during their set. They were sort of on a mini-tour with OP!!!, as they were playing all three Colorado dates (Ft. Collins, Boulder, CO Springs), which is pretty cool for them. Masters of Suspicion played first, and it was one of their best performances yet, although I wish they would bring some new songs to the table.


After 10-4's set, everyone went upstairs as OP!!! began setting up. I was outside for a while talking to people, and as I heard noise drifting upstairs faintly from the basement, I figured the band was just doing sound check. After a couple minutes, I decided to head down to see how set-up was going, only to realize they had started their set already! I only missed a couple songs, but the rest of the set was fucking awesome, as I expected. It was a lot of new material, because of their recently acquired bassist, who hadn't learned all of the songs yet. From what I heard, the new album will destroy (again, as I expected). Eric announced the crowd that Aaron had been a douche all day, and promised a t-shirt and a CD for the first person to punch him in the balls. There was one attempt by 10-4's guitarist, but according to Eric, it "wasn't hard enough." After waiting a few minutes, I made my way to the bathroom, which was behind the band. It was there I saw my opening, and Aaron immediately keeled over in pain. It was hilarious, but I still kinda felt bad. Nobody likes getting punched in the balls. I smoked a bowl with him and and a couple others, and everything was cool. Speaking of which, the band had awesome fucking beer coozies that had "O Pioneers!!!" on one side, and "Drink More Weed" on the other. After OP!!! finished, everyone hung out for a few more hours, chatted, played ukele, got more drunk and high, and all the other usual post-show activities. It seems like house shows at "The Soulquarium/The Soulq/The Sulk" are becoming a regular occurance, and I'm ecstatic to be one of the few places in Boulder that actually has punk bands



Fuck the Fox.

Sunday:

Hot Water Music! Words cannot express how excited I was for this show, as they were one of the bands that broke up before I was able to see them live. I caught the bus down to Denver, and walking out of the bus I ran into two friends, and then walking out of the station I ran into a dude who was at my house for the O Pioneers!!! show, and two of his friends. We took the next bus to The Gothic Theater, which is a bitch and half to get to, especially on Sunday, and this trip was no different than my last attempt to go to a show there (Gogol Bordello, in the middle of December, finally arrived, and the show was sold out). Finally got there about 8, as the opening band, Mustangs and Madras, was playing. I saw them previously, opening for Planes Mistaken for Stars' final show, and my opinion on them hasn't changed. They were kinda boring, but the baritone sax their frontman played was interesting, if anything. Only Thunder came up next, and were much more enjoyable, and had a decent amount of fans in the crowd. It was really hard to hear their full sound, being directly in front of their lead guitarist the whole time, and that's more or less all I heard.

I stayed put, and luckily I was right in front of Chuck Ragan when Hot Water Music took the stage. Everything about their set was amazing. The venue wasn't too packed, there were no douchebags (very key), the song selection was awesome (a lot from No Division and Forever and Counting), and everyone in the band had a big smile on their face the entire time. You could tell they love doing what they do, and I hope this realization on their part will keep them off their hiatus. As much as I love Chuck Ragan's solo work, and enjoy The Draft, they just don't compare to the raw intensity and passion of Hot Water Music. When Jason's bass malfunctioned, right when he was supposed to have a solo (I believe during "Our Own Way", George just kept drumming, and Chuck and Chris joked back and forth, and as I have come to expect, Chris was drunk. Not so much as last time I saw him with The Draft, but noticeably so. When the bass problems were sorted out, they kicked right back into it. I managed to snag the set list and shake Chuck Ragan's hand when they finished, and that was worth more than any t-shirt.

Set:
A Flight and A Crash
Wayfarer
Rooftops
--------------
Trusty Chords
Giver
Paper Thin
--------------
Better Sense
Jack of All Trades
Choked and Separated
----------------------
All Heads Down
Moonpies for Misfits
The Sense
---------------------
Just Don't Say You Lost It
Swinger
Hard to Know
-------------------------
Our Own Way
Remedy
Manual
------------------------
(Encore)
At the End of A Gun
Alachua
Turnstile

Thank you Hot Water Music, for allowing me to no longer hate the Gothic Theater


oh, and for making awesome music, that too.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I Like May Day Better

I'm not a big AFL fan (although the CIO used to be awesome in the 1930s), but I enjoy any day off I can get. Happy Labor Day!

Also:


If you live in/near/around Denver/Boulder, be there, or be square!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Alex Visits Civic Center Park And Escapes Unscathed

The DNC came and went, as did the protests. Sadly, the numbers were far lower then I, the organizers, and the police expected. Sunday was an amazing, euphoric day, and Monday began that way until close to 100 protesters were peppersprayed, shot at, and beaten back by police that night. Tuesday passed with little action, much to my group and I's dismay. Wednesday proved to be better with a fantastic march led by the Iraq Veterans Against the War after the Rage Against the Machine concert (which I did not attend). Thursday had some actions, but went by relatively uneventfully. As I expected, the media went into an orgy of Obama praise, complete with Martin Luther King Jr. comparisons, which I find insulting to the latter's legacy. Obama is nothing but another politician, nothing more. Words like "hope" and "change" have been stripped of any meaning and have been turned into another marketing slogan for vast presidential merchandising. I can't even begin to count the number of what appeared to be designer Obama apparel that I saw while waltzing down 16th Street Mall. This man isn't just some hip fad that everyone can just get over come November 5th. He more likely than not will be the guy running our country for the next 4-8 years. Its not something to take lightly.


Well since the theme of the DNC protests was "Re-create 68," and Phil Ochs attended the infamous protests in Chicago 1968, here is disc 2 of Farewells and Fantasies! Enjoy!

Phil Ochs
Farewells and Fantasies (Disc 2)

1. The War Is Over
2. I Ain't Marching Anymore (Electric)
3. White Boots Marching In Yellow Land

4. Is There Anybody Here?
5. Santo Domingo
6. Song of a Soldier (Demo)
7. Cops of the World
8. Bracero
9. Canons of Christianity
10. I Kill Therefore I Am
11. Confession (Demo)
12. William Butler Yeats Visits Lincoln Park An Escapes Unscathed
13. A Toast to Those Who Are Gone
14. Changes
15. The Doll House
16. When In Rome

Monday, August 25, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Suspicioncore!

I know I said I would upload the other two discs of Phil Ochs, but those will have to wait.

Instead, two things.

First: The demo for Jack's Smirking Revenge, entitled "Bitter Songs For Bitter People" is now up on my last.fm page for both streaming and download. So go check it out! Mind you, the songs were recorded on my computer with a crappy microphone, so they are a bit subpar sound quality. Oh well, I'm still proud I managed to record em all.

Second: My friends' band The Masters of Suspicion, who played our house again last night, were kind enough to give me a demo/live bootleg of their own. It is their only recorded output that I know so far. So that is up for download right here:

The Masters of Suspicion
Live 7/17/08 at Buffalo Rose, Golden CO

1. Fistfuck
2. Heaven Is A Place On Earth (Belinda Carlisle)
3. Intervention
4. Stool Pigeon
5. Lager Lullaby
6. 1000 More Fools (Bad Religion)
7. Kenny G Experience
8. Uncle Benny
9. Larry Walker
10. Alcoholocaust
11. No Scrubs (TLC)
12. Fools and Kings
13. (Unknown)
14. Gunslinger

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Have the Years of Our Youth Passed On

Big post today, mostly because its been a great week, after a lackluster, rainy, cold weekend, full of dead musicians.

I knew it was gonna be a good day when I received my copy of The '59 Sound in the mail on Monday, and I have listened to it at least twice a day since. Seriously, I don't have a doubt in my mind that this will be record of the year, no matter what the mainstream outlets say. The only band that could possibly come close is The Riot Before, whose album Fists Buried In Pockets comes out in September. I have not felt such an emotional connection to an album in a long time, and it feels wonderful. Every song just spills passion out of my speakers and into my ears, and even the only semi-dud on the album ("Even Cowgirls Get the Blues") is only disliked for personal reasons (I hate Tom Petty). From the brilliant opener "Great Expectations" to the equally great title track, with its heartfelt lyrics about a friend dying in a car crash, to the fantastic "The Patient Ferris Wheel" (which i referenced in a previous post), the album builds on the solid foundation of Sink or Swim, and furthers their Against Me! meets Hot Water Music meets Springsteen meets soul sound. Dicky Barrett of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Chris Wollard of HWM even sing backup vocals on "The Patient Ferris Wheel!" Much like its predecessor, this album is packed with homages to their influences, from Springsteen (all over the album, duh), Petty (see above, ug), Miles Davis (Miles Davis & The Cool), Buddy Holly, Bob Seger (Great Expectations, eh), and even Casablanca (Here's Looking At You, Kid). Seriously, go buy this album.

I woke up Tuesday morning to find the fantastic news that Dillinger Four's new album Civil War will be released on October 14! 5 minutes later, I was watching a hilarious video of Paddy from D4 and Ryan from Off With Their Heads getting drunk at The Fest V and lighting themselves and OWTH's merch money on fire with grain alcohol. Then it was a long, but fun day at work, but followed by hanging out with various friends at the house until the wee hours of the night. Following a conversation with a friend about how awesome Phil Ochs is, I am officially on a kick. Like my buddy said, its easy to get mad at Bob Dylan for getting so popular, because he overshadowed so many great folk musicians from the same time period, like Ochs (who tragically took his own life in 1976). I will post all 3 discs of the out of print boxset "Farewells and Fantasies" that provides a great introduction to Ochs, from his fiery and witty folk troubadorship, to his poppier, experimental side. Disc 1 is posted at the bottom.

Today I went on a trek to the record store and picked up the following:

Johnny Cash-At Folsom Prison and San Quentin (2xLP)!!!!!!
Johhny Cash-Bitter Tears (LP)
Bruce Springsteen-Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ (LP)
Bruce Springsteen-Born to Run (LP)
Phil Ochs-Pleasures of the Harbor (LP)
The Replacements-Let It Be (CD)

It should be self explanatory why those make me incredibly happy. The fact that I found the Johnny Cash albums nearly gave me an erection. Tomorrow is my roommate's 21st birthday, so we shall be getting drunk and merry, and The Masters of Suspicion will be playing.

Phil Ochs
Farewells and Fantasies (Disc 1)
1. What's That I Hear?
2. The Bells
3. Morning
4. Bound For Glory
5. Highwayman (Live)
6. Power and the Glory
7. That's What I Want to Hear
8. Links On the Chain
9. Love Me, I'm A Liberal (Live)
10. Too Many Martyrs
11. In the Heat of Summer
12. Here's to the State of Mississippi
13. I'm Going to Say It Now
14. One More Parade
15. Draft Dodger Rag
16. I Ain't Marching Anymore
17. We Seek No Wider War
18. Ringing of Revolution
19. When I'm Gone
20. Song of My Returning
21. There But For Fortune

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Not another...


seriously, awesome people need to stop dying.


and it needs to stop fucking raining

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008

At Least We're Still Friends

I finally saw Alkaline Trio live last night. For the past 5-6 years I have been constantly missing them every time they come to town, usually being in Colorado when they are in New Jersey, or vice versa. I couldn't be happier that they played at Cervantes rather than the Fillmore or the Ogden (or similar venues). I also couldn't be happier that American Steel opened for them (disregarding Sleeperhorse, who were boring as always), as they have become one of my favorite bands over the past year or so. They number of American Steel fans in the audience was really low, which I didn't really expect. There were only about 10 or less of us rocking out in the front, which annoyed the teenage girl fans of Trio, but I couldn't care less. American Steel played a Destroy Their Future-heavy set, which I expected and enjoyed, as that album destroys (pun intended). Rogue's March and Jagged Thoughts got two songs each, but I was just happy to hear "Loaded Gun." Despite their limited time, they played a solid set for their limited fans, warming everyone up for the Trio.

Sons of Avarice
Or, Don't You Remember?
Shrapnel
Razor Blades
Rainy Day
To The Sea
Smile On Me
Loaded Gun
Every New Morning
Love and Logic
Mean Streak


With the lights dimmed and the candles place atop the amps lit, Alkaline Trio took the stage to the usual screams, clapping, and shouting. Matt then wasted no time and went into the first song from Agony and Irony, "Calling All Skeletons." The final chords from the song had barely finished ringing when they began playing the opening riff to "Clavicle." From that moment, I knew it was going to be a great fucking show. That feeling was further cemented when they busted out "I Lied My Face Off" The Trio soldiered through their set, taking songs from all their albums, thankfully only taking 5 from Agony and Irony and 2 from Crimson. Thankfully of those 7 songs, only one of them sucked ass ("Love Love, Kiss Kiss"). Sadly, Goddamnit's only representation was "Clavicle." I honestly expected at least one or two more from the album, considering it was just reissued. The band pulled a few cheesy "band" moves, that is to say, replacing words in certain songs with "Colorado" or "Denver" ("Mercy Me" and "This Could Be Love"). I was kinda let down when Matt replaced "Night On Earth" with "Totalimmortal" in "Warbrain," but was still ecstatic they played it. After leaving the stage following "This Could Be Love," the chants for "Radio" began. After opening their encore with "For Your Lungs Only," the band gave the people what they wanted. Singing along in unison to the chorus with everyone in the room was one of the best feelings I've ever gotten at a concert. So Alkaline Trio, I forgive you for your lackluster past two albums, as long as you keep pumping out sets like this. The only way it could have been better was if I went to the Occult Roots tour in '06 (with Against Me!), or saw them in '98-'99

Calling All Skeletons
Clavicle (!!!)
I Lied My Face Off (!!!)
I Found Away
In Vein
Private Eye
Time to Waste
Blue Carolina
Warbrain (!!!!)
Goodbye Forever (!!!)
Emma
Armageddon
Mercy Me
Love Love Kiss Kiss
Crawl
Help Me
Bleeder (!!!)
This Could Be Love
------------------
For Your Lungs Only
Radio