Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Shop Assistants

Okay, Vivian Girls you are pretty good, but you are a little late in the game. No matter how much garage sheen you put on your sound, The Shop Assistants already did the whole"Jesus and Mary Chain with awesome female vocals" thing and it was flawless. It is one of the great crimes of the modern age that The Shop Assistants never get the credit they deserve. I like to think if a certain Nirvana frontman had obsessed over a different Scottish pop band things would be different, maybe even better.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Marked Men- Ghosts

The new year is only a few weeks old and I already have what will likely be one of, if not my favorite record of the year so far.

It seems that no matter how many years pass, my love of pop punk will never fade. In the years since buying my first Descendants album to today it is a love that has weathered countless obstacles. Even after growing my hair out and developing a continuing fascination with noise and pot, I remain true to my original sugar high. So when I find a band liked the Marked Men, there is a certain feeling that it evokes, one that seems nostalgic but is strikingly current. In punk rock, you never really grow up, you just get older.

So yeah, this is the new Marked Men record and one that continues the bands winning streak. If you haven't heard their self titled LP or Fix My Brain, you should grab those records as well. The Marked Men walk the same line between punk and bubblegum that The Ramones did on their best songs. Everything is fast, tight and catchy as hell and sounds like it was recorded in a garage in the late sixties.

Like what if Michael J. Fox was playing "Judy is a Punk" in that scene in Back to The Future and it was Eric Burdon's cousin in the phone. It's like that. It's that good.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Show Review: SUICIDE @ Club Europa

Reunions are by nature always awkward affairs usually made more taxing by long drives and the sudden realization that after 20 some years things are never the same. So when faced with a reunion we have two primary means of dealing with the weirdness: denial and alcohol. We make such journeys in the perverse desire to see what may very well be a train wreck, one that we might come out feeling better about ourselves for having seen.

So finding myself in Brooklyn after a three hours on the turnpike in the pouring rain and drink in hand; things were going as planned. Accordingly I spent the first few moments of A.R.E Weapons set looking for familiar faces in the crowd only to give up and resign myself to watching the band. The venue was somewhat large and unfitting and there were a lot less people than I had expected, and while it wasn't a high school gym, I still didn't feel the need to talk to anyone at all.

When Suicide did finally came on I could only think "Fuck these guys are old." The fact that Martin Rev was wearing ski goggles and orange pants didn't even phase me, I could only think
how much Alan Vega looked like my grandfather posing as a street thug for Halloween. Then band proceeded to spend the first 10 minutes of their set phoning in Rocket USA and by the time the shock had worn off I could see the situation for what it was. They were playing techo beats.

Unlike Madonna, The Rolling Stones or our parents, with bands like Suicide we never got to witness the subtle procession into irrelevance that accompanies age. We only have fixed images of them, fixed to a time when they weren't only young but also free of the trappings of the contemporary. This is where the reunion confronts us with a horrible Dorian Gray moment of realization; that time will inevitably erode even those that seem to escape it. There may exist an inertia within any band ahead of their, time barring death or insanity, to eventually reunite. While such instances always seem to tarnish or compromise that band's legacy, many of us still indulge to relive what we often missed out on.

So Suicide did just what you would wish from any artsy nihilists with thirty years of under appreciation would do: stand up in front of those foolish enough to pay to see them and confront them with the reality of what they were seeing. No matter who Suicide were, this is what they are now. Two men, a mid price keyboard and an image that no longer fit them. After 45 minutes or so of indulgent key board mauling and mumbled lyrics, it was probably the most confrontational thing they could do.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Open letter to Blake Schwarzenbach

When things so sound to good to be true, they usually are. Cliche I know, but it's true.

So I hear you have a new band, that is pretty cool. I even heard you got Aaron Cometbus to play drums, and that you played your first show at a house party in Brooklyn. I just have one thing I need to say to you: You better not break my heart again!
I can remember the last time you did. I was a precocious 14 year old strung out on 24hr Revenge Therapy and putting "Sea Foam Green" on every mixtape I could. You were fronting a little band called Jets to Brazil and slowing it down a bit with a little piano here and there. I was hesitant at first, I will admit, you could even say I was a little scared. I won't deny it, but with such high hopes it was impossible not to be. I finally worked up the nerve to buy Orange Rhyming Dictionary and then it happened: I didn't feel it. There I was sitting in front of my stereo and I couldn't feel it. The music wasn't bad, it was actually pretty good, but I felt not even a percentage of what I had felt when I heard "Want" for the first time. I was broken, but I'm not going to blame you. You didn't owe me anything.
Now I am 22 and I hear about this new band, Thorns of Life, and it sounds like something too good to actually happen. So I watch the videos from your first show expecting to be let down, but hoping to be wrong. Through the static I was supirsed. It sounded fun and I felt a spark.
I might be foolish to open myself up for another heartbreak, to let you again tarnish the mental image I had created of you from scraps of songs and photos, but I am going to.

And you better not let me down.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Album of the Week: The Dead C


Who needs a big muff when you have a shitty guitar amp and all the tape hiss in the world. Buy this. Lo-fi noise rock from New Zealand at its absolute best. Turn it down low on your stereo and let your drive to the grocery store take on an oddly surreal and unsettling feel.


I wanted to start a zine but didn't feel like killing trees.
so here we go.