Saturday, November 20, 2010

Holy fuck....

...does this blog have shitty writing. It's so pretentious... so novice rock critic... I can't believe this contrived nonsense is actually a product of mine. Why does everything I ever write seem so good when I'm writing it but so fucking obnoxious a month later?

I have a new blog. So far it's not a piece of shit dangling into the mouth of literature:


Saturday, September 11, 2010

James Blood Ulmer - Black Rock

Hey, how would you like to be FUNKED in the ass? Well if the answ

No, no... that will simply not do. We are all mass-attending, traditionalist, nuclear family suburbanites with strong Christian morals and family values in mind. Allow me to rephrase:

Hey, how would you liked to be FUNKED in the consenting, virginal, recently wed vaginal canal in the missionary position beneath the covers with the lights off with candles lit and procreation in mind? Well if the answer is y

Actually, that whole peel sounds way more condescending than I imagined it would. Sadly, it's been tattooed on the lascivious breast of the internet forever and ever, with no hope for an E-mastectomy in the near future. Or in layman's terms: this entry has been rotting in my post queue for way too long now, and (as usual) my motivation to keep this blog afloat is delicate as a soap bubble, I feel like beginning a complete revision may totally shatter the illusion of will necessary for it's completion. On with the show, then...
[strike]So here today, we are here today to speak ever so highly of the work, today, of [/strike]

I'm tired of strike through text.

Anyway, today, we're not only celebrating the fact that I finally found a cheap copy of this LP in a record store, but the fact that it's an awesome slab of music by pro-badass and talented songwriter and guitarist, James "Blood" Ulmer. Also, is the "Blood" part of his name hyphenated? I feel like it's never a consistent enough notation for me to make conclusion on. Anyway (again), if you're unfamiliar with the banquet of baby makin' grooves James "Pus" Ulmer, his unique mixture of abstract jazz, funk, punk-energy, and caustic rock that both predated no wave and went along for the ride is something I'd recommend to just about anyone who's stumbled upon this blog. Black Rock is the second album in the historical anomaly now known as "the Great Columbia Records Disaster" in which Columbia signed Ulmer for three whole albums of avant-garde jazz/funk/punk nonsense that sold a total of 5 units(!). An unmitigated disaster, indeed.

Shamelessly bunk statistics aside, this is probably Ulmer's most accessible work, especially with the inclusion of the teeth-grittingly "UHN!" laden title track and the cheesy-yet-undeniably-catchy gospel-esque rock ballad "Family Affair", sung by both Ulmer and Irene Datcher. Aside that, the rock and funk fixations are definitely bumped up a notch here from his past work, with Amin Ali slappin' and poppin' the living fuck out of his bass throughout the 9 tracks and Ulmer bringing more guitar bombast than ever. That said, the technical proficiency on display here is still mind numbing, the melodics stil har, the rhythms still poly, and the instrumentals still ripe for gettin' down to.
I'm not sure if I'd call this his best work, but then... who actually cares what I consider to be his crowning achievement? The important thing is, this, and everything from Tales Of Captain Black to Odyssey are fantastic, and worth tracking down (or downloading considering how difficult most of them are to come by). Actually, everything after Odyssey might be fantastic, too, but I haven't heard them. I know you're too scared to go deep into the twisted labyrinth of cacophony known to some as James Blood Ulmer's back catalog without my stamp of approval, but fret not - I will be with you in spirit.

Can we all agree this would be side splittingly hilarious if I used strikethrough text on that last part?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sonny Sharrock - Monkey Pockie Boo

Are my reviews getting too reviewery?

Early in my career as a word alignment artist, I penned a lavishly post-modern review of Sonny Sharrock's 1969 ethereally transcendent debut LP, Black Woman - an timeless snapshot of jazz and flamenco deconstructionism I've become irreparably enchanted by since my discovery (on my own, that is, and before anyone else would even give this stunning record the time of day, ha ha!). Trekking through the remainder of Sharrock's largely approachable and enchanting catalog of soundscapes, I've sdsfg5

You see? That's what I mean by too reviewery. Wordy, self-assured, wiser-than-thou, garbage. And it's an unconscious thing, too. Ugh. Let me see if I can meet up with these pretensions, but at the other end of the spectrum. So here we go: equidistant to the center of normalcy as the above paragraph, just in the opposite direction:
Sunny ShaROCK is KUHra-zy! Lots of wEiRd noises and big ol' screamy AHHHH parts and boop-bop drums going slappety-slap with the woodle wo00dle string thing in the 1st track and oh MY GOD the BEST pa

Maybe both of these are sort of exaggerated a fraction, though.
Alright, that's enough amusement of any kind. We are here to do business like adults. Adult men, to be precise, as women are inferior in every way. In my travels, I've discovered that, much like every artist ever, Sonny Sharrock has a few lame albums in his musical armory; namely Paradise and the super rare follow-up, Dance With Me Montana. The former is slick-as-oil fusion-esque bullshit with big clean-as-a-whistle funk grooves and keyboards providing a backdrop for Sonny to get quasi-nonsensical over and Linda to sing quasi-nonsensically with. It's truly a bizarre release when you consider it's attempted commercialization leaves most of the elements that made the first two unprofitable intact, just smeared with high-gloss resin. Oh, and the latter has a silly painting of Sonny doing a panged Eric Clapton face on the cover. I haven't heard it, actually, but it's probably bad. Alright fine I'll listen to it before I say I hate it.
Monkey Pockie Boo is the cryptically/retardedly titled follow-up to the aforementioned LP, and is a rather different affair, with all the melodic, flamenco-esque guitar flourishes kidnapped, brutalized, and hastily concealed beneath a soft bed of soil and decomposing leaves alongside a highway completely depleted in favor of a rickety mess of comparatively standard free jazz noise bursts. No negative implications, though, because despite it's corresponding "normalcy", it's still what you'd call a classic (because it's really easy to use this as a justification of one's approval) of near comical AGGRESSION. This album will flog you senseless, in other words.

Just like Black Woman, this album is pretty damn short, and frankly, that's the way I typically enjoy my albums - just barely cracking the 35 minute mark. Why? Perhaps my IQ is remarkably low and I get intimidated by double albums half the time. "27th Day" is a hair over 17 minutes, bustin' in dis bitch with a clunky, brooding scrape of the bass punctuated by Linda's wails and most tubular of all, a kazoo/slide-whistle. The moments where the kazoo harmonizes with the upward sweep of Linda's vocals are truly awesome, and provide one of the very few moments of clarity in the album. Unlike most free jazz releases where the band begins by playing a motif, the scratchy bass and the relatively composed vocal emissions are about as close as you get - heck, the band even returns to this "motif" at the songs conclusion.
"Soon" is the real gem here as far as I'm concerned, which begins with an unaccompanied vocal melody that could bust into gospel at any second, but instead slams a crowbar at your head with a startling burst of improv-noise from all involved. The aggression displayed on this song is ludicrous, with the percussion at it's busiest, Sonny's shards of guitar coming across as more blistering noise than fragmented abstractions, and Linda losing the fuck out of her shit all over the place. For 7 minutes! Great stuff, and it makes the closer, a title track, sound like an exercise in restraint in comparison. The two (Linda and Sonny) start chanting, and everything stays relatively grounded despite the frantic percussion. It's good, but I'm tired and don't feel like writing anymore today, so just trust me here.
Sorry for the lame rapidshituponmyface link (seriously, why hasn't the galaxy embraced mediafire?), but I'm not at my laptop right now. Expect a new link, soon. "SO HEY", you interject most rudely, "HOWZ ZHIS STACK UP TO BLACK WOMAN, LOL?" This is probably the more celebrated, reputation-packed affair, but I'd take Black Woman over this most days of the week. Not "any day", since Monkey Pockie Boo is really good. No sir. But most days, sure. Black Woman presented a unique vision that sadly was never expanded upon or even heard by most jazz-wads of the era (as far as I've heard), which sorta blows considering how beautiful, chaotic, and mesmerizing it is as a whole. I'd love to hear more artists meld the flamenco-esque guitar virtuosity with angular, aggressive guitar improv, busy percussion, and such blaring vocalesce.
Sadly, this would never be.

Until I took up the challenge, that is.

No wait, I've never played an instrument.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Khanate - s/t

It's about time I shared an unusual little personality disorder with you, the presumed reader: annually, if not bi-annually, I slip off my avant-dork coil and recede into the most harmless cache of my music collection - namely, a stew of nostalgia-overloading pop punk, ska-punk, and indie rock. In this exclusive time span, I become what the snottiest of the hipster cognoscenti might consider a music wastrel, jiggling my angsty hindquarters to the emotionally resonant crash-n-scream of The Broadways, Discount (who I actually did a post on), Archers Of Loaf, Lucero, Defiance Ohio, Assorted Jelly Beans, Crimpshrine, Scared Of Chaka, Common Rider, and even a brief encounter or two with fucking Alkaline Trio (I know, shut up).

Now I know what you're thinking: "Steve, who the fuck cares? Why be embarrassed by anything you listen to (except Alkaline Trio, you giant vagina)? Music is there to be enjoyed, not for status" - and you'd be right! There's no reason to be embarrassed by anything I enjoy, but that's what hits me as so fucking strange - it's not that I'm embarrassed to tell people I like this stuff, it's the fact that I DON'T EVEN REMOTELY LIKE half of this music when I'm not in the aforementioned pop punk/ska/folk punk/indie phase. Confused? I am too! There are a handful of artists I flog in these yearly dark ages I would defend any day of the week (The Broadways, Operation Ivy, Discount, early American Steel, Pavement, Boris The Sprinkler, J Church etc...), but then there's the other stuff - the stuff that has no real musical merits that I know sucks ass even when I'm listening to it heavily. This category includes The Lawrence Arms, Doughboys, Fifth Hour Hero, The Lillingtons, This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, Built To Spill, and a zillion other lame-beyond-comprehension musical nadirs who happen to write a few super catchy tunes in relentlessly stupid fashion.

Why bring this up now? To explain the lack of entries, primarily. I started this blog to detail my adventures in the wild-n-woolly - free jazz, RIO, no wave, ethno-whatever, psychedelic, noise rock, just plain noise, drone, lost gems, etc - while keeping the rest of my library on the sidelines. I'm beginning to rethink this stance, though - why halt entries completely just because I'm not getting a headache from some Brotzmann squawk or Solmania shriek? THINGS ARE GONNA CHANGE AROUND HERE - just not right now, since I'm totally diggin' some Sun Ra as I type this.
Anyway, now that we got that drivel out of the way, let's talk about the album above (way above) - New York's drone/doom juggernaut Khanate's debut. Back in late 2006, I was wading through the gloomy jungle of doom and sludge metal (of which I'd only made excursions into via Dystopia and Man Is The Bastard previously) when I read a largely negative review of Khanate's self-titled debut on Teufel's Tomb (a metal review site I have a history with). It essentially dismissed the record as too slow and too heavy for staff member Double D's to enjoy. Being a sucker for the utmost extremes of any genre, I excitedly downloaded a sample track, the suffocatingly dense and sick-as-a-mutha' "Skincoat" - a near 10 minutes of feedback, disjointed sub-Burning Witch riffery, and some of the most harrowing and utterly disturbed vocals I've ever heard. After the 9 minutes and 40 seconds elapsed, I was fucking SOLD and hurriedly ordered a copy o'er the web.

No surprise, the rest of the album was just as good, albeit far less accessible than the sample track (if you can believe that after hearing it). The guitarwork is the cornerstone here, alternating between crushing, sub-zero BPM riffage, bursts of feedback, passages of echo-y twang a la Hex-era Earth, and even a few malnourished, skeletal, and quiet melodies rendered even creepier by the juxtaposition of a faceless bass growl rumbling in the distance. Pretty much any Khanate enthusiast will tell you the real hook here is former O.L.D mouthpiece Alan Dubin's unbelievably psychotic yelps and sputtering whispers, and I'd have to agree. If you're familiar with the aforementioned grind band's Old Lady Drivers LP, imagine the cartoonish psychobabble elicited at a third of the speed and heavily enunciating quasi-abstract lyrical blurbs of pain, hatred, and unconscious insanity. Throughout the album, little whispered words are looped and distorted to great effect amongst the quieter portions, especially the three-and-a-half minute interlude, "Torching Koroviev". Also, no covers of Eric Clapton's "Cocaine"*.

The 4th track (of five) is perhaps my favorite, albeit not a track I've been man enough to listen to outside the context of the album. "Under Rotting Sky" is perhaps one of the most deadening pieces of music I've ever heard, with the riffage slowing to such a crawl that it forgoes any semblance of melody or rhythm towards the conclusion and edges close to pure, discomforting, abstraction. Alan's crazed exclamations about strangulation of himself and another with a "blanket of you" escalate this track into a number one hit for cocktail parties. Try listening to this album while biking through your quiet little town at midnight. It's funny how vulnerable it can make you feel.

Hey, I have a fun idea! To get all Julian Cope/Pitchfork-y for a second, let's make a pretentiously artsy and largely visual interpretation of this album's sound. Okay, here goes: a rundown farmhouse in a barren field. A series of mindless daily endeavors delivered with unhealthy precision. A sole inhabitant falling through a delirium of anti-social anxieties and insatiable obsessions. A corpse redressed and positioned at a dinner table. Self loathing complimenting a god complex. A massive UFO abducting all the world's styrofoam before jettisoning into the nearest star. A single woman breaking the heel off her designer high heels. A sentient pineapple. A boxer accused of

In conclusion, I will never make any money through artistic means in this lifetime.

(*Also, this isn't a wAcKy, RaNdOm, quip, O.L.D do a cover of "Cocaine" on their first album)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sonic Youth - Confusion Is Sex

To quote Bruce "The Employer" Springsteen: "a man who turns his back on his blog just ain't no good". As such, I will no wait ju

So yesterday I had a near unfathomably dull and seemingly interminable dream segmented into literally dozens of loosely connected "acts", each of which would require at least one paragraph to detail and one additional paragraph to describe the excruciating levels of boredom associated. It all started with a blindfolded car ride to the envelope factory, when suddenly t

Have you ever taken a dump so tremendous that you craved the cold embrace of an earthen plot? If not, well lemme tell you, mister, the

I think we can all agree that the above are not the most engaging opening lines for a blog entry, and since I have close to nothing interesting to say, let's move directly into the actual content.
As weird as this may seem, I got into Sonic Youth all those years back through a hastily conceived research paper on the New Yawk No Wave scene for an 11th grade English assignment. At the time, I was reveling deep in the world of post-punk snob-rock and spiraling towards it's ultimate artistic conclusion in the fields of punk-funk and mutant disco. No Wave, as it was, became a short lived obsession of mine, and I ended up hording every DNA, Gynecologists, Theoretical Girls, Friction, and Lydia Lunch associated hunk of laughably overserious shit within reach. It wasn't until this brush with research fields of the utmost prestige (ie: wikipedia) that I'd heard a whole lot about Sonic Youth's involvement in the scene, or at least, Thurston Moore's.
The Noise Festival was an influential festival of art noise music curated by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth at the art space White Columns in June 1981. Sonic Youth made their first live appearance at this show. Each night three to five acts performed, including Glenn Branca, Rhys Chatman, Jeffrey Lohn, Dog Eat Dog, Built on Guilt, Rudolph Grey, the Avant Squares, Mofungo, Red Decade, Robin Crutchfield's Dark Day, Ad Hoc Rock, Intense Molecular Activity, Smoking Section, Chinese Puzzle, Avoidance Behaviour, and Sonic Youth.
Good enough context for me to take the plunge. After all, quite a few people consider 1983's Confusion Is Sex the last legitimate No Wave release (which is not something I necessarily agree with, as I'm not one of those elitist dorks who claim that any artist replicating a genre who's scene has long since expired to be illegitimate).
To those who haven't heard this album, there are a number of ways I could describe it, including Glenn Branca orchestrating an indie rock unit. That said, this is a seriously art-damaged mess, severely de-& re-tuned, with odd little inconclusive lyrical quips meandering hazily out of the disaffected maws of Thurston and Kim (who remarkably, sounds even more atonal than she does now). As I recall, there is no studio wizardry or effects pedals at play here (aside the distortion of course), just a mass of otherworldy tunings and heavily prepared guitars that often take on a metallic, clanking, percussive edge.

"So how about the songs? Are they even any good?" you and I say in unison, bored to hell by my increasingly slipshod reviewing style. Well, while this is likely the least accessible material Sonic Youth ever recorded (barring their hit-or-miss live improv sessions and the hilarious TV Shit EP with Yamatsuka Eye), it's the most easily ingested No Wave (or at least No Wave-indebted) album next to The Contortions' monstrous Buy LP I detailed a year ago. There have been far more whacked out takes on the genre, but Sonic Youth had the knack early on for taking these unusual components and crafting actual melodies out of them. Sure, they're often extremely unwelcoming, idiosyncratic, melodies braced with extremely cold 'n' dark inflections, but it not once sounds like the band is just fucking around or even experimenting too heavily. If I can go out on a limb here, the stark, disjointed, make-up of each song sounds a league or two more natural here than the like-minded mid-song passages found in the late 80's incarnation of the band.

To answer that earlier "question"/lame literary device, this is a fucking great album that any fan of the band (or avant-garde rock) needs to check out. It definitely requires some foreplay, especially considering that two of the album's most somber, downright creepy tracks start up the party, but once you let it sink in, it's a super rewarding listen.
For the record, I actually prefer college-friendly Sonic Youth most of the time, so if you need a more eardrum-friendly fix, start at EVOL and work your way up to Goo. BUT OH, wouldn't it be soooo subversive to ONLY like this album? I would trade in so much indie cred for an opportunity to solely enjoy all the albums the world ignores for relatively logical reasons. Here's a potential top 10 list for me to adopt once I reach the apex of eclectic hipster contrarianism:
1.) Gerogerigegege - Showa
2.) Bad Brains - Black Dots (and ONLY Black Dots)
3.) Earth - Extra Capsular Extraction
4.) The Fall - Live In London 1980 (Cassette Version)
5.) John Lennon & Yoko Ono - Wedding Album
6.) ZNR - Traite De Mecanique Populaire
7.) Whitehouse - Right to Kill: Dedicated To Denis Andrew Nilsen
8.) Led Zepellin - Coda
9.) Friction - Live '79 (B-Side ONLY)
10.) Discharge - Never Again EP

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

3 Newer Hardcore Bands That Make Life Worth Living

Back at the beginning of June, I trotted to Failuresville on a horse called "Voluntary Unemployment". Since that fateful day, the quality of my everyday life (contrary to logic as far as most are concerned) skyrocketed. My original intent was to travel the country like a vagrant 'til the wheels fell off, but all alone out there, all the beautiful, poetic, aspects of total liberation that drew me in initially faltered to the swelling frustration and boredom that a complete lack of community entails. I suppose I could've viewed it as an opportunity to pack on the character through long bouts of hardship, but fuck that, I've got more character than you could shake a {noun} at. Well, that isn't true, but please give me a break; I'm attempting to coalesce my sub-"gonzo" ramblings ov olde with a writing style that actually keeps my brain from destabilizing into a thin syrup. As such, this blog probably sucks just as hard as usual.

The above was committed to the back of a band flyer with a dried out Bic pen in a span of 20 minutes at my buddy Joe's apartment in which I was fortunate enough to inhabit for a few days before hitting the road again. This particular doodle represents a moment in between a blissful leaving of home and making the distraught pilgrimage back where I finally reconvened with the artistic coil I shuffled off 2 years back in favour of debilitating hollowness. I ask you though, who hasn't fallen victim to the sexy siren we call debilitating hollowness? I'm not particularly proud of the doodle itself - it's pretty standard fare as far as I'm concerned, and done in a shit medium besides - but for whatever reason, it became the harbinger of a long dormant desire to improve and communicate with other art dorks. The next thing you know, I'm pregnant.
With a yearning for the art world, that is! HA HA HA HA HA hahjkvbk,,kfudicc9jn davh,w

The next thing you know, I actually feel a wind beneath my wings (if I'm using this stupid cliche properly), and decide a mountain of debt is worth expanding my horizons and allowing myself the chance to land a job I could actually derive more than monetary worth from. Either art school will deliver the goods, or I'll be wrong as a denizen of my age range typically is.

Ever since Maryland Deathfest, I've had my favoritism for the more extreme branches of music rejuvenated, and thus, have started coiling up the mountain of slack accumulating from the moment I put away my ratty, membrane-thin, Napalm Death tee and threw on a fashionably tight Pavement shirt. "YEAH, MORE LIEK GAYVMENT", says you, incorrectly.
But anyway:

Weekend Nachos - Unforgivable

With a name bespeaking such incredible frivolity, your irony detector's should short-circuit when this bubbling cauldron of dark, humorless, and brutal, hardcore-and-sludge inflected powerviolence punches you square in the eardrums with it's teeny little balled up fists perfectly evolved to frictionlessly navigate the human auditory canal. Weekend Nachos have been kicking the veritable ass since 2004 (presumably) and have a few EPs and a full length preceding Unforgivable, and recently, an EP of pure sludge proceeding it. It's always nice to bear witness to a band unveiling their best work to date, and Unforgivable is totally on my nonexistent "Top 10 Of 2009" list somewhere. Y'know, floating in the intangible ether. Just like fellow face grinders Iron Lung's Sexless/No Sex "opus" (ie an album I like a lot), Weekend Nachos take this opportunity to further baste themselves in the sumptuous tar prepped by sludge cuistôts Eyehategod and low-end Man Is The Bastard, giving this album a biting dynamic betwixt the powerhouse blast-a-thons of yore, comparatively rockin' hardcore punk, and crushing doom riffery. It's nice to see Relapse Records can still throw a fastball here and there.
Get it here.
Then get it here for cheapsies.

Punch - s/t LP
Punch is a fantastically fresh and tear-ass'ing youth crew damaged powerviolence (or "fastcore" if you want to spat about it) unit with a collective straight-edge and vegan mandate that doesn't really fucking matter because as is the case with most hardcore, the lyrics are smothered to intelligibility by the Nah, I kid, we're all good enough sports to have the lyric sheets tattooed on the inside of our eyelids. Ooh, but there is a song about bikes:
Always thought that one is one, but I guess that’s not the case, because now I know two does not equal four wheels. Better step aside- where you’re going is not as important as where they’re headed.
Unless it's metaphorical. The music ist fucking krieg, though. Quite a few bands in this niche sacrifice technicality and songcraft for adrenaline-OD'ing frenzies, but Punch is way leaner than the pack, with bursts of melody amongst the frenetic blasts and intelligently structured vocal delivery, replete with tasteful "crew" shout-outs. Lastly, vocalist Meghan's impassioned, top-of-the-lungs, screaming is god-tier quality and makes me yearn to hear more "goils" (as Peter "The Corpse" Steele may have said) pick up the mic for this brand of intense hardcore. I was planning on seeing them in New Yawk Shitty, but my friends ended up bailing and adding to the canon of grim memories on getting lost at the subway was too much to bear.
Get it here.
Then get it here.
Also, I was kidding before. The lyrics are quite good.

Cult Ritual - s/t LP
Approaching this album was a little intimidating, as up until this point, Cult Ritual have kept their trifecta of top notch releases below the 10 minute mark. The release of a full length - especially regarding hardcore - typically reveals whether or not the band in question is capable of bearing close to their roots without turning into an interminable bore. For a recent example, see Bone Awl's Meaningless Leaning Mess - an album full of quality songs, but bogged down by a running time too great for the number of ideas presented. Fortunately, Cult Ritual can handle an LP's length and then some, as their 4th self titled disc is easily their greatest and most infatuating work so far. Armed with a crusty, warm, production sound and a slew of great riffs, these guys offer up a platter of U.S. style noise melded with scathing hardcore punk, fragments of melody, sound samples, a 3 minute exercise in minimalist drumming, intelligent lyrics, crushing sludge, and enough variation from track to track to lead me to believe these guys could tackle a double LP with little fatigue. Yes, these guys are hyped to shit, but they really are as great as you've heard.
Get it here.
And I'd tell you to buy it here, but apparently it went OOP already. Woops.

Now that this megafuck of a post is complete, I'll see if I can get some shorter, punchier, reviews and uploads out at a greater velocity. Don't hold me to it, though. I didn't use my own links this time around, so if any of them cease to deliver the goods, let me know and I'll stop being a leech and upload them myself.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

MDF 8 & bullshit

Lately, I haven't posted anything. I'm not totally certain I can settle on a singular reason for doing so, but it's somewhere in the murky waters of 9-5 purported apathy, a lack of confidence in my quantification of musical qualities, or some other vague sense of literary dejection. Either way, I've just not been feeling much propulsion behind my fingertips when the keyboard is adjacent. None of which is to say I've been listening to any less music than I ever have - my aural input is consistently huge - it's just that acting as anything but a spectator has felt like a chore recently.
Also, I quit my job, cut all my hair off, and am days away from traveling like a vagrant.
But enough about me, let's talk about
Nah, let's continue talking about me. Last year, two of my friends headed down to Baltimore for the Maryland Deathfest VII - a 3 day "extreme music" festival featuring an all-star cast of punk, grind, black/death metal, and powerviolence groups from around the world, and one of which I was too broke to attend at the time.
Actually, that's bullshit, I could've made it I had the mind to, but at the time, my interest in these particular branches of extreme music sunk down to primordial depths; so low in fact, that I could hardly stomach the idea of spending three full days bludgeoned by the soundtrack to 3/4ths of my high school career. I even performed a mighty cull of my itunes library, eliminating all but a handful of artists eligible for gatherings of the MDF variety.
In retrospect, I was clearly deluded and potentially hazardous to those cohabiting. If you've ever performed such rash processes of elimination, you'll surely get where I'm coming from, as it never takes long to regret your decision and begin a descent into self-mutilation as restitution. I dunno. But hey, check out this gorgeous lineup I could've lived without witnessing for a pathetic 115 dollars:
Bolt Thrower

Napalm Death



Brutal Truth
Venomous Concept

Pig Destroyer

Flesh Parade

Jig Ai

Agenda Of Swine
Kill The Client

Despise You
Weekend Nachos

What the fuck, man. I was an anus for passing this up, even if just Devourment (who's track record includes one of my all-time favorite albums with Molesting The Decapitated), Weekend Nachos (a fantastic powerviolence band notorious for their spasmodic live performances), Crowpath (at the forefront of forward thinking heavy music), Immolation (perhaps the most consistently excellent band in their gene pool), and Grief (a cranium cave-in of sludge) crawled out of a ludicrously skyscraping tour van pile-up featuring the entire roster. Luckily, I was panned over by this all-encompassing sense of regret shortly after the opportunity was lost to time and ordered tickets to 2010's shindig within a week of the line up's confirmation. Little did I know at the time, everything in the entire universe fucking blows. Everything. There's not an iota of solace to be found across the face of time and space. As such, I discovered my tickets were chilling atop my dresser only after myself, buddy Steve, and buddy Logan exited New York, traversed the entirety of Piece Of Shit (New Jersey, colloquially), signed in at the reception desk, nabbed a few grams of Bolivian marching powder and a cheap trick, and began walking up the block to the festival.
IN SHORT: after waiting in line for at least 15 minutes, wracked with fear that their would be no 3-day passes available and Steve high-fiving the dude from Cannabis Corpse, some true American hero and his buddy shot past us offering up an extra ticket, fellatio was performed, and I entered the festival 100 lbs. of anxiety and self-loathing lighter.
Apparently there was actually a performance the night before the festival officially commenced, but due to our collective ignorance, we passed up Birdflesh, P.L.F, General Surgery, and fuckin' Iron Lung, consarnit. Fortunately, this was just the tip of the 'berg of stationary hydrogen molecules, as the preceding days contained as much ass-blistering madness as one corporeal body could endure before total deliquesence.
The adjacent snapshot illustrates just some of the effects of such exposure to such rocktensity.
(not pictured: concave buttocks from severe hindquarter-boot exposure)
Gorguts - Decent show from a great band. Probably would've helped if we could hear anything during the first half of their set.
Autopsy - Similar fate as the above, but we tunneled through the flesh wall to remedy this. Played the classics to get the honey's bumpin'.
Obituary - Ruled. Illustrated exactly how a live band should sound - amped-up, more intense versions of their studio work. Steve (center) moshed for Satan throughout the duration of the set.
Entombed - Sucked. They played "Crawl" from the EP of the same name, but the remainder of the set was devoted to the shitty powerchord "death 'n' roll" style that dominates the bulk of their releases.
D.R.I. - Sounded great and played some of their best shit, yet we turned in like a bunch of bedwetters. Whatever, I was too sluggish to brave their pit for more than a few minutes anyway.
Asphyx - Fucking killed the shit out of our shit. Mosh pits are especially brutal when performed on the side of a blacktop hill. Even when the material was unfamiliar, the thick, crushing, grooves and the full on blasting made it incredibly easy to get into.
Repulsion - Eh. I dig Horrified, but constant high speed assaults from a great enough distance to totally muddle the sound don't really get the blood pulsing.
Pestilence - Ruled. Stuck primarily to their gritty, crushing, straight-up death metal material with only one or two forays into the proggy sound of their later works.
Eyehategod - One of the highlights for me, which was especially satisfying considering their position among my favorite bands of all time. They played all their best shit, and played it with gusto.
Watain - Caught about 3 minutes of this. Just sounded like humorless, deadpan, melo-black metal to me, but I suppose I wasn't witnessing them in the best window of opportunity.
Incantation - Eh. I love Incantation on CD, but I can't say I remember a second of this one.
Sinister - Weak, lifeless, performance of their later, drier, material. Coulda lived without this one.
Deceased - Considering that I'm unfamiliar with pretty much all but their debut, Luck Of The Corpse, it was rad that these guys played quite a few numbers from said album, being it's somethingsomething anniversary. This one was a lot of fun, and super energetic.
Blood Duster - These guys were fucking awesome. Lots of inflatable shit being throw around (including a giant, smiling, penis) and the introduction: "This next song is about stomping in piss. It's called "Piss Stomper".
Impaled - Decent, but kinda underwhelming considering the hype I read up on regarding their live shows.
Coffins - Really great shit. I spent the show swaying to the crushing doom or full body rocking to the more punkish, up-tempo, numbers.
Capitalist Casualties - THE highlight for me. They played the second to last spot on the third night, so Logan and Steve turned in, unfamiliar with the band. I thrashed my ass off and ended up getting picked up by this monster truck of a man and thrown into a bunch of crusty girls. Fucking awesome.
Gride - High paced Czech grind antics made for a fucking spastic mosh pit. I'd forgotten about these guys, but the show inspired me to track down their catalog again.
Gridlink - These guys are ex-Discordance Axis, and as such, follow suit with the group's final sound niche, but advance the technicality to even more ridiculous heights. Unfortunately, they just sound like an amplified blender live.
Captain Cleanoff - Awesome, tight performance by the absolute best grindcore band running today.
Rompeprop - A fucking party of dumb, chunky, goregrind heralded in with an overlong intro of some goofy Dutch traditional number. A cover of Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild" sealed the deal.
Gorod - Missed all but a few minutes of these guys. Super high musicianship, lower competence in songwriting. Whatever.
Malignancy - Nothing I was too familiar with, but fun nonetheless. More pinch harmonics than Zakk Wylde imitating a laser blaster. Vocalistman brought the giggles.

So hey, that sums up the Deathfest. I hope the stragglers enjoyed quickly skipping over this mess to resume their everyday tasks. Stay brutal.