Friday, November 28, 2008

Lifetime - Tinnitus 7"

Lifetime’s best EP, Tinnitus. Lyricist and singer Ari Katz has one of, if not the, best voice for singing Lifetime’s emotionally charged hardcore punk. The 7” opens with “Isae Aldy Beausoleil”. Right from the first guitar strum, this EP keeps you hooked. Once the rest of the band hits in, you can’t help but realize the gem this is. The bass, and more so the drums, keep a nice beat going throughout the song, with a somewhat slower bridge happening, before completely winding down, right into the next track, “Ferret”. Ari’s voice is again, perfect. The way he just strains everything, it’s as if someone was threatening his life while singing. The bass in this song is simple, yet catchy, keeping you focused on the song, while the drumming remains at a steady beat. Dan’s guitar work on this song is exceptional. After that, it goes back into the fast-paced “Starsixtynine”. From here, we go to the closing track, “Ampersand”. The song opens with just bass, before moving into a very haunting guitar riff, coupled along with haunting singing, before moving into a quicker pace. The consistent change of pace in this song seems to work very well. If you can make out the lyrics, you would see just how amazing Ari is at writing. The haunting lyrics at the beginning are so emotionally gripping. “Help me out because I'm lost in the struggle/Too stupid I guess to show you my best/I don't like the way you think/I'm gonna quit today” Overall, this is one of the best Emo Core, Hardcore, Melodic Hardcore, whatever you want to call it, EP’s ever released. The only downside if that you can’t understand what Ari is singing, so when listening to this, read the lyrics along with it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bad Scene, Everyone's Fault

Ahhh, Jawbreaker, one of the best bands to ever exist. And what do you with the best band ever? Make a tribute for them. And this is one tribute that doesn't disappoint. With a variety of artists (Bayside, Kill Your Idols, Nerf Herder, Duvall, etc.) covering songs from every Jawbreaker album, Bad Scene, Everyone's Fault, is a must have for any Jawbreaker fan. Or good music fan for that matter. The album starts off with Bigwig, covering "Ashtray Monument", a good cover, but it's not one that sticks out in my mind. However, the next track is Bayside's cover of "Chemistry". What an amazing, amazing job they do with this song. They way they sing it, you get the perfect image in your head from the lyrics. Next up is Face To Face's "The Boat Dreams From The Hill". I've always found Face To Face's covers of songs to be good, whether they're covering Descendents, Social Distortion, or, of course, Jawbreaker. Name Taken are on after Face To Face, covering "Want". Want has always been one of the best songs to go on a mix CD or tape, or whatever you make, for a girl. And while Jawbreaker's original is great, with Name Taken's version, you can understand the lyrics, making it, at least vocals wise, better. The song "Busy" is next, done by Duvall. This is a strange cover. They slow it down, a lot, to a six minute song. It seems to drag on a bit. After the six minute "Busy", the much shorter title track, done by The Travoltas is up. What a truly great job they do. They turn the raspy, Punk Rock Emo, song of Jawbreaker into an upbeat and catchy pop punk song. Good job Travoltas. Counterfeits' cover of "Million" is a nice mellow version, and really helps balance out the CD. The Æffect's cover of "Boxcar" is's out there, we'll put it that way. "Shield Your Eyes", done by For Amusement Only is like Bigwigs cover. It's good, but it just doesn't stick in my mind. Fall Out Boy's cover of "Save Your Generation". Now, they didn't do a bad job, but I just think a better band could've been found to do the cover. "Unlisted Track" done by The Reunion Show is after Fall Out Boy. Again, good cover, just not sticking out. Sparta doing "Kiss The Bottle" is next. This cover is just disappointing to me. I don't think they did a good job, or at least not as good as Lucero did. Nerf Herder's version of "Chesterfield King" is next. Man, this is, without a doubt, the best cover on here. Get this album if only for this cover. "I Love You So Much It's Killing Us Both" by The Gamits is next. And yet again, good cover, just doesn't stick out. Kill Your Idols doing "Do You Still Hate Me?" is next. This is an excellent cover, of an even more excellent song. Great job KYI did. Another odd cover, this time of "Jet Black", done by Good Night Bad Guy, is up. The acoustic guitar sounds good on this track. Finally, the album closes with Jeff Ott (Fifteen, Crimshrine) doing "Better Half". It's just him, and an acoustic guitar. A great job he did with it. Over all, this is an excellent tribute to a band who did so much for punk music. So buy this album, and enjoy.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

What Happened Guys?

Wow, hard to believe how much AFI have changed. That change, for the early part of their career was good, up until Sing The Sorrow. With that, they ventured into the hearts of scene kids everywhere. With their first release, Answer That And Stay Fashionable, AFI set a great tone of Hardcore/Punk that followed with their following albums, Very Proud Of Ya and Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes. However, after these three albums, AFI changed their sound, for the better. Mark Stopholese, guitar, left the band, and Jade Puget replaced him. They then recorded their next two albums, which, while still rooted in their hardcore, was much more darker, this making these albums, Black Sails In The Sunset and The Art Of Drowning, the best Horror Punk albums of the 90's. After this however, they left Nitro records, and completely left their punk rock roots and Davey Havok became every scenewhore's wet dream. Well, enjoy these seven songs from when AFI were the best Punk of the 90s.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dag Nasty - Can I Say

1986 was originally an unfortunate year, turned brilliant due to one band. With hardcore punk's short, sporadic life winding down to a close, people didn't know what to do next. They were waiting for the next big band to sweep the area, and the band they were all waiting for was Dag Nasty. Formed in 1985 by Minor Threat's Brian Baker, the band displayed excellent use of melody uncommon to the D.C. scene. They presented something new, fresh, and put it in a way presentable to the fans of the generally harsh, raw sound of stereotypical hardcore punk rock. Through Dischord Records, who Baker was affiliated with through Minor Threat, the band put out "Can I Say" in 1986. The record was well sung by Dave Smalley, while Brian Baker churned out riffs that were seemingly unfamiliar to the area, yet accepted with open arms as one of the scene's top band's bass player suddenly came on with a six string instead of the four they were used to. He and the rest of Dag Nasty made a very well done album full of songs that can be listened to by a fan of any rock genre with a general liking towards. Full of catchy riffs, this one is one sure to please for the fan of melodic lines backed by simple riffs.

Sample: Live Video of "Circles", circa 1985

- Steve

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Monsula - Nickel EP

Monsula's Nickel EP is really a lost gem in the realm of 90's Punk Rock/Emo. First listening to this EP, you can't help but enjoy the catchy, Jawbreaker-esque bassline that "Firecracker" has. From the moment the EP starts, you can tell this band's influences, Revolution Summer Emo., and Gilman Street Punk Rock/Pop Punk. Hell, one of the members went on to be in Pinhead Gunpowder. After the great opener, we move onto the song "Missing You", which, while not packing quite the punch "Firecracker" has, is still a great song. The way Paul Lee delivers the vocals, which is a combination of talking, and searing shouting, just sticks in your mind, especially when he's shouting "All the pain/Of missing you", it's just a song you remember. The next track, "Razors", makes this EP alone. The instruments just remind me of Cringer (I believe they had Lance Hahn of Cringer fill in on guitar actually), and Paul's vocal delivery is just excellent. It's like he's pouring all his heart into his singing. The last track, "When Will It End?", just doesn't seem to stack up to the others. If I had to pick a bad song on the EP, it would be this. However, that's not without saying, the chorus is fantastic. The backing vocals really give it a somewhat haunting tone, which I feel helps it out greatly. All in all, this is truly a great EP from a time when Emo wasn't such a bastardized term, and bands put everything they had into what they were doing. When you get a chance, check out this album.

Download on Mediafire:
Monsula - Nickel EP


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Void - Condensed Flesh EP

To sum up Void's “Condensed Flesh”, it can be described as the greatest seven minutes of crossover thrash you will ever listen to. Bubba Dupree starts off every track with a high-pitched whine from his guitar, and the band quickly joins and gets into it. Sean Finnegan, who died in January of 2008 from a heart attack, kept things moving at a frantic tempo with his quick, thunderous drumming behind Chris Stover's speedy basslines and Bubba Dupree's Black Flag-influenced guitar style, throwing in his signature guitar squeals throughout the record. This is only the beginning, as soon John Weiffenbach shouts his lyrics through the mic, pumping up the crowd into a bigger frenzy than just five seconds before. Just like fellow D.C. Hardcore scenemates Minor Threat, this recording has a very high quality, a rarity for bands recording on a small budget. This band not only created what is possibly one of the most underrated albums of the D.C. Scene, but also paved the way for bands like The Melvins, who continue to cross the boundaries by taking hardcore punk and injecting it with thrash metal influences like Barry Bonds with steroids.

Track Listing:
1. "Organized Sports / Annoyed"
2. "Controller / Revolt"
3. "Condensed Flesh"
4. "Black, Jewish & Poor"
5. "War Hero"
6. "Get Out of My Way"
7. "Go South"

Total Length: 7:20

Track 7: "Go South"

- Steve

Minor Threat - The First Demo Tape

When one listens to Minor Threat's “First Demo Tape”, you might not realize that it actually is a demo tape. While it is indeed one of the first recordings that MacKaye and friends did under the Minor Threat moniker, you wouldn't realize it was actually a demo unless told (or if you've heard their complete discography/EPs) because of how the production quality of the tape is strikingly similar and well done just as it is with later recordings, such as their Minor Threat and Out Of Step EPs. As you take your first listen, you hear “Minor Threat, take one”, and the band gets right into it. Lyle Preslar starts ripping out with their self-titled track, soon joined by Brian Baker on the bass guitar and Jeff Nelson with his perfectly matching drum track. MacKaye soon joins the rhythm section with his loud, angry shouts, which are quite clearly heard. The band does this throughout the whole demo without having a quiet moment, with MacKaye fronting the band with his peer-angry lyrics directed towards the ones who are accusing him of the past actions of the people in America and his classmates breaking the law. The first demo tape by Minor Threat is one to check out, as it's a small sampler of what the band is like without diving head first into the world of hardcore punk.

Track Listing:
1. "Minor Threat" – 1:39
2. "Stand Up" – 0:49
3. "Seeing Red" – 1:02
4. "Bottled Violence" – 0:56
5. "Small Man Big Mouth" – 0:59
6. "Straight Edge" – 0:48
7. "Guilty of Being White" – 1:18
8. "I Don't Wanna Hear It" – 1:27

Track 1: "Minor Threat"

- Steve