I drive a lot. I don’t spend a lot of time in the car on a daily basis or anything. I recognize that many people have lengthy commutes and others drive for a living. Some people hate it. I love it. “I Drive a Lot” will be a recurring column covering the places I go and the things I do while I’m away. “I Drive a Lot” is also a song by Starflyer 59.
Growing up in a small town in NC meant anything interesting to a teenage sub-culture kid was at least an hour drive away, if not more. The first show I went to as a 14-15 year old required a drive to Greensboro. I would visit Charlotte, Asheville and Chapel Hill by the time I went to college just to see bands I liked. Even once I had moved away to a more cultured area of our state, I went to probably just as many shows out of town as I did at home.
2005 was a big year for me. I graduated from high school and started my first year of college. I got my first girlfriend and even wrecked my car for the first time (and not the last.) Throughout those events, music was a constant. I spent my teenage years in a rural area, so driving down country roads blasting music with the windows down was a regular occurrence. While 2005 was a milestone year as far as life achievements go, it also was the year that I truly began to expand my musical tastes to include more extreme and experimental forms of music.
Over the last few months, I listened to nearly 400 different albums. I didn’t always finish the ones I didn’t like, but I made myself give them a fair chance. I discovered quite a few records that I had never heard before and I highly recommend forcing yourself to listen to music outside of your usual wheel house-you never know where you will discover your new favorite band.
It is a grey, cool late summer day just before the seasons change. It has been overcast all day but nothing more than a brief and barely noticeable mist has come down. I called out of work this morning and have spent the better part of the day working on my resume and cover letter, editing and casually bouncing between social media and job searches. Between the frustrating political posts and editing jobs I’m not qualified for came the disappointing news that the Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte, NC would be closing its doors after 21 years of live music where everyone from Green Day to Ben Folds to Fugazi have played.
When looking at the pop charts for 1990, it’s hard to believe that the year Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer broke through, Jawbreaker and Samiam were releasing their first albums. While hair metal was on its way out, grunge was just beginning to form. Public Enemy and Ice Cube were changing hip hop forever. Adult contemporary dominated the charts, while shoegaze was ruling the underground. Here is what stood out to us from 1990.
Brooks Was Here are a four piece Post-Hardcore outfit from Warsaw, Poland.
Formed in 2011, they debuted with a self-titled EP in 2012 which they followed up with High Violence on Jagged Kid Records in early October of this year. The relative newcomers have sharpened their sound and put out one of the best EPs I have heard so far this year.
Read the Review and Listen
Death Mercedes appeared around 2011 with their debut Du soleil refroidi and as you can tell by the name they are from Paris, France.
They are self-proclaimed “French spoken melodic hardcore punk” and though most would lump them into modern screamo, they swing their heavy pendulum through a broad range of what that genre has to offer. The band–with members of Amanda Woodward, Cowards, L’Homme Puma, Ravi–have put out a new LP, Sans éclat, which will see a physical pressing at the hands of Throatruiner Records later this year.
Read the review and listen
Manifest Destiny #1
Writer: Chris Dingess
Artist: Matthew Roberts
Colorist: Owen Gieni
When I went to my local comic book store today, I fully intended to purchase X-Men Gold #1. After flipping through the pages and deciding it wasn’t worth the $5.99 cover price, I thought I would take a chance on today’s title. In the last few months, Image has been cranking out some of the best comics on the shelves today with Pretty Deadly, Velvet, Zero, and Lazarus. The solicits for Manifest Destiny looked interesting, and I have always been interested in the actual historical term the title gets it’s name from. Throw in a rousing recommendation from the guys who work in my comic shop, I thought “What the hell? I’m still coming out three bucks cheaper than I planned.”
Cara Neir is the result of two hard working men from Dallas, TX. With two self-released full length records, an EP, and two splits (one including Horseback, the new experimental metal critic’s choice) and several more splits lined up for the near future.
Portals to a Better, Dead World is their third LP which was put out by Broken Limbs Recordings and Halo of Flies Records October 31 this year. A Halloween release date was suitable for the menacing and haunting blend of Black Metal, Screamo and Crust they have concocted for this record. Read the review and listen
The internet offers a lot to comb through every day and it can be dull and tiresome to click through every link. Some folks out there of doing a good job of describing the music they find or have submitted to them but I know you are all too familiar with those blogspots that dump an endless stream of download links with no context or preview streams. Here are three EPs I took a chance on and I am pleased to share them with you. Enjoy the rest of your afternoon!
Cathedral Fever are some thrashy Hardcore newcomers from Saint Louis, Missouri. This EP is not the Doom Metal record the album artwork would have you expecting. They claim influence from The Banner, Product of Waste, Black Breath and more. This EP is also not the Entombed worship that latter influence might have you believe. These five cuts rip hard and live up to Cathedral Fever’s apparent motto “play faster.” No clue if lone guitarist David employs the standard-issue Boss HM-2 pedal but he does pack an arsenal of riffs and a handful of great solos. If the mid-point rager “A Leech In the Light” doesn’t do the trick for you with it’s opening technical flair and the party-fuel verses then this record cut it for–or you aren’t cut out for this record.
Passing Phases rose from the ashes of a band called Pizza and has members of Pygmy Lush, Tideland and Hard Candy. This two track 7″ record is a jangly, Garage Rock record for any Replacements fan. This record was put out by Cricket Cemetary back in June but it serves as a great introduction to the next breakout hit. The songs are laid out pretty simply and that fact makes them all the more catchy along with the shimmery guitar tones and dual vocals. If that does it for you take a chance on their full length Endless Autumn which is due from the pressing plant sometime in early November.
Pleasure Leftists are from Cleveland, Ohio (setting for The Drew Carey Show and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) but it sounds a hell of a lot like something the weird kid you knew in High School who wore Bauhaus shirts would listen to; something from no later than 1983. I guess a place as reportedly bland as Cleveland can generate the same kind of dreary feeling as a foggy London street. While the music is generally moody and haunting in an excellent way it is the vocal deliver of Haley Morris that makes this record a real treat. Her voice soars over the chorus drenched bass and rattling guitar in a baleful moan not far off from Patti Smith. She is occasionally backed with an echoing male voice to great effect on “Not Over”–a more upbeat slice. Deranged is putting out this 12″ which collects two tracks from a previous single with three new offerings. Put it on and drive through the dark sometime and try not to let it take you over with its captivating and morose melodies.
Yo Festers! Justin and I will be heading down to Florida tonight and you can catch us at the Bitter Melody Records table during check in. Let’s “network” or just say hi and check out the great stuff Grant will be peddling.
I have a tenuous relationship with Black Metal. In truth it is one of the few branches of the extreme metal tree that I have not pruned completely. Not sure what it is about that genre that has maintained such a strong foothold for me, afterall, the theatrics can be downright comical and often the engineering on many Black Metal recordings is outright abysmal. Even the new, smarter brand of Black Metal can irritate me with the level of pompous, contrary to its origins experimentation. Yet there are gems of sonic extremity, oppressive atmosphere, and deft musical execution. Goliath by Imperial Triumphant is a bit of a diamond in the rough.
The EP opens with an attempt to set a dark mood but the echoing vocal bellowing and uninspired noise experimentation can be skipped for the blistering true song opening. The two tracks, which like the title of the release draw from Old Testament Biblical proper nounage, are the product of three seemingly pseudonym-ed, self-described iconoclasts; though the second track “Gomorrah” features drumming by a Kenny Grohowski and “Sodom” boasts a Warr Guitar solo by Colin Marston(Behold…the Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Krallice). The band has drawn accurate comparisons to the elite French Black Metal scene, in particular Deathspell Omega and though this pair of songs does not quite reach that mark for me they do a good imitation. Overall, the EP offers me a bleak opening shot on an accordingly cloudy day and an interest in their previous LP Abominamentvm.
Thing Two After the Jump