…..in the new Spin Magazine (the 25th Anniversary Issue). Right behind ‘001’ (“Madonna Gives Birth to Spin) and ‘002’ (“Manchester Hosts the Second Summer of Love”) you get ‘003’ (“Husker Du Put Pop in Punk”), which efficiently and accurately states that the bands’ “Makes No Sense at All” 7″ answered the question “What Happens After Hardcore?” And yes, they give a nice nod to the B-side, and correctly note that it IS a “heartfelt cover of The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme” that gave “’80’s wiseacre irony a stiff boot” while supporting the Minneapolis scene. Nicely done!
I didn’t write that blurb, but I did write the compact feature on page 80, the 055 entry, “The Majors Get Weird” – I got Steel Pole Bath Tub in Spin!
I feel good about some self-promo happening tonight. Check out the new issue of Spin Magazine, or more specifically, page 80 and the “The Majors Get Weird” feature.
Here are some reviews I’ve recently knocked out for Still Single/Dusted Magazine. My editor would probably take issue with the verbage used in the previous sentence, though no deadlines were abused, disregarded, or laughed at.
There was a TON of Hozac input this review cycle. Not sure how so much of it ended up under this roof, because the exchange of money for records almost never gets Hozac releases through the door these days. One look and listen to Nobunny and fear shot straight up from the scrotum to the throat … it was that feeling again. Like being Rowdy Roddy in “They Live,” or being 15 on the morning after your father has suffered a massive stroke in his sleep and suddenly can’t read the paper … that feeling of not-knowing what’s next on general well-being level. But the problem with acts like Mess Folk is one of KNOWING and GETTING IT but not wanting to accept that standards have sunk like they have. Once again, let’s hope that no part of a reverb unit is derived from plant or animal for the sake of avoiding yet another dodo bird sitch, or tree-extinction … same reason decent wine comes to you through a screw-top these days … we boozies made the goddamn cork tree go extinct. Reverb. “Psych” with nothing remotely psychedelic taking place within a five-mile radius of the portable USB Ion-brand record-ripper from Target, or vintage late-‘70s Pioneer component system, both of which did their respective bests (hey, not too shabby of a cartridge on this little portable jobs!) at cranking the living shit out of this record in hopes that it would cancel itself out in favor of silence. Whenever someone records THAT record, the hands will be put together in repetition. (http://www.hozacrecords.com)
This could have been recorded directly into a computer or it could have been recorded directly into one of those $30 Tascam analog 2-tracks that fooled many-a-90’s hack into believing they were a bedroom Albini. Thin, but the songwriting is there on three or four out of the seven, and when it’s not there, at least it’s replaced by the aural implication that it COULD be there. A guy, a bedroom, a guitar, and whatever he recorded this on. Oh, and a probable cavalcade of age-appropriate lady friends in and out of that room. Each song feels like it’s about a different girl. I looked at this record, noticing the brevity and other slapdash qualities, and my MEDIOCRIDAR began automatically fine-tuning its settings. This record is charming and from the gut and impossible to dislike, so there was no use for it. You know, the word “MEDIOCRIDAR” does not set off spell-check. Still mine to keep. (http://unread-records.com)
Prince Rama of Ayodhya roll out a long guitar rave-up cock-tease, like Bardo Pond or Serena Maneesh, except for the “sucking” part. Kegs of Acid sound exactly like the type of band that would call themselves that; then think that a “Point Break” reference is clever. Hmmm … mysticism by way of lazy slumming … so we’re on the 415th or 416th recalling of that unfortunate rock trend? Which is it? At least one of these bands exists as “something to do” or a vehicle for attaining attention while school is finished. I can smell it. Bands should be more than that. Once its members embark on their respective graduation walks, Kegs of Acid will be tossed aside and forgotten like so many pairs of flip-flops. And like that should-be-illegal form of footwear, bands like these two never seem to go away. 300 copies. (http://www.myspace.com/princeramaofayodhya)
Years ago, when a relatively small but respectable number of people fell in love with the music of The Bats, Unrest, The Clean, The Verlaines, Vomit Launch, Tiger Trap, Field Mice, and so on … primary among the reasons for that love was that these artists knew how to write a moving, mood-altering hook. More often than not, these bands were experts at what I like to call “blue hooks” – not necessarily melancholic on the surface, but the hooks were constructed using a progression of notes in which at least a couple combine in a melancholic way. What does this have to do with Sonny & the Sunsets? Well, that’s the problem. Nothing. S & the S’s makes pop that is the aggressive opposite of what constitutes real hooks, and this is a growing trend. The new crop of faux-positive pop bands, this one included, write TV jingles. The reasoning behind the ‘50s and early ‘60s influence you hear in much of this stuff is that these bands have no idea how to write a genuine heartfelt hook and cover up that fact with an obvious skiffle, ‘50s balladry, or otherwise public-domain melody. That’s the common ear’s idea of a hook. Both excruciatingly-mundane songs on this 7” felt like they lasted an hour. (http://www.homeskilletrecords.com)
This music makes me want to write stupid shit like, “I wish Glen Benton would drag this guy into an alleyway for a wordless ‘talking-to’.” Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, Dinosaur Jr’s You’re Living All Over Me, Mercury Rev’s Yerself is Steam, MBV’s Loveless, the first or second Swirlies album, Godflesh, Seam, Treepeople, Sebadoh III, Slanted and Enchanted, Thinking Fellers Local 282, Fly Ashtray, Sun City Girls, the Dead C., the Flying Nun roster and the usual Krautrock suspects … all predictable stuff but all brand new and very important music to me between the ages of 16 and 19. This music would dictate that I would somehow be involved in, passionate about, and generally obsessed with music to this day. When I listen to this 7”, I wonder what music did it for this guy. Was his life-changing musical experience a Just For Feet commercial? Music means something different to the creative minds behind this movement, and it has little to do with heart. This is not the sound of someone FEELING music. Hey, guy in Burt Lancaster shorts and Cosby sweater on stage, acting like a high-school cheerleader … all the hand-clapping and forced positivity? Be positive for a reason. And grow a pair while you’re at it. You’re a grown-ass man. (http://www.futurestress.com)
Non-programmable drum machine with speed variance providing a back-beat for a non-programmable talent that assigns a great deal of importance to the apparent life-choices made to insure each track moves with its own tempo. Jumpy. Shuffling. Plodding. Records like this are always a shame. Not that there’s a real effort made to push this chosen sound – demented childlike warble treatment given to typical garage-sleaze scowl and guitars phoned-in from a really bad day in 2002 – beyond some extremely tight boundaries. It can’t even rock, much less get all quirky or psyched-out like the cooler bands. Production quality this bad only means someone knowingly chose the setting “Warmed-Over Asshole” ….and came outta pocket for it, or otherwise seriously neglected an already-compromised analog 4-track. The three separate tempos heard here are just that … different speeds, not some range of inspiration. The inspiration dial on this unit is like the “darkening” knob on a toaster or the “close-door” button on an elevator. All results will be equally as maddening. (Andrew Earles)
Alabama band of white kids starts off a side of this incredibly ignorant single by yelling “yeah, nigga!” CLASSY. You still got it, Alabama. Don’t let anyone take it away from you. (Doug Mosurock)
I get it. For some reason, an obsolete future is not a hard vision to form in relation to either of these outfits, or for that matter, anyone within their secret-handshake club. Now, a little harder to swallow is the idea that either is actually prepared or totally enthused about total and terminal obsolescence at some juncture on down the road. They may be happy, lifting a finger to entertain the same 200 to 400 people with each release, or they may be ingrates, respectively, but no one involved is allowed to say “we make music for ourselves … not an audience” with a straight face, even after they’ve laid a side like either of these. I’m guessing that’s a shared attitude or is nurtured by one or both of these entities, though confirmation has not come this way. As far as each side is concerned, well, it shouldn’t be a concern. A more interchangeable pair of noise-burps doesn’t exist, and maybe that was the point. If you’ve already landed this, you most likely have several if not a TON of albums that sound exactly like this one. No discernible melody. Distorted gurgling is the focus. One-dimensional, ragged sheets of noise from a partially-operating table of FX boxes, etc. No shifts or changes worth mentioning. If a riff has ever entered Blue Sabbath Black Cheer’s musical vocabulary, it’s a slip-up everyone’s too embarrassed to even joke about. This is the anti-individualist, anti-heart, anti-riff, anti-urge-to-throw-on, anti-mood, anti-clarity, anti-involved, anti-endeavor…this is the anti-good. (http://gnarledforest.blogspot.com)
Backlashes can be very infuriating, namely the type of backlash that has no dynamic aside from herd-mentality, “hate ‘em cuz I’m supposed to” bullshit. Fucked Up has weathered a lot of that over the past two-three years. They’ve followed natural creative restlessness into territories that your garden variety hardcore ham ‘n’ egger doesn’t understand, and when dipshits don’t understand something, they do what? One guess. Even as a young band, it was apparent they had something special. Then they became that something. The collective frame of reference at work here – at least three serious heads for a wide range of musical loves – is greater than the braintrust at some university departments. They are surgically-precise with desired aesthetics. They are smart – really smart, that sonically and intellectually, their music is no longer indicative of the accepted idea of hardcore. Ideally, they come off as a nice, fresh injection into that long-suffocating genre when others attempt to place them within the strata of hardcore punk. They just do what they do, and it happens to be unique and inspired on several levels. Considering the landscape they travel and profile they’ve achieved, in general and regardless of people’s genre tagging, this is something rare. Personally, since becoming versed on Fucked Up’s “thing” and getting cozy with a handful of releases (some of the bigger ones), I’ve had a deep appreciation of the band that outweighed my desire to throw them on randomly throughout the day. Now, they’ve gone and written a song that can be held high as a masterpiece. “Couple Tracks” is a brilliant pop-rager that transcends each and every trapping assigned to the band by the innumerable ninnies with opinions. It’s the type of song that lasts. It will always be powerful; long after there’s no Fucked Up to play it live, and hearing how golden it really is, that first time a week or two back, recalled some of those other, younger firsts that all of us believe are forever lost to nostalgia. It’s so good that it doesn’t even matter what I think of the other side. (sold only as a gift with pre-orders of the Couple Tracks double LP set, but try anyway at http://www.matadorrecords.com)
And here’s something a little more light-hearted. It appeared, four years ago, on Cracked.com
Four years ago…when I was light-heartened.
Failed Fast-Food Mascots
By Andrew Earles May 19, 2006 21,673 views
| Share The new Burger King ads are all the rage with the kids these days. Or at least kids stoned enough to understand why a gigantic expressionless plastic headed creep is so damn hilarious. But for every fast food mascot who can pull off “funny creepy,” there are the Ronald McDonalds of the world who are “I want to pull off your little brother’ pants” creepy.Well, as bad as some real fast food mascots have been, there are some that never even made it past a couple of test screenings. Here, CRACKED presents a comprehensive list of the worst fast-food mascots ever conceived.
“Roid Rage Chicken,” KFC
Bred without a beak or an asshole, this steroid-saturated, four-foot tall chicken flies into a violent tantrum, beating its spouse and threatening the cameraman when it’ character is questioned. It then writes a best-selling memoir, exposing fellow mascot chickens of also beefing up. Then its genitals implode.
“Applebee’ Strumpet Waitress,” Applebee’
“‘Let It Go’ Larry,” Carl’ Junior
“The Ghost of Dave Thomas,” Wendy’
“Harold McRib, Deadbeat Dad,” McDonalds
“The Horse,” Arby’
“Have You Seen The White Castle Ads?!?!?!” White Castle
The COUNTDOWN TO RECORD STORE DAY 2010 CONTINUES! Sorry folks, I don’t have a fancy exact-to-the-half-second clock counting down the torturous minutes in real time. Personally, I don’t need to be told how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds are left before RSD 2010; I can smell the fucker…crawling towards me like wounded vermin, ready to be put down one last time! Record Store Day 2010 is going to leave with a limp! My ‘want list’ has been narrowed down to, oh I dunno…EVERYTHING!!! That said, I’m especially jazzed about the History of Maverick Records 18LP box set, the one-sided 10″ by Les Claypool & the Three-Mile Island Prosthetic Antelope Vagina Recovery Group, the set of 4 hot-garbage-colored 7″s by Surface-to-Air Prairie Dog, and the reissue of Photo-Collage & the Senior Projects’ timeless “WTF…My Portfolio Ruptures For You” on freshly-paved parking lot-colored 12″ (one-sided and etched) and with special RSD 2010 artwork featuring images of Bette Midler in a phone booth, a UFO hovering over a Mexican mountain range, Werner Herzog paying the cashier at a Budget-Rent-A-Car location, a Situationist hottie mixing wheat paste, circa-’76 midnight grindhouse patrons watching El Topo, and a ferret spinning on a turntable.