Friday, September 24, 2010

I Can Put My Arm Back On You Can't - Stands for ICPMABOYC

Remember that old PSA from the 80's with Astar, that snotty ass robot that would mockingly assert that he could put his arm back on, while the screen played a horrifying slideshow of kids maimed in farming accidents. Didn't you hate that dickhead? I know I did. I always just imagined some mangled kid yelling "Fuck you Astar, you can't even feel pain!" at the television screen in a grey hospital somewhere in the middle of Northern Ontario.

What does this have to do with I Can Put My Arm Back On You Can't? Nothing really...just felt a desire to express my distaste for that jerk. Arm Back On play pissed off, angular punk rock in the vein of bands like Shellac, Fugazi and The Jesus Lizard. Songs about sex, politics, murder, and optometry make this record feel incredibly anxious and uncomfortable.

The packaging on this album is beautiful. Great looking typography, nice rich colors, great paper stock. You know, the kind of things that make nerds like me foam at the mouth. If that wasn't enough, the lyric sheet is a 6 panel fold out, glued to the inside of the digipak with lyrics, credits and even song structures so you can play along...I guess. Nice looking stuff. I'm not a huge CD collector anymore (don't even own a CD player) but this is worth having in the collection for sure. Pick it up here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Day in Black & White - My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys

So we just passed our 100th post last week, so I figured it was time for an overhaul of the site. Just make it look a little nicer and cleaner. Hopefully everyone digs.

I was hanging out with some pals this weekend and they both mentioned they had never heard A Day in Black & White's first full length 'My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys" so I figured it was worth posting. It's probably pretty easy to find online, but I really dig this record a lot. If you're familiar with their second full length Notes, be prepared for a bit of a surprise. Instead of short rocking post punk jams, Heroes is full of slow building and explosively frantic post rock. Honestly, I've heard people say that this album wears it's Godspeed influence on it's sleeve a bit too much, but I love it. It's no frills, no bullshit kind of music, and even the songs that are 6 minutes plus don't feel that way. It takes all the fear and suffocating density of Godspeed and combines it with the viciousness of City of Caterpillar or Funeral Diner. Six years later, this continues to be one of my favorite records.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shoppers - Demo

*Actual demo is called "You shot me and I woke up in my next life"

Quick and short one for today. I found Shoppers while looking for the Merchandise tape on Drugged Conscience. The name of the demo intrigued me so I did some digging. I managed to find their 3 song demo. It's roughly recorded and only 7 minutes long (all 3 songs on one track) but really great. Fuzzed out 90's female fronted indie rock mixed with just the right amount of pop punk and hardcore. Really digging this stuff right now, hope you will too. Order it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kicking Spit - Psychrockbullshit

Kicking Spit, from New Jersey, is rad. You would know that if you were at the free show they played in Edmonton about a month back....except you weren't. No one was, (ok maybe not NO ONE, but the turnout wasn't great for how stacked the bill was) which is a damn shame, because this band KILLED me and everyone there that night. Take everything you love about 80's hardcore, and mix it in a blender with Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr. and you've got a pretty good idea of what Kicking Spit sounds like. Tons of over the top guitar solos, melodic shouted/sang vocals, and a rhythm section that keeps the 15 minute record grooving along nicely. Serious summer jams.

One of my favorite things about this band is you could tell they generally just loved being at shows and on tour. There was no sitting in the back of the hall looking bored from these 3. They were up front for every band singing along to every cover and looked stoked to see every band on the bill. It made me really happy. Kicking Spit is the real deal, good dudes, good band. Support them. Buy this record (On vinyl or tape) from them here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kevin Rips: Brainworms - Cassette

"Here it is / What I miss / It's not a time / It's not a place / It's a mind and a heart"

The sadly now defunct, but eternally great Brainworms!

I managed to finally rip this tape, so I can show it to everyone, and not just the people who ride in my car. Now I've been stoked on this band for a long time. I heard their demo a long while ago, and I soon managed to track down everything else. It's pretty unique sounding stuff, somewhere amidst post-hardcore, post-punk and indie rock - it's all pretty hard to place exactly where they're coming from; the guitars blaze, but there's a sort of pop-punk/skate element going on there, as if they grew up on Dag Nasty or something, but it's all still pretty technical, but the drumming never needs to really get too crazy. And the whole thing is unique partucularly because of Brainworms' "singer" - which isn't exactly singing, but more like gruffly rambling out personal stories and anecdotes.

This tape collects all the 7" tracks from their splits with the Catalyst, Dynamite Arrows and, a favourite of mine, Tubers - a track from which has Brainworms killer cover of Rites of Spring's For Want Of. The tape also contains two other versions of tracks that don't appear anywhere else - Lottery Balls and Whatever, This is How You Get Famous - though, Lottery Balls got rerecorded on II. Confusing? Yeah, totally, but that 's why I'm here to be a nerd and get the knowledge for you. The demo and the live set (packaged together as Which is Worse) and their final album II: Swear to Me are all definitely worth tracking down. But I think this tape collects the best stuff. And I think the jam is probably the exclusive Whatever, This is How You Get Famous - though I'm certain Winnie Cooper has been on a fair number of mixtapes. Or maybe the brilliant use of Trashin' samples on Art Thou Bored. BAH! There's just too much good for one cassette to contain.. but it does!

One Hundred Words for Snow - s/t 7"

AB: Got another post from our Saskatoon pal, Aaron!

I do this thing during the fall season where I strap on my awesome Sony studio headphones, bundle myself up really well and go for long walks with my iPod. I’m very selective with what I listen to during these special times and nothing comes as close to championing my ears as One Hundred Words for Snow’s self-titled 7” EP. Anyone who loves wimpy emo anthems about girls, growing up and general teenage feelings, let this release become your new idol. It contains the perfect amount of poor quality, ripe with sloppiness and nervous vocals, which make them sound a lot like Mineral or early Filmmaker.

For a long time, little was known about the band except for those who actually had a chance to see them live or participate in the scene they were acquainted with in Southern California during the mid-‘90s. Lately, there have been better bio write-ups as well as some video footage that has surfaced only within the last two years of some of their shows, which included them in opening slots for Jimmy Eat World, Knapsack, Jejune, and Far. They did two splits after this EP as well as submitted a single for a compilation, but none of that is nearly as good as this 3-song 7”.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Merchandise - S/T

I've been sitting on this one for a while. It's not hard to find, and any fan of Cult Ritual will have probably downloaded this off their blog already...but I figured it was worth spreading around.

Merchandise is from Tampa, FL and plays post-hardcore, post-punk, whatever. Honestly, the first time I heard this I thought it was total bullshit...but the more I listened, the more I got it. These guys are taking back a genre that has been demonized, bastardized, and generally fucked with by bar star bands and terrible "punk" media. It's catchy as hell and the band isn't messing around, these are tight jams played by really talented musicians. Oddly enough, it all still feels like an obscure punk rock record. Trust doesn't make any sense.

The bass tone on this record is CRAZY good and really moves this record along nicely. The opener track "I'm Still Right" is perfection in my books with it's slow meandering drum and bass groove...I've even grown to love the last minute or so where it turns into a banging rock and roll song. The vocalist has this great wail that would fit nicely in any radio friendly "emo rock" band, but manages to not sound like he's in a band like that. Make sense? Probably I said, this band doesn't make any sense to me. A lot of you will likely hate it, but I urge you to give it a shot. There are some solid songs on this 6 song EP. Snag it from Drugged Conscience.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Grow Weaker - Demo

Grow Weaker is another mystery band (forgive me for starting every post in this manner!) but what a mystery they are. Admittedly I didn't give them much of a much so that I cannot recall where I downloaded this record. I can't even find information on the band or the original blog I downloaded it from after nearly an hour of googling. All I could find was a blank myspace for a band in Poland.

I can't even really explain this demo, but I'll try my best. It's really noisy and dark, and at times has a very straightforward hardcore vibe to it...but under it all of beats the heart of an emo band. The guitar is doing some really weird stuff that I can only describe as (sorry purists) skrammy and the vocals are desperate and frantic. The band dwells on these quiet-ish parts that give this album a lot of breathing room, despite being incredibly chaotic and dense. It's definitely a punishing 10 minutes of music.

I really wish I knew more about Grow Weaker, or even had more to say about it. Download it and give it a chance. I definitely slept on it for too long...and now I can't get enough of it. If anyone has any information on this band, please let me know, I'd love to obtain this cassette.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Solemn League - The Beach/The Burden 7"

"It makes me want to run!"

I finally flipped the cords around on the backside of my stereo, so expect many new Kevin rips, with many things that don't exist on the internet thus far. That's the whole point right? And I figured I should start it all off with this 7" from Solemn League.

Solemn League are from Germany, and are a part of that same scene I've mentioned previous. There must be something in the water there, because there are at least a half dozen bands who consistently release some of the best new post-hardcore stuff anywhere in the world. I knew of them already from their split with Kids Explode, which was alright, but kind of a disappointment from both bands. But nevertheless it was good enough to give them a second chance, and I figured I should get this 7" mail-ordered all the way from Europe.

The A side "The Beach" is a mid-tempo mover, with spoken vocals, picked chords and standard rhythms. But the definite jam is "The Burden" - a slow sort-of groover. Just the decending discordant chords from the two guitars; it's a beautiful thing. A mix-tape track for sure. These songs might be just be a little too influenced by the mid-90's emo-indie-rock like Braid or Promise Ring or something like that (at least for my liking), but I think these songs stray from the cheesiness that so often occurs, and at the very least don't sound dated. It's like if dudes from Kids Explode or Shokei wanted to let things breathe a little more. Spin it.