About Me

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Detroit, Michigan, United States
I'm a punk rock guru from Detroit. Part skinhead, part crusty, part metalhead, part hardcore kid, part party kid, 100% punk rocker.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crack Rock City, Volume II

The compilation CD of local Michigan punk bands, Crack Rock City, Volume II, is almost out and ready to be spread like the plague.  Contact me if you want one.  $6 in person, $7 ppd

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Interview with Ryan Cappelletti (Positive Noise, Punks before Profits Records)

Interview with Ryan Cappelletti

1. What was your first band? What did you guys record/ release? How long were you together?

It was a band called MENTICIDE. That was the first real band anyway; I am sure I had some jokey bands before that. We played for a few years and did one demo tape and one split CD with a band called THE DECOYS. Me and my best friend Nick (still today) got really obsessed with bands like FIFTEEN and CRIMPSHRINE, so we tried to start a band like that. It was a great time for sure; I still love that style, but I just have not gotten in another band like it since.

2. When did you decide to become vegetarian? Anarchist? What prompted you to become these things?

Well, I was 19 or 20 years old, doing a lot of stupid shit; well, really 17-19. Just being the standard punk rocker: Going to parties, getting wasted, doing nothing. I didn't play in bands, I just drank with my friends and listened to records. I helped with some shows at that time and put on a couple, but for the most part just got wasted and said fuck society and spiked my hair really high hahahaha!

Then, when I turned 20, I got really freaked out; I felt like I was doing a lot of stupid shit. I grew up in a small city called Olean, NY, which is just a little bit out of Buffalo, NY, a major city. Olean was still far enough way that it was not a suburb, it was its own city. Olean was the kind of town that could swallow you up and toss you in some factory, and boom you turn 21 and you retire to the bar, and that was the last thing I wanted to happen.

So I found SXE and it was my escape from that life. I stopped it all; I stopped drinking and doing drugs, quit smoking and my life got turned upside down to say the least. Most of friends changed because without beer or whatever, we had nothing to talk about. We had no bond anymore, and that was really sad. When I got sober, the world hit me hard; I started to notice all the fucked up shit all around me. I was already off meat, but still not vegan. I noticed all the fucked up shit that happens in the world, and I really took it the wrong way, and the hard way. I got heavy into politics in a very closed-minded way. I just hated everything and could not understand how people could act that way. I really didn’t know how to handle it, so I became very hardline about a lot of things, to say the least. But all in all, this needed to happen to get me to the place I am at today.

3. How long have you been involved in the Grand Rapids punk scene? How has it changed since you first started?

I moved to GR about 5 years ago. I was involved right from the start; I was a member of the DAAC, an art collective in GR we do shows at. I was doing some house shows at my place; it was hard because GR had no bands and really no kids coming out at that time, but I still wanted my friends to come from out of town, so I still booked shows. Even if 4 people came, I just wanted to see the bands myself. It has changed so much since I moved to the area. It's awesome now, tons of bands, tons of kids, it's fucking awesome to say the least!

4. What makes the Grand Rapids scene better than the Detroit scene, in your opinion? Would collaborative efforts improve the status of both scenes?

I really have no knowledge about Detroit, so I can’t comment on that. I will say, what makes the GR scene awesome is the amount of unique people involved in the scene. You have all sorts of different people and bands doing shit. I think it challenges each other and keeps us on our toes.

5. What are your favorite places to see a show in Grand Rapids? Why?

Well that always changes, because I love illegal spaces, so they tend to change all the time. I think punk is the best when you have that sense of “what the fuck is going to happen tonight; will the cops come, will this show happen?” I think that’s fucking awesome. It’s the shows that happen by any means necessary, and just say no, fuck you, we can do this and we will! So any awesome shithole putting noisy fucking nasty HC punk is always my favorite.

6. What’s the single best show you’ve ever played/attended? What made it so great?

WOW what a question! So I will say my top 3 that come to mind right away.

2000, when LIFES HALT/NO REPLEY played a basement in Buffalo, NY. This show was at a time I really thought I was going to hang it up. These two bands walked in and they just looked awesome, like they meant business. I was like fuck yes this show looks like it could rule! THEY LIVE opened the show, and as always, it was fucking awesome! Then, these bands played and changed my life forever, to say the least. They took the fun side of hardcore and mixed it with the political side, and this showed me I don’t have to be so fucking hardline, and it truly opened up my mind.

2001, when I saw LIFES HALT and WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! In Philly; what a fucking a show! Over 600 kids were going fucking nuts! This entire era of hardcore changed my life forever; I owe these bands everything!

2008 in Grand Rapids, Michigan at Michigan Meltdown, I saw the band MERKIT and they played a 10 minute set of some of the best hardcore I have ever fucking seen in my life. I truly felt like something awesome was happening, and I was there to see it!

7. When did you start Punks Before Profits Records? Do you think record labels are still as meaningful and pertinent as they once were?

1999, as a zine was the start of PBP. Yes, I think DIY punk and hardcore labels are everything. I love getting MRR every month and just looking at the ads for stuff I am going to order. These labels are great because you get a piece of the person putting the record out along with the band; it’s a very real idea.

8. Do you have a favorite band that you’ve personally released? If so, who is it?

That’s tough, because I love every band I did a record for; they all truly have a special place in my heart, but I have to say the OUTRAGE/TROPIEZO split and the FOREVER YOUTH/I OBJECT split are two the best records I ever did. I just love all those bands so much, and I feel like those bands truly capture the spirit of the label. Also, doing records for STATE has been an honor.

9. Have you ever toured? Where, when, and who with?

This would take about 6 pages to write; so, I will just say I toured all over the world with a lot of bands, I OBJECT being the big one. Touring taught me about life and how to just make shit happen; it also gives you this never say never attitude. I will just go on tour go support bands on tour, and most of all, make sure your band is ready to tour. I will also say the best tour I ever did was the first I OBJECT U.S. tour; that was fucking awesome! DIY touring is about the community; all ages shows are punk, non all ages are not, it's that simple. Don’t go on tour to support for the fucked up alcohol industry by playing shitty bars; play for you, play for the kids who support you! When you go on tour, keep your money in the scene, because we lose enough at the fucking gas stations.

10. When did you form Positive Noise? What prompted you to take up an early 2000s bandana thrash sound?

PN started about 3 years ago, because I love the early bandana thrash sound. Like I said before, that era changed my life and is the entire reason I am still into this today. I think it was the total no bullshit time for hardcore and I miss it.

11. Do you have any upcoming plans with Positive Noise? What about Punks Before Profits?

PN will be together forever; we plan on doing some touring and putting out some new records. PN is our release from the day to day bullshit, it gives us life. We are 4 very close friends who love the spirit of HC punk and we need this band to keep breathing! PBP I have tried to stop for years, but I never will. I have some cool records coming out now: SPEED TRAILS-WORST BANDS OF WEST MI comp that has 17 bands all recorded one day in my house in GR. This is a one sided LP that fucking rips! Also, HOLY TERROR demo from 1984 coming out for record store day this year. Another awesome punk band from GR! I love records and putting them out, so many things to come, I am sure.

12. Why was it you started booking in the Grand Rapids area? Some people just let others do all the work. In short, why be active?

Why, because why not! If you want cool shit to happen in your town, then go for it, make it happen. I think too many people move to the cool cities so they can be lazy and not worry about doing shows or kids coming out and all that shit. I think true change happens in the small pockets around the world, where kids just make it happen. We have so much creative energy in this scene, so let’s share and bring in our community outside of punk and show people you can do anything you want, you just have to have the drive!

13. Do you think touring bands ignore western Michigan? Why do they or don’t they?

I think a lot of people ignore Michigan in general. This state fucking rules, and all those fucking crusty bands who sing about the apocalypse should move to this fucking state, because we got all the resources to survive for very cheap, and we got buildings they are fucking giving away. You want a tour of this state, get in touch and I will show you what mean.

14. What are some upstart bands from your local area?

So many I will forget but this it: CLOUD RAT/ XTRA VOMIT/ DSS/ SCABBURGER/ OILY MENACE/ ATTENTION SPAN/ AMOEBAS/ SHATTERED BADGE/ NOTHING BUT WEEDS/ BUNNY SKULLS/ CYCLES/ SKELETON PARTY/ xSHALLOW BREATHx and many, many, many more check out www.grscreamer.com for tons more info.

15. For any not familiar with the western Michigan punk scene, where’s the best place to go for info and getting acquainted?

We do a great site called grscreamer.com; that is the best source for any info in this area. It’s a collective site that rules. Go to that, and find out all the awesome shit this area has to offer, because we got a lot.

16. Anything you’d like to say in addition?

STAY PUNK STAY PISSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

xShallowbreathx interview

Shallow Breath interview

1. How did Shallow Breath come into formation? Did any members arrive from previous bands?

Zach- Josh and I had wanted to start a hardcore band for a long time, especially with Richard but he moved to Alabama/Chicago/Never Never Land. But when Richard moved back to Grand Rapids we got started right away. I suggested Steve to play drums since him and I were in a Blink 182 cover band together, so I knew he didn't fuck around. The original lineup was just us 4 with Josh playing bass. Eventually Kevin came in and took bass duty and Josh took up 2nd guitar. Kevin is and sort of still is in the band Hoodrat on the East side of the state.

Richard -Josh Zach and I had been talking about doing a hardcore band for a while, but I kinda freaked out and moved away from Michigan for a bit, pushing the project aside. Josh an Zach were playing in a shoegaze band at the time, and Steve was in a punk band called Protoculture. After coming back to town we were trying to track down a drummer who was both vegan and straight edge, which seems impossible, but alas, Steve was interested, so we picked a few covers to learn together and started from there. Originally we were going to be a youth crew style band, but contend and distressed came through town and blew Josh and mines minds, prompting us to go in a more metal direction, which while I love straight edge sing-a-longs, was probably a good idea.

2. Where did the name Shallow Breath originate? Does it have any subliminal or overt meaning?

R- For the longest time we were calling the band "posi stomp" as a joke until we found something. Josh pitched the name, I hated it at first but it's grown on me, especially since I was failing pretty hard at coming up with anything better.

3. How long did it take to write, record, and press/ compile your 4-song demo? Do you have any new tracks written or recorded?

z- Writing took about 2 months I guess. We formed around June of 2010 I believe and had a show booked for September 9th. Recording was just trips to beautiful Dor Michigan were we recorded at Anti-Talent Studios. We are currently taking at least a month off from shows to focus on writing.

r- We were spending a lot of time doing much of nothing so I booked us a show in September while we had no songs written. We managed to write 5 songs in 2 months and recorded immediately after, putting out the tape in November, so about 4 months? It was a pretty rushed project, as we were just trying to get something out there. As for new stuff, we've got a couple songs written and not recorded at the time, but we're working on writing some new stuff under a less pressured setting.

4. Your demo tape and the booklet you hand out with it are both titled ‘Dismantle Renew’. What connotation are you trying to convey with that title/ philosophy?

R - Honestly, I think I ripped the phrase off from Derrick Jensen's End Game (which everyone should read). For me it means taking a double sided approach to how we interact with this world. We should destroy the things we hate, that oppress us and others, but we also must work towards building the community and ultimately the world we wish to see. To me these can't exist without each other.

5. Why be straight-edge? What about cigarettes, alcohol and drugs (and the culture following with) is troublesome?

z- Straight edge to me was the doorway that opened my eyes to other aspects of life that I now am hugely involved with: animal rights, anarchism etc. I never was a part of the normal culture of drugs and alcohol, primarily because I never wanted to associate myself with men who saw chemical abuse as a form of manhood, and used that abuse to conquer sexual partners. Though straight edge is extremely important to me, my priorities go beyond the realm of abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

R- I tend to see being straight edge as a personal decision, but it also has some wider implications. We are taught as a culture to depend on things other than ourselves for just about everything, government for our well being, religion for our morality, drugs for our entertainment, doctors for our sanity, etc. Straight edge is a way to reclaim yourself. Not to mention that cigarette and alcohol companies are some of the worst there are, literally making their profits from destroying people’s lives.

6. What about veganism? What makes McDonalds so repulsive and lettuce so enticing? Is this philosophy stoic (duty-bound) or hedonistic (pleasure-bound)?

z- Veganism and animal rights are my primary focus in my life. To put it simply, I just sleep better knowing that no life had to directly suffer for something as simple as my taste. I use to hold a utilitarian approach when it came to animal rights, but I have expanded that view to believe that animals hold their own intrinsic value and I have chosen to respect that value.

R- Our relation with animals is deeply reflective of how we prescribe meaning to things in our world. As we further commodify our surroundings we have literally attached a price tag to a life with regards to its value to us as humans. Through this an animal loses its identity as a being and becomes another item for us to consume. This system of commodification is at the heart of what drives capitalism. Everything is for sale, and those who own are those who control. Because of this, animal liberation is tied up directly with human liberation and the destruction of capitalism as a whole. On a personal level I find the idea of eating a hunk of flesh pretty repulsive but I'm not so naive to think that everyone does or should feel the same way. Ultimately it comes down to what do I prioritize? My preference for a food or the understanding that this food is based on the suffering of millions of animals who have to die so I can eat a burger? Tolstoy wrapped it up pretty well saying: "A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral."

7. Why be proactive? Apathy is so tantalizing and ignorance is delightful!

R- I'm proactive because I want to live a different life from that which is forced upon us. In order to do so we must struggle against the world we live in. I don't care much for the savior mentality that we have a duty to save the world, but I do find it unsettling knowing that my way of life is built on the oppression of others. Not that we need to struggle for other peoples, but rather we need to recognize the things that oppress us, and the hidden ways we oppress others, and uproot them from our being. One of the great things about the world being such a fucked up place is there is literally infinite things to do.

8. Why mark X’s on your hands at a non-bar show? Do you do it to improve your chances at winning human tic-tac-toe games, or for another reason entirely?

z- I guess I don't think about it that much. It's an interesting sociological experience to interact with strangers when they realize you are committed to something such as straight edge. Usually they treat you without respect even is it is a reserved respect. But of course every now and then you get some shitheads you give you shit. I usually encounter this more with veganism. But fuck bar culture.

R- I do it as a sign of solidarity. The world isn't exactly a sober friendly place, however, seeing others who visibly share sobriety can make you feel a little less isolated and alone.

9. Do you feel that straight-edge is welcoming or isolating in its embrace of new members? What do you think it should be?

z-I find it very welcoming, thought plenty of "straight edge" people are fucking idiots. So it is difficult associating with those types of people at times. Wait, we're still talking about straight edge?

r- It depends on the scene. I've seen some really radical inclusive scenes pushing for change, and I've seen kids use straight edge as a means to push a conservative mentality, with some even going as far as to use it to further their racist agenda, for example, there used to be a nazi straight edge band called "total war" out here on the west side who used straight edge as a rallying point for their nazi views.

10. What are some of the band members’ main music influences? Philosophical/ lifestyle influences?

z- As far as hardcore: Tears of Gaia, Have Heart, Seven Generations, Gather, Earth Crisis and Champion. But Dillinger Escape Plan, Primus and Mogwai have made me who I am. I have been hugely influence by Friedrich Nietzsche, Nikola Tesla and George Carlin for my life philosophies.

r- For me I grew up listening to old punk bands like Crass, The Dead Kennedys, AFI, etc. Which influence me a lot growing up. For this band I've been drawing a lot on the likes of Refused, Seven Generations, and a little bit from 90s screamo bands like pg. 99 and Orchid.

Philosophically I identify as an anarchist of sorts. I grew up reading a lot of Crimethinc and Emma Goldman. I've been re-reading a lot of Derrick Jensen lately and some insurrectionary books and zines that have been coming out of Europe. All basically arguing that our society is fundamentally flawed and heading to its end and we can see this manifested all around us.

11. How long has the band been playing shows? Where/ when would you like to play more shows?

z-We have been playing a lot since September of last year. We are hoping to head to the East coast in early March.

We've been playing shows since September 2010, so not very long. We've been mainly playing in Grand Rapids, but made it out to Chicago to play a house party with some grindcore bands, and recently just played in Detroit. We're currently taking a little break from shows to write, but are planning to tour the east coast in early March.

12. What do you like about Grand Rapids and its hardcore scene? What can be done to make it better and more expansive?

z- Only recently has it gotten fucking cool in Grand Rapids. We played a show January 4th with Xtra Vomit, Positive Noise, Draize, Cloud Rat and Oily Menace and the whole night was fucking insane and practically no one was drinking. Just positive energy and the love of hardcore. We broke the ice with opening and having some friends battle with Nerf swords during our set.

r- Grand Rapids has an amazing music scene right now. I've seen it fall apart and be rebuilt over the past 7 years and what we have going on right now is pretty remarkable. It's almost an exclusively DIY scene, making it so much more inviting. There are a ton of great people in town doing really great things. One thing I would love to see is an all-ages sober house venue. Nothing can really duplicate a house show; however, houses in town putting on shows tend to fizzle out pretty fast.

13. What kind of publications do you distribute? Where can you get them/ order them? What makes these publishers worth supporting and reading?

r- I For the distro I've just been printing off zines I find interesting and relevant. A lot of it tends to be pretty basic stuff, intro to anarchism, animal rights stuff, anti-sexism zines directed at men, etc. As well as some theory that pretty clearly lays out what we believe. Most of the materials are printed for free at a local college which makes us able to give everything away for free.

14. How does the straight-edge philosophy view the drug war waged by the U.S. federal government? Is it a conflict of interests or is it an exception to the generally conservative views of the straight-edge majority?

z- I am only a Jr. Detective of straight edge. I do not hold this secret.

r- I don't know that there really is a unified straight edge voice on anything. I find it a bit silly that straight edge was coined by a band with very progressive/radical ideas, yet has been co-opted into a conservative fashion scene. As we're not really associated with what most folks consider the mainstream straight edge scene I can't really speak for it as a whole, but I can personally.

I have no delusions of a straight edge world or for everyone to be sober, to think so is absurd. The drug war is just another political ploy of the U.S. that has implications outside its expressed intensions. Criminalizing drugs does nothing to address the cultural and economical reasons people create and use them.

15. Anything you would like to add for readers?

r- Just be active, in whatever way you want. Start a band, destroy something that oppresses you, go to shows, just do something!

Interview with Jimmy Vee of Forty Lashes and Seized Up

Jimmy Vee interview

1. When did you start playing music? Did anyone particular influence you to do this?

I started playing music when I was in the 6th grade, probably around 12 years old. One year for Christmas my Uncle and parents got me one of those Squire Strat guitars and I’ve been playing ever since.

2. What music did you start playing at first? How did you progress?

Growing up I was really into any kind of hard rock and metal. When I say metal for instance I mean bands like Ozzy, Pantera and Metallica, not what everyone today calls metal (think of any lame screamy Victory records band). When I first started out playing I would jam along with AC/DC records, KISS records; you know bands along those lines. Eventually I started hanging out with people that introduced me to bands like AFI, Anti-Flag and Suicide Machines. The music had a lot of energy and was fun to learn/play. Especially after I started going to shows of various punk bands, I was hooked.

3. What bands were you in before Forty Lashes, if any?

Before Forty Lashes, I was in a few bands that probably nobody has ever heard of beside a few people I went to high school with. They we’re mainly hard rock/metal bands.

4. When did Forty Lashes start? Where did the band play their first show? Who was the line-up?

Forty Lashes started back in 2005 when I was a senior in high school. It was a six piece band and the lineup consisted of Eric Plunkard on bass, Vince Troia on saxophone, Matt Ortisi on trumpet, Phil Carpenter on trombone, Stephanie Petritis on drums and me doing guitar and vocals. As for our first show I forget the exact day or month, but it was at the Hayloft sometime before fall in 2005.

5. How long did it take to get the Forty Lashes name out as a regular Detroit band?

Hmmmm….. not really sure to tell you the truth. I think a breakthrough though was when a few promoters gave us a chance and we started opening for a some bigger bands in the punk scene.

6. When did your first EP and Watch Out for Bears come out? What about the first full-length? Are there any unrecorded Forty Lashes songs?

The first EP came out in December of 2005. It’s the only Forty cd with the original 6 member line up. After that the rest of everything that we recorded was done as a three piece. Watch Out For Bears came out in late 2006/early 2007 and Let’s Get This Done Before We Die was released in June of 2008.

7. Why did the band ditch the horns in the ska sound?

To summarize it, all the horn members eventually quit by the summer of 2006. At the time we we’re starting to do few out of state gigs, shows up north and were booking our first tour of the Midwest (it was like a 10 day tour). The horns didn’t want to travel or try to take it to the level that Eric and I wanted to at the time. So they agreed to play our tour kick off that year and that was that. For a while after they left we kept looking for horns and nothing was working out and eventually said fuck it, we’ll just be a three piece.

8. How did you come up with the title ‘Let’s Get This Done (Before We Die)’ for the full-length? Is it a personal philosophy or motto you live by?

I actually heard it from my guitar instructor back in 11th or 12th grade. We were working through a book and came to a piece that I kept repeating (I think we worked on it for 3 or 4 weeks) and he wrote on the paper after one of the times “Let’s Get This Done Before We Die”. The name stuck with me and we ended up writing a song a few years later and called it that. The song is about just being able to accomplish what you set your mind to. Sure things might not go your way but don’t give up or give in so easily, you have to give it your best shot.

9. What is your favorite Forty Lashes song, personally speaking? Why?

I’d have to say my favorite is Let’s Get This Done Before We Die. I like the meaning behind it and I think it’s a fun song to play.

10. Why did the band decide to go on hiatus? Is there any hope of a reunion (or at least a future cover with Seized Up)?

After we got home from touring in 2009, Eric pulled me aside and told me that he didn’t want to do the band anymore. The last couple of weeks on the road for him were rough and he wanted to stop for a while. He told me that he would be fine if we found a new bassist, but I didn’t want to. Eric and I were the only originals left in Forty and I felt that it wouldn’t be right to continue on without him. As far as a reunion, I mean it could happen but doesn’t look like it at the moment. In all honesty, we gave it a good run and if that’s that, at least we had the opportunity to do what we did. It gave me plenty of good memories and stories.

11. When did the idea for Seized Up come to fruition? Who came up with the idea for the band and the pop punk-ish sound?

Dan Stover (Forty’s drummer) and I wanted to keep playing music after Forty went on “hiatus”. We we’re listening to a lot of Bouncing Souls and Gob at the time. His then roommate, Roger started jamming with us on bass around late 2009 and Kyle came into the picture in March of 2010.

12. How many songs does Seized Up have written? Recorded? When do you have plans to release this material?

Seized Up has a total of 11 songs written and 4 recorded which can be found at seizedup.bandcamp.com. We are planning on releasing it in early March but for now you can stream the songs at the site. Check em’ out!

13. How many shows (approximately) has Seized Up played? How many are in the works? What kind of shows and venues would the band be interested in playing?

Only a handful. We have a few in the works and are interested in playing wherever will have us.

14. What do you think the future holds for the band?

I’m not sure. We just take it day by day.

15. What are some of your favorite local bands? Did you meet any particularly good bands on the Forty Lashes tour in 2009? If so, who?

As for Detroit area bands I’m currently digging The Hard Lessons, ATG, Shared Arms (Windsor), and Hellmouth. I can’t remember all the bands from the 2009 tour but I’ll just put together a general list from all tours that everyone should check out. Project 27, 10 Cents Short, Left Alone, Voodoo Glow Skulls, SSCP, Thrashantos, Iron Minds, Have Nots, A Billion Ernie’s, Fatter Than Albert, Stuck Lucky, Detonate, Informant, This is a Stick Up (TIASU), I could go on for much longer but you get the picture.

16. What’s the best show you’ve ever played? Attended?

I would have to say that the best show I’ve ever played was in Rochester NY at a place called the Dubland Underground. As far as the best show I’ve attended, it would have to be the Suicide Machines 2005 holiday show.

17. Are you a believer in vinyl records? Why or why not?

Yeah. I’m not a huge collector but I have a few. It seems like vinyl’s are coming back as a more personal way to share/sell music than an itunes download or a cd. You get all the artwork and inserts that come with it and I think that most people like to hold onto that stuff and feel more of a connection with the band because of it. Most vinyl’s come with digital downloads too.

18. What else would you like to include?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fourth issue is out!!!!!!!

Just came out with the 4th issue of Criminal Behavior today.  Write/ e-mail for one:
PO Box 1196  Royal Oak, MI 48068 or
8-page economy edition free wherever it can be found, $1 ppd
12-page limited edition $1 with me, $2 ppd
I will post the issue once I get a few of these out and about.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In Defence interview

In Defence interview

1. When and where did you guys get started?

Tony: In Defence started in 2004 with Ben Crew writing the songs for the first 7" before there were any other members. From there he recruited John Mitchell (drums) and Paul Audette (Bass). Soon after that Jason Lupeituu joined on guitar. After the first 7" was released Marc Hanou (Amsterdam native) joined on second guitar. This line up released a second and third 7" and wrote most of the first lp 'Don't know how to breakdance'. During the writing Marc moved back to Europe and Tom Burt joined on guitar and John left and was replaced by Will Makin. After the next 7" release Will and Paul left the band and Jeff Nicolas (drums) and Tony Hoff (bass) joined. Two more 7" and our second lp 'Into the sewer' were put out with this line up. Jason left the band and was replaced by Jimmy Claypool.

Ben: We played our first show in February of 2006. It was a benefit for a local Minneapolis hardcore/punk comp called "Bring It Together" that we were spearheading.

2. What was Twin Cities hardcore like when you got started? Did you help to pick it up at all?

Tony: The Twin Cities has a very diverse scene. Usually bands from different genres will play together. I feel like we have had an impact on the scene, there are more hardcore bands playing 80's style fastcore and more bands playing a cross over type thrash.

Ben: The scene had different factions pop punx, garage/82 style hardcore, crust, street punk and mosh core. The comp was a way to try and bring everyone together. We played mid-late 80's style hardcore punk/thrash. Nobody else was doing that style at the time. We kind of came in with a humorous approach and tried to mix it up at shows. We would book shows with cruist, hardcore and street punk bands. we wanted people to get over their dislike/fears of other punk cliques. There was a fight at one of the shows. But over time I think we tried to spread the message that punks and hardcore kids need to stick together.

3. Is Minneapolis or Minnesota in general good place for a touring band to stop off? If it is, would you be willing to host a touring band?

Tony: Minneapolis is a great place to tour. For some reason a lot of bands skip over it. I think mostly touring in the winter is hard to do. But we have a lot of bars, venues, and houses to play. We hook bands up all the time, after touring and getting helped out it's something we feel must be done. It helps other local bands meet new contacts and the network of diy punk expand.

Ben: There are a variety of places to play like The Triple Rock Social Club, Memory Lanes and a variety of basement venues. Bands tour through minneapolis a lot. When we do a show for touring bands we always try to show them a good time, make sure they get enough gas money, some food and a place to stay. We tour a lot so we know how it is.

4. What material have you released so far? Is there one you’re particularly proud of?


1. Twin Cities Hardcore 7"

2. Guns and Rosa Parks 7" split

3. Birds of a Fether 7" split

4. Don't Know How to Breakdance LP

5. Black Market Fetus 7" split

6. Into the Sewer LP

7. Part by the Slice 7" split

8. Motherspeed 7" split

Loads of comps.

We're proud of all of our releases. They all say something different and it really shows our growth as a band. Also our first four releases are out of print.

Ben: We have released around 7 or 8 split 7"s and two full length LP's "Don't Know How To Breakdance" and "Into The Sewer". We are currently working on a new LP for Profane Existence Records called "Party Lines and Politics".

5. “Don’t Know How to Breakdance”. Hm. Does the band have any original hip-hop influence? If so, who?

Tony: Ben did a solo thing called 1-2-Go Crew where he rapped straight edge hardcore songs over hip hop beats. It was awesome. I think he should bring it back. But 'Don't know how to breakdance' comes from the song Boombox Crew which is about Ben growing up with his friends pretending to be a tough gang type but obviously not being that.

Ben: Before I knew about punk I use to listen to groups like The Fat Boys, 2 Live Crew, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Sugar Hill Gang and Grand Master Flash. This was back in the 80's. I'm white but I grew up in a mostly black community. Back then, in my neighborhood, there was still a big division between groups. If you were a black teenager you listened to rap. If you were white teenager you listened to heavy metal. I had friends on both sides so listened to both. I remember when Run DMC and Areosmith came out with the video for "Walk This Way". They combined rap and heavy metal. Then Anthrax did the "I'm The Man" e.p. It doesn't seem like much now becuase we have since seen the creation of bands like Rage Against the Machine but back then that was revolutionary.

6. Have you ever been on tour? If so, where did you go and how did it go?

Tony: To date we've done about 10 tours. We've done Midwest tours, East coast, West coast, and Europe. Tours for us just keep getting better and better. We're currently planning a Midwest tour after our third LP 'Party Lines and Politics' comes out. Then we'll be going to Europe again in the fall of 2011.

Ben: Yes. We have tour throughout the U.S. and played 13 different countries in Europe. Touring is a lot of fun and a way to share your music directly with other people. It's also a great way to make new friends.

7. What kinds of venues are big in Minneapolis (i.e. high-end bars, dive bars, collectives, house shows, warehouse shows, etc.)?

Tony: Oh boy, I'll give this a shot. 1st avenue and the cabooze are the big venues in town. 7th street entry (smaller room in 1st ave.), Triple Rock Social Club, Turf club, Hell's kitchen, Cause, Big V's, Hexagon bar, Memory lanes are a few bars/venues that will do punk shows. The Fallout, Club Med, the Beat coffeehouse, the rathole, the Gnarwhal, Dingus house, the cube, getthefuckoutofmyhouse are some of the houses/colective type places.

8. What are some of your favorite fellow bands to play with?

Tony: As far as out of town bands: ANS, Ramming Speed, Disaster Strikes, Motherspeed, Cross Examination, Noise Noise Noise, Fix My Head, Black Breath, Brokedowns, Off With Their Heads, Wasted Time, Dark Ages, Lord Green, Hercules, Coke Bust, Pyroklast, Deep Shit.

Local bands: Getting Even, Much Words, Ponx Attacks, Annalise, the Manix, Slow Death, Sundowners, Max Ether, Dios Mio, Arms Aloft, Dillinger Four, Assrash, Misery, Fuzzkill, Terrordactyles, Burn All Flags, Question, Useless Wooden Toys, Hamberger Help Me, Birthday Suits. There are more.

Ben: ANS, Dios Mio, Black Market Fetus, Wartorn....

9. Did you ever open for any relatively famous bands? If so, who and when?

Tony: Gorilla Biscuits, Bouncing Souls, Dillinger Four, Agnostic Front, Christ on Parade, Warcollapse, Resist, Terror, M.O.D., Modern Life Is War, Weekend Nacho, Trash Talk, the Bronx, Pulling Teeth, Blacklisted, The Unseen, A Wilhelm Scream, Youth Brigade, He Who Corrupts, MDC, DRI, Riistetyt, Skarhead, Hjertestop, Sista Sekunden, Rainbow of Death, Masshysteri.

Ben: Gorilla Biscuits, Dillinger Four, Agnostic Front, Murphy's Law, Bouncing Souls, Youth Brigade, MDC, MOD, 7 Seconds, Star Fucking Hipsters...

10. Does Minneapolis have a big-city feel to it?

Tony: In a way yes, there are a lot of different scenes here, the hip hop scene is huge, rock, folk. Pick something and you can find it. But when you get down to a hardcore/punk scene it is pretty big but if you go to enough shows people start to look familiar.

Ben: Yeah but it's a small big city feel. Not as big as New York or Chicago. There is still a lot going on and a lot to do. It's big enough that there are different punk scenes here... hardcore, street punk, crust, pop punk. People for the most part still get along and go to each others shows from time to time.

11. Has anyone in the band ever actually tried to break-dance? Are ghetto blasters still in use?

Tony: We've had a few shows where we brought boomboxes to the shows but they just get destroyed. So we stopped doing that. There is a lot of cirlce pits and stage dives at our shows. We're happy with that.

Ben: I tried to break-dance back in the 80's but I sucked at it. I still suck at dancing. That's why I took to moshing. It's easier to slam into someone than it is to do the kick worm. We didn't have ipods when we were kids we had ghetto blasters. Instead of you enjoying your music through headphones by yourself you played cassettes through your ghetto blaster with your friends and forced those around you to listen to it as well. We'd go to the park, crank up the jams and annoy the piss out of people. That was fun. I still have one but it's a collectors item now so I don't take it out anymore.

12. What do you think keeps/ limits kids from getting involved in punk?

Tony: Knowing what's good, knowing how to find venues or houses. Going to a house where you don't know where it is and don't know anyone there can be intimidating. So I guess fear of the unknown. But in reality most kids in the scene are very welcoming and don't care.

Ben: Thats a tough question. I think its different for different people. But I think everyone should get involved. This scene is what we make it. If something sucks in your scene don't bitch on the internet do what you can to make it better.

13. Do you take any influence from old punk bands from the Midwest? If so, who?

Tony: Negative Approach is a big one, Naked Raygun, we draw influence from all over.

Ben: Negative Approach.

14. Does In Defence have any upcoming releases or tours planned as of yet?

Tony: We have a new LP coming out on Profane Existence called "Party Lines and Politics". We're hoping it will be out in May 2011. we've also been talking to a couple of labels looking to do 7" but no plans have been made.

Ben: we are currently working on a new LP called "Party Lines and Politics" due out on Profane Existence spring or 2011. After it's out we plan to tour the US and go back over to Europe.

15. What was the craziest band moment you’ve had so far?

Tony: We have a lot of stories but two that I like to tell go like this; on our European tour we played Barcelona and had to be in Italy the next day. So we started this crazy long drive and ended up stopping at a grocery store just inside of Italy. We go in for some breakfast stuff and Ben wonders off and the rest of us find him in line to pay with a single cucumber. We told him he had to weigh it and get a price sticker. He either didn't understand or ignored us. Then we watch him go to the cashier to pay and he tells Ben to go weigh the cucumber and come back. Ben doesn't speak Italian. The cashier calls someone to help and Ben puts the cucumber on the counter raises his hands like he's in trouble and walks backwards out the door.

A couple of years ago we played a town called Duluth it's about 2 hours north of the twin cities. It was the middle of January. We were playing the house that Dios Mio lived in at the time. We set up in the living room and the show was so crazy. Kids were circle pitting in through multiple rooms of the house. We had to stand on our amps there were so many people in the house. After the show was done the police showed up and gave everyone a lecture about having bands play in your house and they should go play a bar. No one got in trouble.

Ben: Playing a gorilla show at a Taco Johns restaurant. It's on youtube. Check it out!! We were suppose to play a basement show. The police came and shut it down before we had a chance to go on. Everyone was bummed out. Then one dude was like "I work at Taco Johns. Let's have the show there.". So we did. It was crazy. People who were there eating were like "what the hell is going on??".

16. Is skateboarding a big thing among the band or in Minneapolis generally?

Tony: Yeah, I feel like skateboarding was bigger than it is now. I think kids still skate but just don't write songs about it as much.

Ben: Some of us skate... or try to. There are several skate parks around mpls.

17. Anything else you want to include?

Tony: We're on myspace and facebook. Check those out for tour dates and other updates. Our new record should be out in May 2011 on Profane Existence. Also you can mail order merch from us at http://indefence.bigcartel.com. DYI FOR LIFE!!!

Ben: In Defence wants to play Detroit!

Sex Drugs & Rock and Roll: Subversion and Conversion

Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: Subversion and Conversion

Once a force for rebellion, rock and roll was feared to be a great moral panic to teenagers and society; it was dangerous, it was fun, it was a lifestyle to be experienced. Parents, senators, police, teachers, and squares abroad all united in their decree against rock music because it was far-out and a cognitively influential force to be reckoned with. The union of squares to trample rock and roll let to expansion, variation, and eventually overwhelmed the moral majority. Rock music was here to stay because people liked it and it required social isolation from some others to immerse one’s self in it. Time passed, and as rock and roll was accepted, it began to get into safe hands, where the music was akin to a factory produce: manufactured, purged of impurities, and the danger left absent. As time continued to pass, people fell for the trap, be it a bigamist marriage between the moral majority, consumer corporations, and the record industry or not. People got into safe, acceptable rock and roll, thinking they were an outcast while they were simply a white sheep who got the idea it was black. People like being “cool” or being given an elevated social status without work, so they bit the bait and accepted cleansed rock and roll as a faux dangerous product, subverting the human attempt to rebel. To date, there has not been a more effective tactic of mental subversion, or ‘brainwashing’, if you will. New, dangerous music came back and was too subverted and converted into safe sounds for the masses. Man is too easily tripped up in delusions of grandeur, and safe music marketed as dangerous rock and roll has put forth the movement into subverted, castrated, lobotomized versions of itself. Dangerous music will always exist, but the dangerous music of the outsiders, as much as I hate to exclude, must be protected and the original message of individual freedom fighter with a singular conscious must be preserved.

What was the catalyst to the dilution of danger in rock music? One can generally draw one of two conclusions: Either it was the product of an alliance between RIAA record labels and radio stations that produced music for the masses of people to consume and ingest, or it was the inverse that was true, where musicians seeking fame and fortune would seek to play music that was utilitarian in nature, opting to create a product versus to express one’s self, one’s beliefs, one’s experiences by way of music. This watering down of values for monetary gain has been the downfall of dangerous popular music, and each genre of music is slowly unraveling because of the tainted nature of these musical pursuits.

Some bands ran with the idea and turned the original idea from a unique derivative into a diarrhea of words, chords and drum beats. Green Day with pop punk, NOFX with political punk, Lil Wayne (and he’s just the shining star of shit mountain) with hip-hop, Jawbreaker with hardcore, Catch 22 with ska, Metallica with thrash metal, Cinderella with hair metal (it wasn’t great to begin with, but it was at least enjoyable for a while), Dropkick Murphys with Oi!/street punk, and Van Halen with 70s era rock and roll. What could have been saved if these bands had more than a one-track mind of an American capitalist consumer?

-Aunty Social

On Tour: Plastic Boyz mini-tour, April 2010

On Tour: Plastic Boyz mini-tour, April 2010

Before embarking on a three-day tour with the Plastic Boyz from Chesterfield, Michigan, I indulged in a campaign involving a late night bus ride to Detroit, wandering the streets of my hometown, and sleeping in front of someone’s house in an affluent subdivision. After this eventful, extended night, I loaded some of the Plastic Boyz’ equipment into my trunk, the rest in the drummer’s car, and the Plastic Boyz and crew took off on our three day journey, beginning with a trip to Cleveland.

Beginning our voyage, we took a relatively simple route to Cleveland (from where we were, I-94 to I-75 to I-90 to Cleveland), and three uneventful hours later, we arrived in the city, band ready to play, mostly. There was one piece missing. The third car, the one containing the bassist, had gotten lost, unable to find the correct interstate to Cleveland. After a nerve-wracking two hours of wondering if the band would be able to play, the dubious duo found the right way and were on their path to the bar we were at, …Now That’s Class, a small but superior venue in the heart of the downtown area. First, local heroes Kill the Hippies went on, a garage punk band with some history and experience (they had a double CD called Erectospective, very good for anyone interested). After pumping out their grimy garage goodness, the Canadian garage punks Teen Anger stepped onstage, snottily smashing their angry teenage garage anthem. The set dragged on a bit, as the bassist and his driver still had yet to arrive. Finally the band finished/ran out of songs and still, no bassist. Would the Plastic Boyz be able to go on? After about a half hour of setting up, getting ready and waiting, the car screeched into the parking lot, and Muskrat (the bassist) sprinted on stage. Literally a minute later, the band went and raged all 2012 Calories and more, taking the Cleveland audience by storm as bizarre German porn/some weird German film played in the background on a projector. After the set, we loaded the gear, packed it in, and picked out a hotel to sleep in. It took me aback a bit that we were going to be staying in a hotel, as hardly any of us have much money, not to mention the possibilities of sleeping in a local house or sleeping in the car in the city somewhere. And so it goes for expensive good luck, I guess; we were able to fit eight people into one hotel room without anyone noticing. The night ended a lot more quietly than I expected.

The next day, after consuming much continental breakfast food, we got in the proverbial van and set off for our next destination, Milwaukee, around noon. After a half hour of unsafely tired driving, I switched off drivers, letting the singer’s girlfriend drive for a few hours. In this time, one of the other cars was pulled over for speeding and a lack of a seat belt by a passenger in Indiana. We continued down I-80 for a while, and eventually the car caught back up. We pressed on, eventually hitting Illinois and turning north onto I-94 towards Chicago and eventually Milwaukee. After another switch-off, we arrived on the Dan Ryan Expressway in downtown Chicago around 4:00-5:00 local time, right at rush hour. The traffic was so slow that two of our crew got out, smoked a cigarette or two and walked down the shoulder of the interstate through traffic for about twenty minutes, never even having to speed up to keep pace. After finally forcing our way through Chicago traffic, we made it up to Milwaukee after the first band, Holy Shit! finished their last song. We loaded in and the band and crew (minus me and the drummer) achieved drunkenness through a few beers and a half of a fifth of Canadian whiskey I’m not familiar with. The second band, the Loose Dudes, set up in the dark, damp venue, a house with a very spacious basement. Blasting out short, low-fi garage punk jams (notice a pattern here?), the Loose Dudes were a strange, interesting band that I found myself digging. They were enjoyable, unique, and reminiscent of Detroit garage, despite their Chicago location. Teen Anger played once again, laying out another set of grimy jams, this time with more force and greater efficiency. The Plastic Boyz rounded out the show, cranking out their set to a relatively packed, moshing basement of fifty people or so, both Milwaukee locals and touring band crews. This particular set was good and the audience dug it. After the last song, the band socialized for a bit, we loaded up again, a few trees and concrete blocks were tagged, and we drove onward to some city in northwestern Indiana, since we had the time to travel (the show was over and done by like 10, sheesh). We again shacked up in a hotel far nicer than most of us could afford, except this time I didn’t have to pay for it. Two dicks drawn on the wall and an hour of partying later, the night ended.

Once again, we raided the continental breakfast stand, eating up and hopped in the caravan on our way to Ann Arbor. Our third car, the same one who had given us trouble before in Ohio, broke down somewhere just north of the Michigan border on I-94, a bit south of Benton Harbor. Eventually the cause was found out that the third car had had no oil in it. We decided that we had to leave without them, as they promised they would find a way across the state to our destination. We arrived in the area very early, so we connected with a local friend at a University of Michigan frat house, once again partying until our show. In a miraculous binge of luck, Muskrat and his driver Robin were able to find a way out to the area, about four hours later. Around eleven at night, the band and crew arrived at the venue, which was an art co-op that had hosted an all day show. Despite this all-day show, few patrons stuck around for the Plastic Boyz, with only about ten to fifteen people total watching, despite a strong set by the band. After the band finished, the drummer loaded up his equipment and drove on home with his crew, being obligated to work in the morning. My car stuck around for another band before we decided to leave for home. After arriving back in Chesterfield an hour or two later, I emptied my car of equipment and band members at their corresponding locations, and tiredly made the drive home.

Next time, I think I’ll plan this half-baked, half-financed, all-exuberant, fly by the seat of your pants type of road trip a little better. I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed myself on this three day adventure; touring is a blast and I can’t wait to go back.

-Aunty Social

Vivisuk ‘U.S. Disastwhore’ 7” review

Vivisuk ‘U.S. Disastwhore’ 7” review

Dual vocals were employed by many bands before anything remotely anarchist or crust was yet to arrive. The Beatles, the Clash and Stealer’s Wheel all used dual vocals in their music. However, Nausea and Aus-Rotten were the two primary bands to queue it up for use in punk rock, and with that, a different style in which to perform crust was born. One such band to use the alternating female-male vocals to their benefit was Vivisuk, a band I believe was from Lansing, Michigan. With this 7”, the band was to deliver some ripping crust and see if dual vocals could work out for them…

So much has been done with crust, but Vivisuk manages to growl out a relatively unique sound; raspy female vocals are few, far between, and usually sub-par, but this singer manages to actually be pretty decent. “M-72” is a track I had mistaken to be about the grenade launcher, and instead it is about getting plastered on a far-northern Michigan highway, where apparently so few people exist that drunken driving is not only possible, but easy. “Bullet in the Chamber” is a female-fronted rant of misanthropic inheritance, clearly displaying disgust towards a special someone. The song has no specific rhythm, a tool rarely used but is often effective when properly implemented; the idea of the antipathy of rhythm takes revolutionary values in music to an entirely different level. “A Much Darker Shape” is a slightly more rhythmic ripper crust tune that grinds pretty fucking hard. The other two tracks are not all that impressive or worth mentioning; it’s standard crusty, anti-rhythm punk noise, with nothing too terrific to set them apart, unlike the other three songs.

The 7” is pretty typical crusty anthem goodness, but those three songs are well-worth mentioning, and this record is worth purchasing if it can be found, and worth downloading if it can’t.

-Aunty Social

Epileptic Terror Attack ‘No Faith’ review

Epileptic Terror Attack ‘No Faith’ review

Having a genuine lack of understanding regarding European culture, it’s a commonplace reference to say, “Those crazy Norwegians” or “Those crazy Swedes”. This is almost always a case of misunderstanding of differing cultures, rather than one culture being peculiar and one being straight-laced; however, the statement “Those crazy Swedes” applies rather accurately in regard to their punk music. Swedish bands are just…more notable for their intensity and dedication to their music. Scandinavian death metal is one prime example of this, and another is Swedish hardcore, best exemplified by irrationally intense, committed heavyweights Epileptic Terror Attack in their full-length LP ‘No Faith’.

Fucking furiously fast youth-crew thrashcore with simple, yet decipherably difficult calls to action; little more to describe this album is necessary, but short album reviews are never fun. Within this album are thirteen tracks about an individual’s struggle with the world, and one cover of a Circle Jerks song. “No Faith” is about a lack of trust in others, and sometimes even one’s self, “Identity Crisis” is about the search for one’s ideal existence of being, “I Don’t Believe in Unity” lashes out at the calls for unity in a manic scene, and “Skate Fast Die Hard” is a celebration of a punk rock pastime. These are just some of the phenomenal anthems ETA has to offer the listener, musically and philosophically. The vocals are traditional 80s hardcore mile-a-minute rants, a mix of clean youth crew shouts and rapid-fire rebellious rhythmic rants of Keith Morris, the guitar is whiplash-fast grinding along the frets, and the rhythm section is just… Those crazy Swedes have something serious to hold over U.S. hardcore. It’s really, truly difficult to pull off a sound this speedy and subvert the thrash metal or powerviolence branch out, and these guys walk the line with style to spare. No punk rock album has been as philosophically stoic and stalwart; it’s a subliminal call to arms for the individual man and woman within us.

Not too many albums in punk rock fight to bring the instinctive humane distrust and individual empowerment out into the airwaves. How rare it is to find such an album of sheer musical and philosophical intensity; no other album will encourage one so strongly to stage-dive off a stack and into the raw philosophical independence of Nietzsche and LaVey alike.

-Aunty Social

Violent Arrest ‘self-titled’ album review

Violent Arrest ‘self-titled’ album review

What if Discharge didn’t just play one song with alternating power chord riffs and hihat-tomtom-snare variations of drumming? You would likely get Violent Arrest, an outwardly political, heavy-handed high distortion, high-speed hardcore band from the U.K. Although the band likely takes the name from a song by the Freeze, the band sounds fresh, not aping any established sound too much and still incorporating musical influences.

Religiously angry and desperately dissident, Violent Arrest cranks out sub-minute songs that convey one point after another with ramming speed and stealth bomber specificity. “Born On Your Knees”, “Fit for Abuse” and “Bastards” are the champions of this album, and the band also covers a couple of 80s hardcore classics, the Fix’s “Off to War” and Jerry’s Kids’ “Wired”. This is a new high point, a new bar set and raised for the hardcore world. The singer’s filthy, plaque-filled berserk rages run well with the heavy and hard power chords of the guitar and the unrelenting speed of the rhythm section. This record is the new victim’s anthem, a beckoning for constable battery, a call to take the power back from the powerfully present police state. Capitulate or annihilate? The decision lies before the listener, the answer lies within.

I’m a fanboy for any and all throwbacks to 80s hardcore, and this band is a concurrent throwback to that era and an usher for the new era. So little money for such a stalwart record; this record will make you want to start your own hardcore band. It certainly did with me.

-Aunty Social

The Spears ‘People Are Bad’ 7” review

The Spears ‘People Are Bad’ 7” review

The Pink Lincolns were the first band (at least that I am aware of) Chris Barrows fronted, and in their tenure, the band penned some highly snotty, catchy punk rock tunes that were highly enjoyable. Hated Youth too was sarcastic and snotty, but the purity of the 80s hardcore sound may have distracted from this. Respectively, the singers of these two Florida punk bands, Barrows and Gary Strickland, would find themselves together in rock-influenced punk band the Spears (with Barrows again on vocals and Strickland on bass guitar), and soon released this 7” on Choking Hazard Records to an interested crowd of listeners, eager to hear fast and snotty punk like the former bands of these two men. What the public got was a rock-influenced snot-punk band with a quicker pace.

“People Are Bad” is a teenage anthem of inward social loathing of humanity, all too painfully accurate in the increasingly self-centered and entitled society of the United States. The song grooves to a simple, catchy riff, beating in the background dually with Barrows’ cutting, high-pitched snot-spewing singing. “Upset Down” is another isolation-laden track that includes rock riffs over social anxiety squeaked out with former D.R.I. guitarist Sam Williams’ guitar and Barrows’ voice. Finishing the very short slab of plastic is “Bulletproof”, unquestionably a misanthropic song that could (and maybe should) be a school shooter’s theme song. The pulsating beat of the drums is the sound of bullets flying, the guitar the ripping of these bullets into innocent victims’ flesh, and the vocals the catcall of cynical Columbine youth as they exhort their frustrations on the world at large. The sound on this album is particularly grabbing and gritty; one wonders why the band changed the sound for their album. Definitely one of the best 7” records I’ve heard yet.

-Aunty Social

Civil Disobedience ‘In A Few Hours of Madness’ 7” review

Civil Disobedience ‘In A Few Hours of Madness’ 7” review

What a decorated yet checkered, unique yet familiar, and urban yet rural band. The history of Saginaw anarcho-punks Civil Disobedience is very dualistic; still, the music and the message behind it are very powerful and influential. The actions of some of the members has reportedly been checkered and hypocritical, and this is a mild damper on the band’s reputation, but that doesn’t dilute this Havoc Records band’s unique edge on anarcho punk that fucking rips, regardless of the band members’ actions as individuals.

The record starts off with a minute and a half introduction of audio snippets of social critiques and proceeds to the first song “Planet of the Fakes”. Within the song, the music rings of mid-paced anarcho thrash. Then, the vocals start to crawl in and the singer chimes in with his low-pitched, long-winded, rapid-fire snake venom that he makes flow, despite a lack of lyrical rhythm. In the midst of the song, there is a pause and a phrase that rings loud and true: “Your symbols of respect are primal icons of neglect.” There is no way to understand this statement by means of explanation, and the only way to fully comprehend the full impact of the message, is to contemplate it personally. Next is “Faith Not Sight”, an audible ripper without any clips or simplistic rhyming; yum, more subversive goodness. Flipping the record over, “Manufactured Citizens” comes on, brandishing the Michigan anarcho-punk sound as a unique yet universal sonic wave of distorted communication. Rounding out the Virtual side of the album, “The Unavoidable Process” is a social critique from a postmodern movie set in the future where mankind was lampooned as the illogical, nonsensical, perpetually warring creature that he is. The song ends with the line, “Isn’t it all a joke?” A joke humanity is indeed.

This record is an absolute for any anarcho-punk fan or any punk fan in general who’s willing to interpret a message with objectivity, i.e. at face value.

-Aunty Social

Ebola Virus 'No Redemption' 7" review

Ebola Virus ‘No Redemption’ 7” review

Hip-hop has inevitably been hijacked by the music moguls that be for manipulation in order to appeal to the moronic masses of today. At one point, however, hip-hop was one of the most potent forms of music with which to communicate. It was rhythmic, revolutionary and ultimately, real. Following the powerful messages of hip-hop pioneers Ice-T, NWA, and Public Enemy, was the alteration of the beat to sound closer to party and dance music rather than the sociopolitical statements of yesteryear. The rise in popularity in gangster rap and party hip-hop were the primary diluting forces for meaningful hip-hop. Still, there exists hope for palatable, euphonic and purposeful hip-hop; I stumbled across this four-song 7” by accident (I just liked the back cover and it was relatively cheap), and so I dusted off my turntable and set the needle on this piece of plastic I was to become all but familiar with…

Oh. My. God. Becky. I haven’t heard hip-hop this fucking good since I first heard Ice-T, and this record parallels his work in quality, undoubtedly giving the godfather of hip-hop a run for his money. This record is a philosophical declaration of war on the institution of religion, a highly electrified topic to touch upon in a hip-hop world saturated in escapism. “The Evolution of Man” is an attack on mankind’s selfish destruction of the environment for a narcissistic power trip experience at worst, and an altruistic economic jump-start at best. The narrator can be heard, frothing with rage in his rhythmic beat, accusatory and uncompromising. “No Redemption” addresses the third world poverty and how our existence is incomparable in suffering to those seeking a simplistic existence of security, survival, and synchronicity. It is the reminder of our self-centered tendency to over-exaggerate our daily sufferings, when in reality many citizens of the Earth are unable to find a way past the first two levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Your inability to consume alcohol legally before the age of 21 is laughably miniscule in importance when compared to the unyielding and unforgiving existence in Africa and Southeast Asia. “What They Praise” is the definite winner of the album; the narrator resumes his bubbling fury and releases his rigid rhetoric against the foundation of religious morality as the synthesizer beats in the background with a solemn tune and a somber tone. A great amount of respect ought to go out to the narrator for making these words rhyme and the beat synchronize as well as he did. Bringing the album to a close is “Your Messiah”, another anti-religion song, but instead attacks the idols of man, as they are what render him idle as an individual. The idols of man and the foundation of religious morality are separate (but related) and both deserve the philosophical treatment of being shoved into a wood-chipper and spread around so they may never corrupt another mind.

Having been exposed to multiple different kinds of rap and hip-hop, I thought I saw the end when the likes of Jim Jones, Pet Shop Boyz and Soulja Boy take the youth in my high school by storm. This record is a personal renewal of hope for the potency of hip-hop. This is one of the most entertaining and most philosophically inspiring pieces of work I’ve ever heard, running alongside the isolating anger of Black Flag and the sincere, unbridled written works of Friedrich Nietzsche. This is a must-have for anyone who has had their life touched in any way by hip-hop. It will change your life for the better.

-Aunty Social