The one movie event that matters is tomorrow, October 23, at the legendary Aero. I cannot wait! I’ll post more photos in a couple days from the event.
Finally made it over to the Nuart to see The Velvet Underground: A Todd Haynes Documentary. It’s even better than you may expect. The segments with Jonathan Richman alone are worth the price of admission. His insights make them human, and his love for this band is infectious.
Does Mark McCoy age? I see him from time to time, bumping into him in Brooklyn. I see recent pictures of him, the guy doesn’t seem to age. It’s like he’s a vampire of hard-core and provocative macabre art. He always seems to have this glow about him as his head is curiously popped onto his slender vegan frame. I wonder what his nighttime regimen is. I wonder if he uses a mint julep face scrub or mango mulch that he applies just before bed. The man has wonderful skin. It’s amazing to behold. Amongst the passing taxi exhaust clouds, piles of garbage and ketchup splatterings all over on the city streets, I see the soul of suns reflected in his New York City vegan glow. He manages to float above all of that and belch out some of the greatest records both visually and sonically.
Let’s start with:
Goodbye World • At Deaths Door LP
I was excited to get this a bit more than some of the latter releases when I found out that Aaron Aspinwall (Repos, Death Dedication, The Mushuganas, etc) was going to be doing vocals on this record. Anyone standing in front of Aspinwall when he is fronting for a band will agree that it can be terrifying. You might even fear for your life a bit. He’s probably one of the kindest people on the planet but when he puts the power of those lungs into the commitment of what he’s doing, the earth splits open. It’s unsettling. The music is bonkers off the wall HC in what you have come to expect from Youth Attack. With a little rock-n-roll riffage buried in the tornado of sound, it strikes me right away that Aaron’s vocal phrasing is thoughtful and adds an interesting and captivating quality to the music. Much of the music of this genre has the singer belting out in 4×4 time directly with the drums but there is a nuance to this that really makes it jump off the turntable. Lyrically this is dark as shit, I mean, like, meconium dark. And it’s sticks to you too, just mike meconium. The cover art is unbelievably haunting which just builds on that this Goodbye World record might actually be soundtrack when you’re at deaths door.
Mangled State • Pain Incarnate flexi
Youth Attack – I gonna do a Mangled State flexi.
Consumer – Flexi records are super delicate.
Youth Attack – that’s why I’m going to make it hard to get out of the package without possibly damaging it. You’ll have to be gentle.
Consumer – what’s the cover?
Youth Attack- it will be tucked inside an Origami of buildings falling down and rubble. Be gentle.
Consumer – (blink, blink)
Youth Attack – (gently push his finger against the mouth of consumer) Shhh, be gentle.
Here’s the thing with flexis and lathe cuts for that matter, you always lose a little bit of sound quality. However, that tends to work for Mangled State. Their wall of aggressive sound comes at you with a consuming force. Imagine driving toward a tunnel and the split second before you realize it’s just a tunnel painted on the side of a mountain, your spine is through your chest. Look, I’m from Michigan and putting a Negative Approach song on your record is the second quickest way to a man’s heart (first way being through the sternum) but, to be honest, it doesn’t help as much as you think it might. And I say that in a good way. My purpose is to convey that this is a standalone tiny flexible masterpiece of noise. Sometimes when a band decides to remake a song of a luminary in the genre, the song is used to make the record familiar to the listener, to give credibility to the record and this exercise is usually a failure wherein the band is instantly shadowed by their predecessor before even being able to start cutting their own path. However, here, the Negative Approach cover just adds to the already brilliant sound that these spry young lads have put down.
Grinning Death’s Head • Cataclysm 7″ EP
First of all, who is the hunk on the cover in the black jeans standing in the forest hubba hubba?
This is a dazzling two song ripper. These might be the actual longest songs that McCoy has ever been part of. The first side alone clocks in at nearly 4 1/2 minutes. I mean, gosh, his wrist must’ve been so tired. I bet he had to wear a wrist brace for a week. The song doesn’t feel long and does not lose interest. Yes, of course it dark. Yes, of course it’s creepy. Right around halfway to two thirds in, a haunting keyboard creeps in the background just to make things a bit more ominous. To be honest, I was listening to this and was compelled to look up the church of Satan. For real, I was. I wanted to find out what the seven fundamental tenants of the satanic church are. And then I remember that I was trying to listen to this record and I went back to listening. I again found myself looking up things about the origin of Satanism… I’m not sure if there’s any connection but maybe there is.
On the flip we have another 4 1/2 minute plunge into what I am now calling GothCore or HardGoth or HopelessCore or HardSad, still spit-balling names but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a thing.
I write this with all honesty, I would really like to see this band live. I’m betting it would be terrifying and transformative. I joke here and there but I’m being honest when I tell you that this is amazing. I’m reminded of Fundamental tenant number five: Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs.
After hearing this record, I believe in the science and have concluded that we are doomed.
VEIL II • Negative Space 7″ EP
Dropping a needle on this, I am immediately taken aback by what a powerhouse this band is. I grab the lyric/credit insert and realize this isn’t a band in the traditional sense at all! This is just two best buddies hanging out in their pajamas making some great hardcore music.
The one guy, Matthew, probably called his friend James and said – Hey James I have all these poems that I think would be great songs
The other guy, James, probably, said – Hey Matthew, that’s funny you should call me on the telephone right now because I have all of these songs that need some good poems put on top of them
Almost the same way that a Reese’s peanut butter cup went from an idea in the ether to America’s favorite milk chocolate cup filled with peanut butter snack. The artwork is, as is the usual, stunning and complicated. The full color printing on a transparency of a gruesome eyeball, worms and skull headed spiders gives the sleeve a 3D effect. If you were one of the lucky ones that picked up a test pressing you received a Youth Attack crayon pack and a coloring book of adorable little bears being tormented by horrific demons. These 6 songs are over before they start. I think I’ve flipped this 4 times in a row now and it’s nonstop. Couple quick thoughts about a couple of the standout songs for me. “Veil II” I think is maybe a good Mother’s Day song. I would suggest picking this record up and sitting down with your mom on the second Sunday of May and read along together. Also, in the song “Clarity I” they use the word “bloody” so these two fellas might be English, as in from the UK.
The Consequence cassette
8 blazing late 80s NYHC style tunes that (if they were a little less muddy) would fit perfectly on Where the Wild Things Are or Big City’s One Big Crowd comp. It’s the same program on the flip but that’s great because these first are catchy and leg-bouncing similar to Uppercut, and Raw Deal (Killing Time). My favorite track on here is “You Let Them Win”. The song starts off mid-tempo and then has some group shout out parts and I’m a total sucker for “unity” style vocals. One other thing that sets this apart is the packaging and artwork. The cassette itself is clear with images inside that give the tape a View-Master feel, and the j-card is a booklet with overlapping art. All in all, it’s a very great way to wrap up this glob of McCoy releases. (JD)
Justin Dratson: JD MA: Matt Average NW: Nate Wilson
Joe Dante made it out to the Nuart on Wednesday night, October 20, 2021 to introduce the 4k restoration of his 1980s werewolf classic The Howling on the first night of the full moon. Talk about perfect timing! Tonight he will be back at the Nuart doing a Q&A before the 7:30 showing. Make a point of getting over there before it leaves the theatre.
The Black Black Careful On Your Way Out LP
I’m going to start this the same way that I started the Groupie review because I got this record on the same day so… First things first, I’m a total jerk. Hands-down, I’m not covering anything, I’m not going to hide behind the pandemic, I’m not going to hide behind the fact that someone nearly stole my identity, I’m not going to hide behind guns shipped in my name across the United States, I’m not going to hide behind any family illness, I’m not going to hide behind moving, I’m not going to hide behind anything. I received this record over a year ago and simply due to my laziness I have not addressed it in the respectful and proper way that should’ve been addressed. So, without any further ado, let me tell you about this the The Black Black Careful on “Your Way Out” record. Let’s start with the cover of this the The Black Black record, is a drawing of the backs of two young lawless lovers, or at least early crushing on each other, handcuffed with a cop standing over them and all of life’s little needles and pushes and prods trying to collapse in on this little spark of life these two kids are sharing. These two kids seem perfectly content to be handcuffed as long as they are next to each other. My guess is that this is a pop punk record. I’m stoked to spin it because New Jersey New York has had some grotesquely overlooked melodic bands that have come out and those areas. Dang duder, I dropped a needle and I could not be more wrong. This is post punk dance amazingness. This could fit right in with Talking Heads, Television, Medium Medium, APB and more recently NYC’s Radio 4, the Flesh, Lost System with a nod to goth (in a good way). All of this while managing to carve out their own sonic lane. “No Satisfaction” the first song on the LP is great but they had the perfect opportunity to reclaim the lyric “why can’t I get NO satisfaction” to “… any satisfaction”? Meh, moving on, when the fuzzy bass starts the song “Guilt Free Genocide” I’m hooked. Lines like “where do we put the poor people once we don’t need their labor” and “guilt free genocide, rich people for climate change” I think it’s creepy because of its accuracy. The record itself is the color of sand but not beach sand. It’s the color of the sand you find on a long dirt road, dusty, hard to clean off, staining clothes. Ending side 1 is “Fun Police” with an infectious chorus of “ Who made you the fun police, did you always want to grow up and be a narc” and that line is a total crack up. “2Kool2Dance” has a rad Love and Rockets feel which brings a pleasant familiarity to the entire record. These folks aren’t afraid to throw it all out there. “Vansanity” closes out side 2, grabs onto the grizzly reality of vanity, narcissism, a life without consequence, and doing whatever it takes to be where you want to be. This is a really terrific Ewel records release and leaves me hoping to hear more from the The Black Black. (JD)
Preview a tune and then buy the whole dang thing here!
Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW MA: Matt Average
Cruel Noise Records
Welcome to Pittsburgh… Don’t Move Here compilation (Cruel Noise Records)
I love Pittsburgh. That’s it, I love Pittsburgh and I appreciate that they’re asking me not to move there and I respect that. One of my favorite times and first time(s) ever going to Pittsburgh was coming into the city from the South and cutting into a mountain, going through a tunnel, and being barfed out into the center of a huge metropolitan city. That feeling was felt like living in a sci-fi movie as if I was docking a ship and walking into a secret moon colony. From that second forward I loved to visit Pittsburgh. My second time in Pittsburgh that stands out was a time I was driving in from the North, as I grow closer to the city, the four-lane highway is, on each side of me, completely empty. This is the middle of the day. I first I thought it was just an odd unique traffic happenstance but then I started to worry. I started to think in ways that a brain does when things are so beyond the norm that you completely think the worst has happened; an airborne toxic event, a mass aeromedical evacuation, did I miss an air defense warning condition alert, did I drive into an active decontamination area of military significant fallout, was I in a blast wave diffraction, a cataclysmic global life removing quirk that I somehow avoided when I stopped for Thai food, an earthquake, a plague. I drove into a parking lot, went inside the nearest store and found all of the store customers and the employees around a tiny black-and-white TV watching the Steelers play. It melted my heart and further increased my love for the city of Pittsburgh. Why did I tell you those two seemingly unrelated stories? Well, it’s because I think that those two stories go hand-in-hand with the theme of this compilation. This compilation is moving, from outer space seemingly, terrifying, and charming. The mix of music and styles from the city is unique and perplexing and certainly fits in line with the complex life we have here in the rust belt/middle west. The desperation that each of these bands have as well as a camaraderie and a uniqueness that really makes me wish that they would let me move to Pittsburgh. Starting off with Heavy Discipline the song “Lockstep” really is a perfect tune to set the pace of this record. Living World is pure brutality and mayhem. Loose Nukes pop in with “Roundhouse“ and it’s a pretty great straight up hard-core song with a nod to New York 80sHC and lyrically focused on the injustices of the justice system. Speed Plans is next with another forceful song. I’m betting that Speed Plans are a band that everybody’s friends with considering the picture on their page of the booklet is a dude just holding a beer. He seems like he’s the life of the party. Peace Talks with Tyna’s vocal delivery is really pushing this song over the top. Rat-Nip and Necro Heads close out side one with two blasts of chaos. Detainees hit us with a snotty hardcore brilliance similar to Career Suicide. Invalid jump in with “Stupid Pills” which is a scathing look at society. De Rodillas come in with powerful tune similar to Peace Talks. No Time is an Oi mid tempo stomper that toss in a little bit of Sheer Terror. Chiller is off the map with an unstable kinetic energy. White Stains with “Let’s Die” plop in for some nihilism in a 77 kind of way. And closing out the LP is S. L. I. P. with “Daddy‘s Little Girl part two“ and it’s a herky-jerky weirdo creepy terrifying song and I love it.
The only setback I have with this is that only 5 of the bands contributed lyrics to their page in the booklet. Whatever, right? Their call but in lieu of me aligning to what they are angry about or position on issue or what have you, I’ll have to make their absence of vocal clarity bend to what I want so I’ll decide to assume that every line I can’t make out must be about eating boo-berry cereal and farting on their bed pillow before they go to sleep…. works for me ¯_(ツ)_/¯ (JD)
Don’t buy this here because it’s sold out. Try discogs or some junk.
Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA
Directed by Adrian Lyne
Starring Jodie Foster, Cherie Currie, Scott Baio, Kandice Stroh, Sally Kellerman, Marilyn Kagan, Randy Quaid
Directed by Penelope Spheeris
Starring Chris Pedersen, Bill Coyne, Jennifer Clay, Flea, Timothy O’Brien, Wade Walston, Maggie Ehrig
Neon Taste Records
Headcheese • LP (Neon Taste Records)
Holy crap! Stay off my lawn you little snot-nose kids! I am pretty certain that these guys are dads that are just fucking frustrated with the day today of all the banal globs of garbage that we go through. Their music is refreshing and nuanced hardcore that harkens back to the early days when it was cool to go outside the lanes. “I Don’t Care” starts off with ripping guitars and then the chorus “who are you?, I don’t wanna know” I feel it and agree. I was talking to my pal Will last night and I told him I have enough friends. I don’t really want to meet or make room for new people and somehow Headcheese was able to fit that entire sentiment of that conversation into 52 seconds and capture the tone and emotion perfectly. By the time they get to cut 3, “Po Po”, all bets are off, all guard rails have been removed. It just explodes with an amazing and ridiculous and Animal-esque TM perfect drum intro which feeds right into “you got a dad, and he’s the best, he got you ice cream, when your aced test, he’s wit the Po Po, that’s a no- no”. “12 years of working fucking hard, and the only thanks I get is when I manicure a yard” from the song “Invalid” addressing school and jobs and the lies we’re fed as children and adults wherein if you work hard you’ll “be the best”. Here’s the thing about this that put it a cut above a lot of hard-core and music in general right now. It has an aggression to it that is rooted in the despondent and boring life. The energy of the music is the chaos of the universe and the lyrics are arranged in a way that is self conflict between wanting to do more /be more and also giving in to your life as the arc of time decides where you’re going to be no matter what you thought in the beginning. It’s as though the endless boredom has given way to a biped stumbling from a dried riverbed’s alluvium on its way to harness the dim power of it’s larval pin sized brain funneled into “day in and day out” to feeling that it can be more and bigger but in the end, it is
what it is. Seriously, I got this record and I heard it and I loved it so much that I ordered another one for my buddy Derek. I feel like Headcheese would be best buddies with the Thee Elder Gods from Kalamazoo, MI.
Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA
Crowd forming outside the Aero in Santa Monica for Sneak Preview of Malignant, September 9, 2021. Photo: Matt Average
Director: James Wan
Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White
First things first, I’m a total jerk. Hands-down, I’m not covering anything, I’m not going to hide behind the pandemic. I’m not going to hide behind the fact that someone nearly stole my identity, I’m not going to hide behind guns shipped in my name across the United States, I’m not going to hide behind any family illness, I’m not going to hide behind moving, I’m not going to hide behind anything. I received this record over a year ago and simply due to my laziness, I have not addressed it in the respectful and proper way that it should’ve been addressed. So, without any further ado, let me tell you about this Groupie Ephemeral LP. For starters the cover has me completely perplexed. I can’t tell if these are dried little mushroom caps, flower petals or over priced healthy beet chips from your local over priced grocer. They are maroon and bruised in color and it’s haunting and compelling at the same time. The record itself (as you can see from the photo) is also maroon. Here’s the juice of it, the music is haunting and unique but familiar. Calling this post-punk, although accurate, does a disservice to all the other things that it’s not and all the other things that it is. This LP has a mid to late 80s 120 minutes feel to me with a little bit of mid era DC crossover stuff like Jawbox. I get a little bit of a feeling that they think of themselves as rockers but in my opinion they are far better than that. They are not dazzling or overpowering with riffs. They just belt it out, earnestly, with passion filled and uniquely poignant lyrics. Groupie starts right in and blamo! gosh, I don’t know who exactly is singing (is it Ashley or Johanna) but regardless, when they get to the lyric “give up on perfection“ it socks ya right in the chest. By the time you get to the song “Industry” they’ve taken on a slight swagger, an almost Patti Smith feel in the cadence and delivery. We’re still on the first side when “Thick as Glue” comes on with a haunting guitar and lyrics that seem to cut to the heart of misguided macho and hipster male worship that comes at young women. It’s partially because I have a young daughter that is continually subjected to this type of junk but also, it’s because Groupie is quick to leave the fashion hero worship garroted in a pile that I like this sing so much. This is certainly worth a listen and who knows, now that shit is getting back to normal, we might get the chance to see them live somewheres. (JD)
Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA Heath Row: HR