DRILLING FOR BLASTING • Fingers Are the Best LP

Drilling for Blasting – Fingers Are the Best Eyes LP
This record knocked my socks off. I’ve been a fan of Doug Ward since, I guess, 1986 when I heard the song “Bella Lugosi’s Not Dead (You Are)” on a mix tape from my cousin. After hearing that, I couldn’t find flaws with anything he’s touched and that includes a collaboration with Ben Weasel, from the band Screeching Weasel. The times I saw 8-Bark left me staggered but let’s get to the band at hand, Drilling for Blasting. 

There is a recurrent problem with people who stay in a music community for a long period oftime. A.) Staying relevant. B.) Keeping the same level of torment and fury that you had in your teens and have it be authentic and compelling. Drilling for Blasting manages to do that with a message and delivery that hits with each note and syllable. Doug’s guitar is at times, very direct (what you’ve come to expect from a punk veteran) however, at other times, there is a blues influence that jolts in, adding to the angst and anger of the lyrics. For me, what gives this superiority over peers and the general quagmire of music these days is the drumming of Kammy Lee. Her drumming has me on the edge of my seat. There’s a mountain of weighted tension waiting for things to fall in line but she’s staggering her rhythms, adding punch precisely where it’s needed and not backing down. She lets off the gas enough to let you know she’s in control of this ride. The song “Run Out” has my favorite drummer rock trick of all time and that’s the sound of clicking wood on metal. Then this bass line that’s seems to be from outer space drops in (although they have no bass player, like The Doors). Lyrically it’s encapsulating everything I’m feeling right now in these peculiar times; sarcastic, dumfounded, hollow, unsteady, bored, busy, anger, confused, etc. There are a few more surprises on this but I want you to enjoy your own discovery. I’m floored by this record. Please go buy all the copies.  (JD)


Drilling for Blasting link to MP3s and where you can get a beautiful smokey blue vinyl copy

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

Chunklet bundle

Do you remember that husky fella that ran the magazine that made fun of everything? Well as it turns out, he doesn’t just have a speaking voice that seems a higher pitch than you think would come out of a person that displaces that much air in the room but he also does a record label. I recently grabbed 9 of his releases and we are going to go through them right now in 3 parts.


BLACK HELICOPTER – I’ve never heard the band Black Helicopter but I listened to an MP3 of the cover of the good Bullet Lavolta song, “Dead Wrong”. I like that good Bullet Lavolta song so I decided to take a chance on it. When I dropped the needle I was surprised to hear a relatively clean 90s pop song with a female vocal and nearly Ted Leo(ish) when Ted hits those high notes. This Black Helicopter band was great from the start but I began to notice that her phrasing seemed a little off and by the end of the song. I consider that maybe this two song record is actually a 33 instead of a 45. As it turns out, this record is supposed to be on 33 and now I feel like I got 4 songs for
the price of 2. Everything is coming up roses. On 33 it has a little bit more of a swing
feel like a more upbeat Codeine. There’s some beautiful and haunting guitar work on
this. So now I’m curious to flip it over and check out their version of the good Bullet
Lavolta song “Dead Wrong”. I love it when a band takes a cover song and truly makes it their own. However, usually there is a little part of the original that you can latch on to but I don’t recognize this song at all. I listen through it a few times to see if maybe I just didn’t remember the lyrics or how that good Bullet Lavolta song goes.  As it turns out, I contacted the record label and there was a mistake. This band isn’t even Black Helicopter. This mystery band with Black Helicopter labels in a Black Helicopter sleeve and not being Black Helicopter or the good Bullet Lavolta song, this band has a new fan in me. In defense of the label, they did say that if I wanted to send it back they might be able to dig up a proper Black Helicopter record with the one good Bullet Lavolta song on it. However, I chose to just keep this. I haven’t heard Black Helicopter but because of their name, I’m hoping that they are a bunch of drunk uncles sitting around band practice talking about how the JFK assassination was an inside job. I want to keep that thought with me and maybe never hear them. I’m completely happy with this record and If I get a hankering to hear the good Bullet Lavolta song, I’ll just grab the OG from the shelf. The Real Black Helicopter


A DRUG CALLED TRADITION Warning Lights b/w Cotton Fever I put this on and it sounds familiar because guess what… this is what had Black Helicopter labels on it. So please see the above Black Helicopter review to read about what this sounds like and how to get more bang for your buck. The not Black Helicopter but still great


A couple of these records were for a birthday party In Athens, GA for the band H2O and their 50th release on Revelation Records or something like that. I get the event details mixed up but what’s important is how they sound.

TAR/ MAN…OR ASTRO-MAN split 7in. Here’s a thing that I messed up on. Back in the 90s, I associated people with music that they liked and I ended up missing out on a bunch of cool stuff. For example, because Jordan was a total fucking jerk and Jordan liked the band Tar, therefore, Tar must be a band that only total fucking jerks liked. I know that the math doesn’t quite work out and because of that, I really missed out on the band Tar. Even though they were on a split with Jawbox, I never listened to the Tar side because, ya know, Jordan is a fucking jerk. So now I have my regrets and I’ve been trying to gobble up Tar records whenever I see them.  The Tar song is called “Feel This” and it’s killer! It has all the elements that make bands like Crane and Jawbox terrific while never losing their identity by falling into milquetoast as some of their peers have done.
As for Man…Or Astro Man, again I missed out on this band. To be honest,  I don’t quite hate myself for it but I do dislike myself a little bit for not giving it a try. To be clear Jordan had nothing to do with why I didn’t give Man…Or Astro Man a shot. I had always assumed that they were a surf guitar band. The first song is a driving crazy garage rocker that is right up my alley and could be on any of the “Bloodstains” or “Killed by Death” comp records. Track two is that surf/polka thing I’d expected but completely listenable. It may have just been that my brain was on the same wavelength for their outer space surf rock. To be honest, who knows? If you get a chance to grab a hold of this record then you totally should. Tar/Man… or Astroman?

HONEY RADAR Bonus Show 7″
Side A … I listened to the first side and was jamming on the amazing upbeat tunes so I flipped the sleeve over because I didn’t remember them having a woman in the band. Guess what…they don’t. I had it on the wrong speed (again). So let’s give this another shot. 
Ok,  there we go, a bit slower with a showgaze/Guided By Voices quality. Several of
these songs were recorded live on WFMU In NJ and one song for that Athens, GA party I mentioned .
All in all there are 6 really good tunes on here compiling a terrific cross section of some of the band’s best songs, very well done.  Honey Radar – Bonus Show
 
HONEY RADAR – Psychic Cruise 7″ EP
This 4 song record was recorded at home, probably in showers, closets, and maybe
under a porch, I’m guessing. It’s amazing to hear a live record first and then hear the
recorded versions and realize how true these guys are live to the actual sound of the
recordings. I really do think that it is a notable feat for a band that is able to come close to the recorded material versus live material. It’s not easy. Some of my favorite bands are great recorded while also are/were a garbage fire live. Musically this reminds me of some of those early Jesus & Mary Chain and Felt records with a nod to a particular band from Dayton OH. This is a great little record with 4 great tunes. Honey Radar – Psychic Cruise

SHARK TOYS – 2 song banger (you get five tunes with the current preorder)
This is total old school punk/new wave/art wave, Killed by Death disjointed herky-jerkywonderfulness. There’s so much going on in these two songs from the early 80s SO/CAL Minutemen, 100 Flowers, to a handful of influences from Hell Comes to Your House comps to the rest of the Bemisbrain Records bands. It could fit well on a Messthetics comp CD. I would love to hear a split LP with Shark Toys and the Neutrals. Shark Toys is my favorite record of this batch. 
Shark Toys – Out of Time 5-song-ep
 
REVERENDS – Divisadero B/W Still Well 7″ single
The cover is interesting because it’s either a sunrise (or sunset) with a silhouette of a person that has a booger coming out of their nose. So, I’m not really sure what to expect. “Divisadero”, something about this reminds me of Robin Hitchcock in all the very best possible ways. With clear eloquent vocals, pretty little guitar playing, song about a girl ….how could you go wrong? It’s a mid-tempo dreamy Pop song with lyrics that take you along for a ride. “Still Well”, this one is a bit slower and maybe a little more dreamy than the A-side. It has a quality to it more like, and I know I’ve mentioned this band already, the slower Felt songs. And maybe even a little Velvet Underground injecting itself, due to the music, reminds me of the song “Shiny Boots of Leather”. It doesn’t sound like that but has the feel of that song, it’s certainly haunting like that song. I really dig this and I’m hoping that someone handed the person on the cover a tissue by now.
The Reverends aka booger guy
 

VANGAS – Every Day Is The Same B/W Sandstone 7″ single
I was not expecting this!  It’s totally heavy and would fit perfectly on a show with the Jesus Lizard, Laughing Hyenas, Crain …etc. The sleeve says that this was recorded it in a cold dark basement. (and it completely sounds it.) It sounds like these guys were locked in a moist stone walled room and are pleading for their lives to get out.  I bet you they had dog collars on and we’re chained to a wall and only fed spaghetti from a can. This first cut “Every Day is the Same” is perfect for this pandemic in the way that horror is continually happening all around us but I couldn’t tell you if it was Tuesday or Saturday.   “Sandstone” starts with a repetitive guitar and drums that could start a fire with their panic and chaos. Then, as quickly as it started, it breaks into a very droning and hypnotic rhythm. The song is captivating in a way that I don’t hear a lot of these days. As the song continues there is a creeping feeling that grabs you by the back of the brain and then they just start stabbing with a guitar line that hurts me right behind the eyes, quietly singing just a few decibels too soft to be able to make out his mantra of good or evil. This very much reminds me of the Rye Coalition. This is terrific. 
Vangas = its terrifyingly accurate for how I’m feeling right now
 

V-GIRL – Recycler EP (4 songs)
I like the cover and layout of this record quite a bit. I’ve always been a fan of record art that makes you feel like you’re only seeing part of something much larger and this hits that box dead center. Musically, this has a distinctly DIY 90s sound. I feel like this would have fit well on No Idea Records or maybe early Merge, and has a great Pohgoh feel. The songs themselves are pretty driving, upbeat and straddles the catchiness of 90s pop punk and interesting arrangements of 90s emo. Her vocals, like most 90s DIY records, have fallen into the trap of being mixed a bit low. Every band has a recording like this that were most likely done by a friend of the band with a 4-track in their parent’s basement. I would have loved a lyric sheet to be able to read along because this is one of those records that you’d want to sit down with and read
along. Look, I like this a lot but I’m really doing a poor job of selling you on it. It has a very nostalgic feel to it and I’m happy that it’s bubbled to the surface.
V-Girl – Recyler EP (JD)

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

DROPDEAD • Demos 1991 LP

DROPDEAD • Demos 1991 LP

Armagedon Label

August 2020

Dropdead Demos_1

For me Dropdead might be one of the most important 1990s HC bands. I first saw them shortly after the demos were released in 1992 with Taste of Fear and Disrupt at a Unitarian Church in Albany, NY. Bob scared all of us by strutting around, and getting in peoples faces looking like an insane drill instructor or something. They helped to change and shape me forever. Their politics, and love for all things living really hit home with me. On top of that the fast gritty raw noise that they made was always keen to my ears. A perfect match.

If you aren’t familiar with Dropdead they are from Providence, Rhode Island, and have been around for 30 years, or something ridiculous. These demos started it all… “At the Cost of an Animal” is a brutal classic anthem that thousands of punks world wide know and sing along to religiously. It’s sort of their “Breaking the Law”… they play it at every show no mater what.  

Dropdead Demos_4

At any rate this LP is a remastered version of the bands two 1991 demos.  Seventeen songs on side 1, and another 8 songs on side 2 (including a cool Infest cover). I’m glad to see this finally come out, I’m really not sure how it hasn’t been booted already after all these years. It’s always been evident to me that the band was really influenced musically by Swedish and Japanese HC …No Security is who first comes to mind when I listen to Dropdead, but there are many other bands that influenced these guys.  (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

GRAVE NEW WORLD • The Last Sanctuary LP

GRAVE NEW WORLD –The Last Sanctuary LP 

2020

Bitter Lake Recordings

Grave New World_1

This is a very current reissue of a super rare Japanese LP that came out back in 1992. It was pretty impossible to find the original for sure, even when it initially came out. It features the vocalist of Crow and a bunch of other Japanese hardcore alumni that people will go batshit over. 

GNW really made a weird assed record indeed. To me it has more elements of psych and rock than it does maybe punk hardcore.  I even hear some Zepplin in the vox approach toward the end of the record. Blasphemy, I know! When the hardcore parts do kick in they are so fierce and noisy that it makes all of the waiting well worth it. The guitars are buzzing like broken chainsaws. People will tell you there is some Amebix in the bands sound but I don’t hear it.  I def see it in the art and the text used but Amebix sound like Venom… This sounds nothing like Venom.  

Everything this label puts out is gold and sells out immediately. I’m happy to have been pointed in the right direction so that I could finally have this classic Japanese hardcore album on vinyl.  (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD Wilson  Nate : NW   Matt Average: MA

CORIKY • Self-titled LP

CORIKY • Self-titled LP

Dischord

Coriky cover

When you have a band with members from Fugazi and The Evens, and all of the other bands they have been in prior expectations are going to run unrealistically high. That was certainly the case with me. When they released “Clean Kill” earlier this year (or was it late last year?) I found myself really excited for the album and the band, which is something I haven’t felt towards any band in years. I found myself thinking this was the equivalent of a new Fugazi album, which is something I believe is needed in these dark times. But that’s pretty unfair towards Coriky. Coriky is Coriky.

There’s definitely a Fugazi sound in these songs, and there’s The Evens sound as well. Somewhere in all that Coriky comes through, and I get the sense listening to this they are still in the process of defining themselves musically.

“Inauguration Day” is catchy and solid. It moves with a cool and confidant pace, and burrows in deep with its repetitive riff, and you will find yourself saying “pageantry” as you listen to the news and read the paper for obvious reasons. Also, the previously mentioned “Clean Kill” stands out and takes up residence in your memory quick.

So, how is this album? It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. It has moments that are really good, and moments where it loses steam and feels almost like it’s at a standstill. But I’m going to stick with this record. These folks have been at this for decades and know what they’re doing. As I go back for subsequent listens I find there’s more to like than the time before. Are they ahead of us and we, as listeners, need to get up to speed? (MA)

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

 

 

 

INTER ARMA • Sulfer English 2 x LP

INTER ARMA- Sulfer English 2 x LP

Relapse Records

Inter Arma_1

I really have appreciated Richmond, Virginia’s INTER ARMA’s earlier releases a lot. I’ve given this double LP a listen more than once and just can’t hang or relate to it, and I’ve really wanted to. In my opinion, they seem to have moved away from the heavy doom, Southern stoner sound and traded it all in for a later NEUROSIS vibe. NEUROSIS have always been innovators of sound, and have not been afraid to pursue new/different sounds. With INTER ARMA this record, to me, doesn’t feel truly authentic in the way their earlier releases do. It is almost forced and copied. For me there isn’t really much interesting or even new with Sulfer English, it just sounds like what Relapse Records would want I.A. to sound like (a NEUROSIS clone). The production is great, the musicianship is terrific, but I feel as though they went from almost finding or having their own sound to clearly taking an influence and just rolling with it at full steam. Sorry guys, you lost me on this one.  (NW)

 

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

 

CAPITLE • Why 1981 – 1986 cassette

CAPITLE • Why 1981-1986 cassette

Cacophone Records

2019

Capitile

This band might not mean to much to anyone from outside of the Albany NY area… but there is so much I can to say about Albany’s first real hardcore band. These dudes formed out of the ashes of The VERGE (the guitarist and drummer). The VERGE were great, but more dark punk rather than a hardcore band. In 1982 the VERGE got back together and that left CAPITILE trying out other players to keep the momentum going.  Both versions of the band are great. 

Capitile tape_1

The first I knew of these guys was from the graffiti I saw on the corner of Lark Street and Central Ave in Albany. This must have been around 1983. I’d go to Fantaco Comics and Worlds Records with my parents every Saturday, and would see that graffiti on every trip.  Right there, in huge fucking letters on a wall was written CAPITILE. It was scrawled all over Albany in the early 1980s right up until around 1992 when it was finally cleaned up.  Back then, I had no idea what it meant or who the band was (it was 1983 I was still just a young metal kid). I just thought it was a political statement in regards to Albany being you know… the capital (misspelled). It was in either 1984 or ’85 when these guys played Lark fest. Some work friends (Todd Smith) and myself went to see what Larkfest was all about. We saw a few other really crummy bands playing outside on Lark Street. When Capitle played I had no idea what I was seeing, and didn’t fully grasp what they were doing. I, to this day, still can’t recall much because I was drunk and stoned. What I can tell you is that it was outside, and the sound really sucked. They played on the back of a truck bed, or something.  Larkfest later turned into an annual community festival that still happens to this day.  

Capitile tape_3

Fast forward to maybe 1990 after I’d moved back to Albany from SF, and somehow found the now legendary Erl Records. Immediately, Dave (the owner) and I realized we went to the same high school together and even rode the same bus.  I was the guy sitting in the back of the bus shooting spitballs in Daves afro. At any rate, hanging out at Erl records I became friends with Phil Samuels who was the bassist of Capitile.  We’d hang out at the shop while these guys drank, smoked and talked good music.  Phil told me many stories of those early days of punk in Albany. Unfortunately, Phil (the Surgeon General) passed away a few years ago from lung cancer. He was a super sweet guy and is missed by many of us.

Capitile tape_2

For those of you that have never heard CAPITILE, I just have to say that I have always heard elements of BLACK FLAG, SUICIDAL, MINOR THREAT, and yup, I even hear some AGNOSTIC FRONT in there. Some of the songs are super short bursts, and that was pretty unheard of in Albany back in those days.  

This tape compiles everything these guys ever did between 1981 to 1986.  Twenty five songs from two demo tapes and some compilations. It’s of my opinion that this tape is all you need to hear by this band. Any reunions or re-recorded songs for records are useless to this old dude. Buy this shit! (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD Wilson  Nate : NW   Matt Average: MA

GAME • No One Wins LP

GAME • No One Wins LP

2019

Beach Impediment Records

IMG_7828

It’s kind of funny… because as soon as I put this slab on my turntable the first thought I had was that of the 1980’s Heavy Metal act, ACID.  I proceeded to turn the record cover over and the first song on side two is called Acid.  Maybe I’m not that crazy after all!

IMG_7829

This is nothing like I expected it to be. I expected some U.S. sounding hardcore punk ala Boston for some reason.  Instead it has a great catchy heavy metal feel to it, and I’m guessing that was not really the intention?  Then again I’m way the fuck out of touch with current hardcore/punk.  If this is what hc is supposed to sound like in 2020…well then sign me up, things have definitely progressed and changed a lot for the better because to me it’s really just melodic fast metal (which I’m 100% okay with).  Yes, metal is normally the lane I prefer.

IMG_7831

This music is pummeling with low end aggression, super melodic riffs and vox that are equally as catchy as the riffage.  The lyrics could also be mistaken for some metal lyrics.  Everything about this record is done with professionalism and beauty.  I really love this and have listened to it three times in a row so far tonight.  My only complaint is that the record feels too short, and left me wanting a lot more.  I guess that is the point though, right?

IMG_7830

Jonah Falco is the guitarist in this band, and for those who don’t know he plays drums in FUCKED UP (this obviously sounds nothing like F’dU).  Ola Herbich from Arms Race and Quality Control HQ plays bass and keeps things rumbling along with the drummer who just loves playing beats on the toms.   Great Metal from the land of great metal… England! (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD Wilson  Nate : NW   Matt Average: MA

COME TO GRIEF 12″ EP

COME TO GRIEF • Pray For The End 12” EP

Grievance Records #4

2020

Come to Grief_1

I’ve been following everything Terry Savastano has done since I fell deeply in love with his band Disrupt back in the early 90’s. Disrupt played furiously fast hardcore and I was lucky enough to see them at least 4-5 times. His next band Grief played the opposite of fast and they went on to be one of the innovators of East Coast Doom metal. I once saw them open for Man Is The Bastard and I recall their entire set consisted of one Sabbath song that was slowed down to almost nothingness. I was once again hooked to another Terry band. At any rate if you don’t know… Grief broke up in 2001. Terry got the band back together for a few reunions, but in 2014 with the original drummer on board they started playing gigs under the name Come To Grief (yes it’s a Grief LP title). They just started from scratch and did a new band with new records. It’s exactly what you’d expect if you followed Grief.  Slow, droned out harshness that just drops to the depths of someplace where most people don’t want to be. Me… sometimes I like being there. This is the band’s newest release, and features three beasts that just stay in the heavy lane. It’s perfect for the Covid-19 times we are living in. Terry Savastano for President! (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA