The gatefold cover, the printed inner sleeve, the download code card and the he creamy yellow of the vinyl are all visually stunning. I feel like this record should have come with a set of game pieces, rules and directions to uncover the mysteries held within the elaborate artwork. I was so distracted with the gatefold that I didn’t look closely at this record and put it on at 33. I was so struck by the opening guitar that I had to sit down. My first thought was that their opening song was a cover of “Mercy Seat” by Ultra Vivid Scene. What a way to start a record, with an obscure cover of one of the best Shoegaze songs ever written and with both bands being from NYC, it made perfect sense. However, as the song played on I realized that it was similar to “Mercy Seat” but the song was their own. No matter, I still liked it. It was around the last song on side A, “Animal” that I started to think that the singer was dragging a bit and there could be two reasons for this: 1. The dude drank a bottle of Robitussin and it’s starting to kick in. or 2. I have this on the wrong speed. Sure enough I looked at the spinning 12 inch record and saw a bright red 45 spinning at 33.
Restarting from the beginning this record now has a completely different feel and it’s catchy as hell. Imagine taking all the great Shoegaze songs and speeding them up to a Buzzcocks velocity and whamo! you’ve got Kissed by an Animal. Now that these songs are at the proper speed and have the hooks hitting in time doesn’t mean that it’s all sunshine and flowers. There is a subtle sorrow and darkness to a few of these tunes, a longing and lamented mistakes vibe, yet playful at the same time, as if to reassure the listener that mistakes are ok and keep making them. There was a label called Plan-it-X Records in the mid-90s (a little research shows that they are still a label…well what do you know … ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ) that filled out their catalogue with bands that parallel the sound of Kissed By An Animal. However, where the difference lies is that, well, let’s say a bunch of Planet X bands found a pot of gold, they would return it to the leprechaun and ask him if he wanted to join them in a meadow to play kickball. I get the feeling that if Kissed By An Animal found that same pot of gold they would ring the doorbell, leave it on the porch of the leprechaun, watch and giggle from the bushes as he realized that all of his lost gold had been peed and farted on. This is another Killer release from Handstand Records and if you mix up the speeds, like I did, you get two records for the price of one! (JD)
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)
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 Well7″ 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)
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.
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
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
I first learned of Male Patterns a few years ago when I was assigned their split EP with Scuzz at Razorcake. Had no idea what to expect, and then when I listened to their side of the split I had no idea why they weren’t getting a lot of coverage or rabid fan declaration on the social media platforms. A year or so later I listened to their LP and was even more blown away. They’re definitely worthy of your fandom when it comes to music of the short, fast and loud variety. They crank out abrasive blasts of hardcore punk with a certain heaviness that gives them a sonic edge over many.
They have a split with Executors that has just come out on Shock to the System that you need to check out.
Below is a short interview with Brendan conducted by Matt Average
Who’s who? What other bands were you in in prior to Male Patterns?
I’m Brendan. I yell into the microphone and I was in Neutron Rats. Mike “Moaky” Moak plays guitar and is still playing in Postage and After the Fall. Dan plays drums and was in Boston’s No Sir I Won’t and Libyans while KC who plays Bass used to play in Cancer from Albany.
Who’s idea was it to start the band?
Moaky got together with Dan and started playing around. They recruited Jamie, our original bass player, who later moved to Detroit and now plays in Immaculate Conception. Moaky asked if I wanted to sing and I went to his basement and they played the songs that they had written already and I thought they were great. I knew Moaky and Jamie before from shows in the Albany scene and we had worked together at a screen printing company. I had never met Dan before because he had been living in Boston, but he was in a slew of great bands and he and I connected quickly.
What is the name referencing? Anything in particular?
When I asked if they had a name yet, Moak said, “Male Patterns, ‘cause we’re old dudes.” We were all in our late 20’s when the band started in December 2013 and he thought it was funny. I took the name more about being a certain age in punk and the routines of human beings but I think I’m probably stretching it with all of that. No one was thinking too hard about the name. Unfortunately, when we first started, a couple of people here and there have been offended by the name and misinterpreted it as some kind of macho chauvinist thing and we couldn’t be further away from that. We didn’t get that at all.
Musically, when I listen to you guys I hear bands like Econochrist, and some of the heavier Boston bands of the past. Am I out of my mind thinking this?
Not at all. I’ve never heard us compared to Econochrist but I’ll take that. We definitely take a lot from old school hardcore punk. Negative Approach, some Poison Idea, SSD, but also from bands like Cut the Shit, Born Against, The Zucchini Brothers, and The Chemical Brothers. Especially the last two.
Yeah, I can hear The Zucchini Brothers in your sound. What albums of theirs do you recommend for the uninitiated?
Great question. All of them.
Is there an “Albany sound”?
I think when people think about Albany they think about its past punk and hardcore scene with bands like Monster X and Devoid of Faith. Nowadays Albany has a very diverse scene of music that’s all over the spectrum. Albany has bands that play hardcore punk, rock n roll, power pop and post punk dark wave type stuff. Today’s Albany sound is a great mix bag.
What is “Help Ourselves” about?
Alcohol and drugs are big in the music scene and they’re prevalent in punk too. By no means are we saying that you can’t have some fun but it’s also a serious issue that often gets overlooked because no one wants to stop the party. I’ve been to too many wakes and funerals for friends and I know I’m not alone. Punk is liberating and awesome but it can also be really self destructive. We can’t change anything unless we change ourselves first and too often we’re our own enemies. I go into that more on the new record in the song “Self Abuse”. It’s a song that I think unfortunately too many people will be able to relate to.
Despite everything being shut down for the moment, are you still working on new songs? If so, how?
Our guitarist has written some new riffs, he records them with his phone and sends them to us. We’re hoping at some point we can get in the same room again and play em out and put them together. Since we have no idea when we’ll be able to play shows again because of Covid, we’re mainly just trying to do what we can to get the word out on the new record. We’re just trying to do what we can with what we can control. It’s a weird time.
Can you tell us about the new record? When will it be out? Who released it? How much have you progressed sonically since the LP?
The new record came out August 1st. It’s a split that was put out by Shock to the System Records with our friends Executors from Beachwood, New Jersey. We have three tracks on it, and they have two. I’d say our new songs are a continuation of the LP. Lyrically we continue to cover more social issues than big politics or things like that. Similar style and straight forward structure. I think my vocals might be a little bit rougher on this recording because I have no idea how to control how I sound. I’ll go ahead and say that if you liked the LP you’ll love this split. If you hated the LP you’ll love this split even more.
What’s your favorite movie, and why?
School of Rock with Jack Black. I can watch that movie anytime. The music in it, the message, it’s good for everyone.
If they made of Male Patterns movie, what type of movie would it be, and what would it be about?
The Male Patterns movie would be terrible. No one is reading this right now thinking that our origins would make a good movie. There’s nothing special about how we got together, just how we do the things we do now. No one is a complete mess or falling apart either so that’s not movie material. You know what I mean? I mean, our drummer is his town’s historian. Male Patterns would go great in a movie where we played ourselves in it. Like playing a show then showing up later. Like Cannibal Corpse in AceVentura or Billy Idol in The Wedding Singer. We’d be playing somewhere the main character would go and then we’d help the main character get their love or save them from the bad guy somehow. Maybe after the show they go to some diner where we’re eating and right as the bad guy is about to clobber or draw his gun on the main character, our drummer Dan hits him with his snare drum. Why did he bring his snare drum into the diner? That’s for the people at Hollywood to decide but after he’d be like “Check please!” or maybe he’d say “This guy’s paying!” and then the main character could get on and win the day or whatever. It could be an action movie or romantic comedy or drama. We could do whatever.
What are you doing to stay sane in this moment of time?
My wife and I just built a pirate bar in our garage that we’re really proud of, so we’ve been spending a lot of nights in there. It’s a tribute to the golden age of piracy.
First thing you plan to do when we’re able to get back out in the world again?
Set up a release show for this record. Invite people over to my pirate bar for drinks and play more shows. That’s three things. Haha!
The legendary Nuart Theatre switched up their marquee recently with this quote from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, “I see you shiver with anticipation.”
For those who don’t know, The Nuart was one of the first movie theatres to begin showing Rocky Horror on a regular basis back in 1976. I have yet to attend a screening of that movie there, but I do know the line tends to wind around the building, and the crowd is full of hardcore fans. When we are finally able to return to the movie theatres safely I will definitely go and get in line
I’m also missing seeing this beautiful marquee lit up at night, and look forward to the nights when it’s lit up advertising whatever movie is playing on the screen, as well as their Friday midnight programming. Someday….. (MA)
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)
Starring Jon Voight, Eric Roberts, and Rebecca De Mornay
Streamed this on Prime
Transfer is legit good!
This is a straight up underrated ripping classic. If you haven’t seen it, well than you need to watch it tonight! One of my favorite films of all time, I’ve probably seen it almost ten times in my life. It’s the best Cannon Group Film in my opinion. There really is nothing like it for that time period. I found myself having to re-watch it again today because I was talking to Devon, and Matt about it, and Matt has never seen it (or even heard of it for that matter). Don’t worry, we’re trying to change that. Jon Voight is terrific in this, every single line that comes out of his mouth is as hard and cold as steel. He’s very believable playing a career criminal who is also a hero to all of the other inmates in the prison that he escapes from. This is Voight’s role of a lifetime here, he has nailed it completely. You really don’t like his character as a person, but you find yourself routing for him all through out the movie. A very young Eric Robert also stars in this, and plays Voight’s annoying sidekick. If you love movies like I do then you probably look at Roberts as a annoying D grade hack actor. Well, for this film he is amazing in it, and they definitely could NOT have chosen a better partner to play the part of Buck.
The story is awesome, with some violence and brutality that is cringe worthy when you watch it happen. This film is based on a screen play written by Akira Kurosawa.
The only negative thing I can say about this film is the music straight up sucks. At times it sounds like Seinfield meets Knightrider, but even that can’t destroy the movie. I think it holds up just as good now as it did when I saw it for the first time on VHS in around 1986. I recall renting it with my buddy/bandmate Kenny Donovan. We were hooked and rented it a few other times before I moved back East.
Do NOT sleep on this, you’ll be shocked at how fun this film is. I’d rate This as an 8. (NW)
FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996) / WHOSE STREETS? (2017)
While the movie theaters here in Los Angeles remain closed due to the pandemic, The Royal marquee communicates to the passerby on the present situation. Sometimes funny, sometimes poignant. I’m thankful to whoever puts these marquees together every week. A much needed light in gloomy times. (MA)