Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Samiam - Orphan Works

I like me some Samiam. They are no Jawbreaker, but I have a dozen or so Samiam releases in the collection that get pretty regular airplay at the JS-NYC corporate offices, rivaling the post-Latterman Canino catalog and the Suburban Home roster for top number of spins. My long-delayed first time seeing them live was pretty much a bust, but these recordings and this German footage lends credence to Samiam actually being a decent live entity when Jason isn't drunk.

Orphan Works compiles a bunch of live and other rare-ish stuff from the You Are Freaking Me Out and Clumsy (1994-98) eras. Save for too many versions of Stepson, there is very little to speak poorly of on Orphan Works. 18 tracks for your hard-earned dollar, and its on No Idea, so how can you really go wrong for $7? I think not, so let's cut the crap and start buying, shall we? Here's a link to save you the time and trouble.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Husker Du book!

Henry alluded to this book in one of his recent Chunklet blasts and, much like the Mats book a couple years ago, it was a foregone conclusion that this guy was going to have it in his hot little hands with the quickness. I was passingly familiar with Earles from Chunklet and hoped that the title would be the most ponderous aspect of the whole affair. Entitled Husker Du: The Story Of The Noise Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock and bound like a school textbook, I was cautiously optimistic, but feared for the worst. Whether the author plays the sycophant or the iconoclast makes a huge difference in these situations. Earles does a good job of finding a happy medium between the two. He has ample opportunity to go either way: Bob declined to participate in the project, while Grant and Greg were active in the entire process. Evidently Mould has his own book coming out (a co-write with Our Band Could Be Your Life scribe Michael Azerrad). That should be an interesting read, especially in light of Earles' decision to keep as much of the band member's personal lives from the book as possible. That is an exceedingly admirable gesture, but the inner shit-stirrer in me would love to hear an Albert Goldman-esque treatment of the affairs. These are litigious times, however, and such thoughts do much to distract from the fact that Husker Du were (and are) an amazing band and a true force to be reckoned with. I have been a fan for a long time, but only after their demise and had failed to take into account that they had released such a huge amount of material in their relatively short tenure as a band. Husker regularly delivered entire sets of material with amazing tracks like Diane that would not appear for two (or more) releases, regardless of the strength of their current recordings. Earles offers great insight into the Husker history and creative process. It's obvious that Earles is a total fanboy, but he sports a level of discretion equal to his formidable writing skills. Plain and simple: If you are a Husker Du fan, this is a must-read. I honesty hope that down the line there will be a reprint of this with some Mould insight. The only other people better suited to address the subject would be 'fourth Husker' Terry Katzman or online Husker Dude Paul Hilcoff and in the absence of that, run don't walk your ass down to your local book purveyor and snap this up with the quickness. I'm halfway through my third time reading it and still enjoy it just as much as the first time I cracked cover. Get it here, along with some clips.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Joell Ortiz - Free Agent

New Joell Ortiz. Those are nice words to be able to write as we approach the end of the 4th Quarter. I've been hearing some ridiculousness about Free Agent being 'leaked' on Amazon (which may be a spite thing from his now-ex label Amalgam Digital) and that this record has been pushed back til after the first of the year, but regardless its out on the web and its a fucking banger, as per the norm. Fair amount of guest spot action, most notably to these ears all three members of the LOX and fellow Latin lyricist Fat Joe. It would be nice if Free Agent blew up big. Ortiz certainly deserves it, having bodied virtually every track he's appeared on in 2010, but the long-rumored and perhaps finally formalized deal with Slaughterhouse and Shady may very well eclipse it, and maybe not for the better. Ortiz regularly drives Budden and the rest of his Slaughterhouse crazy with his devastating freestyle verses on radio shows and I can't think that he's too much for a four rapper franchise, but maybe the Wu precedent will bear fruit. Sixteen tracks here, some a little too commercial for my tastes, but all pretty fucking aces. I prefer the grimier stuff, like the Large Professor track but whether coming street or commercial, few can even come close to Joell Ortiz.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dan Padilla - A Collection, Not Perfection

Oh, Dan Padilla! What is the deal? Much like the Chang to your Ing we call Tiltwheel, you never venture up to the North, even when you come to the Fest. I'm told that its pure time and money economics, but come on guys, you can't drop a new Tiltwheel record and two fucking Dan Padilla records and not come out to our fair Gotham.

A Collection, Not Perfection collects most of the hard-to-find outside of San Diego early Dan Padilla singles and comp tracks along with a couple other chestnuts and a new track. Most, if not all, of this stuff is out of print, so wise aficionados would be well advised to pick this up with the quickness. It's also been remastered, for what that's worth. For the uninitiated, DP is the current incarnation of the mighty San Diego stalwarts Tiltwheel with J rather than Davey singing and Matt from Madison Bloodbath playing second guitar. Doney still holds down the drum stool. Musically, the apples don't fall very far from the burrito tree: it's still gritty canned-beer singalong punk rock regardless of the era it dropped in initially and you should still turn it up very loud at every opportunity and sing along. I'm pretty sure A Collection, Not Perfection is only available on 12" from Little Deputy, but savvy internet prospecting should probably turn this up digitally in short order.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Brad - Best Friends?

I first fell for the voice of Shawn Smith through the Satchel tune Mr. Pink. It was on a CMJ sampler from the era when they were still considered a good idea. I picked up most of the Satchel and Brad catalogs (he sings for both) from cut-out bins around town, but to the best of my knowledge they never came through town. That seems like it couldn't be true, but there is a pretty good chance the Pearl Jam factor may have prompted some myopia on my part.

I'm embarasssingly hazy on the whole thing, but I'm pretty sure Brad predated Satchel, a band I believe that jumped off because Stone was tied up with Pearl Jam and one of the dudes was in the clink for weed. They have dropped three records since the inception in 1992 that are all better than most other bands out there, but vary in overall quality song and recording-wise. I'd start with Interiors, but you really can't go wrong with any of 'em. Brad have been threatening to release Best Friends for easily four years now. It isn't worth that long of a wait from where I'm sitting, but that doesn't mean Best Friends isn't a damn good record. The opening Price Of Love and Believe In Yourself alone are worth the price of admission and a couple three others are gaining ground with me. Stone always seemed like a solid dude, but I find his guitar playing here almost as boring as I find Pearl Jam. It's not bad, but for the life of me I can't really fathom the level of dick riding that goes on for that crew. We can thank PJ imprint Monkeywrench Records for releasing this, so that's something, I guess. Why a bunch of fucking millionaires with a vanity J Records imprint can't get an actual website with a one sheet up, I don't know, but you can get this and other delights aural and sartorial at the Brad Corporation website here. West Coasters should look out for some December shows.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Two Cow Garage - Sweet Saint Me

Two Cow Garage have been one of my favorite discoveries of the last ten years. While I really miss their rough and ready early days, it seems these stand-up gents from Ohio are making some serious headway in the 21st Century. The deserve it, having recovered from the loss of one of the hardest-hitting drummers on Earth and added keys over the last couple records to enter an era that might even allow the use of the 'M' word (for mature) when describing their recent work.

It stands to reason: at the very least the boys aren't getting any younger. Shane (with some help from his wife) had a baby in the last year and you may remember that Micah released a great solo record called When The Stage Lights Grow Dim. I loved that record and have softened my hardline on procreation in recent years, but upon the first couple spins of Sweet Saint Me I kinda thought that maybe the new release was a bit lacking for these two eventualities. A couple weeks of revisitation have found more and more of the tracks growing on me, with Jackson and Lydia working their way into my head with enough vigor that I expect the next live show will really sway me on record number five. If I were you, I wouldn't wait. Buy some gas and diapers for some solid dudes and get Sweet Saint Me here. Southern friends should be advised of the shows in a couple of weeks with Slobberbone and Glossary and know that I am seethingly with jealousy.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Turkish Techno - demos 7"

I first heard about Turkish Techno a couple years ago from the Off With Their Heads franchise. I heard a couple tracks and enjoyed the split with the Brokedowns, but it seemed like something more expansive was in order. These dual 7" delights are actually four demos recorded a couple years ago. They were supposed to be an EP, but now will appear (along with some other new jams) on a full-length sometime early next year. Four tracks, equal parts Tiltwheel and Screeching Weasel, with maybe some Off With Their Heads for good measure. If you liked the aforementioned trio, you'll be all over this. It evidently takes three labels to release Turkish Techno product, so both these 7"s and the full-length are courtesy of Muy Autentico, Dirt Cult and/or Wolfdog Records. Pick your poison. Looks like the gents are going to be pretty much homebound for the next couple, but keep track of these Riverside ruffians here and stay tuned for news on the full-length.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Drag The River - 2010 Demons

Wow. Life has been pretty crazy recently. It must have been, as I appear to have shot the trifecta of: not knowing there was a new Drag The River release and not posting about last month's Cory Branan and Drag The River shows. I'm pretty damn sure these demos were not on sale at the awesome Bar Nine show back on 10.1 (mail me for a recording), but on the heels of my previous admission, I think I'm guilty of being a less than reliable witness. Either way, 2010 Demons collects 10 of 24 demos Jon and Chad recorded this past Summer in anticipation of the new DTR studio release in 2011. My unhealthy Jon Snodgrass fixation precludes my speaking ill of this on principle, but know that the new Chad songs are also really good and the usual Drag The River standard of excellence prevails.

Was there any question really? You can (and should) get 2010 Demons in digital pay-what-you-will form from the Drag The River bandcamp page here. As I understand, the only tangible release will be a limited 500 piece vinyl run on the German Hometown Caravan imprint, 200 of which Luther at Suburban Home has for sale here.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cheap Girls comp at besidesasides

In this world of ambiguity, there are two things I can state unequivocally: I love Cheap Girls and that whoever runs the Besidesasides blog is a true man among men. The two combining makes this bitter old fuck just a little bit happier. Well, someone's looking out, as there is currently an awesome new Cheap Girls collection that collects pretty much all of their early 7" and comp stuff available for the downloading. Just get it. Here's a link.


Friday, November 12, 2010

VRGNS - Manimals

Full-length #2 from the Florida franchise, now forced to kick it Oedipus style due to the presence of the nightmare NYC band with the same name that will no doubt break up shortly, if they've not already. For the uninformed, Sam and Alex from New Mexican Disaster Squad and No Friends are 2/3 of this band. They aren't as core as the aforementioned franchises, but keep it moving briskly with short sharp shards of songs that have more than a few hooks hidden just under the surface. Manimals is a decent record, but it wouldn't be the first one I'd pay for as a broke ass NYCer. Lucky for us, the good folk of Kiss Of Death have leveled the playing field by giving it away for free here. Vinyl aficionados and lovers of the tangible can purchase same there as well. Enjoy. Keep tabs on their regular goings-on here.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Sainte Catherines - Fire Works

Yowza! Is this one real ass-ripper of a record. Fire Works is the sixth Sainte Catherines full-length on as many labels. Four years after dropping Dancing For Decadence and two from the DVD/ odd and sods collection The Soda Machine, this time SC Stateside release comes courtesy of Anchorless Records, allegedly as Fat deemed it not punk enough for their hallowed halls. This from a label that is excited to release Cobra Skulls records? Life sure is funny sometimes. Listening to these tracks (and ok, the cover is pretty aces) I'd say Fat's loss will be to the gain of The Sainte Catherines and Anchorless, and would argue further that Fire Works is the best SC record to date. Thirteen tracks, all recorded by the band and sounding fat as hell. There really isn't a bad song on this record. I would acquire it immediately. East Coast JS-NYC readers should be advised to look out for the Sainte Catherines shows in Albany and at Party Expo in Brooklyn in early December.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Live: Song Of Zarathustra @ Cake Shop 10.6.10

Historically, I have always been more into the Twin Cities bands on the periphery of Song Of Zarathustra, like The Cardinal Sin and The Hold Steady, but SOZ get props for combining Brainiac and Lifter Puller in an unsettling but strangely pleasant bit of dischord. I had seen them at ABC prior to their breakup (horribly enough, way back in 2003) and the discography had enjoyed a fair amount of nostalgia spinning over the last couple months, so for $10 it seemed worth the walk.

It had been a long day, with a guaranteed bear of a week in front of me, but I figured that a Song Of Zarathustra reunion set at Cake Shop might be a fine way to take the edge off the previous long week before the next jumped off. After an early drive-by stamping, I posted up stage right just in time to stake out real estate for the SOZ set. I haven't really seen too much in the way of solid explanation for the reunion beyond their ability to do so, but for those of you scoring at home these shows featured the circa 2000-era Birth Of Tragedy lineup of Munsen, TJ McInnis, Mark Jorgensen, and Bos. The set sported a nice mix of blast and blargh, with Bos flailing about in comfortably familiar fashion. Couldn't have been much more than a half-hour worth of set to a quarter-filled room, but the small choir Song Of Zarathustra were preaching to seemed to like what they heard. I numbered among them, and liked the fact that they didn't overstay their welcome even more. No word on more shows, but if there are more, I'd expect they will be located Midwestern way but here's a place to keep an eye on to see if they do transpire.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Big L - 139 & Lenox

2010 marks the beginning of what may very well be the decade of Big L. The documentary is allegedly going to drop next year and after years of wading through red tape, L's brother is due to release the long-rumored posthumous comp of Big L material called Return Of The Devil's Son in the next couple weeks. Like many people, I was under the impression that this was that record, but evidently this is a unsanctioned release, even though it allegedly carries the Flamboyant banner. In this digital age, I'm unsure how much truly unreleased L material is out there, but it's always a pleasure to hear L back on the scene. Most of the stuff on 139 & Lenox is in that grey area of what constitutes unreleased material, as I've heard 90% of these rhymes on other tracks, but perhaps not with the Buckwild or Hi-tek trappings. Regardless, please believe that Corleone brings it, whether it be on a dirty freestyle loop or glossy shiny suit beat. The freestyle stuff is bananas, and the collabo stuff with McGruff and Roc Raida is pretty aces too. Even the somewhat unnecessary Ebonics remix with unknown T-Rex isn't a guaranteed skip. If you're the type of person who is going to buy a record, I guess I defer towards Return Of The Devil's Son, as the money's going to the proper parties, but if you just want to bump some Big L, this is readily available on the net while you wait.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

RVIVR - Dirty Water EP

New RVIVR EP. And there was much rejoicing. I like me some of this co-ed foursome, even if they are from Olympia. The Rumbletowne crew has been dropping a pretty serious amount of RVIVR product this year, all of which has been pretty quality. dirty water keeps the streak going with five songs, assumably digitized by Iron Chic axeman Phil Douglas. Big sound here, with a couple unexpected horn section turns and a fine showing from the rhythm section that doesn't always translate live.

RVIVR is currently homebound and laying low in Oly for a bit after touring Europe (with a dalliance in Iceland) for most of October, but there is mention of yet another EP on the Rumbletowne page, so stay tuned to JS-NYC for more news on that. In the meantime, get dirty water here and set to rocking.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

forgetters - s/t double 7"

On the heels of my ass having been rocked fairly soundly by forgetters opening for Hard Skin a week or so previously, I made a point of getting the debut recordings from our Brooklyn heroes into the playlists here at JS-NYC. The eponymous record comes in the curiously popular dual 7" form courtesy of their own Too Small To Fail Records and features art from bassist Caroline Paquita. Those that are less tangibly inclined can get the four tracks as mp3s. Here's a link that will afford you both options. I'd do it. I had pleased that Blake was rocking again, but was kind of lukewarm about the initial stuff I heard. Post morph to forgetters, the year that the trio has taken to gestate before recording has served them well. I assume something longer is in the works, but these four tracks are pretty quality. Blake is playing some pretty inspired guitar and the band makes a pretty big sound for a three piece. My favorite track is Too Small To Fail, but all four tracks are well worth dropping some cash on.

forgetters are out there, peep upcoming dates and all other things forgetters here.