Friday, December 31, 2010

Cheers, Mate! - Owl EP

This is probably the best album you've never heard by a band you'll probably never see live. Coming out of Ukraine it's Cheers, Mate! with their debut ep called the Owl EP. It is filled to overflowing with conflicting moments happening at the same time. Throughout this all too short album there is beauty is jammed up against ugliness and total devastation rubbing shoulders with moments of epic beauty.

This is most definitely screamo music. The emotional style of the clean singing and the piano add heaping doses of emotion to what would normally be just hardcore or perhaps post-hardcore rage. The constant shifting between beauty and aggression, not to mention when they manage to coexist, turns the sheer aggression hardcore punk is known for on its head allowing for much more textured music. If you don't like multiple vocalists with multiple styles both clean and not turn away now. If you like heavy guitars that quickly transform into melodic moments then this is probably for you.

Throughout this whole album the singers are constantly trading off. It's hard to understand without hearing it how powerful it is to go from a beautiful clean melody straight into a tortured scream on a dime. The only thing more powerful is when the one vocalist echoes the other. As often as the screamer is howling alone a lot of the time the screaming is relegated to backing vocals stretching out what the clean singer started.
The Intro starts off with a drum counting off four beats and we're off to the races. The guitars are already at full blast riffing away and in the background you can hear a piano tinkling. The screaming comes in towards the end and is aggressive and noisy but it never becomes unintelligible. 

The first song, And Nobody Wants To Stop has two breakdowns in it, surprise surprise. The interesting thing is that the second breakdown is lead back up by the piano and some clean singing. The Devil Drives Lada will surprise you because there is actually a catchy melody in the clean singing. That melody is only accented when the scream takes over and the piano drops out. There is just enough repetition to almost make it stick in your head but not so that it becomes overplayed. 

Your Eyes Turn To Widescreen is the fourth song and the most straight up screamo song on here. Right out of the gate there is a raging riff and a high pitch scream going at full tilt. The piano doesn't make an appearance until after the first breakdown at which point it replaces the guitar and a spoken voice comes in with just a tinge of aggression. The piano vanishes as quickly as it came and doesn't show up again till halfway through when everything goes completely chaotic. The instruments take over and wreak havoc.
The middle of this fourth song is the most interesting part on an album full of fascinating riffs and sections. The guitars rage along like they usually do until out of nowhere comes a piano. Instead of creating a melody and forcing a progression the piano bangs out unresolved chords that sound awkward yet completely awesome. Everything calms down suddenly and the clean voice emerges leading the melody with the screaming in the background eventually taking over.

The guitar usually stays in over-driven thrashy mode and the riffs are always tasty and constantly changing with more than their fair share of melody. The use of piano helps with shoving melody into places where there would normally only be brutality. The use of multiple singing styles really helps to make this music unique. There is melodious clean singing, just a little bit of speaking and both high pitched and guttural screams.

There are few hooks on this album so there aren't really any bits that get stuck in your head. Instead of walking away with bits of these songs stuck in my head I walk away astounded at the brutality and emotional content of this music. This is music coming straight from the musicians hearts aimed straight at your guts.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cattle Drums - The Boy Kisser Sessions

The best description I've heard of this album is that it sounds like if At The Drive In if they played punk-pop instead of post-hardcore. The debut ep by Cattle Drums The Boy Kisser Session is filled to the brim with nonsensically obscure poetic lyrics, constantly changing songs and guitars that go from raging to melodic and back on a dime.

It's absolutely impossible for me to choose a favourite song because they all show a different side of the band and are almost all uniformly awesome. New Furniture And Wigs starts out with just a riff and drums that grab you and make you pay attention while the last third of Who Punched Pat Moore's Face has obscure lyrics over top of shifting guitars that focus on alternating between aggression and melody. Borvg The Nag kicks your ass for barely two minutes and is followed by Two Pigeons an acoustic song with both shouting and a xylophone. There's a video of the band on you tube doing Two Pigeons on someone's back step that is as close to a literal definition of awesome as I've seen.

Most of the time I have no idea what the lead singer is going on about. But that is most certainly not a bad thing. He is constantly shouting nonsensical things like “I got a bone to pick with you bout Stacy's bloodline, it's cutting out, what's that about, what's that about” which only add to the energy being created by the band behind him. He creates such a sense of urgency that it doesn't matter we have no idea what he's singing about.
The only bad song comes exactly in the middle and the only reason it's bad is because it's so slow. The lead singers shouting loses its urgency and comes close to being a whine. Usually the choruses come out of nowhere, smack you in the face and spin you around but on Sluts And Coconuts you can see it coming a mile away.

Musically speaking this album is fairly standard. There are bits that are very punk pop with lots of energy that make you want to jump up and down while singing along at the top of your lungs. Other parts make you want to start a pit and smash everything and then there are also parts of incredible beauty. The combination of these three disparate parts and the ease with which they shift between them is one of the things that makes this album so interesting. The ability to do any one of those things with any skill would be enough for a great album. The ability to do all three and combine them into a coherent piece is one of the things that really grabs me.

Starting off with nothing but a drum beat then a simple bluesy riff New Furniture And Wigs is bound to grab your attention. After about a half minute the piece escalates with an all over the place melody being chased by the guitar that continues 'til the guitar drops out the and the lead singer starts shouting. Eventually the guitars come back in and the song ends as a post-hardcore rager that never really forgets the melody.

If you're not into energetic, emotional and interesting music that refuses to give up or reveal its secrets then you won't like this. But if music with cryptic lyrics, songs with unorthodox structures that are written with obvious care for the art form then hopefully you'll find this as addictive as I do. Easily one of the top 5 ep's of 2010, I await new material with bated breath.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mount Kimbie - Crooks & Lovers

The melody is always getting lost. Sounds come and go, showing off for a moment but no longer. Quickly swept aside for the next flashy turn to come round. Maybe the drum will kick back in. Maybe the vocal sample will loop back round. Maybe the DJ will breath really loudly into the mike. Perhaps it's just me but it seems like the best glitchy ambient dub step has a lot in common with the best hardcore crust punk. The music is always changing, finding some new angle, no matter how similar, everything gets ground together into an interesting mash of sounds.

Mount Kimbie have managed to do roughly that on their debut Crooks & Lovers. Most of the songs reach into the 4 minute range, which for this kind of glitchy music I find quite surprising. By glitchy I mean that everything is always changing. Every single sound of the song, and in any one of these songs there may be any number of different sounds, has been altered and screwed around with. The pitch may have been altered, may have been run through a filter, whatever needed to be done to flip it around into a variation that fit into the theme but is still weird enough to make you scratch your head consistently. And consistency is hard.

The songs are all so different which should not be a surprise anymore. The only thing they have in common is the fact that they are all constantly changing. I don't think a song stays the same for more than a 3 seconds at a time, if that. And that's what's fascinating. There isn't a lyricist to listen to, but that's about it. You can't say there's no beat because there is one obvious bangin' but it's constantly being morphed too. You can't say there are no solo's to enjoy because the whole piece is one large solo. Sometimes it gets a little quiet and subtle like in the middle of Before I Move Off before those chopped up voices come in but there's always layers of texture.

This is music that demands your attention. The amount of effort it would take to put this music together really comes together in a way that makes you sit up and take notice. It's not going to sit there nicely for you throbbing away to one beat all night long. It's going to mutate. It's going to get up off the floor and change into something completely new that you didn't see coming but seems perfectly right. The fluidity will draw you back in at the same time as the variety of the samples will make you pay attention. You may feel like your flying through space. Space is much more normal than this music.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Linkin Park - A Thousand Suns

What new major label  album features a half dozen minute long interludes, quotes from both Martin Luther King Jr. and Mario Savio, not to mention a distinct lack of guitars? Why the new Linkin Park album, A Thousand Suns

    If you approach this from the perspective that Linkin Park is a metal band with some rap and industrial influences then you will hate this album. There are virtually no heavy elements and those that exist come from techno and electronic music. But if you approach them as a group of people bringing their talents together to make something greater than they do individually there is something to this album. It moves them in a significant new direction. They have left behind the anger and guitars of their previous albums for a somewhat more subdued, electronic based, individualized music.

    This album doesn't feel like nearly as much like a group effort as their previous albums have. In the past the mixing of different sensibilities and tastes seemed seamless. The move between Mike Shinoda's rapping and Chester Bennington's singing was fluid and the music they built around that interplay worked very well. But the songs on this new album seem like single people. The seams have become obvious, the new songs don't fit together nearly as well. Songs like Wretches And Kings and When They Come For Me are basically hip hop songs with very little input from Chester. On the flip side there's opener Burning In The Skies and mid album skipper Robot Boy are all Chester with nothing from Mike. It's a problem that won't go away and doesn't allow the album to gel.

    It opens very strangely with two intro tracks and then the first song. It sounds like Chester's solo record but without the big chunky guitars. And most of the record sounds like that. They've traded in the majority of their anger and angst for lots of piano and really big synth sounds. The songs they write and the instrumentation has always lent itself to the grandiosity of stadiums and this music is no exception.

    There are some links back to what they've done before but they are few and far between. The opening song Burning In The Skies a somewhat typical Linkin Park feel but stripped of all aggression and bite. The only really angry song on the album is Blackout but even it is mostly devoid of guitars. Chester's angry vocals are  backed by several layers of highly distorted synths. Both the anger and distortion are under cut by a constant high piano plinking away. One of the best songs on the album Wretches And Kings is a straight up hip hop song and has the aforementioned Mario Savio quote. The only place a guitar shows up is for 3 beats on the chorus and Chester is relegated to the chorus and the bridge.

    If you listened to Linkin Park for the cathartic moments or for a shared experience of rage you will be sadly disappointed. But if you listen to hear what happens when six talented musicians get together and express their current reality you will be intrigued. If you've ever wondered what Linkin Park would sound like doing a  reggae song this is the album for you. This is a different side of Linkin Park, one that I'm not particularly fond of.

Downchild Blues Band Live At Showplace

    What can one say about the legendary Downchild Blues Band that hasn't already been said in their 40 year career? Their current lineup is a six piece and they are very tight. The energy and obvious joy behind the music makes you wonder if it's blues at all. Then Chuck Jackson sings something about being in love with two women at the same time and you're right back in the delta.
    They broke their two hour show into two sets with an intermission in the middle. After the intermission Donny Walsh, Mike Fitzpatrick the drummer, Gary Kendal on bass and Michael Fonfara on keyboard returned to the stage. Donny sang a few songs himself while wailing on the harmonica. The fact that the band works as a 6 piece or a 4 piece makes the fact that Donny can't sing rather irrelevant. These guys know how to play their style of music better than anyone whether they've got a full band or are stripped right down.
    They played a nice mix of old and new songs. They played some songs off their new album such as I Need A Hat, Somebody Lied and Down In The Delta. While there's nothing wrong with those songs, they don't have many miles on them. Because they are new songs they lacked the crowd response that pushes classics like Jump Right Up, Flip Flop & Fly and the singalong (I Got Everything I Need) Almost into high energy songs that you can't sit still to.
    Purists or traditionalists would not call this blues. This is blues with an obvious urban influence - a very strong, pounding beat that is missing from most traditional blues. The saxophone and keyboard add elements of rock and roll and even jazz into the mix. The way Donny plays guitar there isn't anything particularly bluesy about it unless it's slide so it's up to Chuck's voice to bring it all home, which he does every time.  Try sitting still when they blast through Jump Through Right Up, I guarantee you'll be on your feet by the end of the song.
    They all really get into the high energy music they make. Gary the bass player had a grin on his face for most of the show. Everyone is constantly moving around the stage talking to each other, making each other laugh as the song grooves. Chuck really gets into the music, jumping up and down and moving all over the stage releasing energy. If he wasn't singing he was playing the harmonica. Every so often Donny would put his guitar down and pull out another harmonica. When Chuck & Donny went at it on the double harmonica things really started to heat up. There are few things better than two older blues men just going at it on duelling harmonicas, the energy and skill required to really cook on a harmonica make for a great show.
    The dynamic range of the band is really quite remarkable. In Tell Your Mama they go from barn burning energy of all 6 pieces going at once down to just Donny softly playing his harmonica and then right back up. Everything revolves around Mr. Downchild: when he nods people solo, or a piece drops out or they all kick back in at high speed. Though he spent most of the show looking at his guitar and just shredding he was clearly in command of the stage.
    Donny Walsh has been leading Downchild for more than 40 years now. And it shows. They are truly a tight, together combo that knows the ins and outs of the music they play. The music is high energy; it's a fun show and both the audience and the band knows it. You don't go to a Downchild show to sit in the back and nod your head to the overwhelming beat. You have to get up and dance until the last song has faded from the amps.  These guys know how to put on a strong, entertaining show and they did just that.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

two pictures

I stumbled across some random persons blog. Their writing is ok, didn't really grab me but there's nothing wrong with it. What did grab my attention where these two pictures. And i am not lying

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

a basic story


purity structures

purity structures can not hold
they will tear us apart
in a relentess search
for what was once gold

puritanical beliefs
will tear us apart
leave us holding
a bloody child's heart

i wrote it while doing dishes


Backstory: Sara Palin "coined" a new word two days ago on Twitter, refudiate. She pulled the tweet down quickly but it was too late. She later tweeted horrendously comparing herself to Shakespeare. I'm not sure it's possible for me to adequately describe how angry that makes me.

I'm not the biggest fan of Shakespeare ever, though I do have a better appreciation for his words after performing them onstage, but that's just dumb. Comparing yourself to one of the best writers ever who has had an incalculable impact on our culture is a sentence that makes me stop listening to you.

But it's not all bad! Twitter came to the rescue of course with the #shakespalin tag and promptly gave a Palin spin to the Bard's words. Hilarity ensues and follows.

(edited to not make me sound like an idiot, though that may be impossible at this point)

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Nobles - Come On

Add together equal parts jump straight up and down pop punk, near virtuoso guitar, a stellar female singer and enough of that country twang to keep things interesting and you get a three piece called New Nobles. I could shorten this review and simply say, I like, it's good, you should buy it. But that wouldn't be doing this album justice.

There's just enough of a countryesque twang to move the music solidly out of mainstream rock but thankfully not enough to turn it into full blown country rock. The guitar is elusive and capturing. Every time you turn around Dean is rocking out a different style. The guitar generally stays within the confines of rock and roll but the tone always changes. From the bluesy solo on “Don't” to the grunge of “L.O.V.” to the pop punk verses of “Right In Front Of My Eyes”, that guitar is always key. Though in a three piece every instrument is critical.

For three piece they make a big noise. These are full songs played with an energy, abandon and sincerity that is missing from rock these days. The songs are remarkably consistent in this age of singles. This album is great back to front with only a minor hiccup around the middle, two mediocre songs surrounding one of the best on the album.

The middle three songs are a conundrum. “Peter Peter” has the energy to turn into something but never does. It seems to be a waste of a great melody and lyrics on a song that doesn't have the necessary energy behind it. The next song “Right In Front Of My Eyes” is one of the best on the album, really catchy vocals over a great bass line and a guitar that is always changing from chords to picking to solo and back. The chorus will be stuck in your head for days, so be warned. Sadly the next song is nowhere near as good and completely different. Most of the songs are high energy rock and roll with tiny bits of pop punk and country

But the aforementioned “L.O.V.” is a mid tempo grunge song completely out of character that never goes anywhere. It just plods along, wasting Jen's great voice simply repeating “l.o.v.” as the guitar slowly crawls along. The last third of the song gets interesting with some psychedelic soloing but most people will be long gone.

Thankfully things kick right back up with “I'll Just Be There” which charges forward with the energy of a promise. The album continues rocking out strong till the last song “Come On” which may be the best song on the album. It's really simple, one riff for the verse and another for the chorus but it comes together in an incredibly catchy package behind Jen's voice.

So if your looking for something that uses all the normal rock and roll touchstones but manages to turn them into something unique and absurdly catchy and is Canadian, you could do a lot worse than this.

official page
if your in peterborough it`s on sale at Moondance I think

Thursday, July 15, 2010

not trying to put word's in anyones mouth here...

Jon Stuart Mill. Philosopher, feminist, popularizer of utilitarianism and all round smart guy. As evidenced by this quotation I came across earlier


credit to whom it's due

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Frances Bean Cobain Is Fiddle Tim

Frances Bean Cobain has a show in Los Angeles currently under the name Fiddle Tim. Here are the notebook drawings she's done. Interesting stuff. A little gutterpunk scumfuck for my tastes but still cool


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Garfield Missing Someone


So it's stupidly hot here in Peterborough, 23 currently at 1 am. Although nothing like what Winnipeg is having thankfully
But since it's too hot to sleep I wrote a poem. It's called Consumption.

All you do is consume.
Full stop.
You ate everything in sight.
Tore the world apart 
looking for that sweet taste.
Destroyed everything you'll need
Need tomorrow when the sun rises.
Or did you think 
you could stop that too?

Monday, June 28, 2010

White Bloc?

Instead of rioting and causing property destruction that is rarely interpreted properly, here's a thought.

Position yourself between the police  and the peaceful protesters. Act as a barrier between the police and those who want to have their peaceful say so they may actually do so. Link arms, sit down, but do not antagonize. Perhaps use that time to engage the officers in dialoge but don't be an ass about it.

Force the police to strike the first blow. For this to work it must be clear that they acted first, unprovoked and our response is measured. The key is to not antagonize. Allow them to increase the tension and and respond  in kind. Tactics will be met with equal tactics.

Love will be met with love. Fists will be met with fists. Tasers and tear gas will be met with equivalent tactics. But that is not that goal. The goal is to protect the peaceful protesters from the repressive forces that would shut us all up permanatly.

(The whole efficacy of marching is up for debate in my mind but that's another post.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World Burns To Death - Death Is Psychosomatic

We discussed the lyrics to this song in class today :D

Tomorow I'm going to play it...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lizards Have Personalities

For some reason I only recently started listening to screamo. One of the first bands I discovered is a three piece from Kansas called Lizards Have Personalities. They've put out two eps now, In All Honesty and Snows Of Kilimanjaro.

In All Honesty doesn't really sound like screamo to me. Andrew's voice isn't quite in that unintelligible scream, more of a post-hardcore raspy style vocal. A a slightly tuneful Cedric Bixler-Zavala perhaps. It was the guitar that drew me in though. I was expecting the same thing every other band does, alternating raging power chords with softer picking parts. And there were definitely some bits that worked that, The Heart's Descent is really only half a good song, but on the whole it sounds like a really solid post-hardcore album.

They've put their music out for free so buy a t-shirt or something. These guys hopefully have the chops to go the distance.

in all honesty

"But nothing is set in stone/The center can not hold./By now you've come to know,/We're floating lifeless and alone."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Garfield without you know you who

garfield without garfield 1

Exposing the inner schizophrenia of one Jon Arbuckle

Monday, June 14, 2010


There's a difference between the army and the police. The first is intended as a defensive force, guns pointed out towards the enemy. The other is an offensive force with their guns pointed at us, forcing us to obey their laws.

If we are to have nations then we must have borders. If we must have borders then we must at the very least have a force to defend said borders. I speak from a Canadian perspective, it is imperative we have an armed force at our border to prevent American aggression and to limit the flow of guns and hard drugs into Canada. That force, designed to protect the population and aim their guns outward, is never used by a legitimate government to attack their own people. I believe that most reasonable people would see that as an act of aggression by their government and rise up in some fashion. But as long as the army is protecting the population and not engaging civilians they are loved and venerated.

The police are completely different. They are an armed force with their guns pointed at those within their own society. They are group of selected individuals, trained to attack civilians. They carry weapons designed to instil compliance and fear and have the authority to ruin lives on a whim.

If you are wrongfully arrested, as millions are every year, you will probably lose your job. You can say goodbye to any chance at a governmental scholarship if you are young. Even if the charges are dropped against you the arrest will show up on any background checks required for future employment.

We have a multitude of gangs in our world. Depending on your definition everything from a Warrior Society to the Hell's Angels to the 16 year olds hanging out down the block constitute a gang. But only one hides behind a shield. Only one has the governments backing to shoot you dead on a whim. Only one wears a uniform and claims to be protecting us.

They protect us by shooting us. Or by locking us up in prison. Prison does nothing except turn petty thieves into career criminals. Prisons are universities of crime with free tuition, room and board provided by your government. Doesn't sound like much protection to me.

So where do we go from here? Certainly not by shooting at or ambushing police officers. For whatever reason they have decided to put their lives on the line to defend our democracy, or at least they believe that I hope. And that, at the very least, is worthy of a modicum of respect. To truly fuck the police we must get rid of them. We must show them that another world is possible. One where they are not needed.

A world where a lady doesn't need to steal a can of meat so she can feed her child. A world where a father of three doesn't have to rob a liquor store to feed his kids because he got fired from the plant. And that my friends, is up you.

Friday, June 04, 2010


I am an anarchist because I scorn and detest all authority, since all authority is founded on injustice, exploitation, and compulsion over the human personality. Authority dehumanizes the individual and makes him a slave.
I am opponent of private property when it is held by individual capitalists for private property is theft.
I am an anarchist because I am subject to unstinting criticism and censure mainstream morality as well as religion which shrouds the human personality in darkness and prevents its independent development.
I am an anarchist because I a can not remain silent while the propertied class oppresses and humiliates the property less workers and peasants. In such circumstances only corpses can remains silent, not live human beings.
I am an anarchist because I believe in the truth of the anarchist ideal, which seeks to liberate mankind from the authority of capitalism and the deception of religion.
I am an anarchist because I believe only in the creative powers and independence of a united working class not in the leaders of the parties or government.

- A Russian Soldier

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Any society that requires gun toting badge protected muscle men to enforce their laws can not be legitimate. A government is based on and exists solely by the people's authority and should have no need for an armed force to enforce their laws on those people. A legitimate government that truly represents the will of the people, the only kind worth supporting, will have no laws that people do no already follow in their day to day lives.
If the government requires an armed force to convince us of their authority, I say they have failed soundly. The government that requires a police force to enforce its authority can not be legitimate. If in fact, violence is a taboo in our society, then the government, of all our institutions, should not be be using it. The bald faced lies required to maintain such a double standard will rot a country from the inside out.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Everyone defines anarchy for themselves.
I would not dare to define it for you.
This is what I think.

An anarchist is a grown person daring to resist the unjust authority of the archetypal parents.

Anarchism was born of a moral revolt against social injustice.
It must be mighty and ruthless, prepared to do whatever is necessary to achieve justice and vengeance of the people by the people.

I hope the sun of righteousness and truth and justice will come to bathe in its balmy light,
an emancipated world

We will dance the Ravachole until there are no more wars, no more quarrels, no more jealousy, no more theft, no more assassinations, no more police, no more judges, no more administration

Violence may be the midwife to change but our destructive urge is also a creative one.
We do not destroy simply to destroy.
We clear the land of the parasites and weeds so the people may reclaim it.

If we are monsters it is because you have made us so.
If we are to be feared it is because you are corrupt.

Our modern civilization is a Moloch temple reared upon the bodies of slaughtered slaves.
Let us do what we must, we can not equal the crimes our masters.

We shall perform the last funeral rites over a decaying and dying social system.
Out of it's ashes will rise the regenerated individual.
The bold and daring rebel.

Anarchism depends on waking you up.
On making you realize that you have immense power and capabilities but have been numbed to sleep.
We are so accustomed to obedience and passivity we must be shocked awake.

I did not write this. I agree with most of it