Scene Report: Midwest Hell Fest~Day 2

Midwest Hell Fest Wrapup-Day 2
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

(Midwest Hell Fest Wrapup-Day 1 here.)

Despite intermittent sleep, I wake up feeling fairly well rested.  If memory serves correctly, I’m somewhere deep within the confines of enemy territory—Wisconsin.  Sports rivalries aside, I’m happy to be here.  For one, there’s a punk festival happening a couple blocks away, and secondly, there is cold pizza and bread sticks for breakfast within arm’s reach.  Memory of how the food got here and why it's for the most part untouched is somewhat foggy.  ...Continue reading here.


Record Review: Ground Sloth-Demo

Ground Sloth-Demo (self-released)
By Nathan G. O'Brien exclusively for HotDogDayz.

From the colonial landscape of Williamsburg, WA—“the birthplace of the American Dream,” so the tagline goes—hail Ground Sloth. This outfit is comprised of four young gents who found each other while working as DJs for the college radio station at nearby William & Mary. Ground Sloth has only been playing shows around Williamsburg for about three months now, but that has not deterred them from unleashing to the world (via the Internet) this four-song demo of clamorous metal-punk.

The first track, “9-11 Hot Wings”—which gets my vote for Best Song Title of the Year—can best be described as a gloomy romp through the tortured mind of a soldier high on psychotropic drugs. Of course I could be totally wrong about the subject matter because, fact is, the vocals are largely unintelligible. It makes no difference to me though, as actual lyrical content usually matters little, provided it’s not singing the praises of Michelle Bachman or arguing for the recompense of slavery. I can assure you they are neither or anything as equally revolting. It’s probably anti-war or, about getting stoned…or, an anti-war song about getting stoned. Let’s move on, shall we?

Song two—“Right to Self-Destruct” starts off, well, appropriately—“Don’t deny my right to self-destruct!” Lyrically, it doesn’t take long to figure this one out. Whereas the previous song had sludge-stoner-metal affections, reminiscent of High On Fire or Eyehategod, this song is more in the vein of raw noise punk that’s become quite popular of late—like a slightly less chaotic Nerveskade. To anyone familiar with his work ska-crust ragers Diskast or the highly underappreciated Clean Girls, bass player, Josh Makela’s patented high-pitched vocals are easily recognizable on this one. Mid–song there is a nice mosh breakdown that lasts exactly six seconds before effortlessly transitioning into a speed metal spot that is equally as short. Believe me, it’s, like, totally rad. Put your keg cups in the air!

“Drug Haze” shows Ground Sloth flexing their hardcore punk rock chops. Again, the noise elements are present though. It’s like Murder Disco X and Raw Nerve met at a house party, smoked up, and slammed out some tracks in the bathroom or kitchen or some other place that sounds like the inside of a PBR tallboy.

“The Last Unicorn” is appropriately placed at the end of this demo, as it captures all the best moments of the previous three songs in one masterful doom-infected juncture, which may or may not be a tribute the 1982 animated feature of the same name.

Overall, the quality of the recording is what you’d expect of a demo—raw and lacking a few of the fine-tuning adjustments that usually happen once something gets laid to vinyl. I get a boner for demos, so I think it’s perfect. I would love to see this come out on a cassette. However, I think we’ll be lucky if we see any more Ground Sloth output at all. At present, the drummer, Erik plans to move to Seattle at the end of the summer and there is a good chance Josh will be leaving for NYC. So catch them while you can in the next few months—they are booking shows around Williamsburg and Richmond, VA and Washington DC.

If you’re still not sold on Ground Sloth, you no-doubt will be after you hear how Josh explains them—“We just hang out, smoke weed, drink, talk about girls, and occasionally bang out a hardcore breakdown and write a song around it.”

Now if that isn’t living the American Dream, I don’t know what is.

Stream or download here.

Send us your stuff for review to BNB at  bnb@hotdogdayz.com or Nathan at thee.n.o.b@gmail.com


Record Review: Power-Death Haunts

Power-Death Haunts (Twelve Gauge Records)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Having existed for roughly three years now, Bremerton, WA’s, Power have created somewhat of a rep for themselves in the Pacific Northwest. The aftermath of one particular incident resulted in half the band landing in jail—a demolished automobile left in their wake. And legend has it that Power set a dumpster on fire while Tacoma band, Sojourner, were filming a music video. All malignant actions aside, Power is most known for being the best hardcore act to come out of the area in recent times...  Continue reading here.


Scene Report: Midwest Hell Fest~Day 1

Midwest Hell Fest Wrapup-Day 1
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

After losing a year of my life behind the wheel, I finally arrive at my destination: Kimberly, Wisconsin. Upon walking into the hotel—and I use this term loosely—lobby, I am happy to find a lovely old lady behind the counter chatting it up with a handful of punks.  Punks I can only assume are in town for the same reason I am—the first annual Midwest Hell Fest...  Continue reading here.


Record Review: Beastie Boys-Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

Beastie Boys-Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (Capital Records)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Long before it became acceptable for rappers to get by over-relying on Auto-Tune, the Beastie Boys were exercising a variety of vocal effects. That tradition continues in several instances on Hot Sauce. On “Tadlock’s Glasses”, when MCA humorously raps, “You’ve got a bagel in your pants and that’s a must/Plus I cuss and grab my nuts/Got a six finger ring that says ‘Excuse Our Dust’” his pack-a-day smokey drawl sounds like it’s been twisted into a pretzel and stuffed in a tin can. In other words, it’s the aural equivalent of huffing a whippet balloon underwater...  see entire review here.


Record Review: Atmosphere-The Family Sign

Atmosphere-The Family Sign (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Atmosphere’s MC, Slug has made a career, literally, out of exploiting and exercising his own personal demons as well as of those around him.  He has an uncanny knack for telling a deeply personal story—sometimes his, sometimes someone else’s—all while moving the crowd.  In short,  he’s the heart-on-his-sleeve guy who rocks the party.  Though, as Slug gets older, there’s a little less of the fun stuff...  Continue here.