Book Review: Root For the Villain-by J-Zone

Root For the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration Failure-by J-Zone (Old Maid Entertainment)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

In his memoir Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure, J-Zone, born Jay Mumford, chronicles a lifetime spent playing the lead role in an endless comedy of errors.  The brunt of the stories are culled from a decade or so chasing fame and fortune in the rap game.  J-Zone, an MC and producer, somehow managed to be too late and too early to party at the exact same time.  By the time his records were coming out, the heyday of late ‘90s/early ‘00s hip-hop had gone increasingly underground and the Internet rap world, a place an artist like J-Zone would have made waves, was not yet the taste-making blogosphere it is now.  Root for the Villain, in a twist of irony, successfully encapsulates what it’s like to be considered (at least in terms of the music industry) a failure.  ...read entire review after the leap of faith.


Five Records to Look Forward to in 2012

Black Face

Five Records to Look Forward to in 2012
An excerpt from Coming in 2012: the Bands, Artists, and Releases You Have to Hear This Year
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Murder City Devils-???
In a recent interview (recent, as in two years) MCD lead singer Spencer Moody claimed the band, while not totally back in full swing, was indeed recording a new album. Late last year a new two-song 7" quietly marterialized, confirming that they are at least doing something. Every Day I Rise b/w Ball Busters in the Peanut Gallery shows them moving a few steps away from ferocious garage punk and into an artier area, encapsulating the influences from the band members various other projects. It's a natural extension from where the MCD left off on the Thelema EP back in 2001, leaving me fully intrigued by what comes next...provided something actually does. 

Black Face-???
Another hypothetical one here. Last summer news broke that former SST Records co-owner and OG Black Flag bassist Chuck Dukowski had teamed with avant-punk vocalist/writer/real-life-kicker-of-human-ass Eugene S. Robinson to form Black Face, a band that would play unheard songs from and influenced by My War-era Black Flag. Word is that four songs had been recorded, yet only two surfaced on a 7" only release. That means there are at least two more to be heard. Add that to the fact the band has added some live dates, with an entire set list, finds me hopeful that there will be a new record as well. 

Action Bronson-various projects
2012 looks to be just as busy a year for the Albanian descending Flushing-Queens,NYC MC as last year was. Bronson is expecting a whopping five releases this year!  Four albums: Rare Chendeliers with Alchemist, Mr. Wonderful with Tommy Mas, as well as one each with Lex Lugar and Harry Fraud, and a mixtape with Party Supplies called Blue Chips. That's an overwhelming amout of material to digest, but I'm up for the task. 

Strong Arm Steady & Statik Selektah-Stereotype
Cali cliq SAS is back at it again, this time with production/DJ powerhouse Statik Selektah behind the boards. For the past two years these two have quietly created some best hip-hop records: SAS with the Madlib collabo In Search of Stoney Jackson and the follow-up Arms & Hammers, and Selektah lacing a number of MCs, from up-n-commers like Freddie Gibbs and Action Bronson to veterans like Edo G. and Reks. My finger is eagerly hovering over the "purchase" button, ready to click as soon as this pops up in iTunes. 

Dilated Peoples-Directors of Photography
After being enamoured with their first two albums, and especially their live show (they could rock a crowd like no other), I had completely lost interest after the lackluster outing Neighborhood Watch, and never really paid much attention to anything that came after. That is until last year when Evidence dropped his excellent second solo album Cats & Dogs. The fire has been reignited with me. Here's hoping the same goes for them. After all, it's been six years since they have done anything as a group.

Runner Up: a whole bunch of punk records
It's election year here in the United States. Naturally there is going to be some really good punk rock comming out. And I, for one, am looking forward to every bit of it.

Read entire Coming in 2012 feature here.


Record Review: After The Last Sky-There's No Light at the End of This Tunnel

After The Last Sky-There's No Light at the End of This Tunnel (Power It Up Records)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

While this is not a particularly good album, as a band After The Last Sky does possess some promising attributes. It takes only one listen to realize they are undoubtedly talented musicians. A fact that is not surprising, considering the rate at which they genre-hop their way through There’s No Light at the End of This Tunnel. The two axe-slingers flex their skills in a variety of styles, whether it is lightning fast thrash, atmospheric riffing or tech-metal accuracy. In turn, the drummer is just as well-versed at providing the appropriate backdrops, ranging from a precision pummeling to machine gun-like blast beats. Whether it’s plodding at a stoned-out doom pace or approaching the rapidity of powerviolence, the bassist holds down the bottom end in whatever necessary fashion the particular song calls for. And while the vocals are predominantly your standard deep-growl-to-high-pitch interchange, the singer does furnish it with somewhat of an edgier feel. ...continue reading review after the leap.


A Few Things I've Learned from the Past 10 Years of Sloppy Immature Relationships

A Few Things I’ve Learned from the Past 10 Years of Sloppy Immature Relationships

Doug: Don’t date trumpet players. Their egos don’t match up to anything else.
Erik: Don’t date guys from small towns. They grow up to be meth-heads.
David: Don’t date miniature Dave Grohls. Ever. There's a serious chance you'll be exposed to unhealthy amounts of "political punk rock".
Keith: Don’t date guys with kids and serious depression, no matter how good they play guitar.
Trent: Don’t date pill popping park rangers. But alliterate as much as possible.
Roger: Don’t date 43 year old… heroin addicts.… that you met at your court ordered AA meetings…... Shit… that was pretty obvious, wasn’t it?
George: Don’t date actors; they never stop acting. Was that the proper use of a semi-colon?
Thom: Don’t date guys who will never love you as much as you’ve always loved them. That pretty much just makes you a stalker with an agenda.
Chris: Don’t date stoner pastry chefs, they will just make your pants not fit right anymore.

I, Doomy G, am probably the last person you would ever go to for relationship advice. You know this. Unfortunately, many of my close friends still seem to trust my opinion. I’ve even been called “insightful” on more than one occasion. The problem with being a young advice sage is that you never take the advice you give other people. It all makes sense when you are the observer on the outside, but when you’re stuck in the middle of all those DAMN EMOTIONS and your brain refuses to work logically…and well… you just feel dumb. But you’ve all been through this. I assume HDD readers are at least like, 45 by now (neener neener neeeeener!). Your hearts have been broken more than once. Prolly even more than twice, if you aren’t super humans from the future sent here to impregnate fertile women in a plan to eventually take over the Earth. Then again, I kinda like the idea of fertile women with swollen breasts and ample thighs just sliding down a rainbow across the earth and filling the planet with fully functional humans. Yet, I digress. But perhaps I don’t digress. Maybe the future consists of men shooting their loads into the heavens and lusty thick thighed women catch the seeds as they slide down rainbows and repopulate the earth! And then humanity might possibly make sense. Because of like, aliens and shit. Yeah. Fuck. Yeah.

I'm Faster Than My Shadow

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