Play It By Ear: Classics Of Love-S/T

The reason for my absence from this column is that...life has happened. Death in the family struck.  I’ve been fortunate they’ve  been few and far between.  I’ve been doing home nursing care for a friend for his dad, and he has spent time in the intensive care unit, so I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on what’s important. My conclusion is family is and always has been, and second comes music. I’ve also came up with a name for the column, and it’s Play It By Ear. So here we go…

Classics Of Love-Self Titled (Asian Man)
My review was supposed to be by a Minnesota-bred songwriter, but I tracked through the vinyl I got in the mail and was really disappointed.  Like, Metallica-Lulu/ Guns N' Roses-Chinese Democracy disappointed. So I’m getting back to my roots. And that is: fast paced, high energy, punk rock. And who better than to get this new year, and new column started off than Jesse Michaels and his new band, Classics Of Love. They released The Walking in the Shadows EP in 2009, and this Valentines day they dropped their proper self-titled full length on Asian Man Records.

From the opening track “What a Shame” the tone is set; they are fed up with the current form of government in this country. On track 2, “Castle in the Sky” over a frenzied early-'80s hardcore riff, Michaels' lyrics, about how those who speak out against the government are called socialists, really is what punk has always been about: freedom of speech, challenging authority, and having an open mind.  Some think it’s anti-American to speak of disdain towards the current and former administrations, but after listening to the thirteen tracks--clocking in under 23 minutes--you will want to start writing editorials into your local paper; calling them out on the millions they spent to renovate the mayors office bathroom. Backed by another local Bay-Area group called The Hard Girls, Michaels--with the help of local producer Jack Shirley (who is doing the new Joyce Manor album, who put out another of my favorite albums of last year) has returned to the roots that made him a legend with his beloved short-lived ska/punk band Operation Ivy. But this is different. It’s more focused, the music and production is tighter, and with age comes more knowledge.  It's clear Michaels has been keeping up with his studies. He has been known to disappear for a decade or so from music, but when he comes back it is with a bang; usually putting out plenty of material in a short amount of time.  (He also has a folk/country/punk thing called Passage Walkers, but so far only a few videos on YouTube have surfaced.) This is a must have album. I’ve got it on vinyl, and if I had the time and money, I would follow him on the road for every date they tour behind this.  Absolute punk rock classic; this album will be timeless in a world of Auto-Tune and computer generated gutter turds of albums.  Dave Grohl hit the nail on the head at the Grammys when he said it’s nice to know there are some people that still can play instruments and write songs, and sing, without worrying about imperfections. If Jesse and crew can break the mold, Classics Of Love have a bright future.  But I wouldn't be surprised if--like Blake Schwarzenback of Jawbreaker (and his current band, forgetters)--he scraps it after a while and starts a new project with a different name.  Either way, in the end Michaels' stuff will always be great.   
Next months review will be on punks from England; a band called Sharks and their new album No Gods. Go Wolves! Good luck to K-Love in 3 point competition and D-Will in the slam dunk.  (This was sent in before All-Star Weekend, but we're just getting around to posting it now. -Ed.) 

Take Care,  
-Friend of the Family  
We're always looking for contributors.  Send your stuff to: bnb@hotdogdayz.com


doors, the art of

Hotel art, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, 2/15/12



entering and exiting, add/pass mail art

Add/Pass and mail art weirdos should get in touch: bnb@hotdogdayz.com


We're Back...Sort Of.

Hey Ya'll,
We're amidst a hellacious day of traveling, which has unkindly dropped us unexpectedly in the Windy City for a night. Sucks to be so close to the TC, yet so far away. But on the upside, we just logged into ye olden HDD email, to find some young Brooklyn cats were rad enough to hip us to their new video. This is on some '90s type underground shit right here, and makes us super excited about getting back to listening to rap again. (Aside from Vodka & Ayahuasca on the plane last Wed, it's been ten days without the old beats and rhymes.)  Check this ishnit out.  We're going to order pizza (not that wack sauce-on-top kind though) and watch the dunk competition on the telly.  Back on road (in the air) early tomorrow morn.  Talk soon.

Joey BADA$$ featuring Capital STEEZ-"Survival Tactics" 

Send your stuff to: bnb@hotdogdayz.com


On Holiday...Still

Yep, we are still on vaca; something we only feel a little bit not one bit bad about.  The Internet connection here is shoddy at best (which is a blessing, believe me,) but we have been able to put up this post about anticipated records of 2012 and this post about a book that an ex-rapper wrote; both by Nathan G and both in conjunction with the fine folks at Scene Point Blank.  Perhaps tomorrow, if ye olden Net is working, and we feel motivated to do anything other than booze it up and body surf, we will post a new piece that Friend of the Family recently sent in.  But then again, we are, as those "British faggots"--as the commenter"Anonymous" so eloquently puts it--like to say, On Holiday, so then again, maybe not.  In the meantime, here is something for you folks back on the Homeland to ponder...

Hat courtesy of Thank You zine.  Email and Facebook: thankyouzine@yahoo.com

PS-Can anyone tell us what's going on the with the T-Wolves? We heard we were out of last place finally and that the All-Star festivities have so many Wolves in it that it's basically like a showcase for MN. But, like I said, the Internet sucks here. We just heard that shit from some guy on the beach. Please confirm! Prediction: K-Love will be the MVP of the All-Star game. Holla back, ya'll. See you soon. Peace!


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.


On Holiday

"That'll put ya on Queer Street."


cum on feel the boize

"Tasty and fun, frosting and buns.  As in butts."-this is some funny rap music


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.




Scene Report: Prep Hoops, Eastview vs. Lakeville North


This post under construction.

Check back soon.



Scene Report: Prep Hoops, DeLaSalle vs. Benilde-St.Margaret's

DeLaSalle vs. Benilde-St. Margaret's, DeLaSalle High School, Mpls, MN, 2/7/12
Against my better judgement, due to a ridiculous hippy-death-cold that I picked up at work, I went back to D for my second time ever (and in a row) tonight to see how the Islanders would match-up against the number one ranked team in 3A in the state, their rivals the Red Knights.  Quite well it would turn out, but still just one point shy of winning.  It would come down to a last second missed shot by D.  I'm too tired to write it all out, so here are my notes verbatim...sorta:

-Packed, hot as shit.
-BSM has candy stripped warm-up pants.  Goofy.
-No D band tonight?  Prolly to accomodate the large crowd.
-Celebrity sightings: Flip Saunders, Robbinsdale-Cooper's Rashad Vaughn, and Appple Valley's Tyus Jones.
-Washburn Millers in the house too.
-No sign of the Czar...oop, there he is.  Not his normal spot though.
-College Sports News Guy, dressed better than last time.
-Barely audible warm-up tunes.  All hip-hop instrumentals.  No rapping allowed at Catholic schools I guess.  Tyler the Creator's "Yonkers" beat is hot though.  Wish I could hear it.
-Surprising number of people eating normal food.  What constitutes normal?  Not concessions.  Chipolte, Jimmy John's, Punch Pizza, stuff like that.  Weird.
-Diet Coke and peanut M&Ms for me.  Every time I pour some in my hands, it's two of the exact same color--first brown, then red, now yellow.  This is fucking freaking me out.
-It's like a sauna in here.  But I can actually breathe, which is nice, because this ridiculous hippy-death-cold I picked up at work has been killing me.
-There is both a Superman and a Wonder Women in the front row of the D student section.
-My fav sign: Both  Teams Are Trying Really Hard.  Now that's some good old Catholic sportsmanship right there.  Whoa, that's the second time I've written "Catholic" down.  Oop, make that three.
-Fav quote of the night:  Two 4-5 yr-old boys next to me: "Do you wanna be basketball players when we grow up?"  "Yeah, but we both have to play for DeLaSalle because they are a real team."
-2nd fave quote of the night:  Same boys: "Let's pretend to be basketball players."  "Ok, you be DeLaSalle, and I'll be the bad guys."

There was also a really great basketball game going on, that I watched, and loved; reinforcing that I made the right decision to come out even though I should have been at home sleeping off this ridiculous hippy-death-cold that I picked up at work.


cum feel da riddims

Do you like poontang pie?  AKA-having a good time.

Contact: andersdinero@yahoo.com



Scene Report: First Fridays, Lowertown

First Fridays, Lowertown St. Paul, MN, 2/3/12
Last night we rolled down to the ever-changing landscape that is Lowertown these days.  Never know if you'll find parking, and that if you do, which one of the four or five conflicting posted signs, you should be paying attention to.  The neighborhood has been getting a whitewashed (literally) makeover the last couple years.  Yep, ye olden gentrification has landed, and in my humble, yet highly respected opinion, it aint pretty.  However, two of the TC's most active taggers LUCY and HULOCK have made a sweep through the hood recently, nailing every mailbox, lamppost, and whatever else in sight, so it's got that going for it.  The Back Alley Gallery was slow as ever.  Clowned around with the homies for a bit; telling stories and pouring down brews.  Eventually we mounted up the posse and headed across the street (or rather, the future home of light rail tracks,) to the JAX building to visit our buddy Dave and make the scene at a party.  After an hour or so of that, it became clear it was time to leave or I was going to end up ruining my nice-guy-in-real-life persona.  My friend, a longtime LT resident, (who will remain nameless, as I believe he likes to keep a low profile,) joined us as we finished the evening throwing back drinks at one of the last bastions of the scallywag days of Lowertown, Kelly's Depot.  We talked about many, many things but mostly just old-school pro wrestling.  When it was time to head home, we were greeted with a fuck-you letter from the city of St. Paul, in the form of a parking ticket.  Guess we picked the wrong sign.  Nice.

Lowertown St.Pl, MN, 2/3/12


Scene Report: Prep Hoops, DeLaSalle vs. Blake

DeLaSalle vs. Blake, DeLaSalle High School, Mpls, MN, 2/2/12
Last night I hoofed it across the Hennepin bridge a few blocks from where I hold down my day job a well-dressed nice guy to make my inaugural visit to home of gym of the Islanders.  In all my time here in the TC, I had never previously been inside my father's former high school.  I was shocked that I only had to drop a five spot to get in, rather than the seven dollar price tag every other school is asking.  Like most schools, the old HDD press pass wasn't getting me anywhere at D either.  But at least I saved a couple bucks that could be used on concessions.  I grabbed a Snickers, a bag of Fritos, and the old fav, Diet Coke.  (My Coke Rewards, bitch!)  I quickly found a seat right next to the Czar.  Would this be the night that I actually strike up convo with him?  Sadly, no.  But I did snag a ninja pic.  The first thing I notice about the gym is that it's hot as hell and it stinks like sweat.  I am immediately taken back in time to my own days as a player at the good old BHS gymnasium.  Which reminds me, D beat us in the first round of our first ever run at the State Tourney back in '88. And sure enough, there is the banner hanging over on the wall to prove it.  They took it all home that year, while we went on to take the long since abandoned Consolation prize.  AKA-seventh place...out of eight.  (I wasn't playing on varsity yet, btw. I'm not that old.)  I haven't been in a gym early enough to catch the National Anthem in quite a while.  Not sure who is responsible, because I can't force myself to look, but it is a horrendous rendition this evening.   The match-up tonight is intriguing to me because it's two of the top-ranked teams in 3A in the state.  Blake is #4 while D sits right behind them in the middle at #5.  A win for either of them would likely move them up.  The game starts with back-to-back ball possession violation calls.   D goes on a 9-0 run to start the game.  The Blake student section have some unique cat-calls they do while D players are at the line.  Specifically, they yell the names of different famous female personalities--Toni Braxton!  Renee Zellweger! Julia Louis-Dreyfus!  Imagine you are standing at the free throw line, and right when you go to release the ball, someone screams "Sarah Jessica Parker!" at you.  Funny.  I respect that.  DeLaSalle, unlike most schools these days, actually has a band that plays at games.  And they are very good too.  D eventually wins the game by nine points, but not without first seeing a couple monster dunk by Blake's high-scorer Kebu Johnson.  D's most impressive player is 6'6" sophomore forward Reid Travis. He blocks shots, rebounds, dunks, and can hit the tre.  It will be interesting to see how he developes over the next couple seasons.  The teams split wins for the regular season, and I split for Snap Fitness, as I am feeling guilty about  all this junk food.


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

Send your stuff to bnb@hotdogdayz.com