Record Review: Quelle Chris-2Dirt4TV EP

Quelle Chris-2Dirt4TV EP
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Hot off the heels his under-appreciated 2011 debut full-length Shotgun & Sleek Rifle, Detroit MC/producer Quelle Chris drops his latest EP, 2Dirt4TV. This time around Quelle steps from behind the boards, leaving the production to “Legendary underground MySpace producer” Mr. Dibia$e. The result couldn’t be more seamlessly harmonized, as Dibia$e’s laid-back boom-bap balances Quelle’s nonconformist flow in way that recalls the arty weirdness of rappers like Das Racist, fellow Detroiter Danny Brown, Devin the Dude and oddly enough, Native Tongues.  ...read all of this awesome review at this jam right here.


Scene Report: Punk Night at Memory Lanes Block Party

Memory Lanes Block Party, Punk Night, Mpls, MN, 5/25/12
Things got off to an early start on the bigger stage with ska-punkers Rocksteady Breakfast. Yes, you heard that right: in the year 2012 AD, there is still such a thing as ska-punk. And the band is not made up of junior high kids like you'd expect. Yawn. Pretty sweet street-punk looking crew though. Lots of attention to detail when it comes to their, ah, outfits.

Brain Tumors, one of the bands that will be on the HDD All-City First Team of Punk, played next on the tent stage.  (They will be #2, 3, 4, or 5, but not #1.  That spot belongs to Condominium.  We'll be addressing our first and second teams in upcoming posts.)  The lead singer Drew is a maniac; a drunken maniac.  He comes from the school of thought that hardcore is supposed to be violent and confrontational and he does it really well.  He was bleeding from his lip, forehead and arm by the time the first song ended.  He actually punched me in my eye at one point.  They were as impressive as ever.

Children of Euler were next up on the big stage.  They play some technical, prog-ish black metal type of thing.  I dig it sorta.  Pretty sure I’ve seen them before but I can’t remember where.  There was lots of mathematical and scientific kind of chatter between songs.  Someone told me they are all really smart math dudes and that the lead singer even teaches math somewhere.  I cannot confirm that; it's just something some drunken chick with Addicts, Misfits and Subhumans patches said to me.  I'm pretty much over anyone that is still wearing any of those patches when they are legal drinking age.  Those patches are for the young'ns who are just getting into punk.  Once you can legally buy booze for yourself, you should get into D-beat or crust or something.  You’re like, old and shit.  Speaking of young'ns wearing patches, I will never get over kids wearing any patches of any punk band ever.  That shit is the bomb, and makes me smile and/or tear up every time I see it.  What can I say; I'm a sentimental wreck when it comes to this shit.

Back on the small stage was Chicago hardcore ragers Manipulation.  Pretty fucking rad, but dude's mic cord wasn't as long as Drew's, so he couldn't be as in-your-face as Brain Tumors was.  Not that they didn't give it their best shot though.  I dug it for sure. I also started drinking at this point, as I was tired of waiting for Lars the Heathen to get there.  I went to take a piss after Manipulation was done, and literally five seconds after I stepped in the honey bucket, a dude started pounding on the door and screaming at me for being in there too long.  I finished pissing and waited for him to hit the door again.  Then just as he did, I kicked that motherfucker open as hard as I could and nearly broke the dude's hand.  He immediately stepped down like, "Ah man, it wasn't me."  I'm like, no I'm pretty sure it was you and that’s why your hand hurts now—because you were being an asshole.  He walked away.  He must not have had to use the bathroom so bad anymore.

Varix played next on the big stage.  They were good but that stage was way too big for them, and as result, they sort of lost the crowd.  Lars arrived and we started pounding beers in a bad way.  Some dude sat on the edge of table that Lars had set his beer.  It flipped into the air and all over the Brown Sugar LP that I had just purchased from the Manipulation distro.  Dude gave us a look that pretty much said, "I'm not going to apologize for shit."  I had to physically stop Lars from pummeling this guy.  He wouldn't calm down until I reminded him that he probably doesn't want to go back to jail.

Once again back to the small/tent stage where In Defence did their thing that they always do.  I'm fairly certain that anyone that has made it this far knows what In Defence is all about, so I'll spare you the details.  I'll just say this: their performance and subsequent crowd reaction was enough to make the guys from Needles, who were watching intently from the side, decide they were going to play on the small stage instead of the ridiculous big one where they were scheduled.

By the time Martin and crew cranked out their first screeching note, the crowd had nearly doubled in size and everyone was seemingly wasted and/or psyched to see Oakland's Needles.  And they did not disappoint!  As with Martin's previous bands, energetic thrashy hardcore is the name of the game.  Big circle pits, empty pizza boxes being tossed about, and stage diving was just a few of the ways in which the audience reacted.  One dude even attempted to climb one of the poles that was holding the tent up.  Lars disappeared with some woman he knew from Black Label Bicycle Club for awhile.  I was pretty sure they were making out and/or snorting blow in the handicap honey bucket. But I was too buzzed and too wrapped up in the chaos to care.  Needles is the shit, man.

Inside for the late show, I caught Cognitive Dissonance's set on the bowling lane stage.  They pretty much get better every time I see them.  And I had just seen them last Sunday opening for Tragedy and I thought they were awesome then.  (Cog-Dis, like Brain Tumors is also on the HDD All City First Team.  Come to think of it, In Defence might be on there too--they will for sure make Second Team if anything.)  On my way out the door I ran into Lars, who confirmed my suspicion.  He had been making out AND doing blow in the handicap honey bucket with one of the girls from Black Label.  That is until some of the dudes in Black Label got pushy with him and made the girl leave with them.  That was probably for the better anyway.  I decided to call it a night, as I had some shit to do this morning, already had about seven beers, and little interest in seeing The Arrivals.  Plus there was no way I could keep up with a coked-up Lars the Heathen at this point.

On the ride home, I stopped at Cub Foods and bought a Red Barron, which I ate almost all of before passing out on the couch.  I never did that shit I was supposed to do this morning and I hate myself for eating like a pig.  Not sure how Lars’ night ended, but I’m crossing my fingers that it wasn’t in some sort of police standoff.  The end. 
Sweetest kids ever in history of punk rock.


Needles circle pit

Needles circle pit2

Martin Needles



Record Review: Police Bastard/WAR//PLAGUE-Attrition split LP

Police Bastard/WAR//PLAGUE-Attrition split LP (Profane Existence)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Attrition brings together two punk bands from opposing sides of the Atlantic Ocean—England’s Police Bastard and the United State’s WAR//PLAGUE. Most of the material was recorded at various points in 2009 but not released on vinyl until May of 2011, when Profane Existence Records pressed up a couple thousand slabs of wax to unleash to patched-up masses.

WAR//PLAGUE is from Minneapolis, MN and is made up of veterans of that scene—members having previously played in bands like Pontius Pilate, Provoked and Scorned, among others. It’s hard to pinpoint their sound exactly, as they swim in the coagulated genre scum pond that is modern day crust, but also do a fragment of D-beat the way it was done in the ‘80s and ‘90s—the guitars are lower in the mix but not buried, and the vocals, while gruff, are clear enough that you can understand the lyrics.  ...read full-length review at this place.


Record Review: Reks-Straight, No Chaser

Reks-Straight, No Chaser (Brick Rec./Showoff Rec.)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Where Reks’ previous albums have featured beats from a variety of producers—DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Alchemist, Hi-Tek, etc.—Straight, No Chaser’s weakest point comes as a result of the singularity in production. Having saturated the market with an impressive grip of projects with other MCs in the last couple years—Action Bronson, Terminology, Freddie Gibbs, to name a few—it’s not surprising that there are moments here that indicate Statik Selektah may be set on autopilot. The whole thing loses some serious steam about two thirds the ways in. In fact, it’s hard to tell if Statik just took a timeout or hit the wall completely. Being a long-time collaborator with Reks and even the godfather of one of his children, it’s hard to imagine Statik just gathering a bunch of throw-away or rejected beats from some of his other projects for this album, yet it does seem only half-motivated. Lyrically, Reks spans a variety of autobiographical-slanted themes in an honest manner in which the title implies. Straight, No Chaser is a personal reflection on a number topics such as political upheaval and empowerment, Capital Vices, divorce, and living with regret. On “Parenthood”—wherein the message is simple: “be a parent in the hood”—he goes at fathers who are continuing the succession of leading their sons into street life: “A boy needs a father to lean on/If he gone, the cycle gonna repeat/Just keepin’ On.” In short, despite some lackluster production, this is Reks most grown-up and progressive outing to date. ...read full review right about here.


One Minute Reviews: Sharkpact-Ditches and Total Control-Henge Beat

One Minute Reviews
By Nathan G. O'Brien exclusively for HotDogDayz

Sharkpact-Ditches (Rumbletown), Total Control-Henge Beat (Iron Lung)

As long as I've been reading it (not going to date myself here) and as much as I am 100% supportive of what they do, I sometimes find myself shaking my head at the ridiculous collective entity that is Maximum Rock-n-Roll Magazine.  The slightly annoying things like not having a healthy sense of humor and/or irony and offering blatant contradictions from month to month are a given, but you just sort of ignore that stuff because it matters little in the grand scheme.  What I find comical is how after years of shoving various sub-genres down our throats, they turn on a dime and all but denounce said trends for something "totally new," and often times, well, not very punk. (Yes, I do realize that the most un-winnable argument in the history of the universe is what-is-and-what-is-not-punk, and I do not care to get into it now...or ever for that matter.)  Such is the case with Sharkpact and Total Control.  Suddenly all the hardcore, raw punk, noise-not-music, D-beat, and garage we've been told was "crucial" is considered "played out", and we should be listening to bands that are doing something "wholly unprecedented" like Total Control and Sharkpact.  Well, Total Control sounds like Crocodiles and Sharkpact sounds like Matt & Kim...or a less punk Japanther.  So, there you go.  My minute is almost up, so I'll make this quick: the Total Control album is actually really excellent, whereas Sharkpact is, like Matt & Kim, pretty annoying.  But you don't necessarily have to take my word for it--if you're capable of forming your own opinion, and I know you are, there are plenty of really punk things like Spotify or iTunes where you can sample them yourself.  The end. 


Record Review: Anatomi 71-Från Primat till Reptil

Anatomi 71-Från Primat till Reptil (Power It Up)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

This is a heavy slab of melting Scandi-core.  Anatomi-71 has always been good at making pertinent songs fairly free of cliché, all the while prevailing within’ a genre that’s relevance stretches a bit thinner with each notch in the collective bullet belt.  Från Primat till Reptil shows the four-piece simultaneously picking old scabs and generating new wounds—this is a very rock-n-roll infused brand of stench.  I find it incredibly alluring, despite my usual disinterest in this sort of cleaned-up D-beat. ...Read entire review after the cliff jump.


In Memoriam: MCA

A large gigantic portion of the groundwork upon which I live my life was laid forth by three kids whom I never met, yet it felt like they were my best friends.  One of them passed away today.  And with him, a little bit of everything.  It's the saddest of dayz.  "I cuss and I grab my nuts.  Got a six-fingered ring that says 'Excuse Our Dust.'"--Adam MCA Yauch.

-Nathan G. O'Brien


Making Mail

Shits in the mail ya'll. Look for it soon...


Record Review: Mean Jeans-On Mars

Mean Jeans-On Mars (Dirtnap)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Much in the way Teenage Bottlerocket appropriated the early to mid-‘90s Lookout bands like Screeching Weasel and the Groovie Ghoulies, which were puréeing the Ramones, Beach Boys and macabre cinema, you can’t really credit Portland, OR’s Mean Jeans for bringing anything new to the pop punk landscape whatsoever. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a single ounce of originality anywhere on this record. And oddly enough, it’s just that redolent familiarity that makes it so goddamn gratifying. As much as it may bruise my crust-craving ego to admit, I find On Mars to be overwhelmingly adorable. This is punk rock for skater kids, alternateens, and hopeless romantics raised on frozen pizza and gas station nachos, just as much as it for those fending off adulthood; still lurking around the dim corners of fringe society in worn out Chucks and pinned-up hoodies, swilling tall boys of whatever the cheap beer of the moment is, and hipping “the kids” to the days when Danny Panic, B-Face and Danny Vapid were in The Queers instead of, well, whoever is now. ...continue reading after the jizzy.