12/3/13

Record Review: Autistic Youth - Nonage

Autistic Youth - Nonage (Dirtnap)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

I nearly died one night in the kitchen of Mexican restaurant I was cooking at. When it came time to clean up the floors at the end of my closing shift, I erroneously (read: stupidly) mixed ammonia and bleach in a mop bucket full of steaming hot water. One breath of that potent mixture and I was seeing stars and scrambling for fresh air. I sometimes wonder what that scene would have looked like to the person that found me the next morning if had I dropped right there; me piled over a mop bucket, butt in the air, face first in the floor sink, with my cheese and verde-covered Doc Martens stuck out to the sides like some sort of punk jester. Anyway, on that night, as with most shifts back then, I was probably listening to something that sounded just like this album on the kitchen’s boom box.  ...Read the full-length review at this place right here.

12/2/13

Record Review: Useless Eaters - Hypertension

Useless Eaters - Hypertension (Jeffery Drag)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

The songs “Moody Bitch” and “Addicted to the Blade” could be the soundtrack to a Southern California surf blog. You know, those ones with lots of pictures of skinny dudes wearing striped tee shirts under jean vests, with sailor caps on and stuff. Maybe throw in a button or patch with a picture of an anchor on it and a wrist band that used to be the top of tube sock. Yeah, you get it.  ...Read the entire review on the next page.

11/25/13

Record Review: California X - Self-Titled

California X - Self-Titled (Don Giovanni)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

This is what the soundtrack to Easy Rider would be like if it was made two decades later and starred J. Mascis, Bob Mould and Cris Kirkwood instead of Hopper, Fonda and Nicholson. Recently a friend of mine told me about a dude he knows who regularly wears a tee shirt that says, “Bring back the early ‘90s.” That dude would love this record.  ...Read the whole review after the jump.

11/23/13

HDD Radio #19: 36 Chambers & Midnight Marauders 20 Year Anniversary

Hi, and welcome to the 19th episode of HotDogDayz Radio! This time around we pay tribute to the 20 year anniversary of two of hip-hop's most highly revered albums. We play the Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) in it's entirety, as well as a Native Tongues set revolving around the 20th anniversary of A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders. Listen as our DJ meanders aimlessly, as is his wont, about "things he remembers." As always we appreciate any feedback. Now get to listening...
Tracklist:
Wu-Tang Clan – Bring da Ruckus
Wu-Tang Clan – Shame on a N*gga
Wu-Tang Clan – Clan In da Front
Wu-Tang Clan – Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber
Wu-Tang Clan – Can It All Be So Simple
Wu-Tang Clan – Da Mystery of Chessboxin’
Jungle Brothers – The Promo
De La Soul – Me, Myself and I
A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It?
Jungle Bothers – Beyond This World
De La Soul – A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturday
A Tribe Called Quest – Check The Rhime
De La Soul – En Focus
A Tribe Called Quest – We Can Get Down
Wu-Tang Clan – Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F’ Wit
Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.
Wu-Tang Clan – Method Man
Wu-Tang Clan – Protect Ya Neck
Wu-Tang Clan – Tearz
Wu-Tang Clan – Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber, Pt. 2

Subscribe in iTunes here.  Direct download here.  Thanks for listening!

11/20/13

Record Review: Nö Pöwer - No Peace

Nö Pöwer - No Peace LP (Sorry State)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

The drums and bass step outside the Dis zone for brief periods of erratic improvisation, trying as best as they can to keep up with the lightning fast guitars, which squeal and swirl all over the place; driving the band’s sonic direction into face-melting realms. While there’s nothing quite that bizarre on this LP, Nö Pöwer is still pushing the limitations of the big D beyond monotonous reiteration. Attention all other bands: start doing this now!  ...Read full review here.

11/18/13

Too Many Rappers: Fall Roundup

Too Many Rappers: Fall Roundup
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

The Minnehaha Creek is just one of the many places I do my thinking. I mean, as a human being with a fully functional brain, I do a lot of thinking in, at, or near a lot of places. It’s not like thinking is something we can control. It just sort of…no, not sort of…it is just something that happens. Anyway, the Minnehaha Creek is one of the places I do my thinking. Like my thinking thinking. Like, purposeful, deep, hard thinking. There are some regular things that I think about when I’m here—things like work, having kids, securing a future, getting healthier, my family, and other, you know, life things. And at this particular time, as I stand in the blackened, whispering wind of a crisp Minneapolis fall evening, overlooking the Minnehaha Creek, I drink a few secret beers, I as I often do here, and think about a variety of things that aren’t necessarily life things but aren’t any less meaningful.

I think about how fucked up it is that the older you get the less likely you are to hang out with your friends, and how not only is it fucked up, as I stated, but also incredibly depressing. The lyrics to LCD Soundsytem’s “All My Friends” keep running through my head, which is puzzling, because I am certain that there are other songs that mean more to me. Yet I keep repeating the lyrics, “Where are your friends tonight?” and “If I could see all of my friends tonight!” And then, for unexplained reasons, I am overwhelmed with the urge to scream, “I felt so fucking alive!” It’s a line that Daniel Roebuck’s character “John” says in in the 1986 teen-angst-murder-coming-of-age-y film Rivers’s Edge. This may seem a bit strange, as I have not (spoiler alert) choked my girlfriend to death. But I’ve seen the movie so many times that it’s sort of ingrained itself into my being at this point. And well, I am standing near a body of moving water too. So there’s that. Then something from my past pops into my head and I immediately send a handful of good friends the following text message:

Sitting here, having some beers Han Solo-style at the Minnehaha Creek and all I can think of is…SHIT YOUR GODDAMN PANTS!

The recipients of this text are the only people in the world that would ever understand it’s meaning, but that’s precisely the point. I laugh out loud, as I think about how great it is that a ridiculous inside joke can be the foundation that lifelong friendships are built upon.  One of them texts back, “Ain’t that the way it goes. Another says, “Just whisper it.” And all is right in the world.

Another beer sinks in, my mind wanders, and I end up spending an excessive amount of time thinking about how it’s been 20 years since the Wu-Tang Clan’s outstanding debut Enter the Wu-Tang Clan: 36 Chambers dropped. “20 years, dudes; 20 years,” I say out loud to nobody whatsoever. I will always feel like I missed out a little bit on the initial excitement because I was so wrapped-up in flannel shirts, Doc Martens, and anything Seattle at the time. My otherwise fierce proclivity for discovering new rap music had briefly taken a back seat to my re-found interest in weird, punk-tinged white people music. Honestly, I didn’t fully engulf myself in 36 Chambers until a year or so after seemingly everyone else had. I think about how I might go to the record store tomorrow—probably the Electric Fetus— and buy 36 Chambers, and how it will most definitely be on CD so I can play it in my car, which I’m not embarrassed to admit still has a bass cannon in the trunk. Oddly enough, the only copy of 36 Chambers that I have is a dubbed cassette that I’ve dragged around with me for roughly 19 years. I’ve never been one to let format be a deciding factor when it comes to personal importance of an album.

I think about how, for better or worse, (and most likely worse,) rap music has changed a lot since the Wu-Tang Clan first hit the scene. I think about how there was once a time when nine guys, or 10 guys if you count Cappadonna, (which I’m inclined not to,) didn’t seem like too many rappers. And then I think to myself, damn, there you have it – that's your Too Many Rappers segue right there… 

Read entire column, complete with mixtape reviews and streams here.

11/9/13

HDD Radio #18

Shit got kinda wacky.  If you have a spare hour to kill, consider this episode your last option.  Nah, JK, JK, it's actually pretty good.  Nearly an hour of '80s punk, '90s alt, hair metal, rap music, and other weird shit; cut with prank phone calls, pro-wrestling promos, answering machine messages, and other snippets; where the only time the DJ opens his mouth it sounds like smoking meth underwater.  Just kidding, I don't know what that's like - I've never been underwater.  Nah, JK, JK.  In other news, a new issue of HotDogDayz dropped earlier this week - HOTDOGDAYZ//STRAIGHT GULLY FANZINE//ISSUE #5. Get yourself a copy - there's a lot left. Email: bnb@hotdogdayz.com  
Tracklist:
Fugazi - Version
CRASS - Have a Nice Day
My Bloody Valentine - Touched
HR - Let's Have a Revolution
Dr. Ocotogon - Halfsharkalligatorhalfman
Das EFX - Dum Dums
Bullet Boys - Smooth Up in Ya
Cinderella - Gypsy Road
Hawd Gankstuh Rappuhs MCs Wid Ghatz - Docrapolips Now
Japanther - Mission
No Crisis - Speed Hungry
Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death - The Salted Ones, Into the Mud
Suicidal Tendencies - Join the Army
Faith No More - Caffeine

Subscribe in iTunes here.  Direct download here.  Thanks for listening! Please let us know what you think.

11/4/13

HotDogDayz issue #5 OUT NOW~!

Oh look, this thing happened...
HOTDOGDAYZ//STRAIGHT GULLY FANZINE//ISSUE #5
Found items, hijacked emails, mail art, reader submissions, fan letters, crusty art, raw photography, rail monikers, graffiti, and hilarious multilayered jokes that may seem simple on the surface but are so secretly brilliant that they're basically the (insert name of a person similar to Bob Dylan or Ian Astbury) of jokes.


FREE//TRADE/DONATE
Let us know if you want one and you'll have it in your mailbox in no time!

10/31/13

Record Review: Jaw Clencher - Demo cassette

This review by Nathan is an excerpt from the brand new The Soda Killers issue #5. If you want a copy let us know and we'll gladly get it out to ya!  In the meantime, listen to these episodes of HotDogDayz Radio to get an idea of the types of music you can expect to read about.  Thanks!

Jaw Clencher – Demo cassette (Hostile Input, 2012)
By Nathan G. O'Brien

Raw, primitive D-beat noise. Sent to me from Shayne of Hostile Input records and Stabbing Brains fanzine, who may or may not play in the band. I can’t remember. Recorded live on a cassette recorder. The type of blown-out wall of noise that either clears a room or drenches those left in attendance in high-pitched feedback. It’s fucking glorious and pretty much everything I love about current hardcore. Hardcore is not supposed to feel safe; it should always feel as if you’re teetering on the brink, about to erupt into to chaos and violence. This tape effectively conveys that feeling. Three of these songs appear on their 7” that came out earlier this year, which I have yet to hear, but can only assume is as raging as this demo. Highly recommended.

10/30/13

Record Review: Clell Miller's Corpse - The Bill Chadwell Demo CD-r

This review by Nathan is an excerpt from the brand new issue (#5) of The Soda Killers fanzine. Let us know if you want a copy and we'll get it out to you ASAP!

Clell Miller's Corpse – The Bill Chadwell Demo CD-r (Clell Miller CD-r Label, 2013)
By Nathan G. O'Brien

The liner notes say this was recorded in 1998 but not originally released until 2000, and only in a run of five copies. In 1998 I was living in northern MN in a city called Bemidji, and would have just died to walk into a basement party where some creepy, mean-sounding noise-type shit like Clell Miller's Corpse was freaking people out. I don’t know why but for some reason this really makes me think of that time period and that place; which is strange because it’s not pop-punk or Busta Rhymes or the Fugees or whatever else it was that was on the stereos at the house parties back then. Even though, to best of my knowledge nothing like Clell Miller’s Corpse this was going on in Bemidji (although I wouldn't be surprised if it was and I just didn't know about it) I can totally picture it happening there. Anyway, I am not much of a musician myself, so I have no idea what instruments are at play here. It’s possibly guitar, keys, and some type of electronic contraption that one would use to manipulate sound…maybe some sampling equipment like an MPC. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the work of one person. I’m thinking heavily distorted synths saturated in feedback with a very horror movie soundtrack vibe to it. Very high-pitched like they took the screechy violin part from the Psycho movies and just focused on that. Despite actually running across this type of thing fairly regularly, as it seems to be a type of music favored by the mail art underground, it always manages to take me by surprise. Not entirely my thing, but I appreciate it for what it is and am psyched that this type of stuff exists.
 

10/29/13

Thoughts on Jeff Hanneman and Slayer

The following Cheyenne B piece first ran in The Soda Killers issue #4, which there are a very limited number of copies still left of. Get in contact if you're interested in receiving one.

Thoughts on Jeff Hanneman and Slayer
By Cheyenne B.

5/15/13
The last time I caught a Slayer show was on the 2010 tour with Megadeth and Testament, where they played Seasons in the Abyss, start to finish. Despite catching a lot of shit from some of the more pretentious Slayer fans, I think Seasons is a solid album that houses some really vicious tunes, so I was pretty stoked on it and had a kickass time. That was almost three years ago now, and up until that point I had seen Slayer at least once every other year, if not more, since I was 12. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized that particular show was my last Slayer concert ever, under the circumstances that guitarist Jeff Hanneman passed on earlier this month due to cirrhosis of the liver.

No one can say for sure what Slayer’s next move is going to be as far as writing and touring goes, but I think it’s safe to predict that I will never see Slayer live again. Even if they don’t call it quits and keep on truckin’ sans Hanneman AND drummer Dave Lombardo, I have no desire to see the remaining weakest links plus a couple of hired guns pretend to be Slayer. See, at that last Slayer gig I saw, singer and bassist Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King were just going through the motions. Araya couldn’t belt out a warcry like he used to, King was butchering solo after solo, and when they weren’t doing that, they were just standing there. Even Lombardo was a little lax on the skins. I realize that those guys are getting up there in age, but the severe lack of effort was disheartening. However, Hanneman was up there bangin’ it out and nailed it. Now I have accepted the fact that I will have to listen to Show No Mercy on loop playback for all eternity in lieu of ever seeing them live again.

So why does the death of a person I didn’t even know have any sort of effect on me? Well, because Slayer was my gateway drug into everything metal and punk. It was somewhere in my early preteen years that I rerouted my life down the Left-Hand Path, and I can at least partially, if not fully, attribute that to Slayer. At that point in my life I was suffering an identity crisis and needed to escape from the monotony and torture of the pop vomit that infiltrated the minds of my middle school classmates. When I first heard Slayer, I wasn’t anywhere near prepared for it. The song was “South of Heaven,” from a mix CD that a friend burned for me - I was just decimated. I didn’t know that kind of music was allowed. It awakened new levels of discomfort and anxiety, as well as rage that made me just want to get up and start breaking shit. That was exactly the contradiction of emotions I needed to get me through my middle school identity calamity. Since then, Slayer has been a staple through every phase of my life. I can directly link the band to some of my best memories.

Hanneman’s music has had a profound impact on multiple generations of metalheads and punks alike. Everyone from my 11 year old nephew, who I have forced Slayer upon since he was just a tyke, to my more middle aged friends who have worshipped Slayer since the tape trading days, has been cranking their favorite Slayer albums in mourning remembrance. My personal choice has been Show No Mercy. Hanneman’s riffs and compositions were truly a driving force in shaping the future of underground music and spawned infinite legions of metal and punk bands for years to come. He will be dearly missed.

It’s the beginning of the end of an era. All of my heroes are dying.

R.I.P. Jeff.

10/28/13

Thoughts on the Neutral Milk Hotel Reunion

The following Doomgoblin piece first ran in The Soda Killers isssue #4, which there are still a very limited number of copies left of.  Get in touch it you'd like to get one.

Thoughts on the Neutral Milk Hotel Reunion
By Doomgoblin

4/29/13
The Internet just told me that Neutral Milk Hotel got back together and has five shows scheduled. I’m not one to get excited about reunions, but this feels a lot different.

I used to check out CDs from the library in my hometown all the time. Whoever was responsible for buying CDs for the library back then really snuck some gems in there. So I was browsing the collection and I came across this bizarre looking CD. There was a chick in a dress with half a coconut for a head or something. The colors were muted and dreamy and I decided to check it out because I was 15 or 16 and it looked cool. The band name was just as mysterious as the artwork. What kind of band calls themselves Neutral Milk Hotel?

I took it home and sat in my bedroom and listened to it for the first time. I was confused as hell. The guy can barely sing, the horns are unbearably out of tune, and the lyrical content made no sense. But I couldn’t stop listening to it. And the more I listened to it, the more I loved it. The best records are always like that, it seems. Things that take a couple spins to really get under your skin. Not that I refuse to embrace music that is instantly enjoyable, but it just feels more satisfying when you have to put a little more work into it. So I found this record that I knew absolutely nothing about. I didn’t know if I was supposed to love it or mock it. I was a total tabula rasa, you know? It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to something without any preconceived notions about how I should feel about it.

I was young and I was just starting to really explore music. I was never attracted to top 40 radio, so I just listened to oldies stations and Broadway cast recordings. I started by checking out the musicals from the library. Do you remember those bulky double CD cases? Yuck. Then I moved to the classical section, and the jazz section. The rock section was kind of my final frontier. I didn’t like most of the stuff I picked out, but Neutral Milk Hotel, Radiohead, Cat Power, and Elliot Smith were my gateway drugs. So thanks old library! Thank you for planting the seeds that made me want to discover more music.

I’m so excited about this whole NMH reunion because I never thought I’d ever see them live. They broke up/went on hiatus/whatever shortly after In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was released. Everything I read about them at the time (2002ish?) suggested that Jeff Mangum was a total recluse and it was highly unlikely that we’d ever hear from them again. It’s probably still highly unlikely that I’ll see them live. Even if they do eventually make it up to Minneapolis, I’ll probably forget to buy tickets and then not remember the show is even happening until the day of when it’s too late…unless I can convince someone to get me in for free. Because that’s how I roll. I completely suck at going to shows. But that isn’t the point! The point is that I’m being all nostalgic and happy that they’ve decided to play a couple shows in places far far away from here.

I’m Faster Than My Shadow

10/27/13

HDD Radio #17: New Zine Out!

To celebrate the arrival of the new issue of The Soda Killers, our guy fired up the old HDD studio again for a new pod.  He played a bunch of tunes from 2013, as well as some crusty hardcore punk 7"s and '80s thrash metal.  If you want to hear a dude pretend to smoke pot on the radio and mispronounce German and Swedish band names and song titles in a horrendous Spanish accent, this would be your stop.
 
Tracklist: 
Daylight Robbery - Distant Shores
Milk Music - Cruising With God
California X - Hot Head
The Men - Without a Face
Wavves - Mystic
Crocodiles - Give Me Some Annihilation
No Age - Lock Box
Accion Mutante - Experimental Disease
Coaccion - Amordazado
I.R.N. (I Ren Desperation) - Hakta Mig
Kvoteringen - En Acklig Rovdrift
Pisschrist - Run For Your Life
Aberrant - Anthem Track
Sacred Blade - The Alien
Death Dealer - Cross My Way
Trouble - The Last Judgement
War Cry - Forbidden Evil
Chelsea Light Moving - Empires of Time (live on KEXP 3/14/13)
Mudhoney- The Final Course
Pissed Jeans - Cafateria Food
Sneeze - Vaticant
Iceage - Rodf(ae)stet
Chelsea Light Moving - Frank O'Hara Hit (live on KEXP 3/23/13)

To subscribe in iTunes go here.  For direct download go here.  Leave us some feedback.  Thanks for listening!

10/17/13

Record Review: Deadly Reign - Slave 7"

Deadly Reign - Slave 7" (Profane Existence)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

As to be expected, there is a heavy sociopolitical aspect in the lyrics and imagery. The lyrics center on topics such as worker’s rights and system injustice. The cover work shows a pair of hands chained together set against an aerial view of industrious smokestacks and a power plant-like compound. The vinyl comes in four different colors—blue, white, clear, and regular old black. Although I probably wouldn’t have sought this out on my own, I am still pleasantly surprised. It’s a pretty solid release and an excellent inclusion in what has already been a fairly eclectic PE single series.  ...read the whole review after the jump.

10/14/13

The Soda Killers issue #5 OUT NOW~!

The Soda Killers fanzine issue #5
 
PUNK//RAP//GRAFFITI
 
Record & show reviews, graff flicks, and a lengthy essay by Dale Danger of Bacon In The Beans fanzine.
 
Holler at us if you're into it.
 
FREE//TRADE//DONATE
 

10/7/13

HDD Radio #16


Well it’s been a long freaking time coming, but HotDogDayz Radio has finally returned to the airwaves.  When our dude sits down with a stack of records, a microphone, and no sense of direction or quality control who knows what will happen.  This time it happens to be hardcore, Oi!, ska, new wave, and peace-punk.  Check it out and let us know what you think.  If zines are your thing, holler at us – they’re ours too.


Tracklist:
Harry Balzagna & the Teenie Weenies – Skate Army
Right On – Choice?
Youth Riot! – Too Posh Too Mosh
Life Set Struggle – Get Over It
Deadly Reign – Suffer
Rifle Diet – Abuse Begets Abuse
Krang – Reclaim (De Aestus Espirit Et Tu)
The Shame – Kings of the Midwestern Plains
The Oppressed – We’re the Oppressed
Angelic Upstarts – I’m an Upstart
Cockney Rejects – Oi! Oi! Oi!
Bad Manners – Lip Up Fatty
Madness – One Step Beyond
The Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom
The Selecter – On My Radio
The Specials – Gangsters
Craze – Motions
Kenny Vaughan – Tonight I Need
Afraid of Mice – Intercontinental
Honey Bane – Girl on the Run
Flux of Pink Indians – Tube Disasters
Zounds – Can’t Cheat Karma

To subscribe in iTunes go here.  For direct download go here.  Leave us some feedback.  Thanks for listening!

PS - Sorry about the sound quality.  Some of the records are old and/or pretty fucked-up.  That and I recently borrowed out my turntable to my uncle so he could deejay an all dusty 45s set, which wreaked havoc on my stylus, because they were quite literally dusty.  Also, I was wrong when I called myself the King of Punk.  That's Justin Theroux.  I'm more like the Queen of Punk.

9/28/13

Scene Report: Ring of Honor live in Hopkins

Ring Of Honor wrestling live; Eisenhower Community Center; Hopkins, MN; 9/28/13
By Nathan G. O'Brien exclusively* for HotDogDayz

The show opened up with Adam Cole standing in the ring, wearing a fairly cheap-looking suit. He cut a promo but you couldn’t hear much of what he was saying due to poor audio and some zealous fans chanting “Mens’ Warehouse” over the top of him. The gist of it was that he promised to never lose the ROH title and that he thinks Jay Briscoe is a female dog. This brought Jay to the ring, which caused the first huge pop of the night. Jay ran him off and more or less said he would win the title back as soon as his shoulder healed up.

First match was the World Tag Team Championship match, in which the champions Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish (red DRagon) took on the challenging newcomers Josh Alexander & Ethan Page (Monster Mafia.) There was lots of comedy early on, with red DRagon really playing up their role models gimmick. A few people laughed when someone from the bleacher section yelled, “Oh great, these guys. I didn’t come here to see some MMA shit.” Lots of trading back rakes back and forth in a comedic manner. At one point O’Reilly jumped off the top rope, then stopped and gave a simple back rake. Fans in the front row were getting on Fish hard, and it seemed to irritate him, as he eventually yelled at them to, “Shut the fuck up, and let these people enjoy the show.” I found it a bit ironic actually, as everyone seemed to be having fun. Eventually things got serious, as Monster Mafia got a few close pinfalls. Of course red DRagon ending up retaining the titles though; wining with their signature move, Chasing The Dragon. O’Reilly and Fish are growing more and more impressive with each outing; both with in-ring work, and their interactions with the fans. They really know how to get effective heat. Alexander and Page were pretty impressive as well. Alexander is an imposing fella. With a little fine tuning, he has potential to be a strong big man.

Second match was Mark Briscoe in all his Redneck Kung-Fu glory facing “The Last Real Man” Silas Young. It was a pretty decent match, leaning on the hard-style end of things. Cody Rhodes had nothing on Silas Young, as far as mustaches go. Young’s mustache does as much for his real man gimmick as Briscoe’s missing teeth and beard do for his redneck real-life character. Young is another guy that seems to grown leaps and bounds since he first appeared on ROH television. Briscoe got the win but was the recipient of a lengthy beatdown afterwards by Young, which would play into Briscoe’s storyline throughout the evening.

Next match up was Tadarius Thomas & ACH (Adrenaline RUSH) vs. Jay Lethal & Michael Elgin. Lethal and Elgin were over huge with the crowd. Adrenaline RUSH though; not so much. Lethal acknowledged the “Black Machismo”chants, a nod to his famed TNA gimmick, with a little Macho Man posturizing—bent knee shuffle, thumb in the tights, waiving his finger in the air. Other than that though, he looked hurt, or perhaps a bit under the weather. He stayed away from most high spots, and spent lots of time on the apron, as Elgin worked more of the match. ACH is a lot like a young Elix Skipper—lots of high spots, very agile, and a non-stop motor. Tadarius Thomas did all of his innovative Matrix-like moves. But the problem is he takes too long to set them up, so they came across pretty lame live, and the crowd let him know. After teasing it a few times, Elgin came off the top rope with the elbow drop. Eventually he got the pinfall after an Elgin Bomb. You can see it on TV, but it’s even more apparent in person that Elgin is a beast. Reminds me a lot of "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, at least body-wise. He moves really well for a big man but could no-doubt benefit from dropping a few pounds.

The last match before intermission was the Honor Rumble; a 15-man battle royal with Royal Rumble-style rules, where a new man enters every one minute. Nearly everyone on the night's card competed, with the exception of Kevin Steen, Michael Elgin, Jimmy Jacobs, and Eddie Edwards. Jay Lethal and Television Champion Matt Taven started things off. As other dudes started entering it didn’t take long to turn into a clusterfuck of nonsense. The biggest pops came as a result of Delirious, who hasn’t been seen on TV in a long time, and Cheesburger, who got in some quick off-the- top-rope offense. Both were eliminated quickly. Despite receiving another beatdown from Silas Young, Mark Briscoe won it by tossing Bobby Fish, thus winning a title shot versus Adam Cole in the main event.

First match back from intermission was Michael Bennet vs. "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards. Despite getting a fair amount of offense in the battle royal, Bennet barely had any during this match. Most of the match it was Eddie Edwards on the attack. Edwards was really over with live audience. He’s really good at keeping the crowd engaged—when he asks for response, they give it. Eventually Bennet got the win though with a nasty-looking piledriver.

In the next match "The Zombie Princess" Jimmy Jacobs faced off against "Mr. Wrestling" Kevin Steen. Surprisingly, Jacobs was looking to the crowd for some “hus” chants, a nod to his old mini-Bruiser Brody gimmick, but only a few people in the bleacher section engaged him. It was a farily short match but jam-packed with action. A couple of swantons from Steen, one of which missed. Jacobs hit Steen with a huge spear from the apron that was awesome. Steen with the cringe-worthy Package Piledriver for the win. Steen was over huge, as expected. Judging by some of the things yelled by fans, the crowd seemed to acknowledge television story lines that these two had once been partners in SCUM. That means ROH TV is getting over here, at least to some extent. Michael Bennet’s valet Maria Kanellis came out on the mic to distract Steen, who was then laid out with a piledriver by Bennet.

In the semi-main event, Television Champion Matt Taven defended his title in a three-way dance versus Davey Richards and Roderick Strong. Both Richards and Strong got big pops during their introductions despite already competing in the battle royal earlier. Matt Taven, as expected, is largely un-liked. Davey Richards went a little out of character early by doing comedy; toying with Taven’s Hoopla Hotties in a way that would earn you a sexual assault charge in real life. Despite some of the stereotypical valet interferences from the Hoopla Hotties, the match was quite entertaining. Very athletic and pretty hard-hitting, as you’d expect from Richards and Strong. Despite suffering from a bit from a lack of character development, Roderick Strong a total gamer inside the ring. He goes hard, rarely letting up. In the interest of full disclosure, he pointed out my Team Viggity tee shirt, so I’m a bit biased. Davey was of course awesome too, even if the whole wolf-howling thing has grown a tad ridiculous. Taven eventually retained, although I can’t recall how. There was a lot of action near the end and at one point one of the Hoopla Hotties was in an ankle lock courtesy of Richards. Pretty good match overall.

Mark Briscoe, appearing for the third time in the evening, challenged World Champion Adam Cole in the main event. Before the match stared Cole took to the mic to say he was going to do four things in this match. “First one is…” he said, just as he super-kicked Briscoe. He started the beatdown as the opening bell rang. I was starting to lose steam so I don’t recall a lot of specifics from the match, other than at this point in the evening Briscoe’s Redneck Kung-Fu gimmick began to wear thin. Adam Cole’s facials were excellent. He was really owning his heel character, as he gave the crowd several sly-evil-guy smiles. Despite the valiant effort of a guy who had been battered throughout the night, Cole retained. Afterwards Michael Elgin ran-in which caused Cole to flee over the railing. He was met in the crowd by a waiting Jay Briscoe. I couldn’t see much from my vantage point, but I think they brawled briefly before being separated by the ROH wrestling school students. Then Briscoe battled with the students, and was not shy about laying in hard shots. Several of the trainees received real punches to face. About the only staff member that didn’t get it was the merch guy, who happen to be wearing glasses. Clearly Jay is a professional. Elgin, who was still in the ring, held up the belt and promised this was an image you would see in the future.

Overall I thought it was a really excellent show and lots of fun. I was a little disappointed that some of the ringside-area seating was not filled and that the event was held out in the suburbs, rather than in Minneapolis or St. Paul, where it may have drawn more people or, at the very least, had been accessible by public transportation.  That and there was no concessions aside from stale potato chips, melting candy bars and warm water.  They could have at least brought in some pizza for slice sales and a cooler to keep the water cold. A lot of money to made there - they were literally throwing money away by not having better concessions.  But other than that, it was great to have ROH back in the area for the first time since Brian Danielson and Nigel McGuiness went an hour in 2006. I had a buddy with me that is an avid WWE and IMPACT viewer but has never seen a lick of ROH before tonight.  He said it was the best wrestling he’s seen, whether on TV or live, in a long time. I am inclined to agree.

*rejected by Wrestling Observer / Figure Four Weekly






9/17/13

DVD Review: SpokAnarchy!

SpokAnarchy! (MVD Visual)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

SpokAnarchy! is a feature-length documentary about the punk rock and new wave movement that took place in Spokane, WA during the ‘80s. Even if you're unfamiliar with the bands or have never even heard of Spokane for that matter, it’s an engaging story told by a seemingly unending source of the scene’s survivors. Many of the characters in the movie are still connected in some way to making art or music, or staying punk at heart at the very least. There’s not much in the way of punks-gone-square, which lends a lot of legitimacy to the story being told.  ...review continues here.

9/14/13

Scene Report: FLAG, T.S.O.L. live at First Avenue

FLAG, T.S.O.L., Cerebral Ballzy, Off With Their Heads live; First Avenue; Minneapolis, MN; 9/13/13
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

After spending a few hours in a sports bar down the street, where my compadres and I drank numerous tallboys and discussed really important stuff like how in retrospect it was actually a good thing that nu-metal happened because it weeded out a lot of dipshits from the ‘90s punk scene, we stumbled our way into Minneapolis’ legendary rock club, First Avenue for a Friday night rock ‘n’ roll show.

An anticipatory wave began to roll through the audience, as everyone made last ditch efforts to use the bathrooms, grab drinks, and snatch up available sightlines. By my alcohol-clouded estimation, the room wasn’t completely sold out, as it no doubt would have been had Henry Rollins been a part of it. Say what you will about what the man has become, but he would have considerable drawing power over Keith Morris if he were in the same position. That is not intended as a shot at Morris, whom I am a big fan of, but rather a realistic assumption. I couldn’t help but notice and appreciate the surprising lack of smart phone use amongst the crowd. In a strange way this helped convey an overall feeling the we were about to witness something, let’s say, historical, rather than contemporary.  ...read entire review here, including fancy set lists and thinks like that.

8/31/13

Too Many Rappers: Summer Wrapup

Too Many Rappers: Summer Wrapup
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Holy crap, has this summer been hot or what? Like, hot as in temperature hot.  Like, literally hot.  Which might be confusing now that Merriam-Webster and Oxford dictionaries as well as Google say “literally” doesn’t necessarily have to mean literally anymore. They literally changed the definition of “literally.”  That sucks, if anything, for this one reason alone:  It’s now totally feasible that a Kardashian sister will say, “I literally died” and not get made fun of on The Soup.  I am not OK with this.

Speaking of people literally dying this summer, there was that one time a kid died at the Gathering of the Juggalos and nobody gave a shit because he was only one person out of thousands at an event where it is widely acceptable behavior by everyone who is not there to wish death upon everyone who is.  Juggalo or not, nobody deserves to die in a steamy tent, surrounded by scary clowns and Faygo-soaked hockey jerseys.  I am not OK with this either.

Then there was that one time Kendrick saved hip-hop with his verse on “Control,” but everyone quickly forgot about it because Daredevil became Batman, and then Miley twerked on live TV and everybody went insane because a 20 year-old white girl did some 20 year-old white girl stuff.  This clearly means one thing:  By proxy, Miley Cyrus and her foam finger, with a little help from a soon-to-be washed up superhero, literally killed hip-hop, which was only very recently literally saved from dying.  Do the math – it works.  Depending on your definition of “literally,” the math literally works.  And this, for some reason, I am OK with.

Word definers, dead Juggalos, Kendrick Lamar, Ben Affleck, and Miley Cyrus aren’t the only ones having a hot summer.  My shit has been cray-cray too.  For example, when I’m not putting out zines, riding my bike, watching Drew League highlights on YouTube while I’m at work, running the Tough Mudder, eating lots of grilled meats, shotgunning beers in a forest with my homies, championing The Challenge: Rivals II to anyone that will listen, getting quasi-arrested for graffiti, hate-watching Total Divas, getting married, penning scatterbrained column intros in which I summise Miley Cyrus killed hip-hop, or writing longwinded self-important lists of things I did this summer, I am literally stressing about stupid things like how there’s too many rappers.  ...read entire column, including mixtape reviews and more here.

8/19/13

Record Review: Infectious Garage Disease - Discography

Infectious Garage Disease - Discography (Negative Reaction / MVD Audio)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

The gods of weird have unearthed yet another obscure group of misfits and re-unleashed them upon those of us that zealously engross ourselves in all things loud, fast and fucked up. This is the complete discography of Northern California’s short-lived thrashing party punks, Infectious Garage Disease... ...if you have a penchant for fast songs about cheap beer, shoplifting, and pornography and have a high threshold for blatant misogyny and the grotesque, you likely won’t be disappointed.  ...Read entire review here.

7/22/13

Record Review: Rifle Diet - Abuse Begets Abuse / The Affected 7"

Rifle Diet - Abuse Begets Abuse / The Afftected 7" (Profane Existence)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

The two songs here—“Abuse Begets Abuse” and “The Affected”—are molasses-thick coagulations of galloping sludge, plodding D-beat, and punishing hardcore, sprinkled with heavy metal guitar posturing and vocals that are both snotty and throaty at the same time. For a genre that is already jammed up with a million bands that do the same indistinguishable song over and over, it’s nice to see that these two tracks are noticeably different from each other, leaving some intrigue as to where this band might take things over the course of entire album.  ...Read full review here.

7/11/13

Record Review: Krokus - Dirty Dynamite

Krokus - Dirty Dynamite (The End)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

It might come as a surprise that in the year 2013 Krokus—yes, that Krokus—have released a new album. And what might be even more surprising, at least to someone not in the know—such as myself—is that said album isn’t just some sort of reunion effort but rather the latest in a long string of releases, dating back to the year 1976. That’s right, Krokus—a band that I thought hadn’t existed since the pinup pages of ‘80s metal magazines like, Metal Edge, Circus and Hit Parader, where they appeared alongside the likes Keel, Rough Cutt, King Kobra and countless others—never actually went away. As it turns out, Dirty Dynamite is the 17th—yes, 17th!— Krokus record to date. And here’s another surprising thing: it’s pretty damn good.  ...read entire rock 'n' roll-ass record review here.

7/8/13

HotDogDayz issue #4 OUT NOW~!

We told you it would be soon, and we didn't lie!  Here it is, ballers...

32 pages - front to back; photocopied - B&W; dating profiles, art, photos, news clippings, comics, jokes, rail monikers, found items, and lot's of dudes.  Holla at us if you're into it...and even if you're not! 

FREE//TRADE//DONATE



HOTDOGDAYZ//BALLIN' SO HARD FANZINE//ISSUE #4
Jam-packed with good looking dudes!!!
 And other stuff too.

7/7/13

2013 Mid-Year Best-Of: Punk & Hardcore 7"s

The Top Five Punk & Hardcore 7"s of 2013 So Far
An Excerpt From The Best Music of 2013 (So Far)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Condominium – Carl EP (Sub Pop)
This St. Paul, MN three-piece started out playing fairly straight-forward ‘80s-influenced hardcore punk, with Greg Ginn-esque guitars and all the trimmings, but over the course of six pieces of wax, they have evolved into a uniquely original entity. Their latest EP finds Condominium furthering the noise and arty experimentation that left a mark on 2011’s Warm Home LP, but also digging their claws even deeper into the feverish anger from which they were born. Each component of their sound is functioning at a high level of intensity. The vocals sound meaner than ever before, the bass playing is downright nasty, the guitars are urgent and assaulting to the senses, while the drums fill every available nook and cranny with skillful pummeling. Carl is a powerful piece of art, and a strong indicator that these guys are capable of taking hardcore to places rarely explored.

Raw Meat – Demo on a 7” EP (Vinyl Rites)
This New York unit, featuring members of Rival Mob and Nomos, plays crazy-aggressive hardcore that’s not easily dismissable. Pissed-off, throat-burning vocals grind against a massive wall of fuzzed-out, loud, fast and crunchy riffage. These are songs from their demo cassette that have been remixed and re-mastered, and then pressed to vinyl, with the addition of the Combat 84 cover, “Rapist.” It’s nearly impossible for the listener to walk away from Raw Meat unscathed, as it’s a bruising incident on the uglier side of hardcore. Sadly though, they have already called it quits.

Wild Child – Self-Titled EP (Deranged)
Out of Minneapolis, MN comes Wild Child with seven inches of manic hard punk, played with sloppy aggression. The guitars are hollow-ish, clanky and fast while the drums and bass race along, seemingly on their own accord with little regard for things like holding the beat. The snotty, Darby Crash-like vocal styling of the singer lends a bit of early-LA punk to the overall feeling. The recording, which was done by Condominium’s Matt Castore, perfectly encapsulates the raw intensity and reckless abandon with which these guys attack their art.

Daylight Robbery – Distant Shores EP (Dirt Cult / Poison City)
Chicago, IL’s trio Daylight Robbery play upbeat punk, with dual male/female vocals, and pulse-pounding, rhythmic trappings that draw heavily from some of punk rock’s most historically revered artists. Wire, X, Blondie; lazy comparisons, but not at all inaccurate. Distant Shores is three moody, captivating tunes that embrace various musical shadings from within’ the genre. There are bits of post-punk, garage rock and melodic trad-punk at play here that makes for a really enjoyable listening experience.


Cokskar – Repetitive Stess EP (Self-Released)
Female-fronted grindcore out of Minneapolis, MN. More on the punk side of things than the metal. Speaking in fragmented sentences trying to describe this is apropos, so I’ll continue to do so. Spastic, unfettered aggression, driven foremost by the hyper-fast, chipmunks-on-speed vocals. Clever and biting lyrics when decipherable. 10 songs that are over before they even started. The first one is called “Powerviolence.” So there’s your frame of reference. Awesome.

Runner Ups: Shaved Christ - Bad Mind, Despise – Desolate b/w Inebriated, Wartorn – Domestic Terrorist b/w Under Oath, The Shame – The World Is Ours EP, Rifle Diet – Abuse Begets Abuse b/w The Affected

7/6/13

2013 Mid-Year Best-Of: Hip-Hop Albums

Top Five Rap Albums of 2013 So Far
An Excerpt From The Best Music of 2013 (So Far)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Like I said, I got a rap music problem. Now that we've covered the mixtape game, here's the best of this year's actual albums so far...

El-P & Killer Mike – Run the Jewels (Fool’s Gold)
Well, they went and did it again. Following a year that saw El-P and Killer Mike releasing two of the best albums in any genre, let alone rap music, both of which were produced by El-P, the two have returned as the duo Run The Jewels. And as it was expected to be by anyone who loves rap music and/or has a Twitter account, Run The Jewels is actually the best rap album to drop so far this year. El-P's beats are deep, scientific, intense, and so far beyond bass-heavy that they need to be heard with headphones (and possibly a senses-heightening substance, if that’s your thing) to be fully appreciated. Cadence-wise, the duo attacks each track with sweltering intensity and unrestrained emotion. Their verses effortlessly traverse between humorous witticism and cutthroat battering. It’s not an easily shakable listening experience, but it’s wholly enjoyable one.

Tie: Gensu Dean & Planet Asia – Abrasions (Mello Music Group) / Durag Dynasty – 360 Waves (Nature Sounds)
Fresno, CA’s veteran underground emcee, Planet Asia has two of the year’s best rap albums so far—Abrasions with beatsmith Gensu Dean and 360 Waves with Durag Dynasty. As evidenced by last year’s Apollo Brown & OC and Guilty Simpson & Apollo Brown outings, MMG has a knack for pairing the right producers and emcees up with favorable results. The same can be said of this duo. Gensu Dean, who’s gone largely unknown up to this point, crafts simplistic yet alluring loops rooted in boom-bap nostalgia. As usual, Planet Asia masterfully rocks the mic with his commanding presence and sharp rhymes. Durag Dynasty finds him teaming up with emcees Tristate and Killer Ben, and prolific beat master Alchemist. Although there is a minimal air of comedy involved, mostly due to imagery and the fact that they’re called, you know, Durag Dynasty, 360 Waves is an exercise in grimy cypher rap – a prominent example of mic skill and hard beats. These two albums will appeal to heads who want more out of their rap music than a clever hook and a generic trap beat.

Ill Bill – The Grimy Awards (Fat Beats)
Over a decade has passed since The Future Is Now, the debut album by the now-defunct group Non Phixion, which featured beats from a grip of hip-hop’s most sought-after producers as well as menacing and poignant lyricism, and the vehicle that placed Ill Bill immediately into the annals of underground hip-hop greatness. For the latest in a fertile catalog of work that includes numerous collabos, supergroups, mixtapes and solo records, he has returned to that early formula of using high profile beatsmiths and spitting venomous rhymes. The sonic direction of the album is driven by some hard-hitting boom-bap backing from the likes of Large Professor, Pete Rock, the Beatnuts, DJ Muggs, El-P, and DJ Premier. But Ill Bill’s lyricism and delivery is as equally on point as his beat-selection. Not only does he do the requisite murder and paranoid conspiracy raps, but he gets deeply personal about his life, loved ones, and how much hip-hop (and even heavy metal) shaped him. The Grimy Awards is as near a “classic” rap record as we’ve heard in a while.

Ghostface Killah – Twelve Reasons to Die (Soul Temple)
Twelve Reasons to Die is the latest release in a recent-ish half dozen or so of hits ‘n’ misses for the Wu Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah. More in line with the hits Fishscale and Apollo Kids than the misses The Big Doe Rehab or Ghostdini, the record is produced entirely by beat-maker Adrian Younge, and narrated by Wu head honco RZA. Twelve Reasons is a concept album of sorts. The premis being, Tony Starks is a former enforcer for a crime family, who gets murdered by the mob after falling in love with the Boss's daughter. His remains are melted in vinyl and pressed into a dozen LPs that, when spun, revivify him as the Ghostface Killah. He then exacts his revenge on his killers. It’s often been said that rap music is cinema for the ears, and it couldn’t be truer with Twelve Reasons. Similar to Prince Paul (or even early Cage) albums, this is story time rap being taken to the next level. The synergy between Young and Ghost is so air-tight it’s hard to believe this is the first project they’ve done together.

Kid Tsunami – The Chase (Head Bop / Fat Beats)
The Chase is the debut album from Perth, Australia’s producer extraordinaire Kid Tsunami. As someone who appreciates all forms of hip-hop (at least for their mere existence, if anything) I don’t really like throwing around terms like “real hip-hop” because I think it cheapens the evolution of the art form and more-or-less excludes anything that’s not boom-bap. But I’m going to give myself a pass here and just say it: This is on some real-ass hip-hop right here! Dude is a student of the game, as he has obviously immersed himself in classic hip-hop. And by that, yes, I do mean BOOM-BAP. There are 16 tracks here, constructed from soul, jazz and funk sample flips, with a virtual who’s who of emcees rhyming on them—Kool Keith, Sean Price, OC, Masta Ace, Sadat X, J-Live, Craig G, AG, Kool G Rap, KRS-One, Pharoahe Monch, Jeru The Damaja, and more. DJ Bless also leaves his mark on the project, as he flexes his impeccable turntablism skills, mixing the whole thing together and dropping some serious cut-laden hooks.

Runner Ups: Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric –Czarface, Oh No – Disrupted Ads, Prodigy & Alchemist – Albert Einstein, R.A. the Rugged Man – Legends Never Die, Swollen Members – Beautiful Death Machine

Read 2012's mid-year top five rap albums here.  And year-end best-of here.

7/5/13

2013 Mid-Year Best-Of: Hip-Hop Mixtapes

Top Five Rap Mixtapes of 2013 So Far
An Excerpt From The Best Music of 2013 (So Far)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Hello. My Name is Nathan, and I'm addticted to rap music. The following mid-year best-of list is culled from Too Many Rappers, a semi-monthly column in which I write about mixtapes and other rap-related nonsense for the webzine Scene Point Blank.

Underachievers – Indigoism
The Underachievers are the latest duo to spring from New York City’s rap collective, Beast Coast; a crew that also includes Flatbush Zombies, Pro Era, A$AP Mob, and Smoke DZA. Against a backdrop of beats that range from conventional boom-bap to the trap’d gradations of modern-day tape rap, emcees AK and Issa Dash exasperate wordy lyricism at a rate that is both impressive and slightly overwhelming. They go heavy on the sour diesel and psychedelics but disguise it via well-written, clever similes rather than easily decipherable one-liners. Whereas some of their contemporaries are reviving classic NYC rap, Underachievers are strangely enough, reinventing it.
Quelle Chris – 2 Dirt 4 TV episode 2: Niggas is Men
Niggas Is Men is the second episode of the Quelle Chris’ 2 Dirt 4 TV series. The production is handled by Stifu, Messiah Musik, and of course, Quelle himself. The majority of the songs feature verses from Cavalier, who's candence compliments Quelle’s oddball delivery quite well. “Natural Flavors” has the captivating buzzed-out bass beat that invokes the same feeling of intrigue that almost broke the Internet the first time everyone heard The S.O.N. EP. Tracks like “Greene Eyes”, “Good Days” and “Long Tokes” are the type of head-nodders that rely heavily on raw sample loops.

Mr. MFN eXquire – Kismet
Kismet, which means “fate” or “destiny”, is also the name of the new tape by New York’s Mr. MFN eXquire. And while it may seem like an odd title choice for a tape whose cover art shows the emcee gripping a naked woman’s rear end in a pose that can’t be construed as anything other than standing coitus, it’s actually very apropos given the direction he’s taken things since his 2011 tape, Lost in Translation. Sure, the raunchiness and wild’n out aspects are still intact, but several tracks are dedicated to personal insights and human growth. On “Vanilla Rainbows” which apes Curtis Mayfield’s “Give Me Your Love (Love Song)”, the emcee displays his genuine love and respect for women. “Cherry Raindrops,” a tale of ill-fated love and all the struggles that go along with falling out of it, shows him being creepily honest, as he raps things like, “I kissed her on the spine and I kissed her thighs/I almost licked her ass but she started to cry.” Even the lone skit here, “She’s Not Fucking With Me” is a far cry from the blow-job-from-a-hoe-caught-on-tape one that appeared on Translation. This time around he and an unidentified woman are lying in bed, whispering I-love-yous to each other. For the most part, Kismet is dare I say, a kinder, gentler eXquire. That is not to say he doesn’t go hard in typical braggadocios rap fashion from time to time (see: “Illest Niggaz Breathin,’” “Tomorrow’s Gone,” and “Orbz a.k.a. Some Wise Quote Drake Never Said.”) but overall, the tape is more on the personal revelations tip than anything else. eXquire’s flows and beat selections are as varied as you’d expect from a man who refers to himself as an “avant-garde hood nigga.” “Hoes I Don’t Remember” is the Willie Nelson “For All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” of rap songs, if ever there was one.

KRNDN – Everything’s Nothing
KRNDN is how Krondon from Strong Arm Steady spells his name now, because he’s like, a rapper and stuff. Everything’s Nothing is his first solo outing, and as anyone familiar with SAS would expect, it’s impressive as hell. It’s hard to put this into words, so I’m not sure this will make sense anyone besides me, but it’s almost as if Krondon accidently created a better piece of art than Kendrick Lamar very purposefully attempted to create with good kid, m.A.A.d city. Against a backdrop of smoothed-out beats (by Cardo, DJ Dahi, DJ Khalil, and 321) he interweaves autobiographical memoirs and herb-puffed anecdotes; parading the laid-back, sunny vibe of California rider music. The sound emanating from your speakers will only enhance the hallucinogenic properties of whatever it is you ingested...if that’s your thing or whatever. Props for the imagery too, which is very much in the vein of DIY zine art.

Black Dave – Stay Black
“All I do is rap – All I do is skate,” states the rapper/skater on “Rap & Skate,” the mid-tape track that in the simplest terms possible sums up what Black Dave is all about. Although he’s a New Yorker, Dave applies a multifarious approach to rap, successfully flexing mic skills in a variety of regional styles. He effectively stirs an alluring cocktail of trap, club and boom-bap. Lyrically, he’s not saying much that hasn’t been heard before (see: song titles like “Bitch Nigga Why You Fake?” and “Muthafuck My Enemies!”) but that’s also one of Stay Black’s chief qualities – it’s fucking rap music, man!

Runner Ups: Gunplay - Cops & Robbers, SpaceGhostPurrp - B.M.W., Termanology - Hood Politics 7, Tree - Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out, Western Tink & Beautiful Lou - Mobbin' No Sobbin'

Read 2012's mid-year top five rap mixtapes here.  And year-end best-of here.