Record Review: Kylesa - From the Vaults, Vol. 1

Kylesa - From the Vaults, Vol. 1 (Season of Mist)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

It’s been a little over two years since Savannah, GA’s beastly crew of psychedelic-hardcore-crust-punk-sludge-metal purveyors Kylesa have released their last full-length record, Spiral Shadow. While the band continued to work on a sixth studio album, which is slated for release later this spring, they also wanted to give the fans something special in the interim. From the Vaults, Vol. 1 arrived in mid-November. Just as its name implies, it’s an assortment of tracks culled from the band’s back catalog. It’s not a massive, quickly thrown-together, best-of set though; but rather a twelve-song collection of unreleased material and alternate versions of existing tracks. Over the course of a year, the band combed through old songs, covers, live sets, and B-sides; gathering the ones they felt would fit together well. They rerecorded some, remixed others, and added whatever finishing touches it is that people who employ a savant-like attention to the details do. (Some time during the mid-‘00s, I saw these guys nearly lose their collective cool and walk off stage when an equipment malfunction prevented their per-recorded song intros from playing.)  ...full-length review continues here.


Record Review: The Shame - The World Is Ours 7"

The Shame - The World Is Ours 7" (Profane Existence)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

The cover photo shows the Tulsa, OK three-piece sitting on a stoop, surrounded by empty Strongbow and Guinness cans, while the requisite soccer ball rests a step below them. Look close enough and you’ll see that Malone is even wearing a Fred Perry. Flipping it over will reveal a shield logo comprised of pint glasses, a soccer ball, and someone waiving an “Oi!” flag. About all it's missing is a boot print. Without any prior knowledge of the band, it’s difficult to decipher whether it’s a sincere homage to classic Oi! imagery, or a tongue-in-cheek pisstake.  ...read entire review here.


Five Records to Look Forward to in 2013

Five Records to Look Forward to in 2013
An excerpt from Coming in 2013: Scene Point Blank Anticipates
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Black Face - Where Will We Run / Leave Me Out to Rot
In 2011 former SST Records co-owner and original Black Flag bassist, Chuck Dukowski formed a new band with Oxbow vocalist, author and ass-kicking enthusiast, Eugene S. Robinson. Black Face recorded four songs there were written during Black Flag’s My War era. Hydra Head released a 7” featuring two of them—Monster b/w I Want to Kill You—but the other two—“Where Will We Run” and “Leave Me Out to Rot”—have yet to see the light of day. This is purely hypothetical, considering the band called it quits in February of last year, but I remain hopeful these songs will be eponymously released in one fashion or another.

The Cave Singers – Naomi 
Seattle’s moody indie folk/roots revivalist unit The Cave Singers are all set to release their fourth album, Naomi. Expanding to a quartet, singer Pete Quirk, guitarist Derek Fudesco and drummer Marty Lund brought in Morgan Henderson (Blood Brothers, Fleet Foxes) to play bass and some other instruments for this record. I’m anxious to see how expansive their dark, gritty, folk-blues compositions will get with additional musical arrangement.

Iceage – You’re Nothing 
Despite a variety media-drummed hoopla surrounding its release, Iceage’s debut album, New Brigade still took me completely by surprise; and subsequently ruled my stereo for the better part of 2011. I’m not expecting to be blown away by You’re Nothing, but I am eagerly anticipating more of their brooding hardcore and goth-tinged post-punk.

Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
I am disappointed by “Suit & Tie,” the underwhelming debut single from Justin Timberlake’s upcoming album and the first new music we’ve heard from the man in roughly seven years. That being said, I remain wholeheartedly optimistic that The 20/20 Experience will at least equal, if not surpass, the splendor of FutureSex/LoveSounds. I need…check that, want…no, wait, I actually need this…I need this album to be tremendous, thus reconfirming that my biggest man-crush since Davey Havok hasn't happened without warrant.

The Replacements – ?!?! 
Late last year it was announced that Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson were joined in-studio by Westerberg’s touring guitarist and solo artist, Kevin Bowe and drummer Peter Anderson, where they recorded an EP’s worth of cover songs as (gasp) The Replacements. (The Replacements!) In mid-January, the limited-edition 10" vinyl, Songs For Slim went up for auction online to benefit former Replacements' guitarist Slim Dunlap, who had suffered a stroke in February of ‘12. Covers are cool, and charity is beyond great, but here’s the real kicker: Westerberg has gone on record saying the band does not rule out touring or recording a new album. (Does not rule it out!)

Runner-Up: Murder City Devils. Another year of reunion shows passes; a couple new songs surface. Hey, this could still happen right? RIGHT?

Read entire Coming in 2013 feature here.


Too Many Rappers: February

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

This hip-hop train just keeps on rolling.  And although I would like to think I’m fully on board, it feels more like I’m running beside it, trying to keep up, wondering what will happen if I take the proverbial leap of faith.  Will I catch this locomotive and ride it all way, or will I be left on my hands and knees, huffing and puffing as it roars on into the future without me?  Even if I caught on, it’s likely I’d lose my grip and end up crushed beneath its steamrolling speed and weight.  I am aware that hurling oneself towards a train, whether metaphorical or otherwise, is a bad idea, but here’s the thing: good decisions and I don’t exactly have a great relationship.  For example, if there’s a box of Girl Scout cookies sitting on the break room counter, instead of taking just one, I’ll grab five.  It’s this same tactic that fuels my consumption of rap music.  While the side effects may differ, I would surmise they are equally unhealthy when ingested in large quantities.  One will make you fat; the other will make you an asshole.  Seeing as how this column isn’t called Too Many Cookies, I’ll focus on the latter.  ...Column continues here.



Slowly but surely things are coming along on the QUEST ORGANISIS project, an image-based zine collaboration between HDD and SKYDSN.  Here are a couple more sneak peeks...


Too Many Rappers

Too Many Rappers: A New Hip-Hop Column
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Well, here we are, a whole month into the New Year, and as usual January was spent catching up on all the music I slept on last year.  Normally the first part of the year is slow when it comes to new stuff, but hip-hop, with its ever-increasing abundance of releases, is not like other forms of music.  Long gone are the days of a rapper releasing an album every other year, or at the most, once a year—nowadays, it’s not uncommon for an artist to drop multiple mixtapes, a collaboration (or two,) and a lengthy retail album, all within the span of 12 months.  Keeping up with it takes a little more than just an unrelenting love of the art form; it takes ridiculous, stupefied, dare I say ill-advised dedication.  And even then it’s impossible to catch it all.  The simple fact...and I don't have any problem calling this a fact...is that there are just too many rappers.  Being a lifelong fan of rappers, and a weirdo completionist to boot, this little fact really frustrates the shit out of me.  But still, I plow ahead, doing my best to rack up as much of it as I can.  ...Read the rest of Nathan's gigantic new hip-hop column Too Many Rappers on Scene Point Blank.