Record Review: Swollen Members - Beautiful Death Machine

Swollen Members - Beautiful Death Machine (Suburban Noize / Battle Axe Warriors)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

There are times where Rob The Viking lends the sound some elasticity beyond hip-hop, but ultimately they end up being the album’s weakest moments. Initially the dubstep excursion, “Juggernaut” is captivating—especially the breakdown that drops during Madchild’s first verse—but when the hook comes in the novelty begins to wear-off. By the time Madchild hits his second verse, I find myself hitting the FF button. But make no mistake about it; Rob The Vikings is a masterful beatsmith. Songs like “King of Diamonds”, “Mercenary” and “Death Warrant”—complete with sample-based loops and spotless turntablism—are thundering testaments to the lasting power of boom-bap.  ...Read entire reivew at this one place right here.


Record Review: A Sense of Porpoise - Self-Titled

A Sense of Porpoise - Self-Titled (Self-Released)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank
Upon initial listen, this came across as the kind of sloppy folk punk that I’d likely be annoyed by if there was a male singer. Call me sexist if you will but the fact that a female is doing the vocals makes this totally pleasurable, whereas I’d normally dismiss such stuff after one listen as gimmicky coffee shop music that guys play around campfires, hoping to lure girls back to their van/tent/dirty sleeping bag by the river etc.  ...Rest of review continues here.


Scene Report: Record Store Day 2013

Record Store Day 2013 Wrapup
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank
Simultaneously posted here.


Minneapolis, MN, 4/20/13
Despite being fairly worn out from the previous evening—one which had me visiting three different venues, seeing six different bands, and imbibing at least twice as many beverages—I managed to pull myself together enough to get out and partake in one of my favorite days of the year: Record Store Day


By the time I arrived at Extreme Noise, the place was busting at the seams with people; spikes, studs, patches, and an abundance of black clothing in tow. You couldn’t swing a dead cat (or a white guy’s dreadlock) without hitting someone who plays in a local punk band. Extreme Noise is a volunteer-run co-op record store that deals primarily in the vast subgenres of punk and hardcore, with a stitch of metal thrown in—usually something in the realms of black, death, or thrash. That being said, there was a used copy of Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience in the CD bin. I don’t know what’s weirder; that Extreme Noise had it, or that some idiot got rid of theirs. Anyway, it’s not unusual to find records priced at say, $9.37 or $13.57 or a similarly odd yet cheap price. Although I’ve known several people that have volunteered there over the years, I’ve never asked the question, but if I had to guess I would say it’s based on some mathematical equation that’s devised to not charge the customer any more than the distro price plus whatever it takes to operate the place.


As they have for the past few years, they had a hot dog roller from which they were serving up piping-hot veggie dogs. For the second year in a row I narrowly escaped the double-dog, despite the playful nudging of the two guys handing them out. One of which, I recognized as the bass player from Kontrasekt. Instead I had a Roundy’s cola, which is something, I can say with 99% certainty that I will never do again. I love a good cheap cola, but it appears Roundy’s only falls into the latter half of that category. I’m not sure how many bands were supposed to play, but I ended up missing all of them, save an earful of Scaphe every so often whenever someone would open the door to the backroom where they were playing. Midway through my mission of browsing every single record in the store, I stopped to have a great basketball conversation with one of the volunteers. Punks who love basketball are some of my favorite people. After an hour or so, I left with a grip of new vinyl and zines under my arm. My only regrets are missing the bands, and not adding the discography LP of ‘80s Italian hardcore band Stinky Rats and the Rival Mob’s Mob Justice to the pile. Save something for next time I suppose.


My next stop was Fifth Element, the all hip-hop store owned and operated by local-gone-national-gone-global juggernaut, Rhymesayers Entertainment. Parked in front of the store for the day, the World Street Kitchen food truck was selling tasty treats like tofu burritos and shrimp tacos. I stupidly abstained from any of their delicious-looking items, citing caloric restrictions as my lame-ass reason. This is something anyone who takes one look at me would know is total bullshit, but it makes me feel better about myself to pretend. As with years past, inside the store was a zoo of kids, draped in designer tees, New Era caps and colorful sneakers. I considered snagging the Nametag & Nameless joint Namesake or re-upping a copy of the Micronauts’ classic ’00 album Obelisk Movements to CD but was deterred by incredibly long lines at the register. After milling about, I decided to bounce, but not before catching a DJ set by Noam The Drummer, who spun all selections from the store’s used bin.


My third and final stop of the day was Hymies Vintage Records. Hymies, a mom and pop store in the truest sense of the term, is one of the Twin Cities premiere destinations for vinyl novices and collectors alike. They have a ginormous selection of music, in wide variety genres, and the product turnover is pretty frequent. It’s the kind of place that will have you asking where the hand sanitizer is on the way out the door. Needless to say, they go all out for Record Store Day. They had two stages alternating live music all day—one inside in the back of the store, and another outside. On the side street next to the store they constructed a mini block party so to speak. In addition to the stage, there were various artists’ booths and a beer tent sponsored by nearby pub, Merlin’s Rest. It was the kind of happening where you can get posters, pottery and Pabst Blue Ribbon. (The three Ps?) There were several boxes of cheap 45s and 10 cent LPs, but I steered myself as far away as possible, therefore making it easy to resist the urge that would no doubt have me picking up a bunch ancient big band records and musty Christmas albums that would never get spun. I considered dropping a couple bucks on cassettes of Keel’s The Right to Rock and Dokken’s Breaking the Chains but truth is I probably already have those leftover remnants of adolescence rotting in a storage bin in the garage. Instead I opted to spend my remaining cash on tallboys in the beer tent, where I ran into and subsequently enjoyed ridiculous laughter-filled conversation with several friends. To hell with calorie counting!


Poster artist DWITT said it was the largest Hymie’s RSD event he’s ever seen. Even though it was pretty chilly, it was the nicest weather we’ve had in a long time, which probably contributed to the large crowd. The local music community was out in full force. Despite the numerous bands that played, I spotted Toki Wright flipping through records alongside members of Pink Mink, while dudes from the Doomtree stable chatted with local street artists. I caught sets by an unnamed singer songwriter, rap group Big Quarters, and indie soul act Southside Desire. In between acts, DJ Truckstash (who by day is the area’s most well-known PBR rep) spun records by The Animals and the Fat Boys, in addition to a bunch of rockin' country tunes from his eclectic mix of 45s.


Loot List:
Shaved Women – Self-Titled LP (Rotted Tooth, 2011)
Milk Music – Cruise Your Illusion LP (Fat Possum, 2013)
So Much Hate – How We Feel LP (Norwegian Leather, 2007 [reissue from ‘87])
No Power – No Peace LP (Sorry State, 2013)
Boston Strangler – Primitive (Fun With Smack, 2012)
Cokskar – Reptitive Stress 7” (Self-Released, 2013)
Raw Meat – Self-Titled 7” (Vinyl Rites, 2013)
Wild Child – Self-Titled 7” (Deranged, 2013)
Aseptic zine – Issue #2
More Noise zine – Issue #6
More Noize zine – Issue #9
Maximum RockNRoll zine – Issue #360, May 2013



TSK #3 very soon

This is just around the corner...


Scene Report: The Men live at 7th St Entry

The Men live; 7th St Entry; Minneapolis, MN; 4/12/13
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

On just the third night of their North American tour, Brooklyn-based band The Men landed in Minneapolis for a packed-in show at the world famous 7th St Entry. Despite being an 18+ event, the 30 to 40-something crowd was out in full force; a welcomed contingent that’s become increasingly more prevalent at shows around the Twin Cities in the last 10 years or so. In the moments before the The Men were to play, you could feel an anticipatory energy make its way around the venue. The smallish room, which was already nearing capacity, seemed to become even stuffier as empty glasses began piling up on any available flat space and drained tallboys dropped to floor at an alarming, yet smile-inducing rate.  ...read entire review here.


Record Review: Iceage - You're Nothing

Iceage - You're Nothing (Matador)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Rather than reiterating what others have said about how You're Nothing is more aggressive than their critically acclaimed debut, New Brigade (which it is,) how Elias R√łnnenfelt’s vocals are more present and urgent than before (which they are,) how the apathetic, gothic tendencies are gone in favor of enthusiastic, thrashing punk (which is fairly accurate but not entirely true,) and how it will likely not only be one of the best punk albums of the year (which it undoubtedly will be) but one the best albums in all of music (which is entirely possible)—even though in saying so, I just did exactly that—I would instead like to provide the following ancedote…  ...read said ancedote here.


Scene Report: Anthrax, Exodus, others live at First Avenue

Anthrax, Exodus, High On Fire, Municipal Waste, Holy Grail live; First Avenue; Minneapolis, MN; April 4th, 2013
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Continuing their recent-ish trend of performing classic albums in their entirety, Anthrax rolled into town as the headlining act on the Metal Alliance Tour to play their 1987 record Among The Living for a sold-out main room at the legendary Minneapolis club, First Avenue. They brought with them a handful of ripping acts that include newer band Holy Grail, staples of the ‘00s Municipal Waste and High On Fire, and fellow veterans from the first wave of American thrash metal, Exodus.

The crowd was fairly sparse at this point. Youngsters in throwback flipped bills, skinny jeans and patched up jean vests, thrashed about in a modest-sized pit. Bearded hessians and off-the-clock professionals sporting crisp Anthrax tee shirts (likely purchased when the Worship Music tour came through town two years ago, or perhaps just 10 minutes prior) milled about the bar areas, staring at their smart phones and sneaking one-hitters.  ...Read entire gigantic show review, complete with video and setlists at this place right here.


HotDogDayz issue #3 OUT NOW~!

Aaaaaaand we're done!

Here is the long time coming third issue of HotDogDayz.

40 pages - front to back; primarily image-based; photocopied - mostly color; no hashtags or Ats - hard copy only.

 If The 20/20 Experience had a baby with Spring Breakers and that baby puked all over a Xerox machine this is what the copies would look like.

HotDogDayz #3
Spring 2013
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America


Accidental Zine

When putting together the new issue of HotDogDayz (which drops tomorrow, BTW) we accidentally also created another zine...

Limited run of 13; various sizes and pages - no two are identical; untitled as of yet; #zine #art #punk #CrassFont #graffiti; totally free if you want one.


Record Review: Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric - Czarface

Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric - Czarface (Brick)
By Nathan G. O'Brien on Scene Point Blank

Revisiting a collaboration that first appeared on the title track of Speaking Real Words, the debut EP by 7L & Esoteric, the Beantown duo has teamed up with Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck again. Some 14 years later the three veterans come together with a full-length superhero project titled Czarface. Taking into account the back catalogue of the parties involved, it comes as no surprise that the modus operandi here is gritty, hard-line boom-bap.  ...read entire full-length review here.