9/29/14

@nathangobrien on Ello: Wanted: Cassette Dubs

Like a lot of people my age, I got into music when cassettes were the most widely used format. Even though I abandoned the medium with the emergence of CDs in the '90s, I've always maintained an affinity for mixtapes and dubs of punk and rap radio shows. I have boxes of cassettes of Minneapolis radio that I taped as a kid in the '80s and '90s. Stuff like 89.3 KMOJ, 90.3 KFAI, and Rev 105. I was even taping radio shows off of Radio K and KFAI in the early '00s and sending them to my friends. In return I'd get dubs of college or public radio from places like Madison, WI, Portland, OR, Bellingham, WA and Las Vegas, NV. In the last few years I've gotten back into cassettes (thanks in no small part to the rise in popularity of punk demos) and have begun seeking out dubs of old radio shows again. If anyone has a line on punk or rap radio shows from the '80s and '90s, let me know and I'll gladly mail you blank tapes and/or postage money. (MP3s are cool too.) (I'll entertain metal shows, provided they are from before the advent of nu-metal.) Anyway, I just started reading this new column by Stretch Armstrong on cassette culture that is pretty cool. If this sort of thing suits you, I recommend checking it out. Go here: https://medium.com/@StretchArmy

From Ello: @nathangobrien

9/28/14

@nathangobrien on Ello: Book Recommendation: Don't Put Me In Coach by Mark Titus

I just finished Don't Put Me In, Coach: My Incredible NCAA Journey From the End of the Bench to the End of the Bench, by Mark Titus. It's an entertaining look into the author's four seasons as a walk-on for the Ohio State Buckeyes, where he became a fan favorite and national phenomenon when he started blogging about his goal to record as many zeros in the stats columns as possible. It's a fairly quick and painless read. (I read the majority of it over a five day trip to Portland.) Titus serves up a unique peak behind the curtain of a prominent Big Ten basketball program while injecting funny diarrhea antidotes and prank stories along the way. Hoops fans and players will dig it, but I'd also recommend it to anyone who appreciates good humor.

From Ello: @nathangobrien

9/27/14

@nathangobrien on Ello: Favorite Reissues of 2014

There's been some good record reissues this year. Here's a handful that I've been enjoying. Most are in the punk & hardcore realm, but one is metal...

The Bellicose Minds - The Buzz or Howl Sessions
Bikini Kill - Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah LP
Blank Pages - Self-Titled (first official US release)
BL'AST! - Expression of Power 3xLP
Death - Leprosy (metal)
Frantix - My Dad's a Fuckin' Alchoholic LP
Institute - Demo 12" EP
No Fraud - Revolt! 1984 Demos LP

From Ello: @nathangobrien

9/17/14

Record Review: Cross Examination - Dawn of the Dude 7"

Cross Examination - Dawn of the Dude 7" (Organized Crime)
By Nathan G. O'Brien for Scene Point Blank

Sometimes I just want to eat a bunch of pizza, drink a 30 pack of Special Export Light, smoke one million doobies, make out with chicks in a swimming pool, stay up all night tripping on mushrooms while watching hippies swirl glow sticks and eat fire, and then make out with more chicks in a tent as the sun comes up. And sometimes I’m way too old and way too married to actually do those things anymore, so I just want listen to a record that reminds me what it was like to do those things. Dawn of the Dude is that record.

This is some straight up dumb-as-shit crossover thrash from St. Louis, MO. And when I say dumb-as-shit I say it with complete adoration. Cross Examination put out one of my favorite band debuts of all time with their Hung Jury 7” back in 2006. This is their first new material since 2008 and I am happy to report that nothing has changed. Speed metal riffs, party references galore, movie samples, and song titles with the word "thrash" in them. (See: “Subterranean Thrash Assault.”) Speaking of song titles, if names like “Ritual Snackrifice” and “The Bluntacolypse” don’t give you a clear idea of what’s going on, please refer to the opening paragraph of this here review once more.

In summation, I’d like to quote a line from “The Bluntacolypse”: “A squad of totally sweet-looking party dudes have emerged from the chaos…there’s smoke everywhere…it’s a blunt…THEY’RE SMOKING A BLUNT!”

The Awesome Party Squad is alive and kicking, bros. Get into it.

Originally posted here.

9/16/14

Record Review: PJM 5/9/12 mixtape cassette

This review is an excerpt from issue #8 of The Soda Killers fanzine. We still have copies available. Let us know if you want a copy and we'll get it out to you ASAP!

Various Artists - PJM 5/9/12 mixtape cassette (Compiled in 2012)
-by BNB

I’ve had this mixtape kicking around for a couple years now, so I figure it’s about time I get to talking about it. It was sent to us by the wonderful and dedicated individual responsible for Pukka Join Massif zine out of Bellingham, WA back in 2012. This of course means I am long overdue on sending a mix tape back to him in exchange. (Note to self: make this happen ASAP. Note to PJM: this will happen ASAP.)

For all you cassette nerds out there, PJM 5/9/12 is dubbed on a Sony HF90 Pure Gamma Type I (Normal) Position Normal Bias 120µs EQ. The J-card is a piece of ephemera that appears to be clipped from a larger block of text written by a person name Malok.  It might be poetry but I’m not totally sure because, like Nathan, I usually divert my eyes upon the first inkling that some assembled words might be poetry.

Side A is titled derelict Mosquito spontaneity plays for BNB. And although I’ve sat through the noisy, atmospheric compositions several times, I’ve decided I’ll just be rewinding Side B from this point forward.

Side B is titled dMs (derelict Mosquito spontaneity?) iPod set for BNB, and is 18 songs by bands whose names start with the letter B. This means things like Black Flag (“I’ve Got to Run”), Big Black (“The Model”), Boogie Down Productions (“South Bronx”), Born Against (“Movin’ On Up”), and Burnt Cross (“Spectacle of the Obscene”). YAY!

I’m very happy about the inclusion of “Freeze Me” by Amsterdam ‘80s hardcore act B.G.K. and “Alles Umsonst” and “W.S.W.U.F.” by Blut + Eisen, the German punk band that’s also from the ‘80s. I have never heard anything from either of these bands before this and I love getting hipped to new shit.

I’m less excited about the inclusion of the “Walrus” cover by Boris because I hate the Beatles with a capital H. (Another B band – ding, ding.) The tape ends with Blue Sabbath Black Cheer’s “Rats”, which may be a Septic Death cover but I can’t be sure. The tracklist says Beethoven was last but I think the tape gut cut off.


9/15/14

Record Review: Jävla - Demo 2014 cassette

Jävla - Demo 2014 cassette (Flophouse Records & Tapes)
By Nathan G. O'Brien for Verbicide Magazine

This five-song demo rager comes via Flophouse Records & Tapes, on a solid white cassette, with the label handwritten in black marker. There’s a J-card with artwork by Mikyla Pieterse photocopied on aqua blue paper. Song lyrics and liner notes are on a black & white photocopied foldout. All of the songs are recorded on one side of the tape, which leaves you plenty of room to make a sweet mix on the other side for that girl you’ve been crushing on since the ninth grade. They even did you a solid by not punching out the write-protect tabs.

Jävla is a four-piece teenage outfit from the suburbs of Washington, DC that started up with the grand, never-heard-of-before idea of paying tribute to Swedish bands new and old, such as Herätys, Totalitär, and Anti Cimex. And just to make sure you know we’re on some total juvenile type shit here, the band’s name means “Fuckin’” in Swedish. I know it sounds like I’m giving these guys a hard time, but I actually dig this. Like, a lot. ...Read full-length review here.

9/9/14

Record Review: Kutty Tapes, Volume One mixtape CD-r

This review is an excerpt from issue #8 of The Soda Killers fanzine. We still have copies available. Let us know if you want a copy and we'll get it out to you ASAP!
-BNB

Various Artists - Kutty Tapes, Volume One mixtape CD-r (Megakut)
By Nathan G. O'Brien

Here’s a dope collection of cassette rips put together by Megakut labelhead Luke Sick that will remind you of what it was like to be a passionate young kid making tapes of your favorite shit back in the day and then giving them to people.

What I really like about this particular mix is that it’s a tribute-like labor of love to the genre rather than a sampler put together to promote the releases on his label. Not that that would be a bad thing; just saying it’s cool to see someone do something in this age of social media me-me-me-ness that isn’t just another shameless self-promotion project to post on Facebook and Twitter (which I am 100% guilty of all the damn time.)

This collection comes with a DIY zine-like insert that explains what each song or snippet is and a story of where it came from. Like this for example: “Main Source Live Mountain View, CA ‘Louder than the U.S. Air Force!’ (KMEL 106.1 FM Summer Jam, sometime between ’89 – ’91. Probably taped off the radio by my sister, Jessica; I recognize her handwriting on the label.) Super dope performance.”  He also goes on to describe which types of blank cassettes were used for the original dubs. Like this: “Dubbed from Side B of the Blabber Simple Pleasures demo with the yellow label. Cr02 [No noise reduction].”

It’s especially cool because outside of Main Source and Wu-Tang Clan, I’ve haven’t heard most of the stuff on here – Supermarket, Connect 4, Gang of Textbooks, Joseph Young & Anonymous, etc. One of the best tracks is “Give You a Rundown” by the West Bay group The 1628 Factor, which was ripped from the ’01 tape Not 4 the Money: The Low Cash Factor. (I’ll take a dub of this if anyone has one. Same with the L*Ron stuff that’s on here.)

It is my understanding that there this is only a limited run of Kutty Tapes and they were given to select folks, so I’m not sure how easy it would be to get your hands on this. If you’re interested, send me a blank cassette or a CD-r and I’ll dub one for you. (I have permission!) Also, shoutout to the comic book cut ‘n’ paste cover which is designed in a way that could be folded into your choice of two J-cards options. Now go make your own mixtape!


9/8/14

Record Review: Supercrush - Lifted b/w Melt Into You (Drift Away) 7"

Supercrush - Lifted b/w Melt Into You (Drift Away) 7" (Grave Mistake)
By Nathan G. O'Brien for Scene Point Blank

Surpercrush is the newish Vancouver, British Columbia-based band from Mark Palm, a dude most known for playing in a long ancestry of punk/HC and metal bands and as being the primary songwriter for San Francisco, CA’s bliss-pop snorefest Modern Charms.

Hey Mark, Bob Mould called and he wants his Sugar back. No, seriously, this is alright. I mean I fucking love Sugar and this sounds like Sugar—at least the guitar—so it’s OK. In fact, just recently I was having a debate of sorts with a handful of friends where a couple of us were of the belief that it’s just fine to think Sugar is better than Hüsker Dü. Especially if you came of age in the ‘90s, and were too young to experience Hüsker Dü properly. I’m not 100% ready to make a decision as to which I think is a better band myself, but I can’t fault any Gen X-er for picking Sugar. Anyway, that’s all beside the point. The point is the guitars on here sound really Sugar-y. ...Read full-length review here. 

9/2/14

Record Review: The Crash Hounds of America - Sewer Loving cassette

This review is an excerpt from issue #8 of The Soda Killers fanzine. We still have copies available. Let us know if you want a copy and we'll get it out to you ASAP!

The Crash Hounds of America - Sewer Loving cassette (Hot & Ready)
-by BNB

The first time I listened to this I thought it was the most un-listenable folk noise bullshit I had ever heard. Seriously, I love the weird. But there is nothing worse than being weird for the sake of being weird. Weird is best when it's genuine. The second time I listened to this I was like, OK, the beat on here is pretty nice. We got this from Robert who does the incredibly adorable zine Throat Culture as well as a bunch of one-off comic strip zines that are as funny as they are raw. (PS-Robert, you still out there? Haven’t heard from you in a while…) I lost the note that came with this but if I remember correctly the Crash Hounds of America are is just Robert by himself, or, maybe him and one other individual. As best I can tell through my IPA-soaked, kush-clouded ear holes he/they use some beat-making program, acoustic guitars, and other stuff. On second thought, this is probably actual genuine weirdness. I guess what I’m saying is it gets better and sounds less forced with each listen. I actually like it a lot better than I did the first time around. But still, I have to admit there's no way I could listen to both side consecutively even if I was balls deep in a craft beer ‘n’ puff sesh. Still pretty pumped about labels like this and stuff that comes on cassette though.


9/1/14

Record Review: Padkarosda - Szabadulásom Művészete cassette

Padkarosda - Szabadulásom Művészete cassette (Wake Up And Live)
By Nathan G. O'Brien for Scene Point Blank

According to various descriptions Padkarosda play a style of punk that draws heavily on the influence of ‘80s Hungarian bands. I’ll admit I don’t have any real familiarity with Hungarian punk bands past or present other than this tape, so I don’t have much in the way of comparisons to offer. While there are discernible bits and pieces of other international hardcore styles at play, it’s also unlike anything I’ve heard recently. It’s like a more gothic take on Finland’s Riistetyt crossed with a less raw-sounding GLAM. In fact, much in the same way the latter-mentioned Barcelona band did on their Veveno En Sus Flechas LP, Padkarosda uses vocal effects and dissonant guitars to push the sound beyond the confines of simple genre tags like 'raw punk' or 'hardcore.' It reminds me of the weirder stuff on the discographia version of '80s Italian band Stiny Rats' Vergognati LP.  ...Read full-length review here.