11/30/15

Record Review: Mercy Killings - Snuffed Out 7"


Mercy Killings - Snuffed Out 7" (Beach Impediment)
By Nathan G. O'Brien for Scene Point Blank

This is the second 7” from this new-ish congruence of Richmond, VA old-timers. The band flexes a pedigree that includes Wasted Time, Government Warning, Direct Control and a whole bunch of others. Eight minutes in total of bulldozer USHC in the most straightforward sense. No fucking about whatsoever; just head down, get the fuck out of the way hardcore punk. As predicted, there are some pretty blazing albeit brief guitar leads, a few moshy breakdowns, and vocals that are appropriately gruff and angry. I’ve been listening to this for several months now but can’t seem to come up with more words to describe it other than the few I just used. I wish I could tell you that this was unlike anything you’ve ever heard before but truth is if you’re into this punk shit then you own a million EPs just like this one. That doesn’t mean it’s terrible—and to be clear, it’s not—but it probably won’t be making many of those year-end best-of lists that us stupid record reviewers love to throw into the black hole that is internet-based music criticism. The way I see it a band like this has two options: churn out a few more short punch-packing releases like this and then call it quits, or, choose to deviate from the script a bit and craft some songs that will keep listeners engaged for the duration of an LP. I’d hope for the latter, but can live with the former. It is hardcore after all. And sometimes that’s all that matters.

Originally posted here.

11/22/15

HDD Radio #33.5: Weekend Mixtape


Hey, so long story short, episode no.34 is all set to go but can't be uploaded until the first of the month due to file size issues. In the meantime, here's a mixtape I assembled over the weekend. I'm calling this one episode no.33 and a half. It's a little different from the stuff I normally spin on this show but I'm confident you'll dig it. Shoot me an email (thee.n.o.b at gmail) if you want a copy of my new zine. And follow me on Twitter at @OMG_NOB. I always follow back, provided you're not a robot or a total asshole. Peace!



Tracklist: 
Better Daze – Stay Right Here
1-Speed Bike – Circle-Fighting Machine
Lee “Scratch” Perry – Thunder & Lightning
Supatone – Yorulamento
Banco de Gaia – Harvey & the Old Ones
Mabi Thobejane – Sidudla (Gus Gus Mix)
LCD Soundsystem – Thrills
Brycon Games – No Puppets
Skream – 8 Bit Crazy (feat Murs)
Mick Harris - ???
Afu-Ra & Jeru the Damaja – East New York Stamp
Black Nights – Zip Code
Lordz of Brooklyn - ???
Everlast – Some Nights
Sweet Tee & Jazzy Joyce – It’s My Beat
Ultramagnetic MCs – Ego Trippin’

Subscribe in iTunes here. Direct download here.

11/13/15

The Soda Killers #10 OUT NOW~!


THE SODA KILLERS//PUNK, RAP & GRAFFITI FANZINE//ISSUE #10 

This thing just dropped. Tons of graffiti flicks, music reviews, scene reports, record store reviews, and burrito reviews. Yes, you read that right - BURRITO REVIEWS. 

Half-size, 32 pages front-to-back, photocopied, DIY as fuck.

All words by Nathan G. O'Brien. All photos by Rafe O'Brien. The Brothers O'Brien, ya heard!

Available for free, trade (preferred,) or by donation.

Hit Nathan on Twitter at @OMG_NOB or email thee.n.o.b[at]gmail[dot]com.

Don't be a poser.* Support DIY arts.



*Just kidding, you're not a poser.

11/12/15

Record Review: Pontius Pirate - Pterodactyl Island LP


Pontius Pirate - Pterodactyl Island LP (Backwoods Butcher, 2015)
By Nathan G. O'Brien for Scene Point Blank

Every so often I go through a phase where I’m listening to a lot of pre-Independent Wormhole Saloon era Butthole Surfers. Such was the case when this 17-song slab-o-wax landed in my mailbox via Food Fortunata, the genius behind Ear of Corn fanzine. I promptly ripped this to MP3s so that I could listen to it while riding my bicycle. Wouldn’t you know it, it popped on one day and I was like, cool, Butthole Surfers, that should get me a few extra miles. A couple songs into it and I was like, wait, what is this again? Turns out it’s a trio of dudes—Poopy Necroponde, Teeth Aquariums and Food himself—known collectively as Pontius Pirate.

This is quite good; growing on me with each listen. Much like Pestilent Endeavors there’s a heavy dose of humor in the lyricism. And lot of the time the song lyrics are just straight-up narrations with little regard for the longstanding tradition of making sure the words rhyme. Other times the words rhyme but make absolutely no sense. Take the song “Wise Man” for instance: “I somehow caught AIDS from a pork chop and made my dad giggle and twitch but only Pete Marovich can get away with calling me a son of a bitch.”

They also clown on black metal with the song “What Would Black Metal Do?” which I love because, with the exception of maybe two bands, contemporary black metal is pretty goddamn boring.

Originally posted here.

11/11/15

Scene Report: Run The Jewels Live at First Avenue


Run The Jewels live; First Avenue; Minneapolis, MN; 10/23/15

By Nathan G. O'Brien for Scene Point Blank

“I’ll apologize now. If you are wearing glasses, you might want to put those away. If you hate being slammed into by people, you might want to make your way to the back. If you’re rocking brand new sneakers, I’m sorry. I’ve been there. I understand. But you’ve been warned. I’m sorry in advance about your new shoes.”

The speaker is El-P. He and his partner in rhyme Killer Mike are known as Run The Jewels. Maybe you’ve heard of them. No doubt a result of their relentless tour schedule—this being their fifth appearance in the Twin Cities alone in just three years—Run The Jewels have mastered the art of house-rocking. We’re midway through their headlining set at a sold-out First Avenue, where they’ll give this seemingly honest and understanding forewarning just a moment to sink in before Zach de la Rocha’s sampled machinegun-fast vocals crack from the speakers, signifying the arrival of “Close Your Eyes (and Count to Fuck)." “Run them jewels fast, run them jewels fast, run them, run them, run them…fuck the slow-mo...”

And then it happens.

BOOM!

Trackstar The DJ drops the beat and the audience explodes into a frenzy of neck-snapping, pogoing, fake gun-in-the-air-firing, fist-pumping lunacy…again. This is how it’s been since they took the stage. You wouldn’t think it could any crazier, any sweatier, or any OMG-ier. But it does.

Louder than fuck and with enough sub-rattling oompf to run a nuclear reactor, RTJ perform on this night—the second to last of their current tour—as if they are auditioning for their first record deal. Keeping the eager crowd enthusiastic for an hour plus in stifling heat, the duo themselves are intense and furious and restless and command the proceedings instinctively; reaffirming that they are thee force to be reckoned with in the hip-hip pantheon.

The openers Fashawn and Boots fill their roles adequately. The former, clearly understanding the importance of high spots, brings locals Prof and Brother Ali on for one song each. Meanwhile the latter’s The Weekend meets Nine Inch Nails gimmickry (about all the was missing was a bunch of mud and keyboards on boomerang stands) seems a tad out of place, but provides ample time to hit the bathrooms and grab last-minute drinks. And oh boy, the drinks are being had tonight.

RTJ enter the stage as they always do: with Queen’s “We Are the Champions” playing over the PA. They seize control immediately, doing “Run The Jewels”, and then “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”, and later “Blockbuster Night, Part 1” and “Banana Clipper.” They bark out lyrics like Southern gospel preachers while Trackstar The DJ works the decks, providing a hard-thumping backbone and flexing his turntable dexterity.

Following “Love Again (Akinyele Back)”, the track with the famed hook “She wants this dick in her mouth all day”, El-P and Killer Mike spend an inordinate amount of time trying to drive home the point that it’s not the misogynistic sex rap it’s been mistaken for. “That’s the stupidest lyric for a love song we ever wrote” says El-P. Killer Mike adds, “But don’t get it twisted; it’s a love song. And if Gangsta Boo was here she’d tell you the same thing.”

Okay guys, whatever you say.

The set, which by my estimation contains just about every RTJ song there is—including “Lie, Cheat, Steal”, “Pew, Pew, Pew”, and “All Due Respect”—closes out with a rousing rendition of “A Christmas Fucking Miracle.” And when all is said and done, the crowd is left swaying in their own sweaty puddles, kind of drunk, and in complete awe.

“Dude, that was so awesome. My brand new Jordan’s are fucked. But I can’t wait to see these guys again.”

The speaker is my friend; a young Nebraskan transplant who has just witnessed his first rap show.

Originally posted here.

11/10/15

Record Review: Pestilent Endeavors - Adult Onset Death cassette


Pestilent Endeavors - Adult Onset Death cassette (Backwoods Butcher, 2015)
By Nathan G. O'Brien for Scene Point Blank

This is a cool tape sent in by Mr. Food Fortunata, the fine gentleman behind the always enjoyable and reliable Saginaw, MI-based publication Ear of Corn fanzine. A lot of these tracks—and there are a whopping 21 of them, although mostly very short—remind me of early Mudhoney. Some of the odder-sounding stuff on Flipper's Sex Bomb Baby! compilation comes to mind as well. There’s a fair amount of humor going on here. Take for example these lyrics from “A Cure For Everything”: “Alcohol is the cure for depression/Depression is the cure for herpes/Herpes cures nasal congestion/And congestion cures alcoholism.” There’s something really, ah, historical that resonates from this. Like it was made in the ‘80s. That, or by 40 year-old guys that decided to bang out the same kind of skuzzy punk that they listened to in junior high. That is not a rip, rather a compliment! A little-known band like Frantix is another good frame of reference I suppose. I’m not sure but Food might actually be in this band even though the players are identified as Patient Zero and Doctor X. (I lost the note the came with it.) I can tell you though with 100% certainty that he did the artwork, which is excellent and creepily engaging as always. The overall packaging is really nice. It’s a pro-printed 3x fold-out J-card that recalls the days when cassettes were the only medium (as opposed to the on-trend one they are now) so your stuff had to be on point visually if it was going to attract any attention.

Previously posted here.

11/9/15

Record Review: Deadmen - Anger Rising cassette


Deadmen - Anger Rising cassette (Afraid of the Basement, 2014)
By Nathan G. O'Brien for Scene Point Blank

This is some metalpunx ouf of New Jersey. Superfast and snotty as all hell. Like some spikey-haired punk singing for a grind band or something. There’s sweet breakdowns too, which lend it a hardcore vibe. Maybe I’m way off-base, but that’s what I’m feeling. Not always my favorite thing, but I find this rather endearing. Guitars are sick. Especially on “I Won’t Fight It” and “Go Out Like Darby”, which are the final two songs on Side B. There’s a level of crunchiness to the whole recording that I really dig. Pretty solid production but still like, loud and crusty, ya know. Plus they have movie samples in between songs which I always get a kick out of. And there’s some cool sample manipulation type shit incorporated. I should mention that this was sent by Shayne, a solid dude that I’ve been trading mail with for quite a while now. He usually sends along a copy of Afraid of the Basement fanzine (which he contributes to) which also happens to be the name of the label that put this out. I won’t lie, the fact that this comes on cassette makes me like it way more than I normally would. I’m a sucker for tangible items and even more so, if they're re-tread archaic formats. Really nice looking pro-printed packaging, which is no surprise as AOTB is one of the more professional-looking zines that comes through my mailbox. 

Previously posted here.

11/1/15

HDD Radio #33: Punk & Rap, New & Old


Hello and welcome to another episode of HotDogDayz Radio. This time around is a lot like the last...and the one before that...and the time before that too...and...well, you get it. Nathan doesn't chat it up that much this episode though, but you'll still get a heaping helping of punk, hardcore, and rap music; old and new. Hope you dig it! As always, thanks so much for listening. If you feel like getting in touch, please do. Email: thee.n.o.b[at]gmail[dot]com. Twitter: @OMG_NOB



Tracklist:
Last Crusade – Personne
The 4 Skins – City Boy
Negative Approach – Hypocrite
Sick Of It All – Clobberin’ Timet
Malik B & Mr. Green – Dolla Bill
Malik B & Mr. Green – Devil
Mutual Daps – Words From the Agency (feat. Agentstriknine, prod. & cuts by DJ EonsOne)
The Alkaholiks – Let it Out
Smif-N-Wessun – Wontime
Czarface (Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric) – World Premier (feat. Large Professor)
Czarface – Ka-Bang! (feat.MF Doom)
Mutual Daps – Gimmie Back My Slurpee (feat. Z-Man, cuts by DJ Quest)
Ivy – A Bum and a Playboy
No –Toil
G.L.O.S.S. – Masculine Aritfice
Dregs – Skin
Vaaska – Religion Destruccion
Mind Control – Dig
Fatigue – Bat Face
Mad Existence – M.E. Stomp
Society Abuse – Violent Crimes
Busted Outlook – Road Block
True Vision – True Vision
Busta Rhymes – Flipmode Squad vs. Def Squad (feat. Jamal [Mally G], Redman, Keith Murray, Rampage, and Lord Have Mercy)

Subscribe in iTunes here. Direct download here.