Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review: Stocklyn - Stocklyn II


    Sometimes it’s fun to imagine alternate realities for clearly defined entities, historical eras, and so on. Like, I found myself wondering: “What if the music of MUSE was sexier?" "More slithery and reptilian?” “What if The Black Keys were from Gotham City?” “If Artic Monkeys weren’t so spastic and British*?” or the one question that almost woke me up at night more than once: “What if Radiohead weren’t so dreadfully boring?” (A rock and roll antihistamine?) Then I got this EP in the mail. And I went…."oooohhhh…"

This is good. REALLY good. It’s the kind of good that pisses you off, because you know it’s inevitably going to cause you to judge the rest of the albums you acquire against it. And it’s only five tracks. It’s like getting interrupted in the middle of the one-man slap fight: you’re about to send a few thousand little soldiers on a suicide mission, then BAM! Its gets called off, the freeway gets backed up, but the rocket is still ready to launch. Can you say “awwwkwaaaardd?” Ok, that’s probably not how you’ll feel when you listen to this EP. But it is achingly short for the caliber of songs that are on it. “Run To The River”, the lead-off track, is a dark, seductive, bewitching number. If the rock bands on the radio now had any idea of how to actually try and reinject boner I mean bona fied sexuality into the genre, this would be how it’s done. It’s slightly sleazy, but not in that gross, off-putting, Rohypnol-rock perfected by Nickelback and all those other faceless shlock troopers that look like The Crow gets his wannabe-Nikki Sixx look at Walmart (No offense to Walmart shoppers). It’s got genuine allure to it. Not the strip-club filtered approach. “Follow The Ashes” is the catchiest way a misunderstood youth could hope to pine over another to. The chorus literally soars into outer space with your soul. There is an almost “Head Like A Hole”-esque quality to the synth that dutifully marches along before the ascension. Find any tragic love story film or any movie where two individuals struggle against all odds and evil forces to keep their love alive and this song is in the background of the trailer. “Get Free”, the closing track, is THE summer jam. It’s another track on this painfully short release that is perfectly tailored for the moving picture show. It’s for that scene where the heartthrob protagonist is coming into town off the interstate, and has just finished a conversation with whoever is riding shotgun. He leans his head back, in his Wilsons Leather leather jacket and Tom Cruise as Maverick aviator shades and lets out a hearty, so-Cal sun-soaked belly laugh. It’s about this time they stop the car and go to meet their contact and the song abruptly cuts off. I’ll be waiting to say “I told you so” when Sunkist, American Airlines, car company X, T-Mobile, etc. make this song their secret weapon when gearing up for their campaigns during the American travel seasons.
I once described their first EP as “ugly music made by pretty people”. For this one, all I can say is: YOU NEED. NO MORE QUESTIONS!!
-Jackson A.D.

*No Actual British citizens were harmed in the construction of this review.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Review: A Very Loud Death - Lanterns

   
In the latest issue of the GAD! zine, I reviewed A Very Loud Death's new full-length, "Lanterns". Below is the review as it appears in Issue 15....



Short and sweet. Well, now I kinda want to say a little more. First of all, these fuckers are deceptive. They walk you in with some cool ambiance and follow it with some whispery/emo-y alt-metal that starts dipping into mad laughter. The vocals become a tad unhinged. The music becomes a teetering crooked carousel. Hardcore hollering makes a brief appearance. More whispering. Reverb. Crunching guitar. Swinging drums. The bass just snuck into my right ear and got a little too close to my brain. Was that just some Dick Dale-esque guitar noodling?? Now they're marching. Yet, most of this thing is... mellow? Is it the reverb and effects that are confusing me? This recording is a mystery. I think this is what I was trying to get at before. You're gonna think you've heard this before, but it's richer and more interesting. Subtlety is power. Still don't know what the crap I'm talking about? Shut up and just go to their Bandcamp and check 'em out. -Harmless     




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: CHUCK MOSLEY Live @ Maggie Meyer's Irish Pub in Huntsville, AL 8/10/17

    
    Chuck Mosley is best-known as the singer of Faith No More during their early ascent, but has been involved in multiple projects over the years, most notably a stint with the Bad Brains and his own band Cement. When an auto accident during Cement's second album tour derailed his music career, Chuck took several years to recuperate and focus on his family. He formed a new band, VUA, but was, for the most part, a family man with a "real" job. Chuck made his comeback, however, with
2009's underrated/underpromoted album, Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food. Since that time, he hasn't gone away. In the intervening years, he's put out Demos For Sale (demos and rarities from WROHRFF), released a couple of digital singles, guest-performed live with FNM a few times, celebrated the rerelease of their first album, We Care A Lot, played guitar in and sang for Douglas Esper's band Indoria, recorded with Primitive Race, and has been doing a "low key" tour throughout Europe and the US. That aforementioned tour, The Reintroduce Yourself Tour (the title a nod to FNM's second album, Introduce Yourself), is still under way. We were thrilled that Chuck and company were able to play the South East USA. And even more thrilled when they played in our neck of the woods, Maggie Meyer's Irish Pub in Huntsville, AL. What follows are just a few of my observations of that performance.

    Anyone who has known me for more than five minutes will tell you that those first two Faith No More albums were my gateway into music. Obviously, I will always give this man the benefit of the doubt, but what about the rest of the audience? Will they accept a stripped-down experience with no "We Care A Lot" to be heard? Turns out I was worrying about nothing. Chuck Mosley and his band are less like a touring act and more like tried and true veterans of whatever scene they happen to be playing that night. They're funny and they're down-to-earth. They hang out at the bar and chat and enjoy the opening acts. Chuck, in particular, looooooves the music. He even bobs his head to the house music playing through the speakers between sets, visibly entertained by tunes he's had to have heard a thousand times. He tells me "I love Black Flag". As for the sets themselves, Mr. Mosley seems impressed with all three bands that go on before him. From the jammy blues-powered Bookie Wilder through the Tennessee gonzo metal of Lummox to the subgenre-challenged PLOW, Chuck Mosley's respect and enthusiasm never wavers. He claps and comments to other audience members about songs he likes. Hell, at one point, he even takes out his phone and records a little bit of Flummox's set. Chuck Mosley is the ultimate fan.
Chuck checking out Flummox.


    Chuck's set is an acoustic-y effects-tinged affair with himself on guitar and Doug on conga. For this tour, the two have added Cris also on guitar and Randy on bass, substantially beefing up the proceedings. Chuck is alternately charming and mischievous, an elder statesman and a wily pup. The band runs through tunes from Faith No More, Cement, VUA, and Indoria, and turns them into their own new songs. Everything is re-imagined. And it works! Organic psychedelic shoegaze folk? Why not?! Us hardcore fans are impressed with how well Indoria's "Bella Donna" (an exclusive remix of which appears on the GAD! ZiNe Comp CD) flows into a stripped-down rendition of FNM's "Death March". Newcomers at the show are clearly blown away by the honest, creative power on display. Chuck and Douglas, old friends and frequent collaborators, joke around with each other and the audience between songs. The atmosphere is always casual, yet instantly soooo powerful. These guys are here to entertain, and have fun doing it. Confidence without the ego. They even do a great rendition of Faith No More's Patton-era song, "Take This Bottle". And Chuck and Doug sing the hell outta it. If these sounds were coming from some unknown kids with a stupid/clever band name, you'd still want their autograph. Do whatever you can to see these fellas live. I promise that you will not regret it. -Adam Harmless




Adam Harmless with Chuck!
GAD! writer Adam Jackson with Chuck!
My old "We Care A Lot" cassette.



   

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

PUNK IS SHAKING DOWN COLOMBIA WAY: An Interview With ALKOHOLEMIA

With Jane Pistol
NEW ALBUM: 'Buscando Provocar

Jane Pistol: ​Is Alkoholemia more of a punk band or metal or a combination?

ALKOHOLEMIA: That’s tough to accurately answer, some might say one thing or the other….we feel we’re not just simply plain punk since we include the whole variety of our different influences...we’re brutally different, actually….so there goes the “recipe”....we don’t necessarily need a genre tag, we know we have punk vibe, though….and when it comes to metal, in our case it’s a bit more precise to refer to hard rock, rather than metal itself...


JP: Lyrically your songs seem to convey a message at times. How much of the song-writing is based on personal experiences and social and political things?


ALKOHOLEMIA: Since the lyrics writing process is really spontaneous and not methodically established as a series of steps, there’s plenty of issues to deal with in the lyrics...some refer to our local, national everyday reality, one or two deal with politics and similar stuff, a big deal of them also deal with party, drinking and having fun….if we put it in a balance, we are more oriented towards entertainment than to any kind of controversial views.


​JP: What were the two live tracks on this new album. Where were they recorded?


ALKOHOLEMIA: ​We recorded a live-session number of songs some months ago, it took place at the one of the studios for the Sound Engineering Undergraduate Program at one of the local universities in town...the tunes are “Alkoholemia” and “Y No Volvió Jamás”...a group of students needed to submit some tracks for a course….and well, we’re always supporting academy, you know! (laughed).


JP: When working on this album what were some of the challenges you found in putting it together?  Did you all learn anything in particular that you would do or not do again?


ALKOHOLEMIA: Usually, it’s hard to make up your mind as a band and decide which tunes go and which ones are not ready or suitable for it. We could say that our previous experiences recording with Alkoholemia and our previous bands, --why not-- have shown us the importance of a solid and mature pre-production process...after deciding a setlist, getting every single little note, drum-fill, solo and detail perfectly agreed and prepared so we could have a final rehearsal sounding exactly as the album will sound...that’s been one of our biggest lessons, we learned it for our previous EP, not with this album, though. The only thing we could say it was pretty chaotic has to do with timing and scheduling studio time….we work with this guy who’s the ace in town, reason why he’s always busy, as we are with our jobs, so it took more time than we expected.


JP: Do you have plans to tour in support of the album?


ALKOHOLEMIA: Currently, we’re a bit more concentrated in completing all things related to the official release as well as to book all those big cool local fests...obviously it’s such an huge expectation and we’d love to travel, it’s rather a wish than a plan...and it would be wiser to captivate more audiences here, first....


JP: You are based out in Colombia- what is the music scene like there?


ALKOHOLEMIA: The independent underground scene is rough stuff...specially in our city, Medellin…there’s more bands than audiences...EVERYONE is in a band...so it’s a bit easier to find cool, fun, rewarding gigs in surrounding nice little towns nearby, one or two hours away driving, you name it...and underground market is always a tough issue as everyone knows, that’s not a mystery...now, in brief, I’d say it’s a growing scene, culturally speaking...there’s huge fests in the country and great, international bands come to the city...Luizzgui saw Ozzy, Overkill, Aerosmith, Mr. Big and Megadeth in a matter of months, Dave has seen Offspring, Bad Religion and Green Day, Felipe as well...things are growing  

JP: Music is definitely global. Who have been some of your favorite bands to listen to growing up?

ALKOHOLEMIA: Considering the already mentioned huge musical taste differences, we can even mention we HAD to create a Spotify mix-playlist for our trips in our cars...so, to name a few; Dave usually goes with Spanish punk rock bands, as well as some California sounds, neo punk stuff as Green Day, Offspring….his top two are Rage Against the Machine and Bad Religion...and weird to mention, he’s been recently quite into Ghost and Die Antwoord. Now, Felipe is more into stuff like Misfits, NOFX, RAMONES, some melodic Death Metal bands, he also loves ska, just to name a few....Luizzgui’s top is Queen, Def Leppard, Skid Row, Ozzy, Van Halen, Steve Vai, Guns & Roses, KISS, Thin Lizzy , 80’s Hard Rock in general....

JP: Do each of you personally have  a favorite track on the album that you love to perform? If so, which ones?

ALKOHOLEMIA: We haven’t actually discussed that, to be honest...we’re not gonna lie! (laughed).Now, looking at some videos and thinking of some recent rehearsals, we could say the most notorious euphoria can be seen when playing the song “Buscando Provocar”...maybe that’s why we chose it as album title.

JP: Where does the band like to meet up to jam and write?

ALKOHOLEMIA: We tend to sit together to produce new stuff at Dave’s house with his drums and after the basic structure of whatever song is solid, we go to a rehearsal studio in town...nothing unusual or particularly ritual, you know...

JP: With so much music available for purchase- tell us why this album is one we need to own.

ALKOHOLEMIA: ...you might have read in our site at the Cannonball.Rocks page, ”...regardless what you're most into...It's gonna blow your mind!”

                                     Buy the album HERE!
                                                                                   

Check out these killer Alkoholemia videos!:

Alkoholemia - "Despedida"

Alkoholemia - "El Revolucionario"

Alkoholemia - "Humanidad Perdida"


Friday, April 28, 2017

Run On: An Interview With Owen Ni

  An Interview by Adam Harmless 

 “Used to, I would have dreams about meeting a hero or having everything be a cakewalk once you made your “hit”, but as an artist, you grow and mature and learn that music is so much more sacred. It’s such a higher power than to simply want to be famous. I make music for my own self-consumption nowadays… My motivation is to attempt to continue to push my own limits and create something beautiful from it.”
    Growing up, Owen Nye's dad introduced him to the music of KISS and Pink Floyd, while his mom shared a love of Prince and Michael Jackson with her son. Owen credits them with his early taste and interest in music. Today, under the moniker of "Owen Ni", he continues to voraciously search for and consume interesting sound. As soon as one speaks with Owen Ni, it’s becomes abundantly clear how passionate he is about music and his philosophy toward his own music, which he at first describes as “electronic”. He quickly elaborates, “Specifically, I would say Techno. More specifically, Minimal Techno. It goes on and on. So I simply say Electronic Music. I don’t make “EDM” which is what most people try to group in all electronic music under. I just simply make electronic music.” He considers EDM to be “the system’s label”. “Oversaturated Pop music that is disposable at best to me.” Owen takes pride in the honesty of his work. “It’s not all drugs and partying for me. My music is a state of mind. My music, I like to think, can be a statement for someone. An expression. Like having a piece of art speak to you in different ways. I make music that was once/still is a way of life for people.” The music is not without its roots. “I like to think that the respect for my predecessors in the genre leak out in my music. I have influences from Detroit, Berlin, Chicago. etc. and they all show in my work. I’m very inspired by the heroes of the 90’s techno era. Richie Hawtin, Carl Craig, Jeff Mills, and so on. Trying to keep the genre that I work in, and most importantly, the music, true to its original form.”
   
    Though he's a very prolific musician in his own right, Owen also shares the music of others through his Run On Recordings label, as well as his podcast on Huntsville’s Spice Radio, "Run On Radio". Run On Recordings was started by Owen in 2015 after he’d tried to release his work on other labels. “I noticed a lot of labels had restrictions and exact sounds they were looking for. I wanted a hub where artists could just be artists. Without having to worry about sounding like other people.” Owen Ni is a true believer: "DIY is the way to be anyways. If you can run your own label with your own music and make money from direct fans that comes directly to you, then you’re set.” This independence offers freedom that is simply difficult to find elsewhere. “The music on my label is all over the place, but I like to sum it up as all being creative. We have punk, techno, noise, ambient, leftfield, shoegaze…something for everyone, really. It all works because it’s all made by artists/bands that believe in their work. Something that’s a must for me.” His podcast is still relatively new, but is already showing a lot of potential (I'm honored to have appeared on the first episode). "Run On Radio started while just talking to Ben Jobe over at Spice Radio's HQ, Spice Rack Studios. I was pitched the option to host my own podcast live from the studio and I decided to dedicate it to the label rather than focusing on my own material. Made more sense to me that way."
    Owen keeps plenty busy and it doesn't appear that'll be changing anytime soon. "You never know what the future will bring when it comes down to it. But I do know that I have landed a lot of deals with (other) labels and will have some actual vinyl releases coming later this year. The label is constantly growing, and still looking for more ways to spread the word as well as different ways to distribute the works. I'm still frequently traveling this year but in 2018 I might try to sit down and focus on more full length, conceptual LPs rather than EP releases. Probably the distant future goal of mine would be to spend some time out of Alabama for awhile. I will always call Alabama home, but you're in a desert when trying to grow as an artist here, especially as an independent one. Berlin has been on my bucket list for a long time, but I like the atmosphere in Asheville, NC specifically. Who knows? Time will tell."
    As I'm prone to do with loco locals, I asked Mr. Nye what he thinks of the scene/scenes in Alabama. "The Alabama music scene(s) is an interesting one. I remember talking about this with an artist while in North Carolina. He said something that really put it in perspective for me. He said something along the lines of "In the States it's like a desert". That's very loosely transcribed but basically we both agreed that in the US, it's hard to get respect for your work, but some towns, cities, it's like an oasis. Which brings me back to AL, it's hard to get respect from people here. Especially if it's not country or a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band. However, that makes it much more rewarding when you do find like-minded artists/bands with similar goals. It can be any genre you're working in, but it's all still music. All still art. I have personally met a lot of artists/bands in AL that excite me with their projects. So, the best way to explain the music scene in AL to someone not familiar is that there are a lot of diamonds in the rough."


 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Punk Rock Icon: A Q&A With Henry Rollins



A couple years ago, Dakota Gilliland joined the GAD! Zine ranks, first with his unique art, and soon after, with his wonderful interviews. He continues to contribute his writing to both the zine and this blog with enthusiasm. There's a lot more to come, but in the meantime, check out this Q&A that Dakota conducted with the legendary Henry Rollins of Black Flag/Rollins Band way back in 2015....

GAD!/DAKOTA: You've become such a major icon for the punk rock community. Did you ever think what you were doing would have such an impact on people?

HENRY ROLLINS: I have always done everything creatively motivated; writing, music, etc., to do it. To be able to do something completely, to hit it as hard as you can and give all to it, something like music, that's all I have ever tried to do, all I ever wanted to get out of it was the opportunity to expend energy. I had no idea that anything I did in this mindset would matter to anyone. I have never written anything, done anything on stage thinking, "This will...." I have only tried to be clear. That anyone cares about what I do has never ceased to surprise me. I think I am lucky to feel this way because it allows for me to not lose the plot.

People are afraid of failure. How did you decide to leave the head manager position of your job and become a lead singer in a band?

It was audition for my favorite band and by doing so, risk success/failure or wake up the next morning and go back to the same job and spend a life time wondering what could have been. What would you have done? Exactly.

How has social media and the internet affected the music scene?

I don't think there is enough time or space to answer that fully because the effect has been so top-to-bottom, from the mechanical to the ethical to even how we consider music, it turns into a topic that is almost as big as music itself. On the not so great side of things, the industry and now even the fans have found ways to make sure musicians stay struggling for a means by which to feed themselves and have a life that escapes fiscal anxiety. On the good side, I think that the internet is allowing for people to reward their curiosity by going to a band's site and listening to music for free and maybe becoming a fan, or allowing their interest to become more enhanced and by doing so, find out all kinds of music, bands and artists they never would have found otherwise. The internet is partially responsible for a ridiculous amount of records in my collection.

With most of our scene being raised in the heart of the Bible Belt, religion plays a part in almost all our lives. Do you think punk rock and religion can coincide?

I think you can have faith and anything else. Faith and Darwin, marriage equality, etc. It all depends on who you're dealing with at any particular time. Some religious people can be very intolerant of certain ways of going about things. Personally, I make most of my decisions as to what's good and bad / right and wrong by seeing if any issue passes the smell test Constitutionally. Some religious people will always see something like Punk Rock as anathema to what they stand for. Some punks might find aspects of one or any religion to be lunacy.

Any advice for anyone out there trying to get their music heard?


If I were trying to do it in 2015, I would use a Bandcamp page. Get heard for free and then set up a pay option. Everyone gets to check you out and you're not sitting on boxes of records that will go unsold.

Interview and Art by Dakota Gilliland
[Originally appeared in GAD! Zine Issue 9]

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Super Review: A review of the first levels of every SNES Star Wars

Super Review
A review of the first levels of every SNES Star Wars
By Dakota Gilliland

I can already hear you. “Why would this nerf herder only review the first levels? Why not just review the game as a whole?” I wish I could tell you it’s because I’m punk af and will do things how I want to, but the truth is I never got past the first level on most of these games. I made it to level three once on Super Jedi, but these games are HARD! My mom divorced my dad when I was 2 years old and lucky for me, she remarried a dude whose son had an SNES and all three classic platformers. SCORE!

super star wars.jpgSuper Star Wars
Pterodactyl birds, Alaskan bull worms, and scorpions. Oh My! You begin this level as Luke in the Dune Sea on Tatooine. Your weapon is a blaster which is fine for this level but proves pretty worthless in the later levels. Getting dive bombed by bird creatures is a recurring theme throughout the series and is more annoying than anything. The boss of this level is the Sarlacc Pit Monster (couple movies early, I know.) His attacks are pretty weak. He can hit you with his tentacles or by throwing rocks. What makes the boss fight difficult is the fact that the entire frame is set in a pit of quicksand. Keep your finger on that blaster and you shouldn’t have many problems taking him down though.

super emire.jpgSuper Empire Strikes Back
I’m not sure where it officially ranks, but Empire was DEFINITELY the hardest for me. You begin the level as Luke on the frozen planet of Hoth. We have, however, upgraded our blaster for a lightsaber. (I also want to add that these games are absolutely beautiful. There’s just something about that classic 16 bit artwork that gets me all warm and nostalgic.) Not only have you upgraded from your blaster, but you also start this level with a TaunTaun that you ride like Yoshi. I mean, this thing is pretty quick. Enemies you’ll bump into on this level include ice spikes that shoot from the ground, these spiky ice porcupines, and (you guessed it) dive bombing birds. At a point in the level, you enter a cave in which you fight miniature Wampas and eventually end up fighting the mama grizzly. The Wampa boss fight is pretty tough. He takes up the entire frame and can do damage with his arms and ice breath. Although you have your lightsaber, you definitely want to go with your blaster on this one. It’s much more powerful than the one from the previous game. Especially if you power it up.

super jedi.jpgSuper Return of the Jedi
This is my favorite of the game and film series. Wanna fight about it? This level begins as you battle  your way through the entrance to Jabba’s Palace. This time around, you can choose your character. This level lets you choose between Leia, Luke, and Chewie. Leia is the popular choice, but I like to use Chewie for his spinning charge attack. Remember those tiny bird creatures from before? Well they’re back. And they’re big. They randomly will pick you up and carry you back to various parts of the level and drop you from the sky. Not too frustrating if you weren’t trying to land on tiny floating platforms. Most of the time this means falling to the bottom floor of the level, or to your death. The boss of this level is the little robot from the movie that C3 and R2 meet at Jabba’s gate except 50x bigger and will not hesitate to crush you. He’s actually not too bad if you use your character’s charge attack. He was pretty tough to beat as a kid and I’m sure Han is eternally frozen in his carbonite prison on many cartridges around the world to this day. - GAD!