Thursday, February 21, 2019

Review: American Secrets - Wasn't Our Season EP

    While pop punk isn’t exactly a genre one associates with Alabama, the state actually had a pretty good roaster of bands back during the pop-punk-with-breakdowns wave from around 2008-2012. The state boasted Carridale who had a bit of success nationwide and virtually every scene in the state had a talented pop punk act or two, with even Gadsden boasting solid ones like Apollo 11 and Off By A Long Shot. Unfortunately, since about 2014 though we’ve have been in a bit of a rut when it comes to the genre. While the state has enjoyed a bit of an uptick in more traditional punk bands American Secrets seems poised to break the states pop punk dry spell. The four piece's first release Wasn’t Our Season boasts six tracks of solid songs falling on the very poppy spectrum of pop punk that may remind devoted southern pop punk fans of TN’s On My Honor. The EP opens with the title track Wasn’t Our Season which gives listeners a good introduction of what they’re in for and if the band is for them. If you like your pop punk with a little hardcore edge the band may not be for you but for those that enjoy catchy mid-tempo style in the vein of say Real Friends, the band are likely up your alley. The band follow it up with "Be Mine" a slightly more high energy track more in the style of say New Found Glory with very cute sappy sing along lyrics like “I wanna be your late night drunk text, I wanna be your shot waiting at the bar, I wanna be that last little reason you come home with me so make up your mind”. Other highlights include "Bed Sheets" which I must say is easily the most sickeningly sweet pop punk tune I’ve heard in quite some time. Fans of the genre may well experience some feels from this one with its lyrics like “Don't hide under the bed sheets, The sun can't shine through, Don't let your heart keep fading, Because I'm right here waiting “. Tracks like "Smoke Me Out" and "Said Goodbye" meanwhile may not be quite for everyone as the higher pitched vocals occasionally veer into chipmunk territory but nevertheless are solid tunes. The closing track aptly titled "Last Song" kicks things up a notch with some pop punk breakdowns and some slightly harsher vocals before wrapping the EP up with a neat bow with the closing line “Summer just wasn’t our season”. All things considered, this was a surprisingly impressive debut and I’d encourage readers to throw the guys a few bucks rather than simply going the free route regarding their Bandcamp. Additionally, if you enjoy the EP, the band's YouTube page may be worth checking out as it features a variety of covers from both big name pop punk bands like Fall Out Boy and up-and-coming ones like Waterparks.
          -Kevin Spann

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Those Goddamn Liars At The GAD! Zine

    I promised a bazillion folks a while back that we'd be updating this site on a more consistent basis. Turns out I was mistaken. Until NOW! Well, this is the first post in almost a month, but after "NOW!", we'll be posting articles of various lengths, subject matters, and uh... quality far more often. My relatively meager dream is for us to post new content every day. Probably be closer to 5 days a week, but we'll see what happens.
    Like everyone who is reading this, we have lives outside of this creative little box. As I've said many times, life interrupts art. Sometimes things take longer than initially planned. Disappointment and rigidity of concept are two killers of the any process. The creator will become disappointed that things are not working out according to the original plan or not meeting the original deadline. Especially if the deadline is self-imposed, it would be better for that creator to adjust their expectations. You don't have to take life's lemons and make lemonade (or a battery!), but being adaptable can be an asset to the independent and budget-conscious artist.

    Preachin' the Gospel of Punk, here. You don't have to be a music student with thousands of dollars worth of equipment to be in a cool band expressing yourself. A lot a folks have big ideas that they can't imagine being smaller, so they don't try. A few years ago, I wanted to make a zine. A lot of my "peers" kept bogging down the project with ideas like full-color and glossy pages and a $10 price tag. All that sounds nice. It was hard to get started and unlikely to be even remotely sustainable. Like I said, we're poor and we have lives to kinda maintain. A lotta people were overwhelmed by their preconceived scope or just let down that the project would be anything less than their "vision". And they went away. I finally just said, "I'll make a little zine just like the ones I made in high school." I knew it was doable (if dumbass Teen-Adam can do it, anybody can), so I did it. It's a photocopied black & white rag on standard paper. Some people still don't get it (they never will), but with the help of many friends and family, GAD! has taken on a life of it's own.

    The threshold to a blog or a website is far less daunting than even a Sniffin' Glue knock-off. We intend to take better advantage of this. GAD! is now a zine, two websites (if ya count The Alabama Underground Music Directory), a podcast, an internet radio show, 3 music compilations, a yearly music event, and a really bad Christmas album. All of them done with the same utilitarian mindset. Just "fuckin' doing it" already puts you ahead of the curb. We have no competition. No confusion over what our success is. We do this because we love it. Every issue, every article, every episode, every whatever is the accomplishment. Sharing what we love is the success.

Oh, yeah. And GAD! Zine Issue 20 is running a little late.... 


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Review: Moth Face - Self-Titled

    This one's been out for a while. I hope it doesn't look like I'm reviewing it now because of all the damn moth memes on social media! Because this really is a fuckin' great album. The dudes know their doom and they know their hard rock, and they know how pump fuckin' energy into it. What I mean is there is more than just sluggish riffage and lazy haze. There are real actual SONGS happening. They understand that playing slow isn't enough. Opener "Tell Them That I'm Not Home" is about as perfect of a start as one could imagine. And a perfect illustration of my point. The song starts metally but gets catchy and kinda deep, then wraps in way that reminds me of the softer moments from Sabbath's Paranoid album. Kinda hate that I've mentioned Sabbath, because honestly what I love is how this is a real modern band that isn't some by-the-numbers throw-back. Investigate for yourself. -Harmless

Moth Face on Bandcamp

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

An Brief Interview With The Friendly Fingermen

    The Friendly Fingermen are one those bands that can crank out effortless hardcore one minute and a heavy groove the next. Intensity is a non-negotiable with these Huntsville area musicians. A treat to just about any lover of heavy music. I got in touch with Fingerman(?) Anson Helton to find out more.

GAD!: Who are you and how did this happen?

Anson: Band members are me, Frank Cole, Jason Generic, and Jarrod Carmack. I think we've been doing this close to a year or so. Jason and I have been wanting to do a project together for a long time so we said fuck it, let's do it. Obviously, Frank and I have worked together a lot in the past, plus he's fucking a talented, so he was an obvious choice. Jarrod and I have also worked together and have been talking about doing something heavy and groovy for years now. I wasn't sure if he'd have the time but he answered the call annnnnnnd so we had our kickass lineup. I love playing with these guys, they make it sooo easy....

GAD!: Was your music a conscious choice or just a natural direction for ya'll? I guess I ask that weird question because you guys really are that solid for a band that's been around for such a short time.

Anson: Jason says, "The music was ordained from on high. We are simply the messengers." It allows us the opportunity to vent our anger in unison while also delivering the message of the Friendly Fingermen .

GAD!: Any near-future and/or long-term goals?

Anson: Let's see, really short term is the show on the 26th with the Sideshow Carnival and then it's into the studio to lay down at least another EP So fast, we're planning on taking the rest of the year off from playing and focus on the recording and transcribing more messages from on high to deliver to the masses. Long term goals? To continue to be a voice for the freaks, the outcasts, the misguided and forgotten. To remind them they are not alone and all are welcome unto the Friendly Fingermen. All are welcome!

Interview by Harmless

Monday, December 10, 2018

Review: Owls And Other Animals - CARMINE

    Owls And Other Animals are a fairly stripped-down acoustic-y unit, but they have a firm understanding of how to make the most of their self-imposed boundaries. The songs are so whittled-down to their utter essence that even the tiniest variance hits like a blast. Opener "Crouchin' In The Corner" is business as usual until the cool keyboard kicks in. Tunes like the urgent single "Viola" and later album track "Big Lakes And Skies" are firmly grounded by the understated bass of Deondre (a member of the Trash Cats, with whom OAOA shared a Christmas album last year). Outside of a well-worn guitar, the bread and butter of any OAOA tune is the breathily soft and almost-singular voice of Colin and Dana. When they sing together, the room mellows into a candlelit basement. We're but the silent apparitions surrounding them, whirling in their bluesy choruses. The dreamy tunes of Owls And Other Animals are smart, well-written, and even-better-performed. Turn down the lights and turn up the volume. -Harmless

Owls And Other Animals on Bandcamp

Owls And Other Animals on Facebook

More OAOA by GAD!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Review: Abusements - IRRITAINMENT!

    I love the Abusements!! Fast and funny punk rock for those of us blessed (cursed?) with the keen observation skills to notice how everything around us is at least a bit off, if not outrightly fucked. “Troll Farm”, one the album’s many standouts, is very contemporary in its subject matter (Russians attacking us through social media), but it’s so fun and sing-a-long-able, that we’ll still be blasting it in ten years. Let’s hope it won’t still be topical… Another hit is the single “Space Nazis”. It’s a humorous look at the U.S. government’s past association with former Nazis to meet our Cold War space race needs. Really, just about every tune on IRRITAINMENT!, from “Sex Cult” to “Mall” to “Florida Man”, picks at the way-too-mundane ridiculousness of everyday American life. This is what punk rock is all about: Recognizing that the “normal” people are the crazy ones. Verdict: Snotty and exciting. Loud and fast. Catchy as hell. I want more, please.


Friday, November 23, 2018

Muddy Roots Music Festival 2018

    Muddy Roots Music Festival takes place Labor Day Weekend at the Junebug Ranch in Cookeville Tennessee. This year, it started Thursday and went until Sunday. Camping is included with the purchase of the ticket. There are 3 stages, 2 bars, food vendors, and even a waterfall you can drive, or if you're brave enough, walk to. This year, I saw Everymen, Pinata Protest, Rock Bottom String Band, The Goddamn Gallows, X, The Dead Boys, The Meat Puppets, Megan Jean and The KFB, Dead Bronco UK, Those Poor Bastards, Slim Cessnas Auto Club, Call Me Bronco, Sleep, Neurosis, Cutthroat Shamrock, Fu Manchu, and James Hunnicutt. Not in that order and I'm sure I'm missing some. This was my 2nd Muddy Roots. I attended 2017 as well. I enjoyed both experiences although there were a few changes this year. There was a larger stage in the back of vendor row, with powerful speakers. We listened to Sleep from the campsite which was quite far away but did not sound as such. There were some new vendors and the bar on vendors row served in a line rather than just walking up. There was less roots music than the previous year and more old school acts like X and Dead Boys, more rock like Sleep and Hell On Fire. On Sunday evening, the sanitation crew came through and cleaned the port-a-pots, which filled the air with disgusting blue toxin and shit. That was the only bad thing that I recall other than times of silence when no bands were playing at all, which didn't seem to happen the previous year. Muddy Roots is a fun and safe festival. People nap on the ground and sides of the hill. Everyone is pretty kind and courteous to one another. It's a place where you may be an outcast at home, but for those 4 days, you're just another one of the gang. If you're able and to escape to somewhere amazing in 2019, Do It! Bring lots of drink, it's hot. And so you know, the place you get your bracelet has a bar with a real toilette and good food around back. I didn't know that my first year and this year, I found it to be an oasis. -Salina Brilla