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


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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.

 -Harmless


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

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

An Interview With The Abusements


A major punk rock force has erupted from Alabama's capital: The Abusements!! I've been a fan since first reading Shannon Heupel's article about them for the The Montgomery Advertiser. I checked out the videos and instantly fell in love. Snotty and fun, but with bullshit detectors set on max, the Abusements are an antidote to the malaise one suffers even when they actively avoid today's politics.


Who are these lunatics and where the hell did they come from? I reached out to the group to get to the bottom of it.


"Dominique Bradley on drums, and Chris Eckels on bass, they are both from Montgomery Alabama. DJ Fake Name is on guitar and vocals, he’s from the early 1980s."

Ok...

"Like many professional musicians, especially in the south, Dominique’s real gig is playing worship music. That’s what pays the bills. Chris used to be a member of the legendary Creep List. DJ Fake Name was placed into a medically induced coma back in 1984, after a bizarre and freakish tanning booth accident. Then promptly forgot about. Through the miracle of Obamacare he was revived about two years ago, and seems to function pretty well although his memory is completely shot. He was pretty psyched to discover that Ronald Reagan was no longer president, but that enthusiasm was very short-lived.
He’s also rather irritated that we still don’t have personal flying jet packs and levitating skateboards here in the amazing future year of 2018."

Well, that's an answer I guess. The gentlemen were kind enough to hook me up with a couple of the 45s, which I happily reviewed waaaay back in GAD! issue 18. Not a bad song in the bunch. As I mentioned before, I'd seen a couple of their music videos online. But outside of them, there wasn't much of a way to hear their material online. Then, while stalking the band online, I noticed a statement on their Facebook page about them not using streaming services. This is a debate that has interested me from the beginning. I've personally had my music on Spotify, taken it down, and put it back up.
"DJ Fake Name takes a very dim view of the entire music industry as a sector, and the deals foisted upon musicians by streaming services are especially lopsided, exploitative and non-negotiable. However, we have made the decision to release the forthcoming album on every streaming and download service we can find, because we actually do want young people to be able to hear it, on whatever fucking stupid formats they use. The idea of losing money while gigantic multinational corporations sell ads and subscriptions off our backs is distasteful, but that’s the environment today. Most young people don’t have CD players or record players these days, they’re getting music through their phones. And you can’t blame them. A one-band boycott is not going to change anything. We are better off just getting the music and the messages out there anywhere we can."

So the Abusements are going digital...

"We are also releasing it on CD, and eventually LP, because sound quality and packaging do matter
There’s no replacement for having a tangible physical artifact."

On the subject of the upcoming full-length, I was compelled to inquire more about the release....

"18 tracks of all original smart ass punk rock, professionally recorded, running about 36 minutes or so. It’s almost all the songs from our current live set, all written within the last 18 months.
The first part is songs about science and politics. The second half reports on disastrous results from mating attempts."

Sounds tragically relateable....

"It was never intended as a concept album or suite, the songs just kind of fell together that way thematically. The title track is brand new, last thing written and recorded. We haven’t even played it live yet.
We made this with Robert Shimp, who has a whole bunch of impressive credits including work with REM, the Donnas, the Queers and many others. Robert has built an impressive new studio here in Montgomery, called Technical Earth Recorders, and succeeded at making us sound much better than we actually are. Which, you know, is always the goal."



Having adequately made myself ravenous with enthusiasm for the new Abusements album, I greedily asked DJ Fake Name about other Montgomery bands I should check out.

"Great Montgomery acts include Barrens, Heavy Children, Pleasant Valley, the mighty V8 Death Car, Froggy Fresh, King Bee, all completely different, all great."





So there ya go. Better buy the Abusements new album, "IRRITAINMENT!" immediately and check out all those other cool bands they recommended. These fellas clearly have                                                                                      impeccable taste! -Harmless



Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Review: Paint The Sun - Document


    Shame that Delaware's PTS has disbanded, but I'm glad they reconvened to "document" their music. It's noisy and punky and Minutemen-y. (Just realized that one of the tunes is called "Political Song For Mike Watt To Sing", so I guess I nailed it!) The sound quality is all over the place and is just as much a part of the experience as any instrument. Please let this release encourage more bands to put their tunes to tape or whatever. Music History is the Best History! I hope these good folks are still making cool noise, even if not together as a unit. If they are, I wanna hear it. -Harmless 


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Review: Danger*Cakes – Gloomy Girl


For the uninitiated, the Danger Cakes are an Austin-based all-female rockabilly group who deliver 50's bubble gum pop rock with a bit of an edge. Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the group is lead vocalist and model Jamie Bahr who, in addition to her vocal duties, plays the upright bass. The band’s latest offering, Gloomy Girl, features three unique tracks likely to entice even the most casual of rockabilly fans. The first track, "Not Your Doll", introduces listeners to Jamie’s very sultry voice, at times suggestive lyrics, as well as the group’s twist on the 50's bubble gum pop sound. Next comes "Love Bites", which incorporates a heavy cabaret feel with lyrics featuring plenty of delightful double entendres. The closing tune, "Bruise Blues", is a cute little number that leans heavily into the 50's bubblegum pop aesthetic. Fans of the genre are unlikely to go wrong and those looking to expand their horizons may just be in for a pleasant surprise. -Kevin Spann

Monday, November 12, 2018

Last Stand of The Roach Motel


The Roach Motel,
Decatur Alabama
Saturday June 23rd

This was an all day event that began at 2pm. I wasn't able to get there until about 6, just as X.Y. Spaces was beginning. The Roach Motel is located in a storage unit, a long one, it's almost in the center. If you go in one side there's a print shop, you can go through into the venue space that also has an exit that lets you out the other side. It's a spacious area with a stage and sound equipment, the only problem is it's a metal tin can with nowhere for the sound to escape. I saw 5 bands and each of them put on terrific shows full of heart, audience participation and gimmicks. X.Y. Spaces had lamp light, which created great shadows in the room, the singer Brady also passed out headshots of himself for people to distribute around town, in hopes he will get discovered. Avowed all wore Hawaiian shirts, and Meadows had matching plain hunter green. They were great performances that had a lot of thought, practice, and effort in them. The audience in Decatur does not mosh, instead they.. I guess thrash about one at a time with fists of fury and high kicks, it looked super dangerous and made me uncomfortable, however they seemed accustomed to one another and each did their little "release". Random Conflict was straight up great as always, the owner of The Roach Motel got on stage and sang with them and made sure to point out what Alabama legends they are. Last I saw Katabasis. They were lights, metal, performance, flowing hair, deep screams, melodic singing, and an odd guitar, it was missing its head. They were very on point with one another, I hope to see them again. I missed seeing Widowmaker, because I could not physically hear another band in the space. Overall it was a good time, with what appeared to be a good turnout, I saw lots of new faces and talked with folks, our region needs an all ages venue is a definite consensus, because once again I made it just in time to experience a final show at a closing venue. 
-Salina Brilla