Friday, August 10, 2018

Review: PDERRIGERREO - I'm In a Bad

    The first tune on I'm In a Bad kinda reminds me of Active Ingredients or Atom and His Package (that is, if Atom had friends). The songs that follow are even more chaotic, with rowdy banjo and god-knows-what-else bangin' and clangin'. Accordion? There's crazy indie ditties and drunken crowd back-up vox. What genre is this? Um.... D.I.Y. party-farm? Dunno if they'd admit it, but there's some skilled and interesting musicianship going on with these folks! One of the few weirdo acts that truly offers a variety of sounds and ideas. This is literally one of those cases where if ya don't like one song, you can just keep listening and you might love the next. I love 'em all. -Harmless



Saturday, July 21, 2018

Review: Skeptic? Hornet's Nest

Skeptic? - Hornet's Nest
Birmingham's Skeptic? has been punk rockin' since 2001, and they've never put out a bad release. Band members and longtime fans may have their opinions, but I think it's difficult to call anything they've done less than bad ass. Regardless of fidelity (or maybe the occasional lack thereof) of some recordings, Skeptic? has never failed to get the blood pumping. I chalk that invulnerability to two things: Barron's snarling society-is-an-asshole voice and the band's potent speedy energy. Those attributes have been enough to carry the listener and can cut through just about anything. Skeptic?'s latest full-length, however, finally gives us a near-perfect blend of live enthusiasm and studio depth. What that means is that you get what records were meant to be in the first place: not only a documentation or art as sound, but the closest thing to being THERE. Kudos to Aaron Greene (A New Kind Of Hero) for his excellent sound and recording at his legendary and well-missed Syndicate Lounge. Between his work and the mixing of Emanual Ellinas and the mastering of guitarist Tim, I think there were just enough right folks involved who could say, "I know what this band fuckin' sounds like!" The bass thumps and attacks. The drums rattle the stage (your brain stage!). And the guitar blasts and sometimes even shreds, maaaaaan. The music hammers home every damn lyric. Every song is fast and potent and angry and mocking and fun. They even bash away at a Woody Guthrie tune! Desperate times call for great Skeptic? records. -Harmless

Skeptic? – Hornet’s Nest
Me, I’m from the late 70s, early 80s era of punk and hardcore. It’s a hard era to replicate, because of it’s immediacy and earnestness. So here is Skeptic?, Birmingham’s finest, and one of the finest hardcore bands to fill those empty shoes of days gone by. And they do it. Blistering. Vocals that would get a head nod from Jello. Not an ounce of fat on it. If this don’t make you get up and smash into somebody or something, then hellfire, you’re bound to lose. - Alabama Sharp

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Review: The Goddamn Gallows - The Trial

    The Goddamn Gallows' 6th studio album, The Trial, just like its predecessors, does not suck at all. 10 songs total, it starts out dark with "Grassmuncher". An instrumental piece, it's almost an initiation or perhaps the introduction to a character (if you imagine a rock opera, which I did, when listening from start to finish.) The story my imagination followed was a shady and despicable evil character who commits a series of awful deeds, leading up to The Trial, a stop at the Honeyhole, eventual death, and then on to the afterlife. However you choose to listen to the songs on this album, either in succession or individually, they are each an experience or a journey. The variety of voices, sounds, and instruments used by The Goddamn Gallows has always been a favorite aspect of this band for me. Whispers, evil yodels, growling and the fact that all members voices are heard at some point is really fun, invoking, and keeps your attention. They touch on so many genres. Metal, blue grass, psychobilly, and punk, along with the air of perpetual doom and references to the darker aspects of spirituality don't make this the easiest band to describe and this album in particular is like a Carnival taken over by an Evil Metal band that subjects themselves and the Carnies to torture before all being locked onto a rollercoaster that falls off the track mid-loop into an ocean and drowns. Song titles on this album are (in succession) the aforementioned "Grassmuncher", "Blackened Soul", "It's Gonna Be Ok (No It's Not)", "ShitWish", "When No One's Around", "The Trial", "City of Fools", "Honeyhole", "Dreadful Sinner", and "Down With The Ship". Buy this. If this is your first time hearing this band, backtrack and get yourself caught up, because you are truly missing out on some incredible music. I have seen them 3 times live. 1st time, they ripped out a guy's tooth, and there is even a live album based on that activity. If while you are listening to them and a suggested band pops up, try them out too, these guys are affiliated with some other great bands, in fact you may have seen some of them at Copper Top and Maggie Meyers back in the day when I was working the calendars or more recently at Sidetracks Music Hall where The Goddamn Gallows are going to be playing June 29th along with Trash Cats (Alabama), Days N Daze (Texas), and Gallows Bound (Tennessee). Don't miss your chance to see these guys, support your local venue, and buy their stuff. Oh, and just a tidfo of info, the members of this band also have other bands you can check out: Fishgutz and his Ignorant Band (played Copper Top a few years back), Mickey Classic and his Lonesome Spur (played The Hot Spot.. I was in Chicago, sorry..), Uriah Freedom Baker has Wormfoot and a clothing company 2 and Over (I've bought stuff), and Jayke Orvis who performs on his own and with The Broken Band. Do Not Miss this Summer tour and be sure to purchase The Trial (out right now!).
-Salina Brilla

Friday, June 22, 2018

Show Review: Tetanus Ramp Fest 4/20/18

The Devil's Got A Hold On Me
The God Damn Rights
Higher N' Hell

Show flyer.
Horton, Alabama is a hoot! Beautiful moon above an outdoor amphitheater. Loud music, stage, skate ramp. I was enthused to see the hard work and change from the last time I had visited, when the show had been in the basement of the house. The set up is spacious and includes a good size spot for vending and a fire pit. Unfortunate and unseasonably cool weather occurred or I'm sure there would have been a better turn out. The art was cool, I got a new piece by Dawn Erwin but got there late and missed Brian Burks' stuff, as well as one of the bands, The God Damn Rights, who were kind enough to give me a CD. I have enjoyed it many times since. I guess I really like bands with the name God Damn in them. It's creepy, and scared my driving companion a little while we were driving in the woods. The title of the CD is Everyone Who Ever Loved You Was Wrong, and the graphic art is a
drawing of a man being tarred and feathered. They claimed to have thrown the music together quickly and without much practice, and that has got to be how the best music is made, because this is a good listen. The Devil's Got A Hold On Me was grit and missing teeth, a favorite local band of mine. Skatanic was a new one for me, and they were both loud and melodic. I would see them again. Higher N' Hell was Bama Country Metal as I'm starting to call these good ole boys raised with both and mashing it up with added puns of humor to create this sound that is becoming familiar. It was difficult to stand close to the stage because of how loud it was, as I would get up there and have to move back again. I think it's incredible these fellas have this great little skater punk gem to share with us and I very much enjoyed my time there, the place has a feeling of community and safety. I have been informed that camping is available, and I for one am gonna take them up on it at the next Tetanus Fest. - Salina Brilla

Flyer for tomorrow's show, featuring art by Dawn Erwin.
The Tetanus Ramp Facebook Page

Friday, April 13, 2018

Book Review: Damnation by Alabama Sharp

    Over the course of 35+ years, Alabama Sharp has led such legendary and infamous underground Alabama bands as The Knockabouts, Monster Dog, Monster God, and the Go-Go Killers, all the while quietly writing some of the sickest fiction ever imagined. Seriously, the reason why we’re just now reading this stuff is because no one was brave enough to publish any of it. In the true spirit of D.I.Y. (of which he was an early purveyor), Mr. Sharp finally said, “Fuck it!” and decided to publish the work himself. This means that Sharp doesn’t answer to anyone, which in turn means we get even sicker stuff than we would have gotten had somebody else published him.
    The first half of the book is a collection of Sharp’s art. Simple crude pen and ink drawings of hyper-violent and over-sexed demonic debauchery. Readers of our print zine have likely bared witness to some of his work, which is downright quaint when compared to some of the demented smut found in these pages. Like Clive Barker guiding the hand of Helen Keller to mock Picasso. Or a five-year-old trying to explain why the house is empty and there’s blood everywhere. Reminds me of the little kid’s art in Jay Anson's Amityville Horror book, but instead of a sprinting pig, we get a two-headed three-breasted naked lady with a dead baby draped between her necks. *And the prosecutor points to the child’s drawing, “Is this where the devil touched you?”* Doodles of the damned. Viciously visceral. A gnarly introduction and a helluva visualization of what might come.
    The text portion of the book ranges from brutal abstract poetry to deranged short stories. Alabama Sharp is a man who's brain is packed with a lot of (fucked-up) ideas, but I’d wager that this being something of a compilation picked from different periods in the writer’s life has added an even deeper layer of stylistic variety. Luckily, Pissed-Off-Kid Sharp is just as talented a writer as Punk-Rock-Elder-Statesman Sharp. The entire book is well-written. Which makes it even more hard-hitting. Any warnings of offensive content should be taken very seriously, but make no mistake, this is finely-crafted. Interesting stories that really pull the reader in. But these are intense stories. We’re talking extreme violence, rape, murder, rituals, and gore. Ramshackle prose gives way to slice-of-life torture porn to the tale of a family trip gone waaaay wrong to the musings of broken-brained stalkers and serial killers to what amounts to a throbbing Penthouse Forum gone bad. Much of it from the monsters' (human, inhuman, and non-human) perspectives. All masterfully imagined and the very definition of explicit. EXPLICIT. Gorehounds rejoice, but this book is not for everyone. It will haunt you and disgust you and it will get under your skin. This book is grotesque and challenging. Damnation was clearly published to push buttons, let’s hope one of those buttons isn’t your doorbell. -Harmless

Monday, March 26, 2018

Review: Metayouth - Speech Balloons In June

    This is what I loooove about the digital age: THE IMMEDIACY. Just last month, Metayouth released their debut self-titled full-length on Bandcamp, and now they're already back with an E.P.! Dakota Gilliland hasn't lost his chops when it comes to creating catchy poppy kinda emo-y punk rock. I should hope not; like I said, it's only been a month! But that's not to say that there hasn't been some growth. Everything seems more effortless (in the good way) this time around. The distorted overblown instrumentation is a potent tool for this artist and he's become more adept at it. I've always said that I've rarely heard a pop-punk band sound bad live, but that something is often lost in the translation to tape (or digital computer pixie dust or whatever). Metayouth agilely avoids this by (1) writing lyrics that are interesting regardless of the vessel, and (2) Co-opting the raw intensity of a rough demo while having the skill to build upon it and manipulate it to get the point across. Fearless and fragile. This'll get ya digging for more noise. This is gateway garage. -Harmless

Metayouth on Bandcamp

Metayouth on Facebook

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Review: Rapid Randy - Widow Maker

    Rapid Randy Hughes (Nic-O-Teens/NcSeventeen/Model Citizen/Parasites/Backseat Virgins/too damn many more to name) is back after close to a five year hiatus. And his return is nothing less than an extraordinary experiment. Gentle, but brash by virtue of its very existence, Widow Maker is a delicate, personal, and strange return for the one-time (and hopefully once-again) prolific musician. For this 4-song EP, Randy has traded in his bass for an other-worldly autoharp and subtle electronics. Using these devices, and a little help from his equally creative family, a soft, spectral soundscape is crafted. A skilled pop and punk and pop-punk singer, his voice is now distant and low in the mix. Spoken poetry and observations. He shares his thoughts as spacey soundbites. A salesman of the soul. Melancholic. Cathartic. Magical. This is the fragile sound of a brilliant artist freed. I can't wait to hear what else he has in store for us. Glad to have you back, Rapid, hope you stick around for a long time. -Harmless

Rapid Randy on Bandcamp