Cementing The Seams

The Plot Sickens


 With 2009 wrapped up tight, what else is there to do but look forward to 2010?  Recall, reminisce, and lionize 2009 you say?  Well, I'm sure there will be more of that as well.  But for now, let's see what's on the horizon and not worry so much about validating everything that's already old.  Also, you might notice that I've chosen to include "pt. 1" in the title of this post.  "Pt. 2" may never happen, but every post is a "pt.1" when you think about it.  So let's not get hung up on details in case "pt. 2" doesn't happen until July, or January...  Anyhow, enough introductory nonsense, let's get this show on the road and just start with next fucking year already.  And what better way to kick it off than with...

Dolcim - These ex-members of Cease Upon The Capitol have already posted 3 new songs on their myspace and will follow up their 2009 LP "Guillotine Ride" with a cassette version of the same album, a 4-way split LP with Men As Trees (among others), a new full-length LP released by React With Protest and, hopefully very soon, a split 7" with...

Hammers - The UK crust outfit will actually release their next 12" EP titled "Orogeny" before the year is through (maybe).  You can pre-order it from them right now, and if you do you'll get a limited color jacket and record. You can also listen to the whole thing on their myspace. Awesome.  In addition to their planned 7" release with Dolcim (and a TON of other stuff) they are supposed to do a split LP with fellow crust punks...

Alpinist - These guys will follow up "Minus.Mensch" with the split LP with Hammers and hopefully a bunch more.  They tentatively plan to forego touring in February and March to write and record the new tunes.  Hopefully that isn't all they've got planned because these guys have got huge potential.  Also of note are their one-time tour mates (who's only release is a split with Alpinist)...

INTOBLACKMIRROR - More really promising German crust punkers, evidently releasing a full-length LP and split EP with Mount Logan.  And in case you guys haven't had enough hardcore from across the pond, you might want to check out...

Kaddish - Probably the most popular UK screamo band that hasn't released a formal album, Kaddish have been working on their LP for quite a while.  Evidently it is ready to be released some time in 2010, and if the demo songs they have recorded are any indication, it should be something to get excited about.  But enough hardcore, remember when I talked about...

Medications - Easily the best news that I've heard recently is that this DC band have finished recording their new album "Completely Removed" and it's slated to be released on Dischord Records in April.  Unfortunately the drummer they had on their first 2 releases has left the band, but I'm not discouraged. If you've been following for a while, you've probably realized I said some of this before.  It's about to happen again, because I have to mention...

Pilot To Gunner - Just a reminder, this New York indie-rock group has been out of commision since 2004, but in 2010 hopefully we'll see some long overdue (in my opinion) output from PTG.  They've got 2 new songs up on their myspace (and a lot of spam too!).

And that's it for now, look for part 2 sometime in the near future, or not.

I didn't write as much as I would have liked to this year.  In fact, I didn't listen to nearly as much music as I would have liked this year, and I'm not sure I know why.  I posted just about everything that I found was good, noteworthy, or otherwise warranted mention from this year, and can say with a measure of certainty that the stuff I posted in 2009 was the best I heard.  Still, there are a few memorable things that slipped through the cracks:

Tigers Jaw - Spirit Desire EP:  If the three songs in addition to the title track were total garbage, this EP will have still made onto this list, because "Spirit Desire" is just that good.  Luckily the other songs are acceptable and Tigers Jaw delivered on a pretty hefty hype-load garnered by their self-titled debut.


Portraits Of Past - Cypress Dust Witch:  I avoided posting this record earlier this year due to concern from the label that released it, who didn't want it leaked (not that posting it here would have had any impact on it's digital distribution).  Anway, a lot of people were caught offguard when screamo pioneers Portraits Of Past decided to reunite and release a new record in 2009.  They did not disappoint with Cypress Dust Witch and did what Portraits Of Past does, testing the waters and pushing the limits of what screamo is supposed to sound like.  Still. 15 years later.

The Gifted Children - One Clear Minute: Volume 01:  Ok, I promise, this is the last time (probably).  I've alluded to this EP like 10 times already and after all that I still feel the need to cover it.  9 songs, all under 1 minute long, all great.  Of all the good stuff these guys have done this year, this is my favorite.  I can't wait for them to do it again, 4 more times.

Jawbox - For Your Own Special Sweetheart (reissue):  In an effort to avoid sounding like a J. Robbins fanboy (which I am) I have to date not written about anything he's directly involved in.  But I can't NOT say something about this.  FYOSS is a cornerstone of the DC sound, and one the best albums ever, so when it was announced that Dischord and DeSoto were to reissue it jointly... well I suppose I've contained my excitement until now.

Paint It Black - Amnesia EP:  In 2009 Paint It Black followed up their incredible (and supposedly final) 2008 LP "New Lexicon" with two 7" EP's.  Amnesia appropriately showcases the band's ferocity and knack for melodic riffery.  This is Dan Yemin we're talking about after all.

Dancing On Debris - ...Of Our Self-Made Collapse: Surprise! A screamo band from Germany made the list.  Who would have guessed, amirite?  These dudes may not be unique, but they do what they do well and this record is thoroughly enjoyable.  Just make sure you're into the whole, ascending minor chords to sudden octave drop style hardcore Dancing On Debris excels at.  It's my favorite kind!

Annabel - Each And Everyone: I'm pretty sure I wrote the name Annabel in an earlier post this year.  To be fair, I probably didn't listen to this record enough in 2009.  It is the follow up to last years EP "Now That We're Alive" and actually includes most of it's songs (re-recorded).  Superb indie-rock.

Battle Of Wolf 359 - The Death Of Aeffect: Probably the most hailed screamo act from the UK, this release from Battle Of Wolf 359 is a heavy, crusty take on screamo of the React With Protest ilk.  Evidently none of these LPs made it stateside, and I still don't know if the mp3s I have are actually labeled correctly or in the right order.  But despite not knowing how this album is supposed to be constructed it is still awesome.  Also in, case you were wondering, they are named after a fictional military engagement in the Star Trek universe (otherwise known as the universe).

So, I know what you're expecting.  Frankly I was expecting it myself, but, I'm not gonna do it.  I'm not going to post a "Best of '09" or Top 10 list.  I feel like I've already written about most of the records I considered the best this year, and don't really feel the need to rank them. Instead, I'm gonna tie up the loose ends and, through a few scattered post, wrap up the last year to begin with 0 until, well, we may never know.  I hope I haven't dissapointed anyone.  But here are a few things you CAN expect to see in the very near future.

- A brief summary of all the stuff I forgot/neglected to write about that deserves some recognition

- A short list of releases I anticipated to a great degree but was unfortunately let down by

- Probably an annotated mix of my personal favorite jams from this year available for download.

- A primer of bands you should look out for in 2010 (twenty-ten? two thousand and ten?)

I've been listening to this album non-stop this week.  Slowride first came to my attention when I discovered that they released a split CD ep with their mostly under-rated Deep Elm label-mates Red Animal War.  This was in 2004 (the split came out in 2002), and they had subsequently released two full-lengths by that time.  I listened to their debut LP "As I Survive The Suicide Bombing" which was pretty standard indie/punk.  The sort of thing I had come to expect from Deep Elm.  Anyway, it was pretty unremarkable as I recall and I completely forgot about Slowride (and Red Animal War, who have one stellar album called "The Phantom Crusade").  Fast forward to 2009 and I randomly decide to use Pandora Radio, which, if you are unfamiliar with is pretty neat and you can learn all sorts of fascinating things about your musical idiosyncrasies (for instance, I am evidently a huge fan of "exstensive vamping"). Long story short, I hear a Slowride song that sounds fantastic, but recall not really being into them.

On "C/S" (I have no idea what this stands for) Slowride's sound has changed pretty significantly.  They've tuned their guitars down and taken a more alt-rock and (dare I say?) "mainstream" approach.  Either way it payed off because this record was memorable right away.  There, an entire review and I've said nothing useful. 

For fans of:  Riddle of Steel, Cake, Foo Fighters

Slowride on Myspace

Get it.

There was a brief time where The New Pornographers were easily my favorite band.  I'm not sure what changed really, maybe it was a phase, maybe I outgrew it, or, most likely, just needed something else.  I've been looking back on those days as of late though and recalled just how good this band really is.  Now when you look at The New Pornographers you find a power-pop super-group that is much more it's own entity than a hodge-podge of its now-famous singular members (new hyphen record!). Carl "AC" Newman released one stellar solo record (and one that was merely good).  Dan Bejar is, in his spare time, otherwise known as Destroyer and has released somewhere in the vacinity of 40 albums, and sultry singer Neko Case has a pretty high-profile career as a solo country crooner.  Of course, when The New Pornographers formed, the individual parts weren't so prolific (unless you consider being in bands in Vancouver, BC "prolific") and they are really only a "super-group" in hindsight.

"The Electric Version" isn't the best New Pornographers album.  In fact, it's probably the least acclaimed of their four studio releases.  It may not even be my favorite of their LPs, but that's the beauty. This bands "worst" album is better than roughly 96% of music in existence.  "The Electric Version" is their sophomore effort and is, well... sophomoric I suppose.  Not as solid on the whole as their debut "Mass Romantic" or it's follow up album "Twin Cinema", but "The Electric Version" showcases, in my opinion, some of the Pornographers more transcendent moments.  There may be a few duds on this record, but it's highlights outshine a majority of their catalogue.  So, if you dig this, you'll love the rest of their stuff.

For fans of: The Gifted Children, Ted Leo, Lemuria

The New Pornographers on Myspace

Get it.

I hope nobody is sick of hearing about this band, because this probably won't even be the last time this year that I write something about them.  I said that this was coming and, although it's later than I anticipated, I am following up on that claim because THAT'S WHAT I DO, and truthfully this album deserves it.

I expected big things from these dudes this year, and frankly it's what I got.  The proper follow-up to 2008's "Always Stay Sweet", and, as far as I can recall, their only full-length album of the year, "My Museum Pieces" has The Gifted Children polishing their pop chops with a slew of characteristically pretty, concise songs.  At first the record seemed a little unremarkable due it's slow nature and pacing, but I suppose it's the mood that is important.  After a few listens though, the songs I regarded as at all sub-par really grew on me, and most of them started getting stuck in my head at random intervals.  And isn't that what good pop music does (I suppose this also happens with bad pop music, but you get the point)?  It may not be as in-your-face good as "Always Stay Sweet" but it managed to sneak up on me and turn out to be one of my consistenly played albums of the year.  This is all more impressive when you consider that "My Museum Pieces" isn't even the best release by the Gifted Children THIS YEAR (more on this in the future).

For fans of:  The New Pornographers, The Capstan Shafts, Neutral Milk Hotel

The Gifted Children on Myspace

Buy it from their website

Sorry about the brief hiatus.  I don't have an excuse, but here's a new post!

Everyone's favorite DC indie/math/art rockers made their debut with a joint release on DeSoto and Dischord.  This EP features alternate recordings of two songs ("And The Washington Monument Blinks Goodnight" and "Kiss Distinctly American") on their much-praised debut full-length "No Kill No Beep Beep" and a song ("Busy Lights, Busy Carpet") that didn't make it onto the LP, but really should have.  An extremely strong debut from one of the most hailed bands on the Dischord roster.  And thanks to an apparent excess of picture sleeves (and an interest in re-releasing their back-catalogue) Dischord recently repressed this slab of gold (on clear gold vinyl, which makes that previous statement a pun.  Get it?)

For fans of: Faraquet, Les Savy Fav, Wicked Farleys

Q And Not U on Myspace

Get it.

I had to write about this record again for two reasons. ONE: When I posted it the first time I had listened to it exactly once, so I didn’t really have much of an opinion. I should have waited, because TWO: “Snacks” is the best album of 2009. Actually, I wrote about so quickly for kind of a bizarre reason. It was so good that I was AFRAID TO LISTEN TO IT. Let me admit something weird. Sometimes, when I listen to an album and immediately recognize that it’s great I start to get worried. What if it really isn’t all that good? What if I’ve fooled myself into thinking this is something it isn’t? What if it’s so good it can’t possibly be real? I think these things to myself and consciously leave the record alone so I can gain perspective. Usually when this happens it turns out that I’m just being irrational and the record actually is that good. Still, it’s a pretty rare occurrence, so believe me “Snacks” is in good company.

Anyhow, I suppose I pretty much summed this album up in the last post, but I’d just like to say that when I finally gave “Snacks” a thorough listen I thought to myself: “This is what I’ve been waiting to hear”.

It's brilliance I think is in nuance, and probably the best guitar riffage I've heard this year.  The dueling guitars (something I normally am pretty intolerant of) compliment each other so well throughout the entire record because neither is overbearing. I suppose what I'm saying is that they generally work together so well that I mostly forget that there at least two guys playing guitars at all times.  It helps that "Snacks" is impeccably engineered/mastered as well. 
     At first "Snacks" did seem a little overwhelming to be honest.  Kidcrash cram a lot of ideas into each of their songs but never get lost in them (something I waited for them do to when listening to this album the first few times).  Every song has a ton of structural elements but they are well focused and don't meander (now that I'm thinking about it, "Snacks" almost teeters of the math-rock line with this release).  So, I suppose what I mean to say is that this album could have gone wrong in a lot of ways but didn't.  "Snacks" is the best album of the year because in all ways it is fully realized (read: pretty much perfect).

For fans of:  Loma Prieta, L'Antietam, Dominic

Kidcrash on Myspace 

Get it (again). 

Copies still available at Init (for US folks) and Denovali (for Euros)

- Sorry I haven't posted a current full-length album in a while. But EPs seem to be where it's at as of late. Plus, I like writing in bullets

- Anway, Forming are a Southern California band who play a brand of mellow, poppy indie rock that is really good, for lack of a better descriptor.

- It reminds me of a lot of bands like Cheap Girls, Tin Armor and other slowjam punk-rock acts you might see in the line-up for The Fest (they might have been there for all I know).

- "Sleep Like A Dog" is their debut and was released by Vitriol Records, which, if you have been paying attention, is run by members of Graf Orlock/Ghostlimb. I actually had been listening to this for a while and was surprised to finally learn that Vitriol released it. Doesn't seem like it fits, but clearly these dudes know good music. Watch for Vitriol Records in the future.

- Oh, they are giving it away for free too!

For fans of: Cheap Girls, The Wrens, Tigers Jaw

Forming on Myspace

Get it.

Buy it and other great stuff from Vitriol Records (check out the Graf Orlock shirts)

This release from Trusty has the honor of being part two of the (semi-retarded) DeSoto Singles Club!  Trusty is a Little Rock, Arkansas punk band that relocated to Washington D.C. in the early 90's in a sort of suspect couldn't-be-coincidental style parallel with former president Bill Clinton (this is, of course, only speculation).  Anyway, to be honest I'm not very well acquainted (shamefully) with the rest of Trusty's discography, but this 7" is a serious slab of gold.  I suppose I would say that Trusty plays (on this release anyway) a version of power punk/pop that is reminiscient of the genre in the era but not at all derivative.  Think, the poppier progeny of 7 Seconds or The Adolescents or some other excellent hardcore/edge band from that side of the country.

For Fans of:  7 Seconds, Adolescents, The Marshes, Canadian Rifle

Trusty on Myspace

Get it.

Everybody is aware of Shiner right?  I feel like I've been over it, and if I haven't I suppose they don't really need an introduction.  In my quest to track down every release on the low-profile but extremely high-quality label DeSoto Records, I came across this gem.  Now the title track Semper Fi appeared on Shiner's LP "Starless" (curiously their only full-length release NOT on DeSoto) but the version on the 7" is actually a lot better.  The b-side "Sailor's Fate" didn't make it onto the record but it should have because it's at least as good as the majority of the album (which is saying a lot).  This is midwest shoegazy math-rock at its very finest.  If you're one of those people that ignores 7"s and singles, suck it up and don't let this get by you. 

Expect to see more DeSoto singles in the near future.

For fans of:  The Life And Times, Hum, Ethel Meserve, Chavez

Shiner on Myspace

Get it.

 I said I'd do it, so here it is.  This is one of those records that's amazing from start to finish and at one point or another just about every song was my favorite.  There are only a handful of albums I can really say that about.  Like I said in the previous post this is more DC indie-rock/post-hardcore fare.  Of course 11 years later SSM had a little time to polish their sound.  "At The Poles" is probably their most aggressive effort, so don't expect to hear the exact same type of stuff from their 7".  I know I really like something when I can't explain why.

For fans of: Jawbox, Kerosene 454, Edsel

Seven Storey Mountain on Myspace

Get it.

- Seven Storey Mountain are a DC post-hardcore worship band (this sounds derogatory but its actually a compliment) from Phoenix, AZ.

- At this time they hadn't incorporated the "Mountain" and were known only as Seven Storey.  Later they would add the final part making their moniker some literary reference that I don't remember and don't care to google.  Somebody's memoirs or something... (Errata: I'm not going to hide the fact that I obviously remembered this wrong since the cover art cleary says "Mountain" right on the fucking front)

- This 7" EP is their first official release (which was also released as a CDep containing an extra track)

- I should be posting something about their last (by which I mean most recent, but could also mean final) LP "At The Poles" which will probably go down as one of my favorite all-time jams from start to finish.  However, I've decided to post this

- I was excited to finally find mp3's of this record because I don't have a turntable or any other device capable ripping vinyl.  So in my excitement, I share.

- A very heavy early-Jawbox vibe on this EP

- Expect to see something about "At The Poles" when I get the time (read: the motivation)

For fans of:  Jawbox, Kerosene 454,  Edsel

Seven Storey Mountain on Myspace

Get it.

- Init Records put this CD in with my pre-order of the new Kidcrash LP and I finally listened to it.  Honestly it's pretty good.

- They're from Murfreesboro, Tennessee (I sortof want to live in this town, maybe you can figure out why)

- The Black Soul Choir used to be called The Falling (I know right)

- Init has this to say: "The 5-song CD from this DC-influenced Murfreesboro, Tennessee band who have been compared to Jawbox, Rites Of Spring, Rye Coalition, Fugazi, and At The Drive-In", which is a pretty fair assessment.  They also have a bit of a bluesy/swaggy indie rock feel mixed in.

- Bad band names aside, these guys are thoroughly enjoyable to say the least.

For fans of: See above

The Black Soul Choir on Myspace

Get it.

Buy it from Init Records for $1

With this post I think it's safe to say that The Gifted Children have probably gotten the most attention of any other band on this blog and it's for a damn good reason.  Actually two.  First, they are, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, probably the most prolific indie group (?) in the whole wide world and great, but most importantly, they are unique and relevant unlike most of what would qualify "indie" pop/rock these days. The Gifted Children are a sortof collaborative effort of DIY musicians orchestrated by one guy who release a flood of music every year ranging from one end of the indie spectrum to the other and release it by themselves on their own label (Tinhorn Planet).  Secondly, said guy/label sent me a bunch of new (and some old) stuff to fill my brain with just to see what I thought.  Like actual, physical CDs and vinyl which is as cool is it was unexpected. 

I think a little bit of luck was involved when I first heard The Gifted Children, when the one-two pop-rock punch that begins their 2008 full-length "Always Stay Sweet" hit the appropriate part of my skull I was hooked.  Listening to other releases from 2008 (there was like ten), it is possible that had I not heard "Always Stay Sweet" first (still possibly their strongest release that I've heard) I MAY have MAYBE overlooked them, which would have been pretty criminal considering their output since that release.  In 2009 The Gifted Children began with some undeniably solid material which they released for free (and I covered a few monthes back) and they're ending it one a high note.  If they are anything The Gifted Children are ambitious and are embarking on probably their most ambitious project yet.  "One Clear Minute" is a series of EPs released on 7" vinyl (a first, surprisingly) on which every song is less than one minute long.  Honestly this seems like where they are the most comfortable, as quick hooky pop songs are definitely their forte.  Only the first has been officially released, and to be frank it's one of the best EP's I've heard this year.  Volume 2 comes out this week.  So pick it up.

Also released recently was "My Museum Pieces" which is probably the closest thing to a follow-up to "Always Stay Sweet" that they have released this year.  But look for a proper review of that in the near future.

The Gifted Children on Myspace

Get a sampler cd (has stuff from a bunch of different releases)

Buy and download their music at their homepage

I ran across this band in my quest to find bands that sound similar to Sanctions and familiarize myself more closely with crust punk.  I'm not sure if I can speak with any authority yet about the merits of crust, but these dudes DO sound like Sanctions on a grander scale, and they DO fucking rule.  Alpinist are from Germany (M√ľnster to be precise) and are actually getting quite a bit of hype it seems.  "Minus.Mensch" came out in June and the band is planning to release a split LP with UK crust band Hammers, who are also excellent (as an aside, Hammers are also on the verge of releasing a split 7" EP with Dolcim!  You should download their "Year One" cassette here, because they're awesome and giving it away for free). Anyway "Minus.Mensch" is great and is pretty much the only reason I've ever wished I could speak German.  So, if you liked that Sanctions stuff, be sure to give this a go.

Bonus content:  Alpinist wants you to hear their 2007 demo tape, so they give it away for free.  It is immense, so check it out.

For fans of: Sanctions, Hammers, His Hero Is Gone, Fall of Efrafa

Alpinist on Myspace

Get it.

Order it from various European distros including (but not limited to) Phobiact Records, Contraszt!, and Alerta Antifascista

Have mentioned before how much I love the band Bluetip? Yes? Then we're on the same page. If you haven't gleaned that fact from previous posts, or don't read the posts at all then let me just assure you; I love Bluetip. Actually, there is no real reason I'm writing about Retisonic instead of Bluetip right now, but I suppose I'm in a mood. Anyway, the reason I started off as such is because Retisonic and Bluetip are basically the same. Retisonic formed shortly after Bluetip split, evidently because Jason Farrell decided he wasn't done writing post-hardcore songs with his trademark jangly, highly polished riffery. Retisonic manages to keep its "DC" sound while deviating still-further from Farrell's hardcore roots in Swiz. Anywho, "Return To Me" is Retisonics only full-length release, sandwiched between two enjoyable but less remarkable EP's ("The Lean Beat" and "Levittown"). Evidently they are working on a second LP, but I'm not getting my hopes up to see it released any time soon. This album still gets better every time I listen to it. Also, Modern City Records released it on vinyl, but I've yet to secure a copy.

For fans of: Bluetip, Riddle of Steel, Pilot To Gunner

Retisonic on Myspace

Get it.

Alright, so here's my hyberbolic take on this record:

Everyone ever:  OMG dude have you heard the new Cult Ritual LP?
Me: No, actually I've never actually listened to Cult Ritual
Everyone ever:  Man, you are missing something here.  Seriously like hardcore history in the making
Me: O rly?
Everyone ever: Yeah, if for some reason you don't like this then you're oblivious and should likely hate yourself
Me:  Fine, jesus I'll give it a shot.
Me again:  Oh, fuck this really is good
Now, I don't know if this record is really that mind blowing, but it certainly is nothing short of excellent.  A short, concise piece of hardcore music that people are genuinely and deservedly flipping out over.  Check it.

Check out the rest of their discography here

Don't listen to it first. Get it.

And buy it, because its still available at Youth Attack

I got a request for some more hardcore stuff on the site and I try to keep everyone's interests in mind, although it seemed to me like all I was writing about was hardcore. But that makes sense because its basically the large majority of what I've been listening to lately. I'm outdoing myself a little bit here though.

Before I'd ever listened to Graf Orlock I knew very little about them. I did know that they played some manner of hardcore music, I knew they were named after the vampire from Nosferatu, and also that they had totally rad t-shirts. As it turned out Graf Orlock are a grindcore band, who have created, and as far as I know, are the only band involved in the bizzare subgenre of "cinema-grind". In fact, "Destination Time: Today" is the final act in a trilogy of albums devoted to violence and the American Way, told through song and aided by intricately (not really) woven samples from 80's and 90's action films (most of which involve people being killed or killing people, although not exclusively, with firearms). The samples certainly give an obvious sense of theme and hint at structural narrative. Whatever the intent though, it is downright awesome and a lot of these songs chill me to the bone. With "Today", as opposed to the first two acts "Destination Time: Yesterday" and "...Tomorrow", Orlock take a bit of a more melodious approach, spending more time on breakdowns and guitar solos than is characteristic grindcore. They don't do it enough to take away from the base aesthetic, and I never get the feeling that I'm listening to a metal band. Anyway, suffice it to say that if you're familiar with Graf Orlock you should know what to expect with this release and be impressed with this slightly different, but climactic end to "Destination Time". If this is your first encounter with Graf Orlock, be prepared to have your shit rocked in one of the most entertaining ways possible. It also deserves note that this album has one of the most epic endings I've ever heard. As it should.

For fans of: Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Robotsaurus, The Terminator films

Graf Orlock on Myspace

Get it.

Still Available at Vitriol Records. Buy it guys.

Sunny Day Real Estate performing "Seven" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon 9/29/09

The Run-down: It's Sunny Day Real Estate...

Why this video is awesome: See above. Actually this one sort of defies convention. Rather than being a home recording like the rest its obviously taken from television, so the production is obviously top notch. Anyway, its still a pretty excellent performance, even though Fallon is mostly intolerable

The Marshes were sort of lost in the shuffle of 90's punk bands. Definitely not one of those groups people are still salivating over. They never had anything to do with Epitaph, Fat or Hopeless records (although they released this album on Dr. Strange which certainly wasn't obscure at the time) and honestly they didn't have a ton of lasting appeal. They released four full length albums and a few split 7" records with some bands I've never heard of before or since. Oh, also, one of its members played in DC post-hardcore acts Dag Nasty and Fugazi (for a short time). They also have some connection with Down By Law, the much more popular 90's punk act. Now, I'm not exactly sure how I came across "Pox On The Tracts". I'm pretty sure it was because the song "Girl On The Bus", which is like one of the best punk songs of all time and space, was on some compilation cd that a friend of mine had (actually I just realized it was Cinema Beer Nuts, a soundtrack to a music video compilation tape, released by Hopeless records, so scratch that earlier statement). Shit, anyway basically what I'm trying to say is that "Pox On The Tracts" is sort of a diamond in the rough. Both within the realm of 90's punk and the Marshes own material. If you enjoy the sort of pseudo-melodic, twangy bass, punk rock that takes its queues from east coast hardcore then you should really like this album. Beware, it's sort of a grower, but the payoff is a list of songs that represent punk in decades past and sound great.

For fans of: 90's punk, how many damn times do I have to say it

Marshes on Myspace

Get it.

I listened to this album one time today and already know it's brilliant. Kidcrash are an emo/screamo band from Portland, Oregon who have released material with bands like Mexico's Arse Moreira (who have a way with being attached to split EPs that never come out) and fellow emo revivalists L'anietam, with whom they share a high pedestal in the realm of blending the twiddly midwestern emo of the 90's with innovative screamy hardcore. I really hope this record holds up under repeated listenings because it was one of the freshest things I've heard recently in a genre that I'm honestly pretty burned out on right now. "Snacks" is an emo ray of hope.

Bonus Content: Kidcrash gives away all of their previous recordings for free at German label Denovali. Denovali also offers releases from a ton of excellent bands (namely Dominic who just released a new album)

For fans of: L'antietam, Loma Prieta, Kaddish

Kidcrash on Myspace

Get it.

Pre-Order from Init Records (for us North Americans) and Denovali (for lucky Euros)

You dudes like emo? Listen to this.

Ex Wife are a New Jersey two-piece and they evidently are selling a demo CD at shows and are recording some sort of album which I am extremely excited about. That is all I know, other than that they are quite excellent.

For fans of: Algernon Cadwallader, Monument, Drive Like Jehu

Ex Wife on Myspace

4:59 PM


I briefly mentioned these guys before in that review of Dolcim's "Guillotine Ride". Sanctions are a hardcore band from Nashville, TN and comprise the other two dudes from Cease Upon The Capitol, and I love that band so it was only a matter of time before I gave Sanctions a thorough listen. Now, unlike Dolcim, Sanctions sound pretty much nothing like CUTC, but I suppose to the uninocculated, the harsh vocals and thrashy guitar could create some confusion. Sanctions are probably best described as crust punk, which, as far as genre names go, is remarkably concise and sounds basically like you'd think. It's equal parts punk and grind but Sanctions seem more the former than the latter. Their first full-length, 2007's "Home Sweet Home" is a positively raging record that displays Sanctions aptitude for writing simple yet powerful punk riffs and working them into crushing, chaotic 2 minute hardcore jams. Most recently they released a split 10" with fellow Nashville band Dawn. The 5 songs on their side prove that their debut was no fluke and that Sanctions are the real fucking deal. "Home Sweet Home" is available on CD and cassette (unfortunately no vinyl release) while the split is vinyl exclusive and comes packaged quite excellently, hand-numbered with lovely screen-printed inserts.

For Fans of: Cursed, Hammers, Trap Them, Cease Upon The Capitol (kind of)

Sanctions on Myspace

Buy Sanctions stuff at Anti-Corporate and ICFYC

2:56 PM

BOYL #5: Daria

Daria performing "Tightrope Walker" at Maroq'n'roll Festival 12/06/08

The Run-down: Daria are a rock band from France whose latest record "Open Fire" was released in March of this year and was recorded by J. Robbins, which is the only reason I know about them. I haven't heard "Open Fire" but I've already kind of fallen in love with it just listening to a few songs online repeatedly, particularly "Tightrope Walker" (which you can listen to at the Magpie Cage). I have come extremely close to paying $19.13 (13 Euros) plus international shipping fees for their CD but I can't really justify it (maybe for a copy on vinyl) as it isn't on sale in the US. It doesn't appear to be on sale as mp3s anywhere either. Somebody find this for me.

Why this video is awesome: Like all the BOYL videos, the sound quality is pretty superb for a youtube recording. Of course, the song is fucking aces, but what I really enjoy is that the crowd is pretty stoic except for exactly one person (on the right) who is likely the only person who knows the song and isn't afraid to flail around like an ape. Excellent.

A while back I posted about this record's release and how great Canadian Rifle's previous material was and then just sort of dropped it. That's because when I first heard it I wasn't as impressed as I anticipated that I would be. I then forgot to give it subsequent listens and set it aside for a while. When I did get around to giving it it a fair shot, I fortunately turned out to be dead wrong because "Visibility Zero" is excellent. I mentioned it before but Canadian Rifle play a version of west coast hardcore punk with a midwestern swing all their own. And that's it. Stripped down glorious punk tunes that feel as old school as they do totally fresh. Believe me Canadian Rifle are one of the best punk bands around right now.

For fans of: Youth Brigade, Leatherface, Jawbreaker

Canadian Rifle on Myspace

Get it.

Then buy it.

- First Aid Kit are a Connecticut band that was together for the early part of this decade.

- "Forgot ID" is the 3-song follow up to their debut LP "Frights and Shivers" which I still can't form a clear opinion on. It is also the last thing they recorded.

- When people use the word "angular" when describing East Coast post-hardcore this is what they're talking about

- The second track, "Sidewalk Antics", is among the better songs in existence

For fans of: Q And Not U, Pilot To Gunner, Medications

Get it.

- This September New York punk rockers Polar Bear Club will follow up their first proper full-length "Sometimes Things Just Disappear" with an LP called "Chasing Hamburg"

- "The Summer of George EP" is a preview of their new LP containing 2 tracks that will appear on "Chasing Hamburg" and one track exclusive to the EP

- If it's any indication of how good the LP will be, "The Summer of George" has me completely sold.

- Polar Bear Club's last LP was pretty good but it certainly had it's strong points and weak points. Some songs are particular good while others fall sort of flat. This is not the case with this EP. Each of these songs is pretty much gold and they showcase what Polar Bear Club does right, which, as I have learned, is rock seriously fucking hard.

- This shit rules.

For Fans of: Small Brown Bike, The Loved Ones, Latterman

Polar Bear Club on Myspace

Get it.

Buy "The Summer of George" and pre-order "Chasing Hamburg" at Bridge 9

Ran across this today and figured it would be worth posting. Michigan power-pop trio Cheap Girls posted some new songs on their Myspace page as well as a blog-update revealing information about their upcoming sophomore release "My Roaring 20's". It's a follow up to their debut LP "Find Me A Drink Home" which was one of my top 5 releases of 2008.

Recently punk rock label Paper + Plastick remastered and re-released "Find Me..." on colored vinyl which can be ordered all over the place, I would suggest it.

For Fans of: Smoking Popes, The Long Winters

Cheap Girls on Myspace (again)

Currently Loma Prieta are my favorite band, pretty much. You might recall I briefly covered 2008's amazing "Last City" a while back. Loma Prieta are a talented mix of dudes from the Bay Area of California who play an exciting and emotional brand of hardcore. It seems necessary to say that "Last City" might just be one of my favorite albums, certainly one of the best records of last year and, in my opinion, a stand-alone release in the field screamo. So, when I first heard "Dark Mountain" I wasn't quite sure how I felt about it. At first I didn't think it had quite the compositional fortitude or the raw hook of "Last City". But the more I listened to it, the more it grew on me. "Dark Mountain" showcases a matured Loma, as just about every release of their's has. I realized after listening to this record (a lot) that one of the things that makes me love this band so much is that with every record there is a marked movement toward something greater and more their own. Loma Prieta has evolved from being just a good screamo band (On "Our LP is Your EP") to something truly monumental. To me anyway. "Dark Mountain" may not be as good "Last City", but it might be better. I can't decide and I fucking love that. Either way, better or worse, it's genius.

Bonus content: Recently a Japanese label released a CD containing Loma Prieta's entire discography (although Dark Mountain wasn't included). It contains every song they ever released formally, including their half of the upcoming split 7" with L'Antietam (Let me pre-order this already Slave Union), along with some unreleased tracks which (I think) were supposed to end up on a split with Mexico's Arse Moreira. It also includes their original 3 song demo, "Our Lp Is Your EP" and "Last City"

For fans of: Raein, Cease Upon The Capitol, Funeral Diner

Loma Prieta on Myspace

Dark Mountain

Discography 05-09

Buy This Stuff, Seriously

Sometimes when I listen to albums they evoke very specific memories that may or may not make any sort of sense on the surface. For instance, this record reminds me of jelly donuts. When it came out in 2004 I was working in a family-owned record store that sold primarily Eminem and "Now That's What I Call Music" CDs (and absolutely no Swatches). As what I recall as sort of a ritual I would get home from class, head to the grocery store, buy a jelly donut and a Coke and immediately play this record at least twice when I showed up to work. I wish I could remember what else I would have been listening to after this album was over. If I were in a phase at the time and were listening to similar bands I probably would have a Bluetip, Burning Airlines or Shiner CD queued up. However, thinking about it, it was probably some white-boy hip-hop jams. Anyway, Get Saved is an album that I find really interesting. I can't say it's one of my all time favorites or anything but for some reason it's always been sortof special to me. It isn't particularly great but it has a nuance and individuality that made me appreciate it at the time. Actually, I like it more now than I ever did before. It should be noted that J Robbins produced and appeared on this album (if you actually need a bit of useful information).

Oh what the hell? these dudes are putting a record out this year!

For fans of: Bluetip, Burning Airlines, Shiner (I'm lazy)

Pilot To Gunner on Myspace
(new song is good)

Get it.

* This is cheating. The video isn't from youtube, its from If You Make It

The Sidekicks - I Burned the Crops from If You Make It on Vimeo.

The Sidekicks performing "I Burned The Crops" at Berea Fest this year

The Run-down:
The Sidekicks are a bunch of 12 year olds from Cleveland that play pop-punk with a degree of finesse and originality that is pretty difficult to duplicate. Last year they released the amazing and vastly underappreciated 7" EP "Sam" on Whoa Oh records, which was a follow up to their nearly-as-good LP "So Long Soggy Dog". The Sidekicks are currently recording a new album that is easily my most highly anticipated upcoming release. This band rules hard.

Why this video is awesome:
Excellent quality, good camera work and an appropriately energized crowd. This video is fun and the show looks at least a little more fun than that. The song helps too, the breakdown in "I Burned The Crops" ranks among the best I can possibly recall.

I don’t know if I should be embarrassed to like this record so much. The story with Menthol is that at some point (addendum: it was 1994, I don’t know why I was being vague), the bassist of 90’s alt-rock group Hum formed a side project called Mother and released “The Gold Record” before being forced to change their name because one of the other bands already called Mother evidently took issue with it (or something). By the next year they had written enough material under the new name to release Menthol’s self-titled debut. I don’t know if it would have sounded strange in context, but today “Menthol” sounds like it’s from 1995 (which it is, but you get what I’m saying right?). It’s a record full of throwback classic guitar rock/power-pop played with a sort of sincere cheesiness that I can’t help but enjoy every minute of. It has the strange feeling of a theme album although I’m certain it isn’t. With songs about stuff ranging from semi-historical figures (Francis Scott Key), teenage prostitution (Stress Is Best), and plane crashes (Reverent, Eyes Heavenward), “Menthol” is more a of non-sequitur thrill ride, but it flows so well I can’t tell the difference. Anyway, listen to this and bear in mind what I said. You shouldn’t be disappointed.

For fans of: Hum, Riddle Of Steel

Check out a few jams here

Get it.

If you aren't familiar with If You Make It you've been missing out on probably the best DIY punk on the whole of the interwebs. With free releases from bands like Get Bent, Iron Chic and Annabel, IYMI has become increasingly impossible to ignore. Next time I write something about them (and there will be a next time) I'm going to have to add For Those Who Can't Wait to that name-dropping array. These Long Island boys play post-hardcore that sounds like pop-punk. With driving guitar work and a knack for excellent, catchy break-downs, For Those Who Can't Wait's sole (I think) release is a sort of surprisingly powerful record that feels too big not to be released formally. Did I mention that it (along with all the other IYMI releases) is free. Oh, I did actually. Anyway, For Those Who Can't Wait have put together a truly unique and enjoyable record that I'd pay money for if I could.

For fans of: Serious Geniuses, Good Luck, Swellers

Download it here

This should be short. I am obsessed with this band and it's because of this record. I can safely say it's the only album I own 4 seperate versions of. Do I really need to say more than that? If you liked the Dolcim LP I reviewed, this is pretty much the same dudes playing pretty much the same stuff. An epic mix of the melodic and the chaotic, CUTC's first full length is near perfect hardcore. For real.

For fans of: Dolcim, Ampere, Loma Prieta, Raein

Cease Upon The Capitol on Myspace

Get it

It’s probably no secret that I am a little bit preoccupied with DC post-hardcore. I’m not trying to hide it after all (e.g. a quick google search should shed some light on the name of the site). Fairweather, though, are a DC band that I suppose, at least semantically, belong in the genre but don’t really typify the style. “Lusitania”, the band’s swan song could easily be confused for what the cool kids are calling emo now (or like 3 years ago). I liked this record the first time I heard it. After buying it on somewhat of a freak impulse, I put it into my stereo so that the alarm function would play it when I woke up. I thought to myself in a sleepy daze: “this pretty much sounds like music I generally hate, except that it is really fucking good”. Thinking about it now, that is probably the best compliment I can give this album. I wanted to hate it, but I couldn’t. Once (if) you get past the aspects that made me think like this, you can appreciate what makes “Lusitania” stand out. A noticeable change from their first, more pop-punk leaning LP “If They Move… Kill Them”, Fairweather’s final record is a deeper and much heavier venture. Immense guitar riffs on nearly every track are the backbone of a moody, emotional record that contains some of the best tension building and release I can think of. The opening track “Derivative Opener” is a bit of a bait and hook (and a pretty deep piece of irony for reasons I don’t feel like elucidating) in that it prepares you to hear a new version of Fairweather, just not as new as it seems. Borrowing vocal stylings from big time 90’s emo groups and the production talents of J. Robbins (the), Fairweather crafted a deep album with a great mix of catchy sing-songing, tight guitar lines and just plain good tunes.

For fans of: The Casket Lottery, Saves The Day, Get Up Kids

Fairweather on Myspace

Get it.

Alright, so between finishing up my last couple of weeks of college and preparing to move 2000 miles away I've been a little busy. Too busy to write and too busy to listen to new music with any sort of regularity. Luckily, I wasn't too busy to take time off of work to go see My Heart To Joy play a set a local winery. I'd read about, heard about and listened to their new record "Seasons In Verse" for about 2 months before the show and I couldn't have been more pleased when the band pretty much nailed it.

Anyway, "Seasons In Verse" is a guitar driven punk/emo powerhouse. Like a lot of the shit I post on here it's got a pretty strong 90's vibe. A lot of band's are writing stuff like this lately but "Seasons In Verse" certainly holds it's own by comparison.

For fans of: Braid, Bridge & Tunnel, Kinsellas and their progeny

My Heart To Joy on Myspace

Get it. Then buy it.

I read a bit of exciting news today via Vinyl Collective: Able Baker Fox have agreed to be included on a future installment of their Under The Influence singles series! If you're unfamiliar with Vinyl Collective and/or the Under The Influence series you should definitely check it out right here. Basically Vinyl Collective (and by proxy, Suburban Home Records) brings together artists from the punk community to release the occasional 2 song split 7" record on which each band covers a song (of their choice?). ABF will share the honor with punk rock act In The Red. Anyway, they have a streaming player up where you can listen to most of the songs that have been recorded for the series. Check out the current list of upcoming artists that will be involved in the series (you can expect to see artists like Bridge And Tunnel, Cheap Girls and Minus The Bear soon). And hell, why don't you buy some records while you're at it.

Riddle Of Steel performing "John Frum" at The Rosebud in Grand Haven, MI

The Run-down:
Riddle of Steel were a St. Louis, Missouri that released the best record of 2008 ("1985") and two other amazing LPs. They are now sadly defunct and I will never get the chance to see them (actually they are apparently playing a show this October in Oklahoma or somewhere). I could probably go on and on about this band but I'll let the video do the talking. Suffice it to say that Riddle Of Steel plays rock and roll music. The sort that will kick you on you ass.

Why this video is awesome:
First, the introduction is awesome. I would go to shows at this place all the time just to hear the dude talk. Second, he makes reference to RoS's show the previous year that had to be shut down because they played too fucking loud. Not for the neighborhood. For people's ears. Third, the band is totally solid.

3:00 PM


I've been sleeping on this for a while now.

I realize that genre's aren't concrete and serve basically to lump together an asthetic abstract. They don't mean anything. My point is, genre is pretty much a wasted concept because nothing is properly quantified from the start. Mostly, when a genre buzzword is coined, it denotes a pretty narrow sonic focus. It never seems to last very long though. This bugs me. I wish that I could rely on a description of a band by genre alone to have some idea what they are supposed to sound like.

I think, probably, the most highly misrepresented genre is "screamo". I suppose it's because the word sounds like something it isn't. Even I find it hard not to think about multicolored, sideswept haircuts, dualing vocals and legions of kids wearing more than one belt clapping and pointing. In terms of sound this image is totally misleading. Screamo is much more understated, non-stylized genre. If you've run across the terms "scramz" or "emo-violence" it's because screamo bands can't call themselves that anymore without being completely misunderstood. Misnomers are a bitch.

2008 was a pretty good year for screamo really. Below are some stand-out releases.

Loma Prieta - Last City
Loma Prieta ("Dark Hill") sound like they are from Europe (or South America) but it's pretty common for American screamo groups to name themselves like somebody foreign. I suppose it's thematic of the genre though. The sound has travelled overseas and has really taken off. Loma Prieta aren't from Europe though, they're from California, and "Last City", their first proper full-length (with a new self-titled just around the corner) gives American screamo a good name. What I love about "Last City" is it's nuanced technicality. Loma Prieta play raw hardcore with a subtle beauty that could easily be missed if you aren't listening.

Raein - Nati Da Altri Padri
The near-legendary Italian group Raein returned in 2008 with a brand new LP that surprised a lot of people. Not because of any significant departure in sound, but because nobody knew they were writing it until it appeared. Pretty much, "Nati Da..." demonstrates why Raein are a ubiquitous name in European and American Screamo. This is what it's supposed to sound like.

Who Calls So Loud - S/T
Members of hardcore outfit Portraits of the Past and screamo giants Funeral Diner came together last year to create what can only be described as an epic. I think that's all I'm going to say.

It's still Indie Day and...

Another EP = Time for another bullet review!

- The Gifted Children are back with a bunch of new music that was released in March.
- The most recent release "Open Windows" is a jampacked, 11 minute EP that picks up where "Always Stay Sweet" (one of my favorite releases last year, which I reviewed here) left off.
- It has the same excellent mix of acoustic, electronic, short and poppy songwriting that makes Always Stay Sweet so endearing (and a new version of album highlight "A Forest")
- Oh, its also free! Along with tons of other music on their website.
- Also, they quoted me on their homepage. I love these guys!

For Fans of: New Pornographers, Capstan Shafts, Neutral Milk Hotel

Download "Open Windows" and others Here

The Gifted Children on Myspace

Today is Indie Day at Cementing The Seams. Now, I'm using "indie" in a pretty generic sense that describes an extremely common musical asthetic, but hopefully with these posts you'll realize what I mean.
Why Indie Day you ask? No reason really, I simply am excited about a couple of newer releases that fall into a genre that I generally find pretty tired. I used to love this kind of stuff but I've become more and more disconnected with it as it's become more prevelant and honestly over-appreciated (thanks Arcade Fire). Good news though, there is (obviously) still great indie music out there.

Now then, Travels are a Massachusetts duo comprising former members of Victory At Sea and Metal Hearts. Their new record "Hot Summer", which came out in February, is a solid work from beginning to end. Borrowing elements from all over the map, Travels create a sort of collage of songs that sound almost like they don't fit together, but its so carefully constructed that it's impossible to fault them. Travels aren't eclectic, but they know how to compile influences, putting together styles, sounds and instruments together to make a whole record of great music. It seems like there are a lot of male/female duo's making this sort of music lately (insert list of said artists here). Luckily, Travels makes it sound like a really good idea. "Hot Summer" isn't poppy or ambient, but finds a suitable middle ground that I feel like just about everyone should be able to appreciate.

For Fans of: A Weather, Pinback, Death Cab For Cutie

Travels on Myspace

As is usually the case, you can find a perfectly acceptable review of this record (and of every other record I like apparently) at Built on a Weak Spot. But if you’d rather just read it here I won’t hold it against you, but it’ll be more of a stream-of-conciousness story than a review.

My experience with The Life and Times has been all about anticipation. I first ran across them due to my infatuation with DC label DeSoto Records just before their debut full-length “Suburban Hymns” was released in 2005. It wouldn’t be until after I got it that I would find I’d been missing out on their first EP “The Flat End of the Earth”. Anyway, I was immediately excited that Allen Epley (of DeSoto’s Shiner) was writing new material. I recall hearing the opening track “My Last Hostage” (via DeSoto) and being completely blown away. I suppose now that I over-hyped "Hymns", but when I finally heard it, it fell a little short of my expectations. A follow-up to Shiner’s swan song “The Egg” it wasn’t, and nothing on the record matched the intensity or beauty of the opener. So, my first impression was that it was a bit boring, but in reality I was just listening for the wrong things. The more I realized "Hymns" wasn’t Shiner worship, the more I liked it.
Fast forward to 2008 and it happened again. The Life and Times announced a new LP and I got all giddy. Only this time I felt like I knew what to expect. “Tragic Boogie” turned out to be an indie-rock powerhouse and exactly as great as I wanted it to be. It maintains the bass-driven melancholy of “Suburban Hymns” and takes it to the next level in nearly every way. The Life and Times carve out niche for themselves which isn’t easily paralleled and is scarcely performed at an equal level. This is what indie-rock sounds like. It’s not boring, it doesn’t meander and the absence of swirly ambience sets it apart from many groups they will probably be compared to. At least for me, The Life and Times got it absolutely right this time.

For Fans of: Shiner, Roma 79, Calla

The Life and Times on Myspace

Medications performing "The Last of The Rest Was The End" at Fort Reno, 2005

The Run-down:
Medications are a three-piece from Washington, DC composed of Devin Ocampo and Chad Molter (members of Smart Went Crazy and Faraquet, two bands I adore beyond reason) and drummer extraordinaire Andrew Becker. Medications play post-hardcore math-rock (I like buzz words) at a level that is unassuming but incredible. Previously they have released a self-titled EP and an amazing full-length called "Your Favorite People All In One Place" Currently they are working on a new album which I have extremely high hopes for. Unfortunately it will be without the aid of Becker on drums, but I think they'll manage.

Why this video is awesome:
Evidently, at least at one point in time, Medications were the tightest band on the Earth. This is the type of thing I always assumed can't really be faithfully recreated, but after watching this (and two other must-see Medications recordings from the festival two years later) I realized that these guys probably vomit talent and can do such things easily. Watch Andrew Becker play the drums. Listen to Ocampo play those riffs. Watch Chad Molter squirm around like a fish (I'm kidding he's good too). I love this. Plus, it could hardly sound better.

5:07 PM

Canadian Rifle

Good news! As of today, the debut full length LP, titled “Visibility Zero” by Chicago punk group Canadian Rifle is available here at Residue Records. I haven’t heard it yet, so there isn’t much I can say about it other than I am totally excited. If you’re unfamiliar with Canadian Rifle, it’s not really surprising, but it IS a god damn shame. In 2007 the band released two excellent 7”s (which are now out of print as far as I know) that were each a punk-rock kick in the face. Reminiscent of late 80’s early 90’s west-coast hardcore, Canadian Rifle plays punk rock by definition with a catchy twist that makes you wonder why you would ever listen to any other genre of music. Their first 3 song 7” in particular is a 6 minute masterpiece. You should listen to this band.

For Fans Of: Youth Brigade, Leatherface, Jawbreaker

Canadian Rifle on Myspace

In the wake of the separation of Nashville, TN hardcore outfit Cease Upon The Capitol, two distinct side-projects remained. The more punk-oriented Sanctions, who had been a side project of former members of CUTC for some time, and the sonically closer screamo group Dolcim. Last year Dolcim released an excellent 4 song (new recordings of all of which can be found on their new LP) demo that flew the Capitol banner in a similar but equally distinguishable way. The slower, more contemplative sound of CUTC’s 2007 LP was set aside for a bit more frenetic, and much more exciting sound. On “Guillotine Ride” Dolcim harness the controlled chaos of emotional hardcore and create a unique atmosphere in a genre that can very easily seem repetitive. I can’t quite put my finger on what makes a certain screamo act stand above the rest, but there seems to be a handful of bands that know exactly how to play this type of music and keep it sounding new and unexpectedly beautiful. Oh, and just so we’re clear, you won’t find speedy thrash solos or dual vocalists or over-tuned drums on this record. So, misnomers aside “Guillotine Ride” is one of those records that just stands out. Period.

For Fans of: Cease Upon The Capitol, Ampere, Loma Prieta, Raein

Dolcim on Myspace

Youtube is a blessing and a curse. I won't get into the reasons but we all know it's true. Anywho, one of the best things about youtube is finding random live videos of your favorite bands performing, right? Occasionally I run into a video on youtube that makes me wish I was there. When I do, I'll put 'em up and tell you why. So, here's the first installment of the Best of Youtube Live:

The YMD Performing "Yah Mos Def is a Gang" in Philadelphia.

The run-down:
The YMD are an unconventional 2 piece hip-hop act from Philadelphia. Their acronymous name stands for The Yah Mos Def, a contraction Sacramento hardcore act The Yah Mos and seminal rapper-turned-actor Mos Def. Legal trouble with afformentined rapper caused the official change to The YMD. In 2008 they released their first official full length "Excuse Me, This Is The Yah Mos Def". The YMD are kids who grew up on east coast hardcore that opted for hip-hop as a means of expression. I suppose this makes them something (read: exactly) like the Beastie Boys. Thus, their songs are littered with references to hardcore, emo and punk acts (references to Fugazi and Floorpunch can be heard in the video along with some I probably don't understand). It makes for a pretty interesting listening experience. Don't be confused though, the lyrics may be of an unconventional subject matter, but sonically, the YMD are a hip-hop act through and through.

Why this video is awesome:
The seems completely familiar and totally alien at the same time. The band is freaking out, full of energy and the crowd has no idea what to make of it. The YMD brings hardcore to a pretty pure incarnation of hip-hop music. Everything seems completely out of place and harmonious at the same time. I hope I get to see something like this ever.

I think I bought this record in 2000 and I found it completely bizarre but I loved it. I was also like 15. Looking back on it, it’s not really so strange, but I like it even better now. Wicked Farleys are a long defunct 5-piece from Boston that put out 2 records in 3 years. Despite hailing from Bean Town they sound like they belong exactly in the middle of the interstate between Washington DC and Seattle (in reality this would put them somewhere in the vicinity of Lawrence, Kansas where they would be pretty out of place, but that isn’t the point of this metaphor). Dismemberment Plan meets Death Cab (who, as I recall, toured together)? Q And Not U vs. Sunny Day Real Estate? I don’t know, but they don’t seem that far off. I suppose what I mean to say is that “Sentinel and Enterprise” captures the angular franticism (this isn’t a word) of DC area post-hardcore and the anxious poppiness of similar era west coast acts (read: it's excellent).

For Fans of: Dismemberment Plan, Pinback, Les Savy Fav

Wicked Farleys on Myspace