Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Special Service Anouncement

Well, i've kinda been infrequent here but i had had some serious technical problems, like losing my internet connection over some untraceable trojan or spyware or something and also have the electricity company change some of the wiring and stuff, meaning that i went almost-days without light or computer...well anyway, big stuff coming up:

Observant readers will notice that i killed the "Classic Albums" and "MP3 Download" sections of the site, and the reason for these is that "classic albums" sound pretentious as fuck, and that's just not me; also, i thought about uploading single songs and stuff without them being an advance of an album or a label upload, just songs i feel like sharing or talking about them, so to that necessity i just put a "Downloads" section, divided in diferent stuff, like "Favorite Albums", which is a more accurate representation of what i do when picking a record i like and want to share with you; also there are "MP3s of Interest" which are either songs i like and want to upload for the hell of it or stuff that's coming up or bands/labels are putting oup for the public and i think you need to know. I might expand the section with a "Trailers" thing but that's going to be slower-growing

Another thing, the server i was hosting the radio show on crapped out and now you can't access it, i'm still figuring what to do; i hope to come up with a solution soon and do show numero 2 soon too

I'm going on vacations on a couple of weeks and, while i'll be able to still write stuff up, it's not going be very often; also, i won't be able to upload any files from my computer, and i'm not bringing a lot of cds to the trip, so here's the deal: i'll have a bunch of stuff up in the next couple of weeks written up and ripped and shit and i'll be uploading one by one, i might even get ahead of the class, do some homework and even get some files up so i can send them later on. But more importantly, i have a few interviews ready to go, a bunch of album reviews and many things to write up and rail about, so stay in tune, i'll hope to be more consistent in the next couple of weeks.

Oh yeah, one more thing: every music fan/blogger/snob (titles which, oddly, sometimes are interchangeble, sometimes are exclusive of one another and sometimes are inclusive of each other) are doing their "best of the year so far" album lists, i'm also having a piece of that pie and publish mine pretty soon, and also i'm going to give my honest brutal opinion on everyone else's favorites (read: unmask poseurs and hype machines)

Thanks for reading y'all!!


PS: I'm also working on a spanish mirror to this site, i hope it'll be up soon.

June 28 Releases

*Autechre – Amber (reissue)
*Autechre – Basscadet (reissue)
*Autechre – Incunabula (reissue)
*Can – Future Days (reissue)
*Can – Landed (reissue)
*Can – Soon Over Babaluma (reissue)
*Can – Unlimited Edition (reissue)
*Darkest Hour – Undoing Ruin
*Devo - Oh No! It’s Devo (reissue)
*Fairport Convention – Lasting Spirit: The Collection
*Fountains Of Wayne – Out-Of-State Plates
*Hate Eternal – I, Monarch
*Humble Pie – On To Victory/Go For The Throat (reissue)
*King Crimson – Red (reissue)
*King Crimson – Discipline (reissue)
*Leng Tch’e – The Process Of Elimination
*Megadeth – Greatest Hits
*Popol Vuh – Fitzcarraldo (reissue)
*Popol Vuh – Coeur De Verre (reissue)
*The Posies – Every Kind Of Light
*The Stooges – Heavy Liquid
*Tsar – Band-Girls-Money
*Vio-Lence – Eternal Nightmare (reissue)
*Muddy Waters – All Night Long: Live
*Jimi Hendrix
*Low – Low In Europe
*Prong – The Vault

Favorite Albums: Kyuss - Welcome To Sky Valley

Last and this week i had a huge urge to listen to this album; i got into this after checking out “Demon Cleaner” which sounded like Sabbath to me but way different, mellower and trippier but also modern and vintage at the same time, i know it sounds pretentious but trust me on this one. They came out of the late 80’s/early 90’s stoner rock scene, from the Palm Desert, California scene to be exact; they came together playing “generator” parties, they were called that because the shows were in shacks out in the middle of the desert and for electricity, they had to haul generators, how’s that for underground?. Welcome To Sky Valley was their third album, produced by Chris Goss, the first they recorded with bassist Scott Reeder, who replaced Nick Olivieri, and it would be the last for drummer Brant Bjork, who got replaced by Alfredo Hernandez; if these names sound familiar it’s because these guys are deities on the American stoner/sludge/doom metal scene, all coming from and/or going to other giant bands; there are two more names that are way big here too but we’ll get to them in a sec. Not only was Sky Valley their major label debut, it also was the follow up to a monster of another album, Blues For The Red Sun; while stoners the world over debate which one is better, there’s no doubt about the gut-shaking sound of both albums and how great it is. Just listening to the heavy riffs plus the trippy, experimental tones and the vibe of how they’re jamming stuff on the go; the real deal is how powerful it is and at the same, have a sense of looseness. Listen to the bass rumble, listen to John Garcia’s soulful yet slightly muffled vocals (that’s the first big name), listen to Josh Homme destroy on guitar (that’s the second name), hear the whole vibe. Kyuss broke up in like 1997, and everyone went on to a lot of bands, Scott Reeder played in Fu Manchu and like every other stoner band in the US, Brant Bjork went and did other bands, John Garcia went on to Slo Burn, Unida and Hermano and, of course, Josh Homme, Nick Olivieri and Alfredo Hernandez became the first line up of Queens Of The Stone Age (only Josh is still in the Queens). “Demon Cleaner”, as i said earlier, is mellower than most all the album but it’s one of the best metal or heavy or Sabbathy or rock or whatever you want to call it songs of all time; “Odyssey” is one of the heavier songs but it has a nice structure, sort of goes up and down, and “Asteroid” is an awesome psych/experimental exploration that gives more dimension to an otherwise already stunning sound. This band could eat Queens Of The Stone Age alive anytime of the year, blindfolded, with both hands tied and suspended upside down in the air

Demon Cleaner.mp3

Kyuss page at
Buy Welcome To Sky Valley at Amazon

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

June 21 Releases

*Acid King – III
*Aerosmith - Chronicles
*Afrirampo – Kore Ga Mayaku Da
*The Allman Brothers Band - Chronicles
*Albert Ayler – Bells-Prophecy (reissue)
*Beautiful Skin – Everything, All This, And More
*Tracy Bonham – Blink The Brightest
*Clutch – Robot Hive: Exodus
*Coaxial – Phantom Syndrome
*Billy Corgan – Future Embrace
*Miles Davis – From Cool To Bop (Deluxe Edition)
*Deep Purple – Who Do We Think We Are (reissue)
*Dredg – Catch Without Arms
*The Fugs – Virgin Fugs
*The Fuzztones – Teen Trash Vol. 4: From Los Angeles, CA
*King Tubby – Loving Memory Dub
*Lynyrd Skynyrd - Chronicles
*Mott The Hoople – Concert Anthology
*Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Definitive Ol’ Dirty Bastard Story (cd+dvd)
*Porcupine Tree – Up The Downstairs (reissue)
*Sun Ra – Nothing Is (reissue)
*The Soft Machine – Breda Reactor
*Sonny Sharrock – Black Woman (reissue)
*Starvations – Wrath Of Gravity
*Tears For Fears – Chronicles
*TLC – Now And Forever: The Hits
*Turbonegro – Darkness Forever! (live)
*UNKLE – Edit Music For A Film: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Reconstruction
*VA - Glastonbury Anthems: The Best Of Glastonbury 1994-2004
*Holidays In the Sun – The Best Punk Rock Gig On the Planet...Ever!
*Inside T Rex: A Critical Review 1970-1973
*Kool Keith – Global Enlightment, Part I
*Oasis – Sibling Rivalry
*Test Department – Program For Progress

Interview: the Mean Reds

By Marcos Hassan

Out of the bored-laced suburban landscapes sometimes come forms of expression that are hardly healthy or safe, one of them is the Mean Reds. Formed in Tucson, Arizona a few years ago, the band has been able to build an image very few bands can live up to, yet they do just that; their stage shows are often compared to those by legends like the Germs and even the Stooges (shocking people in new millenium, no less), playing excitedly in crazy outfits that often get teared up as the band plays on with such aggression and adrenaline that people often leave thinking they saw some kind of homoerotic hardcore band. The musicians they call heroes are the very distinctive and very different Hillary Duff and Children Of Bodom, but the music, while it sometimes resembles some kind of bubblebum thrash metal, is far more difficult to point out, like if a mix cd with very diverse music (including classical, techno and carnival/circus music, along with metal, hardcore punk and hip hop) got scratched up and sped up while becoming the soundtrack for wild, crazed kids tearing down everything inside a fun house at a theme park (not as strange as you think, one of the agreements in their first contract was a year-long pass to Disney “for inspiration”). The band has become to being a necessity these days as a non conformist entity in a world of ass licking punk rockers, having proving this by getting kicked out of the Warped Tour last summer, and while it may seem like the band is just a fun loving prankster crew, the band does have a very oppositional message against capitalism and banality. A not so simple band playing hardly simple music making it seem really simple. Last year they released the Some Kind Of Adventure Through History EP on the Record Collection label last year.

Marcos Hassan (The Obsolete): Please introduce yourself

Anthony Anzalone, Mean Reds, vocalist.

What inspired you to play music?


I can relate; i guess that has to do with where you grew up. So how did life in Tucson impacted your life as people and as a band?

I dunno, there’s not a lot to do here, so playing music was a good way to waste time.

It doesn’t sound like you’re just “wasting time”; in fact, your music is like a mixture of fun and anger. How do you make it work?

It’s not really a conscious thing, i mean you talk to us, you can see that we basically are a mix between a fueled hate of the world and it’s greed and bullshit but we take nothing serious.

What's the Mean Reds' mission?

Basically trying not to sound pretentious; we want to make music that’s interesting and will get minds active, I mean, we know that the world needs to change,especially the USA, and this is just one way we felt like we could contribute to that.

Do you consider yourselves musicians?

Yeah sure, why not?

How much time do you dedicate to practicing/rehearsing, and how much time do you dedicate to partying?

We try to practice/write songs everyday or every other day when we aren’t touring. As far as partying goes every one’s different, some of us party every night, others only on rare occasions.

Will you ever make a long player instead of only EPs? or do you think the EP is the best format for you?

We actually haven’t wanted to release any EPs haha, they both have been under weird circumstances but this july/august, our full length is coming out, we’re excited about that.

Cool, looking forward to it. Now, here’s an idea: If you could release a 7" called Children Of Duff, what Children of Bodom song and what Hillary Duff song would you cover?

Woah!! That’s a pretty good idea!! Hahahaha. I guess we would have to go with more so than doing straight covers, maybe mixing the songs together; maybe (Children Of Bodom’s) “Red Light In My Eye Pt 2” or “Children Of Decadence”, “Bed Of Razors”, (Hillary Duff’s) “Love Just Is”. So it would be called "Love Just Is A Bed Of Razors". I dunno, i would have to work on it.

To you, is Hillary Duff a saint, a muse or a centerfold?

I dunno, the infactuation is more with Lizzie Mcguire than Hillary Duff, I mean, the show represents how fucked up and normal everything is and is easy for us to relate to, hahaha. Uh, i mean... fuck.

On that note, a lot of older people compare you to stuff they grew up on like the Stooges, Germs and GG Allin, for example. Do you think these comparisons are fair?

I don’t think that our performance or sound resembles those bands and we are trying the best we can to make something fairly original but I hope that we can supply an energy that all those bands had or (something) similar to it. So i am glad if people leave feeling effected somehow.

You got kicked out of the Warped tour, how punk is that?

Well, i’m really tired of telling the story so to sum it up, the people who run it are capital whores selling out kids and so I pissed my pants in protest of it and they felt that a "punk" festival didn’t need things like that.

But did you al least make any friends at the Warped tour?

I guess. My Chemical Romance would give us their beer and cigarettes which was friendly.

Yeah, it’s kinda friendly; it’s fucked how things like the Warped tour try to market something that means or meant something so big to so many people and now they’re just shrink–wrapping it and selling it like bags of chips, that’s fucked. So what does punk mean to you?

Punk is something that can’t be defined and when it is, it’s no long punk, if that makes any sense.

More than you think, now i want to ask you about something that’s either very punk rock or the opposite of punk, depending on who you’re asking it to. What's with the stage clothes? Where do you get ideas to wear that?

We always try to wear a different outfit and the ideas come from joking around mostly. We wear them to show the sillyness of caring about style and thinking it’s important, like we try to look stupid so no one walks always thinking: "that band was soo cool, they dressed so cool..."

A very punk answer in my book. How often do people get naked at your shows and why do you think is that? How sexual do you think your shows really are?

It’s never on purpose getting naked, someone just always seems to depants me, its kind of like gym class. I don’t think the shows are sexual at all, I mean when i am naked, I think of it as more akward and mildly disgusting, never sexual.

Have you ever got distracted for watching someone cute get naked in the audience while playing?

No, i’m more likely to spit on someone getting naked sexually than be attracted to it.

So what are you digging musically right now? What are you listening to lately?

Lately, I have been trying to find a record of this band called the Maids from Japan in the 80’s (if any one has it, contact me), but a lot of Japanese hardcore i guess, the Hold Steady, 77-ish LA shit and weird jazz my friend turned me onto.

What's next for you guys?

We have a tour in June with Wires On Fire and then in July we’re going to Japan and we basically want to stay on tour as much as possible and get our record out.


Octopus Too.mp3
both from Some Kind Of Adventure Through History EP

The Mean Reds' page:
The label - Record Collection:
Buy Some Kind Of Adventure Through History EP at Amazon

Monday, June 20, 2005

"Tristeza esta brutal": Tristeza/Austin TV/Hummersqueal/Sad Breakfast; June 18, Club Vintage

It was a Saturday evening, i knew it was gonna be an underground show, in a place i've never seen bands before; in fact, this show happened at the other end of Mexico City from where i live, meaning that i had to cross one of the biggest cities in the world just to see an underground show where a "post-rock supergroup" featuring member of the San Diego hardcore scene was playing their first concert in this country ever.

So the show was scheduled to start at 7:00 pm and i hadn't bought a ticket in advance, sort of trusting i could just buy one on the door, yet i had a certain feel that there was a big chance i might not get in because the bands opening the show are kinda popular among kids here, so the show could sell out with me outside, bummed out. Fortunately, i was able to arrive at something before 7 and buy a ticket from a kid with an Omar Rodriguez afro; i was scared of not getting in, to tell you the truth, the place was already littered with kids outside the venue, a club in the back of a mini mall-like place with a much bigger dance club right next to it; most were your token emo kids (exaggerated 70's hair, tight jeans, tight black shirts, trucker hats, etc.) and it was pretty much a half girls, half guys crowd; a lot of them underaged (the show was billed as "all ages"), but i even got to see a Jim O' Rourke indie bloke*. Anyway, i stood around waiting for the door to open; when it finally did, everyone ran to form a line to enter, but after something like 30 or 40 minutes there, without any advance or sign that the show was gonna start, everyone began to wander off, in packs, hugging girlfriends/boyfriends, meeting with friends, going across the street to the supermarket to get smokes or drinks or junk food to make the wait a little more tolerable. After a while of doing nothing except talking on the cell with whoever was available for a few minutes to chat and/or try to convince to come check this amazing band to no success (can you say "one hour drive within the same city to see a band i've never heard"?), the afro guy who sold me the ticket and another dude came up to me and started talking, he said i looked familiar and told him about my former band Milck, but he didn't recognize me from there (surprise, surprise!!), he concluded that i just look like someone he knew, so we started talking about the turn out and about the quality of the headlining band, which ended with him qualifying it as "Tristeza esta brutal!" (spanish for "Tristeza is brutal!"), then he left. After more time waiting outside, and more people coming (the flyer said that the assistance was limited to 1000 people, which i thought was pretty close to happen), a kid in a Sid Vicious t-shirt, not older than 15, asked me if Austin TV had already played and told him that no one had played yet since everyone was still outside, then we started talking about the music he was into which, surprisingly enough, weighted more on older stuff like the Who (his favorites), Sex Pistols, The Doors, Pink Floyd and Guns N' Roses, but he qualified himself as an Austin fan and came exclusively to see them, having never heard of Tristeza or any of the similar bands i could think of (Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Mogwai, Sigur Rós, Mono, Explosions In The Sky, etc.); he didn't even know the other two bands opening, which was kinda odd since i always seem to see all these bands play on the same bill.

Sometime around 9:00pm (yes, nine-fucking-pee em!) the line was already moving, so i searched for the kid, who spotted the drummer from Austin and wanted to say hi, after we came into the place. The place....i got to tell you it was very cool, i loved the place, way classier than what you expect for a rock club; the place is called Club Vintage and that might tip you on what's inside: built mostly of wood, with little streetlight-like lamps on the walls, tables on the upper part, and prominent staircases; it did look vintage, sorta like a 30's version of the Bait Shop, which you might know if you watch The O.C. Already inside, i went straight to the bathroom, then i made the rounds; first, on my way out of the bathroom, i spotted the merch table area of the club, this being the first time i ever go to a show where there's a merch table (bands with merch tables don't come as often to Mexico as one would want), so i went to see what was for sale; focusing on Tristeza's side, i bought a copy of their debut full length Spine & Sensory and a vinyl copy of their eponymous 2002 EP on Gravity, both for what it would cost me the cd alone anywhere else in this country of mine, i was almost out of money though. Upstairs, they were having free vodka bar, which is totally rocking in my book, yet i didn't enjoyed it that much because i didn't like the mix they were serving (diet Sprite+vodka+some kind of red syrup) and the bar was only opened for an hour, plus i was busy guarding my vinyl booty from the rest of the crowd so...At some point, the first band announced themselves: "Hi, we're Sad Breakfast, thanks for coming..." they started playing sort of what i expected: slow, dreamy, syncopated arpeggios that gave way to jolty rhythms; they weren't as bad as i thought they would be, they sounded like a mixture between Mineral, At The Drive-In and Jupiter-era Cave In, which is better than the Simple Plan or Drive Thru/Vagrant Records soundalike i expected, plus the vocals weren't as whinny as monst bands' and they were very few and in between each song, their moves onstage were somewhat calculated but energetic; despite having a few sound problems, they played a good sounding set and ended up with a big blast of feedback+delay pedal manipulations, their second address to the crowd: "Que chido que vinieron porque Tristeza esta brutal!!" ("It's great that you all came tonight because Tristeza is brutal"). I watched their whole set from the second floor only to be asked by a waiter to move along since people couldn't stand there because they were blocking the view or something; whatever, i went down some stairs that faced the stage and stayed there by a side so i wouldn't block the way.

Next up were Hummersqueal and frankly, they were awful, they were everything i expected from these so-called emo bands: whinny, corny, fake and cutesy; of all the bands on the bill, their guitar sounds were the worst you could imagine, all bass and no treble; they did have a lot of trouble with their sound but still, i don't think this sound was too far from what they were aiming. Yet they got a tremendous crowd reaction, people jumping around and singing along to their songs. They took forever to set up and stuff, yet they played and that was that.

Next up was Austin TV and right then it seemed clearly who were the real headliners, the true draw in this show; people began flocking to the floor to watch the band, many wearing their t-shirts and others wearing bunny rabbit's ears which i didn't get at the time. After setting up, four dudes and a girl, wearing matching white shirts, black pants, black ties and sad clown masks began playing an energetic if a bit odd brand of post-punk punk rock, i expected whinny singing but no one sang and no one had the intention to sing which took me by surprise; after a song or an intro (couldn't tell), everyone except the femail keyboard player took the masks off and continued playing after greeting the crowd; fixing my eyes and my attention onstage, i noticed the guitar player with a red Fender Telecaster, he had an Omar Rodriguez afro...sure enough, it was the guy i bought my ticket from and all i could think is that i was lucky not to slip on and tell how much i thought the openers sucked (all thru shear prejudgement, of course; my bad); the drummer had a mohawk (a real one, kids) and the other guitar player and bassist looked like they were straight from ,,,And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, plus the guitar player played the part also, flaying violently whenever the rhythms jumped on. Musically speaking, i had my jaw on the ground after, like, two songs, the music was just amazing, totally great and original and everything i want to expect from bands i hear for the first time but hardly expect to come out of a local band (which is a shame). Their brand of instrumental rock was like a mixture of At The Drive-In's skronky chords and hyper rhythms with the sounds and structures of Sigur Rós, Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky, Mono or Tristeza, all topped with B-movie like keyboard sounds and some dialogue samples here and there, they aren't post rock because they aren't apocalyptic or numb, they just feel too damn much. The band also played full of passion and i noticed a nice phenomenon going: the strong reaction the crowd had from listening to something so aggressively live yet beautiful; they were totally into into it, jumping and swaying so hard they almost knocked a speaker tower, watching that reminded me of all the old videos of hardcore bands like Black Flag, Germs, Minor Threat, Adolescents, etc, when people were so moved by the music that they could start moshpits and slamdancing out of pure instinct, without being premeditated or organized...hell, not even out of violence but of freedom (unlike today, where most mosh pits are about big dudes trying to hurt as many people as possible or about demonstrating what they learned at after school karate classes). It was amazing to say the least, i was jumping around, headbanging and screaming along my approval with everyone, all i could think of was "if they were only noisier, i would be 100% a fan". Then, for their last song, they improvised a piece that started out very slow and soft and would build to very loud and heavy and then end in feedback, then to pick up at softer again, while one of the guitars still squealed out feedback, it was amazing to witness that, the Trail Of Dead-like guitarist rocked so hard he broke his strap and had to get help taping it to finish the set. When it was over, it exploded and the sounds just left a cloud of happiness and satisfaction for something not to be foreseen.

After Austin left the stage, big part of the crowd started to scatter around and away while i remained in my position, i saw Sid Vicious shirt kid going past me to go upstairs when i express him my approval of Austin; minutes later, Tristeza, joined for the occasion by former member Jimmy Lavalle (now in the Mono-approved band the Album Leaf), took the stage and, after a brief introduction, exploded right into a song. The sounds coming out of the stage were natural and magical, like if the whole thing was wired into ultra vivid surround sound, loud and alive yet gentle and inviting, they played song after song of effortless majesty, it's safe to see that most of the kids were loving it. Every beat was felt, every note adding to an orchestration of rock that defies rock; you could feel it and they were giving it all, you just knew it, the were just tearing themselves apart playing such pretty tones, but what did you expect from guys who were part of a hardcore scene?.

I almost feel tempted to call this "concert of the year" even if it's too early still for it but, when i go to a show and i feel the need to go out and play my guitar and do something twice, then i feel this was one extraordinary show.

*: Jim O'Rourke indie guy: wild, unfashionable hair, old worn jeans, brown blazer or suit jacket like something a teacher would wear, big, dorky sunglasses. Inspired (or ripped off) from avant guardist, noise championing, underground mainstay, current Sonic Youth member Jim O'Rourke's sense of fashion:



Austin TV:
Les Choses Sont Bizarres.mp3 from Austin TV EP
Ella No Me Conoce.mp3 from La Ultima Noche Del Mundo

Golden Hill.mp3 from Spine & Sensory
Are We People.mp3 from Dream Signals In Full Circles

Tristeza's site:
Buy Tristeza's cds at Amazon
Austin TV's site and store:

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

June 14 Releases

*Booker T & The MG’s – Best Of
*Johnny Cash – Man In Black
*Miles Davis Quintet – ‘Round About Midnight (reissue)
*Deep Purple – Who Do We Think We Are (reissue)
*Devo – Shout (reissue)
*Brian Eno – Another Day On Earth
*Eric B. & Rakim – Gold
*Foo Fighters – In Your Honor
*Rory Gallagher – Big Guns: The Very Best Of Rory Gallagher
*In Flames – Lunar Strain (reissue)
*In Flames – Subterranean (reissue)
*Janis Joplin – Pearl (Deluxe Edition)
*Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Nami Danam
*Life Of Agony – Broken Valley
*Lungfish – Feral Hymns
*The 101’ers – Elgin Avenue Breakdown Revisited (reissue)
*Orthrelm – OV
*Pro-Pain – Prophets Of Doom
*Spacemen 3 – Translucent Flashbacks (reissue)
*13th Floor Elevators – Psych Out
*Ike And Tina Turner – Original Gold
*The Velvet Underground – Gold

Monday, June 13, 2005

Classic Album: Exodus - Bonded By Blood

I’m going to lose a couple of friends here but fuck it: I don’t think Reign In Blood is that great, to me it’s just an amazing opening song and an amazing closing song and variations on these in between. By this, i don’t mean it’s a something bad but it isn’t also as genius, i like that album a lot but it’s not Slayer’s greatest album and it’s absolutely not the best thrash metal album ever, at all. I don’t think there is a definitive thrash album, I have my ´personal favorites and this is one of them.

The reasons are like this: listen to the sequence, song after song it’s just amazing rocking fast metal compositions that beg to be screamed live, the guitar solos are perfect in the sense that they fit in each song, are raw and aggressive without being simplistic or basic, this songs just explode and keep expanding in a musical wildfire. The thing is that it’s song after song, get it?

Ok, some history: The album was recorded in a mere month (July) at a shitty small studio in San Francisco with Metallica’s guitar tech Mark Whitaker producing in 1984 with the intention of releasing it by fall or winter by the guys footing the bill, Ken Adams and Todd Gordon, who signed the band to their fledging indie label Torrid. The plan didn’t get through because the band and the label argued about the cover art (the band wanted to have blood-soaked limbs and the label was against it), that, plus money problems kept the album from being released until April ’85 (about 20 years and two months ago, can you believe that?), which was kinda shitty at it’s time because it seemed like they were just another band instead of pioneers or vanguardists, but it didn’t matter in the long run since the album is that strong. "A Lesson In Violence" captures perfectly the whole fast amazing riffs plus shout along chorus plus face-melting solos plus fuck you attitude, straight and to the point, to the neck. The reissue of the album has a couple of live tracks on it so i decided to put one up, which is "And Then There Were None" which demonstrate that they didn't need to play super fast to be awesome.

I saw Exodus play live last year a few days after Zetro quitted (yeah, they brought this guy from Exhumed i think), and even though the guy who was “singing” hardly knew any of the band’s lyrics, they fucking slayed in the whole extention of the word, one of the best shows i ever been to; those songs still have an impact, they have something timeless.

A Lesson In Violence.mp3
And Then There Were None (live).mp3

Exodus official site:
Buy Bonded By Blood at Amazon

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

June 7 Releases

*The Aquabats – Charge!!
*The Atomic Bitchwax – III
*Jeff Beck Group – Truth (reissue UK bonus tracks)
*Pat Benatar – Greatest Hits
*Black Eyed Peas – Monkey Business
*Black Mountain – Druganaut EP
*Cardinal – Cardinal (Expanded)
*Deep Purple – Platinum Collection
*DJ Shadow - ...Endtroducing (Deluxe Edition)
*The Fall – Hex Enduction Hour (Deluxe Edition)
*Fear Factory – Demanufacture (bonus tracks)
*Feeder – Tumble and Fall Vol 2
*Fleetwood Mac – Live In London ‘68
*Gorillaz – Japan Only EP (Japan)
*Kraftwerk – Minimum-Maximum
*Motörhead – Live At Brixton
*Willie Nelson – Always: 20 Superb Songs
*Willie Nelson – Ghost
*Need New Body – Where’s Black Ben?
*No Wait Wait – No Wait Wait
*Oxes – Oxes EP
*Premonitions Of War/Benümb – split
*Sepultura – Roots (bonus tracks)
*Smog – Kicking a Couple Around EP (reissue)
*Soft Machine – The Story Of Soft Machine
*Spacehog – Hogdyssey
*Stiff Little Fingers – Now Then... (reissue)
*Suffocation – Human Waste (reissue)
*T Rex – Born To Boogie
*T Rex – Rocks!
*Teenage Fanclub – Man Made
*Ike and Tina Turner – Rockin’ And Rollin’
*Ike and Tine Turner – The Very Best
*UNKLE – Edit Music For A Film: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Reconstruction
*Van Der Graaf Generator – Present (reissue)
*VA – Greatest Hits Of Acid Rock
*Johnny Cash – Ridin’ The Rails
*Lou Reed - Spanish Fly: Live In Spain
*T Rex – Born To Boogie
*VA – Krautrock Meeting
*Toxic Narcotic – Live in Boston

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Obsolete Radio Show 1

Well, yeah, the blogzine is branching out to other stuff, cool stuff that has to do with music of course. So here's the first ever Obsolete Radio show, where you can here me spin some of my favorite music, music you might already like or stuff you might have wanted to check out but could find the time or the resources to further investigate that; at the very least, it's cool background sound filler for whatever you might be doing, best thing is that it's available 24/7 during the time it's up. Since this no man's land, you know, the internet, it means i have a certain amount of freedom to do a lot of stuff people in regular radio get fired for, i can curse on the air (Parental Advisory, kids), i don't have a time limit, i can come up with crazy themes for shows or just play whatever i want (like on this first one) and the show can be done and uploaded whenever i can (i promise to be consist and kinda regular on this, though); so yeah, i guess that's the sales pitch.

Now, keep in mind that it was my first ever radio show and i was overseeing a lot of technical stuff as I was taping my comments; the shows will be updated every week aprox., give or take. This show is about an hour and 40 minutes long and i compressed it into a 90-something kbps mp3, so it's 72 MB, it sounds a bit radio-ish but it still sounds good, i'll keep experimenting with stuff; so well, enjoy, here it is; right click and "save target as..." or click on it so a media player starts reproducing the stuff (dependes on your configuration). Don't forget to leave your suggestions, comments and complaints:

Obsolete Radio #1.mp3


At The Drive-In: Rolodex Propaganda/ Relationship Of Command (2000)
Sleater-Kinney: Jumpers/ The Woods (2005)
Sleater-Kinney: One More Hour/ Dig Me Out (1997)
Gang Of Four: Anthrax/ Entertainment! (1979)
Wolf Eyes: Stabbed In The Face/ Burned Mind (2004)
Exodus: Piranha (live)/ Another Lesson In Violence (1997)
Jesus Lizard: Monkey Trick (Peel Session)/ (1991)
Nile: User-Maat-Re/ Annihilation Of The Wicked (2005)
Wires On Fire: Indigo Child/ V.A. - Golden Grouper 1 (2004)
Alice Cooper: I’m Eighteen/ Love It To Death (1971)
Turbonegro: I Got Erection/ Ass Cobra (1996)
Black Flag: Damaged II (demo)/ Damaged demos (1981)
Boredoms: Acid Police/ Chocolate Synthetizer (1995)
Stephen Malkmus: I’ve Hardly Been/ Face The Truth (2005)
Primal Scream: Some Velvet Morning (Two Lone Swordsmen remix)/ Dirty Hits (2003)
Necros: Sex Drive/ Sex Drive 7” (1981)
Necros: Police Brutality/ Sex Drive 7” (1981)
Spiritualized: I Think I’m In Love/ Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space (1997)

Friday, June 03, 2005

Nine Inch Nails. June 2; Palacio de los Deportes

So yesterday i went to see Nine Inch Nails play at the Palacio De los Deportes (better know as the Palacio De los Rebotes, spanish for “Palace Of The Bounces”, because the sound quality of the place); to be honest, this was a show i have been waiting for some 10 years now, ever since i listened to my Downward Spiral tape for the 18th time and finally got it, i finally heard and understood what this band was all about and thought the whole studio thing plus the aggression of the music was pure genius; really, i’m surprised how big a NIN fan i turned out to be, especially during The Fragile period (odd, eh?), i picked up the “The Day The World Went Away” single the week it came out and everything; between 1999 and 2000, chances were that of every three records i listened to in any period between those two years, The Fragile would be one of them, i thought it was masterful, and thought people were retarded for not getting it. So it was long overdue that i finally got to see them live, which was their first ever mexican date.

So i arrive a little past 8:30 (scheduled gate-opening hour) and went straight to the bathroom (hour long drive+downing a bottle of coke), then went to my seat, which was in section C, three levels above the floor; the Dresden Dolls were already playing to a very approving crowd. Now, the Dresden Dolls are kinda like a so so campy cabaret goth non band, sort of like Gems Of Masochism-era Antioch Arrow but using just electric piano and drums and not as good or as off kilter, I caught the end of one song after they announced that the following was dedicated to “the president...Mr George Bush”; since their mix was awful and i couldn’t hear the piano, i didn’t get what they were playing, only after they played a two chord riff just to let a hi hat counting and opening at an odd time did i understand they were playing Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”; by the crowd reaction, i could tell they found out about the song at the same time as myself; it sounded great for one reason: the drummer is amazing!! He has the whole Keith Moon/Bill Ward style down and that’s the reason you couldn’t hear the piano, the drums were that dominant; the best part of the cover was when the piano was left alone towards the end and the girl lead singer started playing Tony Iommi’s solos on the piano, great interpretation. The rest of the songs were ok with awesome drumming, they said that after Nine Inch Nails’ set, they would be outside signing stuff, i bet from the crowd reception, the turnout would be big.

The place was packed, and full of guys and girls, metalheads and punks, goths and regular kids, lots of kids actually, i didn’t think Nine Inch Nails would remain this relevant but it seems they have; the floor had numbered seats (unlike the US part of the tour), and people were expecting, waiting to be blown away. Then, a few minutes after 10:00 pm, the lights went out; “Pinion” started to kick thru the house PA and it only meant one thing, in something like NIN’s take on the classic Judas Priest opening combo of “The Hellion” and “Electric Eye”, the band then inmidiatedly lauched into “Wish”, the crowd went nuts (and a true highlight for me); to my surprise, Jeordie White, Trent and Aaron North all played guitar in that song, no bass, something that happened a few times afterwards during the set. The band then launched into “Sin”, again crowd approval. The band were playing very close to the recorded versions of the songs and the stage set up was very minimal, a wall of colored lines in the back and some “light trees” at each end of the stage; the band picked the pace up again with “March Of The Pigs”, then they played “Something I Can Never Have” which surprised the shit out of everyone, but people still lit up their cigarrette lighters and sang along, the band kicked it up again by following immediatly into “The Hand That Feeds” and “Terrible Lie”, in which Trent dropped the mic stand by the end of the song, smacked the guitar on the floor and fell into the space between the barricade and the stage.

Something that made the show and the band even better was, in my opinion, Aaron North; coming from the Icarus Line you wouldn’t expect it, but Aaron is a grade A arena rock guitarist, he regularly shook his guitar violently, ran across the stage incesantly, jumped off risers and calmly paced around the stage whenever he wasn’t playing; he brought a personality that otherwise wouldn’t be present. Trent is a good frontman, but he’s more into projecting the drama of the lyrics he is presenting than to give a show to the people (at least, that is the case in this show). The band spewed hit after hit, some cult favorites, others massively known, like “Closer” which got a huge sing along; they played songs ranging from favorites off the Broken EP (a personal favorite lately, good thing they played a lot of it) to some of The Fragile’s most rocking (“The Wretched”, “No, You Don’t”) to non –album songs (Natural Born Killers soundtrack’s Burn and their cover of Joy Division’s “Dead Souls” which was awesome). The whole thing in general got better as things moved towards the end, “The Day The World Went Away” got a fantastic response from the crowd and sounded particularly crude and exciting, it featured a slower build-up that got help from the crowd clapping a basic beat and lighting lighters in rhythm and into the outro “na na na” singalong; “Piggy” got a beefed up heavy final part, “Hurt” got an expected singalong from the crowd that was still cool (i would have liked to hear a bit of electro+distortion drone improv at the end of the song but it didn’t happen); “Starfuckers Inc.” was frenetic and brutal, with a surprising singalong response and Trent breaking the song up before going überaggro on the “You’re So Vain” adaptation in said song to tell the crowd how awesome it was playing playing, he even mentioned Mexico was the best crowd ever (yeah, total Spinal Tap shit) and how they meant to come here so long before but that it was good that it was finally happening and then he went on to scream the shit out of the “don’t you”’s at the end of the song. Then they launched into “Head Like A Hole”, midway thru the song, Jeordie (formerly known as Twiggy Ramirez) and Aaron switched guitars and, as the song approched an ending, Aaron took his micstand and threw it to the drumset, then went on to climb a huge set of speaker cabinets, guitar and all, with the intention of throwing the thing to the section i was in (i was far from the tip where this was happening) but soon realized it was a bad idea, so he threw it to the stage and jumped; Trent threw stands and his guitar, Aaron then took a stand and smacked his amp with it, then he took his guitar and threw it to the side of the stage, the crowd was screaming their heads off while feedback was going on from three guitars thrown and left there, then the sound was killed, the lights went on and it was over; no encore, no bullshit, plain rock. Soon after the lights went on, the PA begins to play what to me became an encore: Spiritualized’s “I Think I’m In Love”, i was quite pleased with this song so i just took my seat and enjoyed the strayed notes as people urged to the exits.

Pinion/ Wish/ Sin/ The Line Begins To Blur/ March Of The Pigs/ Something I Can Never Have/ The Hand That Feeds/ Terrible Lie/ Burn/ Closer-The Only Time/ Home/ The Frail/ The Wretched/ Reptile/ Love Is Not Enough/ Suck/ No, You Don't/ Dead Souls/ Gave Up/ Piggy/ The Day The World Went Away/ Hurt/ You Know What You Are?/ Starfuckers, Inc./ Head Like A Hole

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Interview: Mono

by Marcos Hassan

You can use the name “post-rock” if you want to or not but you can’t deny the existence of (usually) instrumental music played by certain rock bands that defy song structures and familiar sounds for a more open-ended approach, resulting in music that unfolds more like symphonic pieces instead of songs or albums. The name of the “genre” or the discussion of it’s very existence is a different matter, but one characteristic this music has is the sentiments it communicates: these pieces either sound like beautiful numbness of fatalism and hopelessness, like watching a big tragedy happen thru a window and not being able to do anything about it, or of complete desperation and anger. It’s either feeling a lot or feeling nothing at all.

You could say that no band has made this their trademark as clear as Tokyo’s Mono. Whether they’re post rock or not is besides the point; for most of it, their music unfolds with disturbing peace, rumbling with delicacy over things that have gone wrong and should feel sad, yet it seems it’s just there without a word, but after listening to the sound of emotions getting cut, things are bound to happen and sometimes those same emotions that weren’t supposed to be there, explode in an aggressive, violent manner, resulting in cathartic moments during your listening experience. The band, comformed by guitarists Takaakira "Taka" Goto and Yoda, bassist Tamaki and drummer Yasunori Takada, also inject a big dose of themselves by focusing their music thru their Oriental upbringing and everyday life, making them sound exotic, fascinating, confusing and alien to listeners around the world.

There’s no better example of this than their latest full-lenght album, 2004’s brilliant , Steve Albini-produced Walking Cloud And Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and The Sun Shined, in which they take the instrumental sounds of Mogwai, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Explosions In The Sky, Tristeza and even Pelican to serve as the language in which they tell a story that’s happening today in our lives, after tragedy has striken and we have to step outside and keep on living our life. Somewhere in between this story, the band also manages to give us the story of the The Thousand Paper Cranes, in which, legend has it, wishes are granted by the gods to a person who manages to fold a thousand paper cranes; this story was told to a girl in 1955 after she got leukemia from the effects of the bombing of Hiroshima, she heard this story as her last hope. This is the very underlying theme of Walking Cloud..., even thought the story in itself changes from person to person, tragedies are personal after all, even if they are massive. Mono takes the numbness of their earlier work to give it a voice and a saddened salty tear, a voice and a reason, yet it still has that windowpane quality that’s so new millenium, post 9/11.

The band debuted in 2000 with the Hey You EP, which was followed by Under The Pipal Tree, released by Tzadik; One Step More and You Die, a breathtaking journey of an album, was released in Japan in 2002, issued the following year in Europe and America; a remix album, entitled New York Soundtracks, featuring artists such as DJ Olive, Aki Onda and Jackie-O Motherfucker, arrived last year. They have played with the likes of Dillinger Escape Plan, Cult Of Luna, Einstürzende Neubauten, Shellac, Bardo Pond, Rovo, Explosions In The Sky and Jim O’Rourke. They’ve just finished an American tour which was followed by an European tour; they plan to tour Japan this summer with Pelican, who are also doing a split together which will be available this September. But before, Takaakira "Taka" Goto spoke to us, as he expressed his band's beautiful ideas about music and human communication, as well as their heavy band pals.

Marcos Hassan (The Obsolete): Who or what inspired you to play the music you do in Mono?

Takaakira "Taka" Goto: It’s hard to think of a specific person or a matter. Recently, for these couple of years, touring itself is a strong inspiration. Also I feel a sympathy with the film director Lars Von Tier and his Breaking the Waves.

Were you inspired by any local scene and/or any Japanese artists?

I don’t think I ever was.

Ohh, so was it hard to play this kind of music in Japan? 

Japan doesn’t have a good environment to nurture the underground music scene. But we believe it’s important for us to keep the independent activities working.

Sure, same mission here. Comparatively to your situation back home, has it been hard to be known in Europe and America? 

We are very fortunate we’ve been able to keep touring. Every time we come back to tour, we are making a progress in a positive direction in many ways. The relationship with the audience has been established very well.

Is there a a big difference between playing in Japan and playing elsewhere, culturally speaking?

I don’t feel any difference at all. Over the years of worldwide touring, the audience and friends have made us realize the music goes beyond cultures or languages.

What are you trying to express with your music? 

Subconscious feelings of a human, that every one of us has. We want to express joy and sorrow of our human lives.

Now i get why you go over well beyond cultural or linguistical boundaries. So what is it about instrumental music that appeals to you so much?

It’s the only way of expression we can play, so it’s hard to describe objectively. I think probably it gives more chance for the audience as well as for us the musicians to look at one’s life in the frame of the music.

Do you think that your music, being instrumental, is easier to understand and be felt by people who don't speak the same language so they have a better understanding about what you're trying to comunicate? 

Any good music, film, art brings you to the unpredictable world after you appreciate it. I believe in that power. When one piece of work achieve that level, there would be no border, no cultural difference or language difference.

How important is improvisation to you? 

For us, improvisation is not that important now. Writing good music, controlling the emotion that we’d like to convey through music is more important.

So how do you write your songs, then?

Basically I make a demo first. Then we start a session as a band to complete.

What's the origin or inspiration of some of your song titles? Some, like "Sabbath" or "Com" or "Error #9" are intriguing; also, since english is not your first language, it must be different for you to name a song in english than for someone who uses that language everyday and writes lyrics and/or sing on their songs

Up until the 2nd album One Step More And You Die, a good friend mine helped me to title each songs. Then I started writing songs for the album as one story. So I name each song according to the scene of the story.

Oh cool, so it's safe to consider Walking Cloud... a concept album 


What's the differences between Walking Cloud... and your past albums? 

To me, the feeling of “there’s no place to belong” had finally gone after many tours at the time of creating Walking Cloud... It meant a lot, I think. We have a lot of friends everywhere now.

At the time of making Walking Cloud... we wanted to speak up our voice against the war after 9/11. As the Japanese, telling the story of the atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima and a story of a thousand paper cranes were something we had to do.

What does your music mean to you? 

One and only way of communication.

Speaking of communication, fans and writers have labelled you as part of the so-called "post rock" movement. What do you think of this tag/label/term/genre?

We don’t care what the other people tag which music at all. However, we never want to place ourselves into any genre. We never ever want to be a part of categolization.

So who do you consider your peers? which artists would you like to be associated with?

All the artists on our own label, Human Highway Records, are close friends, like a family. Pelican, Cult of Luna, Album Leaf, World’s End Girlfriend and many other are the ones we respect and have a great sympathy.

Alright; given those names and from looking at bands you've played with throughtout the years, is it hard to play with bands that play a very different kind of music than you?

If we share the bill at the show, we rather prefer to do it with the bands who play different kind of music.

What's next for Mono? 

Most of all, we’d like to make the new full album our best album. It’s going to be released in the next spring.



Com.mp3 from One Step More And You Die (click for new window to open)
sample of Halcyon (Beautiful Days) from Walking Cloud And Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered And The Sun Shined

Mono's Official site:
Temporary Residence Limited (record label):
Buy Mono cds from Amazon
all photos used were taken from the band's site

Special thanks go to Reiko Kudo for making this interview possible