Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Driver's Seat, Yeahahahah!

Sniff 'N' The Tears - Driver's Seat

One of the only good things about the second season of The Walking Dead was hearing this song during a random scene. Actually the end of the season got a little better, but the rest was like Little House On The Prairie, only with more drama and less death. Hopefully next season they hire T-Dog to babysit Carl so that a) T-Dog gets some lines and b) Carl stops going missing! Just get eaten already! You and your dumb hat!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Grimes, Or "Grimey" As He Liked To Be Called

Grimes - Oblivion

I can't say that most of her other songs are knocking my socks off, but this song and video are pretty fun. This description is pretty accurate and funny though: "Her music sounds like a baby voice goo goo gaa gaa-ing over some bleep bloop music." Haha!

Also, check the dude at 1:58.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Intense Degree - War In My Head (Earache, 1988)

Although I generally don't like Florida (ask JGoon his thoughts on Miami), I've had some good memories of visiting the St. Petersburg/Tampa area for the past 25 or so winter holidays. But these days, most of the things I liked about the area are gone. The local arcade closed down, the flea market doesn't sell the Winger anymore, Evos went from all vegetarian burgers to "humanely raised beef" (sellouts!), it's hard to find other 37 year olds to skate with...

There were a few great record stores there too, but of the ones I frequented, only Disc Exchange in St. Pete remains. And I've long since depleted their stock of rare punk and hardcore records. I used to always take a day trip to Tampa that involved the SPOT (Tampa skatepark), Evo's and a bunch of record stores. Vinyl Fever, a long running alternative/indie record store was the latest to close. My favorites though were Sound Idea and Ace's Records.

Sound Idea was a great punk store that many people were probably familiar with from their MRR mailorder ads, the owner's label, Burrito Records, or his bands, Failure Face and Murder Suicide Pact. They always had a great selection and they had shows in the back room sometimes. I was supposed to see Municipal Waste there one time, but they didn't show up because apparently one of the band members had burned himself doing flaming shots the night before.

But the real gem for me was Ace's Records in Tampa. Tampa was the home to death metal in the 90's and Ace's was renowned as one of the best metal stores in the country, if not the world. A lot of metal musicians worked there too. Although I've never really been a fan of death metal, Ace's carried enough thrash, rare imports and hardcore to keep me browsing for hours. They had a vinyl section in the back where they had an insane surplus of cheap, sealed thrash, crossover, hardcore and punk records that I would spend most of my Christmas money on.

Which brings me to Intense Degree. (Finally, eh?) This is one of those records I picked up just based on the look of it. From the sticker description, a song called "Skate Bored" and a singer who looked a little like Tommy Stupid (The Stupids being another fave band I discovered from Disc Exchange), I figured I'd like them. With ultrafast drumming and grindcore-like speeds, they resembled early DRI or Siege musically, but the vocals were a little more melodic, similar to The Stupids, which made me like them even more. Plus the recording was super clean for this style of hardcore. If you like any of their fellow countrymen like Heresy, Ripcord or Concrete Sox, this album fits in nicely. I've picked up their other records over the years and if I remember correctly, they're not quite as fast or as good as this debut, but I should revisit them.

Too bad I can't revisit Ace's anymore.

This is the CD version with bonus tracks from the North Atlantic Noise Attack compilation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

For My Gramps

One song that reminds me of him, and one to remind myself:

Lawrence Welk - Adios, Au Revoir, Aufwiedersehn

The Damned - Life Goes On

Friday, March 2, 2012

Allied Records

My post about Peaceful Meadows reminded me of what a great label Allied Records was. It was started in 1990 by the graphic designer, John Yates, who was also working at Alternative Tentacles during Allied's 9-10 year run. Besides designing album artwork for the Dead Kennedys and other AT bands, he has also designed and created artwork for bands like Propagandhi, Jawbreaker, Bad Religion, Alkaline Trio, Promise Ring, His Hero Is Gone, Hot Water Music, Screeching Weasel, Green Day, NOFX and many others. Oh, and he also published a zine called Punchline. (Man, am I a lazy piece of crap!)

Despite the "big" bands that Yates has worked with over the years, Allied Records was a champion of smaller, underdog punk bands of all kinds. From pop punk (Dogs On Ice, Stink, V.Card) to sludge (Scrog, Buzzoven) to folkish peace punk (Strawman, Political Asylum) to emo (Fuel, Friction, Phleg Camp) to noise rock (Fiddlehead, St. James Infirmary) to hardcore (Unamused, Antischism) to spoken word and more. There were some more notable bands who had Allied releases or showed up on compilations like Jawbreaker, NoMeansNo, Dillinger 4, J Church, Jawbox and Hot Water Music, but even they had a fraction of the notoriety that they have today.

Speaking of those particular bands, there was definitely some overlap and kinship with fellow label, No Idea Records, who had releases with many of those same, and similar, bands. I'm not sure if Allied was more of an influence or peer of No Idea at the time. While No Idea is synonymous with bearded Fest punk these days, it's always had a varied roster like Allied as well. Allied even released a Bombshell album, which featured none other than No Idea's head honcho, Var. (From what I remember it wasn't that great.)

And what made all Allied releases great was the design and aesthetics of each one. You could always identify a Yates release or design by its political statement, working class sentiment or simply its tasteful style. Each Allied release was like part of a collection that you'd want to hold onto (even if the music wasn't that great).

Allied's final release was the vinyl version of the only official Jawbreaker live album (which was eventually released on CD by Blackball Records). It was a very limited edition and I don't even remember hearing about it until it was long sold out, even though I followed Allied and MRR pretty closely at the time. The label could have capitalized on Jawbreaker's popularity, as well as Green Day and the Offspring opening the door to commercial punk possibilities, but Allied quietly called it quits, staying true to its variety and its ideals.

Music for the proletariat.